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April 2013 Teacher Spotlight

Greg Swank
Guitar, Banjo, Harmonica & Flute Teacher

Heid Music Wisconsin Rapids

greg Click for video introduction
Greg has a solo act called Einstein Squared and it's all about having fun, and that's what learning an instrument should be. He plays a wide variety of music and would be happy to get you started.


What was the first instrument you ever learned to play?  What made you decide you wanted to play that instrument?  It was an old Stella acoustic guitar, followed up shortly by a Harmony electric guitar. The decision came from the first performance of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show when I was very (very) young. (smiles) It was so totally unexpected but I remember thinking to myself – “I’ve got to find some friends and do this.”  Within a year at the ripe old age of 13, I joined three other guys and formed a garage/basement band called the Phantoms. We knew 3 chords and we were spectacular – at least in our minds.


How many instruments do you play, and which ones are they?  Over the years I have tried and played, flute, saxophone, piano but never progressed very far at all with those. Currently my solo act focuses on 4 instruments. Acoustic guitar, banjo, harmonica, and most recently some interesting Kinks and Beatle tunes done on the tenor Ukulele (which I love the sound of).

What makes you a great teacher?  Hmmmm….that’s kind of tough. I think my approach to teaching is different than most. I prefer the “fun” approach to learning. So, when I start a new student, no matter what the age, they leave their first lesson with a classic song under their belt and that excitement level of being able to play a “real” song after just one lesson seems to work. My approach is to get them playing first and then I start introducing them to the theory, scales and structure. I also find that many students have a natural ability to finger pick and I use simple structured picking styles to give them an amazing feeling of accomplishment.

What is the best advice you ever received from one of your music teachers? When it gets tough keep working through it and when you come out on the other side it will become simply automatic.  He was right.

What is your favorite album of all time?  Why?  Oh gosh….that’s too hard to answer. Other than Hip-Hop and some of the more cultural sounds of the day, I’m all over the charts with all kinds of music. I love Neil Young but can’t wait to play Plain White – T’s or The Band Perry. On the other hand when I was younger I wore out the Moody Blues Albums. Very tough question to answer. Too many possibilities.

What do you like to do in your spare time, outside of music?  I love to create 3D Animations, work with special effects in Adobe After Effects, produce and direct video productions and get behind a camera to capture moving stories.