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Arol Profile
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teaching different styles simultaneously


Hi All,

I'm a classical guitarist as well as jazz player and some rock and flamenco. I learned each style from different professional teachers specialized in only one subject.

I want to start teaching guitar. I'm wondering, is there a way to combine the teaching of different styles in the same time in a professional manner?
or should I concentrate my teaching in only one style of guitar playing?

I'm mainly a classical guitarist playing in the diagonal position,
and this question is concerning mainly with the professional classical teaching approach for begginers, as this approach advocates in concentrating in only the classical technique and style. At least at the beggining. I am confused how it's possible to combine serious classical guitar approach with jazz and rock..

Thanks
9/8/2016, 8:04 am Link to this post Send Email to Arol   Send PM to Arol Blog
 
wmuller Profile
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Re: teaching different styles simultaneously


Thinking about teaching? Its awesome!!

I have been teaching private guitar lessons for about 12 years and my main genre is classic rock, but I also play a little country, a little bluegrass, a little classical etc.

My core philosophy in teaching has been to teach the basic skills that are common to all six string guitar playing these days, and then encourage them to move gradually into songs in their favorite genres. We might stay on one challenging song for two or three months if it takes that. We search the internet together for songs I think are at their skill level, and songs they like.

Also simple classical piece and a rock song can be worked on at the same time... you get the [sign in to see URL] students will amaze you often with what they can handle.

I'd be glad to respond to anything more specific as far as your concerns...

Bye for now
Walt
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zen guitar Profile
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Re: teaching different styles simultaneously


If you want to earn a significant amount of income from teaching private guitar lessons you NEED to be able to do any style. You don't need to be an expert in ALL styles in order to teach them because the primary thing you are teaching is musicianship -- how to play chords, scales, read, theory [sign in to see URL] simply adjust it to fit the style they are interested in. You should also have a familiarity with each style and the ability to play at least a few songs in any style you wish to represent that you are capable of teaching.

Another important point is that you often don't even need to know any songs in a style to teach it. I don't for example, really spend any time practicing metal songs, and yet I've taught dozens of students dozens of metal songs over the years. How? Easy, I teach them basic guitar playing techniques, how to play power chords, how to play scales, how to play rhythms [sign in to see URL] then when we got to learning songs, I just look at the transcription of the song the day before and learn it. In particular I scan the score for the hard parts that I know they will need help on and work on those spots myself. I frequently don't even learn the entire song they are learning, I just focus on the hard parts that I know they will need help with. There is no point really in me spending time on the easy parts that even they can do on their own.

Incidentally, my two primary stylistic focuses are also classical and jazz, and I can tell you from doing privates for the last 18 or so years that the LEAST COMMMON requested styles are 1. Jazz, 2. Classical, in that order. For every 1 jazz student you get you will get 100 metal / pop / rock / country students. For every 1 classical the ratio is a little better, maybe 1 in 20 will be interested in classical. Naturally this can vary from location to location. I'd expect if you live in a big metropolitan area like NYC, you might get a lot more requests for jazz then you would if you live in a rural or suburban area as I do.

As a private guitar instructor your primary goal should be to help your clients achieve THEIR MUSICAL GOALS, not yours. It's much different if you are a professor at a conservatory or something similar, where your role and what your teaching curriculum will be is precisely stated and the students must adapt to it or fail.

So if someone comes to you and asks to learn classical guitar, make sure first off they know what the term means. I've literally had some people show up wanting to learn classical guitar because their favorite song was Stairway to Heaven or something similar. Once it's been clarified what or who they mean to emulate, then you can figure out what the plan will be, i.e. traditional classical guitar or not. You should be open to also teaching people in an eclectic way. I have had students that like to go back and forth between classical guitar and pop songs, and I'm happy to do that for them. I have others that make it absolutely clear their main interest is traditional classical guitar, and I'm happy to do that too.

Last edited by zen guitar, 10/3/2016, 8:45 pm
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Arol Profile
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Re: teaching different styles simultaneously


Hi! Thank you very much for your replay to my thread.
I wanted to ask you, how do you clarify what style one wants to learn while he applies for a guitar studies with you? Are they really know what they want to learn beforehand? Do you have different method for each style?
11/17/2016, 11:12 am Link to this post Send Email to Arol   Send PM to Arol Blog
 
zen guitar Profile
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Re: teaching different styles simultaneously


quote:

Arol wrote:

Hi! Thank you very much for your replay to my thread.
I wanted to ask you, how do you clarify what style one wants to learn while he applies for a guitar studies with you? Are they really know what they want to learn beforehand? Do you have different method for each style?



In my experience the younger kids don't have stylistic preferences, and once they hit their teen years they generally do have preferences. Of course it varies. The only way to find out is ask them. Sometimes they have a few songs or bands they mention they like, but that doesn't mean they want to exclude everything else. You need to just communicate with your students and find out what things they like, and try to introduce them to new things as well. My ideal student would be one that has no preferences and just wants to get good at playing the guitar and is fine with learning tunes in any style.

With the younger ones that have no preferences I just focus on teaching them all the fundamental guitar skills they need, while selecting appropriate songs to work on from various styles.

I sometimes will use a basic notation reading method with students like Hal Leonard or Mel Bay guitar method, plus I'll supplement their studies with other books depending on their level and interests. For blues interested folks I like the Blues You Can Use books. For metal or hard rock people I use Troy Stetina's Metal Rhythm & Lead books. For classical I use something like Fredrick Noad's book or the RCM books. A few styles I haven't really had anyone dive deeply into like jazz or country, so I haven't really used any particular books for those. But if I did have a beginner level jazz person I might go with Jim Ferguson's books as they are pretty good and well laid out with TAB, notation & a CD.

A lot of times I just transcribe stuff or write out my own etudes. Hope that helps.

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Don P Profile
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Re: teaching different styles simultaneously


While I agree it's a good thing to be able to teach different styles you need to be careful in your marketing. You really don't want to be advertising as an "All Styles" kind of teacher.

What happens is you blend in with everyone else and you have no "USP" or unique selling point. You need to find your ideal guitar student and that's going to be what you call your avatar. It's someone you will market towards.

You do still need to be careful of not being too narrow. Say your ideal student would be a teen that's into Metal. You may want to broaden that a bit and go for rock and metal in general.

If someone comes to you and wants to learn jazz or classical then you can still teach them but your main clientele will be more in line with your ideal student.

There is alot more to it then just this but the main point is don't put yourself out there as a jack of all trades kind of teacher.

I've gone through multiple training programs and studied tons of material on marketing and entrepreneurship through the years and every single one of them says the same thing. It seems like you might be missing out by not marketing towards everybody but if you really want to get anywhere you need to differentiate yourself from all the other competition out there.

Also I've tested this out in my own business and once I let of the "I'll be everything to everybody" mindset behind I watched my business grow and I'm incredibly much more happy now teaching students I actually enjoy teaching.

Now having said that I'm also lucky because my main style focus is on classic rock, hard rock and metal which tends to have alot of interest still out there. With Jazz and Classical in can be a bit more tough. Personally I would still showcase that in my marketing materials but I might add rock styles also in there somewhere. Hope this helps some!
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Re: teaching different styles simultaneously


One more thing I want to add is to make sure you keep your student in mind. You don't want to force what you think is a great idea onto a student that has no interest in your idea.

For example, it's great to mix in some of your classical technique in subtle ways with a rock student but be careful not to really push all the classical stuff onto a guy who's only real interest is to jam on Skynard tunes in his basement. It's a sure way to loose the student quick!

Have a general outline that you go through with all students for the most part but always keep the students goals and interests in mind when deciding what to teach them. Remember THEY are the ones paying for the lessons and while you don't just cater to their every whim you need to, for a good portion, give them what they want or they'll be right out that door quicker then they came in. If you were absolutely in love with and had your heart set on buying a Les Paul Guitar and the sales guy kept showing you Strats then how long would you stick in that guitar store?
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