Guitar Lessons

My biggest belief when it comes to learning guitar is to be musical when you pickup the instrument.  This may be obvious, but for many when learning an instrument it doesn’t always feel this way.  This is where a good instructor comes into play.  I’ve never met anyone who has come to me and said they didn’t want to be musical.  Even if you are a beginner you can be musical right away.  You just need to be playing the right things.  Maybe you’re at the intermediate stage and you still feel like you’re not musical.  You don’t know how to turn those scales into something interesting.  Maybe you still struggle with playing along with your favorite songs.  Maybe that strumming hand can’t keep in time.  Yes, practicing scales and exercises are important, but if all you’re doing is running scales up and down the neck you will never be musical with them no matter how much you practice.

I’ve taught thousands of lessons in my over fifteen years of teaching and have honed my skills to help out anyone at any level.  As with anything in life, what you put into something, is what you get out of it.  That is no different when learning an instrument.  The most important factor in succeeding is correct consistent practice.  When you trust what you’re doing at home is right you will be more confident in your ability to succeed.  This is where lessons come into play!

When you take lessons with me you are getting my many years in the the music business.  I’ve played in many bands and gigged regularly throughout the years. Along with lessons  I am able to help the student out with songwriting, recording, studio prep, gig prep, and much more.

Each student is assigned a weekly time slot.  During the first lesson we will discuss your goals and the style of music you want to focus on.  How you progress is up to you.  Everyone’s goals and life is different.  This is something I take into account with all students.  With that it is important for the student to keep good communication with me in regards to how lessons are going for them.  The main thing is you have to practice throughout the week if things are going to move forward.  If you have more time that will happen faster.  If not, that is ok!  You move at your own pace.

You will be setup with a dropbox folder where I upload pdf’s and videos.  At the end of each lesson I will make a quick video summarizing what we went over and demonstrating what needs to be so the student does not forget what to work on and how something was played.  The video is then uploaded directly to their dropbox folder.  This has been a great addition to lessons and my students have told me how much they appreciate the videos.  You are welcome to use your phone to video lessons.  The folder keeps us organized!

Steve's Teaching Strengths

Technique

This really has to do with the actual physical act of playing guitar which is actually the hardest aspect of learning guitar. Most positions you are suppose to be in when playing are not always the most natural feeling. Something I hear very often is “I’m not a musical person!” How do you know if you’ve never tried? What people are confusing with not being musical is actually the physical part of playing. We have to build up hand strength, finger strength, callouses on the left hand, and learn to play without tension. In the beginning you may feel “clumsy” or “uncoordinated.” My goal is to get you to understand all things proper so that when you are practicing at home you are confident you’re do everything right. This will ensure that you are not starting out with bad habits. Just remember that with great technique you can play any style of music you want!

Steve's Teaching Strengths

Theory

This has to do with understanding how music is constructed. From scales, chords, progressions and modes. Most people when they are playing don’t always know what it is they are playing or why. When you start to understand the what and why of what you are playing you will have a better appreciation for music and will progress faster! You will also be able to communicate with other musicians better!

Steve's Teaching Strengths

Fretboard Knowledge

This is one of my favorite areas to teach! Fretboard knowledge is simply understanding where your going on the fretboard. Seeing your chords, scales, and arpeggios. Everyone is going to see the fretboard a little bit differently. I have some great tips or unique ways of visualizing the fretboard. It’s a combination of using the theory you know and seeing shapes on the fretboard. When you are able to access the whole fretboard at will the guitar becomes even more fun to play!

Here is what you can expect to learn as a beginner:

 

  • Establish/Understand good technical ability.  Know proper way to hold guitar along with good left hand position and right hand strumming/picking control.
  •  Learn some classic riffs or openings to songs.
  •  Learn simple picking pieces that I use with all beginners.  These pieces get you making music immediately!
  • Understand basic finger exercises to help develop finger independence and strength.
  • Be able to play a Major scale and Minor Pentatonic scale.

Learn 3 simple melodies to songs of your choice.  Remember they need to be fairly simple! Here are some ides:

  • “Let it Be”
  • “House of Rising Sun”
  • “Stand By Me”

– Chords and Rhythm

  • Master your Cowboy Chords/open chords.
  • Master Basic Strumming Patterns.
  • Learn your first songs using chords/strumming you’ve mastered!

-Here are some suggestions:

  • “Stand By Me”
  • “Bad Moon rising”
  • “Last Kiss”
  • “Clocks”
  • “Good Riddance”
  • “Wonderwall”
  • “Knocking on Heavens Door”
  • “Love me Do”
  • “Ring of Fire”
  • “Simple Man”

The most important thing for any beginner is to be building confidence and believing that you can play your instrument.  You must realize your limited to what you can play when you first start out.  Playing pieces that are simple and you can master is of the most importance!  Too often I see people wanting to play things that are way beyond them.  Doing this will only lead to frustration and most likely quitting.  You can’t go from point A to E without first going to B,C, and D.  Kind of like Karate.  You work through different levels of belts. Obviously practice is the key to everything.  Developing good practice habits and practicing correctly will lead to fast gains.  The biggest thing over your first few years of playing is learning how to practice correctly!  It’s not just about playing songs!  Learning guitar is a lifelong process!  So, if you think about it you’ll always have something your getting better at if you stick with it.  It is challenging, but so worth all the hard work! I applaud you for taking on the challenge!