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hey folks!i 've been thinking [small wonder] about maybe giving lessons in my home.i've tried before but anyone i gave lessons to seemed to look at me like i have two heads!in other words i'm a failure at this.i figure if i do this i want to teach adults or someone who wants to learn my style of playing.[NO HEADBANGERS] .IS THERE A BOOK OUT THAT TEACHES YOU HOW TO TEACH?my problem has always been.....I DON'T KNOW WHERE TO START!!!!!...thanks....john rossi

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Rob, I totally agree that the 40+ men are an absolute joy to teach! And they are the ones who appreciate me the most, and gladly pay for lessons they miss due to business just so I keep their slot open for them

I have a 56 year old guy who is just like a sponge and so excited.

Rob Bourassa said:
I know a lot of teachers who get upset, or impatient with their students. I know one guy in his 60s that is a great jazz and classical teacher who makes, not only his students, but himself miserable. Every time I see him, he says, "They're all idiots, no one wants to really learn anymore."

He has the most complex, elongated methodology I have ever seen. I can't imagine any light at the end of the tunnel for his students. To follow his method would require the patience of Job, but he has none himself.

What a strange dichotomy.

I like teaching 6 year olds, but my favorites are the 45 to 55 year old men. I love it when I see them get all choked up. LOL. They usually are willing to work very hard, because they've been at it for awhile with no success. I wish I could give my teenage students their work ethic.

I also love the house mommies who bring the little ones, and try to watch them while they have a lesson. Talk about patience. I couldn't do it. But they will be working hard on something, and then stop to say, "don't eat that", then right back to work without a bat of an eye.

Rob

Donna said:
You must be a patient teacher to be so kind and gracious after I rattle on so. Take care,
Rob

LOL! You got me figured out! Patience is what I am known for, and is why my teaching practice is filled with so many little kids. I get calls all the time, "I hear you are a very patient teacher, that's what my child needs". :)

Donna
I am intrigued by your method, Rob and did watch the video. My first thought also was, "too hard!" "Too much for beginners." Don't know if I could have followed that myself when I was just starting out.

But there may be value in starting bar chords sooner. It really depends on the student, and it's up to us (I'm sure everyone here does it) to check the action on the students' guitars before throwing them into bars.

But as Donna says, I do think there's value to teaching a good many of the open chords first, get them playing a couple of simple songs, getting them a good rhythm foundation (which I am nuts about) and then moving into your approach. Electric players, I'd have no problem starting the bar chords sooner. (As long as the student doesn't come in holding a lot of tension or needing a lot of remedial help.)

Donna is very right about the arm weight pulling through on the bar chords. Makes a huge difference when students "get" this.
Some of my favorites are my 4 to 5 year olds. I also have "Captain Banjo's School of Ukulele", and teach children's songs. I have published ukulele books for kids, and take a play date sort of attitude toward the lesson. I mostly try to get them to sing in tune, and goof around a lot.

Rob

Rob,

I just started teaching a group ukulele class to 5-7 year olds. We've been at it about 15 weeks. I've taught 4 chords: C, C7, F, and G7. The 6 and 7 year olds are doing really well with the chords whereas the 5 year olds are not. I, too, am mostly focusing on singing and strumming rhythm. I've sort of reached an impasse in which I don't want to introduce new chords as the tiny ones may get overwhelmed. Do you have any suggestions?

Donna
Rob,
What time is said work shop. I will have to be at the restaurant sometime anywhere between noon and 5, but if nothing else I might have to try to stop in a moment over at Elderly before work. They are bound to have things I want to play anyway. New stuff all the time. Troppo is maybe 10 minutes away depending on lights. Basically turn right out of the parking lot (e.g. not into the river) left on N. Washington, right on Oakland, left on Capitol, left on Michigan and the next street (S. Washington Sq.) At this point you hit a round-a-bout, we are on the south east corner of it. 101 S. Washington Sq. is our address. Go ahead and check out the menu at our website ( http://www.troppo.org ) and feel free to bring friends as I am sure you will be hungry by then. It's a really great place, promise. I'm not sure what is going on that night, but I always suggest reservations to my friends as Saturday could go either way as far as business walk-ins are always welcome, but if you get a group of friends that want to go too before you come up, I do suggest a reservation, or, if it's just you our bartenders are quite friendly. Hope to see you in April!


Dave

P.S. Sorry it took so long to get back, crazy week here in Lansing, for me and for Troppo!

Rob Bourassa said:
David,
I am doing a workshop at Elderly Instruments, in Lansing, Saturday, April 4th.
Isn't your restaurant out that way? I'd like to stop by and say hi.

Thanks for the testimonial too,

Rob

David Shier said:
Hi All,

I don't know that I have anything I could add as a teacher, as I don't 'teach teach' music, but in my life time I have learned guitar, trumpet, french horn, and guitar again ( between when I first picked up a guitar at age 10 and when I started learning again at age 21 I didn't pick up a guitar at all so I had forgotten most of it) and taught people a thing or two here and there. I feel though that I must say that Robs method is exceptional, even friends I have shown it to that have much less musical background that I do think the same thing. Sure, it's a little ambitious at parts for some, but it really makes good sense the way he presents much of the material; especially when you start to look at his hands and realize certain things such as the daunting F#7 is really just an E7 slid up and barred, this doesn't make it any less of a reach, even for nimble cooks hands like mine. I think if people really pay attention to the videos and how he presents things it makes it a lot easier than it looks. Just my two cents from a learners point of veiw,



Dave
Thanks for the response Rob. G and D7 are pretty big chords - do the kids have any trouble with those? Or do you have a separate way of fingering them?

Rob Bourassa said:
I usually do a little triage with groups, and see who can do what, and separate them, according to ability, never stressing the weakness, but the strengths. For the ones with poor rhythm skills, I call them the melodically strong, or vice versa. I put them with their own kind, and give them simple parts such as two notes to pluck.

In the key of G, I would have them do, "I've Been Working On the Railroad", with only G, C and D7.

I would have the little ones pluck the open G string in time, on both the G, and the C chord. When it came to the D7, I would have them play the second fret of the G string, A, and let them just drone through those two notes accordingly, focusing on the rhythm, and when to change. This will let them feel part of what the older kids are doing.

Most of the little ones know "I've Been Working On the Railroad", and G is a very kid friendly key for that tune, that is right in the middle of their range, so the will probably sing this one.

I'm using the tuning G, C, E, A from low to high, or 4th to 1st, jut in case you use a higher tuning.

Nice to know I'm not alone on the uke lessons for the kids.

All of my students learn so differently. I try to gear my teaching to their specific love of music. Punk rock lovers get more power chord, rhythm and two hand coordination exercises. Jazz lovers get more two hand alternate picking scale exercises. Funk lovers get a heavy rhythm foundation. Everybody gets scales. I break my lessons into scales, rhythm, theory, songs, ear training and transcription. I have little chord changing, finger strengthening, left hand independencece, right hand independence technique, rhythm exercises, chord chart reading, etc. I have found that gearing a students lesson towards what they love makes it easy for them to practice and transfer that love to other types of music. One of my punk rock lovers has turned into a speed metal player. We are going through a book right now called shred. It comes with tablature and a c.d. About 2 years into his lessons he was transcribing Iggy Pop's "Search and Destroy" which led him to a love of punk mixed with rock- that led to Van Halen's "Aint Talking 'bout Love" which led to where he is now. I am hoping this will move to a love of jazz which has happened with other of my students. I have this superstar 9 year old student (little girl) who is learning lots of JImi Hendrix. She listens to JImi Hendrix all day long. I sang each line of the opening section of Purple Haze to her and had her sing it back to me. Then we worked on playing each line in time. She is now singing the solo section to Purple Haze line by line. We will begin work on the solo section next week. The idea is to get her to sing what she will transcribe first before she plays it. If a student cant sing or hold a pitch I work on ear training.
That's the best image I've heard in weeks; a nine-year old girl loving and playing Jimi Hendrix. She sure has good taste. Must be awfully brave too; "Purple Haze" is not an easy song to sing. If you ever get a chance to post audio or video of her playing, even a still picture, I'm sure it would be a big hit.

Thanks, Bruce
I'm going to try to get her to play Purple Haze for a summer rock band camp. If we can record it or video it and it is alright with her I'll post it. She's just a little focused prodigy as far as I'm concerned. I'm using Susan Palmers book with a little girl who has been having some challenges learning to play guitar. She has improved so much and Susan is right her chord changing strategy is 100% effective. I thought it would take years for this girl to really get the chords under her fingers but in the last 3 months she is pulling all of that together.

bruce wilson said:
That's the best image I've heard in weeks; a nine-year old girl loving and playing Jimi Hendrix. She sure has good taste. Must be awfully brave too; "Purple Haze" is not an easy song to sing. If you ever get a chance to post audio or video of her playing, even a still picture, I'm sure it would be a big hit.

Thanks, Bruce

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