Q. What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
A. I belong to a few music teachers organizations where the main goal is improvement through continuing education. I attended a guitar teacher and mentoring training program. I have taken courses in training children to play the guitar. I have taken courses in advanced music theory, songwriting and composition. I am also an active participant in several on line guitar teachers forums.
Q. Do you have a standard pricing system for your service? If so, please share the details here.
A. Lessons cost $40.00 per weekly one hour lesson when the student pays for four lessons in advance.
If the student pays for lessons at each lesson, the cost is $45.00 for each one hour lesson.
If I travel to the students home the cost is $50.00 for a one hour lesson. Lessons in the students home must be purchased four lessons in advance.
All materials and texts are included in the lessons fees, There are never any additional or hidden charges.
Q. How did you get started doing this type of work?
A. I paid my dues as a musician. I played in bands, toured, performed as a solo singer/songwriter and did quite a bit of session work for a number of years. I also tutored other guitarists and taught guitar to beginners because I really enjoyed teaching. I began to enjoy teaching more than anything else I did musically and after developing my teaching skills for a few years I eventually decided to make it my career. I feel like teaching guitar is what I was put on this earth to do. Everyone has a calling, or a purpose in life and mine is teaching others to play the guitar. I am very fortunate to be able to make my living doing what I do best and love most.
Q. What types of customers have you worked with?
A. The most common teaching challenges for me are:
1. Teaching brand new beginning guitarists with no experience to play the guitar and to understand music.
2. Teaching music theory and advanced playing skills to experienced quitarists who have "hit the wall" and stalled in their progression to higher levels of playing because they have little or no training in music theory.
3. Teaching young children to play the guitar, while making learning fun and exciting for them.
3. Teaching guitar to students who previously took lessons from an unqualified teacher who allowed them to develop bad playing habits. I have to first "unteach" the students in order to eliminate the bad playing habits and then teach them how to play guitar the correct way and and the music theory behind what makes it the correct way.
Q. Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
A. I have a 60 year old student named Jack. When Jack was a young man he took some lessons and learned to play the guitar a little, but life got in the way and 30 years passed without him playing at all. When his daughter was a little girl he promised her that he would sing a song for her at her wedding. It was a promise that Jack would not forget.
During his first lesson with me last March, Jack made a special request that I teach him to play well enough by June to accompany himself on guitar so that he could sing a song for his daughter at her wedding. Normally, if a student works hard and practices everyday, a request like that is certainly reasonable and attainable. Jack went on to say that during the 30 years of not playing the guitar at all, he also had become about 80% deaf in both ears and even with the help of hearing aids he still had trouble hearing. Still, he said, he had made a promise to his daughter and he was going to try his hardest to fulfill it.
In every lesson Jack would listen intently to my instruction. He read my lips. He could hear the sound coming off of his acoustic guitar and he could feel the vibrations against his body. after a few lessons alot of what Jack learned 30 years ago started coming back to him and he was playing rather well, hearing impaired or not, he was doing great playing at a novice level.
A month and a half of weekly lessons and the day came to select the song that Jack would sing at his daughters wedding. Jack chose " I Saw Her First" By Heartland. Not a very difficult song, but not a real easy song to play either. We worked on the song for the next few lessons and Jack pretty much nailed the strumming down, but the vocals were a whole different matter. Some people just can't sing and Jack, having only 15% of his hearing found singing to be a more than just a very difficult challenge.
Jack had to go to New York and missed a couple of lessons. Upon his return I brought up the subject of the vocals and suggested maybe hiring a professional singer whom he could accompany on the guitar. Jack said he had another idea and asked me to just listen to him play his guitar for a few minutes. Jack then finger picked a beautiful and heartfelt rendition of "I Saw Her First." He played the chords and he soloed the melody out of the chord progressions without a single mistake. Honestly, I could not have played it any better. I don't know who could have. It was all I could do to hold back tears. Jack told me that since he could not sing it, he decided to learn play it as a solo guitarist and while in New York he spent hours every night in his hotel room practicing that one song until he had it down perfectly. You can only imagine how well it was accepetd at the wedding.
I am very proud of the wortk I have done with Jack, but I'm even more proud of Jack and what he accomplished in such a short time. It will be a memory that his daughter will cherish forever and a memory that I will never forget as well.
It is experiences like this one that makes my profession so rewarding.
Q. What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
A. Take an introductory guitar lesson from me and a couple of other teachers, then make your decision. After you have chosen a teacher, do not make an initial long term commitment. Take a few lessons and see how the two of you work together. Make sure that you feel comfortable with the teacher and that the teacher keeps your goals first and foremost in lesson planning.
Q. What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
A. I wish that customers knew how passionate I am about teaching guitar and how devoted I am to my profession and to my students. Teaching guitar is my full time profession. Unlike many teachers, teaching is not something that I do on the side from my regular day job. I feel that teaching guitar is why I was put on this earth. Teaching is my calling, my purpose and I work very hard to be the best guitar teacher I can possibly be.