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August Student of the Month--Stephan C.

Saturday, November 16, 2013
Stephan CName: Stephan C

My City:
Las Vegas, Nevada

Forum Username:
Stephan Choiniere

My Instruments/gear:
Electric: Dean, Deceiver FM, flame maple top, scary cherry (red), with pearl inlays and abalone body binding
Electric: Traveler Guitar, EG1 Standard (red)
Acoustic: Schecter, Hellraiser Studio, quilted maple top, black cherry (red), with abalone & pearl inlays, abalone rosette & body binding
Amp: Fender, Mustang 1

Favorite Artists/Bands:
That's a long list! I admire so many different styles of guitar playing that it's hard to narrow down. Here's a few that are close to my heart:
Bruce Cockburn
Steve Hunter
Lindsey Buckingham
Pierre Bensusan
Joe Satriani
Eddie Van Halen
Steve Stevens
Guthrie Govan
Tommy Emmanuel
Estas Tonne
Nile Rodgers
Craig Chaquico
William Ackerman
Michael Hedges
William Ellwood
John Renbourn
Rob Eberhard Young

Favorite style(s) to play:
As far as favorite songs to practice, fingerstyle holds top spot for me right now. I also love the blues and want to add more of this to my repertoire. My future aspirations will have to include flamenco guitar.

What made you want to play music?
Music drives all my artistic aspirations. I need to feel music to choreograph and give reason to movement, and even my drawing and painting feel like they are just visual translations of a musical origin. As such, I believe music is the most immediate and evocative art form. Despite the importance of my other creative expressions, it was only a matter of time before I had to be touching music first-hand through the guitar.

Previous music experience (even if you're a complete beginner, anything musical will be interesting here):
My mother is a classical pianist and she taught me and my brothers piano. Later that translated to the xylophone for me. When I was seven years old, I composed and performed a solo piece on the xylophone for an audience of about two hundred. Eventually, I needed to narrow down my artistic interests, so playing music fell away from center stage. However, a passion for listening to guitar grew into fueling my other artistic interests. Twenty years ago I made a feeble attempt at learning to play as a distraction after a difficult breakup with a girlfriend, but the timing was not good when I needed to define what I wanted in my professional life. Finally two years ago I started anew with the guitar and I had all the right resources, life experience, and motivation to do it seriously.

If your house was on fire, which instrument would you grab?
Definitely my acoustic Schecter, Hellraiser Studio. It's a beautiful piece of art to look at. But I might risk scorching my other hand by reaching for the Dean, Deceiver FM!

What is your favorite place to be when playing guitar?
I mostly play in my home office where all my music materials are at hand. However, I also enjoy playing in the largest room of my house (open kitchen/dining/living space) with high ceilings where the sound moves differently.

What has been your highest, most delightful musical moment so far?
With the guitar, it would have to be when a friend and life-long guitar player told me I had great tone. That made me feel accomplished, but also spurred me on to making my tone even better. I love nuance and delicacy as much and maybe more than raw crunch.

Hobbies: I enjoy creative writing and journaling. I also draw and paint, but far less frequently now. Those skills are parlayed into graphic design projects on occasion. I'm an avid reader and researcher of many topics, including super-food nutrition, creativity and learning enhancement. I'm driven towards communicating an evolution of our expressive abilities through experiencing unconditional love as the master creator. I'm still learning what that really is.

Current Job:
I call myself an acrobatic-dancer. I created and performed a featured act with Cirque du Soleil for three years, and now I job-out that act and more as a freelance performing artist. I'm also a teacher of my craft and an act designer for variety artists in the circus genre and dance.
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