Or “Why Medium is a waste of time, but I’m going to keep writing anyway.”

My editor is hard at work. Photo by the author, on his phone in his living room.

So, that's a little harsh, but let me explain why after over three decades of participating in the online experience I find value in writing here on Medium.

A few months ago while I was surfing YouTube looking for ways to improve my channel, I ran across the following video:

I spend a lot of time online marketing myself and creating content for my students worldwide. I’ve been doing it long enough (as you will see below) that I’ll occasionally get burnt out, or a particular platform will get oversaturated with my kind of content, or a platform might…

I’m pretty good at buying great guitars, though.

Me, at Winter NAMM 2019 trying a guitar that I will finally own later this year.

As someone who has played guitar for over three decades and taught guitar nearly as long, I get asked quite often how I shop for an instrument. The reality is that I rarely go shopping for a specific instrument, and if I do, I usually end up coming home with something completely different.

The bottom line for me is that I need to find an instrument that I feel connected to the first time that I pick it up. If I can play a ton of instruments in a store, I can usually find something that I have some sort…

File this under “Things that are funny in retrospect.”

Photo by Antoine Julien on Unsplash

When I was seventeen, I had been playing guitar for less than two years, but I had been a band geek since the seventh grade. The kids that I went to school with labored under the illusion that I was this highly experienced musician, but in reality, I was a kid who owned a guitar and hung out with other kids who owned musical instruments. …

My first gig after COVID lockdowns went better than I expected. I was still pretty stressed out, though.

In spite of the fact that I look like Papa Smurf, it was a pretty Rock and Roll event.

A little over a week ago, I wrote an article about how I was getting ready to play my first gig in sixteen months, with all of the stress of putting together over three hours of music with a little over ninety minutes worth of rehearsal for my first public show post-COVID lockdown.

The band had been playing shows with another guitarist for the last few months as county health mandates allowed. …

How a simple forum post about music turned into an exploration of how self-expression can be a reflection of history. And respect.

Photo by emrecan arık on Unsplash

If you have read any of my articles since I’ve been on Medium, you know that I am a middle-aged musician who plays guitar and teaches in various formats online and off. I was born in New York in 1970, and my family was part of the great economic migration to the West Coast in the late 1970’s so I grew up and have lived most of my life in Southern California behind the “Orange Curtain.”

Growing up and living in the north end of Orange County in the shadow of Disneyland meant that I have existed in a fairly…

Getting back on stage hasn’t been easy, either.

The author on stage in the “before” times.

My last live performance was on March 13th, 2020. I wrote a bit about the experience of seeing my whole gig schedule evaporate over the course of forty-eight hours in my article Social Media Helped Me Survive COVID as a Professional Musician. I went from having a fairly busy gig and work schedule for the foreseeable future to barely leaving the house and teaching all of my students and conservatory classes through a computer screen for over a year.

At the age of 51, I have been playing music in public with other people for 35 years. Some of those…

Thank you, Alex!

You describe a familiar situation for me as someone who has taught many adults who have played guitar for many years before deciding to take any kind of instruction. In some ways, a big part of what I do is teach people how to describe and organize what they already know in their heads in a way that allows them to make better use of that knowledge musically. …

Or why you need to be able to organize sounds for your “Mind’s Ear.”

A picture of the whiteboard from a theory and arranging class the author recently survived.

A few months ago, I ran across the statement that “science is just our way of describing how we currently understand the universe.” The more that we learn, the way that science describes that universe also changes. Humans went from thinking that we lived on a flat earth that was the center of the universe to an understanding that the world was a spinning ball moving at 67,000 miles per hour around a much hotter spinning ball that in turn was hurtling around the center of our galaxy at roughly 490,000 miles per hour. Essentially, science is our way of…

Helping adults succeed in their lessons requires a wider skill set than you would imagine.

The author as a middle-aged music student.

I have been teaching guitar for thirty-one years at this point. I feel kinda bad for the people I taught at the beginning of my career because experience is important when guiding a human being through any journey, great or small.

As I’ve continued to make a living teaching both kids and adults how to play the guitar (among other things), I have discovered that there is an element of life coaching involved in being a successful mentor of any kind to an adult student.

The very first thing that I need to express to my students is that this…

How the relationship between kids and music has changed over the last four decades.

The author at far left with his tribe circa 1987.

I’ve been teaching guitar for over thirty years at this point, which has given me a unique vantage point to watch the relationship between kids and music change over a fairly extended period of time. The evolution has through the rise of the internet and the introduction of new technologies that have changed how we discover and consume our culture in general.

My first memories of music have to do with listening to a small transistor radio in my room as I tried to get to sleep every night as a young child in the mid-1970s. I had older step-siblings…

Mark Wein

Guitar player, teacher and hot wing aficionado.

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