Instructor Spotlight: Kris Kurzawa (Head of Guitar)

As we gear up for our Guitar and Bass Show, DON’T TURN DOWN, on Wednesday, February 27th, we wanted to catch up with our Head of Guitar: Kris Kurzawa, to answer a few questions about his career and his experiences teaching here at DIME!

What inspired you to start a career in music?
Being in the audience watching my heroes perform at an age where I had just caught the guitar bug.  I specifically remember watching David Gilmore play at the Pontiac Silverdome when I was 15 and telling a buddy, “I’m going to do what he’s doing for the rest of my life.”

What inspired you to become a teacher?
Honestly, it’s something I just fell into.  My first teaching job was offered to me out of the blue twentyish years ago in a tiny ma and pop guitar store while I was trying out guitars.

What inspires me to continue teaching and grow as teacher is a better question.  That of course is my students.  Their dedication and hard work keeps me on my toes!  I learn something from them everyday as well… it goes both ways.

What do you like about teaching at DIME?
The students are consistently hungry to learn and work hard.  They’re all-around good people!

What kind of growth have you seen in your students here?
Most of the students come here with some chops but are small in scope.  They typically love to play but lack a basic understanding of what they’re doing.  Over time, I see students skyrocket in their abilities to understand music theoretically and how that applies to the guitar neck, play through changes, read musical notation, play various guitar styles, increase their technical chops, improve their feel/tone, improve their ears, etc…

What kind of things are you involved in outside of DIME that filter back into the classroom?
On average, I do anywhere from 270-300 performances a year in multiple types of environments, configurations and styles.  The skills taught in the classroom are a direct reflection what is needed to survive in that environment.  This involves non-musical related skills as well.

51068851_10156251049491242_5882336974664105984_nWhat’s one of your proudest moments thus far as a teacher here at DIME?
In general, when I notice a student or group of students has made a drastic improvement in their abilities.  I see this during consistently in their exams and performances.

You can catch Kris performing at DON’T TURN DOWN, our Guitar & Bass Department Showcase, alongside a few other incredible guitarists and bassists on Wednesday, February 27th at 7pm, right here at DIME Detroit!