About Neil Curry
About Neil Curry
Neil Curry is a native West Virginian. He began playing guitar at the age of 14 and continued while he obtained a B.A. in Music from Webster University in St Louis, Missouri. Since graduation he has played with many artists including Randy Breckner, Liz Nichols, Thump Daddy, Free Beer Band, Paris, Jamie O’Neal, and Marty Brown. He has toured in New Orleans with a jazz band, has played for Governor Joe Manchin and a Tamarack, as well as a variety of local clubs, benefits, privates and restaurants. His obvious jazz, blues influences create a unique style of guitar playing that few in the area could duplicate. His top guitarist influences are Joe Bonamassa, Steve Vai, and Brent Mason. Artists such as Stevie Wonder, Robert Cray, and Marvin Gaye have had a significant impact on his vocal style. Neil has also penned many originals and is currently in the process of producing his first solo album.
When I first meet a new student I find out what their goals are. I design the lesson plan according to what they want to achieve. I explain that if I teach them 30 minutes of something fun to show off for their friends then I expect them to practice the other 30 minutes on the technical things. The first thing I teach is the parts of a guitar. Then I teach them the definition of a chromatic scale and to use a metronome at low speeds to practice this for 10 minutes a day. I instruct my students to squeeze a tennis ball 10 minutes a day to build up hand strength. I draw a whole note, half note , quarter note and ask what is the name of the note, how many beats does the note get, what beat do you play on, and what beats ring out? I write the answers on the back so they can study them. I show the student how to play the rhythms. I use Hal Leonard book 1,2,3 guitar method to teach how to read music. I make cue cards of all the notes so we can study them. I show them how to curve their first and second knuckle and play on their finger tips between the frets to make a note sound correctly. I show them how certain fingers can stay down that are the same while switching chords, for instance, when switching from the G major chord to the E Minor chord ,the first finger on the 5th string 2nd fret can stay down for both chords. I show them with the right hand how to strum a simple pattern. Once they get that then we apply the 2 chords to make a simple chord progression. I use this approach to eventually achieve how to switch 15 basic open chords. I show them how to switch between two chords at a time using a metronome at slow speeds. I also show them the proper technique on how to curve their hand to get a chord to sound correctly. I choose simple fun songs like Brown Eyed Girl, Smoke On The Water, Iron Man, Amazing Grace to play. I teach bar chords and we find fun songs using them.
Then we start college reading Berkley book 1, 2, 3. In conjunction, I teach from Jon Brimhalls music theory book. I then go into four semesters of college music theory. I teach major 7th, minor 7th, minor 9th, dominant 7th, 7th augmented, 7th half diminished, 7th fully diminished chords. I go into the theory of how chords are formed using every other note of a major scale to form chords. I show the student also how the 3rd, 5th, and 7th are treated to give the chord quality of the chord. I teach pentatonic scales, modes, and arpeggios to improvise.
I have learned thousands of fun songs to teach my students from rock, funk, blues, country, reggae, classical, jazz songs, and Christian songs. I can teach specific songs the student wants to learn at the lesson. I enjoy teaching and love to spread the joy of playing music to my students. A school teacher told me that I was teaching her granddaughter that hard work equals success. I have had students tell me that they have learned more from me in a few lessons than they did with other teachers in months. I enjoy playing in front of audiences and connecting with them. I also enjoy writing songs and recording them in a studio.