“He looks like Dr. Who!’ That was the first thought that went through my head when I first met Aaron 😀 The cause probably being that I was just obsessed with the series at the time, but also his style and cool British accent. Upon getting to know him better, I found out that he is a truly genuine and uplifting person who also cares about those around him. That is a quality that helped me out a lot when I lived in London. We were in a student-run record label together at university. Every time I have talked to him after that, even if many months had passed, I felt like he was there to lend an ear and offer clever insights and solutions. As a fellow guitar tutor, I know that Aaron has some useful tips to share here (and in his in-person and YouTube lessons), so now I’ll let him tell you his story. ” – Neli
How did your path as a musician start?
When I picked up a guitar at age 14. I got it for my 12th Christmas and didn’t play for two years. Then one day a friend came over and showed me some stuff, and I haven’t looked back since!
What is the most challenging thing you had to overcome to be where you are now as a musician?
Getting my foot in the door. Becoming good enough is one step but meeting the right people and progressing through who you meet is another. There’s a lot of luck but also a lot of just getting involved wherever you can.
How did you overcome it?
By getting out and playing gigs. Going to music college and university.
How do you approach music writing?
It changes but it generally starts with a feeling about something happening in my life. I might then draft some lyrics and start putting some guitar chords over the top. Before recording there’s a rough map of the song in my head and the more I think about it, the more it kind of comes to together. Once I feel like there’s enough there, I’ll record it.
Besides playing you also teach – what is your approach when it comes to teaching a student?
That’s heavily dependent on the student and why they are learning – whether it’s for school, for themselves or in the worst-case scenario, because their parents are forcing them. You never know who’s going to walk in the door so you have to adapt. Their personality, their ability, their willingness to practice, it all comes into play. If for example, I have a beginner, then there’s a tried and tested method that works 99% of the time. However, as things progress, the student may have their own ideas about where they want the learning to go, so you take that into consideration as much as you can.
And what is a lesson you learned from your students?
How to diversify my musical tastes! I teach a lot of teenagers and I’m approaching my mid 30’s so our tastes normally vary quite dramatically!
What are some advantages and disadvantages to teaching guitar in person compared to teaching guitar on YouTube?
YouTube can be amazing but again, it depends. Like anything in life, being in the room with another human being is going to be more beneficial both physically and mentally. However, there are some very good YouTube tutors out there that can explain things very well, have good clear camera angles so the fingers can be seen and are genuinely interested in helping people learn guitar. YouTube is great for students who are already at a certain level and a huge advantage if you are unable to afford lessons. I wish it existed when I was learning, it’s so easy now to find information. Though you have to be careful because there’s a lot of bad, vague information too. In the very least, get a few lessons early on so that you can avoid bad habits. But if you can afford it long term, pay a teacher.
What can we find/expect on your YouTube Channel?
Guitar lessons! And also some songs. I’ve got lesson content that varies from beginner to intermediate, that seems to work for me. For example, there’s a three-part mini-series of songs that only have one chord in them so if you’re looking for some really easy songs and you don’t care what they are, that might be for you (I’ll put a link below). I’m still developing my style but I think my videos are coming off quite well at present. There’s some good feedback in the comments section on some of them which is amazing, because that’s why you do YouTube lessons, to help students learn, it’s their feedback that keeps you going!
What is your favorite part of being a musician?
Playing live and making an audience feel a part of something. Gigs where you can just be yourself and have fun. I’m particularly fond of afternoon gigs (and I’d do morning ones if they existed!), being outdoors in the summer, that kind of thing.
Who is your biggest musical inspiration and influence?
Wow. This is such a difficult question but names that spring to mind are Queen, Muse and Nickel Creek. Anyone that knows how to write great music really.
What is your favorite guitar trick?
Besides all mentioned in the interview, Aaron also sings and plays in an acoustic duo called The Records. Check out their soul/motown/pop performance HERE!