Biography

Kevin Byrne, Guitar Instructor

 

   Self-taught musician

   Playing guitar for over 40 years

   Specializes in American roots guitar styles of folk, rock ‘n roll, country and blues

   on both acoustic and electric guitars.

 

“I didn’t choose music, music chose me.” - A quote of unknown origin that certainly applies to Kevin. Music has been a central part of his life ever since he can remember. The youngest of three kids he loved to play with Matchbox cars on the floor of the family living room...right in front of the tube-fired stereo. Out of the speakers roared Mom and Dad’s Benny Goodman and Count Basie, his sister’s Dylan, Mozart, Coltrane and Robert Johnson and his brother’s Elvis, Little Richard and Chuck Berry. That was all before he saw the Beatles on Sullivan. At age 10 he picked up an old arch-top acoustic guitar and taught himself a two string version of “Louie, Louie”. A good part of his life’s trajectory had been set. From Greenwood Elementary School to Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel to the Providence Performing Arts Center, Kevin has experienced many of Rhode Island’s musical stages playing in rock ‘n roll bands and/or performing solo as a singer/songwriter.

 

Kevin honed his guitar skills with years of intense listening to his guitar heros: BB King, Jimi Hendrix, Jorma Kaukonen, Frank Zappa, Carlos Santana, Robbie Robertson and Mark Knopfler all of whom he has seen play live on multiple occasions. He has always made it his practice to play with musicians who are more skilled than he. His most important guitar teachers were two older high-school buddies that took him under their wings and drove him to play better than he though he ever could. They’ll be known here as Nick and Steve. Kevin will never play guitar as well as those two guys did back in high school. They remain inspirations to this day.

 

Kevin loves to share his knowledge of music and guitar with energy and enthusiasm just like Nick and Steve did with him. He believes his strength as a guitar teacher is in his ability to a) demonstrate how a new student can develop the physical dexterity necessary to master the mechanics of guitar playing, b) make plain the hidden musical layout of the guitar fretboard, c) help the student organize the efficient use of their at home practice time, d) use a guitar oriented approach to explain the fundamentals of music theory and song forms as they apply to American folk, rock, country and blues music. Kevin also believes in the importance of his students being aware of the historical context of the development of the guitar and the aforementioned musical styles. As part of his lesson plan he regularly provides students with CD recordings of the best work of the most influential and innovative guitarists of all time. Since Kevin has never met a guitar instruction book he likes, he made up his own. He shares it exclusively with his students. Kevin understands that guitar playing can sometimes be hard work so he makes his lessons fun with lots of humor and a focus on the specific musical interests of each student.

 

Kevin earned his Bachelors Degree in American History at the University of Rhode Island. In an alternate dimension he was a Chamber of Commerce Executive Director for 22 years. Since then, he’s never worn a necktie again.

 

You can hear Kevin play his guitar on www.SoundCloud.com. Search for CinemaBlue. These tracks, two original compositions and an arrangement of a traditional tune, were produced at MockingBird Recording Studio where Kevin teaches.