I do not make anybody quit. I encourage everyone to continue and get on stage with me. I teach any student of any size or age with a standard-sized electric guitar. If you practice this method daily you will move fast. If you practice less, you move slower. But even if you’re new and know absolutely nothing you can be on stage with me within 1-2 months. If you’re playing well already you’ll understand more, retain more, and play even better.
I often start a lesson with a demonstration and offer this promise:
“You will not walk out of here today strumming some memorized beginning of a Led Zeppelin song…but within 1-2 months you will be able to read a chord chart and solo over it, do it in any key, and on stage at a typical blues jam you’ll know what you’re doing.”
My method is derived from how my Philadelphia instructor Calvin Harris taught. It quickly familiarized me with the entire instrument, advancing me very fast which in turn helped to keep my interest in continuing. Within months I was playing in bands and have been in them ever since.
Basically the weak spots of the students are assessed and they’re given exercises to get up to the level of a working performer. It involves concepts rather than the traditional series of reading method books, and a routine of three disciplines:
1) Finger Exercises
2) Chord Vocabulary
The first, Finger Exercises, involves various scales and patterns to develop coordination, strength, and dexterity in both hands throughout the entire length of the guitar. The second, Chord Vocabulary, involves practicing various multi-note shapes and forms or “chords” across the guitar neck. The Theory section involves utilizing what has been practiced in the previous two sections and applying them.
It’s not an ancient secret, or expensive membership club, or difficult school course. Just a method with some common sense and a practical approach for making any study time as efficient as possible.
One of the primary concepts is understanding that all chords, scales, and focal points can be based on only two strings: The E string and the A string. With a single basic chord shape and knowledge of the E and A string notes the beginner can navigate the entire guitar neck within several lessons, reading charts and playing popular simple rock and blues tunes and progressions.
I also offer to be up there on stage with them. I am very involved in local jams, the local blues network, and even organize events specifically for students. I feel good about giving any time I can to get a student to play out, an opportunity I never had.
I do NOT try to enforce “blues guitarist”, or “jazz” or “rock” or any other specific type of guitarist. I do use a blues and rock format to demonstrate the basic fundamentals to more fully utilize the guitar. I progress to jazz improvisation (as opposed to classical) because it is applicable to metal and rock “shredding.” At that point we simply apply it to the student’s preferred musical tastes.