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Associates Degree in Music: Cumberland County Community College
Bachelors in Classical Performance: Rowan University
Hello! I'm an owner and instructor at the Resonance School of Music in New Jersey, and have been teaching for over 10 years, 6 of them with my current studio. I started playing guitar when I was 11 years old and I've been taking lessons my entire life. (Yes, even still with professional musicians) I firmly believe that you never stop learning. There's always going to to be someone out there who has information or a perspective that can help you see things differently. I started out playing classic rock, blues, bluegrass, folk, metal - just about every style of music. I then received my degree in classical performance where I also learned and studied lute for a majority of my time there. In addition to the lute, ukulele, and bass guitar which I can help with the basic technical foundation, I can also switch between classical, rock, or acoustic guitar with comfort and confidence.
Through years of experience, I've found the perfect balance of technique and fun! I like to start with a focus on building the proper foundation and the proper relationship. It's important to me that we set achievable goals and make sure we are on a path to learning songs that keep you inspired and motivated. Each student will have different goals, and while there may be an overall structure of what we should know within a certain amount of time, no two lessons are ever the same. I set out to equip you with the necessary tools and information to overcome obstacles on your own and eventually fly away from the nest! The biggest difference between musicians is not what we play, but how we play, and that is my focus.
I don't think there is any one method book or instructional DVD that will give you everything you need. Even if an educational resource is extremely well done, it will still need to be tailored and digested in a certain way for each student. I generally use Mel Bay's Guitar 1 - expanded edition. While working with this book, there are additional materials such as exercises, concepts, and musical ideas often inserted at key moments. I use exercises from Scott Tenant's Pumping Nylon, as well as simple melodies from Hal Leonard's Easy Pop Melodies. I write out chord shapes in diagrams or tab, and often print songs from Ultimate-Guitar.com and structure the chords with measures, colors, and labels.
What I have found works best with semi-slow but significant results is the idea of 'planting seeds'. I describe this concept quite regularly with my students, and what I mean by it is that we will often talk about important musical ideas and simply make the student aware of what's happening. They may not totally understand it right away, but the seed is planted. We start off planting many seeds and sometimes the same seed multiple times. Then as we work towards learning songs we start to see an idea pop up in what we're working on. A light bulb goes off in the student's head and they say, "oh! that's this idea that we talked about last month!" Then that idea begins to grow, and it's not just from understanding the idea, but it's from seeing it in action - which seems to produce a stronger sense understanding and more retention. I love those 'ah ha' moments, and the joy of vicariously discovering something through a student is unparalleled.
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