I remember being drawn to that classical guitar in the shop window I was walking past on the daily family walks on our holiday in Spain when I was 9. Thanks to my supportive parents this dream became reality and shortly after I found myself in a room in a conservatory that I would attend weekly for the next 10 years.
My interest in classical guitar grew exponentially, together with my practical skills as I was attending biweekly music theory classes alongside the guitar lessons. I had no idea what the music world had to offer until I discovered Carlos Santana’s music at the age of 16. I spent much of my free time practicing the electric guitar trying to sound like my hero by using TABs and my ears. It wasn’t long until I found out about the guitar gods such as Steve Vai, Guthrie Govan and Eric Johnson who all had a massive impact on me.
I decided to study guitar at BIMM in Brighton, those next 3 years broadened my musical horizons by allowing me to explore more contemporary genres like funk, disco and blues. I learned how to appreciate the simplicity of certain songs, listening out for how instruments work together and how to play simple things well. All in all, I had a paradigm shift from seeing myself as a guitarist to perceiving myself as a musician.
In 2013 I graduated and flew out to the Middle East for my first job as a working musician where I’d spend the next 3-4 years performing 6 nights a week in a resident party band. Through this experience, I learned how to contribute to the bigger picture of music when you’re only a small piece of a larger whole. 2017 was the year I spend touring the seas on multiple cruise ships as part of another party band.
I felt like I reached a ceiling and needed to settle down somewhere to work on other more varied projects. I am currently based in Edinburgh where I’ve spent the last few years teaching privately, performing all manner of gigs around Scotland and beginning to build a songwriting portfolio.
As a teacher, I like to stay away from “textbook teaching”. This means I can personalise my approach to each student’s needs and aspirations. I understand that everyone has different goals, approaches and strengths and I aim to tailor my methods to that. My high level of understanding, attention to detail and varied experience, have led to my students making excellent progress.
Music Qualifications & Achievements:
I was lucky enough to undergo a thorough musical education at high school where I studied music history, conducting, 4 part harmony writing (SATB) and counterpoint.
Additionally, between the ages of 9 and 19, I attended the ‘Centre des Arts Pluriels Ettelbruck’ (CAPE) in Luxembourg where I gained the following qualifications:
I also have a BA(Hons) in ‘Professional Musicianship’ which I earned at BIMM in Brighton.
The most rewarding aspect of teaching for me personally is that moment of epiphany my students have. This is what motivates me to put 100% into what I’m doing.
N Leith Sands, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 4ER, UK
Guitar, Music Production, Music Theory
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May 22, 2021
“Having tried learning guitar off and on for years, I took lessons with Tolek and improved dramatically. He was very patient with me and tried to make the lessons work around my busy schedule. He went out of his way to find songs that I would enjoy playing and taught relevant music theory too, teaching me how to learn songs on my own. He was very encouraging and I ended up easily playing things I didn’t even think were at my level. I only stopped going to his lessons because I moved away from the area, but I learnt loads.”
May 22, 2021
“Having only ever self taught myself guitar I was getting easily distracted and little bored. I have been for a couple lessons with Tolek and already feel improvement especially with my right hand. He is very patient and his teaching style has made feel relaxed and less nervous. He always has a smiling face and a positive attitude. The basics he has taught me I have never seen on any online lessons and this has helped me understand more about the instrument I’m playing. Having never payed any attention to the theory side Tolek has slowly introduced me to this and broke it down in an way that is easily understood. To say he knows his stuff in both theory and practical would be an understatement. So in short professional, friendly, patient and also very fun. I’m having a great time learning from Tolek. I only wish I had found him earlier.”
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