Guitar Student Profile #2 : Gareth

Hello and welcome to GUITAR STUDENT PROFILE #2

It’s always interesting and inspiring to read about other peoples journeys, especially in a pursuit you may be interested in yourself…..in this case learning to play guitar..

Gareth is an adult learner with a very demanding and often unruly profession.  He has a great love of music as a wind down and always puts time aside to play his guitar.  This really comes across in our guitar lessons and makes him very easy to work and chat music with!  In the time we have been having lessons together we have covered a lot of finger-picking songs such as Breathe by Pearl Jam, Who Says by John Meyer,  a few Steve Earle songs….the list goes on!  The current development is to build some Music Theory knowledge by working through some of the RGT Grade books.

Here’s what Gareth has to say about his journey and his guitar lessons……

Student:  Gareth

1) How long have you been playing the guitar?

I originally started playing the guitar at senior school learning to play the electric guitar. I passed my GCSE Music but unfortunately gave up. Fast forward 22 years and I decided to start learning again. I have been learning to play again for just over one year.

 

2) Why did you begin guitar lessons?

I began learning guitar as I have always enjoyed listening to music at home and love live music. I listen to many different genres and when I was younger I grew up listening to music my older brother liked which was predominantly rock and metal. I originally started to learn rock songs etc. More recently (as I have grown up) I enjoy a variety of music however recently enjoy music based around acoustic guitar. I would always look in the window of my local guitar shop at the acoustic guitars and one day decided I wanted to learn again. I am learning for personal enjoyment and as a hobby, I find practicing and playing a way to relax. It would be nice to reach a level whereby one day I could play fluently with confidence and possibly to play for friends or with other musicians however I am aware I’m still very much a beginner.

 

3) What do you enjoy most about lessons and playing the guitar?

I currently have one lesson weekly. I enjoy my lesson as Jo helps to tailor the lesson to suit my needs and current playing ability. In the time spent with Jo she has worked out some of my favourite songs / pieces. With practice I have managed to play some songs I would have struggled with or not even known where to start with this time last year. I particularly enjoy and started to listen to pieces using finger picking techniques, although I have only learnt basic techniques I find when playing on your own and practicing it can be rewarding as I think it produces a much more interesting sound. (When I get it right that is!) Jo is a very patient teacher and has always made lessons interesting, helping to break songs down so it’s manageable to learn and not overwhelming. I even enjoy lessons to have a chat with Jo about different types of music / artists. More recently I have decided to learn some basic theory and currently working towards Grade 1 Acoustic RGT. Again Jo is very supportive and knowledgeable and has helped to explain some basic theory aspects which I have found interesting and will hopefully help develop my overall playing and knowledge.

 

4) What do you find most challenging about the lessons and playing guitar?

I think learning any new skill can be challenging, it can be frustrating to know the sound you need to produce however learning the technique to accomplish it can be difficult. I struggle with-new chords and techniques that are unfamiliar.

 

5) Do you have any advice for people who may be thinking about having lessons and playing guitar?

As an adult beginner it can be hard to find the time to put in some serious practice with day to day life commitments, but don’t let it put you off beginning. Don’t go into it with the expectation it is easy, but at the same time it can be very rewarding even learning some basic chords and playing along to simple songs. Everybody has different learning styles / musical tastes and skill level, but personally have a think about what you are realistically looking to achieve from learning and tailor your lessons to this. Set small goals, don’t be disheartened when you listen to some of your favourite artists and instantly want to replicate the sound / song. It may sound obvious but try not to pick songs that are too advanced, I have done this but I hope to return to them in the future. You will get frustrated, I do at times, but don’t be at war with it or you won’t enjoy it. Keep your guitar out if you can, and even if you can’t find set time to practice, even just picking it up for 5-10 minutes and playing keeps you familiar with it. There is no need to buy expensive instruments to learn, pick up a decent lower end to mid-range guitar to start. Always consider a second hand guitar from a reputable shop. If it isn’t for you then you haven’t lost out a great deal on expensive instruments. I would definitely recommend Jo as a tutor if you are considering lessons as an adult or for children. Jo has always been flexible when I have had to rearrange a lesson and just one half hour lesson weekly can really help you to improve. Above all have fun with it, practice and play when time allows, stop thinking about and go do it!

Guitar Lessons Liverpool Gareth

 

Thanks Gareth!

Categories: Advice and checklists, Goals, Guitar / Theory Grades, Learning, Lessons, Music Theory, RGT, Student Profiles, students | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The power and beauty in learning

I love teaching guitar and I especially love it when people smile BIG after learning riffs, chords, songs or solos they thought were unattainable.

I was given this gift recently after my student Jamie got his head and his fingers around the riff to Sweet Child of Mine.   It took a while because he was 8 when he first wanted to learn it and it was slow going.  He’s now going to High School and we can jam this riff around together and it sounds great.  Now time to learn the solo 🙂

This is the kind of thing that makes it worth it,  not the gift necessarily (even though it’s awesome….!) but that a thought was spared to say thanks and that what might feel like the smallest achievement to one person can mean the world to someone else.  This always acts as a catalyst to spur people onto new goals…. enjoy learning!

 

Jo x

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Categories: Accompanying, children's lessons, Goals, Jamming, Learning, Lessons, Playing Skills, students | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

New Testimonials

A couple of new testimonials here from my lovely students…
“I was under Jo’s tutelage for many years. Before Jo, I was already a fairly advanced electric guitar player, but fancied learning finger style acoustic guitar. This, I was a complete beginner at. I found Jo’s lessons extremely rewarding, and now my acoustic skills far exceed my electric guitar playing. Jo and I learned many songs together, including Nick Drake and Bert Jansch to name just a couple. Jo managed to break these incredibly complex songs into easy to understand segments and displayed great patience as I fumbled my way through to begin with. On a general note, I found Jo to be a very friendly and knowledgeable tutor. I would have no trouble at all recommending Jo to anyone!”
Keith.  2018.
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“Jo was recommended by a mum in school.  She is not only a great guitar instructor but a lovely lady.  My son started guitar lessons when he was 7 years old.  Jo is patient and has a way of breaking things down so it is easy to learn and enjoyable.  She listens to what you want.  My son learnt to read the music when playing electric guitar.  She helped him get ready for school entrance and music exams.  I cannot recommend Jo highly enough”.
Victoria. 2018.
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Testimonials Update

One of the things I really enjoy about teaching guitar is the huge range of people that enquire and come for guitar lessons.  Such a wide age range and reasons for wanting to learn.

Allan is a Taxi Driver who has always loved music, he goes to live shows regularly and was inspired to started guitar lessons due to his enjoyment of Joe Bonamassa to name but one on his list of blues-infused players.  Allan decided to take the route of working throught RSL Awards Grades in order to build a good foundation, musical theory knowledge and hone the ability of reading TAB and playing along to backing tracks.

Here’s his testimonial –

 “jo is a very patient , skilled tutor with vast knowledge , I started my musical journey in playing later than most students , and currently taking a small gap , but will be back in touch with jo as soon as I can , I have switched between acoustic , electric and back again , all of this is no problem to jo , highly recommend , Allan , Wirral ,, thanks jo”

 

Jo

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Acoustic Guitar Grade 4 Success!

Congratulations are in order for my guitar student Ella who has just passed her Grade 4 RGT Acoustic Guitar Grade with a Merit.

A great achievement and a hardworking student who is a pleasure to teach.  Roll on Grade 5!

Ella Grade 4

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Guitar Student Profile #1 : Rifka Orton

Hello,

This is the very first of my guitar student profiles I’ll be sharing on the website.

I’ve found that people looking to learn  guitar get a lot from being able to read testimonials and read about other peoples learning experiences.  I teach a wide age range and abilities of students and people start lessons, and continue for very different reasons.

So what can I say about Rifka,  (..or Riffy..as she is often called.   A GREAT name for a guitarist!).  Riffy has been having lessons with me since she was 6.  After starting on a classical guitar she is now mostly seen with an electric guitar.  She has great playing ability, skills and techniques.  We have fun in the lessons whilst working at the moment through Rockschool Grade 2 Electric Guitar book and she has a great sense of music.

Here’s what she has to say…

Student:  Rifka Orton

1) How long have you been playing guitar?
I have been playing guitar for about six years.

2) Why did you begin guitar lessons?
I started guitar lessons because when i was six i loved the colour pink and my dad and I went to a car boot somewhere, I can’t remember where, and there was a pink-purple guitar and because of the colour i had to have it especially because it had a pony on it. My dad said I could only have it if I got guitar lessons and so I did. Now I play guitar for fun and because i don’t like pink as much I now have a red and white guitar.

3) What do you enjoy most about the lessons? and playing guitar?
I enjoy finding new songs to play and Jo helping me sound good. I also enjoy learning different techniques and styles that you find in some pieces of music and in some grading tasks.

4) What do you find the most challenging about the lessons? and playing guitar?
Some of the things I find hard include: mastering new techniques (even though I like it once I’ve mastered it), moving up a grade book and remembering scales.

5) Do you have any advice for people who may be thinking about having lessons in playing guitar?
If you own a guitar or know someone who has one that you could borrow, then try lessons out and then decide whether you want to continue.

 

Thanks Riffy!

 

Categories: children's lessons, Guitar / Theory Grades, Learning, Student Profiles, students | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

News!

This week I would like to congratulate Mal on the near birth of his first child.  Mal has been having guitar lessons with me for 3 years.  We have covered some great songs and playing techniques, mostly electric guitar – based and rock style.  The most recent being the guitar solo and riffs from Whiskey in the Jar by Thin Lizzy.   Great solo!   Lots of fun.    Mal will be having a couple months break to become a new dad.

Here is his recent testimonial regards our lessons.

To anyone thinking of taking guitar lessons I’d strongly recommend Jo. I have found her one-to-one instruction and advice about my own guitar playing invaluable – much easier than trying to learn from a book or You-Tube video. 

Before taking lessons, I muddled on and off for years by myself without making any real progress beyond a few basic chords. I got into a bad habit of settling for easy to play songs and abandoning anything I found difficult.

 Learning songs I really want to play with Jo has made a huge difference to my playing. It has given me the confidence to attempt more challenging pieces which I previously thought were beyond my reach. When I’ve been struggling Jo has managed to work her magic with different suggestions and approaches. I wouldn’t describe myself as a natural guitar player, but Jo has the patience of a saint and has really helped me to steadily improve over the last three years. 

 

Another recent event and acheivement is the success of one of my other students Jamie in attaining a Merit of 78% for his Rockschool Electric Guitar Grade 2 exam.   I’m happy and proud and looking forward to starting his Grade 3 journey after the Summer. In the meantime we are spending some fun time polishing up Sweet Child of Mine and Enter Sandman!

 

Jo

Categories: children's lessons, Goals, Guitar / Theory Grades, Jamming, Lessons, Playing Skills, rockschool, students, Testimonials | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

New Grade Success!

I’m very happy to belatedly congratulate my student Jamie on achieving an 80% Merit in his Rockschool Grade 1 guitar exam in December!

Jamie started having lessons with me 2 years ago after deciding the life of a rock star was calling.. now aged 10 with a nice list of benchmark riffs under his fingers (Sunshine of Your Love and Sweet Child of Mine firm favourites…) he’s on the quest of Rockschool Grades.

It’s really amazing for me to see this progress and smiles when young students are talking and getting excited about guitar. Even better when they put the work in and see themselves playing riffs they didn’t think they would be able to a few months ago.

The stage is calling! Turn up the amp….

Jo x

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Categories: children's lessons, Goals, Guitar / Theory Grades, Learning, Lessons, Playing Skills, rockschool, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Year, Achievements & Guitar Goals

Hi All,

Happy New Year from me!

2016 was a fantastic year in terms of teaching and creativity. I had students I’m very proud of head off to University and achieve successful Guitar Grades.  I also had an influx of new students to get to know and work with.

I love the freshness of the New Year to take stock and decide what’s important and to get some new goals in place..

With learning to play guitar one of my big lessons came after I had been playing for quite a few years and that was to just pick something, practice, get good at it and learn how to use it.

For me one of those choices was when I started learning to play slide guitar.  I had always been overwhelmed with the amount of routes you can take in guitar playing and often  that would slow me down as I dabbled and didn’t really feel like I was progressing.  I struggled to know my identity and direction as a player.

I learned to make decisions through writing songs. When you write songs you have to make a decision on where to go otherwise the song never gets finished.  This is how I learned slide.  I picked a slide, a few artists and a song and began to learn.

I then began to experiment with the slide once I had some techniques and understandings down.  Then I decided to write songs using my slide.That’s how I came to play slide guitar.

One step at a time. Always.

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So my point is this when you’re on your journey of learning…  Pick something, however small and do it. This will get you somewhere.  Oh, and enjoy…(required!).

So. HAPPY NEW YEAR.  Choose a couple of goals and get stuck in.  Don’t be put off by the fact that if you set a time limit you may not be ready,   this is often the case.  You will definitely be closer than you were when you began and that should be enough motivation to keep going.   It’s also allowed for you to change your goal if it no longer fits, but, keep moving….

And

Periodically take a moment to look back at what you now can do.  This can be really inspiring!

Best of Luck

Jo x

 

 

 

 

Categories: Goals, Learning, Lessons, Playing Skills, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Congratulations! University & Distinctions..

This week was my last guitar lesson with one of my long time students heading off to University.  Maisie began lessons with me at 13 years old and we have spent the last 5 years working together through RGT Acoustic Grades and ABRSM Theory, as well as some composition and learning songs.  The final achievement being her Distinction at RGT Grade 6 level.

I’m very proud and it’s been quite a journey. It has been very enjoyable for me to work with a student over that period of time, to see the development and get to take part in that. She now gets to begin the next chapter of her life studying for a Degree in Music. Exciting times.

Best of luck, it’s been a pleasure and thank you for the gifts!

maisie

Categories: Guitar / Theory Grades, Lessons, Music Theory, students | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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