Austin Nickel

Guitar and Ukulele Instructor

I learned my first instrument, the guitar, at the age of nine, which began a love affair with the musical arts. I found myself drawn to songwriting specifically in my teenage years and began to learn other instruments including the bass guitar, drums, ukulele, developed my singing voice, and experimented with recording techniques. During my high school summers, I taught with a musical program called “Be In Your Own Band” that specialized in rock and pop music for kids ages 9-16, and eventually attended Santa Clara University. While attending SCU, I played jazz guitar in both the big band ensemble and smaller combo earning an award for “Musician with the most Potential” at the annual Reno Jazz Festival. I eventually graduated Summa Cum Laude with a minor in music theory and composition, and later went back to school to learn analog and digital recording at Cabrillo College.

I am familiar with a variety of genres and playing styles including blues, rock, metal, funk, rnb, soul, reggae, folk, jazz, and pop; and I love discovering new music.

I also I enjoy gaming, comics, photography and writing.

Austin’s Teaching Philosophy

Music, like all art forms, is rooted in self-expression. I believe in nurturing that expression to create enthusiasm and inspire confidence with the instrument and the future musician. I actively encourage each student to bring their own original ideas and melodies to lessons and incorporate them into the study. I also believe proper technique and theory do not hinder a student’s creativity, but act as a solid foundation for it. However, I typically don’t teach theory intensively until a certain comfort level with the instrument is reached. That way there is a better appreciation and understanding to the “why” behind what is being played. Technical skills not only foster the creative process, but prepare students to play in professional settings if they should choose to pursue music as a career choice. Ultimately, my goal as a teacher is for a student to leave excited and eager to pick the instrument up outside of our lessons.

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