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 big happened. I found a cassette course about reaching your goals. The person teaching the course explained how to achieve big goals. He said to make a plan, break it into small steps, and keep working at it.

I wanted to learn to play the guitar. This felt like a big goal because I didn't think I could do it. But the teacher on the cassette said I could. He showed me how to start. This was exactly what I needed to hear.

I got excited and made a plan. I spent a few days creating a big "plan" to learn guitar. I used what little I knew from my earlier attempts. My plan included learning from books, watching VHS videos (yes, I'm that old), taking lessons from teachers, and joining classes at the local college. I planned out when I would do each thing over about a year.

This plan made me feel more sure about learning guitar. For the first time, I had a clear idea of how to reach my goal. I was ready to start my journey to learn guitar, even though I knew it would be hard work.

“Man plans and God laughs”

To make a long story short, I was a little naïve. I'm reminded of the saying that goes, "Man plans and God laughs."

My first plan didn't work out exactly as I thought. It took more time than I expected. In fact, I'm still adjusting my plan because learning and playing guitar have become a lifelong passion.

This journey has been great in many ways. I've made friends who play music all over the world. My music has reached thousands of people. When I made that first plan, I couldn't have imagined all of this.

I also didn't realize how much I would enjoy teaching and sharing what I learned. It's not just about making music, it's also about how good it feels to keep learning and help others learn.

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 keep improving every week, month, and year.

What this means for you...

To share what I've learned through my 40+ year music journey, I've created Real Guitar Success (RGS). 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. 

The first step is desire. The second is a decision. Join me and we'll take it a step at a time.


Tomas The Recording Artist

Besides teaching and developing educational programs, I am the author of 7 CDs of my original contemporary instrumental music. You can find me on most everywhere online, including Amazon, iTunes, Pandora and Spotify.

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.