I've been a performing singer-songwriter since 1993. My influences include Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Richie Havens. I've been teaching private lessons since 2011 and I tailor my lessons according to the individual needs of my students. Everyone learns at a different pace and in a different way. My objective is to provide instruction that both challenges as well as respects your rate of progress.
I'm a primarily self-taught musician. Although I impart knowledge of scales (the major and the blues ones specifically) and the theory behind them (both of which I learned from formal instruction) as a central component of my curriculum, the bulk of my knowledge came from listening to and imitating delta blues artists such as Robert Johnson and Mississippi John Hurt both of whom displayed remarkable intricacies in their art.
We'll begin with the major scale in the key of C (as seen in the video) which you'll hear me indicate as being the white keys on the piano. Afterwards, you'll learn a spiritual and an American standard with just the three major chords comprising that key (C, F, and G7). The key of D will be taught in a very similar manner (a scale and then three chords) before the blues is introduced.
Though you will have learned to play campfire standards in fewer than eight lessons, I'm a believer in imparting the roots of the form and not just its recognizable elements. The blues (particularly the form originating from the Mississippi Delta) is the foundation of ALL American music. Therefore, I consider it essential to the curriculum.
I've always found E to be the most blues-friendly of all the keys. We'll be spending more than twice the amount of time we will have spent in C or D learning multiple progressions and chord formations in E. Afterwards, you'll be introduced to the blues scale and receive the basis for playing lead (solos). You'll learn some rudimentary jazz within this segment of the process as well.
For more information about my curriculum, you may review my published articles on TakeLesson's Teacher Blog:
NOTE: I travel strictly by bicycle and bus. Any in-home lessons must be within a three-mile radius of my home in Zilker/Barton Hills.
During the 2003-2004 school year, I raised standardized fourth-grade exam scores in mathematics 35% (from what they'd been the year prior) by way of implementing kinesthetic multi-sensory instruction. I teach guitar lessons very similarly in that I stress scales before chords in order to provide the student familiarity with relevant fingering.
· Guitar · In home
· Guitar · In studio
· Guitar · In home
Although I don't live near him, unfortunately, when he visits NYC I make it a point to check in with him and ask for his his advice on my rather limited guitar skills. I always come away from our sessions feeling much better about my playing and can see what an improvement he has made for me. He is very patient and so eager to help, even a beginner like myself. i just wish he lived closer!
· Healthy Cooking · In studio
· Guitar · In studio
As to his competence, he is a talented artist who plays with mastery and teaches with the belief that with time and practice, the student can attain comparable skill. He looks for and provides alternative methods when I have difficulty with a chord. He provides links to artists online so I can work on subtle changes in a tune during my week's practice.
Sam teaches scales which we review at each session. We also review songs/chords with an emphasis on clarity and rhythm (and graciously, not my singing). He is very serious about getting it 'right', but he is also sensitive.
Besides being sensitive in correcting mistakes, he is also sensitive to my preference in music. Without abandoning the basics, he is kindly teaching me more Blues songs than campfire ones since I like the moody melodies.
I'm very pleased and happy with my experience as Sam's student.
· Guitar ·
We tried a few different guitar teachers for our two young daughters, but they learned the most with Sam. He is one of those rare individuals with a gift for working with children, and has made a career for himself in teaching. He has a strong presence in the space that keeps children very focused on the music. I highly recommend.