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By Michael K. - Arlington Guitar Teacher
Love listening to guitar music? Want to take guitar lessons in Arlington, VA?
The Washington, DC metro area - which also includes Arlington, northern Virginia and southern Maryland - has some of the finest opportunities to get inspired and watch and hear great guitarists perform every week. From restaurants and small performance venues to large concert halls - from classical, bluegrass, jazz to rock - we have it all here!
Blues Alley, The Birchmere, The Hamilton, The Barns at Wolf Trap, The Kennedy Center, Strathmore Hall, 9:30 Club, U Street Music Hall, Bohemian Caverns, Black Cat, Howard Theatre, Gypsy Sally’s, Echostage, Hill Country Live, Artisphere, Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club, Patriot Center, Lisner Auditorium (I’m just getting warmed up here!); all these venues host guitarists and bands throughout the year. Washington, DC attracts regional and international artists.
If you live in Arlington, you are within 15 miles of all of the above venues. Here’s my little secret - I love the venues that don't have reserved seating (you will have to call each venue or check online to find out their policy). I arrive before the doors even open (the earlier the better) and then run to get a front row seat. I've been literally 10 feet away from watching some of the best guitarists in the world! I will always remember being just feet away from the great Larry Carlton - watching every guitar lick he was playing!!! Very cool! Kind of like a private guitar lesson in my living room (with a few strangers around)!
There are also many open mic nights right in Arlington - Cafe Montmartre, Northside Social, Epicure Cafe, and Front Page. I highly recommend checking out the open mic nights. It’s kind of like the tryouts for “American Idol” - anything goes! So, don’t be shy if you’re just a beginner. Getting in front of a live audience and playing “three string rock” is an excellent experience. I even have my own students participate. And, finally, the audience is usually really friendly and will hoot and howl (which is usually a greater reaction than you’ll get from your brother, sister, husband or wife)!
The City Paper (which is free at the metro station) is a great resource to find out who is playing, or you can check out the weekend section of the Washington Post. There are also many FREE concerts at places such as the Kennedy Center, National Gallery of Art and many churches throughout the area. Yes, you will have to look for those guitar performances or groups with guitarists - but you will find them.
So, what does all of this have to do with taking guitar lessons in Arlington? Well, inspiration is key - and if you don’t get inspired by the guy or gal guitarist at the coffee house (or the neighbor next door), I can assure you that you will at these other venues. Plus, just watching and listening to a guitarist is a learning experience - regardless of how good they are. You might hear a new song, chord or guitar lick that you want to learn, and just getting to recognize “stage presence” and “entertainment” is priceless.
I have been teaching for many years - so just remember that when you're starting off, you won't start where the pros start; but, learning the guitar, learning to play some simple tunes, and having fun is what it's all about! Cheers!!
Most modern genres of music can be taught; rock, metal, blues, alternative, etc., as well as classical. We will using tabs and conventional music sheets. Music theory will be integrated into the lessons as needed.
For beginning guitarist, I begin by familiarizing the student with the instrument, and some very basic theory and tuning. We then move on to simple patterns to get those calluses on those finger tips. Then we start with chord charts and strumming rhythms. Followed by the fun stuff, which is actually playing a song. I am very open to my student's tastes and encourage them to bring in songs they would like to learn, because I when someone is familiar with a particular song, it can be almost as if your fingers naturally know what to do. I can teach both electric, classical acoustic, and steel acoustic guitars. For students who are further along, I like to assess their particular level first, and go on from there.
Learn how to play many styles of guitar, including Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and Suzuki guitar. Through one on one instruction, students will learn scales, improvisation and solo phrasing, note reading, theory, chords and chord progressions. In addition, students will also learn how to play their favorite song/s, whether it be Led Zeppelin, Greenday, Wes Montgomery, Miles Davis or Stevie Ray Vaughn. Through the useful tools on line and the many great music software programs that are now available, students will find learning a song to be very easy and enjoyable.!
I not only focus on reading, technique and theory but how these subjects relate to the music you listen to.
I believe music is a language and is understood best in context of of what music you enjoy on a daily basis, that way you can play along.
I like to structure my lessons around the student, focusing on their goals and aspirations.
I teach all levels of guitar in the areas of rock, blues and jazz, but I really focus more on the musical skills need to play guitar in any style. These include a thorough chord vocabulary, experience playing rhythm guitar, and a complete progressive study of scales and their use in improvisation (lead guitar) starting with pentatonic scales and progressing to major scales, different forms of minor scales and modes. All scales are learned in multiple positions and the student learns to perform with them in any key. In every lesson the student and I play exercises and study materials together to make actual music from the materials being studied.
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