Dana Whitlock has been doing his job for about 35 years.

Dana Whitlock has been doing his job for about 35 years.

Explaining what he does, however, is better heard than spoken.

"When people ask me what I do, I almost have to give them a ticket to a show," said Whitlock, a local guitar player, music teacher and yoga practitioner.

Whitlock likes to call his music "progressive acoustic," a mix of instrumental tunes containing classical guitar, jazz, Brazilian and East Indian influences.

"I don't write music to impress," he said. "I write the tune because the tune is there."

Whitlock, 54, said he first started experimenting with music at a young age during church. His first encounter with a guitar was at about the age of 13, he said.

His first guitar was bought from Sears, Roebuck and Co.

During the 1960s, however, learning to play the guitar required a lot of innate talent, because most sheet music was written for pianos, and finding a guitar teacher was difficult, Whitlock said.

It wasn't until one day in high school when it really hit him. Whitlock said he was driving and heard a song on the radio that he had to learn to play.

The song was "Natural Elements" by John McLaughlin.

"I called the radio station and I said, 'I wanna play the guitar like that,' " he recalled.

Later Whitlock said he started listening to vinyl albums and imitating the guitar riffs by listening to the riffs over and over again.

He also went to every concert he could to learn from guitar players like Duane "Skydog" Allman, Ted Nugent and Jimmy Page.

"I was in the front row everywhere I'd go," Whitlock said.

Towards the late 1970s, Whitlock said he began playing his own gigs with two students from Julliard, a trumpet and saxophone player.

He said the two were impressed with his music, but told Whitlock that he needed to learn how to express his ideas using conventional music ideas.

Instead of partying like rock stars, Whitlock said he and the two Julliard musicians sat in their hotel to teach Whitlock chord charts and the 12 keys of music.

"Over a period of time, you start looking at relationships and the way things sounded," Whitlock said.

He said he soon was able to express correctly the musical math he had taught himself at a younger age. It was a connection between the creations in his head to the written page.

"I think we're all born creative in some way," he said. "We have to use that creativity."

Now Whitlock mostly teaches music and practices yoga. He said he's not interested in playing gigs in clubs anymore; it's more a hobby.

When teaching music, Whitlock said that he instructs younger people how to accomplish their musical goals. Ultimately, he would like to increase the presence of local music in Grove City.

He said he enjoys helping his students learn to become songsmiths, like his 22-year-old son, Aaron, and the band he plays with called Hellbranch Run.

"There are all kinds of advice you can give, but the best thing is to respect each other," he said.

Whitlock is also focused on producing his first album in about 10 years, "Back from the Dead," which should be out by Christmas.

He said he would also start teaching yoga in Grove City.