Lessons

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I am currently accepting students in the Denver area. I am very passionate about teaching and driven to work with anyone inspired to learn. I love working with beginners and young children. After a three-year stint as an elementary school and Pre-school teacher, I’m comfortable and experienced working with kids as young as 3. I’m a fully certified teacher of the Suzuki Method, which has only expanded my confidence in and passion for teaching children. I’ve also started to specialize in working with children who are home-schooled and am excited to get more involved in the home-school community.

Here is a video of one of my students, and you can check out all the videos at Denver Guitar Academy which is my teaching site so please check it out for much more info about the nuts and bolts of my teaching methods.

A few thoughts on guitar instruction:

Surprisingly, my relatively late start on the guitar (age 18), has become a real gift in terms of my teaching. Having experienced many of the difficulties that my students are having as (sort of) an adult, I feel I’m uniquely able to understand and deal with many of the stumbling blocks they may face.

My family has a great love of music and I was fortunate to have parents that nourished my interest in music and allowed me to actively pursue a life of music. My grandfather was an accomplished jazz cornetist and my mother and father both play piano and guitar respectively.

 

“The guitar is the easiest instrument to learn the wrong way.”

-Dale Bruning

The guitar is an amazing instrument.  It can be found in just about every musical setting.  From folk, classical, jazz, heavy metal, country, and everything in between it is truly ubiquitous.  In many ways it truly is the world’s instrument.  But with this flexibility come challenges.  In addition to the quotation above my mentor Dale Bruning also often quotes another famous cliché:  “the guitar is easy to play, impossible to master”.  The unique challenges the guitar presents demand that for it to be learned efficiently, it must be taught systematically.

We are all “self-taught” and only those that play truly understand this fact.  When it comes to the heavy-lifting of learning to play musical instruments we do it alone.  However, it is the quality of the information we are teaching ourselves that is key.  If the information you are teaching yourself is organized haphazardly, illogically, and out of sequence the result will be a delayed learning process that will hinder progress and diminish enjoyment. Teaching the guitar in a systematic yet fun way allows students to improve not only as guitarists but as complete musicians.

My challenging job is to keep the learning fun and spontaneous while always conveying the importance of serious practice and study. I truly believe that passion combined with discipline leads to a lifetime of joy.

 

“Those who can teach, must.”

– John Clayton

I believe that life is short.  We have limited time to improve ourselves and enjoy what we love. With this in mind it seems clear that the more efficiently we can improve at the things we love, the more time we’ll have to enjoy them.  Learning to play music on any instrument is an incredible and intimidating journey.  It is extremely rewarding to help someone attain the satisfaction and realize the joy of expressing themselves musically.

The real wisdom however is coming to appreciate the process of learning.  Those who learn to love the process of daily improvement and can embrace the beauty of focused repetition are the joyful ones.   I try to emphasize this idea as much as possible.

What will you learn?

The most efficient way to improve is to focus on and learn the music you are passionate about. Your job as student is to be disciplined and fiery in your approach to practicing and learning. My job as teacher is to make sure you are learning in an orderly way with an eye towards mastery. We will use the music you love to learn the foundations of music theory and the guitar itself. What you will learn:

 

Technique (classical or plectrum-style)

Fundamentals of Harmony, Melody, and Rhythm

Sight-reading

History of the guitar

 

Qualifications

Education has been a key component of my life for many years, as both a learner and a teacher. I tend to be naturally curious and am always thrilled to be learning new things. I began giving lessons in college to adults and quickly branched out to instructing children. My move to Seattle provided me with the opportunity to work at a wonderful independent elementary school where it became clear to me that the truly masterful teachers never stop improving their craft.

While at UCDS I began teaching children as young as five, and while we never finish learning, I humbly feel I’ve developed a methodology and rapport with children that allows me to be an effective teacher. Exposure to so many inquistive young personalities  required and inspired me to develop methods, styles, and presentation skills that are uniquely aimed at younger learners.

I have a Master’s degree in teaching (K-8 certified), a Master’s in Jazz Performance, and am certified in the Suzuki method through Book Four.  The combination of theory and practice in both my academic teaching and music instruction has provided many unique and edifying teaching experiences.

My teaching methods are not limited to one age group. Being a relative late-comer to guitar playing has enriched my ability to instruct adult learners. I can commiserate with some of the pitfalls of learning an instrument at an older age. It’s a daunting task. As the saying goes: There’s no substitute for experience. I believe it.  I’m always on the lookout for new methods and approaches to enhance my ability as a teacher.

I’m available for teaching advanced Windmilling techniques, as well as guitar burning and smashing lessons. Available as corporate Air Guitar consultant.