Bruce Boome

by Bruce Boome
(Durban, KwaZulu/Natal, South Africa)

Way, way back at the dawn of time- well, 1959, I got a guitar for my 14th birthday. It was a "Valencia" arch-top jazz style guitar with an action that would have challenged Stevie Ray!

About 2 weeks later, I heard a "Shadows" tune (Apache) on the radio. That was the end of life as I knew it, as guitar became my life. At age 17 I became a professional musician, and loved it.

In the early 70's I was attending a (free) jazz workshop in Cape Town with Merton Barrow every Sunday night. My wife at the time complained (rightly so) as Sunday was my only night off- so I quit. I asked Merton what I could do to help myself improve my playing, and he advised classical guitar lessons.

I duly went around the music stores, and (lucky me), got the number of Uliano Marchio, who taught me for about a year and a half.

My first lesson he would only let me do i,m on open strings, but I persevered, and managed to learn some pieces.

In about '75 I worked in a small town called Port Elizabeth, but fortunately they had an excellent guitar teacher there named Dr. (of music) Howard Nock.

Howard bullied me into doing my L.T.C.L. teachers diploma, so by '77 I was qualified (as they say) to teach- something I was not keen to do. Besides, when you travel, it's difficult to teach as you're never in one place for long enough.
In about '89, I finally realized that it was time to get off the road, so I moved to Durban (Africa's largest port).

4 young men used to come and watch me play, and one day we started chatting. I asked them what they were doing, and they told me they were studying classical guitar.

I mentioned that I had a diploma to teach, and they asked "why don't you come and teach us", as their teacher had just left. I applied for the job and got it, teaching there for 15 years as a part time lecturer.

During that time, I had the great good fortune to study with the late great David Hewitt, who was South Africa's premier classical guitarist, and a wonderful man.

7 years ago, I got a phone call from Lynne Ross, who was teaching at Crawford Prep- a very exclusive (read expensive) private school, asking me if I was interested in teaching classical guitar there.

I taught there for two years, as well as at the Technikon and the University of Durban/Westville. One day the Principal of Crawford called me to his office, and offered me a full-time post, which I accepted, and I have been there in that capacity for 5 years.

As an adult learner, I'll never be on the concert circuit- but CG gives me a whole lot of satisfaction and a purpose to life.

I have only played CG in public once, doing a duet with Howard in a church. As a spur to up my repertoire and practice, I'm now studying to get my performers diploma. My guitar is an Aria A550 I bought in the early 70's.

Comments for Bruce Boome

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Jun 22, 2011
by: Bruce Boome

Hi sorry to take so long to reply. I can't really tell you much about my guitar, the serial number has faded and ls now unreadable. I bought it new through my teacher at the time, Uliano Marcio in Cape Town South Afica. Sorry I can't be more specific about when I got it, it was a long time ago, early 70's. I don't even have the original case- I'm now on case number 3!

Mar 07, 2011
just want to know some about your Aria a550 guitar
by: Yacine Bayan


I just found out an old classical guitar Aria a550, serial number is "62". I could'nt really find any informations about it (when it was made...) just know it was before 1975...

Can you tell me few things about yours (serial number, and when you get it, was it a first or second hand, well anything you'll remember!)

I'm a young french guitar maker and I'm really intersested in theses oldies !

Thank you for your help,

Best regards,

Yacine Bayan

Dec 26, 2010
Learning by Teaching
by: Gerry

This is actually a response to Trevor's comment to Bruce here about learning a subject better from having to teach it.

So true! I got much further along in both my theoretical knowledge and my technique while I was still teaching guitar than after a career change and eventual retirement. In fact, my fingers hardly ever left the fretboard during a lesson, even when the student was doing the playing. The guitar began to feel like it was part of me, and the resulting callouses on my fingertips served me well, too, although they brought silly comments from some non-musicians who noticed them. The same people wondered why the nails on my right hand were noticeably longer than those on my left. ;)

May 06, 2009
teach me?
by: Wesley

hi bruce, was wondering if you still live in durban and are willing to give private lessons? im very intrested in studying classical guitar. my email is davieswes616@gmail.com. thank you.

Jan 04, 2009
by: Trevor M.

Hi Phil,

Trevor M. here. You might want to start taking some classical guitar exams so that you have some proof as to your efficacy as a player and indeed teacher.

I noticed in your post that you mentioned "£10" and so thought you must be in the U.K.

There's a very good resource called the Registry of Guitar Tutors that could steer you in the direction of what sort of qualifications you could get AND what exam pieces are required.

If I were you I wouldn't wait that long to start teaching because it seems you already have a lot of skill. Why not start to parlay that into teaching straight away, though on a small scale.

I suppose I don't have to tell you that it's best to start small and work your way up. For instance, are there any children (yours or of relatives or friends) you could "practice" your teaching on to start to develop your teaching style?

I know myself, being a trained teacher, that I always learn more about a subject when I have to teach it. It always makes you more organised and prepared. And that's the key!

My advice would be work through some classical guitar beginner books first, like the ones on the Guitar Instruction page. When you feel confident with the material you could then try teaching it to say your own child (if they're interested of course:)), or a friend of the family.

Another point to consider is to move forward in small steps with a student, adjusting your approach to their needs. Too often I had teachers in the past that weren't focussed on service, but rather focussed on their own needs.

Needless to say, those sorts always make bad teachers. On the other hand, the teacher that focuses on the individual needs of students always gets the better results and deserved praise.

Additionally, I noticed in your post that you said... "I NEED a change of lifestyle." If the guitar thing turns out not to be "your thing" as it were, you might consider building you own website based on your own knowledge and experience just like I've done here.

This site is a really good second income stream for me and I plan on taking it to a whole new level this year. It's something I really enjoy and it never really feels like work because it's a passion of mine.

So many people are doing this these days because the web has really opened up a whole lot of new possibilities to work for yourself, or from home.

Have a look at the Site Build It! page here...

These are the people I use to host my site and I couldn't be happier. Anyway, I hope this information will be enough to get you started in the right direction.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

Jan 04, 2009
Advise welcome
by: Phil

Impressive resume!

I'm 53 years old, have played on and off for 38 years, work in IT and NEED a change of lifestyle.

I've often thought of teaching guitar but never pursued the idea until now. Can you (or any other interested party) throw some light of 'where to go now".

I've done everything round the wrong way to date i.e. learnt tab first and now trying to read manuscript. Most of the pieces I play were 'worked out' from the sheet music most of which supported by tab (but not all).

So I can read music, dyslexically if you get my drift. I'm particularly drawn to the works of Barrios and can play a quite a few pieces proficiently (according to the people around me).

I can also play a few Chet numbers too and god knows how many numbers I've forgotten!
What I'm looking for is advise on what qualification to attain and what's my entry level.

The last time I went to a teacher it cost me £10 (to give you an idea of how long ago this took place). When I was asked to play something to show my level of expertise I played Classical Gas (Mason Williams) and the teacher gave back the tenner and ask me to teach him that piece.

SO, I'm open to advise if there's anyone out there who can point me in the right direction.

Kind regards,

Dec 30, 2008
Very impressive resume Bruce!
by: Trevor M.

What a great story! And wow, you've really done a lot in your time Bruce.

Being a teacher myself I know that you can really learn something if you have to teach it and you seemed to have advanced a long way.

Hey? What are you doing on a beginner to intermediate site anyway? :))

Good luck with the performer's diploma, I'm sure you'll do great.

Congratulations and well done!

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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