Manny Bernardo
Founder/ Teacher
5403 Nibud Ct.
Rockville, MD 20852
301.832.8143
info@bernardomusic.com

 



 



While the history of music is notorious for eccentric personalities, unorthodox methods, and unusual flights of imagination—things which no method can capture, and no teacher can teach—it is possible to teach without stifling creativity and originality.  The critical element is balance—a search for the middle ground between opposing tendencies in musical instruction:

Intuition vs. Intellect
Ear vs. Theory
Feel vs. Technique
Inspiration vs. Discipline
Modern vs. Traditional

It is here, in trying to balance these very different approaches to learning that many teachers stumble. Our biases take over—from our teachers, our conservatory, our experience in rehearsals or onstage or in the studio— and we emphasis one side of a process at the expense of the other. We become dry and dull, and our method becomes a crutch and learning it a chore; or maybe we grow vague, random, guided by the moment but unable to build a foundation. Yet each of these elements is crucial to good practice, and none is possible without the other. The richest musical education is neither too rigid nor too free, pure pain or pure play, but a continuous process of observation, change, and refinement. To emphasize each of these opposites equally, and help the student discover their own voice in the process, that is what it means to find the middleway

Every student is different. Some are looking to strum songs they can sing along to. Some prefer finger style playing, and still others want to play blistering leads. Some want to improvise, or learn theory, or write songs. Some care deeply about tradition and technique. Others are purely creative and want to imagine new sounds and styles. All of these approaches suit me, and none is better or more important than another.

Hundreds of musical legends do not read music, or know their theory, or really care. Hundreds more do, but mainly in specific styles like classical or jazz where it is actually imperative. I try to always acknowledge this difference, be clear about the methods used, and embrace the popular and traditional approaches alternately, when and where they are called for.

As a music teacher this is my philosophy, and if you share it, we might make a great fit.