Guitar Teachers Thread

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Mark Wein, Jan 7, 2008.


  1. Mark Wein

    Mark Wein Member

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    I thought that it would be cool for teachers to be able to ask each other questions relating to the instruction of Guitar students. I think we can leave this open enough to be able to ask about teaching materials, methods, the business end of teaching...just about anything relating to the teaching of Guitar...

    Just to get the ball rolling, how many of you guys hand write all of your lesson materials, how many have "pre-written stuff" made up and how many use a notation program?

    I use Finale for the majority of my most used lessons. After some years of teaching I found that I had enough materials put together to put them into a book for my students....
     
  2. jb70

    jb70 Member

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    i currently hand write everything. i do have some copies of some jazz tunes if the students are interested. do you think Finale is the way to go if i start working on a book? i don't have any experience with notation software.
     
  3. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    Hey you guys look familiar

    Pencil and paper, clipboard
    old school.

    both tab and staff.
    I think tab gets a bum rap.
    It's a great tool.

    I would love to have the internet in my teaching room.

    Like any good teacher, I prepare for the day with copies
    books guitars cds whatever.

    I use the Tascam slower downer/ looper
    And a Boss looper.
    Looping is essential to my quick paced teaching style.
     
  4. Mark Wein

    Mark Wein Member

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    Finale is kind of hard to understand in the beginning, but if you are intending on eventually putting all together then it is worth it. Sibelius is also very popular and easier to use...I just started with Finale and don't feel like changing.

    I have a huge amount of music in my studio to copy for people so that I don't spend very much time transcribing by ear...I can spend more time working through the music with the student and I am able to work both a lesson in their book and on a song in the same lesson. Most of our students are 30 min lessons, so I have to be efficient with the time.

    For the teachers that work for me I keep binders in each studio with house arrangements of songs that get used on a regular basis...they are arranged to work with the students progress in my book so they aren't "note for note", although I have many of those available as well...
     
  5. rotren

    rotren Member

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    I use Guitar Pro - I think it rocks. Both notation and tab and I can enter notes and chords on a virtual fretboard.

    Question - do you require your students to learn to read notation? I don't myself, I use tabs and chord charts instead.
     
  6. Mark Wein

    Mark Wein Member

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    I started off old school...some things are just better done that way.

    I agree that tab gets a bum rap. With all of the note reading I teach, when it comes down to writing out a solo or learning something that is pretty complicated to read but not to play I usually use tab...I just don't like it when it is the only way that students are taught.

    I have a computer in my studio, so I have access to the internet which is a great tool. I also program drum loops in Fruity Loops, which means that I can have the student strum with a drum pattern or just hear a specific rhythm against the click. Being able to record students so that they can hear themselves is cool, too....especially when we are working on soloing....


    One thing that I am trying out is the webcam...I've had it for a long time and I've videoed the students so that they can see their technical issues in the "3rd person" but now I am getting people interested in online lessons...that will either be a very cool thing or a disaster...
     
  7. Mark Wein

    Mark Wein Member

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    The kids I do to at least a certain point...they should be able to read single note lines in at least one position. The way I look at it is that they are in a phase of their life where they should be learning this kind of structure. It really helps them learn their fretboard, internalize their rhythms and cleans up their technique (provided you reinforce those ideas) as well as teaches them to think in real time while they are playing...there are also things like articulation and dynamics....

    If you make sure that they see the correlation between the skills that they are learning and the music they want to play its an easier sell..adults I usually recommend it but don't push it.

    If the student is pretty advanced we usually just figure out where he's at and go from there...
     
  8. Dana

    Dana Guest

    I require my students to buy a notebook of music paper. I write all notes and assignments in it. For the ones interested in learning to read I recommend a book to them.
     
  9. The Captain

    The Captain Supporting Member

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    Reading rhythm at least is essential. Learning to do the "math" to add up all the intervals to match the time signature is just basic arithmetic and there is no reason everyone can't do that. It also provides teh framework for counting teh rhythm.
    It can make all teh difference in the feel of a song.
    As a doctor, I spent 6 yrs and then some learning the language of medicine, so I could communicate wiht other doctors and them wiht me.
    Ignoring the language of music means you can't really communicate effectively wiht your student.
    eg play the 8th, then the 16th , not the 16th first etc
     
  10. countandduke

    countandduke Member

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    I basically have my students buy a tab book and then I write exercises in it along with words of wisdom and what not. My first lesson with any student is talking about what THEY want from the lessons. I then re-visit that idea from time to time. Some students seem to just want to come in and chit chat about stuff. I have a 15 year-old girl that just wants me to tab out songs for her to play. I make her play them at least a couple times but she's pretty shy. Her parents also divorced recently so sometimes we talk about that. I have another student that wants to go to music school but just doesn't seem to want to do the things I tell him. It's always one excuse after another about why he couldn't learn this or that. I'm always searching for better methods of teaching so this is a cool thread. I like Joe Satriani's quote that goes something like, "If a student comes in wanting to play Slayer songs, don't show them Joe Pass methods." Teaching guitar I think is actually one of the harder instruments to teach because it's a melodic but also a rhythmic instrument as well. Piano has books and excercises and almost all other instruments have single note studies to work on but guitar has soooooo many possibilities and styles.

    I actually like the Sheets of Sound books for technical stuff as Jack really has some neat ideas to fool around with in there. I think it's all about getting students to release the music from within them. I make them write songs and then talk about why things sound the way they do and offer tips using other songs to provide options.

    Chris
     
  11. JackButler

    JackButler Supporting Member

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    Hi guys. I tuaght guitar years ago at my old shop. These days I am a teacher of students with special needs at a public school. Last year I started a pilot Music program. THis year, with much needed donations I kicked it off full force. I teacher everything from history, to very basic theory. I also included daily guitar lessons, with guitar being the primary instrument, basically becuase that's about all we have! We do have one keyboard and I'd love to snag an electronic drum kit, but we'll see. We are so underfunded, they typically have maybe 1 regular textbook per every 3-5 students, sad really.
    A few of my students have REALLY taken to the guitar and have come out of their shells. All is going better than expected as semester winds donw.
    Just wanted to pop in, say hello, and shed a different aspect to your discussion.
    Rock on!
     
  12. Mark Wein

    Mark Wein Member

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    That is very cool. I don't think that I would have the patience or ability to do what you are doing....
     
  13. countandduke

    countandduke Member

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    Special needs kids really seem to dig music huh?!

    My son who is ADD/ADHD is unbelievable at the guitar and I think most kids like him would excel at music as they have that "hyper-focus".

    Chris
     
  14. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    Wow, this is a cool thread. I'm contemplating going back to take lessons again after a many year hiatus of practicing, gigging and playing. I've jumped in and it's hit me pretty hard again. So much so that I'm dropping at lot of coin on guitars, materials, etc... and I'm literally walking around the house feeding the kids dinner with a guitar strapped on :AOK
    I always think the guys at the local music shop might not have what I'm looking for as far as instruction is concerned but I guess I should give them a shot... they are small but they sell nice gear and are really cool. The only downside is that they do lessons in semesters ($250 a semester). It's actually easier for me to do $25/week than $250... don't ask.
    Mark, I have been poking around your site, really cool.
     
  15. Elektrik_SIxx

    Elektrik_SIxx Member

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    Pen and 4 types of paper: Tab, Notation, chord grids and Bass tab
    I usually write my own tabs even though students have found tabs of their fave songs on whatever tab-site. They seem (luckily) to have more faith in my transcribing it for them during the lesson.
    I also find myself making up a lot of arrangements for my students. Kids come in with large band arrangements or a piano song and want me to convert to an "easy guitar' type of piece. I LOVE challenges like that!

    With kids I usually start out reading notation but if it doesn't work I'll switch to tab. I don't want to take away their pleasure in learning guitar.
    That said, I don't want to always give my student to power of choice, as someone here stated in the other thread. Sometimes a student needs guidance and be shown some other options than the ones he/she leans toward.
     
  16. Mark Wein

    Mark Wein Member

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    Do you live in an area with more than one music store, or are there guys that teach independently? The semester or payment for more than one month at a time is kind of a drag if the lessons aren't working for you. I have our students pay by the month, but more than that I think ties you into something that you might not want for that length of time...

    What stuff are you into on the site? the regular site (premierguitarlessons.com) has only been up for a couple of weeks so I'm looking for positive and negative feedback...
     
  17. Mark Wein

    Mark Wein Member

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    Sometimes we all need to remember that one...
     
  18. rotren

    rotren Member

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    Another question - how much time do you spend preparing for a lesson on average?
     
  19. countandduke

    countandduke Member

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    Hard to say how much time I prepare cause I think of my students quite often throughout the week and what I can do help them achieve their goals. I always try and keep things fun, so sometimes I bring in a cool effect or a new cd or even sometimes a video on my portable dvd player.

    Chris
     
  20. Mark Wein

    Mark Wein Member

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    I actually don't spend very much time preparing for individual lessons. Part of that is because I have so much material already put together in my book (or in any book they might be working out of), in handouts prepared in the past and in sheet music I have handy around the studio.

    Every student (even if they aren't working out of a book) has a 3 ring binder with their lesson material (hopefully) in order and I date every lesson with the due date in red ballpoint pen and cover it with yellow highlighter so that it is obvious when we are working on every week. This is nice because it keeps them on track and it keeps me on track. With a quick look I can see what we have covered and what we haven't worked on...

    I have been teaching since 1989, and really working 5-6 days a week at it since the mid 1990's so I have a ton of stuff ready. If I do a good transcription of a song it get photocopied and put in a binder...

    this is one wall of my studio:

    [​IMG]

    Having this available means less prep time! I am also investigating something like musicnotes.com ...the students can download good transcriptions there for 4.95 a song...
     

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