I have been teaching guitar since 2004. I taught at Henri’s Music from 2004 until they closed their doors on May 31, 2010. I have also taught at Jim’s Music in Green Bay, Wisconsin. I currently teach out of my home studio.
I teach guitar, violin, bass, ukulele, mandolin, beginner banjo, and beginner to intermediate piano.
I also teach music theory and music composition to my students who are interested.
I have also made my recording studio available to students who show an interest in recording their own music (which includes a basic education in the digital recording process).
The first most important part of my teaching philosophy is making the student feel respected, dignified, important, and loved. The second most important part is teaching the student how to practice what they learn, correctly.
There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to the way I teach. I seek out my student’s goals and expectations, and help guide them to that goal.
I help my students discover the skills they excel at and encourage them to continue developing those skills. I also encourage them to embrace their weaknesses and turn them into eventual strengths. I emphasize good playing technique. There is more to playing music than knowing how to read musical notation and tablature. How the music is delivered is key.
Let me preface my next explanation on my approach and view of practice in saying that:
- Regular practice is essential
- No one is born with special genes to be predisposed for music ability or talent. That is a widely perpetuated myth.
- The only difference between a good musician and a bad one is practice.
- The only difference between one who makes practice work for them or not, is practicing with the right methods, and naturally having the desire to do so.
- If the desire does not come naturally, it can be developed.
I emphasize practice. Some students have a strong desire to play a musical instrument and can’t wait to practice. They love to play their instruments whenever they get the chance. But not everyone wants or likes to practice right away. Some take up an instrument and soon realize that in order to improve and succeed it will take more time and effort than they had realized. Some younger ones especially may tend to take on a negative attitude at this point and will need much encouragement in this regard from myself and their parents. It is important for parents to take an active and very positive role in this encouragement; especially for young children who don’t yet comprehend the benefits.
– Never use practice as a punishment.
– Always commend and reward them when they do practice.
So, I really strive to emphasize the importance of practice and most importantly, developing the desire to practice. Regular practice is really THE KEY to feeding the desire to play one’s instrument. I emphasize good practice technique. Practicing a certain amount of time is not all there is to practice. I encourage my students to have a keen sense of awareness of their hand position, posture and intonation (know how to tune their instrument and play in tune). To learn one way at the studio and practice it a different way at home is futile, and to play out of tune is inexcusable.
I encourage my students to want to understand the basics of music theory and how to relate it to their instrument. This allows them to be confident and knowledgeable when working with other musicians. If they want to take on this challenge, it will give them the knowledge and power they need to understand other musician’s musical compositions and the power to create their own.