My Musical Journey

I was born in Rochester, Michigan U.S.A. and am the youngest of 11 kids.  My parents were both teachers - my father taught English and my mother taught music - specifically piano.  There was always something creative going on in our house, and I remember the sound of music as a constant companion.

We moved to Colorado when I was 8 in the hopes of improving my mother's health. The sunshine seemed to help. 


It was during this time that my two sisters and I had to chance to chose instruments and take part in lessons at the school.  I wanted to be in the orchestra, and so I chose the violin.  It was a lot of fun being in such a large group, especially when the schools would combine forces for concerts. I wasn't a very good violinist. I was an impatient student. I did at least get a feeling for a stringed instrument though, and developed the foundations of musical experience and ensemble playing. Most importantly, my respect for music and for the elements of the instruments themselves was deepened. I loved the richness and smell of the wood and the resonance of the strings.


A couple of years passed and my mother's illness reappeared and worsened.  She was finally diagnosed with scleroderma and a short time later when I was 12 she passed away - much too early for her 52 years.   


It was during this time of mourning that I discovered the electric guitar. My sister knew someone who played in a band - Bill Habenicht.  He agreed to teach me.  Meeting Bill has proven to be one of the most significant events in my life. Everything about Bill was musical and vibrant and larger than life. He had the charisma of a rock star and a passion for music that encompassed him.  Of course his love for the guitar was infectious. He introduced me to the music of Yngwie Malmsteen and Randy Rhodes among many others.  Bill was also a huge fan of Bach and after our lessons we would often listen to music.  I remember Bill most of the time with his guitar around his neck, walking around playing. He was almost always playing.

I learned a lot about dedication from Bill - that if you wanted to be good, you had to practice. He told me once, 'It's simple man, you get out of it, what you put into it.'  This made an impact on me, and I began practicing several hours a day - but it never really felt like work.


From the beginning, my father was very supportive of my guitar playing.  One day he told me that if I really wanted to become a great guitarist, that I should learn how to play classical guitar.  He gave me a recordingof Christopher Parkening, and I had to ask him how many guitars were playing on it. 'Just one.' was his reply. From that moment on, I knew that I had to learn how to play classical guitar - but only with the aim of improving my electric guitar playing. Knowing that Bill was heavily influenced by classical music, and that he had a great reverence for Bach, I decided to to dive in and take classical guitar lessons.  I was lucky enough to find a great teacher,   on the first try.  I was so entranced by classical guitar that I stopped playing the electric guitar all together for a few years.  It was during this time when I was 17 that I began teaching, and earning money playing. Although I have had many other jobs and finished my degrees to become a language teacher, I have always returned to teaching and performing music. 


Music is truly something special, and through it I have made many good friends. I am very grateful to be teaching again, and also very thankful to get to share in the musical journeys of my students who give me so much energy and joy.