Thursday, January 31, 2013

Influences and Inspirations: Terry Kath


From Wikipedia:
"Terry Alan Kath (January 31, 1946 – January 23, 1978), born in Chicago, Illinois, was the original guitarist and founding member of the rock band Chicago.  He died in early 1978, eight days before his 32nd birthday, from an unintentional self-inflicted gunshot wound."

Terry Kath was an amazing guitarist and singer in what was once an amazing band. He died tragically, much too young. His praises have never been sung enough and he deserves far more tribute than he's ever got. Kath was a huge inspiration for me in my formative guitar playing years. Like the band itself at the time, he was so full of creative energy, musicianship and soul that it still takes my breath away.

Kath is well known for the blazing guitars that permeate the early Chicago hit, "25 or 6 to 4."  


That performance left no doubt that he could hang with the best guitarists of the time, and considering the competition in the late 60's-early 70's, that is saying quite a lot. And he did so while retaining a very personal and unique approach that made him unmistakable. Even more to his credit, he did so without acquiring the "guitar hero" ego, preferring instead to make brilliant and heartfelt contributions to the powerful group he was a part of.

Here is my favorite live version of one of my all-time favorite Chicago songs, "Introduction," written and sung by Terry, which encapsulates everything I've tried to describe about him into one awesome performance:

"In The Country" is another Chicago tune I always loved; surprise, it's written by Terry Kath. As usual, Chicago packed more musical content into one song than most groups today have in a whole album. And they did it with style, fire and soul. Here's a great live version:

And here's an excellent 20 minute documentary about the band, from 1970:

His daughter Michelle has created a wonderful website tribute, ,
and is producing a full documentary about Terry. Hopefully it will raise awareness of his talents and contribution, and give him the wider recognition he truly deserves.

Your thoughts and questions are are always welcome. Please leave a comment below. You can comment anonymously as a guest, but if you take a moment to register, you'll be able to exchange comments with Ben or others, and be notified when people respond to your comment.

Feel free to share this post using any of the buttons below.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Skype Guitar Lessons - the Video

As you might have read in my previous post, I am using my webcam to expand my teaching business online, through the magic of the Skype video calling program.  The idea is to reach people who can't get to Coffey Music to study with me in person.  It has the potential to connect me with guitar students all over the world!
 Even if you're not interested in lessons, you can be a tremendous help by simply watching the 4-minute video I have created to promote my teaching business.  Please click on the video title to open up the clip on YouTube's site:

The more people that watch it, the more likely it is that other people will find Ben Sherman when they search for this topic.  This will help me to reach lots more people who want to take lessons via Skype.

If you are really motivated and want to do a little more, here's what you can do:

1.  Watch the video all the way through.
2.  Click the thumbs up icon to give it a Like.
3.  Leave a nice comment.
4.  Add the video to your YouTube favorites.
5.  Share it with your friends by email or on your Facebook, Twitter or Google+.
6.  Put up a link to the video or embed it, if you have any place it would be practical to do so.  Please let me know if you do this, so I can be sure to return the favor!

Here's the direct link to the video:  

If you need any help with any of that, just get in touch with me.  And thanks so much for your support!

Skype Guitar Lessons with Ben Sherman

If you have wanted guitar lessons with Ben Sherman but couldn't get to Coffey Music in Westminster MD, there's good news: I am open for business again with live one-on-one guitar lessons via Skype!  Any level, any style.  30-minute or 60-minute sessions available.  No long term commitment required.

Skype is a free, live webcam communication service.  To use it, you will need:
1.  A good internet connection
2.  A webcam, a computer and an e-mail address.
3.  Skype (free internet video calling software).  Go to and click on "Downloads."
4.  A credit card or PayPal account.

If you need help with any of the technical issues, contact me, I'll help.

Here's what to do:

1.  Contact me (see below) - we'll work out all the details: day and time, lesson plan, etc.
2.  I'll send you an invoice and you can pay for your lesson - via credit card or PayPal.
3.  Be ready at the scheduled time.
4.  Have fun!

I offer lessons for beginners to advanced, age 10 and up, providing instruction in:
acoustic, electric, rock, jazz, classical, advanced techniques, improvisation,
and specializing in teaching music theory in a practical, easy to understand way.

With Skype and me, there's nothing stopping you from accomplishing what you always wanted to do with the guitar.  Contact me to get started!

Message me on Facebook:
Or use the contact form on my website:

Thanks for your support and your interest in the guitar!  - Ben