Lessons FAQ (5)

What is your teaching philosophy?

Just because I’ve dedicated my life to music doesn’t mean that I expect everyone else to do the same. (Can you imagine the competition?!) But I think I can teach anyone who wants to learn. I also believe that guitar lessons do not need to be a lifelong commitment. Get what you want/need to know and get on with life. There’s so much that I still am learning that I know you’ll come back when you get stuck or want to add to your collection of knowledge. Below I have listed some “must haves”.

  1. Fretboard knowledge – Ask any other instrumentalist to name the location or fingering of notes and they’ll tell you straight away. Sadly, most guitarists can’t. Like they say knowledge is power, you just need to tap into it.
  2. Note reading – While I recognize most adults are set in their careers, I hope ultimately they will learn to read notation even though the situations in which they’ll need to will be few. Guitar has numerous notational systems in addition to traditional notation. Being fluent in these will build confidence and repertoire and lead to a willingness to really read. Younger students are required to read as their paths haven’t been determined and will make the student better prepared for any other musical endeavor in the future.
  3. General Music Theory Knowledge – Do you really need to know (or care) about a Neopolitan 6th? Maybe not. But knowing about how scales work and how triads are built can give you great insight into how music works. Sure it’s complex, but not incomprehensible. And, I’ve figured out how to explain it without sounding like a DVD player user’s manual.
  4. Ear Training – It all starts with being able to tune the guitar. If you can hear that it’s out, you can recognize the differences in pitch. From there, you need only refine that skill until you can hear a sound and find it on the instrument. Before long, you doing it for yourself.
  5. Good Musicianship – Simple things like playing in time, with appropriate dynamics, tone and taste.

Recommendations

A lot of people wonder ‘how long should my lesson be’? It’s my experience that younger students (7-12), need only 30 minutes. We have plenty of time to work on some fundamentals and do some playing.

For those that have completed the basics, and are moving on to chords and repertoire, then 45 minutes is ideal. We still have time to work on continuing reading studies (usually about 15 min). And, we’ll have a good deal of time for exploring different songs and techniques. Adults also should also consider a 45 min lesson. I’ve found that most that are taking up the instrument enjoy the relaxed pace and the time to discuss concepts and technique.

If you’re an advancing player, an hour allows for more playing, study and discussion. There’s so much too talk about, you’ll still be wondering where the time went.

Lesson Fees

Lessons are offered in increments of 30, 45 and 60 minute durations. There is NO registration fee (Really? A fee to sign up? Never!). Prices are as follows:

Monthly-
30 min – $27
45 min – $37
60 min – $47

Bi-weekly
45 min – $42
60 min – $52

Per diem
60 min – $65

Lesson fees are due at the initial lesson and the last week of the month for the following month. Payment can be made in cash or check* to the instructor. Credit card payments can be made in person or through my shop (via paypal).

*Returned checks are subject to a $35 fee.

Do you offer a multiple/family student discount?

Absolutely! If you and your son/daughter or two members of the same family take lessons, then lessons will be charged at the hour rate.

Would it be possible to have an introductory private lesson?

There are a lot of factors for the student to consider when choosing a guitar teacher–the instructor’s teaching style, the student’s learning style, musical preferences, goals, and so on. For this reason I offer a free introductory lesson to allow the student and I to spend a little time getting to know one another and give the student a general feel for how private lessons are run.

If you have any questions about the free intro lesson, or would like to set up an appointment, please contact me directly via email at info@highlandguitarstudio.com

Absence and Holiday Policies

Absences

If the student cannot make the lesson at his/her time, 24 hour notice is required to receive an excused absence.

The student will be charged for missed makeup lessons, less than 24-hr notice for a missed lesson, and exceeding the excused absence limit of 1 per every 3 months.

In the event that lessons are canceled due to inclement weather, students will be notified by email. These lessons are considered weather-related absences and do not count towards the excused absence limit. But we might not have to miss at all. With all the advance notice we get these days, we can just do a Skype or Face Time lesson. You’ll need a web cam and the rest is free.

Missed lessons due to illness will be made up at my discretion. If you’re sick, stay home. I will do my best to make up for the time missed. But, if you feel well enough to do a lesson and know you’re in that contagious phase, let’s do a lesson via Skype or Face Time. It works really well and it’s free. You’ll need a web cam, of course.

Excused absences and weather related absences are considered makeup lessons and cannot be used as credit toward future lessons.

Make up lessons will be scheduled at a mutually convenient time between the student and the teacher. Missed make up lessons will not be rescheduled and the student will forfeit the missed lesson. If we cannot meet in person to reschedule the option, makeup lessons via Skype or Face Time are always an option.

In the event that lessons are canceled to due my absence, the student will not be charged if the lessons cannot be rescheduled.

Holidays

Of course this varies from person to person, and if you feel it’s important to observe a holiday not on my list by not coming to lessons, I can respect that. In this event you’ll receive an excused absence (with prior notice). My major holidays include:

  • New Year’s Day (January 1)
  • Memorial Day (Last Monday in May)
  • Independence Day (July 4)
  • Labor Day (first Monday of September)
  • Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November; the Friday after will be at my option)
  • Christmas Day (December 25)

Weddings FAQ (7)

What does your service include?

For a typical wedding ceremony, I will play a 15-20 minute prelude of music as guests arrive and take their seats. As the ceremony begins, I’ll provide music for the seating of the parents, the bridal party and the bridal processional, respectively. If the ceremony requires any in-service music (between readings or during a unity candle lighting), I can provide that as well. Occasionally, I am asked to provide underscore music throughout the ceremony. On cue from the officiant, I’ll start the recessional. If there is a receiving line, I can provide a brief postlude of 10 minutes.

Do you play with other instruments?

Yes. While most of the weddings I usually play are as a guitar soloist, the guitar pairs especially well with flute, violin, cello or voice. Any music that I have as a soloist can be arranged for a duo.

I don’t know much about music. Where should I start?

For a ceremony, these are the typical parts that will generally have musical accompaniment:

  • Prelude: 15 – 20 minutes of music similar in style to selections used for processionals and recessional. Requests can be specific or I can choose.
  • Seating of the Parents
  • Bridal Party
  • Bridal Processional
  • In-Service music
  • Recessional
  • Postlude

Are you able to meet with us, where can we hear you play?

Yes. Appointments can be arranged to meet at my studio in Manchester, CT. Also, consultations are possible by telephone, Facetime or Skype. If you’re interested in attending one of my performances, let me know and I’ll make arrangements where appropriate.

Our wedding is outside. Do you play outside, and do you use amplification?

Yes, however to protect the instrument(s) from the sun, there’s a $50 fee for the sunshade. The fee is waived if the event is moved inside. Also, I use a battery powered amp for those situations where AC power is a problem.

We have music that is special to us. Can we have it played at our wedding?

Absolutely. Most anything can be arranged for solo guitar, or accomplished as a duo of guitar and melodic instrument. I have made countless arrangements over the years, even entire ceremonies built on a theme. I will arrange up to 3 songs/pieces free-of-charge. Since it is a such a special time in your lives, I want to provide an experience that represents your signature style. It will be something you and your guests will remember forever.

Can you provide a microphones for the ceremony?

Outside ceremonies are great but the voices get lost and guests have a hard time hearing the vows and readings. It’s almost like watching a silent movie. For an additional $75, I can provide sound reinforcement so that all of your guests hear the vows and readings.