In the blog article, A Musical Journey in Time, Chuck Millar recant’s his beginnings as a student, his first inspirations into music and the hurdles he had to overcome to find success in a musical landscape without the resources we have in today’s digital world. Chuck takes us on a ride from childhood to every major phase of his musical upbringing, how the socio-musical learning landscape was a hard road to go and how navigating learning music in that time was vastly different from what we have at our fingertips today. It’s a story that emotes inspiration and for those who read it, a pseudo nudge for readers to follow their dreams of learning an instrument and overcoming their fears knowing that learning music today has never been more accessible and can take place without ever leaving your home. Over the years Chuck has developed a teaching style that breaks down complex ideas, and tears down the idea that music has to be some mystical thing that only the few can achieve and helps all those who come, realize their potential of being a musician is simply a click away. The article takes us through each step of his musical travels, and he brings us along in a relatable way that makes for a heartfelt read and inspires us to learn music in a new light. After reading “A Music Journey in Time” we understand Chuck’s desire to expand the culture of music in the world, which lead to the creation of LessonPros.com a website that’s much more than guitar video lessons, it’s a lifetime of knowledge shared with the world.
How are you doing today? Hopefully, you’re as curious about music and about playing it as I am. Right now we’re in an amazing time where online guitar lessons exist, guitar video lessons, online fiddle lessons, and just about anything you want to learn is at your fingertips online. Around 30 years ago, the musical landscape was much different, and learning music was quite different. When I first started my musical journey, it was like every story I’ve ever heard before from the 1000’s of musicians I’ve met over the years. Some call it getting the bug, or catching the bug. Whatever it is it’s simply a passion for music and that drives us to want to know more about it, understand it, feel it, touch it, make it and live our lives through it. My story begins in 4th grade and although many years have passed and the finer details have faded, I’ll never forget the moment I became interested in learning music. Along with my classmates in Solway MN, our class was enlightened by a 5th grade girl, who brought by all sorts of musical instruments into the class to help garner interest into music and to introduce musical instruments to young people for the first time decades before online guitar lessons were even a thought. Truth be told, the main interest was in the 5th-grade girl but secondarily, I became enamored with the violin and wanted to play it. On the bus ride home, it was all my brain could think about, the girl of course and want to play the violin, so I asked my parents if I could play one.
Over the years my parents have been nothing but supportive, but at first, they were rather hesitant. They’ve already gone down that path with an older sibling and it didn’t turn out as hoped for and with that experience in their back pocket, doomed me to the same musical failure of siblings past. I was determined, however, and persisted to ask my folks if I could play the violin and after enough pestering, they finally gave in to the idea of one accord. You see, my sister already had a violin from when she played, so in order to get violin lessons, I was to play an hour a day for 1 month. Keep in mind, I didn’t know how to hold the violin, tune the violin, or anything of the sort and it was nothing less than excruciating to listen to.
I didn’t have much as a kid, but with enough grit I made my way through the first month of playing an hour a day without knowing a lick of what to do and relenting, my parents eventually kept their word and I was able to get violin lessons from the only private violin instructor for miles around. At that time there were no online violin lessons or online guitar lessons for music lovers to flock and learn from or even the internet to look up anything on. While my musical journey had just begun, my entire world of musical knowledge would depend on my parent’s willingness to pay for private music lessons, and the knowledge and teaching ability of my first music instructor, in a small town that’s by in large part disconnected from any large city or music culture from the world’s great composers and musicians.
I was lucky in a lot of ways as I was inspired greatly by my instructor. One day after taking lessons for a short period of time, my mother and I were invited to go see him play at a local venue and while we were there, he played country and fiddle music along with some bandmates. This was vastly different than the classical music we’ve learned at this point and it was both exhilarating and fun! At the end of the show he played a song called, The Orange Blossom Special and I was amazed by the song, my instructor’s ability to play such a high difficulty song and how the crowd was awed by the performance as well and a new passion was instantly born, and my lifelong love of the fiddle had just begun.
I was excited beyond imagine and immersed myself with everything my instructor had to offer. I even won a local fiddle contest and from there, joined my first Bluegrass Band based on that notoriety at the age of 12 or 13. It seemed like the sky was the limit and soon I became the what I thought to be the best fiddle player in the area and like most people that experience Platos, there wasn’t much available from my instructor, or from the musical landscape that inspired me to challenge myself. After a few years, I was a young cocky, early teenager thinking I was the top dog in my area. My Mom ended up getting a promotion with her work that required us to move to the Twin Cities and soon after I started my search of the local music scene. A new reality set in, as I quickly found out that I was no longer a big fish in a little pond, but a very little fish and a huge pond of talented musicians and I was way behind the game as far as it came to my development as a violinist, and fiddle player. At this point in my musical career, I had also picked up playing the guitar, fiddle, and bass along the way and while it wasn’t available for me as a youth, online guitar lessons and bass lessons would have made my world much smaller and easier to navigate the world of guitar, but instead guitar lessons weren’t in the cards yet for me, much less online guitar lessons.
At this point in history, there weren’t a violin, fiddle, mandolin, or acoustic guitar video Lessons, or online courses available much fewer fiddle lessons online, or online acoustic guitar lessons available. I relied on meeting as many local musicians, watching and learning what they did as much as I could in real time, trying to remember what they did that I could pick out, and try to teach it to myself, and use it in a way that made me memorize what I’ve learned so I could keep it and expand upon it later. I slowly was moving along and progressing with my skills and it seemed daunting at times but I was always steadfast in wanting to learn more and needing to learn more and become better as a musician.
After High School, the path was set for me, my fate was determined, and it was off to music college for Music Performance. Young and determined, I was ready for whatever college had to throw at me, ready to take my next step, ready to learn all I could learn and finally arrive at the doorstep of musical success. While I learned all the music theory anyone would ever need in their lifetime and the work ethic the carry a full college load of credits and somehow find a way to practice 6 hours a day, how to become a great musician in the genres of music that I loved seemed farther away than ever after spending 4 years learning classical studies with ⅓ of the time spent on pre-requisites and classes that had nothing to do with music as part of a liberal arts, well-rounded education.
In my mid 20’s I was finally starting to get noticed as a musician in Minnesota and was starting to seek out and jam with touring musicians. I came to a new reality again and realized that these musicians we so far above and beyond were the general musician in Minnesota was, and was determined to get to that next level. There were lots of questions that arose, besides natural talent, how did these national musicians get so good, and how were they playing things in ways that were never explained to me? The reality is that most of these musicians at the time learned from families of musicians, or learned from other top national musicians as their instructors. In other words, they had access to top-tier knowledge that the general public including myself didn’t have access to.
After traveling and playing music with national musicians, befriending them and learning from them, I found a couple basic truths.
#1) Most professional musicians are great at playing amazing music, not necessarily teaching it.
#2) Most professional musicians are fantastic people and willing to show you some tricks they know when you offer them enough money, but you have to be a good enough musician to decipher what’s being taught, and good enough at music theory to break down the nuances of what their doing to sort complex musical ideas down into small parts to be understood, digested and incorporated into your own playing.
As it turns out, going to college was more help then I previously gave it credit for. Understanding vast amounts of music theory coupled with ear training and an intense focus and desire to break apart the material obtained from the national musicians, I finally started to see the patterns, traits and musical ideas they played that were there all along, and began the process of breaking them all down into smaller digestible parts, categorizing them, and defining their characteristics in a way that both I could understand and explain to others.
In my 20’s I met my future wife, Sandi who is also a musician and shares a passion for music equal to my own and together we created our own music program that didn’t include online guitar lessons just yet and over the years we’ve been able to grow and foster the culture of music in a big way, but want to give more to music and our students. We’ve had the dream of having a video lesson program including online guitar lessons that held true to our vision for years now and finally have the opportunity to make it a reality. Together we’ve gathered lifetimes of musical knowledge, and want you to benefit from our trials, failures, and successes by giving you all of our tips and tricks we’ve learned through the years without the headaches, or the countless hours of trying to break apart film, or hard to hear audio and put it all into our online guitar lessons site. We’ve done all the work so you don’t have to and are confident that we’ve created the world’s best online guitar lessons, fiddle lessons, mandolin lessons and more as they come. For more information about the best online guitar lessons around, just visit https://lessonpros.com
Chuck Millar Author Bio
Chuck Millar is a SPIGMA Mandolin Player of the Year, SPIGMA Fiddle Player of the Year, Minnesota State Trick Fiddling Champion, and has recorded in Nashville on albums that have made it to #1 on radio charts and awards for SPIGMA album of the year and Contemporary Bluegrass Band of the year with his band, No Grass Limit. From a young age, Chuck has had a yearning to learn all aspects of music and has dedicated his life to spreading the culture of music across the world with students in around 150 countries. Students from around the globe search out Chuck Millar to learn his methods as his renowned teaching style that breaks down complex ideas into easily digestible parts makes learning easier than ever before and gets students to their goals faster than they’ve ever thought possible. Chuck, along with his wife Sandi have put together one of the best Online Guitar Lessons sites around. From online acoustic guitar lessons, guitar video lessons, fiddle video lessons, mandolin video lessons and more, any student looking for music lessons is sure to find what they’re looking for. Besides being stuck inside a studio filming for online guitar lessons, you can generally find them traveling all across the United States seeing the sites and playing acoustic music for listeners with their guitars humming, fiddle sawing, mandolin picking and the crowd joining in the fun. “Enjoy life and make music” is Chuck’s moto and wherever he goes, music follows. For more information on Chuck Millar, simply visit Chuck’s Video Lessons website, Lessonpros.com