Teaching Yourself

Should You Try to Teach Yourself? More and more, people come in and tell us they’ve been trying to learn from YouTube videos, websites, or from friends or family members. Let’s see what it is that makes this a good or bad idea. Good Idea: Lessons are free, you can learn at your own pace. The temptation to try and learn on your own is very strong, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. If you Read more…

Finding Time to Practice

I Didn’t Practice Much This Week We hear it all the time. I was too busy, we were out of town, I was swamped at work, (insert your own excuse here!). What can you do to find practice time? Set Aside a Block of Time: I know it’s difficult, but if you REALLY want to learn to play you make the time to practice. It’s like going to the gym, starting a diet, or vowing Read more…

Don’t Pull the Plug Too Soon

How long should you give it before you decide to quit taking lessons? It happens every year, students look back  and wonder what they’ve really accomplished by taking  lessons. If it’s been a relatively short time, less than a year for example, they really need to assess the situation. A recent example of not giving yourself a chance. Right after the holidays I had a student cancel lessons, even though it had only been a Read more…

Learning to Tune

Playing in tune is an essential part of learning any stringed instrument. I have students who come in all the time and haven’t tuned once during the week. There are all kinds of electronic tuners available, so there is NO EXCUSE for playing out of tune! Why is it necessary to play in tune and what difference does it make? It helps to develop your ear. You can get used to an out of tune Read more…

How Much Should I Be Practicing?

To make steady progress everyone needs to commit to practicing. The single most important thing is to DO SOMETHING EVERY DAY! If you can only practice for 10 minutes, do it. We recommend no less than 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, but we also realize that sometimes that’s just not possible. The more days you miss the easier it becomes to not practice. Pretty soon you’ve convinced yourself that you Read more…

Getting Started With Lessons

What you need to get off to a good start.

  • A decent, playable instrument. Make sure that your guitar, banjo, bass or uke is good enough to get started on. A common mistake is buying or borrowing an instrument without knowing much about whether it’s ok or not. Your teacher will be happy to help you when you’re in doubt.
  • A music stand. Music stands range in price from $15.00 up to $100. The low priced ones fold up and are easy to carry around. They work fine unless you have thick, heavy books. The middle price range is like the ones we have in the studios. Heavy duty and sturdy. Prices start around $45.00. Anything above that is just a cooler looking stand, more ornate and usually made of solid wood.
  • Electronic Tuner. Tuners are not very expensive, and they help you learn what your instrument sounds like when it’s in tune. They start at about $15.00 and go up from there. You can also find a free tuner on the internet. Two that work well are the Guitar Tuna, and the tuner from the Martin Guitar company, available on the app store.
  • A sturdy case. You don’t need an expensive, hardshell case, but a decent gig bag or soft case works well.
  • Metronome. The metronome helps you keep the beat and gets you to play your songs without stopping in between notes. They range in price from $15.00 for an electronic metronome, to over $100 for one that has a clock movement in it. If you buy an inexpensive one be sure it’s loud enough, especially if you play banjo or an electric guitar or bass. (more…)