What is an appropriate age to begin guitar or piano lessons for children? – I believe children are best suited for lessons by the time they reach 2nd grade (approx. 7-8 years old). By this time, kids are used to taking on small responsibilities and have had experience in a classroom setting. With this said, every child matures at a different rate, so if you feel that your son or daughter is ready, I am always happy to offer a free trial lesson.
What are the key elements to your teaching method?- I base my teaching plan from a mix of 5 ingredients. Depending on the student’s level and goals, the recipe for success is changed to personally fit them the best.
- Note Reading- Through the use of method books and sight reading
- Favorite Songs- Actively listening and learning a song that the student chooses by studying the melody, harmony, and genre
- Ear Training- Recognizing chord qualities and intervals
- Improvisation- Using notes or rhythms to “compose in the moment”
- Music Theory- Learning scales, chords, musical terms, etc.
Does it make a difference if I use an Electric guitar or Acoustic guitar? – If you are just starting to learn guitar, I think this question depends greatly on what kind of music you want to play. Do you want to rip electric guitar solos like Jimi Hendrix? Or do you dream of fingerpicking an acoustic like Paul Simon? Ask yourself similar questions and try to make a choice that reflects your musical tastes. By picking the instrument that best sounds like your “musical goal”, you will be more motivated to practice and will enjoy learning that much more.
How often should I practice? – Never! No… just kidding. I recommend practicing at least 15-30 minutes everyday. The most important element of improving on your instrument is creating a habit of practicing routinely. Sporadic practice sessions don’t allow your mind and body to become aquainted with the music or the instrument.
And always remember to practice at a tempo that allows you to play with precision and not sound “sloppy”. It is completely natural when a song, scales, chords, etc. don’t sound perfect at the beginning… but you’re not helping yourself by trying to play the solo from “Stairway to Heaven” at the recorded tempo after having played guitar for a total of 3 weeks. A piece of music can always be sped up if you can perform it “cleanly” at a steady and slower speed first.
How do I tune my guitar? – The strings of a guitar are tuned in this order going from the low 6th string to the high 1st string. E A D G B E. Check out this website for more details.
How can I improve my music theory and ear training skills? – I highly recommend taking a look at Ricci Adams' Musictheory.net. The site offers you fun and interactive ways to work on your ears and theory at home.
Still need an answer to your question(s)? Feel free to send me an email anytime, and I would love to help!