“The big change came when I saw Pat Metheny on TV. It was a little short thing from Joni Mitchell’s Shadows and Light tour. I was really lucky because he does a little solo in there that lasts for about three or four minutes and that was what I saw on the TV, although I had no idea who he was.”Greg Amirault
Greg Amirault is a working Jazz Guitarist based in Montreal, Canada. In this interview he shares with us his early years coming up as a student of Jazz Guitar, his take on playing in a trio format, the importance of sound and his thoughts on making a living as a Jazz Guitarist. An informative and entertaining read. Enjoy
JGL: Thanks Greg for taking the time to talk with Jazz Guitar Life for the second time!!* And so we don’t waste any more time, let’s start off by talking about your latest CD East of the Sun. Well I guess it’s relatively new…like a year and a half?
GA: Actually pushing two now I believe…
JGL: Cool. I’d just like to say how much I’ve really enjoyed the album – review here – and I find that it encompasses what Jazz is all about: Great playing, great improvising, wonderful interplay between the band and of course the musicianship is on high level! That being said – and it’s no secret – I am not a huge fan of trio recordings which this one is. However, on this trio recording, it does not sound, nor feel, like a trio group in the traditional sense. There’s a lot of space, but it’s not empty space. There’s a fullness of sound that I find quite rare in other trio records that feature guitar, bass and drums. I wonder if you could address this by talking a bit about the album and its process.
GA: Well first off, thanks for liking the album, that is important – LOL! Trio has always been a format that has been interesting for me and a big challenge because of the fact that a lot of groups have piano and a lot of the groups I was listening to when I was younger featured piano, so with trio format I found it harder to fill the space. But when I listened to Wes Montgomery or Joe Pass, one of the things I found when they were playing without a comping instrument was that they could play as much as they wanted…especially when it came to Wes. He would start off with single notes, then move to octaves and then onto chords in a real building up fashion. That was one of his formulas when he soloed and I always like that when I was younger because you could build your solo that way from playing very little to playing a lot. I don’t play like that, in that I don’t play a lot of chords in the Wes style, but what I like is the space and the choice to play chords when I want and/or leave space for the other players to play what they want.
The other thing, since there’s no piano, it leaves a lot more room for the drummer to interact with the other members and for us to interact with the drummer. So what ends up happening is you get more of a conversation between the drummer and the soloist as opposed to having somebody in there playing chords ‘cause they would also be communicating with the drummer and pushing stuff on you. I find then that rhythmically it can become too much. I mean, it works great in a saxophone quartet where obviously the big model for that is the Coltrane quartet where there is tons of stuff going on. So I think it depends on how you hear music, and I don’t hear it that busy, which is my main idea behind a trio. It’s easier for me to play with and I feel more comfortable when there isn’t too much going on. I want people to play and interact, but I don’t want the music to be taken over, plus it can get too loud as well. And after all, it’s a guitar and not a horn. And yes, some people can do it, ‘cause you get more of an electric sound going on and they can be as loud as a saxophone, but the other thing is, the guitar doesn’t have the dynamic range of a horn. It can play louder with amplification sure, but the actual dynamic range of the guitar…well…you can’t pick really hard and get tons of volume…in fact, the harder you pick, you’re not going to get anything!
So that’s the big thing. Part of it is the sound…you know…what it creates…
JGL: Understood! So then, are you giving the drummer cues or musical direction when you play to facilitate the sound you hear?
GA: A little bit of both. Some tunes – especially the ones on the CD – are actually arranged so there are punches and things that go along with the melody so the players know what they have to do. And also, over the years, I’ve played with so many people but I’ve kinda chosen the people that I really like what they do and we don’t really have to talk that much because they know how I like to play and they play that way. Dave Laing (drummer) has tons of trio playing experience and also quintet playing experience. I heard him playing with Ed Bickert so he knows that there are moments when the music needs to be played really soft and there are times when the music needs to be played really loud. For example, the “Yesterday” arrangement, in the studio he was in a room by himself and he was going nuts –LOL! If he was playing next to me on a stage, I wouldn’t have been able to play because the drums would have been just way too loud.
JGL: So Dave Laing is the drummer. Who is the bass player?
GA: Fraser Hollins.
JGL: Wonderful. Two of Montreal’s finest Jazz players! Well done. Could we talk a bit about the sound of the CD? As I mention in the review, I found the overall tone of the album to be full and warm. Very comforting. Was this the original intent or did the engineer – Paul Johnston – have a lot to do with the overall warmth of the CD?
GA: Yeah…well I set my amps the way I normally set them and I think at the beginning they were a little too dark, so Paul came in and tweaked them a bit…with the understanding that they could always be changed back. Maybe without that presence we would not have been able to manipulate the sounds because it was too dark. So with a bit of brightness we could EQ it properly plus we really didn’t spend that much time on the sound in the studio as we later mixed the CD at his apartment and that’s where we spent a lot of time on the guitar sound. I wanted it to sound a certain way and I even brought in examples so that we could compare the sound I wanted with the sound I was getting. When you’re not mixing everyday it can be hard ‘cause you’re a musician, not a sound engineer! You have to kind of put your trust in the person as they know what they are doing. As long as you can communicate what you want then it’ll work if they’re really good.
It’s funny ‘cause the two solo pieces that we recorded were done in his home and I like the guitar sound better than the studio sound! And we were using his pre-amps and compressor and whatever he had there. And of course on the solo pieces I’m playing solo so there’s nothing interfering with the guitar sound. There’s no blending, it’s just one instrument so it made it easier to record, but the sound is warmer which was surprising.
JGL: Interesting. When you say that you brought in samples for Paul to check out, were these from albums of specific players and if so, who?
GA: Yeah…I brought Scofield’s album En Route and it’s live so it’s quite different. I also brought in things that I had done to say “this is what I sounded like on this…I DON’T want to sound like this!” I also brought in some Jim Hall trio recordings and it was interesting because he – Paul – then started getting technical and telling me how they did what they did to make it sound like they way it did. And if we follow that, then this is the kind of thing that is going to happen given that my playing is different and I’m different. It was just to give him an idea of what I like. Oh…and I brought in an album by Romain Pilon. He’s a younger guy from France who did a record with a couple of New York guys and it has a really nice sound. I think it was called New York 3 or NY 3…
JGL: Cool. I’ll check him out…
GA: Yeah…a great guitar sound!
JGL: Well, speaking of guitar sounds…what did you bring into the studio and what do you generally play on the band-stand?
GA: In the studio I had a Fender Blues Deluxe from the ‘90’s, 1995 I think. Not one of the black ones but the tweed which I supposed to be better…which I have since sold! I also had a Fender Princeton Reverb 2 which is one of the last point-to-point wired amps from like ’83 or ’84. They only made those for a few years.
I basically did not use any effects in the studio of my own…meaning my regular pedals. I just used stuff from the board because that is important. If you have too much delay – as an example – you can’t take it off later on. So I asked for a little bit of “this and that” on my sound but nothing too much.
Generally when I play live I use an MXR Carbon Copy for a little delay ‘cause most of the time the reverb in the amps that I use aren’t that great. So it just opens up the sound a little more. I don’t like to hear too much of the delay sound, the repeat, I just like the delay to make the sound a little more open. I also use an RC Booster by Exotic Effects?? Which is just a clean boost. Part of the reason is that I pick light so I like to get a little bit more something. I could turn up the amp I guess but the booster seems to add a little bit more presence to the sound.
JGL: Cool! And what kind of guitar are you using?
GA: An Ibanez AM 205.
JGL: You’ve had that for a long time…
GA: Yeah…about 20 years or so. It’s basically a small body 335 made of…I think the whole thing is Mahogany so it’s kind of like a Les Paul. It’s lighter, but it sounds kind of like a standard humbucker type although it is a semi-hollow but I don’t know how much acoustic sound there really is there. It doesn’t sound exactly like a Les Paul, but it has tons of sustain. And you get used to that and you can’t switch –LOL!
JGL: It’s funny hearing about sustain in a jazz context ‘cause one normally thinks of sustain coming out of the Rock and Blues world and not necessarily a commodity one looks for in Jazz – unless of course your Bill Frisell! ?
GA: Yeah…LOL…well, for the chords – and I had an ES 175 for a while – and a Joe Pass Ibanez guitar with a solid spruce top which sounded great acoustically for practicing but didn’t sound too good on amplified on a gig! So I used those guitars for a while and for single notes it sounded really nice, but for whatever reason, when I would play chords, it didn’t feel right for me. I mean I listen to Joe Pass, Wes and Jim Hall a lot and I love their sound, but when I played chords – maybe it was all the Lenny Breau and Ed Bickert I listened to – they play chords on a solid body and it really sounds good! It’s a completely different thing.
One of my friends picked up my guitar one day and said “yeah…you’re looking for a piano in your sound!” I can play a chord on my Ibanez and it just stays there like a big Jazz guitar. The response is just different and I got used to it. It’s hard to change because of the way I press the strings down. Although, all that to say, I’m still looking for a more acoustic sound.
JGL: Have you ever tried or been approached by some of the archtop luthiers out there?
GA: Yeah I have. I have tried some of them a while back and without naming names I found them to be just ok and very overpriced. At that time I wasn’t working that much and there’s was no way that I was going to pay $5,000.00 for a guitar. There are people though who play them and they sound great. It’s so personal.
JGL: It is indeed. You mentioned earlier Lenny Breau and Ed Bickert, could you talk a bit about your past influences and also share a little about your own past as you were coming up in this community of Jazz players?
GA: Sure. I’ll go way back to 1970-71 when I got a guitar. My dad was a piano player so there were song books kicking around. The one that I had – the one that I can remember – was an Ann Murray Songbook, so I learned Snow Bird. Basically I learned my chords from those chord diagrams that were in the book.
My dad wasn’t really a Jazz player but he liked the American Song Book and we had these Readers Digest Song Books filled with tons of standards. Some of which Jazz players played but some of which were songs that didn’t make it like “All The Things You Are” or those kinds of classic tunes. So those songbooks were great because they also had those diagrammed chords and they were a little more advanced because it wasn’t Pop, like the Ann Murray tunes which were a lot more simple harmonically. These were a little more complicated with seventh chords and such. I’m good with memorizing stuff from pictures. It just works for me so I was able to learn and remember a lot of chords.
So when I was 14 I was playing Pop music mostly – not that other music – but I learned a lot of chords from those books and kind of strummed through some of those songs. Once I got an electric guitar though I was playing three chord rock and roll and just like everybody does I learned songs by Led Zeppelin, Triumph, RUSH, Clapton, Lynrd Skynrd…actually Lynrd Skynrd was one of my favorite bands…Pink Floyd The Wall. When I would get home from school and if I didn’t have a lot of homework, I would put on these records and play along with them. You know…a turntable, no CD’s, learning a solo was hard, lifting up the record needle all the time. I remember spending hours learning the Dire Straits’ Sultan of Swing solo. So I would do a little of that until I got something.
The big change came when I saw Pat Metheny on TV. It was a little short thing from Joni Mitchell’s Shadows and Light tour. I was really lucky because he does a little solo in there that lasts for about three or four minutes and that was what I saw on the TV, although I had no idea who he was. Then I was at a dance one night and the band there played Breezin’ by George Benson, at least I think it was Breezin’, I’m not sure now but it was one of those tunes from that album.
So those two things interested me because it was unlike all the other stuff. Also, my father had an Oscar Peterson record or two kicking around the house so I did hear some other stuff that wasn’t pop or rock, but I don’t remember if I listened to those Oscar albums much, and there was no guitar on them…
JGL: I was just going to ask if they were the ones that featured Herb Ellis or Joe Pass on them…
GA: No. But eventually I got the one with Herb Ellis on it – Live at the Blue Note – or something like that, and that was great!
So those things really turned my head around and I started looking for stuff like that. Then I went through the cross-over guys like Larry Carlton and Lee Ritenour who played some great solos on pop stuff in a style that was not rock. So I was a lot more interested in playing in that style because it was something that I liked.
Eventually I dropped out of Engineering – I was in Engineering at Dalhousie University – then I went to a technical college and dropped out of there as well – that was for electronics, engineering technology. But one of the things that made a big difference was that my younger brother was a piano player (Steve Amirault) who went to university for music before I did. This was because he was younger, so by the time he graduated from High School there was a music program that was a non-classical music program in Nova Scotia. So he went there and when he came home at Christmas time he could do all this stuff that was really cool…LOL!
At this time I was really losing interest in the electronics thing although I liked it when it came to guitars and pedals and such which I used to take apart. So I liked it for that but as a career it just didn’t seem to be the thing to do. Music didn’t seem to be the thing to do for a career either originally, but I just went to the music school and stayed in music after that. Also, when I got to music school I had a really great guitar teacher. Before that I had two or three lessons from a guy who had taught at the Halifax Folklore Center who was a really good Classical guitar player who could improvise a little in a Jazz way. Although at that point I really didn’t know what Jazz was that much, so what he played, who knows if it really was jazz. But he was still able to help me. I remember this one time he said “ok, were gonna work on this progression” which turned out to be Rhythm Changes, which was really tough, and then he said “and you have to solo on it with a Bb major pentatonic!” So I learned that when I was about 20 or so.
At this point I took time off and worked with my dad building furniture and stuff like that…
JGL: Time off from music?
GA: No, time off from university. Pre-university however, I was unemployed for a winter and bought a book titled Styles For The Studio by Leon White and in that book there were arpeggios and scales and modes. I worked on that stuff because I knew that I needed that material to get into university. So I practiced that stuff over the winter which I didn’t know at all beforehand. I managed to get into the school and ended up with a real guitar teacher. I also learned by just hanging out with friends who were doing the same thing I was doing: going to class, taking lessons, playing in combos. You learn so much by playing with others and having to learn tunes like “Autumn Leaves” and having to comp for three horns as they solo. You really learn the tunes because basically we got to play a lot which made a big difference.
So two years in that school, in a really secluded area, I mean, the town Ingonish (Nova Scotia) had about maybe two to three thousand people and the university had 2,500 people!! I mean, when school was in, the town’s population doubled, but there wasn’t anything to do! There was a bowling alley and a bar, which even though I loved playing pool as a kid, I only visited that bar maybe three of four times in the two years that I was there. Everybody was just so into music it was kind of like an immersion. It was a two year course with six weeks in the summer. Jamey Aebersold came for one of those weeks with a bunch of guys from New York. The guitar player with him was Gray Sargent, a Boston guy who later played with Tony Bennett and a ton of other people.
After two years of that, I moved to Halifax where I basically started gigging and teaching a little in a small conservatory that was on top of a music store…
JGL: For those that don’t know, Halifax is a major urban center in Nova Scotia…
GA: Yeah, it’s the capital of Nova Scotia but still kind of a small town with about 250,000 people. But there was a Jazz club that had Jazz about six nights a week. I got to see Ed Bickert, Lorne Lofsky, Reg Schwager, Fraser McPherson, Oliver Gannon and Oliver Jones. I was quite fortunate to get to hear and see these guys many times. I was even more fortunate to get a gig there at least once a year and I would play all six nights, which you can’t do anymore. So for the first couple of gigs – like everybody – I would have my Real Book ‘cause I didn’t know enough tunes to make it through the whole gig not to mention the whole week. It was three sets a night and that’s a lot of tunes!
So as time went on, I just played more and was lucky enough to get into a working big band which would do dances and such and this was also good for networking. So for three years I was in Halifax and was busy. I was playing all the time and while I wasn’t studying with anyone, I was jamming a lot with other guitar players so there was a lot of sharing of information going on. One guy was really into Ed Bickert and he was helping me with a lot of chord stuff that I didn’t know. I wasn’t doing any transcribing at the time as I found it too hard…until I listened to Joe Pass play solo. And then it was really easy because I could hear the tune from the beginning of the tune to the end. ‘Cause it’s never just a solo without sometimes going back to the chords or to the bass line. You get to really hear the harmony and it’s only one guy so it’s easy to hear and pick up on. That really helped me hear the difference between all the cross over guys I’d been listening to like Larry and Lee whose style of guitar playing – which I still love – was different from a “real” Jazz thing. That album by the way was Virtuoso #2 and a huge recording for me.
JGL: I remember seeing Joe play more than a few times in Montreal, and – like many great players – he made it look so easy. Thank goodness for those transcription books…which still took me a bunch of years to figure things out!! ?
GA: It’s true! And some of the chords were just basic 101 guitar chords. The genius was how he put all those parts together with his lines weaving in and out. That’s really the hard part. You could look at the chords and say “I can play those chords!” but then he strings everything together in an effortless way. It’s deceiving because sometimes it doesn’t look that hard, but then when you try to do it…oh boy!!
GA: And just listen to his work with Ella Fitzgerald. I was lucky to do some voice and guitar work as well and that’s a huge challenge because you’re providing the accompaniment for one person and you ARE the whole band and then when they stop singing…it’s just you. That’s when you realize that there is a huge difference between a guitar solo and solo guitar!
JGL: LOL…so true!
GA: When the voice stops you have to keep the music flowing. It’s a big challenge. You need to know the tune really well as you hop from chords to bass notes to a little melody and whatever else you feel the tune needs.
So at a certain point I got away from that style of playing like a one man orchestra and my next big influence at that time was Bill Frisell’s playing on those Paul Motion On Broadway albums with Joe Lovano and Charlie Haden.
So Bill Frisell – who is more of a minimalist – wouldn’t play those big chords like Joe Pass would, he would just play a couple of intervals out of the chord then move that stuff around. He showed me that it was possible to still sound full even if you don’t play everything at once! You can break things up. Later on I discovered a guy by the name of Jimmy Wyble and he had this whole thing called the Art of the Two Line Improvisation which I saw him play on video. He was in a small cafe and that stuff is just the best solo guitar playing ever!! I don’t know why he wasn’t more popular. I know it’s not as easy to listen to as Joe Pass but counterpoint wise – just a couple of notes at once – is terrific. Scofield is another one who plays a lot of two note things. He doesn’t play a lot of big chords ‘cause he plays with a bit of overdrive and…
JGL: Right! The overtones would kill ya…
GA: Yes! Exactly!! LOL. It allows you to play a little differently. The same with Ed Bickert who is always comping for himself but using just a few notes at a time. So if I have a way of playing, it’s kind of like that, especially when playing in a trio. I’m trying to give a little of the harmony, with some chords in the background, but not too much! There’s always something there so it’s not just one line counterpoint against another line. So you got the bass playing quarters while you’re playing eighth’s the whole time on top of it. It’s like Sonny Rollins’ Live at the Village Vanguard which are great trio records. In fact, those are great records for anyone who wants to comp because you can just play along with those records as there is no comping…
JGL: You can insert yourself in the recording…
GA: Yeah! So it’s nice to use the guitar for everything it can do as opposed to being like a horn player and only playing solos or single notes. Nowadays of course you’re kind of expected to do both to handle all aspects of guitar playing from chordal to single lines. The precedent has been set from Wes Montgomey, Joe Pass and Jim Hall to Metheny and Scofield to now more contemporary players like Lage Lund, Gilad Hekselman and of course, Ben Monder who is a monster on all fronts. These guys can do it all.
JGL: They have set the bar high that’s for sure. It makes for an exciting – and challenging – epoch in the world of Jazz Guitar!
GA: LOL. It sure does!
JGL: As we seem to be running out of time, let’s get into the Life part of Jazz Guitar Life. You are a music teacher at McGill University here in Montreal. How did you come to find yourself here and what else – if anything – are you doing to make a living as a Jazz Guitar player?
GA: Well to answer the first part of your question…when I was doing my Masters here, which is a great program by the way ‘cause you get to do what you want – as opposed to the Bachelors program – with the end result being a recorded CD. Anyway, when I was studying here for my Masters I taught a few people and ever since then I became a part-time music teacher. Like a lot of schools, students can request teachers from a list of teachers and – like in my case – a student can request a teacher who is not on the list. Now, I don’t have a lot of students but like most teachers, the average seems to be around three or four although it goes up and down. I’ve had as many as seven students…
JGL: Is that in one day or is it spread out over a few days?
GA: Well, when I was younger I would have six one hour student sessions a day. It is quite draining, but can also be very inspiring because the students I’ve taught are good to begin with and also very interested so you don’t really feel the time go by. They have questions, they’re working on stuff and there are so many things to talk about and to introduce them to different players they are not aware of which gets them excited as they discover new players. That’s the good side.
The other side is that while you’re teaching, you’re not playing or practicing which you may want to be doing. That being said, I feel very lucky because there are so many musicians out there looking for teaching jobs. When I was in my early 30’s there weren’t any available. I was like “okay, what am I going to do now!?” But then I got the teaching gigs so it was ok. Actually, my main security if you will is teaching at the CEGEP*…
JGL: Which is Cégep Marie-Victorin?
GA: Yes, that’s right. Good music program with lots of younger guitar players who don’t know much yet about Jazz. Part of that is a more discipline kind of thing so it’s not as exciting in some ways…BUT…it is a really good job! I usually teach about 12 hours a week there and that’s split up between a combo and guitar labs where I teach individuals one on one then in a group format in the guitar lab where I mix it up a bit with some playing along with theory since we don’t have a theory course at the school. I’ll also include listening sessions where I’ll put on a Charlie Christian record and say “ok guys, this is where it all started.” A lot of these students are coming from a metal background and haven’t heard much – if any – blues. The guys who listened to Zeppelin or some pop stuff, have heard some bluesiness in those tunes so they are somewhat familiar with the call and response of blues, which is so important in Jazz. So when you listen to Joe Pass for the first time, you can hear some blues in his playing which makes it easier to listen to. But the metal guys are so far removed from that so you have to start at really basic stuff. It definitely makes things interesting.
So I teach and then I also play around town as much as I can. I get on the phone and I call the three clubs in town…
GA: …trying to book gigs and you know, I get a bit of side man work. People call me to do things…not as much as I used to get because there’s a little bit less work and a whole bunch of guys that are fifteen years younger than me who play really, really well. It’s just kind of like the way it works. Because Jazz hasn’t been a main thing in general, its popularity is low so there are not so many places and there’s not a lot of people going out to see live Jazz, so you have to look hard for work. In general the phone is not going to ring, unless you’re a bass player side-man, then there’s tons of work for you!
If you’re trying to do the leader approach – which I am trying to do a little bit – I have to work it. If I don’t make the calls, I don’t work. It’s as simple as that! The other side of the coin is, if I’m exhausted from teaching, then I’m not going to be playing much. I need to make the calls. Now sometimes I get to play here (McGill) in between teaching. Andre White (Montreal Drummer/Pianist/Producer extraordinaire) has an office upstairs and sometimes we can get an hour or so to play. We try and wait until our teaching is done, but sometimes you just need to play, and I need to do that more often whether it’s in a bar or in a practice room at school. Of course it’s nice to have a gig, but it’s also important to just play informally when you can because that’s HOW you learn how to play.
JGL: As we wind this interview down, what’s next for Greg Amirault?
GA: Well…I’ve been trying to get some solo stuff together for a solo guitar recording…
JGL: Oh that would be nice!!
GA: Yeah. I mean, that’s the plan, but it’s going really slowly. There’s a thing that I am trying to get. The Quebec government has an apartment in New York – it’s a studio apartment in SOHO – and every six months they give it to someone which you have to apply for as a grant. If you get the grant, they give you money and you get the apartment for six months. I’ve applied and it’s very difficult to get because it spans all disciplines including writers, dancers, photographers, you name it, everyone is trying to get it! A few musicians have gotten it in the past and if I got it I wouldn’t have to teach at all for at least one semester so I could go to NY and just do the prep work for the solo album. It’s hard though, because if nothing happens with the grant, I’d still have to worry about teaching and looking for gigs. At least if I’m in NYC there would be way less distractions and I could focus on what needs to be done. Plus I’m in New York so I can go out and hear people. In fact, in one of my proposals, I put down that I wanted to take lessons from Gene Bertoncini who is wonderful at teaching solo guitar.
So that’s the plan. Of course I could take a semester off and foot the bill myself but that would be a little harder to do. I do have the summer off though so I’ll have time to do some of the work.
Another thing I would like to do is record with a larger group even if it’s just adding a saxophone or piano, something that would sound a little different than the trio. I did the trio recording and it was a thing that I wanted to do. But now it’s done, and I’m not saying that I would never do another one, but I would like to bring in more players to the foreground as opposed to just having a rhythm section. Basically I want another sound, another dynamic! I want an opportunity where I could comp because I love doing that! Plus it takes a bit of the pressure off. I don’t have to be the main soloist all the time.
JGL: Well that sounds wonderful Greg and I hope you get a chance to do what you would like to do.
GA: I will.
JGL: Cool. Well that’s a wrap Greg. Thank you very much for taking the time to chat with Jazz Guitar Life and I wish you all the best for the future, both near and far!
GA: Thank you Lyle and the same to you.
Editors note:*Greg originally came to my place to record the interview. When he left however, I ended up deleting the interview instead of saving it! “What a marooon!!” Fortunately Greg was gracious enough for me to interview him a second time a few days later in between teaching sessions.