A Note from Don
I like to share my musical experience with my customers to establish a level of trust. When people know who I am and what I've done with music, that inspires a higher level of confidence in the information I give them.
I began playing guitar at age 10 under the instruction of one of my uncles. Several members of my family played guitar and fiddle. For the first couple of years, I just watched and imitated. When my family moved to New Orleans, I began taking formal guitar lessons; I was in about 7th grade at the time. In addition to the guitar, I played euphonium and tuba in the school band.
When I was a sophomore in high school, my family moved to Birmingham, and I met a friend whose father was a guitar technician. In fact, his family all played guitar, and together, we started our first garage band. I continued to play the tuba, and also took up the string bass in high school.
After high school, I went to Florida State University to advance my education in guitar performance. After a couple of years, I moved to Texas, got married and worked music retail for stores that focused on band and orchestra. In these stores, I started doing minor repairs and servicing instruments. A few years after that, I transferred to the University of Texas at Arlington, and in 1984, I graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in classical guitar performance. I studied string bass as my secondary instrument in college. I also formally studied trumpet for a couple of years while directing a church choir in Fort Worth. I've directed two church choirs and two church orchestras in Florida and the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
During and after college, I performed in the pit for dozens of musicals with such theatrical companies as: Theatre Arlington, Stage West, Tarrant County College South, Tarrant County College East, and more.
As a solo guitar artist, I have performed programs on live radio and in more than a dozen cable television shows. I have also performed programs for the Richardson Chamber of Commerce, the Granbury Chamber of Commerce, the Grand Prairie Medical Center, Medical Center of Arlington, and the Arlington Pastoral society. I've also had performing contracts at restaurants and numerous country clubs.
In addition to my degree in classical guitar, I have studied in seminars with Howard Roberts (founder of GIT), Johnny Smith (famous jazz guitarist) and performed in master classes with world renowned classical guitarists such as Oscar Gighlia, David Russell, Adam Holzman, Tom Patterson, and Frederick Hand.
My teaching experience includes 30 years of private instruction, as well as teaching clinics and workshops for churches, music stores and music camps. I also taught guitar as an adjunct professor at two local colleges.
In addition to teaching, my repair knowledge grew until finally, in 1993, I had enough demand and skill to repair instruments full-time. In 1994, I took some electronics classes at Tarrant County College to better facilitate my electric guitar repair. Also about that time, I started doing bow rehairs in bulk volumes; to date, I've done at least 6,000 bow rehairs (probably more like 7,000-8,000).
Even though I'm a guitar player, my retail experience has been in violin shops. I have a unique perspective into music education and the music business because I have worked so closely with orchestral instruments and guitars for so long. Because of this experience and perspective, in 2000, my wife and I opened The String Connection. I continue to do all that I can in the music business because I enjoy the variety. I teach, perform, repair instruments and run The String Connection. Recently, I have also been composing original pieces for the guitar, and I am attempting to record a couple of cds. I'll be sure to let everyone know when they are available.
Thanks for taking the time to learn a little more about me and The String Connection. If you have any more questions, you can usually find me behind my repair bench or teaching lessons at the store.