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Meet Drew Buzzell of Lessons By Drew in Downtown Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Drew Buzzell.

Drew, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
In high school, I purchased my first guitar, started a band with my friends, and studied guitar at Greenville, SC’s Fine Arts Center with Steve Watson, former Professor of Studio-Jazz Guitar at USC.

I attended the College of Charleston and earned my degree in Music Theory and Composition. While in Charleston, I taught guitar lessons, worked as a Ghost Tour Guide, fronted a rock trio, and played bass in a popular local metal band.

After graduating, I spent the next year traveling the US and Canada. I fell in love with LA and moved here in 2009.

I worked as an usher for Cirque du Soleil and as a tour guide in Hollywood and Downtown while teaching on the side.

In 2011, I started teaching guitar full time.

Has it been a smooth road?
In 2011, poor investments and bad luck left without a place of my own and very little money in my pocket. I no longer worked my other jobs and I was sleeping on my friends’ couches. I would spend up to 8 hours a day on the Metro, busing to my different students (I remember one day where I bused from my friend’s house in Alhambra up to a student in Sun Valley, then to a student in Atwater Village, and ended with a student in West LA). It was 6 months before I was able to save up enough money for a month’s rent and a deposit.

It was a great time though, honestly. I was enjoying teaching and spending time with my friends and while I wasn’t able to eat as much as I wanted to or go out, I was able to spend that time reading and working on the band I had at the time.

I’ve been very fortunate to get a lot of great reviews from my students and that has helped me get a lot of business. In the last year, I got married to my girlfriend of 5 years and we live downtown in a loft in the Financial District.

Teaching can take a lot of patience, and sometimes business is slow, but going from being homeless to where I’m at now, it is hard to complain!

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Lessons By Drew – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
My approach to teaching breaks down every element of guitar to make it simple to learn. I’m always trying to give people the “why” for what they’re doing.

I also start my students on songs of their choosing as quickly as possible. The point of guitar is to have fun and play music that brings you enjoyment. With me, you’ll start right away.

I also customize my approach and coaching based on your goals. Some guitarists want to play professionally and for those I will demand a high level of dedication and practice. The majority of people want to play guitar as hobby…to have fun! My goal is for the instrument to remain fun and compelling!

Basically, I think what sets me aside from a lot of other teachers are two things. I don’t teach as a side gig between touring and recording, teaching is my great love and as such I’m always trying to find the best methods and ways of explaining things.

The second thing is I don’t ever guilt trip my students about practicing. I make it very clear that what you put into the instrument is what you get out of it, but a lot of my students are busy professionals. They love the guitar and would play it more if they could, but often they don’t have the time they would like. I try to help them find more time for it and very efficient practice techniques so they can get the most out of their practice when they have time, but I don’t chide them for not practicing as much as they want.

As a corollary to that, I also recognize most of my students don’t want to be professional musicians. Those that do, I will push them as hard as they want and make sure they are equipped with all the tools necessary for their desired job, but most people just want to play guitar for fun at home. These people often don’t need to learn ear training or theory or tons of scales. So, unless they express an interest in it, I leave it out and we focus on songs and the basic tools they need to play with their friends.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Los Angeles is kind of the American Dream in a much smaller package. There is so much diversity here and if you can think of it, you can do it. Whatever job you want to have, whatever food you want to eat, whatever kind of people you want to meet, you can find them here. I love the possibilities and the new experiences.

And of course, I love the weather.

Los Angeles is my favorite city in the US (and I’ve been to 100+) but if I had to pick things I don’t like about it, I would say I’m not super fond of the noise/light pollution. I miss the stars. Also, I think that we could take better care of our city, it is definitely not the cleanest place I’ve lived.

Pricing:

  • First Lesson – $60.00
  • Four Lessons Before 6pm -$ 320
  • Four Lessons After 6pm – $400

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Brian Erzen, Adam Kleifield, Noel Holmes

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