A young boy gets an electric guitar for this 14th birthday, then his dad takes him to his first concert: Van Halen.
He collects another guitar on his 16th birthday, and soon sets his sights on playing guitar professionally.
The young man is Langley’s Dave Callander, and he’s been playing his guitar non-stop for the past six years.
Callander started by taking lessons with Brian Poulsen, a respected musician who passed on his own unfulfilled wish to attend one of North America’s most prestigious music schools — the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, Calif. Poulsen recommended his student for M.I., and Callander submitted his demos.
Before he graduated from Langley Secondary School, Callander knew he was heading to Hollywood to study the M.I. Guitar Performance program and earn his Associate of Arts diploma.
Callander moved into a green and blue apartment building in the core of Hollywood, just two blocks from the famous Roosevelt Hotel and one block from Grauman’s Chinese Theater.
From his balcony he could hear audience noises from the El Capitan Theatre where the Jimmy Kimmel show is taped.
“The movie premieres at Grauman’s Theater were cool in the beginning, but then they got to be annoying,” he said.
“Hollywood Boulevard was flooded with tourists and media, sidewalks were roped off, and I had to cut through back alleys to get to school.”
Callander described his two years at Musician’s Institute as the “most incredible time of my life”.
He developed from a classical rock guitarist, to embracing jazz and jazz fusion styles under such revered names as Paul Gilbert and Al Bonhomme, who toured with Dwight Yoakam. Callander got his favorite guitar, a Parker Fly, while he was in L.A., for his 19th birthday.
Callander’s former teacher, Brian Poulsen, says that Callander was passionate about music, guitar in particular, and smart.
He thought it was a great idea for his student to engage in the M.I. musical experience in L.A., the entertainment capital of the world.
He believes the M.I. experience is of great value and offers its students a sense of music business, so they can find out whether it’s a good fit.
Now back in Langley, Callander teaches guitar at RJP Guitar Studios, at 56 Avenue and 203 Street, under the mentorship of Ray Pullen, a veteran of the Vancouver guitar scene. He still practices six hours per day to perfect his craft.
His current guitar hero is Miles Davis. Callander pictures himself in the future, playing guitar in a recording studio as a professional studio musician, “an Olympian of the music industry.”
Callander recently played a couple of open mike sessions at the Wired Monk in Murrayville, however these days he’s focused on teaching.
Callander’s website is under development. It can be viewed at www.davecallander.com.