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I have played and taught a wide range of styles throughout my life. I graduated from the University of Washington in 2010, majoring in Guitar performance. I have had the opportunity to play in rock bands, jazz ensembles and as a solo performer. I am currently getting my music ed credential at SJSU. I still play frequently in town with my jazz ensemble.
I grew up in a household full of music. My Dad loved jazz while my Mother loved opera and classical music. They constantly played their respective recordings throughout the day. I began guitar lessons at 9 with a music teacher in the neighborhood who had a good reputation. However, I found his teaching style to be lacking warmth or any specific direction. So I quit and began teaching myself by learning melodies and chords from rock, pop and jazz recordings. I developed a very good relative pitch. Luckily, my old teacher had taught me how to read music. While in college I fell under the spell of flamenco music and studied briefly with a blind Spanish guitarist in Manhattan. I performed in rock and pop groups throughout college. When I moved to California I studied with Jon Harris, a classical guitarist who had studied under Segovia. I began to compose my own music and to continue a grueling practice schedule. To me, music is the perfect art form. And I love to share my passion with others.
My style is to get students to start performing and playing songs, so that they maybe come as passionate about music as I am! I try to keep each student at paces they are comfortable with and set goals for each student to get to the next level. I tailor my instruction to inspire students to create and make music.
I began taking trumpet lessons when I was 11 years old, and I've studied with many teachers. I've been exposed to all of the method books, literature, and repertoire that's out there. I have also studied jazz theory and improvisation extensively. The main thing I teach beginning students is understanding how the instrument works, reading music, proper breathing, and embouchure mechanics. I utilize a number of beginning method books, easy etudes, Stamp exercises, Arban's method, and Clarke technical studies. For more advanced students, I have lots of material to work from depending on the student's needs and goals.
I have been paying guitar for over 15 years. My love of improvisation brought me to the California Jazz Conservatory where I have been studying since 2012. In fall 2016 I will graduate with a B.M. in Jazz Studies, focusing on guitar. I play in a local rock/funk band, The Electic Soul Factory, and I am a founder a of The Moldy Fig Improvised Music Collective, for which I compose and arrange the material.
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Kids just want to have one thing when they are learning how to play the guitar - FUN! Our teachers will work with you to make it as easy as possible to start learning the guitar, but it does take a lot of hard work and daily practice to improve. Students typically begin by playing easy songs on one or two strings while learning to read music. Only then, do they move on to learning how to strum chords and read chord charts.
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.
We recommend that adult students looking to start guitar lessons have a clear goal in mind - such as learning to play a few of their favorite songs. When you start lessons, a teacher will help you unlock the skills required to reach your goals. Keep in mind that you might not be able to start off with the exact song you want to learn - it could take months of study and practice to learn all of the notes and chords required to turn your dream into a reality.
The easiest way for guitar students to find out what kind of guitar to buy is to ask their teacher. Your teacher will know what local shops have fair deals, and which shops do a good job of setting up the instrument. Young students and beginners may find an acoustic guitar easier to play and handle, while teenagers will probably want the power of an electric guitar so they can jam with their friends in the garage.
At Musika, we appreciate that every student learns at their own pace. As such, the experienced teachers in our network produce customized guitar lessons specifically for the requirements of each individual student. Teachers can design lessons for any student, regardless of their age, experience, or ability. Some of the things students can expect to learn during their lessons are learning all the notes of the guitar, playing and rhythmic techniques such as fretting, fingering, and strumming, how to read musical notation and tablature, learning how to play a variety of different chords, such as open and barre chords, and music theory. Over time, as each student progresses, they will learn how to piece everything they have learned together, in order to form complete compositions. Students can learn to play their favorite songs, or even to write their own music!
Review by John
When I started with Darrell, I didn't know anything bout music. Nothing. We started with basic music theory & moved into scales and reading. It hasn't been very long at all, but my confidence is growing quickly. He does ask a lot from you and he expects you to keep up. But I can honestly say that if you are willing to work hard and spend the time at home doing what he asks, you will see the results. He wants you to succeed and takes pride in watching you grow. If you want it as bad as he does, you will see the result very quickly.
Review by Svea Bryan
Brett is an accomplished musician, who shared his knowledge at a level that my five year old understands. He is polite and relaxed in his mannerisms but take a serious approach to focusing on the lesson. He is very patient and engaging with the attention span you'd expect from a kindergartener. His motto ever is "sometime you learn faster by going slow"
Review by Jenn
My son and I both take lessons with Micheal. My son started on the ukulele and recently started the guitar. He is excellent with children. Very patient and very intuitive to the child's ability. He is also an excellent teacher for adults. I had not touched my guitar in several years and in a couple months not only to I remember everything I forgot but I'm learning many new techniques and am a much better player than I've ever been.
Review by Yury
I would like to thank Polina for the series of classical piano lessons I've taken recently. Polina is a fantastic teacher and a high class performer, and I'm really happy I had a chance to meet her! I believe anyone can benefit from the teaching method Polina is practicing regardless of the student proficiency - from beginners to advanced performers. It was a pleasure for me to study classical piano courses under the guidance of such an intelligent & professional teacher! Without doubt, my playing technique has improved a lot and I have signed up for the new classes online already.
Review by Wilma
Gina is very supportive and encouraging. Even though I get frustrated with my progress, she can tell that I've been practicing and reminds me of how far I've come. She challenges me to learn new skills without giving me a piece that I cannot master (with practice). I'm happy that she is my music teacher and look forward to many more lessons in the future.
Review by Ginger
Unbelievably Awesome. My daughter is a beginner and has some special needs. Justin is more than patient and helpful while being completely thorough and pushing her (in a good way) to try harder. He is encouraging and teaches effectively. I am very pleased. More important, so is my daughter. Thank you Musika! So grateful we found your service and connected with Justin. We highly recommend him.
Review by Stevengournay
There are only a handful of people I count in my life who were great teachers, and Laura is one of them. Her musicianship is so secure as are her technique and personality that she zeros in on my weaknesses and devises exercises to strengthen them, and during the lesson it is not "Do this, no, do that" which is unnerving to a novice. She understands the most important part of study is relaxation, so that is easy to achieve with such a confident and compassionate human. Music is her life and she is eager to share her talent with everyone. A rare find, indeed!
Review by Olivia
Andrew is very encouraging and uplifting, but also isn't afraid to tell you your weaknesses. Andrew also is super awesome with scheduling. Fits around your schedule all the time. He really knows what he is doing and can help you reach your goal in the time you would like to. Couldn't have gotten a better teacher, who continually helps me grow and pushes me.
Review by Ashley S.
Ali was an amazing voice coach! She taught in a way that made sense to me, and helped me find the voice placements I needed. I didn't know I could sound like that! My development with her was leaps and bounds rather than tiny dreadful steps that happen when you don't know what's going on! Ali was dedicated to helping me work on an audition for a music scholarship and I nailed it all thanks to her, seriously. I can't thank her enough! She helped me with the tools and confidence I needed to sing in the real world alone rather than just back row in a large choir.
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