Instructor Highlight Daniel Johnston

Mozart’s Gym Music Instructor – Daniel Johnston

Elite Sports Clubs is now offering music classes at our Brookfield & River Glen locations through Mozart’s Gym: an on-site music school where there are many different teachers of many different instruments. Today we’d like to introduce Daniel Johnston, guitar instructor for Mozart’s Gym Music School.

Meet Music Instructor – Daniel Johnston

What instruments do you teach? I teach acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and bass guitar.

How long have you been teaching and what made you want to start teaching? I have been teaching for 25 years. I started teaching because I loved learning and was constantly inspired by learning new things, so I wanted to be able to pass my knowledge along and help someone else feel that same kind of excitement.

Were you self-taught or did you have a teacher? I’ve had a few teachers throughout my life, but I’m also largely self-taught as well.

How have your teachers influenced you in both music and in life? I have had several teachers throughout the years and have been largely self-taught as well. Having a great teacher can really help you save a lot of time when learning an instrument. You can avoid many bad habits and as a result, learn things much faster. The greatest things I ever learned from an instructor is to be totally committed to the music, playing well is easy – not hard, and that there is never an excuse to not play with feeling!

Daniel Johnston’s Teaching Style

What is your favorite part about teaching music? I love it when I see a student begin to develop a real love for music, and as a result, a commitment to practicing and the discipline and excitement that develops as one starts to see real results!

What’s your favorite song or favorite style of music to teach? I don’t know if I have a favorite song because I like so many, but my favorite types of music to teach are country, rock, and blues – although I teach other styles as well.

Daniel Johnston’s Advice for New Students

What advice do you give people who are coming into lessons for the first time? I tell people to start slowly. Just do your best with what you have in front of you. Try and excel a bit at a time instead of tackling too much at once. Remember: You are what you practice. If you practice playing a little but playing it well, you will get better faster. If you practice mistakes you will get good at playing mistakes. 🙂

What advice do you give to someone who is looking to start playing an instrument? First and foremost, get a guitar that plays well (easily) or have it set up professionally to play well. I have seen many beginning students get very frustrated trying to play a guitar that would be difficult if not impossible for me to play. And make sure to get a good teacher, as you will learn much faster.

What is your greatest challenge when teaching a new student? Teaching in general? Sometimes it’s hard to get through to a student – or tell if they are not understanding something. This is, of course, more common with kids. The other thing would be teaching kids and parents alike the value of music in a person’s life – how it builds life skills such as perseverance, problem-solving, and many
other valuable life skills. And because of the aforementioned, I believe that music lessons should be held to just as a high a priority (if not higher) as any other extracurricular activities.

How do you continue to encourage people to continue playing their respective instrument in a world dominated by digital music creation? This is a tough one – and a great question! The only way that I know how to do this is to show how playing an instrument has made an impact on my life and how it teaches you skills that you can’t learn any other way. I would show students the opportunities that music has given me that I wouldn’t haven gotten anywhere else. And even if you wanted to go into digital music production one day, learning an instrument and having the knowledge that comes with it would be a huge asset to your creation of digital music. Also, Mozart Gym’s workshops are a great thing for students to attend to learn about these very things!

Daniel Johnston’s Hobbies

What else do you enjoy doing in your free time? Spending time with my family is very important to me. Also, I am a full-time musician, so I perform in many bands and record as well. I also love to ride my bike, hike, and strength train. I love reading and constantly learning as well.


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This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.

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