Thank you for your interest in guitar lessons at Mark Veldevere Guitar Studios. I hope I can be of help to you as you begin to learn this wonderful instrument. Due to the large number of e-mails that I get regarding guitar lessons, I have put together this letter to hopefully answer some of the questions that you may have regarding my teaching style, history, etc. These answers are in response to your questions as well as the question of many others over the years. I hope this helps.
What is the best age to start guitar lessons?
While the optimal age to begin lessons is the age of ten and up, I have students from all ages, from five to seventy-five.
Do I need to have a guitar to start, and if so, where is the best place to buy/rent one?
The two places I recommend are Guitar Center and Summerhays Music Center. Guitar Center has a huge selection of guitars from all manufacturers to choose from with a wide range in prices. They do not, however, do any rentals. Summerhays is the place I recommend if you are going to rent or rent-to-own an instrument. They carry very nice quality guitars and have a variety of financing options.
What style of guitar do you teach?
I teach all styles and al levels. Some of the styles I teach include Rock, Metal, Blues, Jazz, Classical, Country, Bluegrass, Folk, Fingerstyle, Slide, Celtic, Punk, etc…
How long are the lessons?
Lessons last for 30 minutes. There are many students, however, who prefer an hour lesson each week which can be arranged.
Where are your classes held?
I teach at two locations. My main location is located in Cottonwood Heights (2540 E. Bengal Blvd) and my other location is in West Jordan.
What are the fees for lessons?
Fees are $85 per month per student. Payments must be paid at the beginning of the month. There are four half hour lessons per month.
What if I have to miss a lesson…can I make it up?
If a student needs to miss a lesson they must let me know that they are going to miss the lesson at least a day in advance. If I am told that they are going to be gone I am happy to do a make-up for that lesson. The make-up needs to me completed by the end of the month. Make-ups are not carried over from month to month. If a student does not show up to a lesson, or does not give adequate notice, they lose that lesson and it will not be made-up.
How long have you been teaching and playing the guitar?
I have been playing the guitar for over thirty years and have been teaching the guitar for over twenty years.
Do you have any referrals?
How long will it take me to be a good player?
The answer to this depends on the several variables. If you just want to strum basic songs, it will not take long at all. In fact, most students learn their first song on their first lesson. If you want to be a professional player, it will take much more time. Most professional players practice or have practiced for several hours each day for many years. Some students, also, have a natural ability and learn at a much faster pace than others.
What is better…the acoustic guitar or electric?
My personal belief is to follow the desires of the student. If a student desires to play the electric, he or she will be more motivated to practice if he or she enjoys the instrument they are playing. That being said, there are differences between types of guitars that can make a difference in a students progress. Mark will be happy to meet with you at his office or at a music store to help you in your decision and make sure that you make the right choice.
Do you teach theory?
I strongly believe in learning as much about music theory as you can. Students who only learn the guitar become great guitarists but not musicians. One the fourth week of the month I teach group theory classes where the student learn basic to advanced music theory and how to analyze and write songs of their own.
Do you teach sight-reading?
There are two methods of learning the guitar. The first is tablature. This is important to know due to the fact that all guitar music published today is published in this form. Tablature is the cheating way of playing the guitar. The problem with tablature is that students do not know why they are playing what they are playing. The second method is called standard music notation. This involves learning to read actual music like any other musician. By learning standard music notation a student learns about the language of music and can take that knowledge to every other instrument as well. Both are important and all of my students learn to read both.
Do you have recitals?
On the average, I have two recitals per year. One in the early summer and one at Christmas time. Students are encouraged to participate but are not required to do so!
What materials do I have to have?
First, a good three ring binder (preferably one that is 1 1/2 “ thick);
Second, a good guitar tuner;
Third, a good metronome;
Fourth, a guitar capo;
Fifth, there are two books that Mark uses to teach sight-reading. Mark will help the student to choose which book will work best for the student. One book is geared towards acoustic/classical guitar and the other book is geared towards the electric guitar. To start, however, the three ring binder is all that is needed on the first few lessons.
How long to I have to practice?
I recommend a minimum of thirty minutes per day every day for a beginning student. Obviously the more a student practices, the better they will become. I have several students who practice several hours each day and they are great players because of the time they dedicate to their instrument.
What can I expect to learn?
Students can expect to learn several things. First, a lot of songs by a lot of different artists (Mark has a library of close to seven thousand songs to choose from); Second, a lot of different styles. Third, theory and music reading. Fourth, different techniques such as strumming, alternate picking, fingerpicking, hybrid picking, tapping, legato, sweep-picking, etc.; Fifth, various scales such as minor and major pentatonics, the seven modes of the major scale, the seven modes of the melodic minor scale, the seven modes of the harmonic minor scale, the chromatic scale, the different forms of the diminished scale, the whole tone scale, and various fun scales like the Hebrew scale, Japanese scales, and many others; Sixth, how to use effects, amps, and guitars in different ways to write songs, etc.
Do I have to sign a contract?
No! There are no Contracts at Mark Veldevere Guitar Studios!
What forms of payment do you accept?
I accept cash and checks, and can accepts Credit Cards On the Square Market!
Do you have any guest clinicians/artists?
Every year I have guest clinicians come and perform for the students. Each year I have had session great and recording artist Michael Dowdle (www.michaeldowdle.com) as well as session guitarist and jazz great Rich Dixon. Others include Nashville songwriter Jesse Thurgood and National Fingerstyle Champion and Taylor Guitar Clinician Chris Proctor. These are just a few of the guest clinicians we have perform for the students.