Archive for Thursday, July 18, 2002

Guitarists tune up for weekend festivities

July 18, 2002

Musicians marching in parades usually carry their instruments while playing them, but that would be hard for one group of Eudora musicians whose vast experience levels and the fact some of their instruments require electricity and an amplifier would make that difficult.

"We're just going to walk with our guitars and throw out candy," said Daren Pippert, whose students at Ad Astra Guitar Instruction will participate in Saturday's CPA Parade.

Pippert, who has played and recorded with several area bands, gave up 17 years working in retail to teach guitar lessons out of his home, a job that allowed him to be a stay-at-home dad.

"I love that," he said. "There are times when I could Velcro them to the wall, but I love it. It's awesome."

Teaching also gives Pippert a greater sense of satisfaction than picking up a guitar once in a while to practice or just fool around.

"I'm finally getting a chance to do something where I play and help somebody, rather than just learning songs for the band," he said.

Currently, Pippert plays in the Christian rock band Small Talk, which has made appearances locally at the Relay for Life and at EudoraFest. Although it released an album last September, the band has been on a hiatus of sorts and hasn't promoted the album a lot, Pippert said.

"It's got more of a classic rock type of feel," he said, describing Small Talk's style. "We give a nod toward the more alternative direction, but it's aimed at people our age I'm 36."

Pippert said his previous band, King Jack, which had a much harder sound, received airplay on Lawrence's KLZR and Kansas University's KJHK.

"I really didn't enjoy doing that because the music was more like what the young guys usually like," he said. "I'd love for them to have success, but it wasn't what I was into."

Pippert started the guitar as a young guy himself.

"I've been doing music since 1980," he said. "It was in school, and I wasn't very good at sports, so I started listening to Elvis Presley and a little harder rock 'n' roll and came along, and I got attached to the guitar."

Although Pippert said he had dreams of becoming a "rock star," which meant quitting college to pursue music, he said he found satisfaction in teaching. All of Pippert's current students are 25 years old and younger, with the youngest being a six-and-a-half-year-old.

"I probably have about half the people who just want to learn acoustic just to sit around with their buddies and sing," he said. "The other half want to have an electric and be able to rock out. Those are the junior high kids."

Many people seek to learn the guitar because it's more accessible than many instruments, Pippert said.

"A lot of people told me they started on something like piano, and it got to be real frustrating," he said. "I tried to learn piano once and just really couldn't get the hang of it."

Pippert prefers giving individual lessons rather than group lessons because of the personal attention he can devote to his students.

"There are so many different levels of learning ability," he said. "I found out it works better, so they can have your full attention, and vice versa. I'm there for them."

Unlike other instruments that can be costly, like a piano, Pippert's students can get guitars and equipment at wholesale from Web sites.

"It saves them and their parents money, which makes them and their parents happy," he said. "There's so much I learned on a little piece of junk I got for $25."

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