FLINT, MI — Michael Arthur, owner of The Rock Stars Academy on Miller Road, has made the pivot to teaching online guitar lessons, offering a free introductory course during Michigan’s stay-at-home order. 

“I had about 20 or 25 students that I kept and crammed them all into two days,” says Arthur. “But I had been working on making the move to online—it’s what I set out to do 15 years ago to begin with, so quarantine has been a very good kick in the seat of the pants to actually sit down and do all of the things that were so very difficult to set up.”

Arthur believes learning the basics of anything should be free so that students can feel out their instructor’s style and see if they want to continue, an added perk for people wanting to pick up playing guitar with their newfound downtime. So he created some free instructional videos to help potential students get started and familiarize themselves with his teaching style. 

“After teaching the same thing several thousand times in a row I figured I could put it into a video format to where they can rewind and save us both some time, effort and trouble, you know?”

What sets The Rock Stars Academy additional courses apart from other lessons are not just the focus on instrument fundamentals, but using decades of experience to help musicians with songwriting and the actual application of playing music with others.

“My main focus before the year is out is to work on making songwriting a simpler process for people,” says Arthur. “With my band Two-Tone Curduoroy we did a lot of cover stuff, we are all very competent musicians, but when it came to writing it was just kind of blank stares. It was a very slow-going process and I don’t feel it needs to be. So finding basic tips and tricks and have people get unstuck a little more quickly and accomplish things. Obviously the song that’s never written is nowhere near the song that is, even if it isn’t the greatest.”

In addition to his songwriting course, Arthur will be providing paid coursework on lead guitar, rhythm guitar, fingerpicking, and as much as he can to establish a solid foundation for musicians.

“I always view it as like a pyramid, you know? I take three bricks and I put two bricks on the bottom layer and one in the center on the top. My pyramid is done, you know? It only takes a couple of minutes to put together. But if you want something that is going to be a higher monument, then you have to build a wider base. That’s what I feel like I’ve done over the years. At this point, I feel like I’m very comfortable with getting ideas out and I definitely want to help other people do so as well.”

You can check out Arthur’s free introductory guitar course at Rkstrs.com/freeguitar

Jonathan Diener is a world-traveling musician, comic writer, and freelance journalist having written for Vice, Alternative Press and The Hard Times. His charitable endeavors include the music compilation...