SMC Teacher Profile: Craig Harless, Guitar

Craig Harless joined the Conservatory in August as a guitar instructor, acoustic and electric, and bass.

When asked about his first impression of the Conservatory, Craig mentioned how friendly everyone was.

“They made me feel very comfortable when I first came in, and it’s always important to work with people you enjoy being around,” he said. “What surprised me the most was how talented a lot of these students really are! It definitely makes my job easier.”

Craig directs private lessons and ensembles for about 25-30 Conservatory students in settings constructed to be fun, focused and relaxed. Craig said it’s important to have fun while learning and developing new skills.

“I find that when you really enjoy what you’re doing, you don’t mind putting in the extra work to be good at it because it doesn't feel like work,” Craig said. “I also try to keep the practices a bit light-hearted, occasionally making my students laugh; I’ve found that people tend to perform better when they’re are both relaxed and focused. It doesn’t matter if you’re throwing a ball, playing a video game, or playing guitar. You always perform better when you’re not uptight, and some of the music these kids play can be pretty intense. It's very important to keep it light.”

Other goals of Craig include helping his students become better players, instilling a greater appreciation for music, and building greater confidences and higher self-esteems.

“A lot of things in music can be applied to all aspects of life: team building, self-control, discipline, and concentration, among many others,” Craig explained. “I want my students to take what they learn in my classes and lessons, and apply them to their every day lives.”

Craig started playing music at age five. His formal education started with the trumpet at age ten. His trumpet playing continued into college where he played in symphonic bands, wind ensembles, jazz ensembles, orchestras, and brass ensembles.

At 12, Craig picked up the drums and by age 16, the guitar became his choice instrument. Craig earned an A.A. in music at Solano Community College, and a B.A. in Communications from Sacramento State University. Craig played regularly in various blues and rock groups throughout the area while working towards his degree.

There was always music in my house growing up,” Craig said. “I’m very lucky to have parents who grew up in the 60’s! My earliest memories are of my mom’s Beatles and Rolling Stones albums, and my dad’s Led Zeppelin cassette tape. My favorite style of music continues to be the old classic rock, as well as the blues.”

On a more personal note, Craig claimed integrity, compassion, and positivity as his top three values. He named love, compassion, integrity, drive, and most importantly, a good sense of humor for the five greatest qualities a person can possess. In his spare time, Craig enjoys a work-out at the gym, and a game of golf on the green. He also enjoys watching stand up comedy.

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