Portland Beginner Guitar Lessons

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Learn Beginning Guitar in inner SE Portland

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The Beginner and Music Lessons: Learning the guitar (and music in general) can be great when you have the right teacher, and awful if you have a teacher that doesn’t fit your style. At my studio, your style is adapted to. Beginners love to pick their own material and their own songs. When a beginner comes to a lesson and chooses the song, I pick elements of the song that suit the student’s capabilities, and makes sense to the student, musically. Students often practice along to videos, CDs and MP3s to “get a feel” for things. Lessons with media are more fun!

Topics Covered: Music theory, songs, rocking out, playing to songs you like. Scales, intervals, basic soloing. Fundamentals of theory. Whatever you like.

Music Technology: Music technology is incorporated into all lessons. How do you record a song and burn it onto a CD? What is a dynamic microphone? How do you record a drum pattern onto a CD and multi track guitars over it? These topics and more are covered.

Music Theory: Key signatures and sight-reading music notation for those whom wish to read; simplified and easy-to-use music theory for those who wish to rock. Playing in key. Scales, modes; chordal theory and rhythms. Intervals, and interval-related ear training.  For vocalists of any sort and age, a capella interval vocalization and creative improvisational composition is encouraged – and possible.

Material and Application: You pick the music.

Instructor notes: I love teaching beginners. Read more about my attitudes regarding free play and improvisation. Many of my beginning students write their own songs. Kids get to do what they want. For more information, click here for kid’s lessons.

You Should Bring: Your guitar, and your friends/parents. After the first lesson, you’re welcome to use one of my guitars. It’s important for a beginner’s guitar to not be too hard to play; make sure to bring in the guitar so I can assess it. I don’t care if you bring your lesson papers back. I prefer that you know the material and leave the papers at home. When we are learning what we love, we memorize it better. That’s why students of all ages guide their own lessons.

About the Instrument: Beginning guitarists tend to have inexpensive instruments that frustrate them. Please bring your instrument in so that I can analyze its playability, and the potential costs of fixing any problems. I used to have a part time job estimating jobs and problems, and scheduling instrument repairs and custom builds at a Portland guitar repair shop called the 12th Fret Custom Guitar Shop, a shop of master luthiers who are wonderful people; before that, I worked for a couple of years at Elderly Instruments. Keep in mind that you can play one of my guitars at any lesson except the first lesson.

Genres: Beginner guitar students with complex musical tastes have a larger gap than most students. Remember what Ira Glass said (see the right sidebar?) and try to pick a simple song to learn. You probably shouldn’t try to start by playing Slayer. Settle for the Beatles. If you are patient, in short time you will be able to cover your favorite music.

Be still and immovable; do not rush to the next level. Be stubborn about being a beginner. It’s a valuable time of your musicianship.

-Amanda Machina

squirrel at whirling squirrel dot com

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2 thoughts on “Portland Beginner Guitar Lessons”

  1. Hi Amanda,
    I am a friend of your student. He highly recommended you for guitar lessons.
    I have a 6and 1/2 year old boy and a 9and 1/2 year ild girl. All of us would like to learn how to play. Is my son old enough? Do you have a certain guitar that you recommend for beginners? I thought we could maybe do a group lesson together? Like an hour once a week or something?
    I will be out of town for the second half of August, when I get back maybe we can set something up.
    Thank You!

    1. Hi Jennifer! Your son is old enough. Lots of families have group lessons at my studio. Go ahead and book something on the calendar and we will see what works best. You can visit the calendar by going to my website and clicking on schedule.

      For questions about what guitar to buy please contact me directly over phone or email.

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A music teacher in Portland Oregon