Eric Williams -
Where and how did you get your start in music?
My mother sang and played piano, she also taught elementary music and choir. My father was an amateur guitar player who just liked to play guitar and sing folk songs. He was an opera aficionado. He liked folk music and classical music. We listened to records and sang a lot at home and at church.
What is your favorite style of music to play/ What is your primary instrument?
I started out on French horn and now I just play guitar. I like finger style guitar, classical, bossa nova’s, blues, folk, rock that kind of thing. Pretty much any good guitar music is what I like. I like to play with my wife, Robin, who plays violin/fiddle. We do classical/standards/Irish/folk music/bluegrass.
Who is your favorite composer/musician?
That’s difficult to say. The best composer/musician ever was J.S. Bach. It’s hard to play and takes a real commitment. My favorite guitar composer is Villa Lobos.
What inspired you to teach/what do you enjoy about teaching?
My parents were both teachers so I come by it naturally.
How do you motivate students to practice?
I try to teach them how to play guitar using music/tab/demos/listening/watching and then encourage them, every week, to practice. I also try to find what kind of music motivates them by using books that teach a variety of styles and then I write music/tab in a blank tab book for each student to supplement the book lesson.
What are some unique things you do to make a positive impact on students’ musical growth?
I try to get everyone to learn to read music if they will. And you should, if you are a guitar player, at least learn to count rhythms and some theory. I also try to get students to play in front of people and with other students in groups.
If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?
Brazilian Rosewood. I have never seen a Brizilian Rosewood tree. but it’s considered one of the best tonewoods, so I would live on as a guitar. :-)