Started: Age 7, piano. Age 12, electric guitar
Instruments: Guitar, piano, vocals
Recordings: Stride: Imagine, 2005 Bah Humbug (Christmas CD) Music Machine
Lesson Text: Learn to Play Guitar with Joel Gregoire If you like sweeping arpeggios at high speed, then Joel's guitar lessons are for you. In his course Advanced Arpeggios III, Joel explores a variety of arpeggios using different techniques such as alternate picking, sweep picking and pull-offs. Being able to play arpeggios is essential for any guitar style.
Joel Gregoire is a passionate guitarist whose gift for music began at an early age growing up in a musical family. Performing at festivals and in clubs since he was a teenager, he has been called �an absolute monster on guitar� and his style described as �mesmerizing�. His talents have led him to share the stage with Steve Vai, Tony McAlpine, and Lemmy Likmeister from Motorhead. His band Stride, has supported performers including Bon Jovi, Savatage, Megadeth, Stravarious, and many others. The progressive rock band, performs and records regularly and has received international rave for their performances at ProgPower. One review referred to Stride as, �by far the most impressive band ever in the opening slot of a ProgPower event�. Greg rounds out his gig and recording schedule with clinics at The National Guitar Workshop and private lessons.
When did you start to play? I started to play music at a very young age which was piano, I guess I was around 3 or 4 years old and I remember listening to my parents, who both play, but I didn�t start taking lessons until I was in kindergarten or 1st grade. I did that for quite a few years and then my dad brought home an old acoustic guitar for me to check out and I absolutely loved it and started trying to figure it out. I didn�t get an electric for a few years after that; I think I was 12 or 13. When did you start to notice that your playing was different from everyone else's? When did you find your voice as a player? I really don�t think that I have found it yet, but that�s what keeps me so interested. I can pick myself out against other guitarists I guess, but I know that my influences still shine through quite a bit. I look at some of my favorite players, for example Eric Johnson, and when I first heard him I was so blown away by his playing and his music, but what really sunk in was his tone. You can pick him out because NO ONE sounds like him. How do you keep your playing fresh? I certainly have routines to keep my chops up in hopes of always moving forward technically, but I guess that music is my main love and the guitar is just my choice of instrument to express that. So I like to play riffs and passages in my head and then see if I can translate what I create in my head to the guitar. What do you do when you get stuck? I keep pushing no matter what because my brain is going a gazillion miles per hour and I am so into it that I try to avoid getting �stuck�. That�s a negative word to me and I try to focus on the positive things in life and music. What do you still find hard to do? There are so many to list that I am afraid that we wouldn�t have the time or the pages���.hahaha How often are you surprised by your playing, or what you�re listening to, or music in general? Surprised I guess wouldn�t be the word, I get pleased some times and thank God for the little �push� so to speak, but I really admire the trend setters in music and especially the guitar. Do you have a regular practice regimen? Do you have a practice "tool-kit" - metronome, tuner, recorder, etc.? Do you have a special place for practice set aside in your home? How do you practice on the road or when you travel?I am a child of practice and forever will practice until the day I just can�t do it anymore. I have the usual suspects, metronome, drum machine, recorder etc�and they are every bit as important to me as putting my fingers on the fret board Is there a piece of gear you just can't live without? Of course!! My guitar dude!! Oh yeah, and my brain. Are there one or two core ideas that are central to your teaching that you make sure every student learns? Absolutely, but you have to sign up for lessons to know that!! Ha-ha!! Do you find yourself returning to listen to the artists who inspired you when you first started to play? Who are they? Yes, it takes me back to when I first started and reminds me of my hopes and dreams and aspirations to become the best player that I can. So here goes my list of my main players and groups that still get played in my car�s c.d. player. Rush, Van Halen, Kansas, Yes, Eric Johnson, Judas Priest, Greg Howe, Dixie Dregs, Tony MacAlpine, Steve Vai. Joe Satriani, Jason Becker, Al Dimeola, Chick Corea, Boston, Styx �.that�s about it Does your playing change when you switch instruments? To some extent it does. Some of my guitars lend themselves to certain techniques and sounds that I am going for. How often, when you're playing, do you find those moments of pure music, when your head is clear, your fingers are working, there are no distractions, and it�s just you and the music? I can honestly say that I have gotten goose bumps when me and my band have played together on one of those �magical nights�, but that certainly doesn�t happen as often as I would like. But that�s what keeps my musical soul searching and always bringing me back for more. We have a feature called "Big Ears", where we suggest interesting music to our members that they might not have heard before. What would you suggest for them? First and for most if you�re looking for something �new� that�s not over saturated by our �pop culture� and you are looking for real passion in music and playing, you need not look any further than the teachers involved with Workshop Live and the National Guitar Workshop. When I first heard these cats, I immediately purchased their c.d.�s, although they did offer their work for free, I bought it because I know how hard it is and how rewarding it is, and to buy their work shows that you are a true fan of their work. A few of my favorite�s are Scott Smith�s �Forehead� c.d., Dave Martone�s �Demons Dream�, Matt Smith�s �Black and White�, Mark Dziuba�s � Son of Kramdon�, Terry Syrek�s �Obscura� and Tom Dempsey�s �Perspectives� c.d They are all Incredible players and if you don�t know what I am talking about all you have to do is buy them. Trust me, you won�t be disappointed. What are you listening to these days? Do you search out music that's new and unfamiliar to you?I am in writing mode right now for my band Stride for the next album, so the only thing I am listening to musically is what�s running around in my head. The only other thing I am listening to is my Wife, my band, my folks, my brother and my friend�s advice. They help me stay grounded and focused. Do you have a musical wish list - other instruments to learn, people to play with, artists or styles to explore?Are you Santa Claus? If I give you my wish list will you bring it to me for Christmas this year? It�s an awful lot I�m afraid so I hope your wallet is deep!!!!! Ha-ha!! Have you ever had a really great teacher? What made him/her so good? I have had the greatest teacher ever, and it�s LIFE. I have had the chance to live life and learn through exploration and from my mistakes. You can integrate so much of your experiences from your life into music and I think that�s the most important teacher to me. As far as educator�s go, if feel that I have learned from the best teacher�s in the entire world for guitar when I went to G.I.T. back in 86 and 87 with Paul Gilbert, Frank Gambale, Scott Henderson and all those killer geetar playa�s How do you learn best? I don�t know if there is a best way, you just DO when you�re so driven and you never, ever let the passion die inside you. Do you have any practice tips we can share with our subscribers? Aside from the things that most of us know to do to get better like playing with a metronome and recording and so on��.Just spend a lot of time with your guitar if you truly love it as I do, then things will happen because the hours will slip by in no time and you�ll be taken to musical places that are truly yours and no one else�s. Whether you can play the world�s most difficult sweeping arpeggio or the slowest, soulful blues lick, at the end of the day it�s all you and your accomplishments will help you hold your head high and proud and the guitar will always be there, waiting and wanting to make music with YOU!!
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