Guiding Principles For Music Education

Having taught music to people of all ages and abilities over more than 25 years, my approach to helping people with their music starts with creating an individual education plan for each new student. 

I believe it is vital to learn to play the music that you enjoy hearing so that you find greater enjoyment in your playing. I encourage all of my students to keep a list of the pieces of music that they might like to learn so that we can work on them in the lessons. This can include movie/game music, TV themes and jingles as well as any genre of popular music. 

I don't expect beginners to do full songs. It is not uncommon for young players to spend the first year of your musical journey learning small fragments of songs alongside scales, finger exercises and other technical work. This relieves some of the pressure to "complete" pieces of music and helps maintain good morale.

All resources are provided either in the form of paper lesson notes, web link, PDF via email or video lesson recap via FaceBook Messenger. Students are also welcome to bring their own sheet music or books to lessons. 

All students are taught correct technique, technical exercises, how to read for your instrument and ear training in addition to their favourite songs. 

Depending on a students ability level, preferred music style and instrument I use a variety of music notation styles to provide notes for lessons. This includes standard notation, tablature, chord charts, diagrams, phonetic patterns and alpha numeric sequences. I use these other notation styles purely to help students learn songs faster. All students are taught to read the appropriate notation style for their instrument. 

I believe that beginner students should be free of the burden of performance. Performing is not for everyone and the added stress it brings to beginners can have a negative effect on one's enjoyment of playing. Once a student reaches a level where they can complete whole songs, I encourage those under 18 to join the youth band program that I run in Wakefield in conjunction with Ottawa Bluesfest. Adults are encouraged to come to the Open Stage that I run at Kaffe 1870. (Note: Due to Covid-19 all performances are on hold until local regulations allow them to proceed.)

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