To Schools It May Concern

I am asked several times a year to teach guitar classes for colleges, middle schools, summer programs, and community enrichment programs. While most people assume that a guitar class would be fun and easy to put together, the reality is that for a guitar class to have positive results, everyone involved needs to be on the same page, and that is not always easy or fun. Here are some things I’ve learned along the way for you to consider for your program or class. Continue reading

THE SECOND EDITION of “The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume One”

WHAT’S YOUR GOAL?

  • Read music and develop good technique from open through 12th position
  • Switch between chords clearly and in time: open, power, barre, 7th, extended, and altered chords
  • Create catchy rhythms and grooves using triad inversions with embellishments
  • Understand of music theory on paper, and on your guitar
  • Solo using patterns from the CAGED system with the Audio Tracks
  • Figure out what key a song is in and write songs in specific keys

The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume One, Second Edition is a music reading primer, a chord and scale jam guide, and a basic theory workbook. It’s jam-packed with comprehensive exercises that were designed to take an absolute beginner step by step into the intermediate stages of playing. This book will challenge the average student for 2-3 years with weekly lessons.

 

Download the FREE SAMPLE of “The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume One” and Check Out the Table of Contents

Play the Reading Study on page 10 with Audio Track 2 (below). If you have questions or need me to send you the PDF: LeadCatPress@gmail.com

 

IS THIS THE METHOD BOOK YOU’VE BEEN SEARCHING FOR? 

   √  MORE CONCEPTS are in this book than in the competition’s entire series   
   √  MORE EXERCISES make this book more effective than other books   
   √  BETTER SOUNDING studies, enhanced with the online audio   
   √  WORKSHEETS help students gain a thorough understanding of notes and theory   
   √  SPIRAL BINDING keeps this book open on your music stand   
   √  FREE ONLINE LESSON LIBRARY covers all the topics in the book (coming soon!)   
   √  FLEXIBLE FORMAT for students taking group or private guitar lessons   

SPECIFICATIONS: “The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume One” Second Edition is 160 8 ½” x 11″ pages with 17 black and white photographs, spiral binding and online audio.  ISBN #: 978-0-9777920-2-3 Published January 2018  Retail Price: $40

PURCHASE AT YOUR LOCAL GUITAR SHOP, OR FOR THE SAME AMOUNT, GET THE METHOD BOOKS DELIVERED TO YOU!
FREE SHIPPING (to U.S. Domestic Addresses)

The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume One, Second Edition $40 Donation
The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume Two  $35 Donation
Bundle Both Books (Best Value) $70 Donation

Each book is 160 pages. Retail Prices = Volume One: $40, Volume Two: $35  All books are mailed from the United States Post Office in a Priority Mailer, so most people receive their packages in 2-3 business days. You’ll receive an email when your donation has been processed and your package is on its way. Questions on International Donations? Email: LeadCatPress@gmail.com

ONLINE AUDIO TRACKS FOR THE BOOK:

Audio Tracks for The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume One SECOND EDITION

The first 100 tracks are in the streamable playlist below. I will be finishing the remaining Audio Tracks for the Second Edition by Spring 2018, if not earlier. All of the Audio Tracks for the Second Edition are now in the iReal Pro app, and you may actually prefer this way of accessing the Audio Tracks. There are a few benefits for students: You can easily change the tempo, feel, back-up instrumentation, and keys on chord charts; loop 2 or more measures that need isolated attention; and the cursor always highlights the measure being played, so you learn to not get lost. Link to the iReal Pro app and Playlist below, or stream the tracks here:


To download the complete AUDIO TRACK playlist onto your device, install the iReal Pro app (above), and then click the link below (while on your device with the app installed): “The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume One” Second EditionIf you have any issues, feel free to email me and I will send you the playlist via email: LeadCatPress@gmail.com

REVIEWS FOR THE FIRST EDITION:

Steven Kirby, Faculty at Berklee College of Music:

Susan Palmer has created a carefully crafted book for guitar students who want to learn to read and also develop fundamental chord and scale vocabulary that prepares them for playing contemporary styles. There are many features in this book that set it apart from traditional guitar method books.

1) It is extremely well paced and designed.

2) It is visually clear and appealing.

3) It reinforces learning of new material with a variety of activities including both the playing and writing of notes and note names.

4) An included CD provides chordal accompaniment for every stage. Simple melodies are thus made to feel more like “real” music right away because of these tracks. They make the learning process more instantly engaging while demonstrating how harmony can enrich even the simplest melody. The student feels like they are making interesting sounding music even when all they can play is three notes.

5) In addition to supporting the student’s learning of standard notation, the book also contains important chord and scale lessons with corresponding play-along tracks.

6) Flexibility of design. The book’s design makes it easy for teachers to assign lessons from different sections simultaneously to suit a student’s level and progress. It’s designed to be used in a very flexible way by different teachers and for students of varying levels.

Overall I rate this the best beginning level, learning-to-read on the guitar book that I’ve encountered not only because it does that so well but also because it offers in a well integrated way additional materials that are vital to preparing guitarists to play contemporary music and develop improvisational skills. I use this book with my students and I highly recommend that other guitar teachers check it out.


Gilbert, Guitar Student:

I received my book in the mail yesterday in good order thank you very much. I opened it up at the dinner table to the 1st String, High E page and started to study a bit. Woke up this morning thinking about the Note Identification Worksheet and knowing where E F and G were at on the High E string and as notes. Cool. Nice relaxed learning.

This book looks like the book I wish my guitar teacher had when I was taking lessons. A great guitarist, worked professionally, but not a great ‘teacher’ for me. Thank you most kindly, I will most definitely be using your book, it’s clear and well written so that even this older guy, law school graduate and all- can understand it. My son at eight years old could read music but I’ve had a deficient music education and my eyes glaze over at a lot of the instructional material that is out there.

Take care and continued good luck. Now to go look at that first video again. :-)


Jon Bloomer of GuitarNoize:

I was contacted recently by a guitarist called Jian who wanted to bring to my attention their guitar teacher and in particular this teacher’s guitar method book that she wrote. I was intrigued and was put in contact with Susan Palmer, a guitar instructor at Seattle University. Susan is very passionate about teaching guitar which led her to create ‘The Guitar Lesson Companion’. This method book was created to help students get more out of their lessons and provide a structured framework that provides teachers with an outline to expand upon and exercises that students can work through on their own.

First of all the book is ring bound which instantly makes it very usable, there is nothing more frustrating than trying to play from a book that keeps closing, this book will sit on your music stand, table, lap whatever and stay open at the page you want. This is usually overlooked by publishers or maybe it is more expensive to produce books this way? The book starts with the basics of playing guitar and reminded me of the Fred Noad classical guitar book that my teacher used when I was starting my classical guitar studies. To begin with there are some warm up exercises which a beginner will probably have trouble with but it is something that they can continually reference and use and it makes sense to be at the start of the book. Next up Susan dives into musical notation in relation to open strings. If you have ever wanted to learn how to read music, even if you can already play guitar, it is essential that take it slowly and learn to recognise each note on the stave in relation to the fretboard. Susan’s studies give you the opportunity to step through the reading exercises filling in the blanks so that you are reading the music, rather than just looking at it.

So Susan’s idea is you start out slowly, using a few notes on the top E string to progress through basic Rhythmic exercises. Each exercise is available on the included CD to help you to follow the rhythmic examples to start out. After a few pages of studies Susan moves on to the B string and so on slowly building in rhythmic complexity and expanding your fretboard knowledge and reading abilities until you are reading music that covers all 6 strings in the first position (first 3 frets and open strings). This is a great stepping stone for learning to read music across the entire fretboard and is the first thing you learn as a classical guitarist. The next section of the book moves on to scales and theory with plenty of exercises to help you learn. Susan has written studies to take you through the Major keys starting with G Major and then through the cycle of fifths each using all 6 strings to play the scale, a scale pattern and then arpeggiating the major scale to finish.

The next section of the book focuses on chords, using diagrams and TAB for chord changing exercises and jams. Each chord sequence either has a melody using the Major/Minor and Pentatonic scales that you have already learned or a set of scale diagrams that you can use to improvise over the changes. There are diagrams showing the Major and Pentatonic Minor scales in all 5 “box” positions and exercises to complete to make sure you know the actually notes as well as the scale degrees. There is also a section on the CAGED system of movable chord shapes to help you open up even more possibilities over the fretboard.

All in all it is a very thorough book, so who is this book for? Well it is definitely aimed at guitar teachers and students who are beginner to intermediate level or perhaps the more advanced player who simply wants to learn to read standard musical notation rather than just TAB. I can see how teachers would benefit from having this teaching framework to aid their own teaching syllabus and it gives students the opportunity to complete exercises on their own and work with the CD between lessons. Every aspect of learning guitar is covered in a systematic but simplified manner. What I’m saying is, don’t expect to learn entire songs or instrumental pieces however you will have the chord and scale vocabulary to learn your favourite songs if you follow Susan’s method, practice and don’t try to rush through it (easy to say I know!).


Rick Fortenberry, Sandpiper Guitar Studios:

Learning to play guitar is the easiest thing in the world to do. It can also be one of the hardest. One can learn to strum a few chords in relatively short order and make some nice sounds. But one can choose to dig a little deeper, to the point where one’s guitar playing becomes an expressions of one’s own inner music–the music of the heart–which is really what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Susan Palmer’s new book/CD “The Guitar Lesson Companion” bridges a major gap in learning to play the guitar. It’s the book I wish *I’d* written, having studied at Berklee College of Music and having taught guitar for 20 years.

This thick, rich and blessedly spiral-bound volume with its accompanying CD, is designed to be used while studying with a private guitar teacher. As the author states right up front, studying with a good teacher will save a lot of time and money and accomplish far more than the do-it-yourself approach, through which so many guitarists–unnecessarily–come to understand the instrument.

A student enters the book at whatever level she is in at the moment: “beginner”, intermediate or advanced. This may mean studying chords and how they work with songs in jazz, rock or folk, or even learning to read notation, the language of music (the musical examples are also in tablature).

The well-known CAGED system of understanding the language of the fretboard is covered, along with a progressive, intelligent blend of reading and rhythm studies, all essential concepts a serious guitar player must master. The main scale types are thoroughly explored, against a musically satisfying backdrop of guitar, bass and drums on the CD.

This ground-breaking book/CD is the one I wish I’d written for my students, but it’s also the one I wish I’d had when first seriously studying guitar. All the fundamentals and more are here. This is a good investment in a guitarist’s education.

Robb, Guitar Student: I want to thank you for sharing your knowledge of music with me. I ran across your YouTube videos – watched a few – then purchased your book. Simply Brilliant! I have been interested in the guitar since my father let me play with his guitar as a young boy. Now 35, I can finally appreciate the instrument (through your teachings) and let my inner music out. I just finished page 14 (CD Track #2) and I wanted to tell you that in all my years of education, from grade school to college, I have never been more inspired in such little time. The fact that you have us (those who are using your materials) playing along with background music – as simple as the sheet may be – within the first day, allows for an immediate return on our music investment. I know this particular exercise is simple (E, F, and G), but how you put it together with the CD… it’s just amazing! Well done

.Jessica M., Guitar Student At 32, I’ve taken guitar lessons with 4 different teachers and used numerous other guitar lesson books. Each time, I was disappointed and ended up quitting because I didn’t feel like I was following a logical progression of learning. The teachers usually started each lesson by asking me what I wanted to learn, so I ended up spending a lot of time and money learning the chords to a handful of songs. This book has completely changed my outlook on learning the guitar. With the help of my guitar teacher, I’m starting to build the fundamental skills to be able to figure out songs on my own. The exercises are fun and challenging – I am actually excited about practicing every day! I would recommend this book to anyone just starting or wanting to improve their guitar-playing.

Matt Brown, Former Guitar Student, Songwriter and Band Leader: This book provides a great balance of guitar training that effectively improves one’s knowledge of rhythm, the fretboard, chords, and reading music. In addition, this book really improves your guitar playing skills regardless of which genre you prefer to play. It is one of the easiest books out there to follow. It gets right into it. Check out Matt Brown here!

Alison, Guitar Student: It gave me a better understanding of the fret board and different fingering positions and introduced me to new strumming rhythms.

James, Guitar Student: It’s an awesome book and I’m very pleased with it!!

Donna Zitzelberger, Guitar Instructor: Last week I downloaded the free lesson sheets for E, F, and G and brought them to my beginning class of seven. The kids are ages 8-12. They have already learned rhythm. This year I tried a new twist on things in which I taught them all the rhythm notation first. We just started the notes on the first string, so I gave them the reading study that goes with the backing track. I turned on the CD and they totally started rocking out.

Like all my classes, though, they did not know the notes really well yet. So, I told them to come back the next week and be ready to rock with the correct notes. Well, today they came back and rocked their hearts out. They were spot on — all of them. I have to say in my 8 years of teaching, this is record time for learning those first notes. The backing tracks for the notes sure makes it easy and fun.I’m going to spend this summer reviewing the book and may add it into my curriculum as the text we use for learning note reading. I asked the kids if they would like to use the book next year, and I got a huge “YEA!” Today’s class was all about finding the groove. We are just about 6 weeks away from recital and the kids need to groove to a rock song for one of their class songs. It was super cool to go to our note reading section of the class and still be grooving.

Thanks Susan for creating a quality book that should make life easy and fun when it comes to teaching the little ones standard notation!

Dave McCullough, Guitar Instructor: Been looking it over, and I have to say, you put together a real nice piece of work, very well organized and thorough – impressive!

Jonathan Patterson, Guitar Instructor and Performer: I have taught guitar for almost 20 years, and looked for a book like this too many times to remember. Until now I always gave up and settled for using the Hal Leonard method plus my own hand-written extra sightreading exercises and supplemental materials about scales/theory/improvisation. I’ve wasted a lot of lesson time this way, and my students (and their parents) take hand-written materials less seriously than printed books.

But the big problem I’ve had with books is that most students don’t fit nicely into “Level 1″ or “Level 2″ of any available series. You know, you get some students know scale patterns all over the neck but can’t read a single note, or students who can read melodies but don’t understand any theory or chord-scale relationships.

Susan Palmer’s book solves all my materials and organization problems and lets me focus on actually teaching. At about 150 pages this one book can easily replace several “Levels” of the Hal Leonard or any available series I’ve seen. She thoroughly covers the technical and theoretical fundamentals that all guitar styles have in common, and–my favorite part–she ties it all together into a continuous system that is easy to understand and immediately practical. I love it because when a student is stronger in one area than in another, I can approach the area that needs work by showing the student how it relates to what they already do well. Because of these connections I find that ALL of the material in the book is useful for all beginner-intermediate, and even many advanced students.

It’s an easy sell to parents because the sheer amount of material will last a long time (no more “Didn’t we just buy a new book for Timmy last month?”) and looks infinitely better than a crumpled up pile of my handwritten notes. Combine “The Guitar Lesson Companion” with teaching students specific songs that they like, and your students will enjoy what they’re playing while understanding what they’re playing. Since that sums up my whole purpose and philosophy as a teacher this book is exactly what I’ve been looking for.

Paul Wolf, Guitar Instructor: I received Susan’s book today…! One day turnaround, not bad. My early review after skimming it on my lunch hour is that it’s an excellent step by step method for incorporating music theory into your lessons without having to start from scratch…you can supplement her curriculum with song transcriptions and probably have enough raw material to use for a year or two’s worth of lessons.The book is written for teachers, not for the general public (although the students will be working from it, they would need a teacher’s guidance)I’m glad I bought it and recommend it highly.

Paul Chasman, Guitar Instructor: Susan Palmer has written a clear, comprehensive, and integrated method for learning the guitar. “The Guitar Lesson Companion” will be an invaluable resource for many students who want a solid musical foundation. The Companion will also provide many teachers with a method that is focused and directed, yet flexible enough to accommodate the individual teaching style. I highly recommend this book to students and teachers alike.

L. Bruck: Music Educator: Having a master’s degree in music pedagogy, I have seen a lot of method books over the years and Susan Palmer’s latest addition to the guitar repertoire series is outstanding! My 11 year old son began guitar lessons last September and has fallen in love with the guitar, thanks in part to this excellent book. His rhythm, melody, and improvisation just took off. But most importantly, I believe he will have a love of music for the rest of his life, which is the major challenge of any music series.

Nick Torres of GuitarNoiseOn the surface Susan Palmer’s The Guitar Lesson Companion seems to be a throwback to the Method books of old. You know the ones, “this is the sixth string, this note is E, it’s played like this, here is what it looks like on the musical staff.” And as a reward you learn to play “She’ll be coming round the mountain” Ah, but to dismiss this gem of a book as that beginning guitarist’s nightmare would be foolish. This book is more of a hybrid of lesson companion, instruction manual and method book.

This book is presented as a method book to guide teachers and students on a logical path through the learning process. The Guitar Lesson Companion isn’t really a book for beginners to use on their own; the material needs to be supplemented with direction and exercises from a teacher. But what if you don’t have a teacher? Well the book does come with a CD with tracks to supplement your learning experience, but here’s an extraordinary value for you, Susan has put together a companion website for the book with video lessons that match the book. Videos are no substitute for a teacher, but these videos with Susan, who has been teaching guitar in Seattle, Washington for 10 years, are a close second. If you are looking for a method book to teach yourself to read and understand music, look no further.

PURCHASE AT YOUR LOCAL GUITAR SHOP, OR FOR THE SAME AMOUNT, GET THE METHOD BOOKS DELIVERED TO YOU!
(U.S. Domestic Addresses)

The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume One, Second Edition FREE SHIPPING! Free with $40 Donation
The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume Two FREE SHIPPING! Free with $35 Donation
Both Book & CD Packages (Best Value) FREE SHIPPING! Free with $70 Donation

Retail Prices = Volume One: $40, Volume Two: $35  All books are mailed from the United States Post Office in a Priority Mailer, so most people receive their packages in 2-3 business days. You’ll receive an email when your donation has been processed and your package is on its way. Questions on International Donations? Email: LeadCatPress@gmail.com

Jam CDs for “The Guitar Lesson Companion” method book series

This method book series was first published in 2006, back when folks had CD players. The latest edition does not include a CD, but you will find the Audio Tracks to all the editions here. The CD Jam Tracks are a big part of what makes The Guitar Lesson Companion series so much more effective than other method books, and I hope you enjoy using them here.

Continue reading

My Curriculum for 5th Grade Ukulele and 6th Grade Guitar

Review of Palmer’s “The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume One”

I was the music instructor for 5th and 6th grades for the 2016-17 school year at Seattle Girls School. I created, developed, and taught my own curriculum, then evaluated two 6th grade guitar classes of 20 students per class and one 5th grade ukulele class of 14 students.

Since this was a new experience for me and I couldn’t find much help online, I thought I’d share a summary of the main points I covered, in case someone out there needs some general guidance. If there’s a need for more specific lesson plans or other materials for teaching guitar and ukulele to middle school students, I may publish a book of my worksheets and lesson plans. Continue reading

10 Reasons You Should Take Guitar Lessons with Susan Palmer

1) Teaching is my passion. Students sense this and they feel inspired to work hard.

2) My experience makes me a more effective teacher. I have been teaching individual (private) lessons and group classes in jazz, blues, and rock styles for over 15 years. I have been the guitar instructor at Seattle University since 2006. In 2010, I created and started teaching The Rock Project at Cornish College of the Arts. I also taught guitar and ukulele classes a couple times a week at Seattle Girls School for a year, and I run a private studio on Capitol Hill where I offer lessons and classes, as well as lessons via Skype/FaceTime. Continue reading

Common Chord Progressions

I had a basic chord diagram book when I was learning how to play guitar and the chords were grouped by key. I would spend hours playing chords in different combinations, and I would often stumble upon sequences that sounded like a song I had heard on the radio. Sometimes, it was easy to recall the name of the tune, and other times the chord progression just sounded *really* familiar. It turns out, there are a handful of chord progressions that are used in thousands of popular songs.

Continue reading

The Best Apps for Guitar Students and Guitar Teachers

unnamed-23I’m often asked which apps I use and recommend to students and other guitar instructors. Here are a few that I really dig. I’ll keep updating this list as I discover more useful apps.

Continue reading

200+ Jam Tracks on iReal Pro for “The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume Two”

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I was shocked to learn that Apple does not make computers with built in CD players anymore, so I inputed the music for all the jam tracks from my book, The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume Two  into the iReal Pro app. Besides giving students and fellow teachers a new way to access the play-a-long music from the method book, there are a lot of cool benefits for students:

Continue reading

Awesome Small Scale Guitar Gear

I wrote a post a while back about a cheap 3/4 guitar I fell in love with at The Guitar Store. I still play that guitar (I actually now own 3 of them) and lately I have been finding more awesome small gear that I wanted to share with you. I’m still looking for really nice 3/4 guitars with a nut width about 38mm, and I’ll keep you posted when I find it. I’m currently playing a 1964 Fender Duo Sonic and a cheap acoustic guitar that also has a narrow neck. Continue reading

The Guitarists of Seattle University

unnamed-20When you walk through campus at the beginning of the school year at Seattle University, you’ll see a lot of guitars. Besides the fact that the guitar is one of the most popular instruments in the world, Seattle University is located on Capitol Hill, one of the Northwest’s most active music and art scenes. It makes sense why there are so many great guitarists here!

What To Get Your Guitar Playing Dad For Father’s Day

unnamed-35Around this time of year, I receive emails from some of my students’ families. They ask for Father’s Day gift suggestions for their guitar playing dads/husbands. I know my students well, so it is fairly easy to offer advice that I know will hit the mark. I have created a list  of some of my students’s favorite gifts they have received from family and friends. I hope this helps you shoppers get started, and fathers, message me if you’d like me to add a piece of your favorite guitar gear to the list! Continue reading

Improve Rhythm Accuracy And Time on Guitar

unnamed-65There are a lot of things guitar students need to practice, but being able to play in time is one of the most important. Audiences will forgive a few wrong notes but they can’t forgive bad time! (Because if you can’t dance to it…)

While some people seem to have a great natural sense of time, a lot of folks really struggle to find the beat and keep it, and simply practicing with a metronome sometimes isn’t enough. If you can’t do play in time, it’s going to be impossible to lock in with other musicians and play music that you (and other people) want to hear. Continue reading

How To Create Effective Music Studio Policies

unnamed-64Every business deals with customers who don’t pay their bills, and self-employed music teachers can be significantly impacted when this happens in their studios. Because many musicians earn their living by teaching lessons, it’s important for them to have solid tuition policies in place. Continue reading

It’s Time To Get Serious About Guitar

unnamed-62A big part of my job as a guitar teacher is to evaluate each student’s playing ability and understanding of music on the guitar. When I know where students are and where they want to go, I can create a plan to help them reach their goals. I thought it would be beneficial to create a short quiz to help guitarists see where their strengths and weaknesses are, and I thought I’d start with something fun. Continue reading

What Should You Charge for Teaching Guitar Lessons?

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If you are new to teaching guitar lessons or you want to stay competitive, it’s important to evaluate your service and decide on an hourly rate that makes sense for you and your students. Business savvy folks will tell you to simply charge as much as you can so your schedule stays full. I encourage you to think about your location, value, and your competition as you calculate your hourly rate for private music lessons.

Deciding on a rate and implementing a new fee structure may seem like a stressful guessing game but when you understand the important factors, you will feel more confident now and you will know how to grow professionally so you can increase your rates in the future. Continue reading

How To Create An Effective Practice Plan

unnamed-40You know you’ve got a good practice plan when you look forward to your practice sessions, you notice progress, and you feel a sense of accomplishment after you complete your session. Every music teacher will tell you that quality daily practice is important, so let’s make a practice plan that works for you! Continue reading

Why Aren’t You A Good Guitar Player?

unnamed-39Many guitarists tell me they practice every day but they are not satisfied with their rate of improvement. Most of those people just don’t understand what a good practice plan should look and feel like. Once you have a good plan in place and a good teacher to help you, you will be shocked at how much you can accomplish in a short amount of time. Continue reading

Small Guitars for Women and Kids

unnamed-60It’s true that many people with smaller hands have a hard time finding good guitars. I’d probably own 10 guitars if I could find guitars that fit me. I’m about 5’5″ and my hands are proportional, but I’ve had some injuries that were at least partially caused by playing guitars that were too big for me. I’ve been playing and teaching guitar full time for over 15 years, and I know that most guitarists who have smaller bodies and hands would benefit by playing a guitar (or guitars!) that actually fit them. Continue reading

What to Expect at Your First Guitar Lesson

unnamed-58You will probably be very excited to begin your guitar lessons. Your teacher is also excited to meet you and learn more about you so that she/he can adapt to your learning style and help you reach your goals. At your first lesson, your teacher will most likely take inventory of your current playing level and experience, talk about your daily practice routine, and help you with your posture and hand position.  Continue reading

Understanding Your Guitar Teacher’s Lesson Policies

unnamed-57Guitar instructors email their rates, payment plans, cancellation/rescheduling lessons, and other information about their studios before you meet for your first lesson. Read through the information as soon as you receive it and call the teacher right away if you have a question. Many teachers ask the person who is responsible for lesson payment to sign her/his name to agree to the teacher’s policies. Continue reading

Are Webcam Guitar Lessons Effective?

unnamed-56Many teachers are now offering webcam guitar lessons to attract more students. Some of the teachers who offer webcam lessons are not, in my opinion, good or qualified teachers. At the least, some teachers are not selling themselves or their services accurately.  Continue reading

Should You Take Group or Private Lessons?

unnamed-53Most people who get a guitar are very excited to learn how to play, and the internet seems like a great place to find help. But there is too much information online and no plan or accountability, so it doesn’t take long to realize that you need a good guitar teacher if you are serious about learning. For a lot of folks, the next decision involves choosing between individual lessons, or group lessons. I don’t think that one method is better than the other. It depends on the teacher, your learning style, and your goals. Continue reading

Guitar Lessons for Kids

unnamed-44I am lucky to share studio space with other good teachers, but it still shocks me when I see parents drop their young children off for music lessons with a teacher who is pretty much a stranger to them. Lesson studios are typically very small private rooms, and a person doesn’t need any special training or certification to call her/himself a guitar teacher. So who is your guitar teacher? Has the school or studio completed a background check on your teacher? Most do not.
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Are Guitar Lessons Worth the Money?

unnamed-54I’m sure you know of someone who has never taken guitar lessons but who can captivate an audience. That’s because a lot of people learn how to play the guitar by ear and “feel.” There are only a handful of shapes and patterns you need to know in order to play hundreds of songs, so if you learn the feel and sound of those shapes and patterns, you can play a lot of music on the guitar without knowing a lot about music.

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Should You Learn on Acoustic or Electric Guitar?

unnamed-50I suggest beginning guitarists learn to play on an electric guitar because electric guitars are easier to play, and in the beginning, you need all the help you can get! I make an exception for a person who loves acoustic guitar and only wants to play acoustic guitar music. Remember, you can always play acoustic guitar after first learning on an electric guitar.

Some people tell me they want to learn on an acoustic guitar specifically because acoustic guitars are harder to play, but the guitar is already hard to play. Do you really want more discouraging challenges that take extra time to overcome, or do you want to have fun playing your favorite songs and building solid transferable skills? Continue reading

What Should You Study to Become a Good Guitarist?

unnamed-51It’s undeniable that you need to master the fundamentals of music in order to reach your full potential on the guitar. What are the fundamentals of music that are important for guitarists to study, and what is the best way to learn them? Let’s take a look. Continue reading