The worldwide community of guitarists and musicians is one of the main reasons why TrueFire is where it is today. With our students’ input and feedback, we stay motivated to continue to expand our library and improve our music e-learning experience. So, while we spend a lot of time highlighting our incredible faculty and content, we think it’s time to move the spotlight on some of our most passionate users.

In this Student Spotlight series, we’ll be showcasing a member of the diverse TrueFire community and sharing their thoughts with you. We hope you find yourself inspired. Ignited we stand!

Student Spotlight: illinirph

Your Name:

Don S.

How long have you been a TrueFire Student?

10 years.

Tell us a little bit about yourself as a musician:

I have been a noodler for 45 years (started when I was 15). I started with a cheap nylon string guitar and played everything by ear. The first real song I picked out was “Sunshine on My Shoulder” by John Denver, and nailed it pretty well. I also sing/play, but am NOT a performer. I play/sing for MY enjoyment but have recently considered branching out. I have really started to take my playing/learning more seriously over the past 3-4 years due to my semi-retirement and Covid restrictions. Way more time than I had before. My biggest problem in guitar learning is FOCUS. I start a “blues” lesson, then get distracted by a song lesson, then take up theory for a while. I absolutely believe that I am getting better in many areas (rhythm, scales, technique, songs), but know I wasted the opportunity to get really good by noodling around as a teenager. Still, I do not consider my TIME was wasted, as I really enjoy playing at whatever level I am currently at.

What attracted you to TrueFire at first?

I received a free CD of Blues Rock Road Trip and really enjoyed it. I signed up for the free membership and kept it for a while, buying the CD/DVDs I really wanted. I took the plunge a few years ago and got the full membership.

What are some of your favorite TrueFire courses or lessons?

I love Brad Carlton for when I am in a theory mood. The “Jam Night” lessons (Andy Aledort) were way fun to noodle on. Jeff McErlain’s stuff is good for the Blues.

How has TrueFire helped improve your playing?

I know WAY more theory than I did before and have cleaned up my rhythm. I am tackling modes pretty soon and hope to dig deeper using a newly purchased PC and recording equipment.

Why do you use TrueFire, and how often?

I use Truefire for personal enjoyment. I like way too many styles of music to ever be a “good” player, but I really enjoy what I can accomplish and look forward to the next distraction.

What is your favorite feature of the TrueFire learning experience?

I can’t pick a favorite. I love listening to musicians talk about music (Brad Carlton). I understand 10-20% of what he says but enjoy 100%. I like the ability to slow down lessons and download pdfs (although I HATE trying to read tab….necessary evil).

Who is your favorite TrueFire Educator and why?

I have favorites depending on the subject. Brad Carlton (theory), McErlain (Blues), Chris Buono (technique), and Robbie Calvo (play-alongs).

What would you like to see more of at TrueFire?

I would like to see a MIDI keyboard series explaining how to take a small keyboard and develop backing tracks.

Any other comments?

I really like the new features of breaking down individual songs. I would like to see breakdowns of Steve Howe’s “The Clap” and Pure Prairie League’s “Amie.”

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