Online lessons (i.e. lessons taught over Skype or FaceTime) necessitate a different focus from studio lessons. Whereas a studio lesson incorporates an immediate give and take between student and teacher, the online lesson, because of the nature of the electronic connection, consists of a more formal, planned structure. In my online lessons, I will often cover one or two topics, first by demonstration to the student, and then coaching the student to accomplish the task. The online lesson will be followed up with a work sheet, which the student can refer to for the following week’s practice.
The topics I cover in my online lessons are:
- Scales and Scale Structure
The practice of scales is essential to both development of technique, as well as ability to improvise. Through this study the guitarist develops the ability to move fluidly and accurately over the fingerboard.
Many guitarists have a limited knowledge of chords, neck position chords and their barre chord equivalents often forming the extent of the guitarist’s harmonic repertoire. The study of harmony substantially broadens the player’s chord repertoire to include inversions and more complex harmonies.
- Harmonic Structure
Why are certain chords used in a particular song? In my songwriting how can I break free of the overused harmonic progressions? How can I memorize a complicated chord progression? All of these problems can be resolved by a thorough understanding of harmonic structure. Through the study of the harmonic progressions of well-known songs I explore the reasons for chord choices. The role of the Tonic, Subdominant and Dominant chords in the harmonic progression, as well the ‘outside chords’ of a key are examined and analyzed.
- Guitar Anatomy
Without a full knowledge of guitar anatomy finding the right notes on the guitar can become a guessing game. This lack of familiarity with the fingerboard and can limit the player to rote learning and can hamper the ability of the player to the discovery of new material. In my lessons I explore the interval relationship between both adjacent and non-adjacent strings.
- Ear Training
Many guitarists depend too much on notation (tab or notes) or a teacher to learn material. The ear is often neglected and underestimated. Ear training is the key to learning material directly from the recording and eventually to being able to improvise. I work with my student first to be able to identify intervals, and then full phrases. Through this study the player will learn to play what he/she hears almost immediately.