Do you teach beginners?
What ages do you teach?
Ages 5 and up.
Where are lessons held?
In East Central Edmonton at my home studio (I am located in Capilano).
When do you offer lessons?
I teach Monday – Friday (between 4 and 8pm).
What are the terms and how is payment made?
With the exception of Suzuki Guitar Method students, there are no contracts to sign or lesson semester obligations, you may discontinue lessons at any time. Fees are payable by cash, cheque, e-mail transfer or by paypal. Payment is made on a monthly basis (at the first lesson of the month). Drop-In Lessons can be paid for in advance or at each lesson.
Suzuki Guitar Method Students attending Suzuki Charter School are required by the school to take weekly lessons with a certified Suzuki Method instructor from September – June. You must provide them with proof of enrolment in a program for the duration of the school year. My Suzuki Guitar Program schedule runs in tandem with The Suzuki Charter School schedule (with corresponding holidays) and is accordingly a 10 month program. Visit suzukiguitarbyeverett.com for more information.
What is your cancellation policy?
If a student misses a lesson I will provide several possible times for a make up lesson (students have 60 days to book a make-up lesson after an absence). I charge full price for any “no shows” without notice. Students taking drop-in lessons must provide 48 hours notice for an absence.
What styles of music do you teach?
I am comfortable teaching classical guitar, rock, folk, blues, funk, alternative/modern rock, metal, punk, country, alt-country and singer-songwriter accompaniment styles.
I teach lead guitar, rhythm guitar, fingerstyle guitar, improvisation, songwriter accompaniment styles, altered tunings, triadic and 7th harmony, and diatonic/modal music theory, among other things. I’m open to new possibilities. I also regularly work with students on singing and songwriting, if this is something that interests them.
What is a drop-in lesson?
Drop-in lessons are booked on a lesson by lesson basis when openings become available that work for the student. They are ideal for someone who can’t or doesn’t want to commit to weekly or bi-weekly lessons, but would still like to take the music lessons from time to time when it is convenient for them. Drop-in lessons are also well suited for a person who needs assistance with a short term project (a music audition, or learning a song for wedding, talent show or engagement proposal etc).
What will the first lesson be like?
The first lesson will be really easy. We’ll talk a bit about what you want to do and what music you like. I’ll ask you about what sort of musical experiences you’ve had in the past, if any. Since there are so many different guitar techniques we could possibly learn and so many different styles of music to explore, I find it helpful to start with a list of 10 songs that you would love to be able to play. I’ll take a bunch of notes on my iPad. As a starting point this list of 10 songs can then help to inform me as to what techniques we should focus on.
I may also give you a warm-up exercise to start building up some calluses on your fingertips, and help build some strength and dexterity in your fingers.
What is your teaching philosophy?
First and foremost, I believe that students should play the music that they enjoy. This may sound obvious, but students constantly tell me about lessons that they have taken in the past where they have learned to play just about everything but what they were interested in playing. I suspect it was the music the guitar teacher liked or knows how to play, or whatever songs are in the latest Mel Bay or Hal Leonard Guitar Method book. As a student of mine, you will decide on almost all of the music that you will learn. Let’s face it, if you’re not playing the music you like, it’s not as much fun to play.
I try and start with end in mind — what is the music you would like to play? What techniques do you need to know to play this style of music? Once you are clear where you want to go I can help you get there. I’m totally happy to suggest music for you, but it’s usually more meaningful to students when they decide what music they want to learn.
I subscribe to a long term view of music education that is nurturing and not too pushy or regimented. I think people should pursue learning at their own pace and learn whatever type of music they are most excited about at the time.
What unites all of my successful students is their love of music and interest in playing guitar. I try to nurture these things in my students.
Do you teach a specific method?
I use examples from many different guitar methods in my day to day teaching to help address the different goals of different students. With the exception of my Suzuki Guitar students, there is not a set teaching program that all students follow, it’s a little bit more flexible than that. I have a created a database of teaching materials and use this to tailor teaching methods to a students interests.
Some students will work out of books such as Bridges (formerly Royal Conservatory of Music) or Suzuki Method, or William Leavitt’s Modern Method while others may not. It all depends on what each individual student is trying to achieve. For example, some fingerpicking guitarists can really benefit from learning a few classical studies to sharpen up their fingering technique. If a student likes this idea, I might suggest some Mauro Giuliani classical studies. If, on the other hand, a student wants to play “punk rock”, we might learn some songs from punk bands from the past as a stylistic exercise, concentrate on downstroke tremolo picking, power chords, and explore using dissonance, noise and feedback to enhance a songs impact. If you’re trying to get into Grant MacEwan on the other hand, we’ll be working on sightreading standard notation from any number of books, 7th chords, memorizing notes on the fingerboard and so on and so on.
Do you teach TAB or standard notation?
I teach both. If you are someone who wants to learn some songs by your favorite bands or songwriters for your own pleasure or to play in a band, I will suggest or provide an accurate transcription of the music for you in either TAB or standard notation. TAB has become the standard for contemporary popular music and most players find TAB easier to learn. If you don’t read music I can still show you how to play it, but if it’s really complex, it will take a lot longer. If you are a very young student who has never read music before I may suggest we work through at least 1 or 2 standard notation reading guitar method books, although this is not a requirement in my guitar program. If you wish to go to school to study music in the future you will need to understand and confidently be able to sightread standard music notation. If that is your wish, we should work on it.
Do I have to learn to read music?
No you do not. There are countless outstanding guitarists who do not read music. I can work with you on learning your fingerboard, warm-up studies, or scales, modes, arpeggios and chords using only diagrams and “playing by ear”.
What qualifies you to teach music?
I have a great deal of experience both playing and teaching music. I have been an active professional musician since 1982 and have been teaching guitar since 1992. I have been playing music for virtually my entire life beginning with singing songs with my mother on the piano bench as a toddler and studying classical piano starting at age 6 with Edmonton All Saints Cathedral organist Hugh Bancroft. These early musical experiences were followed by singing in the school choir, playing alto and tenor saxophone while in junior high school, more piano lessons, classical guitar lessons, guitar lessons at Alberta College, vocal coaching with Alice Wright but mostly, literally thousands of days and nights spent learning songs off of records, tapes and cds.
I started to practice A LOT and also learning about the music business. By the time I was 20 I was making records and touring nationally with a band named “Idyl Tea”. Idyl Tea signed a recording contract in 1990 and much more touring ensued. Since those early days I have learned many things and gathered many a multitude of pertinent experiences playing in the recording studio and on the concert stage.
I have experience teaching in a few different contexts: guitar workshops for junior high schools; teaching at Edmonton’s “Acoustic Music Shop” between 2002 and 2005; teaching students with vision impairment for The Brail Tone Music Society from 2001 until 2007; and teaching Suzuki Method for elementary school age children at The Suzuki Charter School in Edmonton for the 2011/12 school year. In addition to what I learned from on the job experience, I have also spent a great deal of time independently studying music pedagogy and curriculum. In August 2015 I received my Suzuki Method Unit 1 certification from Suzuki Guitar co-founder William Kossler.
Do you enjoy teaching?