So what is your general approach to teaching a new student?
With a new student that has no previous music experience or background, I usually start the student with a sight reading book. This will introduce the student to individual notes and basic music theory. Please understand this doesn’t mean you must become a master sight reader to reap rewards. I just firmly believe that students who at least know how to read music usually learn music and aspects of music theory much faster and more thoroughly.
I also teach students beginner chord and rhythm playing. This is what you normally hear played in popular music. It also allows you to accompany yourself if you are singing a song.
Finally, I incorporate songs of the students choice to practice techniques of guitar playing learned from the books. The songs are not chosen from any list and you do not have to have the written out music for the song. As long as you can bring me in a audio copy of the song on CD or bring your MP3 player, I can figure out the song by listening to it. By doing this, the student is learning to play songs that they really like and really want to learn.
What makes you a unique teacher?
The way I view music due to my college training makes me a unique teacher. Music is music. I don’t think, “hey, here’s a guitar song or here’s a piano tune.” If you teach a student the primary concepts of music and how music works, in essence the language, you enable the student to learn different styles of music and even other instruments much more easily because they don’t see music by style, genre, or instrument. They start to see that music is simply music. This thought is very evident when I teach the student music theory concepts.
What styles of music can you teach?
I can teach most styles of music except flamenco. Though I teach classical guitar, I don’t consider flamenco to be in that same category of style. My strongest areas are rock, pop, blues, jazz, and country. However, as I stated in the previous question, if you learn the primary foundations and concepts of music, adapting to various styles of music is relatively simple.
How much time do I or my child need to practice?
Realistically, 20-30 minutes a day, 5 days a week and don’t take 2 days off in a row. For children under 10 years of age, 15-20 minutes a day, 5 days a week and no 2 day breaks. Also, parents if your child is under 10 years of age, it helps tremendously if you sit down and go through his or her lesson once a week together.