Interview with San Diego based guitar teacher Glenn Sutton

Glenn Sutton teaches guitar, electric bass, keyboard, theory and improvisation for over 30 years, he specializes in rock, blues, jazz, Latin, Brazilian, classical, country, and folk.

Interview with Glenn Sutton

Interviewer: Glenn, tell us about your music teaching career based at Ozzie’s in Poway?

Glenn Sutton: I’ve been here over 27 years (I started in 1983). As far as teaching here – guitar, piano, keyboards, bass guitar. It’s progressed over the years.

Interviewer: How would you describe your clientele?

Glenn Sutton: They go from all ages, all the way from five up to eighty, all walks of life and with abilities from beginner to highly accomplished musicians.

Interviewer: So you can still learn an instrument when you’re eighty?

Glenn Sutton: Yes.

Interviewer: Is the eighty year old a guitarist, or a pianist?

Glenn Sutton: They were learning guitar, and they had some musical background.

Interviewer: Have any of your students become famous?

Glenn Sutton: Somewhat, yes. I had one that was in a band called Unwritten Law, a rock group. He became quite successful internationally. His name was Scott Russo. Also another one – Jason Hill – was in a band, Louis XIV. Many more have become teachers or successful musicians.

Interviewer: How many of your students go on in the classical direction?

Glenn Sutton: Quite a few and some have gone on to teaching or songwriting.

Interviewer: From my understanding you teach classical Spanish guitar, as well as rock guitar?

Glenn Sutton: Yes, all different styles of guitar, and keyboards too.

Interviewer: I’ve tried a little bit doing chord, you know, fake book chord type piano, and I did a little course on that, and do you teach that style?

Glenn Sutton: Absolutely – where you learn to play the basic chords, play melodies on the right hand.

Interviewer: But you’d also teach me if I wanted to play something with both clefs?

Glenn Sutton: Yes,with music notation? There’s many approaches to learning to play the keyboard, learning to play by ear, playing by music notation, reading sheet music, you know, not reading just, maybe just playing the chord chart off sheet music, picking out the melody.

Interviewer: So how, from starting taking lessons, say, on the keyboard, how long would it be before someone would be able to play something?

Glenn Sutton: Well, it all depends on how much they practice! The keyboard is not physically demanding and so they can start to pick up some melodies, and then they start to play a few little chords on the left hand. So it doesn’t take too long.

Interviewer: And how often do – should students, most of your students, how long are you telling them to practice every day?

Glenn Sutton: Bare minimum of a half an hour, if you want to see any results.

Interviewer: OK, so when you came to Ozzie’s, were there other music shops in Poway?

Glenn Sutton: No, Ozzie’s, was pretty much the only store in 1983. Just within the last ten years, some of these other competitors have come in.

Interviewer: What would you say to a young kid who wants to be a rock star? What would you say to them – they’ve got big dreams?

Glenn Sutton: That’s great that they have the dream. But it does take some time and some work. If it’s rock guitar, it will take a lot of practice. Of course, some talent is also helpful.

Interviewer: Do you teach any of your students songwriting?

Glenn Sutton: Yes, I think that’s very important part of your musicianship. Because you don’t want to be a “copycat” all your life! You really want to succeed in the music business. You must do something like write your own compositions.

Interviewer: I’m sure it’s very satisfying as well, to have your own songs?

Glenn Sutton: Yes.

Interviewer: Tell us about other students or former students and what they are doing.

Glenn Sutton: I have some students that play around town professionally at this time. I have a keyboard student that – she’s a singer – plays in the Mar Dels. She’s quite successful. Another, Blake Adelman, is now just got accepted in the Berklee College of Music in Boston. We’re really proud of that – that’s a big thing.

Interviewer: How difficult is it to get into?

Glenn Sutton: Very difficult. He had to take an entrance exam – well, not an entrance, an application exam. He actually had to go up to Los Angeles and play in front of the jury. So they made him go through various different types of criteria.

Interviewer: Does he play keyboard or guitar?

Glenn Sutton: Keyboard. Very talented.

Interviewer: So when did you start teaching him?

Glenn Sutton: About a year ago. He came to me and he wanted to go further. So it’s been a pleasure.

Interviewer: So is he, classically trained?

Glenn Sutton: He has had classical training but he’s more into the progressive rock, and electronic music.

Interviewer: Any other students going to other music schools?

Glenn Sutton: I’ve had a lot of people that went off to different – GIT, well, it’s MIT now. Music Institute of Technology in LA. Actually, I have another keyboard student that just got accepted.

Interviewer: So do you prefer the middle beginner starting out, or do you prefer more advanced?

Glenn Sutton: It doesn’t matter either way. I enjoy starting with a student from the very beginning and see him blossom as a musician. That’s always been a pleasure. But then I get the seasonal player that comes in and, you know, wants to better themselves. So we fine tune their playing.

Interviewer: So what’s the longest time you’ve ever taught a student?

Glenn Sutton: Oh, it’s been seven years, eight years. It’s gone for quite a long time for some students.

Interviewer: Thank you.

Contact Glenn at:

Glenn Sutton
Ozzie’s Music
12222 Poway Road,
Suite #27
Poway,
California 92064

Phone 619-306-3664

Glenn Sutton
Ozzie’s Music
12222 Poway Road,
Suite #27
Poway,
California 92064

Phone 619-306-3664
858-679-6997

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