A review by a former student posted on Google Business search:
"My name is Jeff and I took lessons from Mr. Mike for about four years. I had always wanted to learn how to play but never found the time or the right situation. I found Mike Upchurch on line, called and went to his studio. I started lessons the next day and never really wanted to leave after that. Within a few lessons he had me actually playing songs! He took me through his program from the basics all the way to playing power chords , being very meticulous at every step making sure I knew how and why you did it a particular way. Over the years waiting to take my lessons I had the opportunity to watch him interact with a lot of students from eleven to fifty plus year olds, and he poured himself into each one. I would definitely recommend Mr. Mike to anyone, any age, if you want to learn how to play the guitar. Show up, put the practice in, and give it a little time, and I promise you'll be amazed with what you learn. You know to say he was a good guitar teacher doesn't do him justice. There is a reason I stayed past the completion of the program and that is he taught me a lot about myself. Through his encouragement I began to be able to sing along with the songs I was playing, which was a big thing. I learned how enjoyable playing music could be at the end of a long hard day. I learned a lot about how to write my own songs, which gave me a lot of satisfaction. It's amazing. You cross paths with a lot of people in your life but there are only a few that leave a great impression on you. Every time I pick up a guitar now I think of Mike Upchurch."
My two room teaching and recording studio overlooks Brices Creek.
Acceptance as a Performance
Only selected students will be accepted for this form of lessons. I will audition you and your skill level on guitar. IF you need BEGINNING GUITAR LESSONS, I will say so. Many guitarists who already play fairly well will only need a few lessons to graduate to INTERMEDIATE LEVEL. Some may need no instruction at the beginning level and be quite prepared to move on. But be aware, I still do NOT consider myself an advanced guitar player and certainly can not offer advanced level instruction. Again, these classes focus on PERFORMING - singing and playing in front of an audience, playing with a higher level of performance and confidence.
Please call (252-474-3990) or email (email@example.com) for more information.
I charge $30 per 1 hour lesson.
OK, so how will we go about getting our material up to performance standards? Specific Goals: (To START these lessons)
1. Choose THREE songs you like and want to master. This IS an arbitrary number, I admit. You can select just one and focus on it. But three songs give you a variety to practice, pushing aside boredom somewhat. Choose SIMPLE SONGS to start with. Avoid songs with key changes (like “Already Gone”) or difficult picking patterns (like “Landslide.”)
2. Your first goal is to master playing these songs. No excuses. You’re shooting for 100% ability. The only way to achieve this is sheer repetition of the song, focusing on weaker aspects of each one, getting them overcome, then playing and singing the entire song all the way through until it is “as good as it's gonna get.”
3. I recommend sitting to play through the first three songs, attaining success that way before moving on with standing while playing/singing. Success breeds success. Failure breeds failure.
4. Showmanship is another area we will cover, starting with you writing, memorizing, and practicing a short verbal introduction to each song you select. Yes, it may seem silly, but you will be expected to say these introductions to an audience of one (me!) each time you perform it for a while.
5. Memorization: The easiest and best performances are done by performers that memorize their material. Watch any nationally recognized act to verify this. However, I’ve had TWO concussions, and I’ve always had difficulty memorizing anything. That’s why I “cheat” with chordcharts or tablet in front of me when I perform, even if I do have the song memorized. BUT- lately I've seen even youngish bands with "lyric-prompters"- usually computer monitors or laptops with scrolling white song lyrics on a black background (these monitors are either freestanding or in a wedge shaped black monitor box) in front of LOTS of performers who simply decided they either couldn't memorize all those pesky lyrics OR that the public doesn't care anymore if they "cheat." Most video producers won't allow the cameraman to show these lyric-prompters on the stage floor, you'll notice. But you can spot them there. The bottom line is that I no longer force my students to memorize Performance material. They know to do it IF THEY CAN, if they are playing out for an audience.
We will also cover diverse areas such as guitar related equipment, the psychology of dealing with bandmates, non-verbal stage communication, dealing with different acoustics in different venues, stage presence, mic technique, using volume as a tool, etc., etc.
What is Performance Guitar?
These lessons focus on "perfecting" the student's playing and usually utilize the student's acoustic and/or an electric guitar, and my amplifier, microphone, and PA system with floor monitors.
PERFORMANCE FOCUS IN INTERMEDIATE GUITAR LESSONS
1.Realize you will be expected to not just play your material for me, but to perform at a much higher level of ability. Your goal is simple: Be proud of your performance!
2.Therefore, you may have to practice harder than you normally would for each lesson. Like any common sense student, you will need to rehearse the weakest aspects of your performance until it comes up to the 98% + requirement.
3 If you are not willing to work towards this level, don’t agree to do it. You will only waste your money with senseless repetition. Everybody has a hard week or two when they can’t practice, but a pattern of them will only frustrate you and your instructor.
4.I strongly encourage each student to sing when appropriate. Even a mediocre voice can be improved through practice, learning new techniques of singing, how to fully utilize a microphone, and overcoming the fear and insecurity almost each of us has when singing. Of course I will ask you to sing lead vocals for your selected material, but in the event you can not do so I will ask you to sing background vocals to the material. Background singers are needed in most bands, right?
PERFORMANCE GUITAR LESSONS
Over the years it has become apparent that though my guitar students have LEARNED what I have taught them, few have MASTERED what I've taught. (If I forced students to master what I teach before moving forward, then few would move.) This takes time and practice. So, because I have been often asked to provide lessons beyond BEGINNING GUITAR, I have added another level to my teaching:
PERFORMANCE GUITAR LESSONS
LEARNING CONTINUES during the Performance Guitar lessons, but at a different rate, on an "as it is needed" basis. LOTS of previous lessons have to be reviewed; things such as hammer-ons, lift-offs, percussive guitar, palm muting, playing solos, fingerpicking, etc. take LOADS of time to learn. We do these in Performance Guitar. We also learn LOTS of new songs, some new techniques of playing, all with an emphasis on PERFORMING.
SOME OF THE SONGS I TEACH
MY GOAL is to get the student to be able to teach themselves almost ANY song they want AFTER I’M DONE TEACHING THEM! That is the goal of most any teacher of most any skill, to get the student to not need your help anymore. If you’re determined to learn something right now that is not on this list, I recommend you wait until you can teach it to yourself. Or try using YouTube to show you how.
If a student says a certain song doesn’t “sit right” with them, or maybe it conflicts with some core belief the student has, there’s no problem. I just choose another song. I usually ask before teaching a church hymn.
A PIRATE LOOKS AT FORTY- Jimmy Buffett
AFTER MIDNIGHT – JJ Cale, Eric Clapton
AGAINST THE WIND - Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
A HORSE WITH NO NAME- America
AIN’T NO SUNSHINE – Bill Withers
ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER- Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix
ALL I HAVE TO DO IS DREAM – The Everly Brothers
ALREADY GONE – The Eagles
AMAZING GRACE – traditional hymn
AMIE- Pure Prairie League (w. Vince Gill)
ANGEL FROM MONTGOMERY- John Prine, Carly Simon, and dozens of other famous singers.
ANOTHER SATURDAY NIGHT – Sam Cooke, Jimmy Buffett
BAD, BAD LEROY BROWN – Jim Croche
BAD MOOD RISING – Credence Clearwater Revival
BE BOP A LULA- Gene Vincent, Stray Cats, Paul McCartney, etc.
BEFORE YOU ACCUSE ME – CCR- Eric Clapton
BIG BOSS MAN – Elvis Presley
BLOWIN' IN THE WIND- Bob Dylan
BORN TO BE WILD - Steppenwolf
BROWN EYED GIRL – Van Morrison, Jimmy Buffett, etc.
CALIFORNIA DREAMING - The Mamas and the Papas
CAN'T GET ENOUGH (of Your Love) - Bad Company
CAN'T HELP FALLING IN LOVE - Elvis
CAN’T YOU SEE – Marshall Tucker Band
CAJUN MOON – JJ Cale
CHEESEBURGER IN PARADISE – Jimmy Buffett
COCAINE – (an anti-drug song by) JJ CALE, Eric Clapton
COME MONDAY – Jimmy Buffett
COME TOGETHER – The Beatles
CRAWDAD SONG - Doc Watson, Woodie Guthrie, etc.
CRAZY MAMA – JJ Cale
CROSSROADS- Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton
DEAR ABBY - John Prine
DEVIL IN DISGUISE - JJ Cale
DEVIL WITH A BLUE DRESS – Mitch Rider and the Detroit Wheels
DOCK OF THE BAY – Otis Redding
DONALD AND LYDIA – John Prine
DON’T GO TO STRANGERS – JJ Cale
DON’T THINK TWICE, IT’S ALRIGHT – Bob Dylan
DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY – Bobby McFerrin
DOWN TO THE WATERLINE- Dire Straits / Mark Knopfler
DOWNTOWN L.A.- JJ Cale
DREAM A LITTLE DREAM OF ME - The Mamas and The Papas
DREAMS - Fleetwood Mac
DUST IN THE WIND - Kansas
ELANOR RIGBY - The Beatles
END OF THE LINE – The Traveling Wilburys
EVIL WAYS - Santana
FAR FROM ME - John Prine
FEEL LIKE MAKING LOVE - Bad Company
FINS – Jimmy Buffett
FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN – Marshall Tucker Band
FOLSOM PRISON BLUES – Johnny Cash
FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH – Buffalo Springfield
FORTUNATE SON – Credence Clearwater Revival
FOX ON THE RUN – trad, bluegrass, Zac Brown
FREE BIRD – Lynyrd Skynyrd
FRIEND OF THE DEVIL – The Grateful Dead
GET TOGETHER – The Youngbloods
GLORIA – Van Morrison (with The Shadows of Night)
GOOD LOVIN’ – The Rascals
GOT MY MOJO WORKIN’ – Muddy Waters
GIMME THREE STEPS – Lynyrd Skynyrd
GRANDPA WAS A CARPENTER – John Prine
GREEN RIVER - Creedence Clearwater Revival
HALLELUJAH – Leonard Cohen
HAPPY BIRTHDAY – trad.
HEART OF GOLD – Neil Young
HEARTACHE TONIGHT – The Eagles
HELLO IN THERE - John Prine
HE WENT TO PARIS - Jimmy Buffett
HERE COMES THE SUN – George Harrison/The Beatles
HONKY TONK WOMEN - The Rolling Stones
HOOCHIE COOCHIE MAN - Muddy Waters
HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN – The Animals
HOW SWEET IT IS TO BE LOVED BY YOU - James Taylor. Marvin Gaye, etc.
IF YOU'RE EVER IN OKLAHOMA- JJ CALE
ILLEGAL SMILE - John Prine
I’LL FLY AWAY – traditional gospel
I PUT A SPELL ON YOU – Credence Clearwater Revival
IT'S STILL ROCK AND ROLL TO ME- Billy Joel
I WALK THE LINE – Johnny Cash
I WON'T BACK DOWN - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
JENNY (867-5309) - Tommy TuTone
JET AIRLINER – Steve Miller Band
JOHNNY B. GOODE – Chuck Berry
JUST WHAT I NEEDED- The Cars
KANSAS CITY – Fats Domino, Little Richard, The Beatles, etc.
KEY TO THE HIGHWAY – Eric Clapton
KNOCKIN’ ON HEAVEN’S DOOR – Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, etc.
LANDSLIDE – Stevie Nicks (and Fleetwood Mac)
LAYLA – (UNPLUGGED version) Eric Clapton
LEAN ON ME - Bill Withers
LEARNING TO FLY - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
LET IT BE – The Beatles
LIES- JJ Cale
LIGHT MY FIRE – The Doors, Jose Feliciano
LIKE A ROLLING STONE – Bob Dylan
LIME IN DE COCOUNT – Harry Nillson
LISTEN TO THE MUSIC – The Doobie Brothers
LITTLE SISTER – Elvis Presley
LONDON BRIDGE IS FALLING DOWN – trad.
MAGNOLIA – JJ Cale
MAMA DON’T ALLOW – JJ Cale
MARGARITTAVILLE – Jimmy Buffett
MARY JANE'S LAST DANCE - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
ME AND BOBBY McGEE – Kris Kristofferson, Janis Joplin
MEDLEY- UNDER THE BOARDWALK (THE DRIFTERS) and STAND BY ME (BEN E. KING)
MICHAEL ROW THE BOAT ASHORE – Pete Segar, The Highwaymen, The Beach Boys, The Smothers Brothers
MIDNIGHT HOUR – Wilson Pickett
MONY MONY – Tommy James and the Shondells
MOTHER AND CHILD REUNION- Paul Simon
MOVE IT ON OVER – George Thorogood
MUSTANG SALLY – Wilson Pickett
MY BACK PAGES – Bob Dylan, The Byrds
MR. SPACEMAN - The Byrds
MR. TAMBOURINE MAN – Bob Dylan, The Byrds
NAUTICAL WHEELERS – Jimmy Buffett
NIGHTS IN WHITE SATIN – The Moody Blues
NOBODY KNOWS YOU WHEN YOU’RE DOWN AND OUT – Bessie Smith, Eric Clapton
NO TIME – JJ Cale
NORWEGIAN WOOD- The Beatles
NOWHERE TO RUN - JJ CALE
NO WOMAN NO CRY- Bob Marley and The Wailers
OLD TIME ROCK AND ROLL – Bob Segar and the Silver Bullet Band
ONE PARTICULAR HARBOR - Jimmy Buffett
PAINT IT BLACK – The Rolling Stones
PANCHO and LEFTY - Willie Nelson
PARADISE – John Prine
PEACEFUL EASY FEELING – The Eagles
PEOPLE PUTTIN' PEOPLE DOWN - John Prine
PRETTY GOOD - John Prine
PRETTY WOMAN - Roy Orbison
PRIDE AND JOY – Stevie Ray Vaughan
PROUD MARY – Credence Clearwater Revival
PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON – Peter, Paul, and Mary
PUT THE LIME IN THE COCONUT (The Coconut Song)- Harry Nilsson
RAIN, PLEASE GO AWAY - Alison Kraus and Union Station
RAMBLIN’ MAN – The Allman Brothers
REFUGEE – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
RIVERBOAT SONG – JJ Cale
ROADHOUSE BLUES- The Doors
R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A- John Cougar Mellencamp
ROCKY TOP- The Osborne Brothers
ROW, ROW, ROW YOUR BOAT – trad.
RUNNING ON FAITH- Eric Clapton
SAM STONE – John Prine
SENSITIVE KIND – JJ Cale
SEVEN BRIDGES ROAD – The Eagles
SHOUT – The Isley Brothers
SIMPLE MAN – Lynyrd Skynyrd
SMALL TOWN - John "Cougar" Mellencamp
SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW/ WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD – “IZ” version
SOULSHINE - The Allman Brothers Band (Warren Haynes)
SOUTHERN CROSS – Stephen Stills, Jimmy Buffett
SOUVENIRS - John Prine
SPANISH PIPEDREAM - John Prine
ST. JAMES INFIRMARY BLUES - Louis Armstrong
STAND BY BE – Ben E. King
STATESBORO BLUES – Allman Brothers
STORMY MONDAY – Allman Bros., BB King, T Bone Walker, etc.
STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU – Steelers Wheel
SULTANS OF SWING – Dire Straights
SUMMERTIME – Janis Joplin, etc.
SWEET HOME ALABAMA – Credence Clearwater Revival
TAKE ME HOME, COUNTRY ROADS - John Denver
TANGLED UP IN BLUE - Bob Dylan
TEACH YOUR CHILDREN – Crosby Stills, and Nash
TENNESSEE WHISKEY- CHRIS STAPLETON
THAT'LL BE THE DAY - Buddy Holly
THAT'S ALRIGHT, MAMA- Elvis Presley
THE BALLAD OF CURTIS LOEW- Lynyrd Skynyrd
THE CAPTAIN AND THE KID – Jimmy Buffett
THE SOUND OF SILENCE- SIMON AND GARFUNKLE
THE MTA – Kingston Trio
THE WEIGHT – The Band
THEY CALL ME THE BREEZE – JJ Cale, Lynyrd Skynyrd
THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND – Woodie Guthrie
THREE LITTLE BIRDS (DON'T WORRY ABOUT A THING)- Bob Marley and the Wailers
TROUBLE IN THE CITY – JJ Cale
TRYING TO REASON WITH HURRICANE SEASON – Jimmy Buffett
TUESDAY'S GONE - Lynyrd Skynyrd
TURN THE PAGE – Bob Segar and the Silver Bullet Band
TURN, TURN, TURN! - The Byrds (Pete Seeger / Ecclesiastes)
TWIST AND SHOUT/ LA BAMBA – The Beatles/ Richie Valens
UNDER THE BOARDWALK – The Drifters
UP ON CRIPPLE CREEK - The Band
VOLCANO – Jimmy Buffett
WAGON WHEEL – Bob Dylan, Old Crow Medicine Show, Darius Rucker
WALK OF LIFE – Dire Straits
WALKING ON SUNSHINE - Katrina and the Waves
WALKING TO NEW ORLEANS - Fats Domino
WATER OF LOVE- Dire Straits / Mark Knopfler
WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD - Sam Cooke
WHAT I SAY - Ray Charles
WHEN THE SAINTS GO MARCHING IN – Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino, Elvis Presley, etc.
WILD THING – The Troggs
WILD HORSES- The Rolling Stones
WILDWOOD FLOWER- The Carter Family
WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN ? – The Carter Family, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, etc.
WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME TOMORROW - Carole King
WONDERFUL TONIGHT – Eric Clapton
YESTERDAY - Paul McCartney / Beatles
YOU AIN'T GOIN' NOWHERE- Bob Dylan, The Byrds, etc.
YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE- Johnny Cash, etc.
YOU NEVER CAN TELL -C'EST LA VIE- Chuck Berry
YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT – The Rolling Stones
YOU WRECK ME – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
(Plus any of my songs I have written from my first two albums, or posted on YouTube -BUT only upon request. )
I live and teach in New Bern, N.C. I'm not hard to find. Go to our CONTACT US page for more specific information. Some of my students come from surrounding areas, Havelock, Vanceboro, etc. I have not had good luck with students traveling 45 min. or more to get here for weekly lessons, yet they keep attempting it. Just be aware that that drive is fine for a few weeks but gets rather old, UNLESS you come to New Bern on a regular basis anyway.