Private lessons with top Banjo instructors near Strathmore, CA
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I like to make learning an instrument fun and easy to fit into your schedule! If you're an adult finally getting around to learning your dream instrument or a child following your passion of playing music I tailor your lessons specifically to you. We look at what you want to play, pick specific songs that you want to learn, and learn the techniques you need to play these songs. It sounds simple, but it's so effective and much more fun to learn this way!
We are going to HAVE FUN! I will be customizing your lessons to your needs, your skill level, your age, and most importantly, what you would like to learn on the Banjo. I give lessons on the 5 string banjo, so if you still need to buy a banjo and you decide to have me as your teacher, please be sure to purchase a 5 string banjo. I will be including the basic fundamentals such as fretting exercises and picking patterns that will be used as warmup exercises. I want to keep this fun, not grueling or boring. You will learn how to strum chords and finger-pick, which is the most common method of playing the banjo. Even though you see many banjo players using finger picks, I like to start all of my students using their fingers without picks. This helps the student to learn the strings with ease, which makes learning fun instead of frustrating, which can happen when using finger picks. They tend to fall off, the ability to feel for the correct string is greatly inhibited, which causes a lot of mistakes in the beginning. Once a good foundation is established, we will introduce the finger picks. You'll be able to decide which you like best after using them for a while. Some love using fingerpicks, and then there are those who prefer to never use them. There are some great old time banjo players who never used fingerpicks! I will help you sight read music (new songs) which is extremely useful should you join a group or accompany others and they suddenly place a piece of music in front of you and would like you to play it. Sight reading helps you to play songs you've never seen or had a chance to practice ahead of time. Of course the most important is learning the genre of music (songs) you like. I am fairly versed in most music genres and we can discuss the areas you are most interested in before signing up to see if we are a good fit in this area. Before moving on to Lesson Details, should you sign up for banjo lessons, I want you to know that the above mentioned is not in concrete. I will never force a student of mine to do something they absolutely do not want to do. I will encourage you to try it, but once you've come to the conclusion you have no desire for certain areas, we will focus on what it is you desire to learn and feel most comfortable at learning. NEW! Starting on 9/1/2021: I have decided to offer all new students an "indefinite discount" for not only back-to-school students, but for all ages. To be a bit of a financial help, I've lowered my current prices to give a long term discount. A 30 minute lesson is usually $28.00. With the discount, it will be $23. A 45 minute lesson is usually $39, with the discount, it will be $34. A 60 minute lesson is usually $50, with the discount, it will be $45. *** Lesson Details *** Listed here are the basics you will need to get off to a great start at your first lesson and future lessons. These are required items to learn properly, as well as for me to teach you adequately. Without these tools, we will struggle as both teacher and student, which is not what either of us would want. Please be sure to order these items as soon as possible once you've committed to lessons. If these items have not arrived before the lesson, I do have material we can and will use, so again, don't fret over this. As you will see, I am flexible and want this to be fun, not frustrating for you. 1. 5 String Banjo My only recommendation here is to make sure there is little to no difficulty when pressing down on the strings with the left hand. If you find it extremely difficult to press down, you may have a banjo with a warped neck or it has been damaged. Options are to take it to a shop where it can be fixed, or at best, get an honest opinion as to whether or not it can be refurbished to work well for you. Be cautious when ordering a used instrument online. If you are not familiar with purchasing used instruments in this manner, have someone who is experienced in buying online help you make your purchase. My suggestion, is go to a music store where you can try out the instrument to see if it's a good fit for you or your child. This way you will know what you are getting. 2. Banjo Tuner. This is the one I recommend: Snark ST-8 Super Tight Clip On Tuner 3. Finger Picks. You can go to your local music store for advice. You will need a pick for the thumb, index and middle finger sized appropriately based on age and size of fingers. 4. Lesson Books. Once you are signed up and paid, I will send you an email with the books you'll need to order. I like to start with lesson books that are great for all ages. They will be relatively easy, thus making learning how to play the banjo fun, not grueling. As you progress through the first series of lesson books, I will send you an email with next series of books to be able to continue with lessons, if you so desire. *If you have a particular book you would like to work out of, please send me the name of the book so I can review it (and purchase if need be) so I can help you with it. *** Studio Equipment *** I have a dedicated area of my home where I keep all my instruments as well as having high quality audio equipment, a computer with high speed internet, and excellent lighting. As a side note, this is my home in which I have a business raising Bernese Mountain Dogs. They may come and go in the background, but I can assure you that if they appear to be a distraction in any manner, especially for younger children, I will make sure they are placed appropriately so as to remove any distractions before the lesson begins. *** Students Equipment *** Before starting the first lesson, I do expect the student to have a banjo, a tuner, finger picks and lesson book(s) as mentioned above in "Lesson Details". You must have access to a computer with a good internet that will not drop or freeze in a Zoom lesson. *Note: I do not recommend viewing lessons from a smart phone or iPad. There are multiple reasons they are not conducive for zoom lessons. If this is the only method available when first starting lessons, this is understandable, but try your best to transition to a laptop. An iPad is better than a smartphone, but unless you have a high speed internet, there can be issues at times with iPads as well as with a smart phone. ***Steps to Prepare your Computer*** There are some important steps you as the student (or parent of a child/children) can take to prepare your computer to work efficiently for online lessons. I will list them here for you, as well as send them in an email along with the lesson books you will need to purchase. If you run into problems with any of the steps, try to find someone (friend, family member, neighbor) who may have a good working knowledge of computers to help you. If you have no one, I am willing to talk you through it over the phone, which could be a bit of a challenge, but worth trying! 1. Clear history, cookies, cache prior to each lesson. 2. Download zoom occasionally to ensure you are using the most recent/updated version. 3. Make sure others in the household are not online (on other devices) during your lesson. 4. Close all programs running in the background. 5. Stop or delete any unnecessary apps that may be running in the background. 6. Try to avoid using an iPad or a smartphone for lessons, if at all possible. Thank You for viewing my profile. Please feel free to ask me questions through TakeLessons. I will do my very best to answer each and every one to the best of my abilities. To Your Success! Rhonda
Gordon L. began playing music at a very early age but didn't begin to learn the saxophone until he was in fifth grade. Gordon's interest in music grew when he began to work sound systems for bluegrass bands and eventually he started to experiment more with music. Soon after he would pick up guitar which would spark his interest in further pursuing his playing of music. After he bought a guitar, Gordon would practice relentlessly, sometimes for as long as 12 hours a day. This passion for music allowed Gordon to go to a summer rock band camp in San Diego where he learned everything you need to know about touring, playing in a band, making a music video etc. When Gordon reached his senior year of high school he attended Perpich Center of the Performing arts in Golden Valley, Minnesota. While he was learned he took classes in ear training and music theory. He also took a Taiko drum class while he was at Perpich. Along with learning new musical concepts, Gordon also learned how the music business works which got him more interested in marketing the bands he performed in. Gordon also was able to take guitar lessons at Macphail in Minneapolis under the apprenticeship of James Allen. Gordon went on to Mesabi Range Community College where he received his Associates Degree. While there he played saxophone in the Community Band and guitar in bands he started himself. Gordon also took a banjo class, piano class and a music history class at Mesabi Range Community College. His main focus in the past years has been working with bands doing studio work, mini tours and CD production/marketing for those groups. After Community College, Gordon went to Evangel University in Missouri where he continued to study Guitar and Saxophone while picking up more woodwind and string instruments. Gordon took private guitar lessons and attended a Guitar Master Class at this college. He also attended Missouri State University where he learned about theory and composition. He also played Saxophone in the jazz band. While he attended school in Missouri he relentlessly continued to play in multiple groups live and recorded a Ska/Reggae CD (guitar and saxophone tracks) with the band Bringers of the Dawn. Gordon can fluently play and teach Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Clarinet, and Saxophone. Gordon is also willing to teach harmonica and banjo to those interested in learning. Gordon also has knowledge of several other cultural instruments with a background in piano lessons from high school and college. He got superior and excellent ratings at musical competitions for voice and saxophone in high school where he performed songs such as the Hungarian Dance #5 and Beautiful Dreamer. Gordon loves all genres of music and enjoys learning every style he can in order to improve his musical instruction. For the moment Gordon is pursuing songwriting particularly in the field of cultural music. Focusing on the students immediate musical needs, Gordon is able to encourage students to set goals in order to efficiently practice, concentrate and focus during the lesson time. Gordon is very patient with every student so that they refrain from becoming frustrated, overwhelmed or intimidated. Realizing the importance of music, Gordon makes sure that every student leaves each lesson having learned something new.