Acoustic and Electric Guitar, Piano/Keyboard, Bass Guitar, Drums, Theory, VCE Exam Preparation and ANZCA/AMEB Exam Preparation
$30 half an hour $50 one hour
“I would teach children music, physics and philosophy; but more importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning” – Plato
Lessons with Simeon are structured as follow:
Warm ups and Technique Exercises
An essential part of learning an instrument that is often overlooked by students (and teachers!) are warmups and technique building exercises. Warming up means more than just ‘playing until your fingers are not cold’. In fact, it has very little to do with the temperature of your fingers. Playing a musical instrument is a very physical experience and before effective practice can be made, it is important to make a connection with your instrument; to feel the tension of the strings, to feel the weight of the keys, the rebound of the drum. Your body will make very quick micro-adjustments to get you into optimal playing position.
Technique exercises are another crucial element often overlooked in a practice routine. Songs are made up of phrases. Phrases are made up of notes. Notes are played by specific motions our fingers and hands (and by extension, our whole bodies) make. We must train our hands to do exactly what we want them to do, when we want them to do it. If coordination and fine motor skills are developed, learning songs becomes easier because your hands know how to get from A to B (pun intended).
Warm ups and technique need not be boring. We have many exercises that are fun, challenging, motivating and most importantly, tailored to you and your current level.
NB: Warming up will not help if you are cold-blooded.
Working on a solid repertoire is the most important aspect one should be practicing. After all, it is usually why we all want to learn – to play our favourite songs by our favourite artists. As a beginner you will be encouraged to learn material from a method book. This will teach you short, simple tunes along with vital musical skills such as reading notation, developing good rhythm, pitch, phrasing, tone, understanding music theory, melodic construction and harmonic functions.
Your teacher will also give you extra songs to learn, often popular songs or songs which will teach you certain musical ideas or skills. It may involve a certain new chord or strumming pattern, or a solo with a fast passage that will help to increase your speed. It may just be a simple song that will push you to keep up with the beat for the entire length (harder than it sounds!). Depending on your level it may be excerpts of a few songs to help develop your skills until you are ready to play complete songs.
If you choose to sit for an exam, the majority of the lesson will be dedicated to your pieces and other exam material, as the aim of sitting and exam is to learn a set amount of material and to play it at the highest of your ability. This requires daily, focussed practice and you will received feedback regarding your progress at each lesson. Exams are completely optional but recommended for those either unsure of what they want to learn or for the student that wishes to study music to the fullest extent.
There is, of course, free-choice. These are your lessons and the songs you choose will have a big impact on your motivation and engagement with your instrument. No genre, artist or song is off limits and if you have many pieces you wish to learn, your teacher will be able to guide you in an appropriate order to learn them to develop skills which build on each other.
Remember, if you are ever at a party or around a campfire, nobody is going to ask you “How many scales do you know?” While it is important to know as many as you can, scales, exercises and theory are tools to help you learn, understand and play music.
Good aural skills are essential for any musician to possess. It includes the ability to hear certain musical elements such as instrumentation, rhythm, tempo and differences in pitch and intonation. These skills come naturally to some people which can make it easier to learn an instrument in the early stages. However, these are all skills that can be developed and should be developed, as having a ‘good ear’ will make it easier to pick up a tune.
More advanced aural skills will including recognising intervals, chords, chord progressions, cadences along with melodic and rhythmic transcription. All of which you will learn slowly when you are ready and when it is applicable to you.
Sight-reading refers to the ability to play a piece on first sight. While this is initially very difficulty to do, it can be developed with regular training. It is important to remember that learning music notation is like learning another language; each note is a letter, each phrase is a sentence, each symbol is a grammar point and a song is an entire book! The purpose of practicing reading (and playing) on first sight is that being a good reader makes it easier and faster to learn new material.
Every piece you learn contains some information about something. Why was it written? What emotion or message did the composer wish to convey? Where was the artist from and when? The music you would write if you were a composer would be completely different if you were in Germany in the 1700’s or New York in the 1970’s. How? Does the piece you are learning contain any valuable musical devices such as a perfect cadence, a tritone substitution or a ii V7 I progression?
Improvisation is a major aspect of most styles of music. It is one of the best ways musicians express themselves. Research indicates that an improvising musician uses different cognitive functions than if he or she is performing a learnt piece. In order to benefit the most from a musical education it is important to explore. Improvising is not necessarily for everybody and is not compulsory, however, it is often easier and more fun than one might expect and can be introduced from the very first lesson!