Instructor of Guitar, Bass
How long have you been teaching?
Which Opus Music Academy locations do you work? Do you have your own studio? If so, where is it located? Do you offer in-home lessons?
I teach at the Opus Robbinsdale studio, my personal in-home studio, and I also teach at Rush Creek Elementary and Northern Stars Center for the Performing Arts.
What is your studio story? How did you get to where you are now?
I started teaching myself guitar in 1984.. Ten years later, I decided to find an instructor. I made rapid progress under his direction and loved the process so much I set a goal to be a guitar teacher myself one day. A few years into my lessons, I decided to go to the University of Minnesota to get a degree. However, only a couple months before I applied I got a phone call – it was a job offer for teaching guitar at a place called Champlin School Of Music. I took the position and have been teaching at many different locations ever since!
What is one thing you think you do really well as a teacher?
I edify my students. They don’t just learn how to play the guitar, they also learn lessons on how to push themselves with joy, zeal, and ardor for the instrument. These are life lessons that can be applied to just about anything.
What is one thing you really struggle with as a teacher?
I have a lot of students, so I work long days and as a result I drink coffee. Caffeine is one of the worst things you can do when trying to play the guitar.
What do you do to retain your students?
I am consistent with my attendance and very flexible with the students’ busy schedules. When a student needs to reschedule, I get back to them as soon as possible.
Share a funny student story:
A student missed his lesson and when I offered to do a “make up” lesson, he freaked out on me. He thought I was suggesting we get together to put on eyeliner and lipstick!
What is your niche? What sets you apart from other teachers?
I have a very versatile lessons program. I teach a lot of styles and I know a wide variety of angles for learning these styles, keeping their lessons program fresh and interesting.
What is your favorite band, artist, or composer? Why?
Bach. Listening to Bach is like listening to music write his own autobiography.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
Before I taught music, I taught the Bible. Also, many are surprised when I tell them I didn’t go to school. I grew up homeless and lived on the streets.
Let’s say you’re having coffee with a brand-new teacher. What’s one piece of advice you wish you would have known when you started?
Do not fake anything – be yourself. Also be willing to learn something new with your students. If they want to tackle a technique or a tune you don’t know or you are not up on it, don’t avoid it. Also don’t pretend you know more about it than you really do, they will appreciate your transparency and relate to you more. You will learn and grow through this process. My teacher gave me the best advice I could have ever gotten when I took my first teaching position – he said, “Don’t ever underestimate what you can do for these people.”
Let’s say you’re visiting with a teacher who is feeling burned out. What advice would you give to them to give life to their studio?
Go back to the music that made you first fall in love with your instrument, and then at the same time apply that same passion to the material that your students bring to you.
We’ve all had that one student or parent that drives us crazy. What do you do with that student or family?
I make sure they don’t get special treatment. Those types of students/parents will take your energy, depleting you of energy that you could be giving to students that are more deserving of it.
What is your craziest idea? What is something you would do if money, time, and space weren’t an issue?
If I were independently wealthy, I would still do what I do. Sounds crazy, right?
If you weren’t a music instructor, what else would you do with your life?
I would be a therapist. Also, I’ve done some composing for film and commercials, one day I want to get back to it and maybe do video games.
Want to learn more about Brandon? Email us to find out more and to set up a free trial lesson!