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The Parent's Guide

I wrote this guide for parents that don't play an instrument, but want their child to play guitar, bass or drums.

Topics: (click and page will scroll down)

Of course, I'd be happy to answer any of your questions by phone or email.

Purchasing an Instrument

Guitar   Bass Guitar   Drums

Purchasing a Guitar: Overview

If you know nothing about guitars; start here.

Purchasing an Acoustic Guitar

You can get a good acoustic guitar these days for $99! I'm talking about an instrument that will last a lifetime if you take good care of it.

acoustic guitar
Choose the right size acoustic guitar for the student.
There are two sizes: ¾ size (for kids around 8-12) and the standard size.

An acoustic guitar is hollow, like a "music box." It has a hole for the sound to come out. In other words, an acoustic does not need to be plugged in because it has a natural resonance. It's the kind of guitar you'd play around the campfire. It's great for learning new songs and techniques and is used in all styles of music. The acoustic guitar is also a great tool for writing a song. Some people swear the sound of an acoustic guitar is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable sounds on earth.

Read more about Acoustic Guitar Lessons

Purchasing an Electric Guitar

electric guitar     10 watt guitar amp

The electric guitar is usually a solid piece of wood. You can get an amazing variety of sounds and tones by plugging an electric guitar into different amplifiers and effects processors. The guitar “hears” the strings through magnets attached to the body called pickups and sends the signal to the amp. Don't worry, the walls won't be shaking! There are settings on amps that let guitarists practice at reasonable volumes; equal to the volume of an acoustic guitar being strummed.

Read more about Electric Guitar Lessons

Purchasing a Bass Guitar

The bass (pronounced "base") guitar has a low and deep sound. Bass guitar is a crucial part of most rock music. For example, Paul McCartney was the bass player for the Beatles. Ideas that you learn on the bass can be easily applied to the guitar, and vice-versa. In fact, they're almost the same instrument.

bass guitar     A 10 watt bass amp is great for practice

Bass amps are versatile. You can use a bass amp for keyboards, vocals and you could even play your iPod through it.

The bass, like the electric guitar is usually made of solid wood. The bass covers the low end of the audio spectrum. It has the same first four strings as the guitar, but the strings are thicker, producing a lower sound. Bass players tend to play more individual notes, rather than chords (combinations of notes). The bass is the basement; the foundation of the band. A bass player locks into the rhythm of the drummer and becomes another rhythm instrument in the band. In a world of guitarists, bass players are sorely needed!

Read more about Bass Guitar Lessons

Purchasing Drums

Consider Buying Used Drums

Learn Strategies to Practice Drums at a Reduced Volume

Read more about Drum Lessons

Purchasing New Drums

drum set

Want to Learn More About Drum Sets?

Hand Drums

You can always start on a djembe (pronounced jem-bay.)
djembe drum
or some congas!

conga drum

There are very few things in life like playing a drum set or a hand drum. Drummers drummers use three, sometimes all four limbs all at once; in rhythm. Playing the drums is great for developing coordination and a sense of timing. Students that take drum lessons use their counting skills to stay on and subdivide the beat. Learning about drumming is great for anyone that wants to improve their sense of rhythm. Playing a hand drum is such a liberating feeling. Try it once and you may be hooked for life. Human bodies are made to move; to dance and to play drums!

What instrument should my child play?

That's an easy one! Just ask them.

Of course, I do offer the possibility of studying both guitar/bass AND drums at the same time for no additional charge, so you may soon find your young musician playing multiple instruments!

How long is the ideal lesson?

You'd be surprised how fast forty-five minutes and even an hour flies by. The best way to determine how long the lesson should be is try one.

Try forty-five minutes; if it feels too short, try an hour. Or try an hour; if it feels too long, then next time go with the shorter lesson.

I can also make suggestions based on age and the student's goals.

If students wish to make a band; "school of rock" style; then it begins with individual study followed by group work. Although we will play songs, I do not teach people to blindly copy. The song is a vehicle to focus on group dynamics, good musicianship, and analytic listening.

Why Music Instruction?

The short answer is:

We organize sounds into music. Sounds and music are an everyday part of our lives.

The longer answer is music education equals lifelong benefits. For example, music education pays off with better grades in school. Music education also develops the language-center of the brain and improves spatial intelligence. Playing music with other people involves teamwork and communication skills. And of course, playing music is a vehicle for creativity and self-expression.

The 12 Benefits of Music Education

According to the National Association for Music Education, music lessons pay off with:

Childhood Music Lessons could Pay off Decades Later by Keeping the Mind Sharper as People Age

"Those childhood music lessons could pay off decades later - even for those who no longer play an instrument – by keeping the mind sharper as people age." More good news: it's never too late to start!
When you learn to play a tonal instrument like the guitar or bass it develops your coordination between the left side of your body and the right. It develops your sense of tones; melodies and harmonies.

Playing the guitar or bass makes you use your muscle-memory in your hands (formed during practice) and a requires a comprehension and tasteful application of rhythmic, melodic and harmonic ideas.

Playing the drums involves muscle-memory with all four limbs going at the same time. You can get away with not reading music on other instruments, but with drumming you need to learn to read music and use a bit of basic math and counting to keep the beat.

Warning: once you start playing drums, you may turn into a human beat machine; practicing by tapping your fingers anywhere and everywhere!

Why choose Cleveland Guitar and Drum Lessons?

No matter what instrument they choose, my music lessons will help students become better listeners and improve their musicianship. I teach out of my own materials and each lesson is designed with the individual student in mind. We always review the homework and then build on what the student knows. Students that practice end up learning a new song almost every week! It's fun, instant gratification to learn and play a new song.

It's in my approach to music theory (the study of music) where I differ from other instructors. If you ever took Piano you may remember basically just following what the teacher or sheet music said. But playing music is alot more than just learning to read sheet music. From the first lesson, I always explain the “why” of what we are doing so that students develop a systematic understanding of music theory.

Music is like a puzzle. When you have this systematic understanding, you begin to see how the pieces of the puzzle all fit together. In other words, I teach in a way that encourages students to be able to explain what they are doing and create their own music. My students also develop the tools to analyze compositions and techniques created by others. I take my students on a tour of different musical styles and introduce them to a variety of timeless performers and songs. We analyze each song that we play and we discuss how the earlier musicians and styles inspired the later ones.

Call today and reserve your spot!

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Cleveland Guitar and Drum Lessons
University Heights , OH , 44118