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Acoustic Guitar: Late Starters and Catcher-Uppers

Stop Wasting Time On Dead Ends

Cut through the nonsense, and learn to play what you want to play

 

 

 

 

Email Me Your QuestionsSet Up a Trial Lesson

I’ve played guitar for over 40 years, and I started out my own journey learning songs by my favorite singers and songwriters of the day. I teach most popular styles of guitar at a beginner to intermediate level. (Not Jazz) Everything from fingerpicking, strumming, crafting great accompaniments if you are a singer, to understanding how to use theory, chords and scales effectively if you are a songwriter, giving you the tools and knowledge to make the most out of the guitar’s magic.

With Jay’s advice… I feel like I’ve gone from 1 and 1/2 pistons to a V8. And I’m not talking about tomato juice.

Mai Mollman

Student, Guitarist, Writer, Iowa

Where do you start when there are so many places to start? There’s an overwhelming number of Youtube videos, scale and chord books, quick learning methods, greatest-hits-of-all-time songbooks, top-ten-tips lists, top-ten-mistakes articles, computer apps, online guitar schools where you can take courses from top idols. 

Perhaps you have tried all these, and still don’t feel satisfied with how you play. Or a nagging feeling that you could play better, that you are “not good enough,” a fear of performing, or a bad experience playing for others that made you feel like turning tail and giving up. Perhaps you have just watched others play and feel overwhelmed by their skill, competence, and knowledge that you don’t even want to try. Perhaps you took lessons when you were younger and were told you had no talent. Perhaps you have none of these issues, but just don’t want to waste time combing through, sifting through all the options in order to find what works for you. 

Jay’s approach to teaching is distracting me TO the music and away from the usual din in my head which disconnects me from both my hands and the guitar. So instead of listening to the whirlwind of chopped up thoughts I’m usually having while practicing, which are mostly negative (did that wrong, strings ALWAYS buzz, my hands must be misshapen, shouldn’t be even trying to do this, etc.), I am listening to the guitar — to the strings. The second thing is coming naturally from the first: I am feeling a direct connect between my mind, hands and back and shoulders and what sounds are happening. So I feel in control.

Rachel M

Guitarist, Guitar Student, New York

Let’s be clear: there are no real shortcuts, and no guarantees.

But my experience in teaching has shown me that it’s possible to cut through the nonsense and waste as little time as possible on dead ends.

It’s possible to get through the various frustrations in a lot less time and with a lot less weeping and gnashing of teeth than if you were to do it all on your own.

It’s possible to find the best ways to focus in on learning exactly what you want to learn, and on learning how to learn it. 

It’s possible to be playing the songs you want to play quite quickly, well enough to wow yourself, within a few weeks or months.

It’s even possible to learn what you need to learn in a relatively short period of time—for many people——to be in a position leave me behind if you wish. From there you can, on your own, apply your skills to playing and even performing any popular song you want to play.

In other words, I find that, for adults who have the time and interest in playing popular or fingerstyle or accompanying guitar, they always to get to a place where they no longer need to take lessons on a regular basis for any other reason than that it’s fun to do so.

Jay has a multi-level approach.  A pure technique and musical practice are combined in different levels. The artistic component of classical guitar playing is the essential part of the unique curriculum Jay is developing over time.

1. I improved my music reading skills with Jay’s guidance
2. Writing guitar music is a special trade, and Jay helped me on how to approach this.
3. I was coming from Rock music background, Jay helped me to adapt finger styles appropriate to classical guitar.
Lessons go beyond the mere mechanics of playing. As a result, I also gained a good attitude on how to practice and improve in my playing and composing. 

I definitely recommend any level classical guitar player to work with Jay.  He does not only posses outstanding credentials from The Juilliard School and talent in classical guitar, but also his approach in teaching reflects his personal modesty and pedagogic approach in teaching music in general.

 

M. Suzen, PhD

Nicosia, Cyprus

How long does this take? It mostly depends on you—on how much you enjoy playing and practicing and how much of it you actually do consistently.

Of course by continuing lessons, you might find that taking on even greater musical challenges and working on them in a fun and challenging way with me gets addictive and rewarding.  You never stop learning, but you don’t always need a teacher to learn, even if it helps a great deal at some point in the journey.

My son and I have been taking lessons with Jay for a few months now. My husband and I had really wanted our son to take up some sort of musical instrument and he went back and forth between the drums and the guitar and ultimately chose the guitar. I had taken a semester of guitar back in high school but hadn’t really played anything since and thought it might be fun to start back up so I asked Jay if it would be possible for us to take back to back lessons and of course Jay was incredibly accommodating. It has ended up being such a great experience and something new and fun that my son and I can share together. Since we are both taking lessons, I am able to help him with the fundamentals he is learning and can play and/or sing along to help him a bit. I have been able to jump around a little more and learn some pieces that I was interested in and Jay has taught me some picking techniques which I had never learned before. Jay makes lessons incredibly fun and engaging and immediately puts both of us at ease even if we are having a hard time with something. We have so much fun practicing together and we look forward to our lessons every week!

 

Brittany Bouschard

Guitar Student AND Guitar Student Parent, New York

As a metal and rock player, classical guitar is something I’ve been very curious about but never studied. I always wanted to, but I was hoping for something beyond my local teacher options, and with Jay my hopes were exceeded. Jay’s gotten me even more enthusiastic about classical guitar and classical music in general, so I can even use the principles in my own music and writing. I’ve become motivated to practice more. Jay is also a cool person who cares very much, and is good at constructive criticism, which really builds my confidence. He’s very specific and to the point. That’s what I really need.

But it’s not just like a program where you go through all the steps. I’m able to ask my own questions in many different areas, and learn many different things in one lesson. It’s very balanced. Jay has great technique habits, and I get great habits from him. He’s very conscious of every aspect of what he’s doing and can teach that clearly. He gives me reference points in my mind when I practice. He also uses good analogies and thought pictures in his teaching, so the guitar becomes more alive. He teaches how you can look at it from a bigger perspective– you get deeper into playing that way. I’ve also become more emotionally engaged when I play. I’ve started listening more, I’ve started feeling more, and I’m more connected to the music. This is something I’ve been looking for, and and is hard to find.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magnus Gautestad

Guitarist, Musician and Performer (Norsecode), Teacher, Kristiansand, Norway

Jay’s pedagogy is clear and accessible. He takes into account all levels of students, so the beginner doesn’t run away discouraged or the advanced turn off because they’re not challenged.

Mark Scott

Guitarist, guitar student, Ohio

I discovered my love of music while taking part in a NY Philharmonic composition program through my high-school, and I knew I wanted to be able to make beautiful music through play of my own——to express my own musical style and taste effortlessly through play and composition. 

Finding Jay really was the key for realising those goals.

Jay has plenty of curriculum to go through in the beginning phases and he is patient and helpful throughout that process. The real gift of the lessons came once I could hold my own a bit. At that point every lesson was packed full of pieces I wanted to learn and little compositions I was writing. We would find etudes I liked the sound of and use those to advance my play. We discussed what I was picking up on most and Jay was always there adjusting my technique while I found my way musically. 

Lessons with Jay isn’t about strict, tedious work. Jay listens and collaborates to make learning your own instrument a brilliant experience. Towards the end of our time together, when I was really able to express myself, we would workshop pieces I was able to write and sometimes improv for ideas. Thanks to Jay, I’ll play guitar my own way for the rest of my life. 

Aaron Henry

Guitarist, Composer, New York

Book a Trial Lesson for Half Price 

Prices

Lessons are taught online and in person. Scholarships and trades available in special cases.
For lessons in your home, add $15 to each lesson price. 

Length

Recommendations

Price

1/2 Price Trial Lesson

I Travel to You

60 minutes

best for classical guitar, and if you want to cover more than one or two things per lesson

$75

$37.50

$90

45 minutes.

This can work if you are highly motivated and a self-starter/studier. Best for most children above 2nd or 3rd grade

$65

$32.50

$80

30 minutes

Good for small children, kindergarten to 3rd grade

$45

$22.50


My Recommendations   

  • Classical Guitar and Composers/Songwriters — 60 minutes or 45 minutes recommended
  • Acoustic Guitar —60 minutes best, 45 minutes works well
  • Kids ——45 minute lessons are best for most kids. 1/2 hour works for the youngest. 

Online Lessons

  • Private Membership Website Page (Currently I set up a special (private) page on my website for each student, online or in personI do this for you as well as for myself, so I can keep a running record of the teaching and learning process.  I upload all the materials and practice suggestions to this page in sections corresponding to each piece of repertoire. You don’t have to use it much or at all, in fact it’s good if you have and develop your own method of keeping pace with learning and practice complexities. I set up a page for all my students, but the practice suggestions are only for online students. (
  • Private Collection of Classical Guitar repertoire and Technique Videos
  • Private collection of Online Lessons and Materials, made available as needed to each student  
  • Accompaniment Collection
  • I also record accompaniments for songs and melodies that students can play along with, and develop their skills at playing in duet settings.
  • You can record the zoom sessions if you like so you can refer back to them.

In Person Lessons

  • Tucson Studio with great view to a private landscape garden
  • If the weather is good, we can have our lesson outside in a lovely veranda area.

Travel Lessons

  • I travel around Tucson, upon availability.
  • Add $15 to the price of each 45 minute or 60 minute lesson.  

Cancellation Policy

For now, I don’t have a cancellation policy—until my schedule fills up, it’s too much trouble for me to act like a doctor’s office or a corporation. I appreciate it, though if you let me know in advance about a lesson you need to cancel, and I prefer to try and reschedule it to another time in the week..  

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