I think the key to success in learning to play the guitar is making practice easy and fun.
When practice is its own reward, progress is inevitable.
I use method books to provide curriculum and structure, and song books to help expand repertoire. A balance is maintained between learning technique/theory and learning songs. During a lesson, I make a note of the chords, scales, songs, and method book pages that we work on. At the end of the lesson, the student receives a copy of this list to use as their homework assignment. The student leaves the studio with a clear set of achievable goals. At the next lesson, if the student has successfully practiced an item we move forward, otherwise we clarify or adjust the homework so that it can be achieved the next week. The student can see the practice paying off and they are constantly progressing.
Additional motivation for practice is provided in the form of performance opportunities via recitals and community events like Street Music Week. Young students can perform solo or in groups in my "Kids Rock" youth band concerts, and other organizations like Appleton Downtown and the Outagamie County Fair use me as a resource for kid bands. I also encourage participation in Solo & Ensemble competitions and other involvement with music ensembles at school, church, or elsewhere.
Fretlight Certified Teacher
The Fretlight Guitar has an LED learning system built-in to the neck of a real guitar. When connected to a PC or MAC, software included free with every guitar will light chords, scales, songs and riffs right on the neck of the guitar. You can even slow down and loop parts to learn at your own pace. The bottom line is the Fretlight method allows all students to immediately get to the fun of actually playing guitar. It’s okay if they don’t exactly understand the notes or the names of the chords – they are playing guitar, enthused and now can’t wait for the next lesson.
I really love this technology. I use the Fretlight system during lessons, and strongly encourage all students to get a Fretlight guitar to practice with. It eliminates the need to look back and forth from your guitar to the music stand or teachers fingers. There's no more of the confusion associated with reading charts, diagrams, tabs, or sheet music; you get to just play the guitar.
Lesson Policy Info
One lesson is given each week. Standard lessons are 30 minutes but 60 minute lessons are also available. At the end of the lesson a homework assignment page is given to the student.
Lessons take place at Heid Music of Appleton in my studio, which is #24. The main studio entrance can be found near the rear of the building on the Durkee St. side of the building. After heading to the top of the stairs to the main hallway, enter the first door on the right hand side and studio #24 will right in front of you.
Items Brought To Each Lesson
- Students can bring their own guitar or use one of mine in the studio.
- Three-ring binder for keeping homework assignments and lesson materials organized.
- All method books or song books that are referenced on the current assignment page.
Items To Have At Home
- Acoustic, Classical or Electric Guitar in playable condition. If you need to purchase one, I suggest a Fretlight guitar. I suggest that beginners start on acoustic guitars.
- Electronic Chromatic Tuner - Suggested: Snark SN-1
- Music Stand - Suggested: Manhasset #48
- Guitar Stand or Hanger
Suggested Optional Items
- Slide - Suggested: Dunlop 212
- Spare Set of Strings (I Prefer D'Addario), String Winder, Wire Cutter
- Polish, Polishing Cloth
- The Guitar Handbook by Ralph Denyer, any edition
Attendance / Holidays / Vacations
The following days are planned Holiday/Vacation days:
- One week around Easter (Spring break)
- One week around Memorial Day (End of the school year)
- One or two weeks in Summer (4th of July, Rock U Camp)
- Tuesday through Friday the week of Thanksgiving
- December 24th through New Years Day
In addition to these 5-6 days, I may take an occasional day off, but I will not take more than 10 days off per year. A few weeks notice will be given for all holiday/vacation days.
In the event that a lesson is not held at your regular time, for any reason such as illness, vacation, or holiday, make up lessons will not normally be available. If you know that you are not able to attend a lesson, let me know and we will see if an alternative time is available.
There is a one time registration fee for every student which gets paid to Heid Music. The fee is $25.00 but there is a discount for additional family members (siblings/parents/children) who take lessons at Heid Music. The fee is $15.00 for the second student in the family, and $10.00 for each additional family member. Registered students enjoy a discounted price when purchasing books and accessories from the store.
$100.00 per month paid via automatic withdrawal. ($200 for hour lessons) The monthly tuition pays for a half hour lesson each week. The fee remains constant from month to month regardless of the number of lessons given that month, based on 42+ lessons per year. Withdrawals occur on or after the 27th of the preceding month. If automatic payments cannot be made, cash or check payments are due on the last week of the preceding month.
Some morning lessons are given when availabilities line up.