Kevin Dempsey is a guitar player originally from the town of Mansfield, MA. Having grown up in a completely non-musical household, he did not discover how passionate he was about music until he decided to pick up the guitar at age 12. His musical journey progressed at a time when music and video were becoming increasingly more accessible on the internet, and he spent hundreds of after-school hours discovering new artists, songs, lessons, and musical ideas.
Kevin’s experiences playing with groups in high school helped him to become a scholarship recipient to Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, where he spent several years studying all genres of music to earn a degree in Guitar Performance. He also gained insight into the world of performance and studio recording from some of the most talented music professors in the world.
Since then, he has played all around the country with various songwriters, as well as corporate and wedding bands, and has had the opportunity to enjoy virtually every style of music. Kevin settled in Nashville, TN in 2013, and he continues to further his music career as he teaches music lessons, tours with Nashville songwriters and works on numerous recording projects out of his in-home studio. Kevin will always subscribe to the notion that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.
Kevin’s Teaching Philosophy: “There is no wrong way to enjoy music. All students learn differently, and certainly at very different paces, so I always want to put the overall enjoyment of music at the forefront of what I do when I teach. We all have days when we may be struggling to learn a new concept or technique, or maybe we are weighed down by things outside of the lesson. I believe that, in these cases, we have a great opportunity to sit back and listen to music, play some easy songs, or maybe just talk for a little bit. I always want my students to keep their reasons for loving music in sight, and never get bogged down when things get difficult.”
Questions & Answers
How did you come to be a mentor at ROOTS?
“I taught guitar back when I lived in Massachusetts, and spent my first couple years in Nashville really wanting to get back to it, but could never find the time or the right place. When I discovered ROOTS, it really struck me that I had found somewhere different than other lesson studios. ROOTS to me felt much more like a welcoming community driven by people as passionate about helping people in music and in life as I was. Every great mentor in my life had a tremendous impact on who I am today, and ROOTS allows me to hopefully make that same kind of difference in the lives of others.”
What causes are you passionate about?
“I would not be where I am today without the support I got from all of those who mentored me when I was in high school and looking for a path to follow in my life. I was fortunate enough to have a school that received so much support from parents who constantly raised funds to make sure we had all the resources we needed to succeed. I am a big believer in making differences at the local level, and I am so grateful to those who gave unwavering support to my school. All over the country, I am passionate about communities doing what they can to support kids who are following a positive path, whether it is through music like me, or sports, or whatever else it may be! I certainly owe my success today to the people of my community when I was growing up.”
What’s your favorite local spot to spend time at when you’re not working & what do you do there?
“Am I allowed to say my own home? I bought a house with a big yard a couple of years ago, and I love to sit out on my deck and read. I also really enjoy any sort of yard work, and could spend hours working outside. Please do not ask me to do that at your home though – I love playing and teaching music too much!”
What is your favorite down-time activity to reduce stress?
“Everyone close to me knows this, but I am a really avid runner, and I typically log anywhere between 70 and 100 miles each week. It sounds like a lot, but you really do get used to it! Running helps me to both tune out the rest of the world and clear my head. On the other side of things, as a very competitive person, running also gives me a fun outlet to try to better myself every day in a non-music related way!”
What type of music did you grow up listening to? Is it the same now? What changed?
“I grew up listening to all sorts of music, but I always gravitated towards rock music when I was a teenager. At the time, I had several guitar teachers who had grown up in the ’80s and were huge fans of all that crazy guitar-oriented hard rock such as Van Halen and Guns N’ Roses. As I have gotten older, I have really grown to appreciate great songwriting. There was a time in my life where I never thought I would love music that didn’t feature big guitar solos, but these days, I really do love music that is all about the song! Mark Knopfler is one of my all-time favorite artists because of his ability to combine guitar instrumental skill with incredible and diverse songwriting.”
What is your favorite quote?
“Under promise and over prepare.” A professor in college once told me this, and I have never forgotten it. In music world and in life in general, I am constantly reminded of how important this quote has been to me. There will always be people out there who can do the same things you can, but the work you put in on the front end to prepare yourself may be what ends up setting you apart from all the rest.