Guitar Lessons FAQ's
Reasons which make us the best choice:
University Trained Instructors
Our instructors hold college degrees and have extensive teaching experience. Most importantly, our students have a proven track record of success because we are careful to only select well-trained, courteous, and patient instructors to be part of our teaching staff.
All Ages, Styles, and Levels
Our current students range from 5 years old to many students in their 60's and 70's. We currently teach beginner through advanced levels in classical guitar. We are careful to teach you the necessary skills every music student needs to learn while at the same time being sympathetic to your own particular musical interests. We will teach you the music you want to learn so your lessons are motivating and rewarding.
Our lessons are set up as private one on one instruction so you will have the undivided attention of your instructor and you can progress at a level suited to you individually.
Regular Student Recitals
Student recitals are held four times a year. Although not required, all students are encouraged to perform in the quarterly student recitals to build confidence and performance experience on their instrument.
World Class Concert Series
Our students and their families get preferred seating and discounts to the highly acclaimed Portland Classic Guitar Concert series where some of the top classical guitarists in the world have performed. Participation in the master classes held during the series as an auditor or performer is also available.
Professional Learning Environment
Our beautiful space located at Portland Classic Guitar will inspire you to achieve personal excellence. Each studio is clean, comfortable, and spacious for the best learning experience.
Five ways to get the most out of your private music lessons:
1. How young is too young? Starting at the right age
Adults can start any instrument at any time. Their success is based on how willing they are committed to practicing. We teach many beginner students in their 60’s and 70’s. For children, starting at the right age is a key element to the success of their lessons. We recommend that children should be at least age 7 to start guitar, age 5 for piano, and age 9 for voice.
2. Insist on private lessons when learning a specific instrument
Group classes work well for preschool music programs, and theory lessons. However, when actually learning how to play an instrument, private lessons are far superior since in private lessons it is hard to miss anything, and each student can learn at their own pace. This means the teacher does not have to teach a class at a middle of the road level, but has the time and focus to work on the individual student’s strengths and weaknesses. For that lesson period, the student is the primary focus of the teacher. The teachers also enjoy this as they do not have to divide their attention between 5 - 10 students at a time and can help the student be the best they can be.
3. Take lessons in a professional teaching environment
Learning music is not just a matter of having a qualified teacher, but also having an environment that is focused on music education. In a professional school, a student cannot be distracted by TV, pets, ringing phones, siblings or anything else. With only 1/2 to one hour of lesson time per week, a professional school environment can produce better results since the only focus at that time is learning music. Students in a school environment are also motivated by hearing peers who are at different levels and by being exposed to a variety of musical instruments. In a music school, the lessons are not just a hobby or sideline for the teacher but a responsibility which is taken very seriously.
4. Make practicing fun
As with anything, improving in music takes practice so it might as well be fun. One of the main problems with music lessons is the drudgery of practicing and the fight between parents and students to practice every day. Here are some ways to make practicing easier:
Set the same time every day to practice so it becomes part of a routine or habit. This works particularly well for children. Generally the earlier in the day the practicing can occur, the less reminding is required by parents to get the child to practice.
We use this method quite often when setting practice schedules for beginners. For a young child 20 or 30 minutes seems like an eternity. Instead of setting a time frame, we use repetition. For example, practice this piece 4 times every day, and this scale 5 times a day. The child then does not pay attention to the amount of time they are practicing their instrument, but knows if they are on repetition number 3 they are almost finished.
This works very well for both children and adult students. Some adults reward themselves with something simple like a cappuccino after a successful week of practicing. Parents can encourage children to practice by granting them occasional rewards for successful practicing. In our school we reward young children for a successful week of practicing with stars and stickers on their work. Praise tends to be the most coveted award - there just is no substitute for a pat on the back for a job well done. Sometimes we all have a week with little practicing, in that case there is always next week.
5. Use recognized teaching materials
There are some excellent materials developed by professional music educators that are made for students in a variety of situations. For example in piano, there are books for very young beginners, and books for adult students that have never played before. There are books that can start you at a level you are comfortable with. These materials have been researched and are continually upgraded and improved to make learning easier. These materials ensure that no important part of learning the instrument can inadvertently be left out. If you ever have to move to a different part of the country, qualified teachers and institutions will recognize the materials and be able to smoothly continue from where the previous teacher left off.
Most Importantly . . . HAVE FUN!!
Music should be something that you enjoy for a lifetime. So, try not to put unrealistic expectations on yourself or your children to learn.