Frequently Asked Questions

How much experience do you have?

I have 14 years of experience teaching lessons, and 25 years of playing and performing experience.

What do I need to bring to the lessons?

You just need to bring your guitar / ukulele, 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.

Where are you located?

My teaching studio is located in the Glenwood neighborhood of Greensboro, just to the south of the UNCG campus. I can give out the address once the first lesson has been booked.

What kind of guitar do you recommend for a beginner?

I’ve written a blog post on this, which you can read here.

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

You need to have your own instrument if you want to take lessons (not just with me, but with anyone!). If you can’t practice at home between lessons, you won’t get as much out of the lessons as you could otherwise. I do have extra guitars that a student could use if, for some reason, they don’t have their guitar with them. I don’t have any extra ukuleles on hand.

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 like 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.

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.

What ages do you you teach?

My minimum age for children is 8 years old. I have no upper age limit for students, and have taught students who were well into their 80’s.

How often should I schedule lessons?

The closest you can get to a weekly schedule would be best. Most of my students are booked into a weekly time slot. I also offer what I call ‘single lessons,’ which can be booked individually at varying times, as often as the student wants (availability permitting). Even with these, maintaining something close to a weekly schedule and only missing occasional weeks is what I would recommend.

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’ll progress even faster. The rate of your improvement relates directly to how much you practice.

How do you go about teaching a complete beginner?

The best place to look for this is on my teaching philosophy page, where I describe in detail how I teach beginners and other types of students.

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 / ukulele. 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.

These are just averages. An individual could end up moving faster or slower than this.

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.

Should I schedule a half hour or an hour lesson?

For teenagers and adults, I recommend an hour. Younger kids usually do better with a half hour, although I have seen exceptions to that.

However, my schedule has evolved to be dominated by half hour slots, so my hour openings are usually pretty limited. If you want an hour and I only have half hour openings, you could start with a half hour and then move up to an hour when a suitable opening comes up.

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 fingerstyle acoustic and have a number of more advanced students in these styles.  I love teaching other styles like rock too.

If you’re 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.