Baltimore guitarist Tobias Hurwitz is one of a group of "soulmate" rock, jazz, blues and classical artists chosen to participate in a groundbreaking national internet-based program called WorkshopLive. The first of its kind in the world, the program uses a patent-pending student-teacher matching engine to pair aspiring John Mayers and Sarah McLachlans with a professional musician like Hurwitz who is best-suited to turn their musical dreams into reality.
The idea behind WorkshopLive's matching engine, explains Hurwitz, is that it's easier for students to learn how to play an instrument when they are guided by someone who's compatible with their musical interests, learning style and temperament.
"Until now, if you wanted to play guitar, you would have to conform to your teacher's instructional and playing techniques," said Hurwitz. "WorkshopLive takes the exact opposite approach and matches you with a musician who's attuned to your specific needs and interests. It's basically the same principle as an online dating service, only it's designed to bring together the musically compatible."
Along with things like age, music genre, skill level and favorite artists, the matching engine pairs students and teachers on the basis of cognitive criteria such as learning style. For example, some beginning instrument players tend to be "audio" learners, while others are more visually oriented, explains Hurwitz. The former would be matched with a musician who likes to illustrate lessons by playing demos, while the latter would be teamed with one who puts more emphasis on sheet music.
Once students get paired with their ideal musical mentor, they start WorkshopLive's interactive online lesson program. Just like finding the right teacher, everything about the program is designed to give the student control over determining the way he or she learns best. Students learn at their own time schedule and pace, and can even create their own curriculum. Each student gets a customized home page that features articles, interviews and a "cut of the day," based on his or her own personal interests.
"The whole idea is that no one knows how you learn better than you do, so people will make more progress if they're given empowerment over their own learning process," said Hurwitz. "By putting this into practice, WorkshopLive is offering a totally new way to learn an instrument, which I believe is more effective than anything I've ever experienced before."
Hurwitz brings over three decades of musical experience to WorkshopLive. A recording artist, live performer, writer and teacher, he has jammed or recorded with such greats as J.Geils, The Coasters and Joe Pass. He has released two of his own CDs, including Painted Sky, which features Dennis Chambers on drums. The author of eight books on guitar-playing, Hurwitz will undoubtedly be a "perfect match" for many WorkshopLive students who wish to learn guitar. In addition to guitar lessons, the WorkshopLive program offers keyboard instruction and will be expanding to other instruments soon. Guitar and keyboard lessons are available in rock, jazz, blues and classical genres.
For more information, visit their web site at www.workshoplive.com.