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                Teaching Style

30 years ago, if you went to a teacher to learn banjo, he'd give you the tab to Cripple Creek, send you home with it, you'd muddle through it, come back in a week, and he'd critique. It probably won't come as much of a surprise that Earl Scruggs didn't learn this way.

Music comes to us through the ears, not through the eyes. Yet, we come to learning an instrument with a lifetime's experience in learning almost everything from Algebra to how to install a window air conditioner from paper, right to left, top to bottom. It's how we get through the educational system. Many folks think that it is the only way they can learn. I have softened my views on tablature in recent years. For my individual students, I now publish tab. I still discourage it in jam class (where it won't help much, anyway.) Follow the For Students link on the left to see a listing.

By the time we get to adulthood, we have this set of abilities and disabilities drummed into us from our experiences. "I can't sing" or "I have a tin ear" or "I'm tone deaf" are labels we've assumed about ourselves based on some bad experience in 5th grade choir. It is my opinion that everyone has the ability to hear pitch. It's just not been exercised in many of us.

My style of teaching revolved mostly around "watch, listen, and repeat". I ask my students to buy a 3 gig or greater thumb drive and I will load it up with videos of songs I've recorded. We can also record them so that they can jog their memory using their ears (and not paper) when they get home.


This is not school, there are no tests, we're not doing this to achieve fame or fortune. We're doing it for fun. My role as a teacher is not to get you to master the instrument, but to have fun learning and playing.

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