Americana Music Academy Director's Message

This website is under development. It will provide news and informaton about the Americana Music Academy.

Americana Music Academy

I began my journey with the guitar on my seventh birthday, June of 1963. My first experience with lessons came in the form of Mel Bay's Guitar One. My teacher showed me how to go through this book, and upon completion I would be able to play 'Red River Valley' and a couple other swingin' tunes by the end of the first six months. Hmmm, Let's think about this. Four lessons a month, for six months. Twenty-four lessons and I would be able to pluck out the tune to three or four standards as well as play three or four chords to go with it... Is this how Chuck Berry got started?

Music lessons and how to teach students have come a long way since then. Gone are the days when students learned to play scales before anything else. You've got 'em hooked when you can teach students so that they grow to love their instrument. How does that occur? Through learning basic chords and simple chord progressions to songs and having success from the beginning, not by torturing kids with music theory before they are ready to understand it. If a student learns how to navigate their instrument first, then the fire has been lit. They will want to go deeper into the understanding of how notes, scales and chords work and they will come to know this in a way that makes sense to them on a more personal level. Theory is important. But it's the cart, not the horse.

Ted Greene wrote the definitive book on chord inversions, Chord Chemistry in the mid 70's. He said a person could learn all the chords in his book if they chose to, however, they wouldn't have much soul. Since there were over 4,500 chords in his book, I would have to agree. You pick the ones that feel good under your fingers and make them work for you.

You love music, you play music. The details will come later.


Thom Alexander

Executive Director