There’s a reason Brandon McCoy’s sound is so unique — he’s a completely self-taught musician. McCoy, who is an accomplished guitar instrumentalist, didn’t even have a guitar to call his own until his 21st birthday. He spent the first seven of his musical journey playing any beater guitar he could find or borrow.
Though he’s been able to find his own sound and hone his craft, he knows his path could have been easier if he had his own instrument and someone to guide him. So he’s offering both to local youth through a new program offered at Windwalker Underground Gallery.
McCoy is starting with three students, each of whom will receive six weeks of free lessons that started May 2. The program — open to any youth 10 to 17 years old — is already enrolling for the next round of students and lessons. Students don’t even need to own their own guitar.
Windwalker started making the appeal for guitars in April and has received a couple donations. McCoy said he’d love to provide any student with a guitar to play for their six weeks of lessons if they don’t already have one.
“The whole idea is to get their hands on a guitar and to teach them to teach themselves,” McCoy said. “At that point, maybe they can convince their parents that it’s worth it to pay for some lessons. I would have killed for some lessons when I was starting out.”
McCoy said donated guitars don’t have to be in great condition to be donated. Acoustic guitars are preferred, and McCoy said there is a need for left-handed guitars.
“You can get pretty far off a beater guitar, three chords and some lyrics,” McCoy said.
One of his students, Ezra Wells, has already taken what he learned and performed at one of Windwalker’s Friday night Open Mic Nights.
The guitar lessons are just one of many youth arts opportunities Windwalker’s board of directors has put together for the summer. Board secretary, Kalli Dempsey is working on a community mural project with local youth that will be painted this summer.
To learn more about Windwalker Underground Gallery and its programs, visit windwalkerunderground.com.