Bill T.

Picking the right teacher is a critical step in your development as a guitar player no matter what level you’re at.  I’ve had several teachers over the years, some more helpful than others.  Here are some reasons why Erick Hailstone is the right guitar teacher for me.  

  1. The biggest value-add for me is Erick’s ability to arrange a song, any song, from standard boring arrangement out of a book to a unbelievably cool song with a Jazz or Blues twist with alt-chords throughout.  No other teach I’ve encountered in the Portland Metro area does this.  And he’s fast at it.  He uses great tools in the process, so we can share files and collaborate.  The alt-chords are seriously a differentiator how a song sounds and come with a bit of a wow factor. 
  2. Erick has the ability to take any complex problem and break it down into smaller issues to work on.  He completely gets it when it comes to figuring out “okay, I’m at this level of playing but I’d like to get over here.”  He’s got the roadmap to take me there.  
  3. As a player, Erick has every single characteristic that I’ve dreamt of having since I was a kid.  Great tone/sound.  Flawless playing.  Shreds when the song calls for it.  Steely Dan to Wes Montgomery and everything in between.  He makes it look so easy.  From the first time I saw him play 20 years ago until today I walk away shaking my head thinking how I’d love to play like that.  It’s absolutely incredible. 
  4. Some of my most valuable takeaways have been nuggets of advice that have nothing to do with guitar technique.  I can’t stress how meaningful this has been at times.  Things like “Rule #1 for a guitar player:  Never get in the way of the singer.”
  5. Studying with Erick has helped me build up a rich library of exercises to practice with.  Arpeggios, Scales, and licks.  Right hand technique (which is much more important and much more difficult than I ever imagined), tasty chords and of course, songs.
  6. Erick truly understands the theory behind every bar in a song and can articulate what is going on there.  His understanding of music theory is vast. 
  7. One of the things I’m into is recording and often times my lessons are around problem solving with the recording process.  My recordings have improved dramatically since I started collaborating with Erick on them.  By my own choice, I’ve spent entire lessons just learning the ins and outs of some of the tools like Pro Logic.  I can’t tell you how much time this has save me from fishing around on you-tube. 
  8. Lastly, we’ve been collaborating remotely via a program called zoom so I never even leave the house.  This has a huge convenience factor and saves a bunch of commute time.  It works pretty well to use zoom plus I have the added benefit of being able to record the sessions and review them later on.  

As I said earlier, picking the right teacher is a fork in the road critical decision to your development.  I’ve had no regrets and am seriously loving the results.