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Parents’ Page

Parents need to know that they are leaving their child in a safe and nurturing environment. Along with a Doctorate in Music Composition and a Diploma from MacEwan University in Guitar Performance, I have another diploma from MacEwan University in Early Childhood Development, and I worked in the field for a number of years.
So I have a lot of experience with children, and I’m able to bring patience, empathy, and a sense of fun to guitar lessons.
I also have an open door policy. Parents are welcome to remain in the room for the entire lesson if they like.
There are a lot of resources on the web about getting your child into music lessons. This one gives you some good reasons for doing it, but it’s only one post. I encourage you to do your own research. Perhaps the best type of research is to take advantage of a free lesson.
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Free Introductory Lesson

The free introductory lesson is offered as part of a four-lesson package. It achieves a number of things.
  1.  It’s crucial that you feel at ease with the person teaching you. The introductory lesson gives you a chance to see if we’re a good fit.
  2. You can check out my teaching space. There are many things that contribute to your learning. Feeling comfortable in the teaching space is one of them.
  3. I can demonstrate my teaching approach. I use a student-directed approach.
  4. We can decide on a learning plan based on what you want to achieve. You will leave with a monthly, short-term plan related to your long-term goals.
  5. I can make clear what my expectations are for helping you achieve success. This involves a discussion of practicing, and how to fit it into your schedule. This relates to the monthly short-term plan: when, what, why, and how to practice.
I make the free lesson contingent upon a four-lesson package because I believe that this gives the student (and parent, if applicable) the necessary experience and information to make a solid decision about continuing.
If you decide not to continue after four lessons, the skills and knowledge you receive will benefit you if you decide to find another teacher. It will also, of course, be useful in any playing situation.
And just so you know, a decision to study elsewhere is never taken personally by me. It’s important to me that you find the right teacher.
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Student-directed learning

A lot has been written about student-directed teaching.
For my purposes, it means taking my student s interests into account. This is essential. It’s difficult to get people to practice if they’re working on things they aren’t interested in.

Guitar skills

There are two broad categories of skills that a guitar player works on: rhythm playing and soloing. Everything you can learn on the guitar (outside of avant-garde techniques) falls under one of these two categories.
So instead of teaching chord technique using a song that I provide, why not use a song that the student provides? I can teach the same techniques regardless. The student is more likely to practice, and less likely to get frustrated.
Of course, I may need to provide supplemental exercises to improve technique, but these are given with the overall goal of learning something they want to learn. This is inherently motivating.

Autonomy

Along with creating motivated, interested students, this approach creates autonomy. Since the student is encouraged to pick material they want to learn, they are able to ultimately take responsibility for their own learning.
They not only begin to look for material they like; they look for material that may be more like work, but which they know will make them better. Doing research like this means that they are able to find material on their own.

The ultimate goal

With the student-directed approach, the ultimate goal is that the student will be able to teach themselves. They will be motivated, interested, independent, and informed. And they won’t need to pay for years of guitar lessons.
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