Dwight Grifka

Guitar, Piano

Staff Picture

I'm not exactly young, so I'll just hit the "high spots."

My first musical experience was piano lessons with my older sister, and later with her instructor, I was around five years old. In fact, my older siblings were in band, choir, and even small combos. My older brother was in a wedding and party band at age eleven and my sister had a vocal group that did competitions. I was this little person watching a lot going on around me. My first guitar was actually a baritone ukulele.

I purchased my first Electric bass guitar at age sixteen and pretty much had to teach myself. Some friends of mine had a wedding band and the bass player was leaving. That band continued to evolve. While still underage, and not yet out of high school we were playing in some restaurants and taverns. I was allowed to play these jobs, but not sit at a table, and not as much as touch the container of an alcoholic beverage. On the breaks, I tried to get my homework done.

In fact, I did later graduate from Owens Technical College, but the music and the teaching took on a life of its own... and mine. Years later I would earn my Teacher Paraprofessional Degree from Monroe Community College.

I started teaching private lessons summer of 1982. It's such a nice thing when a job finds you, and overall that's just what happened. The demand for private lessons was larger than the people available. I decided my model would be, the teacher I wish I had had; as in, fun, patient but firm, and willing to adapt the lessons to the students interests. I use that model to this day. I hope my students don't so much feel they have to practice, as want to practice.

I'm in the process of expanding into formal classroom teaching. I've done Guitar classes and my pre-student teaching. I find that being part standup comic makes a fun and good teacher. My favorites were like that.

I feel that if an instructor can actually be involved in a production, with or even perform alongside their students, it's just a very cool idea. One of my favorite teachers did that exact thing (a mid-concert solo with us). I later have had the chance to do that same kind of thing!!!!

There are few things I'm smug about in life but, I really feel I'm good at teaching, and I invite comparison.