It depends on how much time you are willing to spend. I tend to do about four hours a day, and there was once a time when I started teaching guitar full time. I was in the third week of my first year of university when I got into this world of teaching, so I was a little bit bored, and I needed a change. After a while you learn the rules which you can’t learn in college and which you’d like to know as you go on, and you learn them as you go on, and you develop the patience for that. After about four hours you can go to bed at night and go to bed with the knowledge that you’re an expert in the subject that you’re teaching, and you’re doing something that’s different than any other person on earth could do. You can’t really take time to read up on this stuff; everything you know is very familiar to you now. To the degree that I can, I work on things that I’m particularly interested in.
What were your biggest influences?
As I’m sure you’ve guessed, I’ve had a great deal of influence on both classical music and jazz guitar. There was an influence on one of the pieces that I wrote that I had written while living in England and playing with the R&B group, The Beatles, called “Eleanor Rigby.”
“And then, once I was in Liverpool I came into contact with this other side of music, which was more British and folk, and this was the kind of music I was most interested in as I was going through that period. I think I played it on two or three different days, and the thing I thought was best was that it would come around again and it was a very uplifting song about the spirit of the age and the way people are feeling and all that stuff. It had all that feeling.
“Then I came across William E. Smith, who had just been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for drama for his work in “The Great Gatsby.” I heard him, and it was just a brilliant piece, and then “Titicut Follies” by the band Roxy Music. And then all the way up until the ’60s I was influenced by the music of Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder and Jeff Buckley. I didn’t know how to play jazz guitar, but I loved jazz, so I would play jazz. I used to go to the studios and play jazz.
Have you had any