How long have you been in Boerne?
I have lived in the Boerne area since 1975. My wife and I bought a home here in 1994. We opened our business here in 2001. So I’ve seen a lot of changes in the area in those years.
Give us a brief history of how the businesses came to be?
I was actually finishing my degree in Education at UTSA and my wife saw our old location across from the library and told me “You’ve been playing guitar all of your life. Why not combine your desire to teach with your passion for guitars and open a music store and teach guitar?”
What have been some obstacles you have run into with getting the businesses up and running?
As with any obstacle, if you cannot change it, you have to find the positive in it. YouTube for one. You have to learn to embrace technology like YouTube, but there is a caveat there; besides being able to watch the artists themselves, many of the people “teaching” on YouTube are not qualified professional musicians. You have to find someone to show you what to look for and to build on that. Learning chords/chord theory, scales/scale theory, techniques and, most importantly, ear training are the basis for playing guitar. There were not any music books on Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin or any of my other Idols back when I was learning guitar. The songs were learned by ear training and the help of a qualified guitar teacher to tell me what I was doing right and wrong.
You can change a location but something I cannot change is time. There are only so many hours in a week. I am at the shop doing lessons after retail hours as late as 9pm most nights. And no matter how tired or busy, I go home and play a minimum of three hours every night in order to practice my craft and hone my skills in order to maintain a level of proficiency.
What about Boerne makes having your businesses easy/difficult?
Retail wise, finding your niche and if you have competition, evolve. You can’t have 4 stores all doing the same thing. In order to stay in business; we evolved more into a conservatory, vs. retail, which is the direction I wanted to go anyway. I am not really worried about the competition in regards to instruction. We all have different teaching styles and I believe there is room for all of us. I believe my reputation speaks for itself. I am one of the few teachers that actually give handouts after every lesson. I donate the extra time needed before every performance show to help students find the right songs, giving extra lessons, arrange vocal coaching and home rehearsals. The home rehearsals are important to teach the students about equipment and what it is like to be in a band situation, to be part of a team.
Someone’s first performance can be very stressful and can make or break someone. I would never set anyone up to fail if I can help it. The rest is up to them. The easy part is the parents. They go above and beyond to support and encourage their kids to practice and be on time. I am grateful for that!
If you didn’t have your businesses, what do you think you’d be doing?
Teaching, playing guitar, and collecting vintage guitars and equipment.
What part(s) of the businesses are the most enjoyable? Least enjoyable?
The satisfaction I get seeing the kids blossom with a higher self esteem. The smiles when the parts I teach them come together into a song. When their faces light up the first time they hear themselves in a band situation accompanied by bass and drums. The recognition they get after playing a live performance and they go on to form bands or play solo acts. I love it when they come back years later to visit me on the holidays! There really is no down side when the scales are balanced. The up side far outweighs the least enjoyable part…paperwork!
What are the long term plans for you?
To continue teaching and playing guitar.
What would you like to say to the Boerne community?
In the last 14 years, I have taught over 1400 students of all ages. I want to thank the Boerne Community for putting their trust and faith in me to teach their kids. It’s been a pleasure!