Below is an essay written by my student Julia (only 10!). She was asked to write a piece about her favorite teacher and she picked me. I’m extremely humbled. (Though I have to say my house isn’t always messy!) Thanks to Julia and her family!
Not many people have over ten guitars, but Mike, my guitar teacher, does. Every Wednesday I have the privilege of entering his house- filled with personality and music. His style of teaching inspires me to produce my best efforts. I never feel put down, just lifted up when I leave. I believe his expertise and education in music gives him tips and teaching skills that he eagerly passes on to me and his other students. As a guitarist that benefits from his background, I submit he is as finely tuned as any of his many guitars.
Mike always greets me on the doorstep to his small, yet cozy house. The living room is cluttered with pictures, books, amplifiers, sheet music that has long since been overplayed, broken guitar picks, and wafts of good smells drifting from the kitchen. Slowly, I guide my feet through the mess and find myself in the practice room. Only a few inches of bare space stand without a guitar component. The instruments cover the walls, allowing a three-hundred-sixty degree view of all his guitars. Small spinning stools sit in the center of the room, offering a comfortable place to sit. With all these components of his house, it really reflects his fun, unique personality.
Mike went to school for music and excels at teaching it. It only took a day for me to learn a week’s worth of skills. I could play three different scales after seeing him only four times! He shows complete dedication to teaching me when I am at his house. Sometimes the doorbell rings and he has the person wait until he wraps up teaching me. After only a couple questions of “I taught you this last week, right?” his mind is set on the pace that I learn. His brain overflows with knowledge about guitars. I have asked him many questions and each has received a straightforward answer. I know so much about the guitar already by simply listening at lessons.
With such a laid back teaching style, Mike isn’t afraid to show me things in unique ways. To show me how to keep my hand out in front of my guitar, he laid under his piano and played it like that with his hands in two different positions. He stays focused on my instruction and helps me get better. Rather than telling me what I am doing wrong, he suggests ways to do something differently. He seems to teach me like a kid would, kind of letting me figure it out on my own. I feel more connected to mike because he is comfortable to be around, and his teaching style reflects that.
Mike’s wonderful personality makes learning and playing my guitar magic. He knows when to push me and when to console me. He goes to extreme lengths to get his points across and to help me learn the why of things. I may not own many different guitars, but every time I pick mine up, I know I’ll feel gratitude towards the one who makes learning an instrument fun. – Julia (age 10)
Here are some other very kind words about my teaching:
“My daughter (8) was on her 2nd year of traditional lessons. She was having a great time, had a few recitals in front of crowds and loved playing in front of friends and family. However, over the almost 2 years of lessons she didn’t progress much in her style of play or understanding of the instrument. She was still plucking w/ one finger happily and missed a lot of potential upside to playing guitar.
After 6 months at DGA studying with Mike under the Suzuki program, she’s playing w/ almost all her fingers, on all the strings, can play along with music and with Mike during lessons and has really started to see what’s available for her w/ the guitar. I take individual lessons w/ Mike and sit in on my daughter’s lessons. Mike helps teach me the accompaniment tracks so that I can help her at home with lessons. We’re very happy with our move to DGA and look forward to her progression over the next few years. ” – Kyle R (2012)
“Mike is an outstanding guitar teacher! My son responds very well to his his teaching methods. Mike is patient, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable of best practices for teaching children how to play the guitar. Mike is passionate about helping his students reach their full potential and grow as musicians. ” – Becki H (2012)
Mike’s patience and professionalism have been crucial in the development of my son’s love of guitar and the continued improvement of his musical abilities. I’ve been incredibly impressed with Mike’s passion for teaching , his reliability and interest in cultivating teaching techniques that help his students perform to the best of their capabilities.” – Hilary H (2012)