Meet Tyler Waller: A Rising Local Talent Shares His Passions
Tyler Waller is a popular local musician who opened for Clay Walker at the Paramount Arts Center a few weeks ago. Although many in the area are familiar with his music, there are a lot of things about him that people don’t know.
Waller is from Coal Grove but grew up in Deering, Ohio. He has been a teacher at Dawson Bryant High School for 16 years. However, he is not a teacher of regular subjects such as math, history, or science. He teaches Career Technical Education, which encompasses several things. His program includes subjects such as photography, computer repair, video and sound, graphic design, video game design, and guitar building.
Wait! What?! These are not subjects that you can find at most high schools. They are, however, skills that the students can use to earn a living, or to make extra money with, without going to college or even while attending.
“Everything I teach in my program is something the students can use whether they choose to do it as a career or not,” Waller earnestly remarked.
With Tyler being a musician, the guitar building class made sense. He began playing guitar when he was a freshman in high school on his cousin’s guitar which he had to repair before playing. That evolved into performing and song writing. He began building guitars about six or seven years ago through Sinclair Community College in Dayton.
“I’m constantly trying to learn new things and increase my skill set,” Waller said. “When I learned guitar building, it gave me new purpose as a teacher.”
Waller built his first electric guitar from a kit he purchased, but he was interested in starting one from scratch, which he eventually did. Several students expressed interest in learning the skill, but there was no funding for such a program. The school allowed him to begin teaching it as an after-school program with students paying for their own materials.
As you might imagine, building an electric guitar can be quite costly. Wood, of course, is the biggest expense. He began looking for vendors for parts and materials in order to keep the cost as low as possible for the students. In his search, he called a lumber mill in Morehead four years ago to inquire about the cost of wood. When the owner heard about what Waller was doing, he began donating the wood. That made it possible to add the class to his daily regular curriculum.
Waller has helped 94 students and one colleague build guitars. He has built ten guitars on his own, including one he built for the local Shriners to auction off to raise money for the Shriners Hospital. Another popular local musician, Shelby Lore, is the first professional to begin playing a Waller brand guitar. There are sure to be others to follow.
Although Waller is passionate about teaching, building guitars, and his music, that isn’t his biggest passion.
“Fishing is my biggest passion,” Waller commented with a smile.
During the summer months, he is almost constantly on the water and involved in fishing tournaments as a semi-professional. He also has developed a YouTube channel about fishing called On Another Line. His love for the sport actually blended with his love for music to increase his following as a musician.
Waller wrote a song about fishing called “My World,” which he recorded and put on iTunes.
“The lyrics are talking about bass fishing and a day out on the water,” Waller said.
The song has become very popular and has opened some doors for him as a performer. His goal, musically at least, is to keep writing songs and begin booking larger shows and venues.
As you can see, there is more to Tyler Waller than meets the eye. He is a teacher, musician, performer, song writer, guitar builder, fisherman, and more. He even finds time to coach a competing video game team at Dawson Bryant.
As for his musical goal, with his recent opening for Clay Walker, there is no doubt he is well on his way to accomplishing that goal.