My teaching philosophy:
Build skills that stick.
Self-taught players often miss huge chunks of knowledge, or develop bad habits. My students learn to play their favourite songs, while building their skills.
Instead of students being sent home to “get it right”, my students finish learning their music in their lesson. This reduces the chances of bad habits developing, and practice no longer feels like homework.
Understand how music works.
When you understand how music works, you’re not just learning songs in parrot fashion, you’re learning guitar. I’m on a mission to make theory lessons more practical & engaging.
My students learn how to apply theory through projects like songwriting, improvising, or recording.
Got no rhythm? Get it here. Train your ears.
I believe ear training and rhythm training are important components of every student’s skill set.
Stop relying on inaccurate TABs or YouTube tutorials. Develop your ears, and become self-sufficient. Become a better writer & improviser. Spend less time learning parts in the rehearsal room. All this is possible when you can play by ear.
Chris' guitar playing has been heard on...
Qualifications & Experience:
BA (Hons) Degree in Popular Music Studies from Leeds Conservatoire (Formerly Leeds College of Music)
Grade 8 Electric Guitar, London College of Music (RGT)
Grade 5 Music Theory, ABRSM
Child Protection in Education (Music) – EduCare
Hear audio samples of Chris & his students.
Video: Live BBC radio session
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I wouldn’t waste your lesson time talking about myself. Instead, if you’re interested in my music background, read on.
My first "guitar"
I grew up in South Yorkshire where I became surgically attached to the guitar aged 11 (the picture above was taken years before that). My first actual guitar was a cheap nylon string my dad found at a car boot sale. Taking lessons from a local guitar player, I formed a rock band with three friends, and started practising wherever we could. Living rooms, garages, the school science room...
2004: First gig at The Boardwalk, Sheffield
We recorded some scrappy home demos. The music was rubbish, but it didn’t matter. At age 14, we played our first live gig at The Boardwalk, Sheffield. We played three songs, and one was a Ramones cover.
2007: Band #2
I joined another band. We got slightly bigger crowds, a manager, and some radio play. After a few years, half the band moved to Brighton, and as you can imagine, it didn’t work out either. We did win Jamie Oliver's Unsigned Bands competition though (what a highlight).
2008 - 2011: University
I moved to Leeds to do a three year music degree. I'm surrounded by musicians, and I meet some amazing people. In an effort to do something different to the countless funk & soul cover bands at the uni, I joined another two bands, and started making electronic music on the side.
2011 – 2013: I graduate and finally get a job… making pizza.
In 2011, I graduated with a degree in Popular Music Studies, which finally enabled me to get a job… making pizza at Dominos. Then selling computers. Then selling phones. I’d had enough of working in retail. I realised that my business should involve guitar. One gumtree ad later and boom! I'm teaching guitar. I was nervous, unprepared, and didn’t have a plan. I quickly found out that teaching is a completely different skill to playing. Those first students didn’t stick around for long.
2014 - 2015: Going full-time
I started doing research on music teaching methods, and reading books on music psychology. Learning and tweaking as I went along, I developed my own approaches for teaching guitar. I had learnt from my early mistakes and I built up some regular students – enough to quit my day job.
Team Picture is an Alternative Rock group based in Leeds. From 2016-2020 I played with Team Picture, as a writing & performing member. We formed in 2016, and in 2017 had airplay from BBC 6Music, BBC Introducing, and Radio 1. Support came from Huw Stephens, Tom Robinson and Steve Lamacq. Festival appearances include Bluedot Festival, Liverpool Sound City, and Live At Leeds. Team Picture were featured in the NME 100: Essential new artists for 2019. Scroll up to watch a live performance at BBC Maida Vale.
TV Session & Teaching work
In 2017, I worked as a recording session guitarist for ITV series Girlfriends which aired in 2018. I also coached one of the actors, who would need to mime the music played by me.
I organised my first student concert in 2019, for a handful of brave volunteers to play on stage in front of a real audience. My students learned how to manage stage nerves, and how to play at their best with all the distractions of a live performance.
2020 to Today
During the Coronavirus pandemic, in-person teaching wan't an option - but that didn't stop us from learning songs, having fun, and even doing another student concert online! This didn't change much of my teaching approach, either - whether I'm seeing a student online or in-person, they learn the same skills, and get the same results. Plus, my ever-growing interactive song library with real audio means students feel like they are part of the band.