Here’s part of my story about what I’ve done with music, and how I got into teaching guitar to students through private lessons, and through my DVD instruction.
How I Started
In the spring of 1991 at the age of 17 I had saved up $200 from working at a grocery store and purchased a Kay Electric Guitar and Peavey Rage amp. This was the start of my musical journey. I started taking lessons from Mark Habib and continued these for about 6 months.
During this time I spent countless hours in my room trying to get those Hendrix, and Zeppelin tunes to sound right. It was hard. During college at the University of South Alabama, I continued my education by studying music theory, jazz guitar, and classical guitar. I was soon asked by my classical guitar instructor ( Owen Middleton ) to join the classical guitar ensemble to perform with. That was pretty exciting!
After a few years of practicing I began to pick up a lot of gigs all over the Southeast with many different style’s of bands. From country to rock, blues, pop, and R&B, I have performed all types of music for people all over the Southeastern United States.
During my musical career I have been involved with many music projects and two original bands playing songs that I wrote and arranged. One of these was the blues rock band “Last Day Down” who I co-wrote all of the tunes with Ferrill Gibbs and the other “Soul Kitchen” an Allman Brothers and Santana inspired jam band. Soul Kitchen consisted of drums, bass, guitar, keys, and sax. It was a really fun band that also won a Battle of the Bands at Tasty World in Athens Ga.
I also played with Neal Pattman, Georgia blues legend, for a short while and learned how to follow a bluesman who didn’t think about traditional time signatures and forms. Then joining with Clarence Cameron, a highly regarded blues singer in Athens Ga, The Healers, Don’t Know Blues Band, (AJ Adams from Vigilantes of Love, Jason Fuller formerly of Ween, Carlton Owens formerly with John Mayer), and Betsy Franck among many other bands I have played with throughout the years.
In 2007 I began playing with The Highballs a wedding and event band where I learned even more about different styles and putting on a professional show.
Back in 1995, after playing the guitar for about 4 years, my friend and bassist Nathan Shiver asked me if I wanted to start teaching at a music store where he was also teaching guitar. I said yes immediately and quit my job working at Sears to begin teaching 30 students a week at Jubilee music in Fairhope, Alabama. It was pretty overwhelming to say the least, but this is where I learned about teaching people about playing the guitar.
There is a definitely a learning curve to showing someone how to learn the guitar efficiently and properly while maintaining the student’s interest. Looking at things through someone else’s perspective is a skill I tried to develop early on and still try to find better ways of teaching guitar to students.
Later on I taught at Musicians Warehouse in Athens Ga for about 6 years where I usually taught around 40-50 students per week. This was quite a schedule where I learned so much about how students learn.
I put on 4 recitals with my students over the years, that showcased each student’s special talent. These guitar recitals gave the student to take their skills learned in my private guitar lessons onto the stage – a true test of their abilities. With the advent of the internet, I can now offer my guitar lessons to anyone in the world, which is pretty amazing to me!
In 2007, I released Guitar Method Beginner Book 1. It was definitely a huge learning experience which took me about 2 years to complete. Guitar Method Beginner Book 1 was the first entry into my catalog of instructional material. At this time in Octover 2013, I have produced 37 DVDs worth of instructional material and have many more lessons in the works.
Here’s a few tunes I’ve put together for some videos in my studio.
- John W. Tuggle