Who I am is not important
Who I am is of no consequence in the greater scheme of things. I am what I am and that's all anyone needs to
know about me. I hate emails that question my "qualifications", authenticity and experience because they
completely miss the point of making music. Apart from that, feel free to email me and discuss flamenco, the
meaning of life, or anything else for that matter. I am approachable. Although I am kept chained up in a dark
cellar most of the time, my master is very fair and does let me wander around the compound to feed the
kangaroos and emus if I behave.
I live a simple life and I have simple philosophies (life's little rules of engagement) because they make
more sense than complicated ones. First and foremost I am a solo
guitarist. I did my boot camp for years with the major dance schools in Adelaide in South Australia.
That gave me a sense of rhythm and compás. I enjoyed playing for dance classes and doing shows with dancers,
especially in smaller venues like crowded cafes. Playing improvised rhythms is what I'm used to and is what I
do best as far as flamenco is concerned. Apart from the occasional rehearsed numbers I did with singers in
groups, I never had a great desire to accompany singers.
A simple teaching philosophy
I reasoned that if I can't stand bullshit and just look for stuff I can actually use to help me play guitar,
there must be other people like me in the world who want the real stuff without all the fairy floss. My
philosophy regarding teaching guitar is simple:
"pick up that guitar and let's play something ...NOW. Never mind all the theoretical fluff and
endless talking about it."
Right and wrong is an urban myth
What I do and teach is the way I do it. It is neither the "best" way, nor the only way, or even the most
common way. It's just my way of doing things based on my experience. If you can use it, great. If not, move on.
I make a point of telling people to use my techniques as starting point only and to find a good teacher to
develop a technique that is suitable for them. Everyone's hands are different. There is no single, gospel or
best way to do something on the guitar. The best advice is "just play the bloody thing" and stop
intellectualizing about it. Make your music sound the best you can and play with feeling. This is what
transfers to the listener, not the theories or technical details. Let the classical guitar players worry about
"correct" ways of sitting.
I will never forget watching a classical guitar student set up for his recital. He fiddled around for 5
minutes adjusting his footstool, arm protectors, music stand and last minute nail filing. Life is about living
and playing a guitar is about expressing yourself with feeling. At the end of the day, comparing yourself to
someone else or getting hung up about fiddly details like optimal footstool height (that have nothing to do
with making music) is a total waste of head space.
It really saddens me when someone leaves a message on my You Tube videos and says that I am not doing
something right according to their highly subjective definition of "right". "Right or wrong" means nothing to
me, especially when such comments come from classical guitar players who seem to be brainwashed with
institutionalized "correctness". It's no good trying to explain my deviant behavior in terms of personal
interpretation. If it's not played exactly as written, or exactly like the original artist it is automatically
wrong as far as these stiff necked critics are concerned. End of story.
Mamma Mia. Give me a break. I feel like saying, "There is a life out there, go get one." But what's the
point? Occasionally I get a comment that is intended to be plain nasty but instead comes across as incredibly
funny. Check this one out. It was left in response to my Angie video.
|it is terrible i hate it it sucks donkey dick its crap crap crap errrrrrr
shit terrible it makes me want to punch my computer ughhh horrid
Somebody call this guy an ambulance. It sounds like he's about to have a cardiac arrest.
I couldn't stop laughing
Stuck up snobs
With regards to information, I do not have vested interests to taint the outcome of my research. As a
teacher of flamenco guitar who has been faced with many strange enquiries from students who
want it straight from the hip, I am instinctively driven to share my findings and conclusions in plain English.
That's it in a nutshell. I have come across so many self proclaimed "experts" who are not only unwilling to
share, but are also stuck up snobs who ignore emails and letters. I say self proclaimed because they proudly
display academic letters after their name. It's their subtle way of saying, "Be amazed, I'm an expert". I don't
want to be like that. Life is too short for that sort of ego-based nonsense. Conversing with intellectuals can
be a pain and you may have guessed I prefer the intellectual company of real people at street level who have a
sense of humor and an easygoing outlook on life.