Justin Schroder officially started his musical life in 1986 in middle school band. His first instrument was saxophone. Honestly, he wanted to start with trumpet, but his momma mumbled something about saxophone so, as any momma's boy should, saxophone it was...
Upon returning to the school band program after the first summer off, Justin decided that since saxophone hurt his teeth while he played, he should stop playing. There was also a mostly irrelevant little something about everyone else knowing their scales at the first rehearsal, but that wasn't embarrassing at all.
At age 15, Justin made his first instrument purchase; a Hondo electric bass. There had been some discussion regarding Justin starting to play guitar, but since two other boys were playing guitar, there was nobody to play bass.
Who knew electric bass would be that much fun anyway? Justin still loves playing bass and is especially inspired to keep playing when he hears other guitarists play bass. (Read into that what you will; Jimi Hendrix being a solid exception.)
Justin started playing guitar in 1992, but actually received his first guitar circa 1979. The first guitar was from his Dad's friend, J.W., (last name forgotten); awesomely shortened to 'J-Dub'. It was a white, strat-shaped instrument with a butterfly on the headstock.
There were pictures, of course, with more butterflies; as in collars (remember those?). Alas, those pictures were only recently lost in the last decade to a basement/molding incident to social media's great disappointment. Anyway, having been glad to start playing bass in the '80s when the guitarists were just inhumanly fast; the '90s were a great time to learn to play guitar. There were many, not very great guitarists, all over the airwaves and on MTV. The old MTV.
Justin played most of the new guitar music then and after two years' effort joined his first band; Tuesday's Gone. A Southern Rock band if you couldnt guess. This wasn't exactly what Justin had in mind as his first band; or second, third, or ever. However, it was a place to start and a great deal of growth occurred as Justin learned great Southern Rock songs and eventually solos.
In the years since, there have been many Rock, Jazz, Blues and Country bands and fill-in gigs, blues societies, theatre productions, applied music classes with specialized education students, the development of community college guitar curriculum, and more...
In 1996, Justin answered an ad in the paper about an opening in a local music store for a guitar teacher. Thankfully, the interview consisted of: 'Do you play guitar?...in a band?...with gigs?'. All questions answered with a 'Yes' made for a good chance of getting the job.
After four years on the job with that store and ten years with another, Justin opened the first location of Listen Hear, a music education and performance company. Along the way, Justin developed a fantastic system of taking students from a complete inability to produce sounds on guitar to playing gigs in bands or as solo instrumentalists. Many students have done just that and Justin could not be more pleased; neither can his students nor their audiences.
Justin is very honored and humbled to continue his teaching career as a part of the TrueFire family of music educators. He is excited to be a part of an organization that is focused on helping guitarists and bassists world-wide reach their musical goals.
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