Teaching Philosophy

We believe that every person has an inherent right to self-expression. We believe that music is one of the best avenues for self-expression as well as a means of learning to live in harmony with one's environment.

We believe that next to the voice, that the guitar is best suited for self learning, self-expression, and living in right relationship with one's surroundings. And yet, the guitar is not an object of mystery, a black box, it is a tool. A tool that can be learned, mastered, and used to create artistic masterpieces, or heal the soul.

Our teaching style utilizes visualization, abstraction, and identification with sound to lead to playing what's inside of ourselves.

We believe that the time for "secrets" is over, and that information involving the use and utilization of the tools for self-expression belongs to everyone. That information has been kept guarded or secret by groups of instructors and institutions for their own personal gain and/or survival. Their time is coming to an end. The information wants to be free. We have striven to present the information in a clear and logical format. There are no secret "keys" to be discovered. The doors are not even locked.

What is a beginner?

Let's define a beginner as someone who is new to the instrument, or has yet to grasp some fundamental concepts that are required to progress to the next level. What concepts are those? (see below as to what a beginner should be studying).
Other definitions might include anyone who claims themselves as one, or you can take the stance that there is always some new concept, technique, genre, etc. in which the player is a beginner despite much training and accomplishment elsewhere. I will stick with the criteria that I've listed below.

What should I be learning as a beginner?

In short:

These things are fundamental. Not knowing one of these (at least in part) will impair your progress as a player. If you already know these things and you're wanting more, then you have a(n) (unconscious) desire to go beyond being a beginner.

A much detailed list of criteria for development through basic material twords an intermediate understanding can be found at http://simianmoon.com/snglstringtheory/question.html in the form of a written test (with answers and links).

Other studies that should be addressed at the beginner level is the acquisition of simple, useful, appropriate repetoire; learning from as many songs as possible.

When do I stop being a beginner?

Can you do the above, at least one of the items from each list (e.g. at least one of: strumming, picking, fingerpicking)?
If not, you're still a beginner. If you can do these things and are reaching to improve beyond that, then you're probably at some intermediate stage, and not a beginner.
Of course, there are so many things to learn in regards to music and the guitar, that we will always be a beginner (or at a beginner level) at something [I'm still a beginner at playing Hawaiian slack-key guitar, and probably will be for some time to come. that's ok].
It's not necessary to learn everything from the above list to progress beyond being a beginner, but again these things are fundamental to being a performing guitarist.
Staying a beginner is easy. It takes a commitment to stretch and grow to go beyond. Some people have remained content being beginners for decades. Some professional players are not much more advanced than that.
I assume that by finding your way here, that you're not one of those content with remaining a beginner.

Where do I go after here?

Assuming that you've already a knowledge of the above and you're looking for guidance, I would suggest:

At this stage, you are learning the tools that you will use in a basic way, and learning how (later) you will look into them more deeply.
(I will eventually have an intermediate's page on the site, and there will be a link here)

Below is a link to a page of links to other sites which are geared twords helping beginners.

Guitar links

Back to Beginner's page
Back to index
Last updated March 2, 2003
Copyright 2003. All rights reserved.