Student Profile #1 : Rifka Orton

Hello,

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.

 

Thanks Riffy!

 

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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, 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

spinal_tap_-_up_to_eleven

 

Categories: children's lessons, Goals, 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

 

 

 

 

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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

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Beginners Basic Blues Progression in C

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!

Enjoy!

Click Here for PDF version

Click Here for other PDF Downloads

12 Bar Blues in C

Categories: downloadable PDFs, Free lessons Aids, Lessons, Open Chords, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lesson slots available – July 2016

Hi all,

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!

 

Thank you

Jo

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Testimonials update..

I have just added to my list of student testimonials.  I’ve been so lucky with my students and it’s sad to see them go but I’m also made up to see people go off and do what’s important in their lives, from relocating to Scotland and moving on to University…  Best of luck!

I have more testimonials here.  Have a read to see what different people, past and present have got from their lessons….there’s a whole range of ages/abilities and goals!

 

“Three years ago I set myself the challenge of learning an instrument as an adult without being able to read a note of music. Jo  Bywater ‘s name was a personal recommendation for a guitar teacher so I took the plunge. 

I struck lucky . Jo has the patience of a saint but was able to motivate me to keep going when it got tough! And tough it was. However she always picked songs which I liked and of a difficulty that she thought I could master. So three years down the line . I am still a beginner, but I have played and sung in public and no-one laughed ( my personal goal) . I am relocating so have stopped lessons but would highly recommend Jo if you are beginning or honing up your skills because she is a great teacher”
Clare Littlewood Jime 2016
Adult beginner
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“I have been going to Jo for over a year now, I have found her an excellent tutor and as a first time learner I would recommend her highly, she has brought me on loads!”  Peter.  2016
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Jo is an inspirational teacher. She is patient, encouraging and really good at guitar. She understood that I would learn best if  I was playing what I liked and so she helped me learn to play rock and alternative styles. I would definitely recommend her to others”  Jasmin (aged 14).  2016
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New Free Resources

Hi All,

I have just added some more diagrams to my ‘Free Resources‘ page.  These are all PDF quality hand out prints and I will continue to add to them.  There are a range of things on there at the moment from Chord Charts to Guitar Diagrams.  The most recent is of a split page of Acoustic Guitar Labelled Diagram / Strings on Guitar & Electric Guitar Labelled Diagram / Strings on Guitar.  These are for students and teachers alike.  Please head over and have a look and download for your use.

Enjoy

Jo

Categories: downloadable PDFs, Free lessons Aids, Lessons, notes on the guitar fretboard, teaching resources | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Grade 7 CONGRATULATIONS

I’m very happy to announce the well-deserved DISTINCTION attained by my guitar student Luke in his recent RGT Electric Guitar Grade 7 Exam.  Each grade always goes up a significant notch in exploring and developing a guitarists knowledge, expression and maturity of playing.  This is a great achievement.  I’m very proud!

Jo

Categories: Grades, Music Theory, RGT | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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