Teacher Feature: John Paolilli

“Music has always been a part of my family”, remembers John Paolilli. “Growing up we had a huge old school stereo system in the middle of the house.  We would listen to music as a family every day.  Some of my earliest Christmas gift memories were tapes and cd’s such as Dookie by Green Day, Alice Cooper’s Greatest Hits, and Van Halen 1.”

John, a guitar instructor and professional musician, has been playing guitar since he was 12 years old. He received his first guitar as a Christmas present. What inspired John to pick up the guitar? He shared, “With music being so important to my life, even at a young age, it seemed like the natural progression.”

Seeking to emulate guitar hero Eddie Van Halen, John started taking lessons from a newly opened store in town. Early on, he hit a road block many other guitarists before him have faced. “When I first started out the F chord was the hardest thing in the world.”

Here, John shows the results of hours and hours of practice. 

To get past the challenge of the F chord and many other early playing obstacles, John dug his heels in and went to the woodshed. “When I first started, I played for hours a day.  I played as much as I could.  One summer, in college, I had a goal to practice for 1000 hours.  Now, I practice what I need to learn for upcoming gigs, and between 2-3 hours.  I wish I could practice more.”

Having dedicated so many hours to practicing and attending Berklee College of Music, John is imparting his knowledge and experiences on the next generation of guitarists.  John conveyed that he tries to be flexible in his lessons, “I specialize in teaching whatever will motivate the student to practice.  Not everyone wants to play jazz, or country, or heavy metal.  My goal is that my student leaves the lesson motivated to practice and develop their own sound.  I am big on ear training and strong fundamentals.”

Aside from teaching guitar at Centre Music House, John also teaches the Rock Band Adventure Camp and the Centre Music House Band. These are highly regarded programs in Framingham and, with limited spots, are high in demand by students of many local music schools.

John teaching a song arrangement during a session of Rock Band Adventure camp. 

John Class

What does John expect of his guitar and band students? “I expect my students to practice, to give full effort each lesson, and to pursue their goals.”

For the band students in particular, John uses the rehearsals to impart some important lessons he learned from his instructors. What were these lessons?  John recalls,“’Learn the tunes!!!!’ by Mirek Kocandrle and ‘Rehearsal isn’t to learn your part, it is to learn everyone else’s part’ by Lou Stamas”.

On the first day of fall lessons, John is teaching the fundamentals needed to play the guitar.

John Lesson

As an instructor at Centre Music House where “it’s a great team, and everyone is focused on what can be done to help the students develop and what we can do to give them the best program possible”, John has the support needed to ensure he’s providing the best lessons he can to help the students.

If you’d like to see John perform, keep your eyes peeled because he shares, “I am playing all over Massachusetts each weekend!”

For information about lessons at Centre Music House, contact us here

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