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Faculty Spotlight: Jon Self

 by Aaron Sizemore

alt="music classes Jon Self"

What's your main instrument & why?

Guitar. I always felt like the guitar amplified my voice the best.

What's your musical origin story? What lit the spark for you?

I fell in love with guitar by trying to play Rock Band (the video game) songs by ear. Herbie Hancock later inspired my love for jazz and improvised music specifically.

Can you share a good gig story?

Pro tip: Always know where you put your drummer's cymbals, or else someone in Minnesota may get some free ones.

Tell us about your practice routine and share some practice tips.

I start every morning by singing whatever tune is in my head. Whether it's Yankee Doodle, Pat Metheny, or something completely novel, I try to immediately turn these musical thoughts into sounds on the guitar. As I get warmed up I'll move into more focused areas which will change depending on the day. It could be learning a tune, composing, writing lines, or writing chord melodies. I don't like thinking about practice in terms of time, but rather in terms of progress and focus. You can get a lot more done in 20 mins of focused practice than in 2 hours of noodling. For me, I do best practicing for about an hour, taking a short break, and then going for another hour. This is incredibly variable because I don't think about the time, so sessions can last anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 or 4 hours. If I have a gig I need to practice for, these hours may get extended depending on the intensity of the music. Practice can be overwhelming because there's SO MUCH to do, but I try to focus on one thing at a time and lean into the elements of guitar I'm not as good at.

What drew you to the Music House team?

Music House's goals of building community and bringing musicians of all skill levels together is something I resonate with. I enjoy getting to work with students of all ages and backgrounds and finding unique musical perspectives from my students and coworkers.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Play all the instruments! If nothing else, just for fun!

Want to learn more about Music House?

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Written by Aaron Sizemore
Aaron Sizemore
Co-founder & Executive Director at Music House