FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ's)
Here are the most common questions I get and the answers. Please contact me if your question is not answered or you want further information.
You can also browse through the Personal Interview pages (on the left menu in UPPERCASE) for an insight into my activities and aspects of learning to play the guitar.
Q. How much do you charge?
A. Providing you live fairly close to me I charge £25 per hour. The fees are higher if you live a greater distance from me. See the "Area Covered & Fees" page.
Q. Are there any other costs I incur?
A. The only other cost I charge is for car parking. If I have to pay to park my car near to or at your property then I pass this cost onto the student.
Q. Do I have to sign up for a number of lessons?
A. No. I like to keep it flexible but if you want a particular day/time then most people book a number of weeks in advance.
Q. What happens if I need to cancel a lesson?
A. That's fine, but I do ask that you do so within 24hours so that I can reallocate the lesson slot. For late cancellations I would expect the cost of the lesson to be paid for so as I'm not out of pocket.
Q. How often should I have a lesson?
A. Fortnightly seems to work best for most people. I can also do weekly lessons and intensive sessions for those in a hurry to achieve a specific goal. Some established players prefer a two hour lesson once a month. The key factor to determine lesson frequency is that you have to have enough time between lessons to have tackled the homework I've set but not too long that you've got stuck or gone stale.
Q. Do you do a free or "taster" lesson?
A. For the first lesson I always book an initial session first for us both to see what we think. This is for TWO hours but I only charge for ONE hour. It’s nice and flexible with me and “pay as you go”.
Q. Do you do half-hour lessons?
A. No, I'm afraid not. With me travelling to your place it's just not cost effective for 30 minutes.
Q. Can I buy lessons as a gift - how does it work?
A. Yes. This proves popular for Xmas or Birthdays. It works best when the recipient has expressed a clear interest in being taught. Total surprises, however well intentioned, are sometimes not the good idea you hoped for. Everybody learns in different ways - tuition is not for everyone. I have to agree an initial date/time for the initial TWO hour lesson and I prepare a Gift Certificate in Microsoft Word which I email for you to print out and hand over. It's pay as you go so please note I do not offer discounts for bulk bookings/purchases.
Q. Why is your focus now on teaching the over 25's only?
A. Having been teaching for a number of years I choose to specialise with a more "mature" age group. This is more in line with the type of music and styles that I prefer to teach. Also, many modern guitar teaching methods are now built around the electric guitar and use of "power chords" which I do not enjoy as much as I feel it negates many of the more involved skills in playing the instrument to it's full potential.
Q. I'm a budding "rock star/guitarist" - can you help me achieve my ambitions?
A. I can get you up and running but your best route is to find a teacher who is more suited to your musical tastes. Many gigging musicians are teachers and they can usually fast-track you in the modern techniques required.
Q. How many lessons will I need?
A. This depends on the individual and how much time they can practice between lessons. My aim is to get you up and playing on your own as quickly as possible.
Q. Do you teach groups or family members?
A. No, I don't teach groups as I specialise in one-to-one tuition but I'm happy to teach two members of the same family within the hourly lesson. There's no extra charge for this. Two people within the same lesson is the maximum for me.
Q. Do you run accredited courses/can I enter exams with you?
A. I'm sorry but I don't follow the exam syllabus' any longer. I just focus now on getting people to play for pleasure and not to gain accreditation. I don't cover much musical theory so, if exams are important to you, you'll need a teacher who will cover this with you.
Q. How do we measure my progress?
A. I have a review session after every six lessons to discuss progress. It's important to me that you ENJOY the lessons and feel that you're making progress. You will be able to play the music pieces from the lessons and demonstrate your prowess to any interested listeners!
Q. Do I need to be able to read and understand music?
A. No, I teach using Tablature (TAB) which gives pictorial instruction on the guitar fingering positions.
Q. What is TAB?
A. TAB, or Tablature to give its proper name, is a musical notation specifically for guitarists. It's much easier to follow than standard musical notation. Whereas a standard musical stave has five lines Tablature has six lines - one for each string and the fingering is shown by numbers instead of musical symbols.
Q. Do I need my own guitar?
A. Absolutely! It is essential to practice to learn any instrument. Time spent playing between lessons is a key ingredient to mastering the instrument.
Q. I'm not a beginner can you teach me and help me improve?
A. Yes. I have a few students who have been playing a while. Some want an independent assessment of their skills and mostly others wish to develop their right hand skills to play more as a soloist instead of just strumming chords. In these cases the lessons are tailored specifically to the needs of the student.
Q. As you come to my home do I need any specific equipment or facilities?
A. No. I bring my guitar and instruction materials. There must be a quiet room for us to use - it's pointless trying to learn if the TV is blaring away! Oh, and the odd "cuppa" is always welcome.
Q. I play my guitar using a plectrum is this ok?
A. Of course, for electric and steel-stringed acoustic guitars this quite common. However, if you like using a plectrum, just think what possibilities there are if you can use your fingers and develop a fingerstyle method of playing. Your thumb & fingers are effectively FIVE plectrums! - food for thought.
Q. I'm currently with another teacher, can I transfer to you?
A. Of course but do think very carefully about it. It's not my intention to "poach" students from other teachers. Don't underestimate the learning bond and understanding you will have forged with your existing teacher. However, If you're adamant that changing your teacher is the best way forward then do contact me and we can discuss your situation.
Q. What sort of "starter" guitar would you recommend?
A. I recommend a classical nylon-strung guitar as the best introduction to playing the guitar. They are cheaper with half-size and three-quarter size models more easily available for the smaller and growing hands. Also, the nylon strings are easier to hold down. Unlike an electric you don't need an amplifier and it encourages use of the fingers instead of starting off with a plectrum.
Q, Do you teach Banjo/Mandolin/Bouzouki/Ukulele or any other instruments?
A. Sorry, although there are many similarities with fretted instruments, I teach guitar only.