Guitar, Bass Guitar
Jazz Composition and Performance
Also Offers Instruction in Spanish
I first picked up a guitar at the age of eight and quickly fell in love with the music of many guitar legends such as Jimmy Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and B.B. King. Throughout high school I played in a variety of contexts including hip-hop, rock n’ roll, funk, and r & b. While attending Mcgill University in Montreal, Canada, I fell in love with Jazz, and am currently finishing my degree in jazz composition and performance at Temple University. I currently maintain a busy schedule as a working musician in Philadelphia, and can be found performing in many different clubs around the city. When it comes to teaching, my belief is that students need to find the format in which music makes the most sense to them. There is no one theory or method, and my goal is always to present information in a way which allows the student to find their own voice throughout the process, while at the same time maintaining a focus on the theoretical and technical aspect of playing.
When did I begin playing guitar, and why?
I was fortunate enough that my parents put a guitar in my hands at a young age. Within the first few years of playing, I grew my hair out to my shoulders and blasted AC/DC throughout the house. I’ve since cut my hair, but haven’t put the guitar down.
What other instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?
I have played electric bass in a variety of groups and settings. I also specialize in Latin American music, specifically Cuban music. I play a Cuban instrument called the tres and take yearly trips to Cuba in order to study.
What are your personal goals as a musician?
My biggest goal is just to find my voice as a musician and be content with it. There is no better feeling than if you are playing and someone comes around the corner and says “Hey, I knew that was you!” All I can ask for is to be a unique and creative artist and to maintain a good career while constantly striving to be better and to work harder. Oh, and, you know, tour the world and stuff.
Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked? Something you’ll remember forever?
I have two, specifically, that really outline my development. One was when I was about 12, I learned the intro to Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix, it blew my mind! I learned so much from that piece and listening to Jimi, I really internalized his concept of how to play the blues over everything. My next big milestone memory was not much a concept, but I will always remember living in Montreal and being surrounded by the jazz scene there. I had never really played jazz before then and was so immediately taken by the level of craft and dedication necessary to be a great jazz musician. Jazz has now become my bread and butter, so to speak, and I am very grateful to be playing in one of the best jazz cities in America, Philadelphia!
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past or (Current) Guitar teachers.
One of my first Jazz teachers, this guy Greg Clayton in Montreal, used to always say “Play what you feel and feel what play”. I always liked that, and while being simple it carries a lot of weight. Music is about expression, and particularly in improvisatory music, you need to play from the heart, not the mind.
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?
I think the most challenging hurdle for me so far was transitioning from being a more rock-oriented guitarist to a jazz player. There were so many technical and theoretical concepts that I was lacking. I used to go to jam sessions all the time and get by butt kicked by better musicians. That could be really hard mentally sometimes, but it also taught me a lot!
What is your biggest musical Achievement?
Well, I hope it is still to come! However, thus far I believe my biggest achievement is going from someone who didn’t play much jazz in their life to supporting myself entirely as a performing jazz musician. I’ve really spent hours and hours practicing over the past couple of years, and seeing it pay off is extremely gratifying.
Favorite thing about being one of our guitar teachers?
I love teaching! I have had so many inspiring mentors and teachers; it is always an honor and a duty to pass forward the information.
What is a big piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?
Patience is key. Everybody is different, everybody learns differently, and everybody plays differently. Work hard and don’t spend too much time comparing yourself to others. Be rigid in your practice and honest in your playing. And MOST importantly, make sure you’re are always enjoying what you are doing and having fun!
Personal music projects
I work with a variety of bands and musicians throughout Philadelphia. I lead a Cuban project called Grupo Fachao, often perform with my own jazz trio. If you would like to hear some of my original compositions or a video of Grupo Fachao, please visit my website at www.musicbydariel.com