beginner & intermediate
Weekday slots (9 AM to 4 PM) are still available.
My apologies, but I am currently BOOKED FULL for Weeknights and Weekends.
Changes do occur, so please contact me to be placed on a short waiting list.
Melody Guitar Playing - What it is, and isn't!
is a bit unfortunate that, in the eyes of the general public,
guitar playing has become somewhat synonymous with the rock
star axe-slinger who plays scorched-earth electric guitar
the other scenario is the acoustic guitar player who simply
strums along to accompany their own or a band-mate's vocals.
there is another way to play the guitar that is neither of
the above, and it is practiced by tens of thousands of guitar
players every day, for their own enjoyment and for their listeners.
It is called "solo melody guitar".
all about using the guitar as the only instument (i.e. solo),
and the player plays familiar tunes or even original compositions
in an interesting, engaging way, without vocals.
playing tunes for your friends and family on your back porch
on a cool summer evening, while they listen and chat among
themselves. It's hard to beat. Or maybe this style is played
at an open mic, a happy hour, a cocktal party or dinner party
the audience, there is no need to "sit and listen"
to someome singing, so it is not intrusive. Neverthless, people
ARE listening, and enjoying, while they also do what they
songs played in this genre range all they way from old time
mountain music classics and Celtic traditional, to pop standards,
blues fingertyle, fiddle tunes, jazz standards, and much more.
The available repertoire is just about endless.
a very pleasant and rewarding way to play the guitar, and
you can do it just about anywhere, anytime, alone, or with
other people. Even while you watch TV...:)
no need for a band, or amplifiers, or other encumberances
that are necessary with other guitar styles. You just pick
up an acoustic guitar, and do it.
you want to see some real pros playing solo melody guitar?
Then have a look at these videos (Ok,some are duets, but...):
Boogie by Tommy Emmanuel.
Watson Playing Black Mountain Rag
Knopfler & Chet Atkins - Instrumental Medley (Imagine,
by John Lennon, is second song in this video, and worth the
don't need to be a professional to play solo melody guitar.
You just start by playing simple melodies, then you learn
to embellish them with more style as you your skills develop.
It's easy and rewarding to learn to play in this style.
what I teach, especially to beginners. Send
me an email or give me a call, and we'll discuss your
goals, and how I might help.
I focus on teaching
ADULT and YOUTH BEGINNERS
(age 12 and up) how to play ACOUSTIC
GUITAR in many of the popular "roots" styles,
such as fingerstyle blues, and chord melody and flatpicking. I teach pop tunes, acoustic rock, jazz balads, coutry blues,
country, and folk styles. I also teach my students how to play at jams and open mics, and how to
improve their vocal accompaniment on guitar.
VOCAL ACCOMPANIMENT COACHING has become one of my main teaching specialties. I help singers and songwriters improve their guitar skills, which makes their repertoire more interesting and entertaining.
IS NO NEED TO SING! - I can
teach you how to enjoy the guitar as a solo instrument, with no
Right Approach for Adults - with the focus on FUN!
As an adult beginner,
your guitar playing will take a very different course than that of a
15-year-old future rock star. The rock guitar fantasy doesn't apply
to us. Yet, there is so much more to playing guitar than being the
lead guitarist in a rock band.
Maybe you want to
play at local jams, write some songs, entertain friends and family and
play at open mics. Or maybe you just want to play at home for your own
However you choose
to play, you can do it, be good at it and have fun. Starting
now. Why wait any longer?
guitar players spend most of their playing time at home, playing solo.
We do it because we like to play guitar. It's relaxing and mentally
challenging at the same time.
Playing alone and
doing it well is very hard to learn on your own. Good instruction and
personal, customized guidance will lead you toward the right skills that will support
your progress and make your playing interesting, both to you and to
Plus, I CUSTOMIZE my lesson cirriculum to match every student's musical taste. You'll be learning to play what YOU WANT. I don't use a pre-packaged lesson plan. My role is to aim you exaclty where you want to go. That makes it fun to practice at home!
Right Approach for Youth - with the focus on FUN!
My approach to
youth beginners is based upon fundamentally solid music instruction,
with a focus on reading tablature, practicing with a
metronome, and playing recognizable, fun songs.
a student demonstrates the ability to play basic songs, the lessons
are then geared toward the students preferred musical interest.
note that I do not play or teach electric "rock" guitar!
Music Theory, Proper Technique and a Focus on Songs
during your first lesson with me, you will play the guitar.
You will learn proper strumming, picking and fretboard fingering exercises
that you will apply and practice from that point forward. Then we
build on it.
We'll learn to read tab (tablature), chord charts, and some music
notation and chord notation.
focus on songs, not "excercises". Yoiu will learn to play easy, timeless songs that you can build upon. We'll
turn many of them into "performance pieces" over time. You
will build a foundation repertoire of songs that you like, and that your friends and family will
appreciate, and recognize.
beginner "adult" guitar books start out with chords. That's
a recipe for total frustration. I'll introduce you to chords gradually.
So that your fingers learn to fly in formation.
use a metronome, starting on day one, so that a strong sense of rhythm
and proper timing becomes second nature. When you can play with a
metronome, you can play with confidence, in a band or at a jam.
explore music theory. You will gradually understand keys, song structures,
musical styles (blues, country, jazz, etc.) and the chord variations
that make music interesting.
introduce you to the music of "world class" acoustic guitar
players. By listening to them, I'll teach you how to learn from them,
even if we can't duplicate their technical skills. Plus, it's great
music to listen to while you work or relax.
customize your learning repertoire to reflect your own musical taste
and goals. I'll steer you away from music that you are not yet ready
to play, and toward songs that you can.
teach you how to play in a "jam" environment, play for friends
and family and at open mics. I've overcome a great deal of "stage
fright" and self-doubt. It's a process. You can learn it, too.
guitar does take practice, and there is inevitable frustration, but it
should always be fun, even when it's challenging. If it's not fun,
you're doing it wrong!
guidance along the way is the key. As your instructor, I'm also your coach,
sounding board and advisor on this journey. I'll also learn from you,
as we explore your own musical goals.
to play guitar and play music with other people. I enjoy teaching others
to do the same. I'll pass it on to you!
are truly a fan of acoustic music, and you want to play it, instead of
just listen, let's explore this together.
That I Teach
teach you to play music in any of the following styles:
Blues Finger Picking
- Solo Melody
- Chet Atkins-style
Slide Guitar & Alternate tunings
- Fiddle Tunes
- Folk /Rock
/ Country Strumming
- Pop Music
note that I do not play electric "lead guitar" style or
electric blues. I like it. But I don't play it or teach it.
players who have influenced me
this list, you will get a sense of my own style of playing. As you can
see, it covers many genres, but it is all very acoustic-focused.
particular order, and a partial list:
- Jorma Kaukonen
- Tommy Emmanuel
- Doc Watson
- Joni Mitchell
- Eric Clapton
- Dave Matthews
- Tony Rice
- Bonnie Raitt
- Peter White
- Al Dimeola
- Lindsey Buckingham
- Richard Thompson
- Rory Block
- John Hammond
- James Taylor
- Kenny Loggins
- Django Reinhart
Nash & Young
- Willie Nelson
- Chet Atkins
- Crosby Stills
- Robin Kessinger
- Wayne Henderson
- Roy Bookbinder
Plus these other acoustic music masters
influence my playing:
- David Grisman
- Bela Fleck
- Jerry Douglas
- Mark O'Connor
- Tim O'Brien
- Allison Kraus
and many, many others.
good sense to work with an instructor that fits with your own musical
taste. If you also like the kind of acoustic music mentioned above, then
we'll definitely have fun while we learn!
and Teaching Locations
neither the least expensive nor the most expensive guitar teacher in Northern
VA. However, for the complete beginner or frustrated intermediate that
appreciates acoustic music and wants to pursue it seriously, I am probably
the right teacher who will get you on track.
earn my fee, by fast-tracking your approach, through proper fundamental
advice and genuine support and understanding of your goals and customizing the lesson to your goals.
rates vary according to time and location.
I prefer to teach in my home studio in the Sterling/Countryside subdivision. I have full access to my teaching resources there. I can come to your house, but there is a significant travel premium.
Youth students under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult at all lessons! No exceptions.
location, Weekday business hours ONLY
(10 AM through 5 PM) - $55 per lesson
Lessons are typically more than an hour, plus, every fifth
lesson at my location is always FREE, so my daytime hourly rate
averages about $44 per hour. This rate applies only
at my location in Sterling/Countryside (map).
location, Weekday Evenings & Weekends
My apologies, but I am currently BOOKED FULL for Weeknights and Weeekends. Changes do occur, so please contact me to be placed on a short waiting list.
Your Location of Choice, Weekdays during Business Hours - Per lesson rates vary,
according to the travel time required and time of day.
"My location" lessons carry an additional charge above standard
rates, and the "free fifth lesson" does not apply. Please provide your lesson location for a rate quote.
Certificates! - The gift of guitar
lessons is one of the greatest gifts of all! We can arrange a special
rate for a package of lessons, or a single lesson trial. It's your
already waited too long to pursue your goal of playing the guitar. The
time to start the process is now!
contact me for more info, and we can set a time and place to get started.
(703) 406 4698