Christopher Nolan on Silencing Your Phone

Taken from Adam Grant’s interview with Christopher Nolan for Esquire magazine, this is the single best reasoning I’ve ever seen for turning off your phone in creative situations:

Nolan: “There’s a mass belief that if you’re texting, you’re somehow not interrupting the conversation – you’re not being rude.

The person doing it doesn’t realize they have taken the energy from the conversation. If you have people in a creative environment where they have to concentrate on what they’re doing, you can’t have them wandering off in their minds. You can’t be texting somebody else and paying attention to what’s going on. If you call people on it, they’ll repeat the last thing you said. They repeat the words with zero understanding of what they meant. And then over the next minute, you see them start to understand the words for the first time. You can absorb audio information just at the level that you can repeat it back, without understanding.

It’s an illusion of multitasking. I started film-making when people didn’t expect to have a phone on set, when it would’ve been seen as unprofessional to pull out a phone. Phones have become a huge distraction, and people work much better without them. At first it causes difficulty, but it really allows them to concentrate on what they’re doing. Everybody understands. I’ve had a lot of crews thank me. With a set, we’re trying to create a bubble of alternate reality.

Feedback from Spring 2016-2017 Classes

Responses from MUS1660 Guitar for Music Therapy

• Professor Horne is one of the best professors I have had in the School of Music. He is extremely approachable, knowledgeable and passionate about his work. He has helped me to have a firm foundation of guitar skills as a future therapist, and a great basis of repertoire and stylistic choices, as well. I would highly recommend his class to anyone, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to study with him.

• Guitar class is great- I love that Mr. Horne values student input and asks our opinions on what would be most practical skills to work on. I genuinely enjoy coming to this class.
I wish we did more videos. Even weekly would have been nice. More feedback and timely responses would make it even better. Other than that, he is a wonderful professor.

• John Horne is an amazing teacher. Everything we learn is extremely practical and I always know what is expected of me.

• Professor Horne is the perfect teacher for this class. Folk guitar is my favorite class to go to.

• I wish there were courses offered for guitar 3 and 4 for music therapy majors. For the amount that we as student music therapists use guitar in sessions with clients, I think adding more training in guitar could only increase our skill and level of comfort in playing guitar for therapeutic use in the future and could allow us as students to take more time learning more difficult concepts such as bar chords, fingerpicking, and jazz chords.

• I wish there were more semesters to work on guitar skills. I personally use my guitar than I do piano, and with only two semesters I feel as though the two instruments are not fairly equivalent in the use of practicality. To have 6 semesters of piano and only 2 semesters of guitar, the skills should be equal with equal semesters possible.

•Professor Horne is a great, and easy professor to get along with. Very easily likable and is constantly presenting material that is challenging and clearly helping students better themselves as musicians. Professor Horne also uses music theory and alternative ways for students to understand content that we are working on.

Responses from MUS1651 Guitar for Non-Music Majors

• Helped me get over my singing stage fright. I highly recommend this class to all levels of experience in guitar. John Horne knows what he is doing when it comes to music. It was kind of like being in a band. I had fun and I learned much more than I thought I would, despite having been playing guitar for so long. It sparked my interest in more classical form of guitar, of which I intend to pursue further.

Music Distinguished Teaching Award Nominations

Nomination #1

Time known: 1-2 semesters

Association with Faculty Nominee: Class Guitar I and II

Teaching Ability: Professor Horne knows exactly what he is talking about in class. He also serves the music therapy students in his class. He teaches us specifically what we will need in our career.

Service & Dedication to the Profession: Professor Horne not only teaches classes, but also teaches private lessons outside of school. He cares about his students and making sure we get what we need to be successful.

Service & Dedication to the Ohio University School of Music, its students, faculty, and alumni: Professor Horne continually works with AMTAS to teach restringing guitar and teaching us about how to keep our guitar in good condition.

Additional Commentary: Professor Horne’s class is my favorite part of the day. He is warm and kind to the students and we always have a nice time. We all feel like we are prepared when going to practicum and playing the guitar for clients. Many students believe that Professor Horne deserves this award.

Nomination #2

Time known: 1-2 semesters

Association with Faculty Nominee: Class Guitar I and II

Teaching Ability: I have learned functional guitar skills very quickly because of how Professor Horne teaches his class. He knows what music therapy students need to know and focuses on those aspects in order for us to learn how to accompany ourselves in sessions.

Service & Dedication to the Profession: Professor Horne is someone that will answer any question I have about guitar as soon as he is able to and is someone all the students
can rely on. He shows that he cares about us improving and gives helpful feedback whenever we need it.

Service & Dedication to the Ohio University School of Music, its students, faculty, and alumni: Professor Horne has been a great teacher to the music therapy students and to individual students taking private lessons with him. He also allows non-therapy majors to be involved in the class although they are not required to take it and welcomes them as if they are a part of the group.

Review: Study with Adam

World-renown fingerstyle guitarist Adam Rafferty recently hung out his virtual shingle as an on-line guitar teacher. His well-thought-out website offers step-by-step video lessons on many of his popular arrangements and originals, a chance to interact with and receive constructive feedback from Adam, and a treasure trove of opportunities to learn and grow as a guitarist and arranger.

As a teacher that meets in person with students I was a little dubious of how much value could be offered via a website that – at first glance – offers prerecorded lessons, but after spending some time exploring (SWA) I was really impressed with how much thought was put into the design of the site and how much care Adam takes in creating meaningful interactive content for it.

On the site, you’ll find over 23 hours of video providing instruction on professional-level songs, techniques, and concepts to help improve your understanding of harmony and groove. If you’ve ever seen any of his other video lessons, you’ll know that Adam thoughtfully prepares these videos and presents everything you need to know in very concise way that’s easy to follow without ever letting things get overwhelming or boring. You also get a feel for why he chooses certain chord voicings or fingerings as he goes through the material. Videos are rated by difficulty so you’ll know a little about what to expect and most pieces are often broken into small, manageable segments. There’s also a detailed audiobook and accompanying PDF “How to Arrange for Solo Guitar” that delves into Adam’s approach and provides players with several methods of creating their own arrangements and even some instruction on jazz improvisation if that’s an avenue you want to explore. New content is added about every six weeks and there is a poll where users can let Adam know what they’d like to see a lesson on next.

One thing you won’t find on the site is guitar tablature for Adam’s arrangements of popular songs. Unfortunately, guitar tablature requires print licensing so lessons are taught strictly by rote in order avoid copyright infringement. Some of the newer lessons on SWA include occasional onscreen chord diagrams or PDF “help files” containing tips and tricks and blank TAB lines to scribble in the fingerings of the melody or other notes for your own personal use. Also, note that if you want to learn any of Adam’s arrangements of Stevie Wonder or Jackson 5 tunes they are only available on his DVD packages and they do include licensed tablature booklets. You can find them here:

One of the most popular features of the site is the ability to upload a video of yourself performing for Adam to review and offer constructive feedback. Adam is really devoted to keeping up with this and recently reported that in 2016 he watched over 280 student uploads. It’s important to note that users do not have to record a piece from Adam’s repertoire to participate in this exchange. Of course, many players do submit video covers of the material presented on the site but others will upload pieces by other well-known guitarists or even their own arrangements. A response is given by way of another video from Adam discussing what elements of the performance were good and which need improvement. Adam’s advice is always thoughtful and encouraging but contains concrete observations and specific, personalized suggestions of how to improve.

For me, this is a key hidden value of the site: watching other guitarists perform for Adam and receive feedback is very often just as instructive as receiving a critique of your own. It’s essentially a digital master-class where all the students can learn from observing one another.

The only criticism I could possibly make is that although the website has a “community” section for members to connect, it’s not particularly robust or intuitive. However, a private Facebook group for SWA members more than makes up for that and anyway, you should be practicing – not chatting!

I highly recommend Study with Adam for any intermediate to advanced fingerstyle guitarists who want to widen their solo repertoire, improve their arranging chops, and deepen their groove. SWA also offers several subscription options that are all very reasonably priced and all feature a 14-day free trail so you can take some time to be sure the site is right for you. Go check it out!

Feedback from Fall 2016-2017 Classes

Responses from MUS1650 Guitar for Music Therapy

• I love this class – Mr. Horne is engaging and tailors the class to match the abilities of his students. I look forward to going to class!

• John Horne is absolutely one of my favorite professors that I have had at Ohio University, I enjoy attending his class and feel I haveimproved a good deal during the semester. Can’t wait to have class with him again next semester!

• Love him. He is such a great teacher.

• Made me feel successful on an instrument I have never been great with!

• My guitar skills have improved so much in just one semester of guiar. I was challenged every class and there were always multiple ways provided of how to play something to make it more challenging which met everyone where they were.

• Overall the class is wonderful and I enjoy it and it makes me feel like I can really am learning. I just wish that there was an update every few weeks of our grade. Overall the class is very effective and really teaches us guitar. I would love to see one one-on-one work though out the class but I honestly love this class.

• Professor Horne is a wonderful guitar teacher. He is extremely helpful in class and offers helpful advice every day. I wish I knew what I had in the class, not knowing my grade in any class is very stressful. But I am confident that if I was doing poorly, he would let me know. I look forward to another semester of guitar!

• This was my favorite class this semester

• Dr. Horne is an excellent guitarist and Professor and consistently presents the material in a way that is both challenging but concise for the class to learn. I have never played guitar before, and he has helped me to have a firm foundation to continue learning and an inspiration to keep learning more.

• He is very patient. I really like this class.

• John Horne is a great professor. Our class is at 8:35 in the morning and he is a great way to start off the day- especially that early. I really appreciate how accommodating his curriculum for students who have never played the guitar until now- me. John Horne is really funny and is a good teacher.

Responses from MUS2550 Jazz Combo

• I love this class. I look forward to it every week, and I learn a lot every time we meet. Professor Horne does a great job creating a comfortable environment where each person can experiment.

• It has been a pleasure to have professor Horne as an ensemble director this year. He chose appropriate rep and asked for suggestions from the group. As a group I felt that we really loved our rep this semester for that reason. His directions were very clear and he used rehearsal time very effectively. His vast knowledge of Jazz music and performance is evident in each piece of advice he gives the members of the ensemble. His positive attitude and love of jazz music really unified and motivated the group. He also created materials such as arrangements or additional parts to songs. Professor Horne is an extremely effective director and a joy to learn from.

• Professor Horne has a gift; acting as catalyst, he has created an ensemble of musicians, not just eight individuals playing their notes.

Responses from MUS2550 Jazz Improv for Music Therapy

• The final project was awesome, even though it took me more time that I expected to finish it. However, it gave me more opportunities to thinking about how to use what we learned in the music therapy session.

• The several techniques we have used in class has inspired me in many ways, especially in clinical area.

• Great teacher with great passion for jazz.

• I enjoyed jazz improvisation. It would be helpful to have assignment posted prior to being assigned. I liked the source the instructor used to assign homework and information.

• I like that he made the class fun and didn’t have us so worried about grades. I especially like that he had us improvise based on feel. He taught us “feel” instead of reading notes on a page.

• John Horne is very passionate about jazz improvisation and is a great class facilitator. However, I believe the majority of the class materials is not applicable to music therapy. I wish we could have done more clinical interventions with jazz improvisation.

• Professor Horne made the class applicable to the career I will be going into, and I really appreciated that.