There are many small details to learn in order to express oneself on an instrument. The key is for a student to learn or be taught in increments and have the material broken down for him or her in a manner which will enable the individual to have success after success and fun while studying.
As a part of the process of learning to play, I teach my students to read music in standard musical notation (see below), meaning the staff (the five lines and four spaces between) and the “G” or Treble Clef (the symbol to the left of the staff).
In this way my students and I have an interface or a method/means by which to effectively communicate. This gives us a language to use which the student can understand and can experience steady progress in his/her lessons. Learning to read music gives students a thorough and meaningful understanding of what music is all about; it needs to be experienced to be believed!
I also teach using standard chord symbol notation:
The purpose of learning to read music and chord symbols as well as work on good technique is, ultimately, to give a player the necessary tools so he can play tunes he likes and experience the joy of playing music.
My fundamentals include: technique, the ability to read music in standard musical notation, learning tunes and solo pieces—given to them on a level which they can understand, apply and make their own. I believe it's important to and teach my students in a thorough and methodical way that the student can make sense of, which enables them to improve on a steady and gradual basis and respects the student and their level of ability and understanding.
These styles have merged together over the years and I also work with my students in the resulting subgenres as well.
- Let It Be (the album version)
- Stairway to Heaven
- Wish You Were Here
- 25 to 6 or 4
- Bohemian Rhapsody
as well as rhythm guitar/strumming songs such as:
- Wild Horses
- No Such Thing (John Mayer)
- Tangerine (Led Zeppelin)
- Norwegian Wood
- Time of Your Life (Good Riddance)
Solo guitar playing is an important area to develop as the student can learn to accompany themselves and play a piece of music alone. It can be very rewarding and enjoyable to gain the skills of playing a piece of music by oneʼs self unaccompanied by another. This area of playing can be done on an acoustic or electric guitar and may cover different styles of music including classical guitar (nylon string guitar), blues and pop. Some pieces Iʼve worked on with my students include:
- Sounds of Silence
- Cinnamon Girl
- Castles Made of Sand
- Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (J.S. Bach)
Technique & Theory
Good technique is essential for a player of any level. It enables the player to actually get music out of the instrument. A personʼs technique refers to the way they hold the guitar, the placement of both hands on their instrument, the amount of pressure used by oneʼs hands in order to produce sound. Technique also refers to different types of methods used play guitar whether by hands, or pick-style, bending strings, slides up and down the fretboard, etc. The variations are quite numerous.
Music theory is the realm or area of music whereby one learns and applies the key ideas and concepts which explain and show a musician why music works as it does. It provides understanding so the player doesnʼt feel like he has Yosemite Sam chasing Daffy Duck above his head.
I teach my students the fundamentals of good, solid technique and music theory and its application, which enable them to progress and improve in a manner which gives them greater physical strength and higher abilities with which to create and learn.
Jazz & improvisation
Jazz and improvisation are often synonymous due to the fact that jazz itself is all about creating in the moment; jazz is built around and is the whole concept of improvisation. As a student progresses and learns more and more language he/she will be better to develop the skills to play jazz standards and improvise over these structures or tunes. I teach my students in a step-by-step fashion such as to facilitate or enable them to eventually learn the language of jazz, if thatʼs a direction in which they would like to take their playing.
My teaching philosophy
My basic teaching philosophy is to provide my students with essential fundamentals (ie: technique, the ability to read music in standard musical notation, learning tunes and solo pieces, etc.), given to them on a level which they can understand, apply and make their own. I believe it's important to and teach my students in a thorough and methodical way that the student can make sense of, which enables them to improve on a steady and gradual basis and respects the student and their level of ability and understanding.
I offer a weekly one hour-long lesson for $65