I spent 30 years playing professionally in Los Angeles as sideman, musical director and composer in a variety of music settings including network TV, movie soundtrack, studio, concert and club venues. In 2010 I left Los Angeles and moved to join the rich music scene in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. I love it here and am as busy playing guitar now as I have ever been in my life.
During my career I’ve had the good fortune of performing with some of the world’s greatest musicians.
My musical experience has been eclectic. I’ve enjoyed a career performing Funk, R&B, Jazz, Rock, Afro-Latin, Gospel, Blues and Country.
My professional experience as an educator includes 23 years of teaching at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California for the Guitar Institute of Technology (G.I.T.) and Baccalaureate programs and various clinics throughout the U.S. In my years at M.I. I wrote and edited courses for G.I.T. and M.I.’s Baccalaureate programs. I spent 3 years as G.I.T. Department Head and 9 years as Vice President and Director of Education at Musicians Institute. I’m currently the Guitar Department Head and Director of Academic Administration at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Minnesota.
I’ve authored two instructional books published by Hal Leonard: An Introduction to Jazz Guitar Soloing and Ear Training (co-author with Carl Schroeder and Keith Wyatt). I’ve also written five instructional books for McNally Smith College of Music, Fretboard Biology I, II, III and IV as well as Rhythm Guitar Biology.
I’ve been making my living in music by playing guitar, recording, writing, teaching and authoring books and curriculum since I left high school. I started playing guitar when I was 13 and was inspired and heavily influenced by my dad’s love of Big Band music, my mom’s love of Classical music and my older brothers’ and sister’s love of all the contemporary Rock, Soul, Funk, Latin and Pop music of the 60s and 70s. I formed a Rock trio in junior high a short time after getting my first electric guitar. I had the good fortune of being at a junior high school with a Big Band. My high school experience was similar, when I played in Rock and R&B bands as well as the high school Big Band. My college experience at Montana State was so important for me as a musician. I was exposed to a higher caliber of musician and through the college Big Band and director Glen Johnston, I met and played with my first “real pros” like Don Menza.
After four years touring the U.S. and Canada in my early 20s I moved to Los Angeles and attended the famed contemporary guitar school, G.I.T. This was a transformational experience for me. I immersed myself in practice and study and was able to study and play with great guitarists like Joe Pass, Joe Diorio, Don Mock, Ron Eschete, Scott Henderson, Frank Gambale and Robben Ford. Upon graduation I was asked to join the faculty and started my “other career,” teaching, which I never intended to have. I enjoy teaching a lot. It’s very satisfying to help other musicians develop their potential.