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Although most of my playing experience has been with rock bands, big bands and weddings, I have a B.A. in classical performance/music education from William Paterson University. Most of my private study has been with Dave Larson of the New Jersey Symphony and Dave Rogers, a William Paterson jazz adjunct. My classroom career began at the Passaic County Elks' Cerebral Palsy Center in Clifton, NJ, and in 2001 I moved to my present position as Elementary Music Teacher in Middlesex, NJ. I love to play blues on my trumpet, but my latest passion is learning finger-picking on guitar.
My goal is to foster a love of music through mastery, excellence and fun! I never want lessons to feel like something that has to be done, but rather, something to look forward to. I accomplish this by incorporating the interests of each student and including time in each lesson to improvise, create, or learn music they are interested in. I tailor my instruction to each student and keep track of progress so we know how to proceed.
For children I tend to teach songs by The Beatles as standard curriculum, as well as learning to read music proficiently. The things tend to be non-negotiable unless the parent informs me otherwise. For teens and pre-teens reading music is optional as well as the types of songs you wish to learn or the theory you wish to learn. That's just a general overview, along the way we learn all types of riffs, vamps, chords, scales, etc., to which we follow my standard development method, but never neglecting your own personal interests in music. For students wanting to go on to major in music reading is a require and will take up much of what we learn as well as theory and learning many songs by heart. These things are essential for professional musicians to understand. For adults I'm much more open to what you want to learn, but still follow the standard general curriculum (reading music and theory optional).
I am a guitarist who loves nothing more than making music. I am primarily self-taught, and have been absolutely hooked by the guitar since I was 15. I majored in music in college, where I learned music history, theory, performance, and recording. Since graduation, I have been recording and performing original music all over the country.
I first began teaching before enrolling to university 5 years ago and have taught ever since. Throughout my experience as a teacher I have come across many different students of all ages and abilities, all who learn in various differenent ways. I pride myself on my ability to adapt to the student and find the best way for them to progress addressing their strengths and limitations and being able to progress to increase the strengths and overcome the obstacles. I create a empatetic and enjoyable enviroment that caters to beginners and the advanced.
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At Musika, we recommend that the earliest age at which students start to take guitar lessons is about 6 years old. A nylon stringed, half-size classical guitar will be the easiest and most comfortable instrument for younger students to play. In this age group, students will learn to play simple songs on the top strings. By the age of 7-8, students can start to form chords and play and sing along to some of their favorite songs. Students in the 10-12 age bracket, are likely to want to learn how to play rock music on an electric guitar, and should be comfortable playing a full sized guitar at this stage.
Musika deals primarily with home lessons for students. The location is the only difference between our in-home lessons and our studio lessons. As they do not have to travel to their lessons, home guitar lessons can be highly convenient for those parents and students with a busy schedule. For younger students in particular, having guitar lessons in the comfort of their own home can be of great benefit. They will feel more safe and relaxed in familiar surroundings, allowing them to focus on learning and enjoying playing the guitar.
The most important thing students learn is how to have fun when they are playing the guitar! It can be a challenge to master the basics, and it can take a lot of practice but with the proper teacher, students can be playing their favorite songs without too much trouble. Topics covered during guitar lessons include: learning notes, open chords, barre chords, finger picking, sight reading techniques, music theory as well as how to strum and pluck with the fingers.
At Musika, we suggest that adult students looking to start guitar lessons do so with a specific aim or goal in mind. Beginners may have goals such as learning to play their favorite songs or to write their own music, whereas advanced students might want to develop a particular technique or aspect of their guitar playing. Irrespective of your experience or level, the teachers in our network can help you to achieve your goals. Remember, developing playing skills can take time. The best way to ensure you achieve your goals is through regular lessons and consistent practice.
Due to the large size of acoustic guitars, it is recommended that young students begin by playing half size or three-quarter size guitars. It is possible for older students to use full size acoustic or electric guitars, as long as they find them comfortable to grip. There are many different student model guitars which are available, and can be purchased within the $150 - $200 price bracket from new. These costs do not include the prices of amplification or cables, which will be necessary for those wanting to play electric guitar. Bear in mind that higher quality instruments are often the easiest to play, and that ease of use is a big factor in how much a student enjoys their playing.
Review by Paula Chacon
I've always said, "It's all about the teacher." That skillful, effective teacher who can reach that child and ignite her passion, is truly a gift. Ric does that for my daughter. As a former music teacher myself, the most challenging thing in working with children is how to build their fundamental musical skills while letting them have fun and be expressive. The teacher must create a safe, supportive environment, and Ric does that. Ric immediately focuses on fundamentals of tone and technique, giving my daughter succinct instruction on how to improve, thus she can sense the improvement immediately. Ric seems extremely easy going; even when lighting a fire under her sometimes under-achieving butt, Ric never criticizes, judges or blames. He works with my child, understanding her, helping her problem solve, and even giving her the quick answer sometimes so she can move quickly and stay motivated. Ric balances fundamentals with fun and expressiveness, so my child feels as though she can 'play' and they truly make music in every lesson. I am thankful we found a good match with Ric.
Review by Maureen Young
“Lynn has taught my daughter guitar for 9 years. She has always managed to keep her engaged and provide an exceptional learning experience. She tailors the lesson specifically to the student’s interests and abilities. She provides many opportunities for students to showcase their talents outside of lessons. We love working with Lynn.” Maureen Young, Dir. of Finance, Aug 2015
Review by Shilpa
"Richard is a very talented and a patient teacher. He teaches my 6 year old daughter in the comfort of our home and he is very regular. He follows a learning book and mixes his lessons to bring difficulty and technicality while keeping it interesting for my daughter. My daughter was difficult to work with at the beginning but he was able motivate her in every possible way. As a parent I make an effort to learn with my daughter so that when my daughter practices I am able to guide and correct her and Richard is very generous to take the time to give provide me concepts. I am extremely happy with Richard and his ability to teach children."
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 Susan
My daughter is extremely happy and comfortable with Rachel, and looks forward to her piano lessons every week. She is a very kind and patient teacher, always using positive reenforcement with my daughter, which makes all the difference in the world to children. We definitely are looking forward to continued piano lessons with her. So glad we found her.
Review by Ro J.
“My son has been instructed by Mark for almost four years. Mark is an outstanding teacher. His credentials are by themselves impressive, but his ability to relate his knowledge to kids is even more so. Connor's ability to understand and read music is fantastic. Mark also knows the performance side of playing drums and has encouraged Connor to actually incorporate his knowledge to play alone and in a band. He is patient and encouraging which is what motivates Connor to work and practice. He is a mentor as well as a teacher. He is superior at what he does and we highly recommend him.” Ro J.
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 Kaleen Todoroff
Noel is amazing. She is helping me to work toward my vocal goals for auditions to several musical theaters. She has helped me choose strong audition pieces and is teaching excellent ways to get the sound I need in a safe and healthy way. She works outside our lessons on new warm ups and new music pieces. She is the best.
Review by Sarah M
Dan gave private clarinet lessons to my daughter, Annie, for two years. During that time, she excelled as a member of the middle school band, and maintained first-chair. Dan is an excellent teacher, and Annie looked forward to having one-on-one time with him. In addition to practicing pieces with her, he helped her with scales and greatly improved her tone quality.
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