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A man and his music

Guitar player finds fulfillment teaching others his skills


by: POST PHOTO: JIM HART - POST PHOTO: JIM HART Vlad Sergeevich practices his highly-honed musical skills on his guitar prior to beginning a lesson for one of his young students at the Impact Learning Center in Sandy. There’s a new guitar player in town. Actually, he lives just a few miles outside of Sandy, but comes to town to share his musical skills as a teacher of the instrument.

Vlad Sergeevich came to the United States from Kiev in the Ukraine when he was 10, and by the time he was 14, just entering high school, he had no idea which direction his life would take him.

As luck would have it, he didn’t have to wait long for that revelation.

It was around the turn of the century when an image of the future entered the young teenager’s mind. The prophetic vision came into the spotlight in the form of two musical notes from guitar strings played by David Gilmore, lead guitarist for Pink Floyd, a U.K. band.

To this day, Sergeevich can still hear those two notes, which he calls “very powerful,” and “my cornerstone.” The notes are still roaming around in his mind — motivating him as they did when he was 14.

“(When I was a teenager) I finally heard something inspiring in a (musical recording),” he said. “I finally heard the voice of a guitar talk to me, and I was just blown away.”

The album was “Wish You Were Here,” and the 10-minute original version with haunting refrains from Gilmore’s talking guitar was “Shine on You Crazy Diamond.”

But British bands such as The Beatles and Pink Floyd as well as classical composers the likes of Vivaldi and Mozart also influenced him.

“The more I play music,” he said, “the more I appreciate different genres.”

The 27-year-old teacher says he is self-taught, but he did take a lot of music classes at Clackamas Community College.

Today, Sergeevich is a qualified and experienced teacher of guitar who draws on his knowledge of music and patience to teach and train his students, ages 6-60. He says he has been teaching guitar for about five years, but less than a year in Sandy.

His teaching happens at the same level as each student, he said, while he is trying to avoid being intimidating. He shows his passion for the music and the instrument, encouraging his students to avoid the mental block in the expression that some students occasionally say, “I can’t do it.”

Learning from Sergeevich comes in the form of individual instruction, beginning at the level of musical knowledge and skills the student has on the first day of class in Sandy.

“By tailoring a lesson for an individual student,” he said, “I’m making something a lot more personal for the student. I notice what the student needs and use their strengths to overcome their weaknesses.”

He teaches what he calls “finger-style” guitar, which means the rhythm and melody are played at the same time with the five fingers of the dominant hand.

Finger-style picking on a classical guitar produces an instrumental type of music, as opposed to the strumming usually associated with vocal accompaniment.

The music he uses to inspire his students includes the genres of folk, rock, classical and blues. He also teaches a little music theory along with guitar skills.

“I am inspired with the thought that I can make a difference (in the lives of my students),” Sergeevich said. “I get excited when they get excited. I like to see the joy in students’ eyes when they are learning.”

Lessons from Sergeevich are available at the Impact Learning Center, 38959 Pioneer Blvd.

For more information, call 503-668-0200.