HOW MUCH? I charge $60.00 per one-hour lesson or $220.00 for 4 lessons, paid in advance.
My experience has shown that one hour per week works best for most students, but other schedules can be arranged. I donít do half-hours.
WHEN? My teaching hours run from 11:00AM to 8:45PM Monday through Thursday, and until 5:00PM Friday. At the moment I have a few evening slots available, but they tend to fill up fast. The evening times are 5:15 to 6:15, 6:30 to 7:30, and 7:45 to 8:45PM. If everything else sounds good but you're not sure about available times, please don't hesitate to call. As you might guess, things can change very quickly and this way we'll be set up to move right away.
WHERE? I teach out of my home in San Francisco in the Forest Hill/West Portal/Twin Peaks area. If you drive, street parking is easy. Public transportation is also handy, close to Muni Metro (K, T, L, and M lines) and #36, 43, 44, 52 bus lines.
WHO? I teach primarily beginning through intermediate students, including young people, with a wide range of previous experience. Some start with no musical experience or training whatsoever. Others are fairly experienced musicians who are looking to fill "holes" in their musical knowledge or bass technique, break out of a rut, or just have a different set of ears and eyes evaluate their playing. Many musicians improve by losing bad habits they weren't even aware they had! I also assist musicians making the transition from another instrument, often guitar.
WHAT WILL I NEED? You will need a bass guitar to start, and I have consulted with students on choosing an instrument. I do not work for any music store, nor do I represent or endorse any particular manufacturer. Strangely enough, sometimes students ask me if they need to bring their amplifier to their lesson. No, Iím all set up for students, just bring the axe! If you haven't purchased a bass yet and want to use your free lesson to find out what it's like to hold the instrument and pluck a few notes, I do have a spare right-handed instrument on hand. This bass is also available if it's inconvenient for you to bring your own instrument to your lesson.
HOW DO YOU TEACH? I try to take a well-rounded approach to teaching and always try to keep the fun in it. None of us start playing for work; that's why it's called "play"-ing! That being said, here's what I think any musician needs to know:
Knowledge of music theory is necessary for understanding your instrument, for communicating with other musicians, and for helping to make intelligent musical choices. There is "pure" theory: being able to understand the principles of harmony and rhythm in your head, and "applied" theory: using that understanding to play your bass. We will explore the chromatic scale, intervals, key signatures, the major and minor scales, modes and other scales, triads, extended chords, time signatures, rhythmic division, and more. Please don't be scared away by talk of theory. I am not like that piano or violin teacher you had when you were eight years old. If you can remember the first seven letters of the alphabet and you can do simple (and I mean simple) arithmetic, you can get basic theory.
Proper technique helps you implement your choices, build up stamina (for those four-set club dates and six-hour jam sessions), and prevent fatigue and injury. I cover the proper use of the right and left hands as well as the ergonomics of playing the bass.
Development of your "ear" is not only important; it's the musical tool you'll use the most! Once you understand the basics of your instrument and music theory, I like to devote time to song structure and analysis. The competent bassist must understand how a song is structured in order to come up with swingin' bass lines, or even to make copying a recorded line easier. Theory and song structure come together in the chord chart. I also teach the role of the bass in the ensemble, although that role does seem to shift over time. I am conversant in most popular styles. I encourage my students to let me know the kind of music that turns them on.
Also, these days many players are moving from the four-string to the five- or six-string electric. We look at the differences, similarities, and how to transition from one instrument to the next.
Lessons can be recorded if desired on your own device.
HOW FAST DOES IT GO? I have no set lesson plan or pre-determined pace. I leave it to my students to decide how hard and for how long they can work on music each week. I do encourage continuity and persistence.
WHAT ABOUT GEAR? I am always available for consultation on equipment maintenance and purchase. Most electric musicians are gear junkies to one degree or another and I'm no exception.