Houston guitarist Scott A. Smith is one of a group of 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 Eric Claptons and Chick Coreas with a professional musician like Smith who is best-suited to turn their musical dreams into reality.
In fact, students can actually "interview" WorkshopLive's pro musicians online to find the one they would like to hook up with. In addition to a video interview with the artist, they can hear a sample of the musician's playing.
Smith – and the other WorkshopLive musicians – can be interviewed at http://www.workshoplive.com/index.cfm/ci_id/2062/la_id/1.htm. Smith is the 8th from the left on the first row. (Click on his picture and see him talk about music and hear him play!)
The idea behind WorkshopLive's matching engine 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 Smith. "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 learning style (auditory, visual, tactile or kinesthetic). For example, some beginning instrument players tend to be "ear" learners, while others are more visually oriented, explains Smith. 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.
Smith brings to WorkshopLive over 25 years of musical experience in a wide variety of styles. A recording artist, live performer and teacher, Smith has released three CDs, two as a member of the group Stride.
Describing his musical style as Progressive Rock thrown into a huge bubbling cauldron along with liberal amounts of Blues, Country, Jazz, and various other musical and non-musical influences, Smith 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, acoustic and classical genres.
For more information, visit their web site at www.workshoplive.com.