"Both my father and mother were born in Italy. My father played mandolin and guitar, and my grandfather played mandolin. So at a very young age I learned all the traditional Italian melodies, which were good for my technique—especially the fast melodies, because they could be very challenging. Playing mandolin with the fast strokes on the right hand helped my right-hand technique the most."
"A lot of guitar players are challenged with right-hand technique, so I'm able to help them with that. Students also come to me for my versatility; learning lots of different styles is what kept me working over the years, so I try to pass that on. I also give them the benefit of my experience with different aspects of guitar playing in the music business: touring, bandleading, recording, and writing."
"In the first-level ensemble I teach, the goal is to take students with little to absolutely no experience performing in ensembles and get them to sound like a band. It's awesome to see them come from nothing and go to being able to perform—and to see their excitement, too, is quite amazing."
"I'm very tough, and have high expectations in the classroom. But while my students think my classes are challenging, I don't really expect them to perfect what I give them. You can be introduced to a lot of things and not master them until many years later. I just whet their appetites with a lot of concepts so they can develop them on their own."
"Artistic development is important to me; I get a great amount of joy in developing people musically. Music is such a hard business, but I don't want my students to be deflated. I want to inspire them that there's a place for them in this music business."