Frequently Asked Questions

Over the years I’ve been quite impressed by the questions I’ve been asked by parents and students when they are trying to determine if my services, experience, and teaching approach will compliment their goals, interests, and learning preferences.  These questions have been organized by topic and, hopefully, will help provide direction and elicit further questions.

Please post additional questions by contacting me via the form at the end of this page. I look forward to hearing from you!

Questions About Lessons

A typical lesson with many of my students generally consists of 5 parts:

  1. Check-In:  I usually touch base with students on what they have been working on and discuss goals or issues they want to work on.
  2. Technique/Warm Up:  We will work on scales and exercises to improv technique and get our fingers/minds warmed up for learning.
  3. Reading music:  We often work on reading music from the chosen method book (when applicable).
  4. Songs/Repertoire:  I will review current songs and introduce new ones.
  5. Wrap-up:  I will review what we’ve worked on and outline practice objectives for the week.

The majority of my students take weekly 30-minute lessons.  This is my recommendation for new students and students between the ages of 7-16. 

Meeting weekly really provides the benefits of structure and routine and is a very good motivator to practice weekly. 

For busy teens, adults, it sometimes works better to schedule 45-60 minute lessons intermittently.  The longer lesson time allows me the opportunity to provide a lot of material that they can digest and work on according to when they have time available. 

Yes, I have worked with a pair of students who wish to take lessons together quite a few times. Sometimes this is two friends both interested in guitar, a parent/child, even a grandparents/grandkids.

I start by learning more about their common music interests. The pace of lessons will track to the learning needs of the youngest student (or one with least experience). So, when I’m working with a father-and-son the lessons will likely start at a level that is appropriate for the age and capabilities of the son.

This particular lesson format provides a great opportunity for a shared experience. However, there will be a need for both students to be patient and flexible with the pace of instruction and what we choose to work on. It is very helpful if both students work together to come up with a list of songs that they are both interested in learning.

Short answer:  No.   Long Answer:  I utilize method books to help students develop proficiency with reading standard music notation.  This is a very good lesson goal for new and younger students and transferrable if they ever choose to learn a different instrument in the future.  If reading music is not a high priority goal then I primarily teach with topic related handouts. 

Questions About Lesson Studio

My home studio is new construction so sometimes my address does not properly display on all maps/gps systems.   Here is a fail-safe way to find my studio:

Here is my address on Google Maps

Also, to reduce frustration on your end trying to find my place please download directions to my studio HERE

Please park in my driveway in any available space.  Street parking is technically not permitted in my cul-de-sac.  If you have trouble finding parking please call/text me at 425-760-9923 and I will be happy to assist. 

My house has a level entry with no stairs and my studio is located close to the front entrance of my house.  There is a slight incline in my driveway.  My studio can be accessed by wheel chair if necessary.  Please contact me if you have specific questions or concerns about accessibility.  

Parents and siblings are welcome to sit in the lesson on the couch that is in my studio space. I also have a pretty good sized hallway and a comfortable bench just outside the glass double-doorway to my studio.

Yes, absolutely, siblings, friends, other family members are welcome to sit-in on your student’s lesson.  

Parents and siblings are welcome to sit in the lesson on the couch that is in my studio space. I also have a pretty good sized hallway and a comfortable bench just outside the glass double-doorway to my studio.

Questions About Scheduling

Currently, I schedule lessons by appointment-only lessons Monday – Friday between 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and on Saturday’s between 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.  My availability is subject to change from time to time due to family conflicts or performances.

Unfortunately, not at this time.  I realize evenings can be the best option for teen/adult students who work during the day.  I have found that I can be much more present to my students and teach much more effectively during daytime hours. 

Starting Lessons

That is a very good question.  My best attempt at providing an answer comes from my own experience as a parent and consumer of private lessons.  In short, I think you have to trust your intuition and what you know about yourself or your student.  You will need to have a bit of an idea of what personality-types and communication styles work best with you or your student. 

I also think it’s really important that a teacher takes an interest in their students, makes an effort to listen and learn from their students, and has a level of patience and empathy that you feel comfortable with. 

To help you in your search, I am will to schedule a free “meet-and-greet with prospective students and their families at my studio or online.  This gives you an opportunity to meet me and ask questions about my background/experience.  It will also give me an opportunity to learn more about your goals/interests and hone in on how I might be able to help you.   

No, it’s never too late to start learning later in life. It does take a lot of courage to learn new skills as an adult. I see only good benefits. Some of my adult students have built new social connections through playing music. I really enjoy working with adult students age 50 and above. Students who have lived a while have a huge internal library of songs and music that they grew up with. I enjoy tapping into the music they grew up with and help them participate with that music.

From my own experience of teaching younger students I have found that students starting guitar lessons at age 7 tend to stick with lessons longer and realize some long-term progress with lessons.  I attribute this to some of the fine-motor strength and dexterity challenges that come with learning a fretted instrument.  Students younger than 6 have a harder time physically playing the guitar and don’t always reap a quick reward for their efforts.  For younger students its sometimes better to approach lessons as a short-term introduction to fretted instruments, like guitar and have them resume lessons when they are age 7-9.

Yes!  My personal family background includes growing up with a sibling with a disability. I also have had the privilege to work with quite a few students with special learning needs. Whenever possible, I try to get as much information from students and parents on how I can best accommodate them so they can feel comfortable and enjoy lessons.  

Student Progress

Yes, this approach to lessons works really well for adults/teens who have busy lives.  I generally will give students a large amount of songs, concepts, exercises to work on within an hour lesson.  Then they will work through everything on their own time and contact me when they are ready to meet with me again.  I will add that the success of this approach depends a bit more heavily on the student’s ability to self-initiate practice between lessons.  

 

In general, students between the ages of 7-12 might need a year of regular weekly lessons to get to a basic proficiency where they can play single note melodies and complete songs with chords.  Usually a teen or adult students establishes a basic proficiency after about 3 months of lessons.

Practicing between lessons

From my perspective motivation to practice comes internally from the student.  They have to make a choice to do so.  My approach is to provide structure, normalize practice, and give students encouragement and positive feedback when they do take steps to own the responsibility of following through on practice.  

Students will receive structure from me through the use of a weekly practice objectives document through Google Drive.  They will leave each lesson with a clear list of topics/tasks to accomplish between lessons.  I also attempt to normalize the routine and expectation of practicing by making the practice objectives document a regular part of lessons.  I also check in with students and ask them how practice went.  Praise and positive feedback go a very long way with most of my students.  So, I try to acknowledge their work and that I can tell they practiced.   

For younger students, I have seen some positive outcomes from using a chart or rewarding them with stickers.  It really depends upon the student.   

If possible, I would try to create a regular space and time for practice that works in the student’s home.  It might be helpful, for some students, to practice in a distraction free environment.  Having a music stand and guitar stand can also be a practical help towards creating this workspace.  It’s easier for the student to manage their music and if their guitar is already out it is much easier to pick it up to get started.   I have found that shooting for a small, realistic, time-frame the same time each day works very well.  The consistency of practice probably has a bigger positive impact than how long your student practices.  So, see if you can narrow a small time-frame, such as 10 minutes, and focus on having your student just practice for that amount of time each day to start.  After about 2-3 weeks he or she might be open to gradually increasing that time in 5 minute increments.  If possible, try to avoid having a power-struggle with your student on practice.  

My best recommendation would be to shoot for trying to build practicing into your daily/weekly routine.  So, keeping practice fairly frequent and consistent throughout the week is a good goal to shoot for initially.  See if you can narrow down a time-frame that you can stick with on a daily basis even if the amount of time you practice seems rather short.  

Having an agenda for how you use your time is very helpful.  I would recommend using the weekly practice objectives that I write out and send to students after each lesson.  This will give you a rough “To-do” list of what you need to work through when you practice.  

Additionally, it helps to set up a work space that allows you to focus on your music distraction free.  I find it helpful to have a music stand to keep my music or tablet on and a guitar stand so that my instrument is ready and waiting to be picked up.  

Online Lessons

  1. Contact Me/Register for Lessons.
  2. We will set up a time that we can meet online/phone to set up Zoom.  Complete steps 3 u0026amp; 4 prior to our meeting.  Please contact me if you have questions or issues. 
  3. Visit Zoom’s Getting Started Page.
  4. Check the system requirements of your PC, Mac, or tablet to make sure they will support Zoom conferencing.  
  5. I will call you via phone at our chosen meeting time.  I will assist you with getting set-up with zoom conferencing.  Then we continue our meeting via Zoom conferencing. During the remainder of the session we will cover the following:
      • Go through features of zoom.  
      • Discuss your goals/interests for lessons.  
      • Schedule your lesson(s).
  6. I will invoice you for your scheduled lesson(s) via Pay Pal. Or you can manage tuition through Venmo.  I will need to receive tuition prior to our first scheduled lesson. 
  7. On the day of the lesson I will email you a link to invite you to our online lesson a few minutes before our lesson time.  You can join the meeting by clicking on the link.

​I will attempt to re-connect via Zoom and call you via phone if needed.  If the issue is not able to be immediately resolved I will credit you with the time that went unused due to technical issues. Then we will re-schedule another time to resume the unused portion of your lesson.  

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