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About the Author
Leah O'Driscoll has a passion for learning as well as teaching.
In spite of her love of music and having her own record collection from about age 4 that began with Cat Stevens, Alice Cooper and Elvis Presley, her first inclination to play guitar at age 14 was soon quashed by lack of aptitude to teach herself at that age. It wasn't until she was 26 and had daily lessons for two weeks that she confirmed what she'd known all the time. She did have what it took to play a guitar, but needed someone to get her going. Those experiences and others in between led to a desire to teach guitar - "most of my experiences for teaching come from 3 prominent experiences of my own, the first that:
I needed someone to show me the way, the second that some people have no idea how to show the way and the 3rd (my two weeks of daily lessons), what it does take to show someone the way". She then spent her first five years of playing travelling around New Zealand, jamming with every guitarist she could find.
Originally she started writing her own lessons as soon as she began teaching, the first lesson for this series was written in 1992. She continued to develop her own lessons rather than follow another method. She had her own idea of what a method ought to comprise of, and had never seen one that fitted the bill. So this is her idea of what a decent guitar method would cover. "A lot of guitarists imagine they would like to teach guitar, but have no idea what to teach. The Co-Creative Guitar Method provides the answer."
Her first and main focus is to open up the fretboard so a student can see the relationships between one thing and another on guitar and to get them out of the open position as soon as they physically can. "Too many guitarists get stuck up by the head of the guitar and think the rest of it is a scary place designed for lead guitarists. Once there they realise it's not too scary, because they can now understand why or how they got there, they can start to get comfortable with the idea, and use the whole of the fretboard".
Her performing experience began with busking around the South Island of New Zealand, then a few years being involved in three bands, playing Kiwi covers in a Polytechnic based band called Cumulus, then rock covers in Poached Salmon as rhythm guitarist, and finally an originals based band called Soul Fire which began in Dunedin in 1996 as Co-lead guitarist/bass player. During this period she completed a Certificate in Contemporary Music Performance in 1995 and Certificate in Audio Engineering and Music Production in 1997 at Tai Poutini Polytechnic in Greymouth. Since then she has performed in a variety of local songwriter gatherings and support for student performances, occassional solo performances and family band with her (now ex-)partner and daughter and the bass player for funk/rock/pop/soul covers band Eve 3 for nearly 4 years until leaving the West Coast. (Fave gigs were the Wildfoods Festivals - what fun!!.) Also a member of APRA since 1996.
Her first love is guitar but she also plays piano and drums. Her other forte is nurturing youth bands and is founding member of the Youth & Music Development Trust offically formed in 2001, (whose main goal is to support/nurture young musicians. "The idea for that began with an awareness of the local music scene in an isolated area, which had few support systems in place for developing young musicians outside of school at that time. I wanted to help them but was limited to my own resources. By putting a Trust together I could multiply everything by simply not being the sole provider." "The whole idea was inspired by my work with young local bands Alienz who inspired me to campaign to bring the Rock Quest to the West Coast, then Aprillis, who I helped get to the national semi-finals of the smokefreerockquest in 2000 and 2001. I realised there was a lot that could be done to support teen musicians, and I didn't have the time to work with all of them, and there was so much more I wanted to achieve, so setting up a Charitable Trust was an ideal solution."
Born and brought up near London until she was 9 yrs old, she lived in Kumara on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand for years teaching guitar, bass, songwriting and performance skills. Through the Youth & Music Development Trust, Leah was tutor for youth bands Quintessence, Loco Morris, Hot Snow, Static, 5th Element - (Most amazing gig was opening for Opshop on the Little Town, Big Gig show 2008), Ecko, Desolution Whim, and many more. Leah relocated to Northland in 2011 and is now playing guitar for Jetson Slinky.
the Books | Beginning
the Journey | Exploring
New Worlds | Colouring the Fretboard