Finding quality guitar instruction for yourself or your child is often a tricky proposition. There are plenty of great guitarists out there, but most of them, quite honestly, are players, not teachers. Sure, they know a bunch of chords. They can probably play some pretty impressive guitar solos. They might have even been a member of the latest and greatest local band. But a quality guitar lesson is one in which YOU learn to play the guitar. Can this person actually communicate good information, analyze your strengths and weaknesses accurately, and coach you to meet your musical goals?
A quality guitar teacher should ideally be a great player, also; but he/she should be able to communicate concepts and skills clearly, evaluate your technical skills and troubleshoot problems, create a warm and friendly environment, and inspire you to greatness. In Jim’s guitar studio, you’ll dare to be great and have fun in the process!
Jim’s guitar lessons are focused on two things: strong fundamentals and the student’s individual goals in music.
Jim requires that all of his students gain some mastery of the fundamentals of guitar, no matter what style of music they may eventually prefer to play. This means that sound technique, a vocabulary of open-position and barre chords, a command of basic strumming patterns, the ability to read rhythms, and an understanding of the major scale and chord theory will be emphasized and reinforced on a regular basis.
Beyond the fundamentals, the lessons are essentially “student driven”. Since enthusiasm and desire are the personal traits most essential to guitar success, it is extremely important that the guitar student is playing the music that makes him/her feel happy and motivated. Therefore, students should feel free to request songs or techniques that they want to learn. As a 30+-year student of the guitar himself, Jim is fluent in styles as diverse as pop, rock, blues, jazz, heavy metal, country, folk, fingerstyle, funk/r&b, reggae – so most any request can be accommodated. However, if a student wishes to play proper classical guitar, Jim can recommend a more competent teacher for that style.
Another vital aspect of Jim’s lessons is fun! While the guitar can be very challenging (and, at times, downright frustrating!), the challenges should always be fun and motivating. The practice should be enjoyable, not drudgery. Jim tries to keep a loose and playful vibe in the guitar studio – as friend and fellow instructor, Carl Filipiak, would say, “You play guitar; you don’t work guitar.”
A quick note on reading music: It is an absolute myth that one must read music (standard notation) to be a musician. Many of the best do not read a note. Jim doesn’t force note reading on anyone; students will read music if it fits their personal goals. But Jim does require all students to gain some mastery over reading rhythms, which are essential to following strumming or picking instructions on the written page, as well as reading TAB (tablature), which is a virtually necessity in the modern world of guitar.
Finally, Jim’s students have full access to his vast library of books, CDs, transcriptions and the 7000 or so songs that currently populate his iPod!
Follow these links to learn more about guitar lessons with Jim!