Hi, I’m Eric Stone.
“About me” pages on sites like this are a funny thing. They’re written in the third person even though they’re usually written by the actual teacher!
So after Eric Stone made several attempts to sound way more self-important than he really is by writing about himself in the third person, he quickly abandoned that approach and decided to write this page like it was a letter to a friend.
Which, in many ways, it is.
Here’s a little bit about me and the story of my guitar journey.
I was born and raised in the Philadelphia area. I was exposed to music growing up and I even played clarinet for a few years in elementary school and in middle school.
I never really had this huge desire to play clarinet. When I was in 4th grade, the school forced us to start playing an instrument.
I picked the clarinet because my dad played it when he was a teenager.
What else did I know back then?
So I never really enjoyed playing the clarinet and I only practiced when I had to.
I still remember the constant fights I had with my parents over practicing. I have a vivid memory of my mom making me practice clarinet in the kitchen while she was making dinner because I literally did nothing with it in my room!
Thankfully, I was finally allowed to quit after 7th grade.
By that point, I think my parents were more relieved than I was!
Around that time, I was going to an overnight camp in the Poconos Mountains in Pennsylvania. Summer after summer, I remember watching people play guitar and just being amazed at what I saw and heard.
Playing guitar seemed so effortless for them.
Frankly, I was always secretly jealous of their guitar playing.
As I got older, I started getting into bands like Led Zeppelin and Metallica and I thought that it might actually be fun for me to start playing guitar.
I remember talking with people at camp one summer and that I somehow decided that it was already too late for me to learn. Since I was going to start at age 14 or 15 instead of age 11 or 12, I’d have too much catching up to do!
Unfortunately, I didn’t start playing guitar when the urge first hit me.
Thankfully, that desire never went away.
When I was 17 and entering my senior year in high school, things started to change.
I had just seen Metallica live and I was so inspired by that experience that I decided to finally start playing guitar.
I knew that it would be too hard and too frustrating to try to teach myself. So I found the best instructor in my area and I started taking lessons with him.
My original goal was to get good enough to be able to play with camp friends. It wasn’t easy at first but I accomplished that goal in about 6 months. I’ve continued my musical journey ever since.
After college, I got a master’s degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania. I taught before I worked in corporate America for several years.
All this time, I realized that guitar was more than just a passion for me – I wanted it to become my livelihood.
When I made that decision I could play rock and metal guitar really well but I knew there was a huge difference between being a rock guitarist and a well-rounded musician.
I couldn’t even read music then!
I was still living in Philly and I knew the leader of one of the top wedding and corporate bands in the area. I called her and I asked if I could follow one of her guitar players at a gig. So I shadowed the guy and to say it was a humbling experience would be an understatement.
To be blunt, I literally had no idea what was going on that night!
I saw lead sheets with melodies I couldn’t read and chords I couldn’t play unless I spent hours going through chord books.
While I could play major 7 and minor 7 barre chords, the guy didn’t look like he was playing any barre chords. And there was no chance that I could play a minor 7 b5 or a 7b9 chord.
I remember it being a cold and snowy January night as I left the venue dejected. I drove home through the snow and I realized that although I’d worked hard, gotten far, and become competent at playing rock guitar, I barely scratched the surface.
There was still a whole world out there I needed to explore to become a true professional musician.
After changing my focus as a guitar player for a couple of years, I decided that going back to school was the best option for me.
I attended the Los Angeles College of Music (LACM) on a performance scholarship and I had an incredible experience there.
At LACM, I studied and played with some of the top musicians and music educators in the Los Angeles area including Tariqh Akoni, Jody Fisher, the late Ross Bolton, Carl Verheyen, and more.
After LACM, I studied jazz guitar privately with Dr. Brandon Bernstein. When I lived in Pennsylvania, I also studied rock guitar and improvisation with Dave Weiner, who is a touring guitarist with Steve Vai.
I currently take jazz correspondence lessons with top New York City piano player Garry Dial who took over for the underground legendary jazz teacher Charlie Benacos after his passing.
My wife and I eventually relocated to Arvada where I currently teach and perform. I’m thrilled that I’ve been able to make a career out of guitar and music.
I love teaching and it’s an honor to be able to share my knowledge, passion, and excitement for guitar and music with everyone I teach.
As a professional musician, I’ve performed with the guitar in a variety of settings ranging from playing in rock bands in Hollywood to playing in funk groups to playing in a 20+ piece big band to performing as a solo jazz guitarist at private parties and weddings and a whole lot more.
I also arranged and performed the score to the short film Ofelia and Joe, and I arranged a song for the web series The Further Adventures of Cupid and Eros which was selected for the 2011 International TV Festival.
In 2012, I also released an EP of original rock and funk instrumental music I wrote with Jason Burkholder. Stay tuned because we’re going to start writing together again soon.
Outside of music, I’m an avid hiker and backpacker. I’ve had the good fortune to visit some of the most spectacular national parks and wilderness areas in Colorado and throughout the United States.
I also enjoy reading, traveling, cooking, exercising, and fruitlessly rooting for the Philadelphia sports teams.