My Teaching Method

Technique
Music Theory
Mental Discipline and Mindset

Technique

Dick Jr. demonstrates proper guitar technique.

You will learn both open and closed (barre and non-barre) basic and extension chords, basic and advanced rhythm variations, and a variety of other techniques that allow you to color songs.

For soloing, you will learn how to apply arpeggios, scales, and unique picking techniques such as pinching, percussive picking and ‘pick with fingers.’ For students who favor styles that employ finger-picking, you’ll also learn several fingerstyle techniques and approaches.

You’ll work on developing your physical relationship with the guitar. The proper way to hold a pick and the proper posture for your body and hands will be emphasized initially. The exercises and songs you learn will develop the accuracy, dexterity, and muscle memory of both your left and right hands.

To become an accomplished guitarist, you’ll need to exercise more than your hands though.

You’ll learn to use mental techniques to visualize chords, arpeggios, and scales. The ability to see in your minds-eye upcoming chord and solo changes, as well as your creative options, is crucial in being able to improvise.

We will work together so you develop a discriminating ear. You will be able to figure out chord progressions of songs you hear; anticipate chord extensions you can utilize to provide additional color to a song; and improvise solos over the chord patterns you identify.

With visualization and ear training, you’ll see and hear the changes you are planning to make, both of which are critical componants of creativity and improvisation.

back to top

Music Theory

Dick Jr. teaches music theory

In contrast to most guitar instructors, I want my students to understand how things work.

Music has often been called a language. To learn to speak a language fluently you have to understand the rules of the language, its structure, and how it’s appropriately spoken across a variety of situations (or styles).

For example, learning a 9th chord goes far beyond learning where to place your fingers on the guitar. You’ll understand not only what notes comprise a 9th, but also: when it’s appropriate to play and not to play, when and how it might be substituted or extended by another chord or chords, and how the structure of a 9th chord controls and influences the solos, runs, and licks you can play.

I understand people are intimidated by music theory. That’s why I spent the last 34 years developing a system that reduces it to its core elements. With adequate explanation, understanding the theory will not be an issue. The challenge lies in memorizing the material so deeply that you can apply it with little thought.

back to top

Mental Discipline and Mindset

Failure is critical in achieving success. Anyone who has watched a child learn to walk or has successfully taken up a hobby such as golf is well aware of this!

Fear of failure and frustration in the face of the challenges posed by learning a complex skill such as playing the guitar are normal and common reactions. Unfortunately, they can become crippling as well.

Looking back, my students recognize that the challenges they faced learning to play were simply growing pains rather than signs that they were untalented, uncoordinated, or unworthy of becoming a guitarist. This is why it’s so important to have the proper mental attitude when learning to play.

I’ve learned how crucial this factor is over the 34 years I’ve taught. The difference between working through resistance and frustration (or not) is the difference between having a guitar lying forgotten in the back of a closet rather than it being a fulfilling, fun, creative outlet for you.

You will learn to not be affected by errors. By becoming relaxed and focused while playing, errors won’t throw you off your game.

Faith in your success and creative potential is critical, and I’ll help you when it wavers. We’ll work together so that you develop a positive, self-fulfilling attitude that motivates you and fuels your success.

Ready to get started? Contact me!

Have some unanswered questions? Check out the frequently asked questions page.

Back to top