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Guitar Instruction

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you take beginners?

Yes, absolutely! I enjoy working with students of all levels. It doesn't really matter much to me what level someone is at. What interests me is to share the experience of learning with people.

Where are you located?

I am currently teaching from my home studio in South Burlington, VT.  Get Directions.

Are the lessons individual, or group?

I now offer both private and group instruction. Group lessons are small groups of between 2 and 4 students grouped by similar interest and level.

How long will it take me to learn to play?

This is a very common question, asked by beginners, and it is very difficult to answer. Hopefully, you will learn to play SOMETHING at your very first lesson, even if it is just a few notes or something very simple. From there on, you will continue to learn more and more as time goes on. There is no clear "line" that you cross where you say "OK, now I can play." You will, however, have breakthroughs to higher levels of skill and comfort with your instrument. Sometimes you will reach plateaus, where you don't feel as though you are improving much, but after a while you will have another breakthrough. Speed of learning varies greatly from individual to individual. I have had some students learn in one day what it took someone else months to learn! But that isn't really what's imprtant. If you love music and enjoy learning, who cares how long it takes you to learn? Besides, haven't you heard about the tortoise and the hare?

How much do I need to practice? 

Sorry, but there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. You need to find out what is comfortable to YOU, and what amount of practicing fits in with your goals and with your lifestyle. It is a shame, but some people actually end up quitting guitar because they don't feel that they are living up to their own expectations about how much they think they should be practicing. Now, don't get me wrong...I think practicing is very beneficial and I highly recommend it if you want to make fast progress. But try not to put pressure on yourelf; try not to have too many expectations. Just try to relax and ENJOY playing and practicing the guitar when you do find yourself devoting time to that activity. The most important thing is an overall feeling of commitment. By that, I mean that you think of yourself as a guitar player and as a musician. Something about music drew you in and led you to want to express yourself through this incredible universal art form. If you happen to be a very disciplined type of person who can set aside a certain amount of time every day for practicing...that's terrific! If you are consistent, over time you will see very substantial improvement in your playing. If however, you are not that type of person, it does't mean you can't learn to play the guitar and enjoy it. It just means it might take longer. So? If you come to lessons regularly, you will be getting an expertly guided practice session once every week. With that alone you can make some progress. Then one day you will have a little breakthrough and learn to play something that you really enjoy. Then you'll go home and play it for hours and you won't need any "discipline" to force you to do it . But if you quit before that day comes, you never give yourself that wonderful opportunity.

What styles do you teach? 

I am familiar with most popular styles. I have students who are into a wide range of different styles of music. I teach acoustic, electric and classical guitar. If there is a song or piece of music that you would like to learn, I can almost always figure it out and help you learn to play it. Also, I try to teach people a core understanding of music, which they will be able to apply to any style that interests them.

How long have you been playing/teaching?

I have been playing since about 1975. I have been teaching professionally since 1989.

How do you teach - what are your lessons like?

I try to adjust my teaching approach to match each individual's style of learning. Some people like a lot of structure. Some prefer to be more spontaneous and intuitive. Some people like a lot of verbal, step-by-step instructions. Others like to learn more by watching and listening, picking things up by example. If you are learning classical guitar, the approach will usually be more structured than if you just want to learn to strum a few folk, pop, or rock songs. But it's not always that way. Once I had a student who, after taking lessons for a while, decided that he wanted to learn some classical guitar pieces. But he didn't want to read music! So I showed him how to play some really cool classical guitar etudes by Cuban composer Leo Brouwer, and he learned them completely by memory! His name was Adrian. He moved to Montanna. Are you out there Adrian?

What is your background/what are your qualifications? 

Well, if degrees are important to you, I've got a Masters in music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Miami. I'm not sure if those degrees make me a better teacher, though. I suppose it shows that I worked hard and was dedicated to my craft. Some people seem to seek out teachers with these types of credentials because they feel that they will be in expert hands, while others are a little put off by the stuffy sounding titles and hoopla. I tend to think that my more important "qualifications" are my experience playing and teaching, my patient, calm, reassuring approach, and my ability to explain things clearly. Well, at least people SEEM to like it! Could they be faking? You can find out more about my background and experience here.

And, the number one frequently asked question...How much do you charge?

I hope you will find my rates to be very reasonable and affordable when compared to those of similarly qualified teachers in the area.  Please find the details here