How much teaching and playing experience do you have?

I have 13 years of experience teaching guitar lessons and 24 years of experience playing and performing on the guitar. Top

What do I need to bring to the lessons?

You just need to bring your guitar, a folder with any lesson handouts you have been given, and any books we are using in the lessons. I will provide all other items. Top

Do you have a waiting area available for parents of students?

Yes, I have a comfortable waiting area that a parent can use while their son or daughter is having a lesson. Top

Where are you located?

My house and teaching studio are located in the Glenwood area of Greensboro, just to the south of the UNCG campus. Top

What kind of guitar do you recommend for a beginner?

I’ve written a blog post on this. You can read the article here. Top

I don’t have a guitar. Do you have an extra one I can use for the lessons?

You need to have your own guitar if you want to take lessons. If you are unable to practice what we go over in the lessons while you are at home, you will make little or no improvement. I do have extra guitars that students can use if for some reason they don’t have their guitar with them. Top

Can I request songs to learn?

Absolutely. I often ask students to make a list of songs they would eventually like to learn. I do make sure that the song we are working on is within the student’s playing level, and that songs progress in difficulty in order to produce improvement in the student. I also might assign songs that I feel cover a concept that needs to be taught. While working on a song, I also teach things such as tone production, playing with rhythmic precision, using proper technique, as well as pointing out how certain aspects of music theory that we have learned are being applied. Top

Do you use method books?

This depends on the student’s level and what the student wants to learn. If there is a book that teaches what the student needs in a good and easy to understand way, I might use it. But, in many cases, I create my own handouts and curriculum for the student rather than using a book. Regardless of whether or not I use a method book in lessons, I am not the kind of teacher who spends the entirety of every lesson working from the book. I will supplement the lesson material with my own handouts, songs of the student’s liking, guided practice, and other useful bits of musical knowledge. Top

What ages do you you teach?

My minimum age for children is 7 years old. I have no upper age limit for students. Top

How often should I schedule lessons?

Most of my students do weekly lessons for either an hour or a half hour. I also offer a limited number of full hour time slots that go every other week. I don’t currently offer half hour slots that go every other week. Top

How much should I practice?

You should practice as much as possible. Short frequent practices are better than infrequent, long practices. I usually recommend a half hour a day four or five times a week for people who are just starting. If you can put in more time than that, you will progress even faster. The rate of your improvement relates directly to how much you practice. Top

I have something specific about music I want to learn. Can we focus just on that?

Yes. I have had students come to me for lessons with something particular in mind such as: wanting specific music to be transcribed or wanting to learn how to transcribe; wanting to learn how to play jazz; learning music theory; and preparing for college auditions. I’d be glad to help if there is a pressing issue in your musical life. Top

How do you go about teaching a complete beginner?

I do have a method for getting a beginner playing in a timely fashion. For an acoustic student who is interested in popular or contemporary music, my first priority is to teach how to strum basic open chords. To do this, I have a series of about 6 strum-oriented songs that start off as easy as possible, and gradually get more difficult. These songs serve as both technical exercises, and as fun examples of real music rather than bland exercises from a book.

For electric guitar students, I use the same series of songs to work on strumming technique but also work in other songs that are more rock oriented. These songs introduce techniques and concepts more specific to the electric guitar, like power chords and single-note riffs.

While the student is working through these songs, I supplement the lessons with exercises to develop basic fretting hand technique. These exercises develop strength and independence in the fingers, and optimal positioning for the hand on the neck of the guitar.

For a beginning student interested in classical guitar, I start off using Aaron Shearer’s Classic Guitar Technique, vol. 1. I also supplement this method with basic left and right hand exercises. Top

How long will I need to take lessons to ‘learn the basics’?
This is a tough one because there are certain factors outside my control, like how much the student practices and how much natural ability they have for the guitar. It’s also tough to define just what ‘the basics’ are.

To attempt to answer this question, here are a few things you could expect an average beginner to be able to do. First lesson: Be able to strum a simple 2 chord sequence with a few different strumming patterns. 3rd lesson: Be able to strum through a short song segment using 4 or 5 different chords. 7th lesson: Be able to strum through a full song using a handful of basic chords.

Again, these are just averages. An individual could end up moving faster or slower than this. Top

What hours do you teach?

Monday through Thursday, I schedule lessons between 11:00 in the morning and 8:00 in the evening. I don’t teach Friday or Saturday. I teach Sundays from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Top

Should I schedule a half hour or an hour lesson?

In most cases I recommend an hour. A half hour goes by very fast, and I usually find that students progress faster if they have an hour lesson. The only exception is for young children, in which case it is best to schedule a half hour lesson. However, I do understand if you would prefer a half hour lesson due to financial or time constraints. Top

What styles of music do you teach?

I teach lessons in rock, jazz, blues, country, funk, classical, acoustic finger-style and folk. In my own music, I’m primarily focused on jazz (from swing and bop to fusion) and finger-style acoustic and have a number of more advanced students in these styles.  But I love teaching other styles like rock too. If you are an advanced player looking for lessons in the shred/progressive metal style I might not be the best teacher for you. I’ve never had enough interest to pursue that style of music, not to say that there is anything wrong with it. For bluegrass or old-time music, I could give lessons from a beginner to intermediate level. But, again, if you are an advanced student interested in these styles, they are not my forte.Top