Today we’re interviewing a friend of mine, who I met at university while we both were part of a student-run record label – Aaron Carrington. He is a very hardworking and skilled musician. We interviewed him a while ago, but since then he has continuously kept himself busy and we will now find out more about that.
You were one of our 1st guitarists of the month back in the summer of 2020. What has been going on since then?
Wow! It was so long ago! I moved away from London halfway through COVID. I wanted some more countryside and I now live in Bath. I was doing a little bit of teaching and wedding gigs and then met a guy called Jack through that. He invited me to go to Dubai to play 6 nights a week. I was there for 3 months, came back for one, repeated that and then did the same thing over in Bahrein. Suffice to say – your repertoire gets A LOT bigger and your performance skills level up quite a lot.
I can imagine playing 6 days a week is quite intense! What was that experience like? Even thought it’s a 3hr performance, a lot of people don’t take into account all the rest that goes into it – practice, etc.
It is quite intense! You start at 9 pm and then finish at 1:30 am, then get a bus back to your accommodation. As far as playing on stage goes, it really got me out of my shell. When I was doing it on such a constant schedule, I got so comfortable, lifting the guitar, playing on tables and eventually went wireless. I was running around this big pub and it was a great experience. This also helped my busking and teaching, since my repertoire rapidly grew.
I was also lucky to perform with mind-blowing musicians that got me thinking ‘How can they be so good!’ You’ve lived in London and that standard where you walk into a venue with amazing musicians was similar. Just when you think you’ve figured the guitar out, you see someone and go ‘Wow!’ and they’re not on YouTube or anything – you wouldn`t have known about them otherwise. They don’t want to be known, but there are amazing guitarists out there in he world!
What do you think is the key to a great live performance?
It comes back to connecting to your audience and giving them what they want. They want to hear songs that they know and/or they want to be immersed in an experience – be a part of something. If you’re playing the right kind of material, they can already sing along because they know the songs. If you play originals, then you need to make more of an effort to make it immersive. Making eye contact, talking to people, etc. I advertise my lessons while busking with my sign. They’ll watch a solo, and enjoy themselves and then ask, and I’ll tell them about the guitar academy and get them to walk away with a flyer.
How has your teaching evolved over the years?
I started teaching 16 years ago when I was 20. I started off with a couple of students and I didn’t know what I was doing. I just wanted to show the guitar and teach. Then I went to university where I brushed up on my knowledge. Then I left uni in 2014 and got a position at an academy in East London. I was there for 4-5 years and that’s when I really began to hone in to what teaching is really about. Showing students what they’re interested in, but also making sure that they’re progressing with their skills. It’s about finding the balance of personalizing a lesson for a student, so they’re doing exactly what they want to do.
I think that’s something we’ve both come out of ICMP, since I can relate to that a lot. Going through uni you see there’s so many ways of learning the same thing through a different lens. I can apply that to my students and encourage them through what they like. So who is Carrington Academy suited for?
At the moment it’s at a very early stage. Although I’ve taught for a while, this is the first time I have set up a business and had to look at the business side of things. At the moment I’m looking for 6 guitarists here in Bath to start a group lesson here in Bath. Almost everything I’ve done has been one on one. And I remember when I first had to play to an audience it was terrifying. Being able to play in a group will help with that. So if you’re in Bath, then you’re welcome to join us!
Another thing you do online is your YouTube channel. What’s going on there these days?
I am currently more focused on taking things to a local level. I believe in the in personal connection. There’s’ something about having people in a room together and a vibe you get. It’s how we’ve done it for centuries and technology is still quite new. The last thing I did on YouTube was about the wireless system I reviewed – cable free guitar. Easy to set up and affordable.
What is your favorite part of being a musician?
Playing live, having a connection with the audience and expressing yourself.
Who is your current biggest musical inspiration and influence?
In the midst of creating a business, all the music inspiration is kinda random at the moment. I’ve had a really good time playing a guitar solo mashup recently while busking. It has the solo of Purple Rain, Sweet Home Alabama, Bohemian Rhapsody, Sweet Child O’ Mine… the same as always. I was watching recently a video by Ola Englund who was interviewing John Petrucci, who was a big influence on my playing. I can’t do fast runs like him, but I still find him inspirational. And also Guthrie Govan. Jack Gardener is someone from the UK that I believe lives in Switzerland. He has really nice playing – wide intervals, wide slides and arpeggios. He has a killer tone! He’s someone that I quite like to emulate when I sit down to play around on the guitar.
What are you working on at the moment? Plans for the year?
Building the Carrington Academy is the main focus. Getting a roster of students that are passionate about learning the guitar.
Check out Aaron’s Guitar school:
Carrington Guitar Academy
Watch the whole video here: