Learning the Language of Music at Root Note Studio.
Music Lessons at Root Note Studio
Root Note Studio is located at Western Ave, offers music lessons – Guitar, Voice, Songwriting, Flamenco Guitar, Ukulele & Recording production lessons. Root Note Studio and instructors are well-connected and active in the Lowell musical communities. Seiki Imagica is a musician residing at the Western Avenue Lofts and an instructor at Root Note Studio.
Guest writer Mica Lin-Alves interviewed Seiki in August. Mica (@micalinalves) writes about life, music, and art. He greatly enjoys the company of dogs, cats, and passionate people. This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.
What’s your musical background?
I came here to Boston to attend Berklee School of Music. While at Berklee, I wasn’t happy with some of the ways they teach. So, while I don’t regret it because I met a lot of people there, I ended up seeking a teacher outside of the school. I ended up meeting this teacher who was a flamenco guitarist. I was studying with him for maybe seven years. A couple of years into it, he had me in his band [the Juanito Pascual Quartet]. So, I was touring with him and was essentially a rhythm guitarist for that band. That experience taught me a lot.
I started teaching when I was still at Berklee, which was part-time. I had experienced pretty good results from the students I had taught, so since then, this became kind of my full-time job. After I moved here [to Lowell], it took about a year or so to move the business here. I opened a business named Western Avenue Guitar Studio. Then my good friend Liz Lawrence, she founded Root Note Studio—and basically, we decided to merge the businesses. We were already collaborating amongst the Lowell local musician community, so the transition was super smooth. Since then, Liz has moved to Nashville and opened Root Note Studio Nashville. So we have Root Note Studio here in Lowell and in Nashville, TN. I’ve been able to be present in the local music scene, and I really love the fact that our studio is connected to a lot of local musicians—that lets us join our students with that scene. Often, I bring my students, after they’ve become pretty good, to open mic. I support them, I play with them, that sort of thing.
When you take students to open mic, are they usually intimidated?
It depends on how they are in general—if they have stage fright, that’ll affect it. But my students really enjoy it. For them, it could be a once-in-a-lifetime, public music opportunity. And I make sure that they do well—they usually have a blast.
What makes your teaching style unique?
I emphasize what the student wants to accomplish. If they don’t have any vision, I’ll help them create the vision. Because with music, you can go in a million directions—I want to play jazz, I want to play rock, I want to do hip hop. But you have only limited time, you know, you have a job, or you’re a student or a mother, etc.. So, you have to nail down the path, otherwise, you won’t be good at anything. I have them tell me what they want to accomplish, and then come up with kind of the most efficient method for how they can actualize that. I’m not the kind of teacher that force the method that I came up with. I’m flexible, especially if they want to be creative, or they are semi-interested in being professional or writing songs. So I’m really different from a traditional guitar teacher. I can pretty much teach any style according to what they want. Because I’m a working musician, I’m connected to the current music scene. It’s not like I can only teach classical rock: if they want to produce hip-hop, I can teach the producing and the mixing, etc..
What do you learn from teaching?
I learn a lot from my students, young and old — what they’re listening to, why they like certain music. It’s like learning the new culture. I never want to be an artist where you don’t know what’s going on currently. A lot of people—classical rock area people—think that rap is not music. Or, because you use a computer, everybody thinks, “That’s not music.” I’m really against that sort of idea. So engaging with the young students always keeps me fresh as well.