Lesson Policies

  1. Payment is by the month ($88.00) and due on or before the first lesson of the month.
     

  2. In the event of 5 lesson days in one month I will take one of   them off. You will be notified in advance which week it will be.
     

  3. No credits or refunds will be given for lessons you miss. If you miss a lesson and want to make it up, let me know and I'll do the best I can to reschedule at a mutually convenient time. Make up lessons are possible but not guaranteed. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
     

  4. If I cancel your lesson for any reason I will credit you into the next month or issue a refund.
     

  5. If you feel that your situation is special or that there are           extenuating circumstances I will negotiate.

Lesson Content - FAQ

  • Will I have to read music?

Not at first. There are plenty of million dollar guitar players who can't read. However, if you take lessons from me long enough, you will be reading. 

 

  • Can you teach me songs that I want to learn?

Yes. This assumes that the song you want to learn is commensurate with your skill level. If it isn't, I will do whatever I can to get you to that skill level as quickly as possible. However, I do not teach songs and only songs. While I recognize the motivational value of learning songs, I am more interested in giving you tools and training so that you can figure the song out for yourself.

 

  • Will you tab out the song I want to learn?

​Yes and no. I am not in favor of standard guitar tablature because it sabotages knowledge of the neck. Plus, it doesn't exist in the real world. No producer or band leader is going to put a tab chart in front of you. However, I acknowledge the need for a tab system to enable the student to learn a song before he or she knows how to read. So I have my own tab system that reinforces knowledge of the neck instead of sabotaging it. One of the results of using my tab system is that when the student gets to the point in the method where they begin reading it's not that big of a deal.

 

Go here for more info on my position on tab.

 

  • How much practice time do you recommend/expect?

I do not dictate quantity of practice, that's up to you. The equation is very simple - the more you practice, the quicker you'll progress. The most important thing is that you practice daily, whether for 5 minutes or 10 hours. It's the daily consistency that is the most important thing. What I do is give you principles and strategies to optimize the time you do have to practice. One of the main inhibitors to progress is undisciplined and random practicing habits.

 

If you're an adult - I understand. Life gets in the way sometimes. You have a family, a career, obligations and responsibilities. Do what you can and remember that daily consistency is more important than quantity-without-consistency. Don't forego coming to your lesson because you didn't practice. You're not wasting my time, you've paid for it already. At the very least I will drill you on the material that you should have practiced the previous week. I have arranged my whole life around being able to play the guitar all day, every day, but I don't project my own obsession onto you. I will accept whatever you are able to do and work with it.

 

If your child is taking lessons from me, he or she must be self-motivated. If you have to crack the whip every day to get them to practice you're probably wasting your money. If the child picks up the guitar every day and messes around with it, even if they're not working on the lesson, that's a good sign. I do everything I can to keep it fun and gratifying with achievable goals

 

  • Will you teach young, pre-teen children?

 

Yes. I deal with younger children differently than teenagers. See On Teaching Young Children.

 

  • I notice your method is all about chords. What about scales? What about soloing?

First of all, by the end of Unit 2, you will have learned the Major Scale, the Natural Minor Scale (otherwise known as the Aeolian Mode), the Minor Pentatonic Scale (along with several permutations thereof, e.g. adding the flatted 5th), the Major Pentatonic Scale and the Dorian Mode. At that point you know more scales than many guys who make a million dollars with the guitar.

 

If you go through the rest of the method you will add the Lydian Mode and the Mixolydian Mode to the mix as well as Major, Minor, Diminished, and Augmented Triad Arpeggios. Major, Dominant, Minor, Half Diminished, and Full Diminished 7th Arpeggios are also covered.

 

I do have some modal material that is not part of the book that I give to people who are chomping at the bit to learn a bunch of scales and modes - but I don't require going through it - it's optional.

 

Unit 10 is all about soloing over bitonal chords. It's very advanced and requires that the previous nine units be completed. Sometimes with certain students we'll take a break from the book between Unit 9 and Unit 10 and concentrate on soloing - sometimes for months. That material has not been exhaustively codified but I have very specific concepts that I have developed in my own playing over the years that I can teach. Again, it presupposes that you have gone through at least 9 Units.  

 

I have begun work on another book that will codify the soloing material. The working title is, Vertical Truth - Melodic Mechanisms for the Guitar. I have thrown together a website as an exercise. It is hosted for free so you'll have to endure ads and pop-ups. It will give you an idea of my "vertical" approach to soloing.

 

 

 

 

 

Lesson Policies - FAQ

  • How long is a lesson?

 

30 minutes is optimum - you'll get the most for your money. Occasionally a student will require an hour but this is rare. Generally, I can give you more than you can do in a week in 30 minutes.

 

  • How frequently do the lessons occur?

 

Lessons are scheduled for once a week at the same time every week.

 

  • Where do I go to take the lesson?

I'm currently teaching in 2 different locations:

 

  1. Guitar Dock in Overland Park, Kansas

  2. My home studio in Kansas City, Missouri.

I'm also available for lessons via Skype or FaceTime. However, this would be for non-local students, and there are severe limitations that prohibit teaching beginners in this format. In short, in order for the lessons via Skype or FaceTime to work, you need to already be able to play and have few technique issues. You also need to already know the neck. For instance, I say, "This chord is spelled, low to high, C - Bb - D - E" and you can find it. There is really no substitute for one-on-one, in person.

 

  • How much are the lessons?

 

My current price is $22.00 per lesson. Most months will have 4 lessons = $88.00 per month.

 

There are other teachers in different parts of the country that teach the Vertical Truth. Each teacher is independent and sets their own prices and policies.

 

  • Can I take 2 lessons per week?

Yes. All you have to do is pay for them - and be prepared to work your ass off between lessons!

 

  • Can I take two lessons a month instead of four?

Yes, but within certain parameters:

 

  1. Tuesdays at my Home Studio occur on the 1st and 3rd weeks of the month.

  2. You must be either the first (as early as 11am) or the last (as late as 10pm) student of the day. This means your lesson time may fluctuate as once-a-week students are added to or subtracted from the schedule. Or...

  3. Find someone else to alternate with you.

 

My experience has been that #3 usually doesn't work for long. There are two people involved therefore the potential for a screw-up is doubled. Also, in general, when you are taking 2 lessons a month all it takes is one missed lesson and, unless a make-up can be scheduled (see Lesson Policy #3) you go for a whole month with only one lesson. Not optimal.

 

  • My job is such that my days off rotate. Can you accommodate this?

 

Yes. Nurses and firefighters are the most common professions where this is the case. We agree on a regular lesson time, once a week like everyone else. All lessons are paid for up front just like everyone else. For most of these people 3 out of 4 weeks of the month are no problem. For the lesson day that they are on duty, my first step is to try to reschedule - I treat it as a missed lesson. If we are unable to successfully reschedule the lesson I will issue a lesson credit. This applies only to on-duty days. If a lesson is missed for any other reason, policy #3 applies.

 

  • If I give you 24 hours notice that I'm going to miss a lesson do I still have to pay for it?

 

Yes (see policy #3). The other side of that coin is that you don't have to inform me at all that you won't be there. Of course, I appreciate any consideration you can give me - if I know in advance that you're going to miss a lesson, I can schedule somebody else's make-up in that slot. However, there is no penalty for a no-show and I will still attempt to make it up if you so desire. 

 

  • My job requires me to occasionally travel. Do I still pay for the lessons I miss due to being on the road?

 

Yes (see policy #3). There are several ways we can compensate for this. We can attempt to reschedule missed lessons. Or you could take your lesson via Skype or FaceTime. Skyping a lesson is sub-optimal but is better than nothing. It can provide the motivation to keep practicing your guitar in the hotel room after work (I know all about life on the road).

 

  • I'm planning an extended vacation and will be gone for 4 weeks. Do I have to pay for the whole time I'm gone?

Concerning a pre-planned 4-week-or-longer absence; there are two ways to deal with this:

 

  1. You take your chances. You officially quit and call me when you get back. If your slot has been taken and there is no relevant time slot open you will automatically go to the top of the waiting list and will get the call when the first slot in your time frame opens up.

  2. Half-price will reserve your lesson time. None of the missed lessons will be made up. The money is strictly for reserving the slot - the lesson time will be there for you when you return.

 

  • Do you give any kind of discounts? For instance, a family discount for more than one student per family or a hardship discount if family income decreases for whatever reason, or a cash discount.

The default answer is "no". However, I consider it my prerogative to consider this issue on a case-by-case basis. It has been known to happen. 

 

  • What about holidays?

If you don't have a lesson because I take a holiday you don't pay for it. Rule-of-thumb is if the store is closed there will be no lesson. Holidays I normally take off are: Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving weekend (thurs-fri-sat), and the week between Christmas and New Years (Dec. 24 through Jan. 1). Other holidays, like Martin Luther King Day or Ramadan or Yom Kipper or any number of others, the store is open and so I work. Bottom line - if I'm there, you pay, if I'm not there, you don't pay. I take off when there are 5-week days in a month (see policy #2). You don't owe for those. You will never pay for more than 4 lessons a month.

 

  • How do I pay? Do I pay the store? Do you take credit cards?

You pay me directly. I am not employed by the store, I rent the studio space from them. I do not directly take credit cards. I will take a check, cash, or you can pay via PayPal.

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