Guitar Lessons With Matthew Von Doran
• Be empowered through one-on-one sessions
Right now, I am exclusively doing remote lessons via Skype or Zoom or FaceTime... I do lots of lessons via online video & it is an extremely effective way to teach & to learn. When it is safe, in-person lessons in my downtown Saint Louis studio will be an option.
• Expand your possibilities as a guitarist & musician with a personalized curriculum
• Learn how to absorb more material at a deeper level in a shorter amount of time
• Practice effectively with an accelerated goal-oriented approach
• Increase your motivation
• Sharpen your focus & concentration
• Utilize proven time management skills
Lessons can cover:
• All styles of music
• Lead guitar
• Rhythm guitar
• Vocal Accompaniment
• Jamming Skills
• Reading Music
• Music Theory
• Vocabulary: scales, chords, & arpeggios
• Song Writing
• Recording and Production
• Guidance In Equipment Selection
If the student is a complete beginner, the first lesson will focus on the fundamental techniques involved in playing the music they are striving to learn to play. Quite often, a great place to start is with basic chords & strumming.
If the student is already a functioning player, then the first session is spent on diagnostics of the student's abilities. This ensures success in creating a personalized curriculum that focuses on the musicianship skills that they need to play the music they love.
The lessons usually run around 75 minutes. The atmosphere is relaxed & more about working together rather than a strict teacher/student dynamic. Students that make the most progress have a clear idea of their goals. They also are motivated & focused. I work with each client in helping them maximize their efforts... and have fun in the process!
The longer I have been at this, the more I enjoy doing it!
I have never stopped working on my growth as a musician & an educator. I am always looking for new ways to teach & explore the many aspects of music performance & musicianship skills.
Frequently asked questions
What is your typical process for working with a new student?
Having a clear idea of what you want to be & do as a guitar player is extremely helpful in getting the most out of your lessons & practice experience.
Can you visualize what you will look like a few weeks or months from now as a guitar player?… actually playing complete songs… or composing… or improvising… or playing with other musicians?
In the initial lesson, we discuss the details of the student’s goals for their own guitar playing.
Showing up with a list of four or five songs that you would like to eventually be able to play is a great start.
Once we’ve established a vision, we get right to it & start working together to create a personalized curriculum that focuses on the developing skills necessary for playing the music you want to play.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I have been teaching guitar for over 35 years now.
My experience ranges from private sessions to clinics to teaching college classes.
In 2015, I launched an online course called the 99 Decisions Guitar Program and I also have produced video lessons for GrammyPro.com and LickLibrary.com.
I have held adjunct instructor positions at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Missouri and at Concordia University, Irvine, California.
I currently maintain a position at the ex’treme Institute by Nelly, Saint Louis, Missouri, where I teach music theory to Music Business & Audio Engineering students.
For tens years, I worked with high school level aspiring musicians from around the country as the Director of Guitar Studies at GRAMMY Camp, a music career camp which was put on by The Grammy Foundation at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, for ten days each summer.
In addition to being an educator, I am also a composer & performer. I have released an album of original compositions, In This Present Moment, produced by Yellowjackets bassist, Jimmy Haslip, featuring Peter Erskine, Larry Goldings, Bob Mintzer, Terri Lyne Carrington, Bob Sheppard, Darek Oles, Marcus Baylor, James Genus, and Gary Novak.
How did you get started teaching?
After playing guitar for a few years, I started helping people I know with their playing and discovered that I really enjoyed being able to help other players take their playing to the next level.
What types of students have you worked with?
At this point, I have had so much experience with so many kinds of students.
I enjoy working with an absolute beginner as much as I enjoy helping professionals take their playing to new heights.
What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?
I think it is very important to shop around & find the right guitar teacher for you. You are looking for someone that is a good fit for your personality & energy.
I also believe that a music lesson is a different dynamic than traditional academic experience…
a music teacher actually works for you!
You should have final say in any of the curriculum & processes. I have had so many clients that quit
their lessons with previous teachers because they ended up not enjoying the lessons, or the material they were working on. Thier teacher was dragging them through lesson material that they thought was best for the student when it actually was not in line with the student’s own personal musical goals.
There is always a way to cut to the chase and focus on learning exactly what you need to learn in order to apply the music that YOU want to play.
So finding someone you can trust is important… you want to find someone with the knowledge & experience to make your musical journey productive & fun!
What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?
Essentially, you are hiring a person who provides a service so treat it as if you are interviewing someone for a job.
Put some thought into what you are looking to get out of the experience… write down any questions you have before you talk to anyone.
You might want to ask about the teacher’s experience, teaching philosophy, expectations for your progress, etc.
Generally, I teach with an open-ended dynamic so the student learns at their own pace.
The lessons are not structured in a wy where you have to have things completed before the next lesson. It is a more fluid dynamic that works better with a busy lifestyle.