Call or text for lessons: 310-418-9561
Patient, thorough, attentive. I fine-tune my approach to each student's strengths. You can come to me, or I'll come to you. Lesson prices are $30 per half hour and $60 per hour if you come to me or if you use Skype. The price may be more for me to come to you.
And, I've recently added Skype online lessons to my menu of options. All you need is a a computer connection with a camera. Get a free Skype account.
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It's important to recognize that not everyone comes to the teacher with the same experiences, natural gifts or learning styles.
Older students, for instance, often have thinking systems - problem solving techniques - that they've developed over the years that make them successful in their fields. The problem is that learning music doesn't use any of those techniques. Even though it seems like "knowledge is knowledge," it isn't. Music has the ability to confound people. That goes for young students too.
It's up to me to explore the student's mind to find the best way to explain what are sometimes baffling concepts about playing and about theory (the nuts and bolts of how music is made).
The best thing a student can do is to let me feed them essential pieces of knowledge one digestible bit at a time. Those pieces are sequential. You must know the first bit in order to understand the next one. If you interrupt the order that I lay those bits of knowledge in, you will be frustrated and you'll slow your progress down. You must trust that I'm telling you what I'm telling you for a reason. This is especially true when learning theory.
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Improvement without practice is not possible. You must devote time daily to working out fingering patterns, building your muscle memory and making sense of music theory - memorizing your cycle of 5ths, 3rds, order of sharps and flats, etc.
Playing an instrument is all about muscle memory regardless of what you might think. Reading music and theory, on the other hand, are about memorization and repetitive skill building.
My analogy about muscle memory is dog training. If you want your dog to lie down, you don't tell him to sit. He'll do whatever he wants unless you insist that he lie down. Your fingers are exactly the same. They do whatever they want - which almost always is wrong - until you tell them to do exactly what you want. After the goal is clear (with your fingers and your dog), you repeat the exercise until the behavior is internalized.
Practice is a process that takes time. If you, as a novice, don't want to devote a half hour or more to practicing every day in one sitting, try practicing for 5 minutes at a time a few times a day. Amazingly, your body doesn't know the difference between the passing of a half hour or the passing of a whole day as far as the digestion of your repetitive physical training to develop your muscle memory is concerned.
Daily practice is important. It's a mistake, if you're really trying to make some progress, to think you can cram on the day of your lesson, or to do all your practicing the night before. When I was studying, preparing for college, I made a chart that I'd tape to the wall where I'd mark down whether I practiced that day or not, and for how long. It was similar to those pill boxes people use that say, "Monday, Tuesday..." etc. That practice chart helped me make sure I wasn't just deluding myself into thinking that I was being diligent.
I suggest doing the bulk of your practicing as soon as possible after your lesson so that by the time your next lesson day comes around, you're simply reviewing. Your practice week would look something like the diagram below, with more time spent or intensity at the beginning and less at the end of the week. The beginning of the week is the ingestion of information. The end of the week is review and confirmation that you've actually learned something, proving to yourself that you're ready to show your teacher what you can do. You're always better off being in the reviewing stage rather than the learning stage when you arrive at your next lesson.
Read this interesting article on the topic of efficient practicing by Dr. Noa Kageyama at LifeHacker.com.
lesson policies: attendance and tuition
These are typical policies that apply to private lessons, policies that are universally practiced and accepted.
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How long and how frequent
should lessons be?
I'm often asked whether a student should take half hour lessons or full hour lessons. Then occasionally I'm asked if it would be OK to study every other week.
Regarding the first question, it depends on a couple of things. Are you new to the instrument? Are you an adult or a child? Is money an issue?
A 8 year old child who is new to an instrument may not be able to focus for more than a half hour, while an adult probably will. It depends on the student in either case.
If age or money isn't an issue, I make the observation that, for someone trying to make some real progress, 30 minutes really isn't enough. Usually, things just start cooking by the 29th minute, then you have to leave. Doing an hour will give the teacher time to elaborate on insights rather than having to rush.
Students on a career track in music are wasting their time studying for half an hour. I, as a professional, have never studied anything for half an hour.
Having said all that though, do what's comfortable for you. It's your decision.
It's typical, and I'd say universal, to have a lesson once a week.
Some people want to study every other week for a full hour, because due to money issues, they can't afford to come every week. To actually learn, however, there is a certain momentum by going weekly that is clearly lost going every other week. Every-other-week lessons create an environment where the student has to start from scratch at each lesson. Instead, I would recommend coming to your lesson each week for half an hour.
There's another reason I don't want students coming every other week: It causes an extreme schedule burden for me. To have another student serendipitously become available for that exact time slot on opposite weeks is extremely unlikely. I've tried to do it in the past and ended up just sitting idle on those days.
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