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Taylor Mitchell

According to Taylor, she was in the 6th grade when she received a bass guitar. She learned to play Canon in D and a White Stripes song. Then a friend introduced her to the likes of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. Inspired, she knew she wanted to be in a band and needed to improve her playing to do so. With her decision made she headed to Americana Music Academy and signed up with Michael Paull for bass lessons.

Taylor came to take lessons with me in the winter of 2004, and was at that time a very quiet and thoughtful kid. I couldn’t tell much about her, except that she seemed to have a lot going on in her head, and projected a certain kind of intensity even when she was saying or doing nothing. I wasn’t sure how easy she would be to get to know, or how well she would be able to take direction from me. As I sat with her and worked her through some basic patterns, I saw many challenges ahead: how to fix her posture, how to get her to place her hands, the problem of how to hold the bass upright, rather than tilted at an angle that made it impossible to get any dexterity at all, and how to play with both feet on the floor, rather than one leg wrapped around the other like a braided pretzel. I felt like the challenge would be monumental, to be honest.

Well, she never quite fixed the last thing (the pretzel leg factor), but no matter. She fixed almost everything else, and IN ONE WEEK! Virtually everything I told her we’d have to work through over the next several weeks/months in terms of position of hands, bass, etc. had been accomplished by her before she sat down for her second lesson. When I finally had picked my jaw off the ground, I proceeded to work her through some new patterns, and before I finished demonstrating the first one, she was already starting to play it just three notes behind me. It sounded like I was playing my bass through a delay pedal! To make a long story short, I ended up working with her for the next two years, and in the midst of it all, I can hardly say I’ve been “teaching” her, as much as simply giving her patterns and ideas, and then watching her work them through in her own very unique way, and at an extraordinarily accelerated rate. As I think back again to that first lesson, I’ve come to realize that one can never assess, or even begin to fathom what really can lie beyond that ‘ol “first impression”.

Michael Paull

Taylor is a great example of how the Americana Music Academy provides opportunities for the young performing artists in our community.

Taylor with her bass




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