Dixboro Guitar Lessons

Ann Arbor, MI

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About this pro

How does your business stand out?

I have 14 years of teaching experience working with all ages, and I have been playing guitar for 20+ years. My private guitar studio offers flexible schedules and bonus extras of video guides. I'm a state-certified teacher with a Master's in Education, and I have 8+ years of public school teaching and curriculum development experience. As a songwriter, I've released four CDs and conducted multiple tours, including playing the Ark in Ann Arbor; and I've guest lectured at local colleges' art programs.

What do you enjoy about the work you do?

I use a song-based curriculum -- meaning, we will study songs you enjoy as the foundation of learning technique, music theory, and approach to guitar. I also implement best practice-teaching methods to help students find how they best learn, show students how to break down complicated strum patterns into smaller sections; and help students develop a personal practice routine that work! My education training comes through in my teaching. I use a variety of scaffolding and approaches from Gardner's Multiple Intelligences to teaching guitar. I also show students organizational strategies!
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Ann Arbor, MI 48105

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4 Reviews
  • Trevor D. Jul 12, 2016
    Guitar Lessons (for adults)
    Verified Review
    Mike has a background as an English teacher and Solo Musician. Both of these elevate the overall experience at Dixboro Guitar Lessons. We not only practiced riffs and chords from the songs I wanted to play, but also had great conversations about musical theory. I feel that this two-sided approach of understanding what I was playing helped me improve each skill easier and faster. If you are ready to start the journey of learning guitar, go with Dixboro Guitar Lessons!
  • Linden T. Jan 29, 2016
    Mike is a really great teacher. He makes learning fun. You can tell that he loves music, and this joyful attitude makes a huge difference. He is patient too, and never makes me feel stupid when my brain freezes up and my fingers can't seem to do what I am asking of them. He knows about music theory and brings this knowledge to his lessons. I look forward to my lessons, and enjoy practicing the songs that we are working on.
  • Maureen E. Jan 29, 2016
    Mike has done an excellent job starting with the basics and also takin into consideration the style of music that I would like to learn. Began with chords, practicing presses and jumps; Then scales. Very good at explaining and relating to your style. Great teacher would recommend for anyone with a desire to learn guitar.
  • Mike G. Jan 20, 2016
    Mike Vial ran a great workshop for musicians looking to be more successful at strategizing, organizing and marketing themselves in the sometimes bewildering world of the DIY music business. Mike had a packed room full of extremely talented people and his presentation moved from one topic to the next very logically and smoothly. The question and answer session at the end was lively and informative. Mike also provided us with a wealth of information via pdf about booking and touring that, by itself, was worth the price of admission. Overall, this was an excellent workshop.


What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
Private Lessons (updated!) Reserve a month of lessons (one a week): 30 minute lessons for a month is $125 60 minute lessons for a month is $225. If the month has an extra week, you get that lesson at no additional cost! If you have to miss your scheduled lesson, you can get a make-up lesson that must be made up that month. I have flexibility in my teaching schedule, and Saturday mornings open when I'm not on tour. Pay as you go lesson rates: 30 mins: $50 per lesson 60 mins: $70 per lesson I do a very limited number of home lesson visits in Washtenaw County, Canton, Plymouth, or Brighton. Home visit lessons must be scheduled for an hour, and are $100 a lesson. Payment for a month of lessons is collected on the first lesson of the month. I accept cash, check, Paypal, or credit card (via Square). I charge a 3% fee for credit card transitions.
What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
I offer a free trial lesson at my studio. During a free trial lesson, beginning students will learn how to correctly hold, strum, and fret a guitar. We will immediately work on recognizable, fun guitar riffs and strum patterns that are perfect for beginning students. More advanced students will get a consultation to discuss goals and current abilities. Call and schedule a visit! Students may borrow one of my guitars during a free trial lesson. I also own a smaller scale Fender guitar perfect for younger students. Students should have their own guitar after a few weeks of study. I have a guitar buying guides that I share to help students find the right, affordable instrument, too!
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
Bachelors in Education, English & History (with extra classes in music) - Western Michigan University Masters in Education & Technology - NOVA Southeastern University I've taken additional private study of guitar and music theory with Ken Andreoni and Trish Mroz (Dearborn Big Band's guitarist). I've also studied voice with Kate Hart (Grammy nominated singer) and Dr. Linda Venable.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I started teaching guitar lessons for fun after school when I was a high school English teacher in 2003. In 2011, I released my third CD, and left my English position to tour and pursue music full time, which include teaching music from my home studio. In 2014-2015, I did work for Expressions Music Academy, teaching 35+ students during a four days a week, as well as one day a week of teaching at my home studio. In 2015, my wife and I celebrated the birth of our first baby! I made the switch to 100% of my teaching at my home studio, and I still perform 130-150 gigs per year as a songwriter.
What types of customers have you worked with?
I teach students of all ages. Most students are in middle school or high school, but I've had successful experiences with students as young as five to seven.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
In 2014-2015, I ran the C3 band class at Expressions Music Academy in Novi. The students choose pop and rocks songs, and for 12 weeks, we rehearsed as a band once a week, arranged the songs together, and performed a public concert at the end of the season. This year, one of my students who had never played guitar before his free trial lessons left Dixboro Guitar being able to play two recognizable rock riffs with correct guitar technique after 30 minutes!
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Ask a guitar teacher about their teaching methods. How do they incorporate songs that students will enjoy learning into the best practices of learning the guitar? I use a scaffold approach that allows students to learn concepts in a thoughtful way, so they aren't approaching songs that are too difficult, but are always challenged. I also work in music note reading if students are interested, but I like to keep lessons focused on popular songs the students enjoy to encourage practicing. Also ask advice on technique of holding the guitar, fretting the instrument, and finding a comfortable way to sit. Some of the basic techniques my guitar teacher Trish Mroz showed me have helped guitar my abilities for decades! A strong foundation helps create versatility and skill.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
Consider your practice schedule and goals: Do you want to play for fun around the campfire: Can you practice 15-30 minutes every day? If you want to play professionally: Can you practice 60-90+ minutes a day? Are you interested in acoustic or electric guitar; or both? Are you left or right handed? How much money are you interested in spending on an instrument? Are you willing to spend an additional $50-100 a year in maintenance for your instrument (set-ups, new strings) Do you want to read music, or are you interested in learning short cuts (tabs, chord charts)? How best do you learn: auditory, visual or kinesthetic?