Given the current situation (pandemic) I now teach online only.
For most of my younger pupils (usually beginners ) I start them off learning the basics of music reading along with the bases of good guitar technique (e.g. holding position, correct positioning of both hands in the case of classical guitar). Experience has taught me that it’s always best to start off with a fairly solid foundation, and seeing as most enter performance grade exams acquiring correct technique counts as marks. So far I’ve not had a pupil achieve anything less than a merit.
For my adult pupils as well as teenage pupils who are not interested in guitar exams then the teaching content can vary considerably.
Whatever the age of pupil, I do place an emphasis on a clear progressive learning path, encompassing good playing technique, sight reading, and at least some understanding of music theory.
Even if your chosen style is rock/pop you’ll benefit greatly from a coherent method rather than simply learning to strum your way from one song to another, or from learning a few tunes/lead breaks using TAB.
How much will lessons cost?
£25 per hour or £15 for 1/2 hour.
Will I need a particular type of guitar?
Broadly speaking, there’s a choice of nylon string (classical) guitar, steel string acoustic guitar, and electric guitar.
If you’re a complete beginner it doesn’t matter too much whether you’ve got a guitar with steel strings or nylon strings or whether it’s electric or acoustic.
It would be best to have a nylon string (classical) guitar if you’re definitely set on learning classical guitar.
Any guitar will do for first few months (maybe longer, depending on your progress) although a steel string acoustic would be better if strumming chords is the main objective. Nylon strings are great for playing classical and fingerstyle but aren’t too great for producing a good strummed chord sound.
Is it necessary to learn to read music?
It depends on how far you want to develop your musical skills. Most people who play a musical instrument gradually acquire the skill of reading music in tandem with learning to master their instrument. Even a basic understanding of music reading is better than ‘learning by numbers’(i.e. TAB).
However, if you are not a beginner but someone who’s played for quite a while, needs help with some aspect of your playing, but doesn’t wish to start a course in music reading, I should be able to help – over the years I’ve helped scores of players who get by with TAB and by relying on their ear.
I have a lot of material , developed over many years, that will help with just about every aspect of playing. Pretty much all of the material I use for classical players is in the form of notation only, but the material I use for most rock and jazz players is notation and TAB.
Should you follow a set course?
Designing a course and having a lesson plan were for me both an integral part of teaching in education centres and schools. For individual (one to one) lessons they aren’t a necessity, especially if you already play and need help with certain specific aspects of playing. Generally, and particularly if you’re a beginner, I’d recommend a plan. It can be altered as we go along e.g. if you discover you’d prefer to explore a particular style of playing in greater detail e.g Chet Atkins – type picking, fingerstyle, classical….etc. But following a plan is obviously best, not least because you can chart your progress more easily.
How often should I have lessons?
Fortnightly lessons usually allow for sufficient time to practise between each lesson. For younger pupils entering performance grade exams a weekly lesson is preferable.
Even if you’re playing for sheer pleasure/as a hobby it’s still best to have at least fortnightly lessons, otherwise it’s quite easy to lose motivation.
Will I need to practise between lessons?
Yes. Practice is essential if you’re serious about wanting to play a musical instrument. I do give advice on the amount of practice needed.