When I went to my first guitar lessons at 8 years old, I didn’t know what music I wanted to play. My older brother would play songs by Jimi Hendrix but otherwise my exposure to music was very limited. Without a clear goal, my teacher escorted me through the first Hal Leonard method book for guitar (despite my stubbornness) and quickly tried teaching me to play Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” by reading tablature and playing barre chords. And in under a year, I was totally unenthused with the instrument and music in general. My frustrated teacher decided to stop our lessons because it was clear that “the guitar was not the instrument for me.”
I like to think that the true beginning of my guitar journey began many years later, when I dusted off my old guitar to learn the folk song “Edelweiss” for my middle school’s production of The Sound of Music. While I didn’t end up playing it on stage, my motivation to play the guitar was engaged like never before– I was inspired by the music of Broadway, and the confidence I gained from teaching myself my first song was the firestarter for a strong relationship with the guitar. I listened to classic rock, blues, folk and jazz in high school, teaching myself as much as I could about technique, harmony, rhythm, and by my senior year I was leading my own band and composing music for jazz and classical ensembles.
As a self-taught musician, I am very familiar with the value of intrinsic motivation. When my reason for practicing was in the pursuit of musical fulfillment instead of keeping my teacher off my case, learning came naturally to me and never felt like a chore. I can offer my students the freedom and resources to explore their musical interests and foster their own relationship with their instrument. My teaching philosophy starts with engaging students’ personal connection with music to discover and set goals. Building on that foundation, I focus on healthy guitar technique and aural skills that enable young musicians to pursue musical learning independently and positively.
More to Know
Originally from Providence, Rhode Island, Alec Charon is a guitarist, composer and educator currently based in Philadelphia. Growing up on a healthy diet of folk and classic rock, Alec has developed an intense appreciation for the guitar which he hopes to impart on others. At 15, he fell in love with the music of jazz guitar legend Wes Montgomery, whose innovations in harmony, octave playing and chord solos continue to inspire him. In compositional style, Alec has been strongly influenced by the works of Wayne Shorter and Antônio Carlos Jobim.
Currently in his senior year of study, Alec is pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Composition from Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance. There, he has had the opportunity to study under Peter Bernstein, Bruce Barth, Greg Kettinger and Dick Oatts. Alec has performed in Temple’s theatre productions and big bands, as well as small ensembles coached by faculty members Eric Alexander, John Swana, Pat Bianchi and Carla Cook. Outside the university, Alec can be heard performing in musical theatre orchestras, churches and jazz venues throughout the Greater Philadelphia area.
As a largely self-taught guitarist, Alec believes in an intuitive approach to learning focusing on healthy technique, self-expression and improvisation. In time, Alec plans to build his own private teaching studio in Philadelphia alongside a performing and composing career.