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 teach lessons on the following days/hours: Sundays 12-9PM, Mondays 1-10PM, Wednesdays 1-10PM and Thursdays 12-5PM.
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 Sunday lessons and weeknight lessons (between 6PM and 10PM), these times are reserved only for students who can commit to weekly lessons. However, it is still possible to take evening lessons or Sunday lessons less than once per week but it would be a on a "floating schedule" basis, and based only upon what happens to be available that week.
- Package/discounted lessons lessons are only offered to students come on a regular basses (at least every other week for weekday afternoons, and every week for evenings or Sunday lessons)
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 policy. 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.
(Any cancellations on my behalf will of course not be held against you in this policy.)
Do you teach both acoustic and electric guitar?
Yes, whichever you prefer is fine.
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.
Does it matter whether I use an electric or acoustic guitar?
No it does not, use whichever you prefer.
Do you teach children? Would you recommend your lessons for my child?
Yes, and ABSOLUTELY. The human brain learns quickest when we're young, so there is no better time to take music lessons than as a child. Music studies have proven time and time again to be profoundly beneficial for a child's development.
I usually recommend ages 10 and up. But if your child is younger than 10 and you're confident that his or her's attention span and fingers are strong enough for guitar lessons, feel free to contact me.
Why the guitar for my child?
For a number of reasons. The most cliche reason is 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?
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 try out many different exercises. Regardless of your level I will be committed to your progress.
Can you come to my home?
Maybe, but unlikely... Availability is quite limited and please understand that I need to count the traveling time (there and back) that I'm taking out of my teaching schedule- the charge is by the hour so the cost all depends on your location- usually that means charging an additional $50 or so. Due to the high demand of evening lessons from my studio, "At-home lessons" are only offered in the afternoons. Virtually all of my students choose to take lessons at my studio, which I highly recommend over at-home lessons. But if you're interested in at-home lessons Contact Here with your location to get an estimate and an idea of availability.
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 style of music do you play and listen to?
My original music is hard to categorize but is some type of modern jazz, fused with many different styles including 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 what is needed. Usually that means "strait ahead jazz", rock/pop, Fusion, or singer-songwriter/folk-ish music.
I listen to a lot of music... Some of my favorites are: Miles Davis and Wayne Shorter (jazz); Kurt Rosenwinkel and Brad Mehldau (modern jazz); Nick Drake and Bob Dylan (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); 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 slightly more obscure and harder to categorize are The Books, Joanna Newsome, Caroline Shaw, Wayne Krantz, Sufjan Stevens and many more. I'm also involved with many local musicians in NYC who I also 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.
What do I need to bring?
For your first lesson all you need is a guitar (and you can even borrow one at the lesson if you prefer). For additional lessons you'll be given a paper with required and recommended material. Required material shouldn't cost anymore than $20 total, and many students will already have some if not all required materials.
Do we have to work on reading music?
Yes, we will work on both reading and writing basic music notation. But it's up to you how much time is spent on it. Most students spend only about 5 minutes of their lessons reading/writing (and often not every lesson) but some may want to spend more. It all depends on your interest and what's appropriate for your level and goals.
Why do we have to work on reading music?
In addition to these being guitar lessons they are also in a general sense music lessons; and being able to read and write is part of the study of music. I also won’t contribute to the abundance of illiterate guitar players because it hurts the instrument's reputation.
If you're worried about reading and writing music notation, please remember 5 minutes (out of an hour) every other lesson or so for basic notation is not much to worry about. It's been my experience that reading/writing is very rarely an issue with students- but that being said, if you're someone who will all together refuse to read and write for 5 minutes, unfortunately these lessons will not be right for you.
Keep in mind being able to read and write music is an immeasurably useful skill.
What is Music Theory?
Music theory is the study of patterns and structure in music. Where everyone starts would be much better titled “established musical theory”. It could easily be compared to the study of architecture: You are likely in or near a building right now- how was it built? How does it continue to stand? There are definitive answers to those question. It’s not just “theory” in the way we tend to use the word.
This type of established music theory is the study of verifiable patterns in common musical structures. These patterns 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 write or improvise music they otherwise could not, the ability to understand music they otherwise could not. etc.
Most people don't have a need or desire to move away from "established theory" (there is enough there to keep anyone busy for years.) But certain people, at some point, may want to explore stranger and less established patterns; patterns not found in common musical structures- this is when things become more “theory” oriented in the way we tend to use the word. 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?
If you’re truly serious about theory, yes. But some people are more interested in the fundamentals of basics music theory; specifically 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 we have to learn music theory?
No. You will likely want to know some absolutely basic “guitar theory” in order to learn faster. But I do not require music theory of all students. Whatever you’re interested in is fine.
What are composition/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 terms tend to be associated with. For instance:
Composition is usually associated with notated music; and music that tends to involve advanced harmonic considerations in the writing process (meaning theory, harmony and arranging). These qualities are associated with Classical and a lot of 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 associated with a lot of Rock and Singer-Songwriter 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 world, I can offer help and assistance 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.
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...
-Unfortunately free first 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 a month after the purchase.
-The student would also need to fit into my schedule and vise versa... (Read more below on this)
The biggest thing to consider is scheduling/availability... I teach Monday-Friday 12-9PM (no weeknds) - afternoons are fairly open, while night lessons (6PM and later) are highly in demand- although there are always at least 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, it's usually a better idea to 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 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.
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.