Phoenix native John Davis currently has several ‘irons in the fire’ while he does session work, teaches and makes himself available for hire as a sideman. John also plays guitar in the band F5 (www.f5theband.com) who released their debut album titled "A Drug for All Season"(JVC/Mascot/Cleopatra) in 2005 and their latest cd "The Reckoning" coming out August 19th 2008 (Oarfin Distribution / Koch). Featuring his versatile heavy and melodic guitar style; Davis is the perfect compliment to F5, working with vocalist Dale Steele, bassist David Ellefson, guitarist Steve Conley and drummer Jimmy DeGrasso. John picked up his first guitar at the age of 16; he was selected as the winner in a grand opening contest at a local Musician’s Friend music store. He began with private lessons and continued his studies at the GIT Musicians Institute to study guitar. He has found influence from all music regardless of style or genre.
How long have you been teaching guitar?
I've been teaching guitar for 14 years… after graduating G.I.T. I started teaching at a store along side instructors that I myself took lessons from…kinda cool.
Why do you teach guitar?
For me teaching someone guitar is passing on the gift of music. Enabling people to express themselves on guitar through writing songs, playing covers or even shredding is a totally fulfilling process.
Where is your teaching practice based?
I teach in Scottsdale, Arizona
As far as teaching goes, what is your specialty?
My specialty would probably be helping students get to the place where they want to be with guitar. No matter what their goals may be.
What level of player do you prefer to teach?
Teaching every level of student is great. They all have their rewards. Showing a new student that they have it within themselves to play guitar is great. Then to watch their aspirations and confidence go through the roof is awesome. Training very technically advanced players, the ones that the bridge between us is not so large is great as well. Helping these students to continue to make progress and push forward in to uncharted territory is extremely gratifying.
What makes a player a virtuoso?
Having Complete control over technical and emotional aspects of playing. To me there is more to virtuoso guitar playing than speed. In my opinion fast guitar playing is like driving a fast car, if you can’t control it you wreck.
How fast is too fast, if such a concept exists?
It depends on what and how a particular thing is being played. For me if you’re going to play a light speed it should be clean, Like Michael Angelo Batio. I don’t believe there is such a thing as to fast as long as it appropriately placed and sounds musical.
From a Teacher’s point of view, what is the number one roadblock to becoming a better player?
Not focusing on the details of what makes good guitar playing great. Things like developing a great vibrato, bending in tune, great timing and feel and clean speed. These things are so often over looked. Separating and breaking down all the techniques available to us as guitar players is a tedious but necessary process.
What makes a good student? Describe the student who progresses really quickly.
A good student to me usually has loads of motivation and passion for playing or learning guitar. I find that students that show up on time having practiced the previous lesson, and believe in the process, advance at a very fast rate.
Do you find that older or younger students progress faster/learn quicker?
Actually, I think it comes down to a time issue. What I mean is, sometimes younger students progress faster simply because they have more free time available. But I have some older students that if given unlimited practice time would progress much more quickly and far beyond what they think would be possible.
What is your teaching format?
I teach in all formats. Private lessons, doubles, triples, and I have group classes that focus on specific subjects and styles e.g. Cool Blues Improvisation, Extreme Rock Training, The Art Of Metal Guitar ect…
What models of learning benefit the student the most?
I think most students benefit from a type of rotating format where they don’t stay in any one place for to long. All formats can get stale and at times can become limiting to the student and teacher. You just have to know when a particular student is ready for a change.
Is there one piece of advice that you can give the readers to improve their playing right now?
Yes, Find an experienced instructor that you feel understands your goals and aspirations for playing guitar. When I finally found the right teacher my playing went through the roof. Good teachers are like gold!
How can prospective students contact you for lessons?
They can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website www.GuitarLessonsInScottsdale.com