I have been teaching music a long time. I take the same approach with children as young as 2 years old as I do with my college students at Nova SE University, with retired adults, and with parents of the children - it's just tweaked to be age-appropriate, and tailored to each person. I want music to be fun, but also rigorous and excellent!
Music enriches everybody. I believe in a creative approach to the discipline of learning to play an instrument WELL. I think it is crucial that lessons be FUN, whatever that means to each unique student, and that the immense satisfaction of learning to play music is a reward in and of itself.
Music develops the mind, heart, body and soul. If you are having trouble with ANYthing else in life, music will help.... If everything is going fine, playing an instrument will add richness and joy to your life and the life of those around you.
It’s rarely too early and never too late to learn to play. I can teach anyone to play and play well, if they practice they way I show them. My oldest student was 89, and my youngest are 2 years old.
Everyone can learn to play!
A life with music is a happy life!
In my studio, I teach very small children, older children, teenagers and adults - all of them are learning to play with such joy and beauty, power and heart, technique and artistry that I am moved, blown away, and happy every time I teach. My students inspire me. How can I NOT enjoy teaching them? And enthusiasm is contagious.
Sometimes parents comment that I am very patient. It doesn't feel like that to me. It just feels like I am having fun! I have been successful in several different professions, and have taught in all levels of schools and colleges. But I find private lessons and small groups to be the most satisfying of all.
I choose to do this job, among all the other possible jobs, because I love it!
Tarra Guerra is one of the best teachers I have ever known. She is the consummate practitioner of the Suzuki method; in every one of her sessions the parent learns as much as the child. Something nearly magical happens when she teaches and there is a shared learning experience that involves all the participants. As a parent, she helped me to understand that teaching must be partnered with learning. As a student, she gifted me the humility and the patient confidence to persist and to succeed.
Miss Tarra is brilliant. My 4 year old son is progressing so well with his guitar lessons thanks to this amazing teacher. We have been with Miss Tarra for 1 year now and couldn't be happier.
Each student is unique. There is no typical process. Each age has different requirements and needs. Each personality type has different requirements and needs. Each person learns in a different style, and at a different rate. Getting to know the student is a continual process which starts from the first lesson and continues forever!
That being said, all of these various students have to learn certain basic physical things in order to play an instrument beautifully, in a healthy way, and in such a way that they will be able to continue on with the instrument if they so desire, and go as far as they want!
What I am very good at is finding the correct style for each person. I am also very good at seeing the potential for that person, and asking them to reach for that growth, usually just a tiny bit out of their comfort zone that will lead them to where they want to be.
Then we stand back to together and admire what they have done, and go on to the next step....
I have a Masters in Music, with a major in Classical Guitar Performance, and a Minor in Classical Violin, and in composition. I also have done many, many specific teacher training classes, through the Suzuki Association and several other organizations, in each instrument, and in general teaching skills.
I have been teaching one thing or another for over 45 years. Every job I do tends to turn into teaching, as that is what I love. I have a great deal of training in teaching techniques. Much of this is listed in my personal website.
I also have many years of experience as a full-time professional musician. This includes being paid for singing, playing EVERY style of classical, acoustic and electric guitar, playing violin (or fiddle!), and various other instruments such as penny whistle in formal concerts, events like weddings or corporate parties, or in the recording studio.
Well, there is a long and a short answer to everything..... It can be confusing, so please feel free to call me to discuss it!
The short answer is that a normal month with four lessons will cost between $160 (four half hour private lessons only) and $340, (includes everything: one hour weekly lessons with a group class as well most weeks, three recitals and one competition per year included - note part of this is family rate, so that multiple family members do NOT get charged anywhere near as much)
The long answer is more like this:
Yes, I charge by the hour for private lessons, and by the month for the group lessons and recitals implicit in the full Suzuki program, should you choose that option.
How much I charge by the hour depends on the whether the student is enrolled in my full Suzuki program, or just taking private lessons, and on whether they come to me or I travel to them. The hourly rate for private lessons only is the higher number. The Suzuki program has the lower hourly lesson rate, but adds $100 per calendar month per family (again a good deal if there are several of you).
My minimum lesson is 30 minutes, which costs from $35 to $40, next is 45 minutes, costing from $47.50 to $55, with an hour costing between $60-75. It is usually better to take a shorter lesson every week than a longer one less often.
I charge travel expenses depending on location and time.
If you can get three families together in the same house for back to back lessons, I do NOT charge travel.
I can't remember ever NOT teaching, as a big sister...
My first paid lessons were on a barter system in a school of performing arts at age 11 - I traded guitar lessons for harp and ballet with other students.
My first paid teaching was as a college student in the chemisty labs. I loved it! When I went into the work force, I ended up doing mostly trainings...
In fact, everything I did, I ended up teaching. I did yoga, I taught it. I taught artists to make paint. I taught folk dance.... Eventually I realized that being a teacher was just what I needed to be.
So, I tutored and taught music privately and extensively beginning in my 20s, taught in several community colleges in my 30s, as well as in elementary, middle schools and pre-schools. I did some specific teacher training at that time.
Once I discovered the Suzuki method (as a mother, when my son studied violin), I took extensive training courses in violin and guitar methods, as well as a good deal of enrichment teacher training. I loved all of it....
I have worked with highly gifted, learning disabled, so called "good" students, and so called "problem" students, autistic and Down's students, so called ordinary every day students, students of all ages, all religions, all colors or races, all income levels, all walks of life. I have taught students with no language in common, and students who are amazingly articulate. I have taught people of every personality type and learning style....
At the end of each of the two school semesters, we have a large recital. My recitals are fun events, not nerve-wracking torture sessions.
It's like watching the Olympics: to see people reach beyond themselves, express themselves fully, and sound beautful in the process, is inspiring!
And while putting together a recital (very difficult!!!), I wonder why I do three per year, but after each one, I know why, and why I could never quit what I do....
Go and observe every teacher that you are considering. If they don't let you do that, you don't want to study with them. Talk to their students, and, if applicable, the parents of their students. Most teachers will find you someone to talk to if you ask.
Finding the best teacher for YOU is a very individual decision. It may or MAY NOT depend on how well they play, what their qualifications, age, connections or experience are. You must be comfortable with this person.
Do you like formality (not me), fun (me), seriousness (that's me too, but I mask it with fun), male (not me) female (me), etc, etc?
Then take a trial lesson. Don't ask for a free trial lesson. Chances are that you make a lot more money than the teacher does... no one ever got rich teaching.
What kind of music do I want to play/do I like? It helps to be able to pull up a youtube example.
If guitar, what style? Same for violin, or voice.
Do I want to be really good, or just have it as a fun hobby? For instance, if guitar, do I just want to accompany myself with chords while singing, or do I want to be able to fingerpick, do fancy chords or rhythms, etc.
and the most important: HOW MUCH TIME CAN I PUT INTO THIS?
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