Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Look at meeeeeeeee!

Check it out, folks! I made the paper!

Step one in a music career

Guitar instructor sets up shop ‘on a whim'

Friday, Dec. 26, 2008

Click here to enlarge this photo
Staff photo by JAY FRIESS
Guitar instructor Josh Urban, left, shows Aram Gyure of Accokeek how to play "Ironman" by Black Sabbath.

New noise in town: The buttoned up collection of companies incubating at the Southern Maryland Small Business Center in Waldorf recently got a little more rock ‘n' roll with the addition of Josh Urban.

Urban, a guitar instructor, recently migrated across Route 925 from Hot Licks music store to set up his own shop.

"That's sort of where my brand got started," said Urban of his employer of the past four years. The energetic 23-year-old said he aims to infect his clients with his sheer love of the guitar.

"My two loves are playing guitar and teaching," Urban said. "That's really been my only career."

Urban said he explored setting up his own shop at the center "on a whim" and the process snowballed from there. He said he was glad to see his former Hot Licks clients follow him across the street.

"It was pretty scary," Urban said of starting his own business.

Given his proximity to more studious neighbors, Urban has to keep his amplifier turned low, but his room is a shrine to all the rock and jazz gods.

All are welcome: "I'm a salesman for the instrument," Urban said, defining his style.

As a salesman, he believes the customer is always right. He said he tells his clients "they are my boss and I work for them."

Urban said his clients are "people from all walks of life" and range from "6 to 60." He estimates that he sees 40 clients a week.

"It's really fun, and anybody can do it if they put their mind to it," Urban said. "It's not nearly as hard as people think."

Unlike some music snobs, Urban credits the "Guitar Hero" and "Rock Band" video games with inspiring a new generation of kids to pick up an axe. He said the games have also introduced his young clients to a library of classic, easy-to-learn rock songs that he can use to teach them on a real guitar.

Urban hopes that his younger clients will fall in love with music itself and gain an appreciation, like his older clients, for jazz standards and orchestral classics.

"I want to make musicians here," he said.

Three legs to success: While his teaching business has allowed him to buy a home in Accokeek and set his own hours, Urban says he sees it as one of three parts of his musical career.

Urban also writes instructional columns for Web sites such as GuitarNoise.com and Ultimate-Guitar.com. This doesn't pay well, he admitted, but it does give him name exposure.

Urban also plays live and is working to put together a band. His first recording project is under way, but it has been put on hold momentarily while he moves into his new house.

But Urban said he is now chiefly focused on his new business.

"I want to keep growing my client base," he said.

Jay Friess

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Anonymous said...

Outstanding article!!! Great to see a young, talented musician and guitar instructor get this kind of press. Success is not just being extremely good at what you do...it is also "branding" what you do, i.e., getting your name, talents and reputation out in front of the public.

Reckless Rick said...

Congratulations Josh, that's killer! Setting up your own business is something to be proud of.