Reading standard notation: Our students learn to read standard notation using a revolutionary method: learning to follow the flow of the notes. Using the C major scale in open position combined with the memorization of the open string notes our students learn to follow the flow of the notes. Reading in this manner mimics the normal melodic lines seen in the majority of musical compositions. Once students master this technique it can be used throughout the guitar fingerboard through the use of our movable scale system. Melodies that we use are all original compositions and atonal in construction. This negates students’ reliance on melodies they may be familiar with and ensures they must carefully read the written notes without using the ear as a guide. Our students become exceptional sight-readers.
Chord system: Our students master chord construction concepts first and then build a chord system from the ground up. Instead of providing the student with fingerboard chord charts we start with chord construction concepts. Students first learn how to construct chords by scale degree and acquire knowledge of the chord nomenclature that was standardized in the early 80s. Combining this with the memorization of our scale system, students find they are able to construct chords of any type in any position on the guitar fingerboard. This is at a fundamental level. Once mastered, students learn the chord construction techniques that create the advanced chords expert guitarists use regularly: 4 way drop 2 and 4 way drop 3 chord shapes. This leaves us with our revolutionary Diminished Chord System which creates the chords previously referenced from the most compact chord in western music.
Scale System: Our students memorize and learn to use a scale system that is logical and anatomically based. All scales are superb for technical development but our scale system also enables students to:
Traverse the fingerboard in a highly organized, logical and efficient manner
Create chords and original chord voicings (as opposed to using only “stock” chord forms)
Master and apply all diatonic modes and hybrid modes
Be able to apply the scales over key centers and/or chords in improvisation
Repertoire (Classic Guitar): Our students study select works from the standard classic guitar repertoire and highly regarded books dealing with technical issues. Works are presented to the student for his consideration based on the work’s importance in his technical and musical development, the status of the work within the standard repertoire, the quality of the composition as a whole along with the expressive demands in the work.
Repertoire (Jazz/Blues Guitar): Our students master and memorize a select representative group of Jazz/Blues standards. Students memorize melodies and chord changes and learn to apply improvisational techniques to recognized Jazz standards that every player should know, as selected by some of the world’s great jazz artists. These standards use chord progressions that commonly occur throughout the jazz repertoire.
Rock, Blues and Country Guitar Techniques: Our students learn specific techniques used in Rock, Blues and Country music. These specific techniques, when paired with Jazz concepts, enable players to perform in virtually any genre.
Performance: We equip students with information, techniques and strategies to overcome performance anxiety. Musicians are normally left to their own devices, typically trial and error, to discover how to handle the pressure inherent in performance. We use methods developed and used successfully in sports physiology paired with new discoveries in neurology to teach students multiple techniques that, when used together, increase their confidence when performing.
Practice technique: We teach students how to make the best use of their practice time. The younger musician typically has the luxury of many hours each week to devote to practice. The adult musician and touring professional finds their time filled with many necessary responsibilities and activities. Either way, the sooner an efficient and effective practice regime is found the better. We model this in each lesson.
Memorization: We teach students memorization techniques and strategies. Like performance technique, musicians rarely receive training in memorization. Using current discoveries in neurology in regards to memory we teach students how to best memorize music beyond the time wasting process of merely playing through a work time after time, session after session.
Coaching: We teach students to self teach. Eventually, with enough training and practice, a student will become their own best teacher. At that point they only need a coach occasionally. We guide students in that direction by soliciting their opinions and observations. Our goal by doing so is to place a superb musician and teacher into the world who can effectively pass on the joy of music and music making to others.
Mentoring excellence: We don’t just teach music, we mentor students using the study of music as a medium to instill in each a life-long habit of achieving excellence not only in music, but also in every endeavor.