Student Spotlight: Squatch and Sons


In our latest Student Story, we’re featuring someone who’s been a member of ArtistWorks for a little over a year now. Timothy Smith, aka Squatch, first came to our attention when he posted this message on the Shoutboard of the Banjo school:

“Howdy fellow students. I enrolled my son into the Mike Marshall Mando School. It was a ‘knee-to-knee’ talk we had about time management and wasting time on gaming that prompted us to do it. He took it to heart and has daily been practicing. We played our first song last night with me accompanying him on guitar. I am one proud Dad!”

What a great story! We were so thrilled to hear how happy and proud he was playing music with his son that we reached to him with some questions.

How long have you been playing music?

I started playing guitar when I was around 12 – I can’t remember the exact date. I’m now near 42 so I’ve been playing for 30 years now. My main instrument is the mandolin. I discovered a love for Monroe Music as a teenager and that has blossomed into a love of all things mandolin. I’m currently attempting to play Banjo, and I also play the bass when deemed absolutely necessary.

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Original Source: Student Spotlight: Squatch and Sons


Video Exchange Tips from Keith Wyatt

blues guitar tips

Since launching the School of Blues Guitar nearly three years and several thousand video exchanges ago, I have noticed a few things that make VE’s more productive.

First Exchange

Submitting your first VE might be nerve-wracking, so the best approach is to keep it simple and to the point. A few other items also help make our first VE productive.


Screen names are often vague, so please let me know what you prefer to be called.


Give me a very brief summary of your musical background and overall direction. Use the text comment option if you’d prefer not to speak on camera.


Make sure that both of your hands are shown clearly on screen. If you use a backing track, check that both the track and the guitar are being picked up by your microphone. Don’t worry about producing professional-quality sound and video – they only have to be good enough for me to clearly hear and see what you’re doing.

General Tips

Here are some more ideas for how to get the most out of each VE:

Let me know what you’re thinking

The more I know about what you’re aiming for or what you find most challenging about the lesson, the better I can target my response. VE’s work best when they’re short and focused, but a few extra words either on camera or via text can be very helpful.

Check your work

After you record a VE, put it away for a little while and then watch it again before you send it. Mistakes that slip past while you’re playing often become obvious with a second look, and developing the ability to listen critically and self-diagnose is as important to your long-term progress as the VEs themselves.

One step at a time

Don’t pre-record multiple VEs at the same time, since my comments on one might also apply to the rest – wait until you get a response and take it into account before recording the next one.

It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing

I’d love to hear your most badass solo, but first let me hear you play some rhythm – that’s the true foundation of blues.

Take your time

I would much rather hear you play slow and solid than fast and sketchy. The students who make the greatest progress tend to be those who are patient, persistent, and take the time to get it right. Blues doesn’t need a lot of notes, so make every one count.

That &*$% A7 chord…those $^%# barre chords…

Certain techniques can be very frustrating, but there’s nearly always more than one way to play something on the guitar. If a technique is especially difficult, let me know and I can probably show you an alternative.

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Original Source: Video Exchange Tips from Keith Wyatt

ArtistWorks in peril…

Hello ArtistWorks Members,

We have posted previously that our offices were closed and we were working with a skeleton crew.  However, the physical situation in the Napa County (not just Napa City) continues to evolve and be dangerous.  We cannot, in good conscience, ask our employees to risk life and limb to work, so please be patient with us while we navigate unchartered territory.  Your online music learning experience is our number one priority as a company and we aim to meet all of your needs and answer all of your questions and concerns.  This is a time when we need your understanding and empathy.  The wildfires have us surrounded at this time and threats are coming in on all sides.  Thanks to three team members, we were able to evacuate the most valuable and important equipment our company uses. That means some of the team’s computers have been “evacuated”.

We have received countless emails of support and concern and thank you all for the outreach.  Our office is untouched, but the largest fire in the Napa Complex is just 2 short miles from our office.  The smoke is sickeningly thick and not possible to endure, even to sit at a desk and answer questions and phone calls.  As a result, our Customer Service team is working as best they can remotely, on personal computers while keeping themselves safe.  

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Original Source: ArtistWorks in peril…

Darol Anger & Kimberly Fraser Interview

darol anger kimberly fraser

In this interview series Darol is joined by Kimberley Fraser for some great fiddle jamming and discussion. Entertaining since the age of three, Kimberley Fraser is one of Cape Breton Island’s most accomplished traditional musicians and one of the foremost sought after instructors for Celtic music. Kimberley holds a degree in Violin performance from Berklee College of Music and in Celtic Studies from St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. Education is important to her, reflected in Kimberley’s dedication to teaching Cape Breton music both at home and abroad. 

There will be more to come in this series so check back for more in the coming weeks. Click here to check out part 1! 

Update: we’ve added Parts 5-7, click here to check out Part 5! 

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Original Source: Darol Anger & Kimberly Fraser Interview

I’m Coming to Corvalis, Oregon Next Week

An Evening with Tony Trischka

Wednesday, October 11 at 8:00 p.m.

Majestic Theatre – 115 SW 2nd St. Corvallis $15



Bluegrass Banjo Workshop with Tony Trischka

Thursday, October 12 at 4:00 p.m.

OSU Benton Hall room 204 – 1605 SW Pioneer Place

Free and open to the public. RSVP kindly requested.



Jam Session with Tony Trischka

Thursday, October 12 at 8:00 p.m.

Odd Fellows Hall – 223 SW 2nd Street, Corvallis

Free and open to the public. RSVP kindly requested.

Original Source: I’m Coming to Corvalis, Oregon Next Week