Guitarist Cameron Mizell

New York Guitarist & Composer

The website of New York Guitarist Cameron Mizell.

Boise

Sunrise over Boise, Idaho Last week I returned from a 19 day trip to Boise, Idaho, where I was teaching guitar classes at a private arts school.

Wait, let me back up for a moment...

Over the past year I'd been working with the lovely Calley Bliss, a talented vocalist and songwriter in Brooklyn. We'd been co-writing material for a new collaborative project, and generally just getting along as like-minded creative types.

This past June, the day after our first show together, Calley flew to Boise to interview for a job as the head of the Contemporary Music department at ArtsWest School. A couple days later I got an email from her letting me know she'd be moving to Boise. Oh no! I had mixed emotions--I was happy for her, but also sad that we wouldn't be able to hang out and write together anymore.

A few weeks later I got an email from her titled, "I had to ask..."

ArtsWest needed a new guitar teacher. I couldn't take the position, but after a little discussion I was hired to go to Boise and be a short-term (or long-term, depending on your perspective) sub. At the beginning of October I packed up my guitar and hopped a plane to Boise.

The experience was great. Teaching is one of my favorite ways to learn. Every student has his or her own way of approaching music, and you have to know your subject matter from all angles to be an effective teacher.

In my guitar classes we learned how to warm up with proper technique and used scales to learn every note on the guitar. We talked about what skills you have to learn to be a musician and the corresponding skills on the guitar. Whenever somebody would play an interesting sounding chord, we'd break it down and learn the name of the chord, and eventually learned how to find our own interesting chord voicings. Hopefully they were able to retain some of that information!

In addition to teaching the guitar classes, I subbed for jazz combo, drum, and bass classes when other teachers were on the road. On my last day I taught a masterclass on musician careers, drawing from the information Dave Hahn and I have been compiling on MusicianWages. All said and done, I had many opportunities to work with the students on all aspects of music.

Between all the teaching and lesson planning, Calley and I found a few opportunities to pick up where we left off and work on our own music. Over the next few months we plan on recording some of our new material, sending files back and forth across the country, continuing our collaboration online. I'll be writing more about that as it happens.

I was even able to join Calley on stage for a performance at the school's fundraiser. The band was comprised of other ArtsWest music faculty, including the great Kobie Watkins on drums. The headliner that evening was Ben Sollee, an amazingly unique and talented singer/songwriter/cellist. Ben sat in with us on a few tunes, and later performed a captivating solo set.

Now, I'm happy to be back in Brooklyn. It's been a busy week catching up on practicing, scheduling rehearsals, and making sure everyone knows I'm back (I still want to play guitar for you!!). I've also been doing a lot of work on MusicianWages, which has some exciting things happening behind the scenes.

Time for more practice, thanks for reading!