For years, you've enjoyed Chuck Loeb, the Grammy-nominated jazz guitarist and member of Fourplay. Now Chuck is teaming up with ArtistWorks to launch an online jazz guitar school that will allow you to learn directly from the man himself. BFTV caught up with Chuck last week to ask him about the teaching experience and what's ahead in the rest of his career.
"I enjoy teaching," he told us. "From time to time, I get to do a master class or a clinic here and there, and I've always liked it and wanted to do it [more]. But with the traveling and recording schedule I have, it was hard to commit time to teach. This setup is kind of the best of both worlds; I can still [maintain] my career and lifestyle, [and] I get to give back a little bit to people."
"It's a unique kind of way that they've set up the process," Chuck continued, taking us inside the inner workings of his ArtistWorks course. "Back in February, I went up to their offices in Napa Valley and I recorded literally hundreds of lessons about different aspects of jazz guitar. They discovered that the best way to do it is in bite-size lessons. So rather than in a normal lesson [where] you might spend an hour or 90 minutes, what they do is a 5-10 minute intensive explanation of a topic.
"I was there for an entire week, and I recorded 8 hours a day, every day. That's the curriculum. This curriculum is on the website, and when a student joins, they have access to every one of those lessons. They can spend as much time with each lesson as they want.
"Then comes the really interesting part. What if they have a question about it? Or they want to share a thought about one of their lessons? Then you do something called video exchange," he added. "It's almost like a social network site. On the site, there's a panel where a student can post a question. At the end of the week, I may have 10-12 of these questions in my queue. And what I do, I have a whole setup at home that they've helped me put together, and I answer the questions. Every one of the other students sees the question and sees the answer. Everyone in the school benefits from the video exchange."
You can check out a sample lesson from Chuck's course at the top of this article.
If you're not yet familiar with his discography, we asked him to point us toward a few records prospective students could check out before diving into lessons. "I think when you're talking about what I'm going to be teaching on this particular site, people might want to check out some of the stuff I have on YouTube," he suggested, adding, "I have a CD called Plain and Simple where I'm doing pretty much very straight jazz guitar and that might be one that students of this particular course might really like. Or even my latest CD, which is called Silhouette."
Chuck has worked with some fantastic names in jazz, including Brian Culbertson, David Benoit, and Earl Klugh. Who would he say he learned the most from? "In my career, I've been very lucky to have some really great teachers. That's part of the reason that I am so excited to be able to give back," Chuck told us. "The one that stands out the most is I studied with the master guitarist Jim Hall when I was just a teenager. He was a wonderful, humble teacher that spent a lot of time with a 17-year-old kid that wanted to learn jazz guitar. It was inspirational."
In addition to teaching, he's also busy recording and touring through the spring of 2014. "I just am finishing a recording of the Berks Bop All-Stars; we decided to make a CD. It's really cool because it's for a really good cause. Jeff [Lorber] suffers from Polycystic Kidney Disease, so we're donating all the proceddes to the PKD Foundation," Chuck told us. "I'm going to be back with Fourplay; we're going back on the road in June and we're going to make a new CD too. I'm also working on something called Jazz Funk Soul, with Everette Harp and Jeff Lorber."
You can find all of Chuck's upcoming projects and announced tour dates by visiting his official website, which we've mentioned at the end of this article. But even with all the music he's working on, he's thrilled to have a chance to help others be able to make their own.
"I think the most important thing that's going on for me right now is this teaching thing,' he continued. "I'm just so excited to be involved with ArtistWorks, and have my own format for giving something back educationally in what I love more than anything else which is jazz guitar and jazz music. It's been a long time coming, and now I finally have a format for it...I think I'll be able to connect with people around the world."
For more information on Chuck's online school, visit his ArtistWorks page (artistworks.com/guitar-lessons-chuck-loeb). For more on Chuck himself, check out his official website (chuckloeb.com) and follow him on Twitter (@chuckloeb).