Lessons at Singingwood Music
I've been teaching one-on-one private music lessons continuously for over three decades. Primarily I teach
guitar, mandolin, fiddle and violin ... but also four-string tenor guitar, bass, beginning clawhammer banjo, and bodhran (the Irish drum.)
You can explore a wide range of repertoire here: mainly American old-time, bluegrass, Irish, and various folk styles, plus blues and swing. I also teach popular music (and whatever's current.)
My specialty on guitar is solo finger-picking, melodic
flat-picking, accompaniment and DADGAD tuning.
I like students to learn to read standard music notation and tablature notation, and I also encourage them to learn by ear, and to explore improvisation, and to try composing and arranging music. Most importantly,
I'll coach you in developing skills that will enable you to play with other musicians when the opportunities arise. I particularly encourage memorizizartion, and I teach study skills
to facilitate that. This is importatnt because your playing ability is likely to far exceed your reading ability (this is true for most people, even good readers!) You needn't limit your playing
to your reading ability. If you read to memorize, or learn by ear, then you will experience musical depth and freedom beyond what you can accomplish by reading only.
Private and group lessons
Though most of my students take weekly private lessons, I provide several other options: such as shared or group classes, rehearsal groups, workshops.
I particularly enjoy mentoring those with a passion for music, regardless of level, and I want to make my lessons available to as many as possible. So if your finances are tight, please consider some of the options described on this page for participating in group lessons or occasional lessons.
Group Lesson Rates
If my rate for private lessons is higher than you can afford, please consider participating in a group class with two or three musicians. A group setting is usually quite motivating. You'll find group rates listed in the column on the right.
Finding people for group lessons
Talk to your friends. See if you know anyone at your level interested in sharing lessons with you.
If you can't find someone, ask me. Sometimes I have people on my waiting list who would be a good fit.
Read more about group classes ...
Group lesson and workshop policies.
With group lessons there are no adjustments for missed lessons.
Sometimes this works to your advantage. If the other person -- or other members can’t come -- the remaining student gets a private lesson. However this does NOT work well on a regular basis. The secret to successful group lessons is consistent participation, otherwise the group splinters and we're all faced with the task of catching up, slowing down, or finding new members.
Private Lesson policies
Please read my lesson policies. They cover matters such as payment, cancellations and rescheduling:
People often inquire about taking lessons every other week. This might have merit from a sheduling or financial standpoint, but I find this far less productive than continuous lessons, especially
if you're just starting out.
If you're an experienced musician with established practice habits, I'll consider alternate week lessons. A better alternative for beginners is two months on, two months off, possibly with a brush
up lesson or two during the hiatus.
I've found that most people need at least eight lessons in a row to establish the skills and practice habits I teach which accelerate learning and
create durable musical recall. So I only take beginners if they attend lessons weekly.
Private Lessons — Monthly ( 4 Weeks each month)
- $180 monthly for four 1/2 hour lessons each month. Hourly rate: $90/hr.
NOTE: With monthly lessons we meet for four lessons each month, preferrably at a regularly scheduled day and time. So, unless we make another arrangement, there are always four lessons.
If your lesson falls in the "fifth
week" of a month (on the 29th, 30th, or 31st) we skip that lesson. This gives you an occasional one-week break, roughly once every three months.
Read more about scheduling and lesson policies ...
$160 Summer/Introductory Rate 2013
Get 12% off introductory lessons through the summer months of 2013 (June, July, August). Offer applies up to two consecutive months of four weekly half-hour sessions, for people who
can come in the morning hours. No obligation beyond the initial month, so get started with this $20/month discount!
Two-person Group — Monthly ( 4 Weeks each month)
$110 monthly per person for four 1/2 hour lessons each month. Hourly rate: $55/hr, which is roughly 60% of my private lesson rate.
With two and three person groups we focus on learning the same material on the same instrument. For instance a group of guitarists all learning basic chords, strums, and melodies and possibly finger-picking. Or a group of fiddlers learning a particular tune or technique, then moving on to a new tune.
Three-person Group — Monthly ( 4 Weeks each month)
$80 monthly per person for four 1/2 hour lessons each month.
Hourly rate: $40/hr, roughly 44% of my private lesson rate.)
Rehearsal Groups — Weekly, bimonthly, or monthly
$40 per person for a one hour session with a group of three to five people. These sessions provide opportunities for intermediate player to get experience playing and rehearsing with other musicians. If you a member of a music group, it's a chance to get vereran feedback on sculpting the sound of your group—be it old-time string band, Celtic session, or bluegrass band. Get input on improving the sound, refine rehearsal
techniques, arranging, improvisation and communication.
Minimum of three people. Rehearsal Groups may be scheduled regularly or occasionally. Discount offered for groups of six or more.
Occasional Lessons, extended lessons, projects ...
If you want more time, we can schedule an additional lesson, or schedules permitting, we could start the lesson earlier or end it later.
Workshops — 10 to 30 people per meeting
$25 to $40 per person per meeting. Some workshops meet once a week, every two weeks, or once a month.
Presently my only workshops are at the Freight and Salvage Coffehouse in Berkeley, CA. The regular workshop is titled Fiddlekids Sessions and meets on the 2nd Sunday of each month. Read more info about Fiddlekids Sessions on the Freight and Salvage workshop calendar.
Although my otherfollowing workshops are on hold, I expect to host them again soon at the Freight and Salvage ... once I'm further down the road with my music education web site:
Playing music with others is immensely rewarding and naturally motivating. For many beginning and intermediate musicians it's the missing piece and seemingly unattainable goal. My group classes and Horizon workshops (temporarily on hold) provide the opportunity for students to be social with music and to learn to:
- to play in jams
- to participate in rehearsals and learn to lead them
- to arrange music in collaboration with others
- to enjoy performing and develop stage presence and rapport with audience.
In these groups and workshops I've seen remarkable transformations in people who never imagined that they'd have the ability, courage or opportunity to play with others. Please come join us when we start up again.
Here are some workshops I held in the past:
Horizon: Performance and Rehearsal Workshops
Fiddling for Violinists
Acoustic Instruments 101
Music Connection for Kids
I put these workshops on hold a couple of years ago to work on some music education projects which are well underway at www.TheoreticallyCorrect.com.
Most workshop members frequently needed to expand their chord knowledge, and they needed to transposed songs to a key suitable for their voice, so I created Key Switch, a song transposing tool, and Sound Thinking, a chord and scale encyclopedia. Both of these are free, online.
Musical Computer Skills
As part of my lessons I also coach people in using their Macintosh computers for musical purposes, for music notation, for digital audio recording and editing, and in using 'practice' and 'slow down' software like Transcribe! or the Amazing Slow Downer. I've found tools skills greatly enhance musical understanding and streamline your practice.
This has led to offering Mac tutoring in a number of areas. Read more about leatrning to use your Macintosh and apps.
If you want to give music lessons as a gift, I have a couple of styles of gift certificates that fit nicely in an envelope.
To provide a good start, most people purchase a month of lessons, plus an extra half hour. We append that extra half hour to the first session, so we can spend an hour together initially, to get a solid start on holding the instrument and taking the first steps.
After the initial lesson most people do fine with regular weekly half hour lessons ... however the recipient can use the time however they prefer.