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: johmica
How long have you been a TrueFire Student?
Tell us a little bit about yourself as a musician:
30+ years playing as a hobbyist. I’ve gigged half a dozen times but never took playing out too seriously. Currently living in eastern Kentucky. I play blues, and Americana, and I’ve started dabbling in jazz since I began my TrueFire subscription.
What attracted you to TrueFire at first?
I started watching you guys back when you provided audio examples for Guitar Player magazine (maybe 1998ish? It’s hard to remember). I bought a couple of CD ROMs from you guys back in the day. I think that I still have my old green copy of the SWAT Rhythm Boot Camp lying around in my basement.
What are some of your favorite TrueFire courses or lessons?
For blues, anything by Cory Congilio and Jeff McErlain. I also really enjoyed the Cutting Edge Rhythm and Blues by Jay-P. He’s such a quirky guy, and I like his song selection. Very Stax-inspired. For the jazz side of things, Sheryl Bailey and Frank Vignola are my favorites, but I also very much enjoyed the Jazz Harmony Handbook by Frank Potenza.
How has TrueFire helped improve your playing?
It’s night and day. I try to play daily and make small, incremental gains. I started down the Blues and Jazz Learning Paths right at the beginning of quarantine, with plenty of “electives” thrown in between core courses. My playing has improved over the last two years more than it did during the previous twenty, and that’s not hyperbole. If I’ve got a guitar in my hand (and I try to play about three hours daily and have been pretty successful over the last two years), then chances are, I’m working on a TrueFire course.
Why do you use TrueFire, and how often?
I’m just a hobbyist, but like I said in the previous post, I use TrueFire daily, and for at least an hour a day, but most days at least two. On weekends, I might be logged in for three or four hours throughout the day. It is my primary resource when I’ve got a guitar in my hand.
What is your favorite feature of the TrueFire learning experience?
That’s tough to say, but I do appreciate the incremental, progressive nature of the Learning Paths. The ability to slow down the video is something I use all the time, too.
Who is your favorite TrueFire Educator and why?
Favorite is tough. Cory Congilio for Blues. He’s got an aesthetic sensibility that is similar to mine. His love of Texas Blues is attractive to me, and I just like his teaching style. For Jazz, I love both Sheryl Bailey and Frank Vignola. Frank is such a natural teacher. I love his Fakebooks and how he’s structured them. I love getting two or three different ways to play each standard, with graduated difficulty in each round. I also love Sheryl’s bebop sensibility, but Frank probably eeks her out as my favorite.
What would you like to see more of at TrueFire?
It desperately needs some theory-heavy courses. Especially in the jazz style, it would be super-nice to have some courses that take a more “academic” approach to advanced harmony. I understand how the “theory-in-action” approach is more marketable generally, but you guys have such a huge catalog of courses at this point that takes the practical approach; there’s definitely a noticeable gap when it comes to music theory.
Any other comments?
I recognize that this would be a HUGE undertaking, but it would be nice if the core courses in the Learning Paths were stand-alone courses, and not just amalgamations of other courses. There would be a more intentionally progressive quality to the Learning Paths if the courses were planned out by a single, talented instructor like Frank Vignola or Jeff Scheetz. Again, I recognize that it would be a monumental undertaking, and maybe the payoff wouldn’t be worth the effort, but I do think that the Learning Path core courses at times seem to lack an internal consistency. Just a thought. But I love you guys. Thanks so much for all the hard work.
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