ALL ABOUT THE FUN METHOD!
The Fun Method is about building skills by learning actual songs and riffs that are familiar staples of the American music lexicon and popular guitar repertoire. From basic ones that take only a few minutes of learning to more advanced melodies, my Fun Method guides your progress with easy, enjoyable steps customized to your level of comfort and rate of improvement. All exercises are designed to be musically satisfying and enjoyable to play in order to take any boredom or drudgery out of practicing.
My goal is to have the beginner who has never played the guitar before and maybe never played any instrument before, be able to play 3 songs in the first lesson.
These would be very basic melodies or riffs such as We Will Rock You, Smoke on the Water, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and an exercise of mine called Connect The Dots which gets the first timer used to the action of plucking the open strings and then fingering that same string at various different fret locations corresponding with the dots that are commonly marked on the neck of most guitars.
Most of my beginners can play full melodies and strum entire songs with basic chords within 5 to 8 weeks.
Fundamentals of music are taught right alongside real songs that provide actual examples of musical concepts and applicable techniques. Likewise, composition is encouraged from the very beginning with simple steps and directions that allow even novice players to compose and perform their own satisfying pieces.
All progress is documented by state of the art home digital recording. Right from the start students record their songs when they are ready. They then get to bring home a CD of their latest accomplishments. By putting together a compilation of their songs students get to make their own album. These can then be listened to later in private and shared with family and friends and even on line through emails and social media.
The Fun Method is divided into 4 levels: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced and Professional. The time it takes to complete these levels depends on the individual and the amount of time devoted. Most students can achieve the Intermediate level within 6 to 10 months if they take a half hour lesson regularly once a week and put in 20 to 40 minutes of practice 3 to 7 days a week outside of the lesson.
Checklists and specific content of the levels as well as examples of songs introduced are in the Levels Section of this website or are listed below.
There is no need to look at any sheet music or notation of any sort to accomplish this exercise. Anyone can do it right away. This builds confidence and is fun!
Two types of notation are taught: Tablature and Standard. Tablature is designed specifically for guitar and is very easy and intuitive. This is introduced on the first lesson. The first riffs and melodies that are introduced will be written in Tablature notation. Standard notation, which can be read by any instrument, is introduced later according to the student’s progress and interest.
Once a student can play a dozen or so easy riffs and melodies, typically 3 weeks or so, then I introduce some chords, a strum pattern and a song that uses them. It is easier to attempt chording once the fingers are a little more used to pushing on the strings. This keeps people from being discouraged at the initial difficulty of this. Being discouraged is not fun. Not being discouraged and having confidence is fun!
With an Advanced student we might take a composition assignment that was just an exercise and turn it into an original song by adding a contrasting section, an intro, a form and an ending. Exploring different concepts, techniques and applications by jamming all different ways on a piece of our own invention is educational, illuminating, enriching, exciting, creative and fun!
What makes me stand out as a teacher is my patience, enthusiasm and ability to break down complex techniques and concepts into small easily digesteable and useable morsels. I can remember when these things were difficult and baffling to me so I can then put myself in the students place, empathize with them, and help them break it down one easy step at a time. My goal is to teach you to teach yourself.
Having taken many private lessons for many years from some of the best teachers and players around like Jon Damien, Jim Kelly, Bruce Bartlet and Charlie Banacos, I know what I liked about lessons, what worked for me and inspired me and also what didn’t work for me and turned me off about taking lessons. I try to bring everything I liked about all my teachers to my approach and discard all the elements I didn’t like. It comes down mostly to being in touch with the student, knowing where they’re at and what they’re capable of and praising their efforts and accomplishments. Growth and enthusiasm are fostered when the right balance of easy and challenging is presented. I can recognize where that line is and I never assign someone something that is beyond their level. There is no intimidation, showing off, harsh criticism, belittling or feeling of being put down or not measuring up or bad vibes of any kind. My students walk out with clear attainable goals for the week with simple steps laid out. They feel charged up, excited and confident that they can do it. There are only smiles, good vibes and encouragement in the Fun Method.