+ Do you teach beginners?
Yes, beginners are more than welcome. However, it's important to realize a few things:
- Many beginners have the goal of playing popular songs they like - that's great and we will absolutely work on reaching your goals. But along the way we will also work on your fundamental knowledge of the guitar and music in general. Just like any other instrumental lessons (violin lessons, piano lessons, etc.) this will include reading music notation (not tablature), scales, basic theory, etc.
- I require these things of all my students, so if you are uninterested in "formal lessons" in addition to strumming a few songs you like, it's best to contact another teacher. When it's clear that someone is not interested in learning these things yet scheduled lessons anyway, I ask them to find another teacher.
Find more info about reading or theory in the answers below.
+ Do we have to work on reading music?
Yes, we will work on both reading and writing at least basic music notation. But it's up to you how much time is spent on it. Many students spend only about 5 minutes of their lessons reading and writing and often not every week. Others may want to spend more. It all depends on what's appropriate for your ability and goals.
Why do you teach reading and writing?
- Reading and writing is part of the formal study of guitar and western music as it is with all western languages.
- The ability to read and write music is an immeasurably useful skill just as it is with any other language.
- I won't contribute to the abundance of illiterate guitar players in the world because of how much it hurts the repuatation of proficient guitarists.
What's the point in knowing how to read and write?
If you can read these words, I'm assuming you must realize literacy has some value, so I'll just say musical literacy is no different than any other form of literacy.
If you're really worried about reading/writing, please realize 5 minutes out of an hour, every other week or so, is probably not much to worry about. But that all being said, if you're someone who will refuse to read and write, unfortunately these lessons will not be right for you and you should contact another teacher.
+ Do we have to learn music theory?
Well... If you consider "Theory" to be basic things like song structure, scales and the names of the notes on the guitar, then yes. But if you're at all serious, you're going to ask to learn these things in order to learn faster.
Real music theory tends to be most relevant to people interested in improvising, songwriting and composition. But however deep or shallow someone wants to dive into theory is perfectly fine with me.
+ What is Music Theory?
Where everyone starts with music theory would be better titled “established structures.” It could easily be compared to the study of architecture: How was a building built? What materials were used? How does it continue to stand? There are definitive answers to those questions that are not just “theories.”
This type of established music theory is the study of verifiable patterns in common musical structures which provide well-substantiated explanations of how certain aspects of music work. Understanding these things gives musicians a sense of grounding, an appreciation for more music, the ability to learn music faster, the ability to make or learn music they otherwise could not, etc.
Certain people, at some point, may want to explore the possibilities of certain patterns or to look at less established patterns; patterns not noticed or not found in common musical structures- this is when things become more “theory” oriented. This type of music theory eventually gives one the freedom to develop theory of their own as well as to agree or disagree with the theory of others.
Do we have to read to learn music theory?
Yes. But some people who think they want to learn music theory in reality want to learn very basic “guitar theory.”
What is guitar theory?
In short, just like music theory is the study of patterns, guitar theory is too- however guitar theory is specifically the study of these patterns on the fretboard. All instruments have their own theory and methods and some are more different than others - for instance, the guitar has dramatically different patterns and theory than that of the piano.
Do I have to play guitar to take music theory lessons?
No, but you must play an instrument and should know how to read music.
+ Do you offer a "trial lesson"?
Yes, the first lessons is free. Decide if it's for you without spending anything.
+ What are the days/hours I can take lessons? / How often do I take lessons?
I hold lessons 3 days per week over a 10 hour day, but the schedule changes a couple times per year based on my other musical obligations and projects.
Currently the schedule is Sundays 11AM-9PM, Tuesdays 12-10PM and Wednesdays 12-10PM.
Most students take lessons every week and every week is recommended. But occasionally a student might want to take lessons every other week, twice per week or only every few weeks- Two important policies in regard to this are below:
- Due to the high demand for Sundays and weeknights, these times are reserve only for students who can commit to a weekly set day and time. However, it is still possible to take weeknight or Sunday lessons less than once per week but it would be a on a "floating schedule," based only upon what happens to be available that week.
- Package/discounted lessons are only offered to students who come on a regular basses (at least once per week with a set day/time on weeknights and Sundays, or at least every other Tuesday/Wednesday on a floating schedule)
+ What is your cancellation policy?
Unless it’s due to being sick or a genuine emergency, if you don’t show up or cancel in less than 48 hours of your lesson, your lesson will be “counted”. Meaning: the lesson will either be subtracted from your “package” or you’ll need to make an online payment in full as soon as possible.
A “Package” of discounted lessons must be completed in a reasonable amount of time regardless of the previous policies. Meaning:
If you buy 4 lessons to be taken every week they must be completed within 8 weeks.
If you buy 4 lessons to be taken every other week they must be completed within 12 weeks.
If you buy 4 lessons to be taken twice per week they must be completed within 6 weeks.
In other words, you’ll always have an entire extra month to complete your lessons if needed. Things happen, I get it, so this leaves you more than enough time to reschedule around conflicts.
It's also worth noting: if you cancel half or more of your lessons, it's possible I may move you from a set day and time to a "floating schedule"
+ Can I borrow a guitar during lessons?
Yes, there will always be both an acoustic and electric guitar to borrow during lessons. Keep in mind some people find it easier playing on their own guitars, but you're always more than welcome to borrow one for lessons.
+ Do you teach both acoustic and electric guitar?
Does it matter whether I use an electric or acoustic guitar?
No it does not, use whichever you prefer.
+ Do you teach children?
Yes, but usually no younger than 10. I work with plenty of kids in the 12-17 range. I usually only offer half hour lessons to preteens, but that all depends on their interest and attention spans.
Will you teach my 4, 5, 6 or 7 year old?
No unfortunately. For children that young you should find some sort of specialist music teacher or go to one of the many "music for babbies" style classes in NYC.
Why the guitar for my child?
For a number of reasons. The most cliche reason is that the guitar carries a "sense of cool" with it that children are attracted to, and tend to have more fun with. It's an instrument you can play with others AND by yourself, which is not true of all instruments commonly taught in public schools. It's also a chordal instrument and over time this will spark deep musical theory conversation that will involve unique uses of mathematics.
May I come to the lessons with my child?
+ Do you teach adults?
Yes. 75% or so of my students are adults.
+ What if I'm COMPLETELY new to music?
Music, on a completely technical level, can be broken down into two parts, pitch and rhythm. If you seriously lack in one or both of these areas we will devote portions of our classes to certain exercises. For recognizing pitch, we will do simple voice (singing) exercises (the quality of your voice is of absolutely no importance)... For rhythm we will use a metronome and drum loops and try out many different exercises. Regardless of your level I will be committed to your progress.
+ How much do I need to practice?
Try to think of it like exercise: how much do you need to exercise? Well that all depends on your goals.
If you don't exercise you don't get stronger, right? Same is true with music - If you don't play your instrument you will absolutely not get better (you'll get worse).
Professional musicians practice for many hours per day. But of course you may not have that time or that goal. But just know if you want to see any progress at all, you'll need to practice a minimum of about 20 minutes per day 4-5 days per week.
+ Can you come to my home?
+ Do you give Skype Lessons?
Yes, I do. But there are a few things to keep in mind.
If you live in New York City and are capable of taking lessons in person, it is absolutely in your best interest to do so, as Skype lessons are no substitute for a real life lesson (and you should be cautious of any teachers or schools that tell you otherwise). Skype lessons are virtually impossible for beginners, and limiting for intermediate-advance students.
Skype lessons are ideal for people who do not live in NYC, or do live in NYC but are not able to make it into the studio on occasion due to work, travel, sickness, etc.
If you'd like to set up a skype lesson please Contact Here.
+ What is your background?
I'm an actave NYC bassed guitarist, composer and music educator.
Bachelor of Music: Guitar Performance
Berklee College of Music - Boston, MA
Graduate Studies: Music Composition
Hunter College School of Arts and Sciences - New York, NY
Undergrad Studies: Jazz Guitar
Eastman School of Music - Rochester, NY
For more info please check the "About The Teacher" section of this website.
+ What style of music do you play and listen to?
My original music has been described as a combination of modern jazz, classical, rock, electronic, funk and avaunt guard music. Listen HERE if interested.
When I'm hired to play for private events/gatherings, studio sessions, or to accompany various artists, I play whatever is needed. Usually that means "strait ahead jazz", rock/pop, Fusion, or singer-songwriter/folk-ish music.
When I teach I work on whatever music the student is interested in.
I listen to a lot of music... Some of my well-known favorites are: Miles Davis and Wayne Shorter (jazz); Kurt Rosenwinkel and Brad Mehldau (modern jazz); Nick Drake and Joni Mitchell (folk); Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix (Classic Rock); Radiohead and Grizzly Bear (Modern Rock-ish); B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan (Blues); Stravinski and Ravel (Classical); Philip Glass and Nico Muhly (Contemporary Classical), Hundred Waters and Aphex Twin (Electronic); Kendrick Lamaer (hip-hop) Johnny Cash (Country-ish); Ravi Shankar(Eastern/Indian); Chris Thile (Bluegrass-ish) and on and on... Other artists I've been listening to in the last few years who are more obscure or harder to categorize are The Books, Joanna Newsome, Caroline Shaw, Sufjan Stevens, Makeunder and many more. I'm also involved with many local musicians in NYC whom I listen to as much as anyone else. If you don't recognize any of these names, it really should not concern you, we don't need to listen to the same music.
+ Can I buy lessons for a friend or family member as a gift?
Yes, but there are a few rules and things to keep in mind listed below...
The free trial lesson is not offered as a "gift lesson" nor will it be included in any package of lessons purchased as a gift.
The student would need to own a guitar of their own to practice on at home.
The lesson(s) must take place or start in no more than one month after the purchase.
A "package" of four lessons must be completed in no more than 10 weeks after the purchase (usually this is only 8 weeks).
Payments are non refundable
The student would need to fit into my schedule and vise versa... (Read more below on this)
The biggest thing to consider is scheduling/availability...currently the schedule is Sundays 11AM-9PM, Tuesdays 12-10PM, Wednesdays 12-10PM. Weekday afternoons tend not to be too busy, while weeknights and Sundays are highly in demand- although there are usually some random openings.
I tend to break New Yorker's schedules down into two types, and here's what I'd recommend for both.
The busy and/or unpredictable schedule: Say they can only do lessons at 7PM on one specific day of the week- or maybe they can't commit to any day/time on a recurring bassis (etc.) In that case, purchase only one lesson as a gift, and at that lesson the student and I can plan on how to schedule future lessons.
The fairly flexible schedule: Say they don't work a 9-5, and/or have flexibility in their work/school schedule, and/or have at least some weekday afternoon availability, etc. In that case, purchasing a "package" of lessons should be perfectly fine.
So if you're interested in gift lessons, just Contact Me Here and we'll try to work out the details.
+ What are composition and songwriting lessons like?
When doing songwriting/composition lessons, we simply focus on whatever is needed and desired. Some students need better understanding of song structure, some may want to learn how to notate their ideas, some feel stuck in their musical/guitar techniques and are looking for new possibilities, some may want to learn how to arrange and write for different instruments, some may want to understand theory and it’s application in composition, and some simply want to share/perform their work just to get someone else’s feedback. Etc. Whatever it may be we'll work on it together.
Basic lessons in certain software such as Sibelius, Ableton, logic, or Garageband can be very useful in someone’s progress in songwriting/composition, but is in no way required.
It’s also important to note there’s no need to do 100% composition/songwriting lessons, we can work on many different things.
What is the difference between composition and songwriting?
There is no definitive difference, there's only what the words tend to be associated with. For instance:
Composition is usually associated with notated music and music that involves significant harmonic considerations in the writing process (meaning theory, harmony and arranging). These qualities are heavily associated with Classical music, and most Jazz music, etc. To use obvious examples: think Beethoven or Duke Ellington.
Songwriting tends to be associated with non-notated music and music that involves great lyrical and stylistic considerations in the writing process. These qualities are heavily associated with singer-songwriter music and most Rock music, etc. To use obvious examples: think Joni Mitchel or Bruce Springsteen.
There are many styles and artists that could easily fit into both of these descriptions (including some Joni Mitchell and Duke Ellington). There's no need to completely identify with one or the other. In the long run, composition and songwriting are about the same thing, the creation of new music.
What are software lessons like?
While I don’t claim to be an expert in this subject, I can offer help with certain software. Sometimes people need help getting started, have technical questions, or need a better understanding of the application of certain software in their writing, etc. I work and teach with the following software: Sibelius, Ableton Live, Logic Pro and Garageband.
+ Do you accept credit and/or debit cards?
Yes, but please remember an additional 3% is added to cover transaction fees. To avoid the 3% charge just bring cash or a check to the lesson. Cash is always appreciated.
+ How much do lessons cost?
Please check the 'Prices' section of this website.
+ Do you give group lessons (2 or more people)?
Yes, but in general I don't recommend it. Because such personal attention is needed when studying any instrument and the speed of progress varies greatly from person to person, one on one lessons are typically best (and you should be cautious of any other teachers or schools who tell you otherwise). However, if the students are more advanced it may not be as much of an issue. Either way, if requested, yes I do give group lessons.
Prices for group lessons are $7.50 less for each student compared to a private lesson.
+ Do I need to own a guitar to take lessons?
YES. Practicing what is discussed in lessons is 90% of learning any instrument. If you want to try out one lesson before buying a guitar that's perfectly fine, but after that lesson you absolutely must own your own guitar. I'd be happy to recommend guitar brands in your price range at your first lesson.