The Oracle

Math Teacher Dave Deggeller: Guitar

Noa Rapoport

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Many students know their teachers inside the classroom, but don’t know about their lives outside of teaching. Math teacher Dave Deggeller is a guitarist, a fact many students don’t know about him. He started playing in his early teenage years, and has been playing ever since. “I have always loved music and we had a guitar laying around, so I picked up the guitar and taught myself,” he said. Whenever he wasn’t able to figure out which note to play, he just looked it up in a chord dictionary.

When Deggeller was in college, he was the vocalist and guitarist of [email protected], a band he started with his friends. When he graduated, his band went on tour and visited more than 50 cities over the United States. Deggeller found the tour fun but also very frustrating since no one know of his band. Only three people would show up in the audience during many of their performances, so the manager refused to pay them. “When we went on tour, we were not famous and so no one knew who we were,” he said. “Very rarely people came to see us play.”

Even though Deggeller had several bad memories from tour, he also made many good ones. “People often liked us, so meeting people after the show was kind of a thrill,” he said. “One time we played at a really small town in Texas, and after the show people thought we were famous and celebrities, so they wanted us to sign their guitar and take pictures with us.”

Tour was a rollercoaster ride for Deggeller. “It was the highs and lows of rock and roll,” he said.  

Many musicians have inspired Deggeller throughout his life to be the musician that he is today. He was into alternative music and loved the band The Smiths when he was young. “The Smiths had a really gifted singer and lyricist and a super creative guitarist so they were really good from a singing and lyric point of view, but also from a guitar point of view,” he said. He soon became a fan of punk rock and started listening to the band The Pixies.

Guitar has always been a way for Deggeller to relax and destress. He’s also used it numerous times to bring people together. “If I’m at a party, I’ll pick up a guitar and everyone will start singing and it’s a great icebreaker,” he said. “It’s a good way to meet other people.” Deggeller even impressed his wife with his guitar playing skills and convinced her to go on a date with him.

Deggeller’s advice for aspiring musicians is to learn the guitar early on, because that will ensure guitar as a lifelong skill. He also advises learning by ear, as he believes that has greatly benefited him over the years. “I’ve met a lot of musicians who, if there isn’t a music sheet in front of them, they won’t be able to play a song, whereas I can play the guitar to any song because that’s how I taught myself,” he said.

Currently, Deggeller has had difficulty finding time for guitar in his life due to his job and kids. However, even with his busy schedule, Deggeller hopes to continue playing and songwriting for the rest of his life.  


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The Student News Site of Henry M. Gunn High School
Math Teacher Dave Deggeller: Guitar