"Practicing should be productive, fun, and rewarding, not time-consuming or frustrating!"
"I started playing guitar when I was 7 years old after discovering an old guitar in my grandmother's house with rusty strings, no tuners, warped and cracked," says guitarist Gabriel Handy. Immediately attracted to this newfound instrument discovery, Gabriel would "sneak downstairs after my grandmother went to bed, turn on the radio, and attempt to do what I thought guitar playing was: jumping around, making as much noise as possible."
By eighth grade, Gabriel began to pursue guitar studies more seriously and quickly advanced with the help of formal lessons. "It began when I walked into a local music shop. A recording of Julian Bream was being played in the background—I was mesmerized." After growing up and going to school in North Carolina, graduate studies brought Gabriel to New York City. "For a 'small town boy' such as myself, New York City seemed like it only existed in movies! This is the place where dreams come true."
Gabriel approaches teaching with an emphasis on goal setting and efficient practicing. "I've learned over the years that it's not how much you practice, but how you practice that really makes the difference." Gabriel works with his students to address issues of time management and organization. "Practicing should be productive, fun, and rewarding, not time-consuming or frustrating!" Working with his students to set goals both large and small for each lesson, Gabriel enjoys watching his students exceed their own expectations.
Although Gabriel primarily works with students 7 and older, he does teach younger students if a parent can be heavily involved. "With very young students, I provide the parents with the necessary skills and knowledge to tutor their child. This collaboration between student and parent is incredibly fun and the guitar becomes a new member of their family." Gabriel is very comfortable working with adult students. "I am convinced that it is never too late to start doing something you've always longed to do." His approach with adults is low-pressure and Gabriel strives to create a supportive atmosphere for older beginners.
Spanning centuries of music history, Gabriel's favorite composers include Palestrina, Bach, Stravinsky, Muddy Waters, and Mertz. As a performer he favors music that is programmatic. "I like music that tells a particular story. I like to communicate with my audience and have them be as much a part of the music as I am." An active musician, Gabriel has performed as a soloist and in ensembles throughout the United States. Gabriel counts his first teacher, Aaron Shearer, as his greatest influence but also includes "David Leisner, Gerald Klickstein, Julian Bream, and the poet Robert Frost as major influences in my life." A self-described wine-enthusiast, Gabriel also enjoys cooking in his free time.