Teaching

I teach at Crossroads Music in Port Townsend, or I can come to your home. I have a limited amount of time for instruction. I generally have several active students. Some meet with me weekly; others, "being more mercurial," visit at times of their own choosing.


I play many styles of music, and have taught various techniques and material through the years. However, most of my current instruction seems geared to adults studying classical guitar. There are many good teachers in the area for other styles, and for younger students.

This is not an absolute restriction -- we can talk about studying jazz or other styles -- but that's how it's been working out lately. I'll be happy to discuss your situation, and see whether we have a good fit.

I'll share three thoughts here about the study of music, and what you need to do to be successful.

1. Talent isn't the key. I've had students with tremendous natural ability, and others with less. Great ability, great dexterity, a great ear, are helpful but they don't truly matter. The student who becomes a great player is the one who enjoys it the most. If you enjoy playing, you practice more, and it turns out that repetition and playing hours are what really matter.

2. If you're not enjoying your practice time, you're doing it wrong. Many people, and many teachers, treat practicing like time at the gym doing "no pain/no gain" exercise. This is wrong. The only thing that will make you good is if you figure out how to enjoy your practice time. If you don't like playing scales, don't force yourself to play them while hating them. Figure out how to enjoy them. It's a choice. You love the instrument, the way it sounds, the way your fingers bring out the sound. You can find all of that in a single note, a single scale, a single chord, a single arpeggio. Revel in the chance to make that chord sound beautiful.

3. Practice the hard parts, and practice very slowly. An amateur plays the easy parts, and loves the sense of accomplishment. A pro focuses on the hard parts, because that's how to progress. Through slow repetition, you will wind up owning the difficult sections. Break things into very small chunks, and don't worry about playing the piece as a whole. That will take care of itself once you have the hard parts.