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My method is to help students play the music they want to play, whether it's Miles Davis or the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I like to start my lessons by working on a song of the students choice to spark their interest. From there, I move to focusing on the students needs technically, rhythmically and theoretically. Additionally, I have my students practice improvisation, in some capacity, at each lesson. I want my students to feel comfortably making music on the fly and I set up low stakes environments for them to hone this skill. My lessons are rather free form and adapt easily to what is interesting my students at the time. However, at the end of every lesson, the student and myself set practice goals as well as goals for the next lesson. I strongly believe in short and long term goals to help keep students focused.
I have been teaching professionally since 2001. I started at the Rock School in Kirkland teaching drums and Band 101. Shortly thereafter, I started teaching drums privately out of my own home studio. Over the last 14 years I have taught hundreds of students ranging in age from 10-65. I have also taught students with special needs and learning disabilities privately and through Rock School. During Rock School's Summer Camps over the past 14 years (typically 3 camps per summer), I have taught groups of 5-10 kids at a time in all aspects of musicianship, including learning the instrument, writing songs as a group, recording, and live performance preparation/execution. Currently I teach Drums, Band 101, Beginning Guitar, and Beginning Bass.
I love seeing and sharing my students passion for music. I can be rather silly and love to laugh, but I also believe that excellence is a habit. Therefore, I try to keep each lesson engaging and fun while also setting reasonable goals for my students. I also want to help my students develop consistent practice habits so that they can see how practicing leads to improvement. Lastly I want to help my students make music that inspires them.
My teaching style is structured primarily on learning to play by ear with light theory instruction. For advanced and more serious minded students, I am a huge theory nerd and I really enjoy teaching a more technical approach as well. My philosophy is to improve a student's skills by nurturing each person's specific interest and goals. I try to build confidence and show students that music is for everyone and is really fun! From there we can take it as far as you want.
Guitar: For beginners who are kids, I usually start with the FJH Beginner Guitar Method, while also implementing fun melodies they know that can be played on single strings. Once the student has progressed a bit, we will work in chords, more advanced rhythms, and songs appropriate for a recital. For older beginners, I usually start with Hal Leonard's Complete Guitar Method, while again finding songs that match their musical taste and working towards their specific goals (i.e., I really want to start a punk band with my friends next summer, or I'd love to play this Taylor Swift song at the school talent show). For adults, I always start off with the list of five: five songs and/or artists that inspire them. This gives me an idea of what they want to be learning in the coming months, and I create a path for them that leads that direction, from the very first step. We will spend a lot of time on the fundamentals (scales, chords, rhythm, sight-reading) but all in the interest of using these tools on the songs they love. Piano: Faber and Faber Book series, pop melodies, etc. (similar to above) Ukulele, Bass, Mandolin: Hal Leonard Method books, pop/rock/bluegrass riffs (similar to above). I also love working Sagreras' First Lessons on Guitar for Classical, and Jazz Standards like Misty, I Remember April, Autumn Leaves, Black Orpheus, etc.
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Before purchasing a guitar, it may be beneficial to get the advice of a teacher, friend or relative who has experience with guitar. Their experiences with local reputable music stores may be invaluable and save you a lot of time. The first options to consider are whether to buy a new or used instrument, and whether you want to buy an acoustic or electric guitar. Student models for either can usually be purchased for around $150-200. Used instruments do not always cost less, as some instruments retain their value; notably higher quality American made guitars like Fender or Gibson.
Students are able to start taking guitar lessons with Musika by the age of 6. Students of this age are advised to learn on a half-sized classical guitar with nylon strings, as it will be much easier to play. They will start by learning simple tunes on the top strings of the guitar. By age 7-8, students will have progressed on to learning to play chords and how to play and sing along to some of their favorite songs. At age 10-12, students are often able to hold a full size guitar quite comfortably, and may want to learn rock music on an electric guitar.
Musika offers customized one-on-one music lessons at your home - a time saving solution for busy parents and students. The convenience of in-home guitar lessons allows you to save time without having to transport your child to class, allows your child to maximize their busy schedule, and provides a safe and familiar environment in which to learn.
Whatever your current ability level, we recommend that students wanting to take guitar lessons have a clear aim in mind. Beginner students may wish to learn to play a few of their favorite songs, or an advanced player might like to work on a specific aspect of their guitar playing. Regardless of your goals, the experienced teachers in Musika's network can help make them happen. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced student, achieving your goals will take time. Developing the necessary skills can sometimes take months. The only way to ensure you achieve your goals is to dedicate yourself to lessons and practice.
At Musika, the teachers in our network create lesson plans that are specifically customized to meet the needs of each individual student. These experienced teachers can develop the skills of a complete beginner, or help to take an advanced players skills to the next level. Students can expect to learn such things as how to correctly hold the guitar, learning the notes on the fret board, and how to tune their instrument. Students will also learn techniques such as fretting, fingering and strumming, and will learn to play various scales and chords, such as open chords, power chords, and barre chords. They will learn how to combine these elements of guitar playing to create or cover complete compositions, as well as learning music theory and how to read music. Last but not least, teachers will help students to realize the joys and fun that learning to play the guitar can bring!
Review by Violetking
Bill has been a great teacher for both my 6 yr. old and my 8 yr. old. He is always on time, keeps them engaged, and gives them just enough of a challenge for the next week. They are both beginners, but I am surprised by how much they already know after just a month or so of lessons. Both kids are practicing willingly and look forward to lesson.
Review by Cameron D.
After signing up for lessons with David L. I knew I made the right choice. Just after a couple of weeks I didn't see him as a teacher but as a best friend. There was always a relaxed atmosphere during the lessons. He was very easy to talk to and he really listen to you. If I ever had a question he would answer. He tailors to what ever you want to do in that lesson. David L. is a great teacher and a friend. I totally recommend him for anyone
Review by Steve Newman
My daughter began learning sax in her school band, but she didn't begin PLAYING sax until she started lessons with Debra. From scales and exercises to actual pieces, Debra coached my daughter with real insight, sensitivity, and patience. Her knowledge of the instrument and feeling for music - along with her easy-going,"kid friendly" personality - make Debra the ideal teacher and musical mentor.
Review by La from Issaquah
thank you musika and ed. I never thought of looking for an in-home lesson until I found musika. I have absolutely no hesitation that Ed is beyond capable. He's even offered to meet us at a music store to purchase the correct fitting instrument. how fabulous is that! We've also decided to extend the lesson time from 30 to 45 minutes. All this and just one lesson under our belt. He quickly understood where my daughter is at in level and her style of music. I'm thrilled as can be.
Review by Timothyfullard
We've only had a few lessons with Elisa, but so far we really like her. She has a lot of great suggestions for solo pieces as well as orchestral music that involves all 3 of my boys, while also including some Christian music that we can play at church. She is very patient in explaining the lessons and encouraging!
Review by Dylan Jacinto
Jessie is the finest musician I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I find her overall concept of approaching an instrument to be both comprehensive and effective. Each technique she has acquired has made it possible for her to tailor her method to a variety of ages and individuals. I cannot speak more highly of Miss Jessie's abilities. Her lengthy and impressive cradecials speak for themselves. I recommend no hesitation in seeking her services!
Review by Michelle S.
"My daughter has been a student with Mark for over a year. She has come so far and has learned so much in such a short time. Mark is extremely talented and knowledgeable. He is very serious, patient and super nice. If your child or if you really WANT to learn the drums, then I highly recommend Mark. He is our third instructor and the best one yet! You will not be disappointed." Michelle S.
Review by Brenda Duffey-jepsen
Omar is a great teacher as he provides expert instruction AND the right amount of encouragement. He is a professional musician on several instruments, yet he is patient with beginners! He also has gone out of his way to purchase an appropriate book for me, strings to re-string the cello, and extra attention to tuning. I appreciate how he explains and demonstrates exactly what a beginning cello student needs to know.
Review by Thomas Pickens
"I've been taking lessons with Richard for just a little over six months now and all I can say is that he is an amazing instructor. He hasn't followed a set one size fits all script in his lessons but has instead worked with my musical interests and at my pace in a way that is truly valuable. He has also kept things fun, interesting, and engaging even at times when I've felt overwhelmed and discouraged. This is an instructor that is truly adaptable to his students and will make sure that they get the most out of their lessons. I would definitely recommend him to anybody that truly wants to unlock their musical potential."
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