Who’s behind JazzGuitarLessons.net?
Hi, I’m Marc-Andre Seguin, a Montreal-based jazz guitarist, composer and educator.
I build, edit and maintain JazzGuitarLessons.net to help other musicians. Here, guitarists can learn about and play jazz to achieve greater levels of confidence and expression on this wonderful instrument.
I started this website in January 2009 because I wanted to contribute (in my very own way) to jazz education. My goal is to help guitarists deal with the apparently overwhelming task of learning and playing jazz convincingly. When I first looked and searched on the Internet, I didn’t find many actual full-time jazz guitar players sharing their wisdom. Most websites had (and still have) minimal information and lots of advertising …
I figured I might as well start a genuine website myself and share the best jazz guitar lessons with the world! After all, my career is in jazz performance, I have a passion for teaching and I know computers well enough to build a website.
So what’s the story?
Prior to building JazzGuitarLessons.net I studied and taught rock, classical and jazz music for over a decade. My main areas of studies are classical music, jazz performance and composition.
Of course, the “real” truth is that I began playing guitar as a rebel teenager, like most of us did starting out, right?! (-:
After a few years of rock and roll and rebellion (I must admit, it got old fast…) I decided to go ahead and aim for a full-time career in music. I took it very seriously, started to read music and study diligently, mostly by teaching myself through the Berklee books. I then attempted formal studies in music at the prestigious University of Ottawa.
By the way, I was born and raised in the Gatineau (Quebec) area, which is very close to Ottawa (Canada’s capital…) That city is wonderful for anything and everything related to classical music. The Ottawa area was also practical because it allowed me to teach quite a lot while studying at the University. I taught guitar roughly 5 or 6 years in Ottawa (mostly rock music to beginners and/or teenagers).
So, I finally graduated from uOttawa with a B.A. in music in my early twenties. Yay! The emphasis of this degree was on classical music history, theory, orchestration and repertoire. I was young with a paper in hand (my cherished degree!), and I was eager to “make it”, if you’ll excuse the expression.
New City = New Beginnings!
No, not New York … I moved to Montreal soon after my studies in classical music. It’s only a 2-hour drive from Ottawa, but it was a rather big deal for the young man that I was (and for my whole family for that matter).
Why did I move you might ask? Well… Jazz music was literally consuming me at the time, and I really wanted to study with great Canadian jazzmen. This is the period of my life when my ears were flooded with the sounds of Miles Davis, Pat Metheny, John Coltrane and Dave Holland recordings (just to name a few).
Aaahhh… I remember dreaming of the smoky jazz clubs and late night jam sessions in Montreal. Only to find a law here now forbids smoking in public spaces, including jazz clubs. “C’est la vie!” After 3 years of adapting and studying in Montreal, I finally graduated (once more!) from Concordia University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (specializing in jazz studies). At this renowned institution, I studied with some highly respected jazz musicians, namely: Chris McCann, Charles Ellison, Gary Schwartz, Dave Turner, Michael Berard and Andrew Homzy.
So… what now?
As of 2011, I still live in Montreal and enjoy it very much. The jazz scene is very “happening” up here! I also play with pop and rock musicians once in a while, including the great John Serino. I’ve been fortunate enough to play gigs in and around town (often weekly gigs) and make music for a living. I don’t have a “9-to-5” job, or a “side job.” I make my own schedule and that is what I cherish the most about my lifestyle (outside of the *act* of playing and composing, of course.)
I also teach to round things off, budget-wise. As you may know, musicians seldom get the best wages… (sad but true) but music teachers make a decent living, usually. So, after earning two music degrees (classical and jazz) and working as a professional jazz musician for a few years, I launched JazzGuitarLessons.net from my humble teaching studio.
So … Why a website then?
I have a passion for teaching and I had the opportunity of sharing my knowledge with some great and hard-working students. I had the “sacred fire” for tutoring and helping other guitarists ever since I started playing. So, again: Why a website?
I figured that the Internet would reach many more musicians than I could ever dream of reaching on my own! I
liked the idea of publishing exercises, articles, videos and tunes (etc.) that are available 24/7, throughout the world!
I already had my personal website but I felt it wasn’t appropriate for tons of great jazz guitar content … (see www.MarcAndreSeguin.com)
I was very excited about the whole concept so in the summer of 2008 I wrote a bunch of instructional articles for jazz guitar. I posted them on a bad website that had less traffic than an abandoned road…
Marc-Andre Seguin = Fail !!!
At that time, I didn’t have the proper tools, mindset or understanding of how successful websites work. I was thinking: “Ok. So, I’ll just upload pages and exercises and then try to self-publish my own eBook. I’ll reach thousands and might as well be rich in like 2-3 months … Yeah. That’ll do it.”
You may laugh (at me or with me), but that was really my perspective on the whole “www” thing! I believed I could just “put stuff on” the web and let it work itself out. Big mistake. I was eager to do it properly, so I finally found a friendly and logical way of uploading and sharing jazz guitar lessons on the web around Christmas 2008. This “thing” does all the legwork and lets me focus on reaching jazz guitarists (visitors) through my online lessons.
The “thing” is called “Site Build It!” (aka SBI!) and it really works. [Update: as of late 2014, the website is self-hosted and on WordPress, not SBI]
And now… (Updates)
As I write this, JazzGuitarLessons.net has a little more than 40 pages and its traffic is ever growing. I receive positive feedback and suggestions from people all around the world! I’m very happy with the way JazzGuitarLessons.net is doing. (Summer 2009)
August 2010 update: more than 150 pages, almost 10,000 unique visitors a month, about 50,000 views on all the videos, many satisfied Skype students, more than 1,000 subscribers to the ezine, etc.
April 2011 update: heavy and increasing traffic. Many satisfied Skype students and consultations by emails. Bi-weekly newsletter, about 40 videos on YouTube, etc.
August 2011: New website layout LAUNCHED and new trio record “The Time it Took” released in Montreal. The album “The Time it Took” has been reviewed here by John Serino, a great montreal musician. Here’s a (french) review of a recent trio performance. And here’s a third review by my friend Lyle at JazzGuitarLife.com … thanks to you guys!
November 2011: New growth phase. Introduced podcasts and bi-weekly newsletter.
May 2012: More than 30,000 visitors per month, steadily increasing. New contributions from “outside” jazz guitar experts. New articles and tunes posted (quasi-) daily. Ongoing Skype lessons and Q&A with visitors. Slowly becoming the #1 jazz guitar instruction website in the world!]
September 2012: First jazz guitar instruction course published on Udemy.com … also back in school to finish BSc. degree, with a specialization in statistics! 🙂 Moved back to the Ottawa area.
January 2014: Full-time work on JazzGuitarLessons.net … Website growing in all areas at once. Wow!
March 2015: Launch of “the store” part of the website at JazzGuitarStore.net
Thank you for reading a little about me! See you soon.