Why Take Guitar Lessons
Posted Jul 5, 2013 - Steve Hart
Plain and simple, learning to play the guitar is good for your brain- especially for children. That said, I didn’t write this to explain the benefits of learning to play music. I wrote this to explain the benefits of taking music lessons from a real person, and why the vast amount of online material will never destroy the need for personal instruction. This is why I do what I do.
There is no denying the online resources for guitar instruction are seemingly infinite and continue to grow and improve each year. With a five second search on the “C Scale” you can find a video on how to play it, a diagram in musical notation and tablature, and even a variety of explanations regarding the composition and theoretical principles of the scale. Go ahead, Google it!
Why would you spend your money and dedicate time to take music lessons when there are infinite and instant resources right at your fingertips, for free?
Here’s my thoughts-
- Inspiration - The number one way to pick up any instrument: get inspired! Interacting with a professional musician up close is the best way to take seemingly difficult music, break it down, and realize that it is within your ability with practice and persistence. A mentor will help you destroy the barrier of “I can’t” and inspire you to put in the time to get to where you want to be like no Internet tutorial can.
- Accountability - Practice makes perfect, and with no practice there will be no progress. Having a teacher hold you accountable on a weekly basis will help you to put in the time, learn the building blocks, and progress each week. Yes, the beginning stages of learning any instrument can be frustrating. The Internet will not care if you give up, but a dedicated teacher will help you through the difficult stages to the point where practice becomes playing.
- Habits - Anybody can make a web video. Just because a video has thousands of hits does not mean your Internet teacher is showing you the correct habits of playing your instrument. A real music teacher will correct bad habits before you spend countless hours playing the wrong way. Bad habits can cause physical ailments and other difficulties down the road.
- Flexibility - A good music teacher will gear their lessons towards their student. Inspiration is the key and nobody will be inspired if they are playing music that they do not enjoy. Yes, the basics are important, but they can be learned in the context of a song you want to learn to play!
- Community - Finally, taking music lessons at a music shop involves you in a community that you simply cannot find online. Spending time around teachers, instruments, other students, and music lovers will help to inspire a passion for learning and progressing and allow you access to other ideas and approaches to music.
While we are firm believers in the benefits of learning music through a real live teacher, it should be noted that the quality of your teacher is VERY important. I have heard countless horror stories of teachers turning their students away from music by making practice feel like work and not caring about the students’ musical goals and desires. You don’t work an instrument, you play an instrument, and that is how we believe it should be taught. For that reason, we have hand selected a staff of very qualified, humble, music loving instructors that are here to teach through inspiration!
The Hart of Riffs
Posted Jun 30, 2013 - Steve Hart
Riffs Acoustic Music started as the brain child of my father, Larry Hart, who saw a real need in our hometown of Park City, Utah for an acoustic guitar store. As a recent graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont, I moved home and hopped on board with the project and Riffs Acoustic Music in Park City was born. Our goal was to create a music shop that was inviting, community oriented, and a gathering place for people to appreciate music. The vibe we established was unique and inspiring, and with much success in a couple short years we looked to recreate this project in a new location.
I set out to find a community in need of this service, and based on a recommendation from a customer in Park City, I headed out to San Diego to start my search. As a young entrepreneur the task was quite daunting, and I was secretly hoping for solid evidence not to take the risk. I found no such evidence. The trip started by meeting an old friend from home for coffee just to catch up. She suggested Bird Rock Coffee Roasters as a great place to meet, and as it turned out, it was just up the street from one of the more unique and intriguing locations I was looking into for the shop. While there, I met the owner Chuck, a beloved member of the community and avid guitar player, who supported my idea and began introducing me to a few people. This connection started the ball rolling that would never stop.
After 10 days of travelling up and down the coast looking at different locations, I realized there was no better place for Riffs Acoustic Music 2.0 than the Bird Rock community of La Jolla. I put my idea for this new shop out in the universe and it sparked a series of events that led my train of thought from “this probably won’t happen” to “if I don’t do this I will regret it for the rest of my life.”
I went back to Park City for a month of soul searching and countless hours of research and discussion. During that time, several people reached out with interest in the idea and wanted to work with me to turn the vision into a reality—a further sign that this service was needed in this community. With extreme excitement and a bit of fear, I signed the lease on the Bird Rock property, packed my car, and moved to San Diego to start this incredible adventure.
I spent the first month here sleeping on the floor of my office, eating bagels for every meal, and showering with a hose in the backyard while I worked nonstop to turn this spider invested, run-down property into a place people would drive from far away to experience. While I knew I wanted to sell guitars, provide music lessons and other instrument services, I spent this time pondering what to do with the backyard space to make it usable for my business. I was inspired by an experience at home in which I took part in a yoga class where a Riffs student played a song for savasana, and thought this space would be a cool area to provide live music yoga classes. The idea immediately took off, and I worked through several ideas before deciding to build a deck where we could host the sessions. After an extensive designing and construction process with an incredibly talented contractor, the beautiful redwood and bamboo deck was built. Like in “A Field of Dreams,” I built it, and they came. Yoga teachers flowed through the door looking to teach in this beautiful setting with classes accompanied by live musicians. After a few months of trial and error, we developed an incredible staff of teachers and musicians and a program with massive potential.
After a few months of operation, I am blessed with strong relationships with top-notch guitar builders, allowing me to provide instruments that people will use to spread music for generations to come. I have an amazing team of music teachers who work to inspire their students, giving them the lifelong gift of musical joy. And finally, I have a team of selfless yoga teachers and musicians that have dedicated their time and energy to not only make the program a reality, but turn it into something so unique that customers travel from all over to experience it. We look to take all aspects of our business and continue to improve our service and grow our reach so that we can touch and inspire as many people in this amazing city as possible.
Despite the incredible challenges I faced throughout this process, I have finally come to a place where the new Riffs is just what I had hoped it would, but this is only the start.