McGRATHPR.com – Guitar legend and Grammy® Award nominee Jon Finn together with superstar songwriter and guitar/ukulele expert Juli Finn – both Berklee College of Music educators – debuted their first all-day intensive “Rock Guitar Workshop” in September, 2022, at their studio barn in Whitman. The experience was such a transformation for both students, support faculty and the educators themselves that they’re been inspired to launch the program as a workshop series. We sat down with Jon and Juli and got their “backstage pass” take on their launch experience, and the road they’ll take ahead.
Q & A : : Insight into Guitar Workshop, Jon & Juli Finn
Q: Reflecting on your debut Guitar Workshop, what facet of your students’ experience most resonates with you now?
Juli: Spending a whole day with people, bonding over sharing meals and drinking coffee – there was a special level of comfort that allowed every student to fully express and immerse themselves by the time we wrapped up an awesome day of learning with the ultimate jam session.
Jon: Once the workshop got underway, the experience grew into a conversation of the concepts, so much more fulfilling than just a lecture and sharing information. Each participant had the time and opportunity to experiment and drink it all in. Everyone had so much enthusiasm to reach an understanding of the ideas presented. Much of the conversation focused on ideas that pertained to their goals and aspirations as musicians.
Q: What was it like gathering six adult students, completely unfamiliar with one another, for such an intensive learning experience? Did they connect well, and experience the camaraderie you enjoy in the music industry?
Juli: All attending students were united by a deep love for electric guitar and improvisation – that was a notable common thread. I watched as they connected on a deep level throughout the day. They all arrived with their own strengths and weaknesses, supported each other, and were given the opportunity for expression in their own unique way.
Jon: The uncomfortable “meeting someone new” experience lasted about four seconds! Everyone moved past that moment so quickly, sharing the universal excitement about engaging in the workshop, less concerned with the uneasiness of meeting new people.
Q: What type of student and skill level benefits most from your style of teaching and workshop?
Jon: The principles of our teaching model work universally for musicians at nearly every level. Beginners are less likely to be tuned into some of the ideas presented. We are targeting these workshops towards high-level intermediate to advanced level guitarists. If you’ve been playing for a while and feel like you’ve hit a wall in growth or want to explore a a way to level up in learning, this workshop is definitely for you.
Q: In addition to your amazing selves, you gathered other renowned performing artists to add to the diversity of the workshop as well. How did they participate, and what did they offer to support the students’ experience? Who are they, and would you bring them back?
Juli: For the evening jam session we brought in Steve Finn on drums. He’s a Berklee College of Music alum (Drum Performance) and a professional touring drummer and teacher. He is also Jon’s son. Joe Santerre played bass for us. He has served as a professor at Berklee for over 35 years! He has taught thousands of players including John Myung from Dream Theater. Joe plays with us in The Jon Finn Group. We wanted to bring in expert professional players to give our students inspiration by having the experience of rehearsing with an amazing rhythm section.
Q: What teaching facets have you infused into this workshop that created the interactive community for each student?
Jon: Every idea presented had a written example that every student played to support the concept, as well as plenty allowing plenty of opportunity to improvise based on what they learned.
Juli: The benefit of having a whole day experience gives each student time to play through each example and really reinforce each concept. Most instrumental lessons last an hour, but we engaged with these students for 12 hours straight! It’s a completely immersive experience for each attendee, not just a series of noninteractive lectures.
Q: How are the students encouraged to grow their own unique art form and amplify their playing style?
Jon: This premise is built into each facet of the workshop since each concept is shared to help every student improve their improvisation. Improvisation by definition is self-expression.
Juli: Each student was encouraged to improvise and were given ample time to experiment throughout the day.
Q: For future workshops, do you plan any changes based on your debut Guitar Workshop experience?
Jon: As a teacher, my educational material is always evolving. The core methods have proven successful with hundreds of students for more than 30 years.
Juli: We meet the students at their educational level and customize the workshop for each student and their ability. We are committed to teaching each attendee universal core materials, but our methods adjust to each student’s learning style.
Now that we see these Guitar Workshops as an evolving series, we envision each workshop to be a little different. Our next workshop is Jan 28, 2023. If you were part of the debut session, be sure and come back! Each workshop will feature new materials, so every student gains a deeper understanding and love for the instrument.
Jon & Juli’s Guitar Workshops are designed to serve intermediate to advanced skill guitar students of any age for personalized, intensive all-day instruction, including meals. Hone in on rock guitar technique with specialized sessions on warm up, tone, fretboard navigations, scales organization, licks and an unforgettable master class where everyone performs and improvises live. Get in on the fast track, experience exclusive hands-on training, topped off with the duo’s legendary jam session, complete with professional rhythm section, featuring the workshop’s students in the rock band – the very best of all rock music worlds!
Singer/songwriter Juli Finn and Grammy® nominated performing/recording artist Jon Finn often engage in the music they make uniquely together, a captivating take on jazz, blues, pop and classical, covers and originals, in an organic mix of styles, songs and interpretation. Both performing artists have appeared the world over in such prestigious concert venues as Tanglewood, Carnegie Hall, Seattle’s Sky Church, Portland’s Roseland Theater and many more. The duo also performs as part of other ensembles, including The Jon Finn Group (established in 1988), The Experts (70’s cover band), and sit in with other local artists. Both Finns also serve as music educators at Berklee College of Music. Juli has been teaching guitar, ukulele, voice, and coaching bands since 1997 and currently teaches through her namesake Juli Finn Academy. She most recently released her new Bonnie Raitt music-themed album “Tribute.” Jon has served as a professor in the guitar department at Berklee for more than 30 years. He has published five educational books and has a dedicated video channel on TrueFire.com.
Each Guitar Workshop offers amps and sound system, available on site. Video of sessions and performances are available for an additional fee. Workshop capacity is limited to six students for each session. Email [email protected] to register, tuition details, or more information. For more information about The Finns, visit julifinn.com/jon-and-juli-jazzy-bluesy.
About Jon & Juli Finn
Juli Finn – As a songwriter, recording and performing artist, guitarist, recording session guitarist, and a guitar instructor, Juli enjoys a successful career in music. She was a founding member of the instrumental trio Destiny and has played live nationally, opening for artists such as Joe Satriani, Robin Trower, Ronnie James Dio, and Blue Oyster Cult. She released a full-length album with Destiny “(untitled).”, 1995, two EPs “My Universe”, 2011 and “I Believe”, 2012; as well as “Wellspring” 2021. She has won numerous guitar competitions, and at millions of views, is a YouTube sensation. Prior to relocating to Boston, she performed with the Pacific Northwest’s premiere dance band, The Rhythm Nation and the Disco/Funk sensation, DanceMaxx Band. She performs in concert around New England with local 80’s band Fast Times, classic 70’s rock band The Experts, and The Jon Finn Group. She has performed with numerous professional musicals, including Seussical, Nice Work if You Can Get It, Bridges of Madison County, and The Altar Boyz. Juli holds a bachelor’s degree in Guitar Performance from Berklee College of Music, graduating Summa Cum Laude, where she currently teaches guitar and is earning her Master of Arts degree in songwriting. To learn more, visit julifinn.com.
Jon Finn – A striking guitarist from the age of six, Jon Finn has embraced a lifelong role as professional musician. He has been repeatedly acknowledged within the international community of musicians as a distinct leader of modern rock guitar as a performing artist, composer and educator. Jon has served as a featured member of Berklee College of Music’s guitar faculty since 1988, when he also launched his original ensemble, The Jon Finn Group. With three internationally released albums to date, The Jon Finn Group has accomplished several independent releases and countless worldwide performances. As a writer, Jon long penned a monthly instructional national feature Guitar magazine and has authored several instructional guitar books (Mel Bay Publications), with several more currently in production. As a solo artist, he has toured internationally and performed with some of the world’s premier guitarists as a featured artist, including John Petrucci, Guthrie Govan, Carl Verheyen, Dweezil Zappa, Dave Larue, Andy Timmons, Vinnie Moore, Steve Morse, Tom Scholz, Barry Goudreau, Tom Morello and others. He has also performed with the national touring companies of many contemporary musicals including Rent, Aida, Mamma Mia, Hairspray, High School Musical, Grease, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Copacabana, and more.
Jon frequently performs and records with the Boston Pops Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra, including appearances that have featured Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli, Amy Grant, Vince Gill, Rockapella, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Natalie Cole, Carly Simon, Bernadette Peters, New York Voices, Demi Lovato among others. In film, his original song “Berlin Wall” is heard in the motion picture documentary “Refusenik”, and on television, Jon’s guitar is heard on the NFL theme song. From his studio work on album collaborations, his recordings have been nominated for two Grammy Awards®. Jon holds a bachelor’s degree in Traditional Performance from Berklee College of Music. To learn more, visit jonfinn.com or TrueFire.com.
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