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”
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!
This is the very first of my 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.
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!
Today I’d like to share one of the lessons / handouts I’ve created to work through with some of my beginner guitarists in relation to the legendary 12 Bar Blues.
When looking for lesson content to get my students building on their strumming patterns and chord changing, the 12 Bar Blues is a very useful template. In its most basic form of just 3 chords, this can be developed from the most simple rhythm of , 4 x ‘down strums’ and then adding complexity at a suitable rate.
When working with people who come to guitar playing with no experience, yet love music, this is something I have found works often, as even with Major Chords the sound of the progression is recognisable as Blues. As the students become more learned in chords I substitute the Major Chords for Dominant 7 chords and then onto more complex chords and introduce a shuffle rhythm.
The main focus for me with beginners is to get their hands and fingers moving around progressions once they know some chords, if they recognise the sounds they create then this is a great driver.
The handout below is also great for building in an awareness of strumming 4 times per bar and getting a feel for 12 bars and a turnaround. Some people pick this up instinctively but not so with all learners. I’ve found this a useful starting point!
I have some slots for lessons available at the moment due to some of my long term students relocating and going off to University. Although I am very sorry to see them go, I am also very happy and proud that we have some talented musicians developing. The last few years have been dedicated, fun and interesting with me learning as many lessons as them…as ever.
For those interested in lessons or knowing of anyone who may be in the Liverpool area please message me for further information, to book a lesson or feel free to browse the website.
I look forward to hearing from you and starting a musical journey!