If you’re here, it means you’re either a total beginner or you’ve tried just about everything you can think of – YouTube, books, friends, DVDs, maybe even other guitar lessons in Olympia – but you haven’t been able to find anything that really works. The good news is, there’s hope.
Let me tell you a little story.
Years ago, a teenage kid took guitar lessons from a guy at a music store. Not knowing any better, he thought he was getting great lessons. There was always something new to learn. His teacher gave him lots of songs, lots of chords, lots of scales.
A ton of “stuff.” He felt like he was really getting somewhere.
After each lesson he would go home, sit down, rip open his book and start hacking away at what he had been taught. He did this day after day, thinking he was really making progress and becoming a killer guitarist.
Sure, he learned stuff and got better…but after a while he realized it was very slow going. Trying to learn how to play barre chords was brutal. The F chord was impossible. He thought he would never be able to play it. In fact, one day he was watching a band on TV. The lead guitarist played the F chord like it was nothing.
His jaw dropped in disbelief. How did he do that?!
So, even though he was learning lots of stuff, there was a problem. He thought he lacked talent. He thought he didn’t have it (whatever “it” was). He thought he would never be a good guitarist.
There were days when he just wanted to give up.
Fortunately, he didn’t give up, because he just loved playing guitar. He kept pushing himself. He kept hacking away at whatever he thought would help him get better. It wasn’t easy. He spent hours and hours at a time practicing and practicing. Hacking away. Trying to figure it.
Basically, doing it by trial and error.
Eventually, he did become a good guitarist – but it took way too long and was way too frustrating.
I know this is true…
…because that guitarist is me.
And I know a lot of guitarists who could tell the exact same story.
Although I can’t go back in time and learn guitar again the right way, I can help you avoid a lot of the pain and struggle I went through for all those years. That’s my mission, which is why I’ve created lessons that give you more than just “things” to learn. You get a complete training, coaching, and mentoring package to insure you succeed:
- Ongoing training so you gain a deep understanding of the content you learn
- Longer lesson times
- Bonus workshops to help you succeed and develop faster
- Advanced practice strategies so you know exactly how to make the most progress possible
- Customized lesson programs
- Learn your favorite songs
- Develop creativity so you can write your own songs
- Play the music you love right from the beginning
- Exclusive student only workshops
- Application of everything you learn
- How to integrate skills to make your progress skyrocket
- Develop 3-10 times faster than teacher yourself, using YouTube, or taking lessons from another teacher
- Supplemental aids so you don’t waste time asking the same question multiple times
- How isolation, application, integration, and review make reaching your goals much faster
- 100% total dedication to your success
Don’t take my word for it, here’s what my students have to say:
“Nicholas has particular expertise…he’s an exceptional teacher…he meets people’s individual needs and sees where people are at and design their lessons accordingly…I’m making better progress and more accurate progress with him than I would with another teacher.” – Janelle M.
You might be thinking, are your lessons really any better than the next guy? Yes! Here’s how:
Uniqueness #1 – Focus on the Five Critical Components – Content, Support, Application, Training, and Integration
Almost all teachers focus 90% (or more) of their time teaching content – songs, chords, scales, etc. The problem with this approach is that it excludes the areas of focus that really bring progress to your guitar playing. If you’ve taken lessons before, you’ve probably learned lots of “stuff” but don’t know the following:
- How to actually use most of what you’ve learned in real music (other than simple chords and strumming)
- Specific ways to practice effectively for maximum progress
- Integration of your skills so you can play what you want, when you want, without hesitation or fumbling around trying to find the right notes
- What to practice outside your lessons
- Why you make mistakes and what to do to fix them
By focusing on the Five Critical Components, you’ll see your progress accelerate beyond what you thought was possible. Why do I claim that? I had a student tell me he learned in 3 months the same amount he had learned from his prior teacher in two years!
Neglecting these Five Critical Components is the real reason so many students make slow, laborious progress and end up confused, frustrated and feeling like maybe they just don’t have the talent to play guitar.
Please, you owe it to yourself to avoid that situation.
Uniqueness #2 – You Need A Teacher Who Has Learned How to Teach Guitar
Ask the vast majority of guitar teachers what kind of formal training they received on how to teach guitar and they’ll admit they have little or none. This is a problem, because being a good guitar player does not guarantee you’ll be an effective teacher.
In fact, this is exactly what one of my students said:
The combination of my music degree, 16 years of teaching experience, and formal mentoring on how to teach has given me a unique combination that is difficult to find in most guitar teachers.
Uniqueness #3 – Lessons in a Variety of Formats That Accelerate Your Progress
Some teachers claim that private lessons are superior to group lessons, however, group lessons, when organize and run in a competent and effective fashion, are far better than learning in a private lesson format alone. Consider the following:
- Every music school requires all music majors to be in at least one small or large ensemble, and often they require both in addition to private lessons!
- Private lessons alone actually hinder a students progress by limiting the opportunities for musical expression
- Group lessons are more fun because you get to play with others, get to know people, and share your learning experiences with each other
- Learning in groups exposes students a greater number of ideas, questions, and challenges faced by other students, which means everyone learns faster
- Group lessons helps students quickly become comfortable playing with and around others
- In my personal experience, playing in a group is one of the best ways for a student to stay motivated
- Playing in groups is fun! Who wants to play alone all the time?
- Being in a group helps you learn the many aspects of playing guitar (rhythm, lead, accompanying, etc) faster than being in private lessons
- Private lessons unintentionally force a student to rely on the direction of the teacher at all times, meaning the student does not learn how to think independently or figure out problems on their own
Now, I will admit that most group lessons taught by guitar teachers are not very good. Why? Because these group lessons usually cater to the lowest common denominator, meaning an advanced student will be bored and learn nothing. The good news is that I have I’ve taken the time and invested the money to learn how to teach groups in ways that are effective, fun and actually better than private lessons. Just ask any one of my students who have seen their progress skyrocket since taking lessons with me.
Uniqueness #4 – A “Geometric” Approach to Learning Guitar
While most teachers focus on one or two areas of your playing (chords, songs, strumming) we will begin working toward all of your musical goals as soon as possible.
The truth is that there might be 10-20 different areas of study that need to be mastered to reach you ultimate long term goal. If you only focus on one area at a time, your progress will necessarily be hindered!
By using a geometric approach, you’ll begin focusing on as many of those areas as we can right from the beginning. You benefit from this in many ways:
- Learn much faster (as much as 10 times)
- Be able to apply your skills to real music sooner rather than later
- Have a variety of material to learn, which keeps practicing from getting stale and boring
- Avoid becoming imbalanced in your playing
- Reach your goals faster!
- Every dollar and minute you invest in lessons goes further
Uniqueness #5 – I Do NOT teach “All Styles”
While many guitar teachers will claim to be able to teach “all styles,” I do not. It is very difficult for any guitarist to truly be an expert in all styles, and I do not claim to have achieved that! I teach the following styles and techniques:
- Beginning Jazz
If your looking for a teacher, who would you rather learn from? Someone who tries to do a little of everything, or someone who specializes? I know I would want to learn from a specialist!
I DO NOT teach the following:
- Bass guitar
- Advanced Jazz
Uniqueness #6 – More Time in Lessons Means Faster Growth
Virtually every guitar teacher our there assumes a 30 minute private lesson is effective…because that’s what everyone does! The once a week 30 minute private lesson has become the industry standard for no other reason than that’s what everyone does. The problem is, it’s not nearly enough!
Imagine trying to learn a foreign language by studying with a teacher for 30 minutes once a week and practicing on your own with no guidance the rest of the week. The truth is, it’s very hard to become fluent in a language in these circumstances.
Ask any high school student who has taken years of language study if they’re fluent. They’ll probably give you a look like you’re crazy.
The absolute best way to learn a foreign language is by going to that country and living there – total immersion. The same principle applies to guitar lessons. This is why I do not offer anything less than 1 hour lessons (for adults) and strongly recommend you attend at least twice a week.
In my observation over the past 16+ years of teaching, students who come to lessons once a week make the least amount of progress and are the most likely to give up out of frustrating. Students who attend even just twice a week tend to make 3 times as much progress as those who attend only once and are far less likely to give up.
Frankly, you need more than can even be accomplished in a 30 minute lesson because this (in my personal experience) is how those lessons typically go :
- You walk into the room and get out your guitar and tune it. Meanwhile, your teacher flips through your book trying to remember what he taught you last week. He is also deciding what to teach this week because he doesn’t have a well thought out plan. While he’s doing this, he makes a little small talk. Right there, you’ve wasted 2-5 minutes of actual lesson time!
- Your teacher either asks you to play something you’ve been working on or starts teaching you something new. This takes up the bulk of the lesson time, maybe 10-15 minutes. 17-20 minutes is gone.
- After your teacher shows you something new, he asks you to try it out. You do…probably badly. This takes 3-5 minutes, and now you’re almost completely out of time.
- You ask questions, if you have any, and time is up.
- You go home and practice…but you don’t know how, you don’t know what you should practice, and you might even practice wrong for an entire week until the next lesson…
Do you see the problem with this format? Your teacher has not left any time to really train you how to play. He has given you new stuff and left you to figure it out during the week. This is how nearly all of my lessons went as a student, and I am sure most students have the same experience today.
That is why I developed a different way of learning guitar – so you don’t have to struggle the way I did!
Does this sound like the kind of program you would want to be a part of? If the answer is yes, contact me today and you’ll receive my eBook, “Practicing Secrets for Guitarists” for free!
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P.S. Don’t wait, I have a limited number of slots open at this time and already have a waiting list for some age groups.
The Olympia School of Guitar is located at 2633A Parkmont Lane SW Suite C Olympia, WA 98502. Call us at (360) 489-1842. Policies and Privacy Statement.