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My name is Neil Santos and I am a guitarist and multi-media artist born and raised in New England. I was bitten by the guitar bug at the age of 12 and eventually graduated Berklee College of Music to study Film Scoring. Learning the guitar however never came easy for me.
Initially I was inspired to play by all the shred and hair band guitarist in the 80's. Vai, Satriani, Van Halen, Saraceno, Bettencort, and Reid were a few of the players I worshiped with guitar in hand everyday after school. I was determined to reach their level.
Then I watched as the world I loved fell apart. Grunge emerged making the ability to play solos and be proficient on the guitar a weakness rather than a strength.
I later came to appreciate the simplicity & power of grunge's rhythm playing and the honesty and deepness of the lyrical content it had to offer. Bands like Sound Garden, Alice in Chains, and Pearl Jam gave me a reunderstanding of songwriting's true purpose; to connect with the listener.
I've since embraced all styles of music. If I think it's good, I like it. It doesn't matter what style it comes in. While attending school in Boston I worked at Symphony Hall as an usher. There I was exposed to so many great pieces of music which in turn led me to explore even more in the school's library. I also learned about jazz and world music where being proficient on your instrument was still seen as a strength.
Why I love teaching
After graduation I started teaching guitar at a local music store and soon acquired so many students that I opened my own studio. For the next 10 years that's all I did, mostly transcribing 15 to 20 songs a week and teaching them to my students who ranged from 5 to 60 years of age. I've had students go on to study music at prestigious colleges, tour the country and do session work in Nashville. Now that's a rewarding job.
Oddly enough, the time that I spent teaching is when I really started to learn about the guitar and music. Everything I crammed into my head while I was attending school was reinforced daily through the lessons I would teach.
Teaching also gave me the drive to learn new things, and not just on guitar. Being surrounded by people asking questions and thirsty to learn on a daily basis rubbed off on me.
Thanks to the internet and the wealth of knowledge it makes available I was soon teaching myself all the graphics and web programs used by the professionals. After creating a few websites and flash movies I soon realized what I really wanted to do.