Sean Conlon – Guitar Teacher

Specializing in Guitar
Guitar, Bass, Piano, Drums, Voice,
Banjo, Ukulele, Trumpet, and Mandolin
University of the Arts
Classical, Jazz, and Pop

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guitar, mandolin, philadelphia, fishtown, lessons, musicI moved to Philadelphia to study music at University of the Arts where I graduated with a Bachelors of Music in Instrumental Performance (Guitar) as well as a Masters of Arts in Teaching. While at Uarts I was lucky to be able to study all of the specific fields of music which initially drew me to the school; performance, writing, recording, and teaching. I am truly happy to say that all 4 of those are still present in my day-to-day life. I write and perform music with my band, The Phonies as well as solo music and various collaborations with other Philadelphia songwriters. I’ve been lucky to perform music in a wide variety of styles. I have been teaching private lessons (originally only guitar and piano) for 7 years. My goal in teaching music is to help each student reach their musical goal, no matter what they may be. If you aren’t quite sure, that’s ok too!  I’ll help to figure it out. No matter what goals my student may have I always try to approach the material in a way that empowers the student to learn more information on their own.



When did you begin in music, and why?
At the age of 10 I first started playing percussion in my elementary school concert band in Hightstown, New Jersey.  Shortly after, my parents signed me up for drum lessons at a local music store where I transitioned to learning drum set.  At the age of 12 I started a band with my neighbor and brother, we covered rock songs we all listened to a lot.  We ended up gigging and staying together for about 6 years.  Throughout this time I became more and more interested in music, I loved playing it, listening to it, and especially loved playing live shows.  In an effort to be able to play more music I started teaching myself guitar with the help of YouTube and my younger brother who played bass in our band.  As high school began I had significantly improved on guitar and started playing guitar instead of drums on some songs in my band.  I had also started teaching myself piano and bass.  Around this time I discovered that I could record myself using a recording program, Mixcraft, on my home computer.  I began recording songs that I loved to play, I would record the guitar, then bass, drums, keyboard, and vocals.  All throughout the process of recording a song I’d constantly have to practice the instrument to be able to record the part so I found myself in a constant cycle of learning, practicing, then recording songs that I liked.  I continued to do this throughout most of high school.  When I was a Junior in high school I had decided what I had always known, I wanted to study music in college.  This prompted me to join the high school music program for the first time.  I joined the jazz band on guitar, this was my first exposure to jazz and I grew to love it.  As a senior in high school, I decided to take as much music as possible so I took up trumpet and joined the concert band and Double Bass for the Wind Ensemble.  I took AP music theory and continued playing in the jazz band.  Outside of school, my band was still playing cover gigs, I became the lead singer of the group, and I started to write original music for us to play.  There were so many different and new styles of music at this time in my life, I tried to learn from and understand each different musical situation I found myself in.


What other instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?
Instruments I play in addition to the ones mentioned in my previous response: Banjo, Melodica, Ukulele, Mandolin, Saxophone (Alto, Tenor, Bari), Clarinet, French Horn, Trombone, and Cello.
I have only performed on the Banjo and Mandolin, the rest of the instruments I picked up in college while studying music education.  I have an understanding of the necessary techniques to create a good and consistent sound but lack the technical ability of a professional player.


What are your personal goals as a musician?
My goal as a musician is create music that makes people feel an emotional connection to what they’re hearing.  I want people to feel a connection to me and my ideas through my music.


Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked?  Something you’ll remember forever?
When I was in high school I learned about the roman numeral chord system.  This information made so much sense to me because I knew so many songs already that adhered to that system.


What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?
Practice like it’s the performance.


What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?
When I began learning jazz guitar I found many of the chord shapes very difficult to play.  With practice, things became much easier for me.


What is your biggest musical achievement?
My biggest musical achievement thus far has been playing with my band The Phonies at the Electric Factory for the Live From The Lot festival.


Favorite thing about teaching?
My favorite thing about teaching is when a student makes a break through with something they’ve been working hard at.


What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?
Playing music alone is important but playing music with others is where the fun really starts.


Personal music projects: