Private instruction for all ages in mountain dulcimer, guitar, piano and drums are offered each day Monday - Thursday (no weekends) during the morning, afternoon and early evening hours. Morning and early afternoon hours are great for those children who are home schooled and for those who are retired or do not work during the day. The late afternoon and evening hours are reserved to accommodate the schedules of those who work 9 to 5 or attend the public schools.
Lessons are 30 minutes in length and meet once a week. Those students who drive a long distance for instruction may opt to schedule a 60 minute lesson every other week in order to save travel expenses.
Lessons are taught at 725 Highway 218 By Pass, in Paris, Tennessee Monday through Thursday (no weekends).
Monthly tuition fee is $80.00 and does not change from month to month. The fee is collected at the beginning of each month and the student is expected to attend lessons at their appointed time. No adjustments to the fee will be made due to student absences. I do not normally reschedule lessons due to conflicts but will provide each student with a list of other student's names and phone numbers upon request so that they may swap lesson times.
Is My Child Too Young?
You will need to determine if your child is capable of doing the following:
- Can he/she focus and listen for 30 minutes during lesson time?
- Can he/she develop a routine of daily practice?
- Can he/she physically manage the instrument?
- Can he/she read and comprehend the printed materials?
- Does YOUR schedule allow you to have them here on a weekly basis?
Listen & Learn
Many of today's instructional books come with a Listen & Learn CD. This is a wonderful way of learning music while practicing on your own. For songs not included in the instructional books, my dulcimer and guitar students may be asked to purchase a micro SD card on which I can record songs we are trying to learn. The student can then take the SD card home, insert it into their computer and play along with the recording. Having an audio reference enhances the learning process and students who take advantage of the recordings tend to progress much faster than those who do not use them.
Mountain Dulcimer Instruction
My style of playing the mountain dulcimer can be referred to as strummed flat-picking or chord-melody style. This method uses a combination of strumming techniques and flat-picked notes to create a contemporary sound while preserving the traditional strumming style of dulcimer playing.
Over the years, I have written fourteen dulcimer books and have compiled more than 6,000 dulcimer arrangements for all levels of instruction. I teach at various clinics, workshops and folk festivals around the country, using much of the same material with my private students each week. I teach a variety of music such as Old Time, Celtic, Irish, Hymns, Jigs, Fiddle Tunes, etc.
Students must provide their own dulcimer. I endorse and recommend McSpadden Mountain Dulcimers of Mountain View, Arkansas because of their playability and affordability. I can order a McSpadden dulcimer for you and have it shipped overnight, provided your choice is in stock. I will provide all instructional materials for my dulcimer students. Other useful items include a case, electronic tuner, capo, pick and ring binder for organizing the materials I provide.
I teach an acoustic solo style of guitar playing. This method uses the fingers of the right hand to play chord based melodies rather than using a guitar pick to strum or flat-pick. I work with several styles of music to teach this technique such as blues, ragtime, gospel, Celtic, etc. I use Hal Leonard's Guitar Method by Will Schmid and Solo Guitar Playing by Fredrick M. Noad as instructional books. These books can be purchased at Leach's Music in downtown Paris. Students must provide their own guitar. I recommend Alavarez and Yahama guitars for students just starting out because of their playability and affordability. Younger students will benefit from having a student size or 3/4 size guitar instead of a full size guitar. The staff at Leach's Music will gladly assist you by answering any questions you may have regarding quality, size and pricing of guitars. I will not teach students with guitars purchased from discount superstores as these instruments have proven themselves to be consistently unreliable. Remember that each student's progress is directly related to the quality of the instrument he/she purchases. Other useful items include a case, notebook, pencil and electronic tuner.
I use Alfred's Basic Piano Library instruction books as my preferred method of teaching piano. It is a long time favorite of many piano instructors and is a proven method of instruction. These books now come with a practice/demo CD which is useful when practicing. Assignments are made each week based on the progress of the student from the previous week. Students are required to have their own piano for practice at home. This can be an electronic/digital piano, provided it has full size, touch sensitive keys, a sustain pedal and a stand. Keyboards purchased from discount superstores sometimes do no meet these requirements. Leach's Music in downtown Paris carries a full line of Yamaha digital keyboards and will be happy to assist you with your purchase.