Debbie D.

WOW! What a GREAT find!  Dave is an amazing teacher. He is unassuming and unintimidating and has the great gift of encouragement that makes you want to learn more.  His "just practice 5 minutes a day" regime is genius because the things he gives you to practice are so fun that the 5 minutes quickly turns into 10, then 20, then 30.....


Cool photo by some chick

I have a hard time believing I can learn guitar by practicing only five minutes each day. Seriously?

Yes, seriously. Here's the gist:

  1. We talk about what you want out of lessons, first.
  2. I figure out exactly what your needs are in a lesson situation.
  3. I create a mental roadmap of how to get you to where you want to be on guitar.
  4. I figure out a customized way of how to get you there with the least amount of effort on your part.
  5. I will figure out the most powerful practice routine for you in the time in between lessons.

 

But, I'm really bad at guitar. How can practicing five minutes really do the trick?

First off, you're not bad at guitar. You've probably just run into a problem that seemed unsolvable. That's my job!

Second off, I have more than 25 years of playing and learning guitar. I know the ins and outs of it so well that I can pinpoint one very small problem that, once solved, will make the entire experience easier.

Third off, with proprietary workflows that I've developed over the years, there's no doubt that if you follow my direction for what to do with those five minutes, you'll learn guitar faster than you'll ever dreamed.

 

All the things I've read about practicing indicate an hour minimum. What do you say to that?

I think the people who write these silly things are incorrect, and here's why:

  1. Has any of these people ever asked you what you want to learn from guitar? What your goals are? Chances are your goals are considerably less intense than theirs are.
  2. Has any of these people ever talked to you about how to practice for an hour a day? Like, how to structure that time spent practicing? Chances are 80% of their "practice time" is spent wasting time.

Five minutes of hard work yields to hours and hours of enjoyment and a brand new, amazing hobby. If you want to simply learn basic songs that make you happy to play, not learn how to read music or understand music theory, and just enjoy a new hobby that gives back to you far more than you put in, then five minutes of practice is just fine!

 

Do you like working with beginners?

Beginners are a total blast! So much fun!!! I've specialized in teaching beginners since 2006. All you would need to do is have a guitar with six strings, and I'll take care of everything else. That, and I'll have your back the entire time you take lessons with me.

 

So, seriously, you'll teach me even though I know nothing?

Absolutely. I've done it countless times. Just check out my Yelp reviews. Most of those people started from scratch. Not only that, but I'm prepared to help complete beginners. From showing you how to strum, play chords, and even how to tune your guitar, I've got your back.

I also have made it a priority to have all of the learning materials you need ready to go as soon as you are ready to tackle songs. I've got a ton of photos, videos, and ridiculously gorgeous song sheets to help you learn this instrument. Very few teachers can match the value of these materials. I know for certain you'll learn very quickly.

If you know nothing about guitar and want to learn, I'm happy to help. Honored.

 

Where are you located?

I like to keep my true location hidden until you book your first lesson. Until that point, I am located fairly close to the intersection of Berkeley & Manchaca in Austin TX, 78745:

 

 

Do you offer in-person Austin guitar lessons or Skype guitar lessons?

I offer both. If you live in Australia and want to learn, we can totally do Skype guitar lessons. If you live in Austin and prefer lessons in-person, we can do that. To be completely transparent about it, there is no difference between the two.

 

I'd like to do Skype lessons, but what if the video quality is blurry?

Skype recommends that you have 1.5 mbps up and down for HD video. I have upgraded my internet to being far above this, so all you need to get is that 1.5 up and down. If you're unsure, go here to test the speed of your internet connection.

Even if your screen is blurry, I can still tell by the sound of your playing how you are doing (10,000 hours will do that to you), and I can still help you.

 

So, if I wanted to meet you and hang out and learn guitar, we could do that?

If that's your preference, then we can totally do that. Bear in mind that Austin is a city that has lots of traffic, and if you'd like to switch at any time I'm cool with that.

 

I know you think I'm not bad at guitar, but I still have a feeling I am. Can you still help me?

Wait, really? We're going into this again? Seriously?

Look, guitar is my life's work. I've worked hard to gain the knowledge I have, to communicate as well as I do in lessons, and to create the optimal situation for you to learn in. There is no doubt in my mind you can learn.

If you're willing to follow my lead, I will bend over backwards to help you learn.

 

How do I know that you're the right teacher for me?

Only you can know for sure. I can point to my reputation, or perhaps a bachelors and masters degree in music, but only you will know if I'm a good fit. If you have a good gut feeling after your first lesson, you'll love taking lessons with me.

 

What is the first lesson like?

Your first lesson with me is specifically about us getting to know each other. After we have had a chance to talk and get all of our expectations in the open, we'll work on some guitar stuff.

 

How long do you expect me to practice, outside of lessons?

Five minutes, each day.

 

How much do you charge?

Before you read my prices, I would like for you to remember that I know what I'm doing, that I have 10+ years of experience teaching absolute beginners, and I have actually turned down clients in the past because I know they wouldn't get what they want from me. Under no circumstances would I ever dream of taking your money without giving you the best service ever.

That said, I offer a package for any absolutely new beginner who has never taken a guitar lesson in his/her life. This is the package:

  1. The first lesson is $30.
  2. The next four lessons are $50 each
  3. Every lesson thereafter is $80 each.

 

How do I book my first lesson?

Easy! Go here!

 

Do you do group lessons?

No, sorry!

 

Can I reserve a time each week to work with you?

Totally. This is the best way to assure your success with guitar. Email me to get started.

 

What is your cancellation policy?

Please cancel your lesson by using the online scheduling service more than 24 hours before your lesson, and I'll issue a refund shortly thereafter. No emailing, no calling, no hassles.

I recommend reading my policies before you book your first lesson.

 

What if I forget about my lesson?

This is super uncool. I don't refund for forgetfulness.

 

Do you offer gift certificates?

Nope! Sorry!

 

Do you teach children?

Nope! Sorry. I think there are great teachers out there who can help children, and I am not one of them. But adults? Preferred!

 

Do you teach intermediates?

Yes! I love to help intermediates refine their technique. Here's what I can do for you:

  • Strumming and/or rhythm
  • Basic open chords and playing them with less tension
  • Changing chords while strumming
  • Playing barre chords
  • Playing power chords
  • Fingerpicking
  • Playing by ear
  • Improvising
  • How to become an extremely popular guitar teacher

 

What are your expectations of your students?

I expect five minutes of practice each day, enthusiasm, and presence.

Practice is necessary for progress, but you can slide with five minutes, minimum. If it weren’t for enthusiasm, teaching lessons would be a complete drag. Do you want to work with an unenthusiastic teacher? Also, presence: When you're in the lesson, be there. Turn off the phone, leave the outside world for a bit, and fully engage with the material.

 

Do you require students to perform?

Most students don't want to perform, and I can't blame them for it, so, no. Besides, it's possible for a person to learn guitar without performing. After all, I've taught hundreds of beginners how to do it.

 

Do you require students to learn music theory, or to learn to read music?

No. I only teach what you ask me to teach you. If you'd like to get down and dirty with music theory or reading music, I'll help you.

 

I just want to learn to play a bunch of songs. That's it. That would make me happy. Are you cool with that?

Sounds good to me. Keep in mind I will veto some songs if they are too much of a challenge for you, or because I draw the line when it comes to teaching Boston or showing you Stairway to Heaven.

 

Do you teach__________?

Beginners?

Bring it on! The less experience you have, the better.

Jazz guitar, shred guitar, or metal?

I know how to play these genres, but teaching them is another thing altogether. My answer is no.

Classic rock? 

Short answer: Nope.

Long answer: My very first job was as a dishwasher at a Chili's in Rochester, NY. Guess what they played non-stop and at full blast in the kitchen?!? This inspired a hatred of both Boston (the band, not the city) and Stairway to Heaven.

Blues guitar, finger-style guitar, finger-style blues guitar?

Not so much, sorry!

Songwriting? 

Songwriting is such an individual pursuit. Some people want to play guitar simply to create music on it. Others really enjoy just playing songs because that's enjoyable enough. My approach to teaching songwriting is similar to my approach to teaching music theory: If they ask, I'll help them out as best as I can.

Classical guitar? 

I don't offer courses in how to learn classical guitar.

 

Will you send me directions to your office?

Absolutely. It's precise and detailed. Also, I'll show you the best place to park!

 

What equipment do I need to learn guitar on Skype?

  1. Webcam
  2. Fast internet access
  3. Guitar
  4. Enthusiasm

I'll send you some very-easy-to-follow directions to help you get set up.

 

Which video service/app is the best for guitar lessons?

In my opinion, guitar lessons on Skype can't be beat. If you're new to Skype, then go here to view a FAQ on how to use it.

 

After I book my first lesson with you, do I call you at the time of our lesson?

No. I will call you at the exact time of your lesson. Keep Skype open before your lesson starts, and be sure to be signed in so that we don't get delayed. Also, delays that occur on your end are non-refundable.

 

Do I have to book a slot in a different time zone?

No. You will be presented with time slots in your time zone.

 

What if you aren't calling? What happens then?

If I don't call you and it's later than 10 minutes from the start of your lesson, then assume that I am in an emergency and I won't be calling. Also, expect an immediate apology and a refund if your lesson was prepaid.

If I don't end up calling right at the time of your lesson starts, we'll either go late or I'll prorate you. But again, don't worry about calling me. If things are bad on my end, like if I'm in an emergency situation, I'll get back to you as soon as I can, and I will also refund you.

 

What happens if I'm in the middle of an emergency?

Don't email me. Take care of your stuff, and email me after the danger has passed you. I'll refund any emergency (with the exception of internet going down).

 

What if my internet access is down?

You need a great internet connection to make Skype guitar lessons work. If your internet goes down or is too slow for Skype lessons, I will not refund your money. You need 1.5 mbps up and down at the very least (go here to check) for this to work.

I repeat: Any internet issues on your end are non refundable. If my internet is out, I will completely refund your money, immediately.

 

Do I need to buy a book?

Not at all. I've digitized all of the materials and I will send them to you. Further, I've got tons of videos of specific techniques and workflows ready to go. What's even better is that I'll help you create and record custom guitar videos for your practicing.

No book is needed, I've got your back. You're going to be all set.

 

What's the minimum speed for video chat guitar lessons that I need for good picture and sound?

Skype recommends that you have 1.5 mbps up and down for HD video. I have upgraded my internet to being far above this, so all you need to get is that 1.5 up and down. If you're unsure, go here to test the speed of your internet connection..

I would recommend being connected at home via your own personal internet connection and not your phone's data plan. The latter is expensive and unruly. The former is stronger and can handle video streaming easily.

In addition, make sure no one else is downloading, streaming, or doing anything else that is bandwidth-heavy while we are in our guitar lesson.

 

What about Facetime?

FaceTime really sucks for online lessons, but we'll do it if Skype isn't working. Skype, however, is the best!

If you're new to Skype, then go here to view a FAQ on how to use it.