Here at Teeny Rockers we like to share talent whenever we find it. In that spirit, we've decided to do a series of interviews called Rockin' Talent where we talk to talented young people from around the world.
For our third interview we spoke to Anastasia, an exciting young talent from Canada. In keeping with tradition, we started with an introduction:
"Hi Everyone, my name is Anastasia. I am 12 years old and in the 7th grade. Playing guitar has become my passion and I practice 7 to 12 hours per week. I hope I can encourage other kids to start playing guitar too. I know that some kids have started to play after watching some of my posts and videos on social media. I have also encouraged adults to pick up playing again."
How old were you when you first started to play and what was your first instrument?
I was 9 nine years old when I first started playing guitar. I took my first group lesson with a used acoustic guitar that my parents bought at a yard sale. I now have 1 hour weekly lessons with an instructor. I have not tried any other instrument other than what is played in grade school.
We noticed you seem to have a LOT of guitars. How many do you have and do you have a favourite?
Yes. Things kind of moved quickly in terms of guitars. I have 10 electric guitars, 3 acoustic guitars and 1 bass guitar. My favorite are the Schecter brand of guitars and my "go to" guitar is the Schecter Hellraier Hybrid in an Ultra Violet finish that changes colour when light reflects off it. This is the guitar that is most comfortable to play for long periods of time. It is very common for me to use 3 or 4 different guitars for practice as I keep certain guitars tuned differently.
Do your friends like the same music as you or do they listen to other stuff? Did you get such great taste from your parents or did it come from somewhere else?
My friends actually do not like the kind of music I listen to at all. Everyone in my class listens to Rap and Pop music - which is not guitar driven at all. My Mom listens to Easy Listening and 80's music. My dad on the other hand is all harder music such as various types of rock and metal.
We love your cover of Gojira's 'Silvera' on YouTube. What's your favourite cover that you've done?
The Gojira cover of Silvera is actually one of my favorites. I really like that song and the way it turned out.
You've posted videos playing with 7 and 8 string guitars. Did you find the extra strings difficult to get used to or was it easy to adjust from 6 strings? Do you have any advice for anyone who's thinking about trying a 7 or 8 string?
I really like the sound of the extra lower strings on the 7 and 8 string guitars. They sound really chunky with distortion. I found the 7 string easier to adjust to than the 8 string. The necks are wider, so your fingers will be doing more stretching for sure. The 7 string chords look different than on a 6 string. I am still getting used to 8 string. My advice to anyone that wants to start playing a 7 string guitar is to pick a 7 string song that you think will be easy and start there. It really helps to have an instructor and YouTube is always a great resource. Do not be intimidated by the extra strings.
Do your parents like the same music you do or do they wish you were playing something else?
My mom loves 80's music and my dad is the Metal person. He has introduced me to a lot of different bands and I have also gone to a lot of metal concerts with him. My mom wishes I played pop music but that is not my cup of tea.
Do you do any songs of your own or are you going to stick with covers for now?
I do not write any of my own songs for now. It's easy to make a simple song but it's very difficult to make it sound good. I need to learn more theory in order to bring it all together. I will stick to covers for now...although I improvise a lot to jazz and blues throughout the week.
Do you have any female guitarists that you particularly look up to or that you think are good role models for someone your age?
There are not as many female guitar players as there are male players. I do admire Nita Strauss - she was with the Iron Maidens (tribute band) but is now on tour with Alice Cooper. I also really admire Sarah Longfield - she is an 8 string guitar player. I think they are really good role models from a work ethic standpoint due to how much they have been able to achieve.
If someone wanted to learn to play but is maybe not sure where to start what would you recommend as a good starting point?
There are a variety of options available today. You don't need a fancy guitar - a basic guitar will do. You can get an instructor and take a few lessons to try it out. There are many video type lessons on YouTube for beginners. You also have books that you can follow along to at home at your own pace. The key to success will be to have a practice plan and make sure you practice everyday. A lot of people don't practice and give up after 2 weeks. Playing guitar is supposed to be fun and the more your practice, the better you will become and the more fun it will be !! I have posted two instructional videos on Youtube and plan to make more. People really like the video on establishing a good practice routine.
If you could play in any band or perhaps open for them when they play in or near your home town, which bands would you most like to play with?
I would love to play with Billy Talent which is a very famous local band - I can play 2 of their songs from beginning to end. I would also like to play with Metallica as I can play 2 of their songs from beginning to end. I have 2 Billy Talent and 2 Metallica covers on my YouTube Channel.
And to finish up...
What's your favourite video or photo you've posted on Instagram or YouTube?
My favorite video on Youtube is the Gojira cover. My favorite picture on Instagram is a picture of me and John Petrucci from Dream Theater.