“I never actually set out to be a music teacher.  My mother was a symphony violinist and started me with piano lessons when I was 6 years old.  I began playing clarinet in 5th grade and took up guitar in 1964 when The Beatles hit America.  I soon discovered that music was a powerful vehicle for creativity and self expression that enhanced all aspects of my life.  So many of the great friends I’ve made and the great times I’ve had have revolved around music.  I try to convey that same joy and passion to my students in every lesson I teach.  


     From the beginning, I say I was “the kid who had to know”.  That’s just how my mind works.  That’s what has made me an effective teacher.  I could see there was a SYSTEM to the way music worked and if I understood that system, I would be able to do anything I wanted with my music.  I particularly wanted to write my own songs ... play by ear ... jam and improvise.  With the help of the great teachers I have had along the way, I am happy to say I have realized those goals. 


     I took music theory classes and played in the school band through high school and into college.  I attended classes at the Hartt School of Music from 1972 to 1976.

   One of my first great teachers was Dan May.  Dan was one of those true musical prodigies you hear about ... played the piano before he could walk ... masters degree in music composition at age 22 ... teaching at the University of Connecticut.  He was totally knowledgeable about music and good at explaining it clearly and logically.  He took what I already knew, filled in the missing gaps and got me to see how easy it is to understand music if you get it explained to you the right way.  I still use many of Dan’s methods in my own teaching.


     Dan also introduced me to the late, great Dick Wetmore ... the legendary jazz violinist who lived here on The Cape for so many years.  He became another great teacher, friend and mentor.  Dick showed me that soloing is like having a CONVERSATION with the music itself as well as the other players in the band.  You can really pour your heart and soul out in a good guitar solo.   Those of us privileged enough to have heard Dick play know that he SPOKE through his music.  It was like he was telling us a new and fascinating story every time he picked up that fiddle.

   I began to see that music is very much like a LANGUAGE.  Ever heard anything like that before?  We mean that absolutely literally and we observe countless analogies between music and the spoken languages as we go through the program here.  This is exciting because you probably already know quite a bit about language ... correct?  You studied it all through grade school.  That means you also know a lot about music too.  You just need someone to help you UNLOCK that knowledge.  That’s what we do here at the school and the rewards are very real.  You could eventually play as well or even BETTER than your favorite musical heroes.  Some of our students have gone on to become local, national and even internationally recognized players and educators.


     So I continued developing this “music as language” approach when I began teaching in 1984 ... first out of my house and then a 20 year stint as head of music education at Charlie’s Music Store in Hyannis, MA here on beautiful Cape Cod.  The program grew and evolved over time.  We have helped literally THOUSANDS of students on their way to musical fulfillment.  We tailor our approach to each individual student’s goals and have programs designed for all ages, styles and experience levels.  We have fun lessons for little kids as well as advanced theory and ear training for older students.

   More experienced students can audition to play in the school’s band.  The Experimental Ensemble of Cape Cod has been in continual existence since 1986 playing an all original blend of jazz fusion, blues, rock and even classical and world influences. 

   We opened our new school here in Cotuit back in 2011.  It’s a warm, friendly and relaxed environment in which to learn.  We’re located right on Rte 28 next to The Cotuit Center For The Arts.  It’s easy to get here from any of the mid cape’s towns.  


     Our private lesson program eventually evolved into our famous home study program for the guitar.  The course consists of 32 hours of video instruction as well as 150 pages of printed support material including nearly every scale and chord fingering known to man.  It’s a complete college level education in a single box.  We have sold thousands of them all over the world since our launch back in 2000.  Check it out at www.AbsolutelyUnderstandGuitar.com .  You can watch the first 4 hours of video lessons on the website for free!


     So call, email or stop by anytime for more information on our music school.  Schedule your free, no obligation introductory lesson.  We’ll check out your instrument to see if it is in proper shape and get you going on the road to true musical fulfillment.



Scotty West

Scotty’s Mid Cape Music School

4380 Falmouth Rd. (Rte 28)

Cotuit, MA 02635