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December 2013 Teacher Spotlight

Jason Busse
Guitar Teacher, Heid Music Appleton

JasonBClick for video introduction
Jason has
taught lessons since 1997, and has been a full-time performing musician and guitar instructor since 2003. His band Road Trip plays high-energy rock shows year round, all over the state of Wisconsin. Jason’s performance background includes country, blues, pop and hard rock. His lessons focus on proper technique and music theory while learning songs. For more information visit

What makes you a great teacher? I am a great teacher because I am a great student. I have learned so much in the last decade from my experiences as a full time performing musician and music teacher. I've learned how to enJason_bsure that my students have clear goals and the tools to reach those objectives. My method of teaching relies on weekly method book assignments to ensure focus and a clear path, continual expansion of both the student's repertoire and understanding of music theory, and performance opportunities like recitals, participation in Solo & Ensemble competitions, and Kids Rock concerts.

Give an example of advice you would give to a student who is "stuck", whether it be with motivation to practice, learning a new song, a particular element of theory, etc. Most of the time a student who feels stuck is actually improving. They have a hard time noticing the progress that is being made so I point out all of the ways that they have improved with regards to the piece or concept they are working on, and congratulate them on their hard work. When applicable, I split the task into smaller pieces or move the goal line so the student can see the progress that being made and feel better about their ability to accomplish the task at hand.

What do you recommend as a great starter instrument for brand new students? The Fender Strat will be celebrating its 60th birthday next year, and it remains just as popular as it was when it debuted in 1954. The Strat's contoured body shape make it almost impossible to hold incorrectly in the hands of a beginner making it the ideal starter guitar in my book. It is easy to play and maintain, and its sound and modern look have stood the test of time.

How do you help steer students in the right direction when they're looking to upgrade? I always try to find out what is important to the student, whether they know what that is or not. It might be weight, balance, color, sound, brand, craftsmanship, resale value, price, or any number of other concerns. Once we figure out what's most important, I steer them towards my favorite guitar that fits their needs.

Jason_b_1What's on your Heid Music Holiday Wish List?  Violin books. I've been taking violin lessons for three years and my knowledge of the history, design, composers, and performers is lacking.

How will you be spending the holidays this year?  My wife and I will be traveling to visit family in Manitowoc, Madison, and Menomonie between gigs with my band Road Trip.