Hi, I'm Tomas...
I grew up in a family that didn’t show any musical interest. I don’t remember my parents ever listening to music. Since childhood, I have wanted to be a scientist. As a boy, I spent hours in my makeshift chemistry laboratory I’d set up for myself in the basement.
It started with a daydream
That's why it was no slight surprise at 14 when I asked my mom for a mandolin for Christmas. I had a daydream while in class at school, where I was playing a small guitar-like instrument in the forest. The feeling made me happy.
I chose the mandolin because I liked the mandolin part in Rod Stewart’s song Maggie May (remember that?). It was also the only small guitar-like instrument I knew.
To my mom’s credit, she realized it wasn't just a passing whim. A mandolin appeared under the tree with my name on it. I played that mandolin to death. That is the death of the mandolin. I broke it at the neck. At about the same time, I realized what I really wanted to play guitar.
I bought my own inexpensive guitar with earnings from my paper route. I learned a few open chords, some bar chords, and licks from popular songs. This went on for years. I could play bits and pieces of songs but never really got anywhere. I got frustrated. No matter what I did, I couldn't seem to play the way I envisioned.
Is it really that simple?
Then something changed. The catalyst was a cassette course I listened to on achieving goals. The author explained how I could achieve what seemed like a lofty goal by making a plan, breaking it down into small steps, and following the plan with persistence.
I wanted to play the guitar. It counted as a lofty goal because there was a voice in my head that said I couldn't really do this. The author of the course told me I could. He gave me an idea of how to go about it. It's just what I needed. I was on fire.
I made a plan. I spent days creating my idea of a grand “plan” to learn guitar based on what little I knew from my previous unorganized learning endeavors. The “plan” included studying from books, VHS videos (yup, I’m that old), private instructors, and classes at the local junior college. I scheduled when I would do what over the course of approximately a year.
“Man plans and God laughs”
To make a long story short, I was a little naïve. I'm reminded of the quote “Man plans and God laughs”.
Things didn't go according to my first plan. It took longer than I expected. In fact, you could say my current revision of the plan is ongoing because I’ve developed a lifelong passion for learning and playing the guitar.
It’s been a blessing in so many ways. I’ve made music playing friends all over the world. I've touched thousands with my music. Most of this I couldn't have imagined when I made that first “plan”.
It also never occurred to me how important it would become to teach and share what I learned. Not just the joy of creating music, but also the fulfillment I would experience through learning.
Challenging myself regularly to improve gave me confidence that I could learn whatever I set my mind to. Now I look forward to getting older because I know I'll be better every week, every month and every year.
What this means for you...
To share what I've learned through my 40+ year music journey, I've created the Real Guitar Success (RGS) membership. I've created hundreds of lesson videos, play along sessions, and downloadable sheet music to share what I've learned. I've included lessons to help you bypass many of the stumbling blocks I encountered. I hope to make your journey smoother.
I use the lessons to pass on what I've learned about how to overcome self-imposed limitations and become a better learner. It's something we all deal with, whether consciously or unconsciously.
I know you can do this.
Step by step, I'll help you grow in confidence and play the guitar the way you want and deserve. I'll give you the tools and encouragement to create a musical life that empowers and uplifts you and your family.
Join me on this journey. I'll be both your guide and a fellow traveler. I'm still learning every day.
Tomas The Recording Artist
Founder of the Starland School of Music
Starland currently has 632 students aging from age 4 to 84 and is in the SF Bay Area.