Student of the Month: Toby

Toby started lessons at Deft Digits one year ago, and he already had some great rhythm guitar chops down. He’d never become comfortable using a pick, so he had built some impressive abilities with just his fingers. My philosophy on pick vs. fingers is to choose based on the sound you want instead of submitting to your comfort zone. Since Toby was into a lot of rock music that usually sounds better with a pick, I recommended he force himself through the awkward phase by temporarily playing everything with a pick. Whereas most students would push back at this point, Toby dove right in. Now he has reliable abilities with both pick and fingers that he can draw from when the need arises.

In addition to private guitar lessons, Toby rehearses every week with his rock band, Puffy I Am Yucky. It’s a rare thrill to have a middle-school guitar student applying everything he learns in each lesson to his role in his own band just a few days later.

Watch Toby perform a perfect example of a guitar solo that sounds better with a pick (and is probably impossible with fingers), from Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle”:

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