NoDa Guitar Studio (Dr. Todd Tipton)

NoDa Guitar Studio (Dr. Todd Tipton)

5.0
1 employee
1 years in business

About this pro

I show my clients how to work effectively and efficiently, and how to play with security and confidence.  I built the most successful studio in Minneapolis, and have recently relocated to Charlotte.  Some of the skills I develop in my clients:

achieve a great tone.

maximize time with effective study and practice habits.

always practice with specific aims.

build habits of security and confidence.

avoid habits of confusion and error.

develop sustained concentration spending less practice time. 

organize and balance practice between repertoire and exercises.

play with expression.

combat performance anxiety.

play music with security and confidence.

built and maintain a repertoire with the least amount of effort.

lead others in efficient rehearsals.

confidently evaluate music teachers

A traditional biography would tell you all of the amazing degrees I have, the world class artists I have studied and worked with, and the numerous musicians I have shared the stage with. My greatest achievement has been making countless students’ lives more gratifying by sharing the guitar with them for the last 25 years. 

I know what it is like to be frustrated:

Like most people, my first experience with the guitar was less than ideal. I enjoyed playing, had a nice teacher, but in spite of my years of hard work, I wasn't achieving the goals I wanted to achieve. Although I could play at more than a modest level, I hit a wall.  Like every other music student, my tastes were evolving (and yours will too).  More and more, I lacked the ability to play the music I was drawn to.   I was frustrated because  I worked hard, yet lacked the ability to play the music I wanted to play.

 My realization:

 As a young adult, I was fortunate enough to finally find a teacher that wouldn't lie to me.  I didn't know how to practice, I had no sound technique, and I had developed bad habits which were holding me back. Most importantly, I didn't realize I was missing these things! As a result, I had to start at square one in order to become the player that I wanted to be. During the process, with the gifted guidance of teachers, my passion for teaching was quickly realized.  And, because I was a young adult at the time, I intimately remember the process of learning with competent instruction.  I finally learned how to work effectively and efficiently, and how to perform with security and confidence. Within months, I was playing professionally and continuing my studies with world-class artists.

Why I teach:

It saddens me to hear someone say that they have tried to learn and couldn't. Or to hear a player lament that they do well in the practice chair but struggle to play for others with security and confidence. Such things are no fault of the student, nor is it because of any lack of ability. Rather, it is due to incompetent instruction.  A competent teacher shows a student exactly how to work, and the student sees results from their effort.  Yet few teachers know how to show this process.  Many guitarists teach on the side out of necessity.  Few actually enjoy it.  Even fewer like teaching beginners.

I have been teaching for decades by choice. Because of my personal journey through frustration and realization, I became passionate about helping others to avoid the pitfalls I had to endure. I don’t want others to waste valuable time and effort like I did.  I am grateful for my experiences because they helped me to establish an uncommon connection with students.  It is my purpose in life to help students of all skill levels reach their potential without frustration or confusion.

What I teach:

Often, guitar teachers are uncomfortable teaching multiple “styles”.  Instructors from the classical music world often scoff at other genres.  Other teachers often lure students with promises of  instruction in all styles, yet are unable to offer the discipline and structure that classical music demands when students seek it.  Students are often forced, based on their teacher’s inadequacies, to make a difficult decision (classical only or anything but classical). Regardless, the process is, more often than not, a “paint-by-numbers” approach, never reaching the essence of what should be happening. What I mean is it is important to learn many things (scales, arpeggios, position, rhythms, theory, etc).  There is no shortage of teachers, books, online videos, etc. freely willing to show these things.  But that isn't learning how to work.  True study is really about learning to work effectively and efficiently, and learning to play with security and confidence.

 I provide a foundation, nearly immediately applying knowledge to the styles of music that most interests students.  Through my decades of teaching, nearly half of my students have “cross-trained”.  The others have been classical purists by choice.  Individual choice of style and genre is not only tolerated, it is encouraged!  The foundation I provide my students makes anything possible. A paint-by-numbers approach begs for a particular style. Learning to play the guitar (learning to work efficiently and effectively) gives foundation and allows students to explore their ever evolving tastes.

 Who I teach:

Over half of my students have come to me as either intermediate players or rank beginners.  Many of my students choose to study later in life after families and/or careers are well-established.  Some return to the instrument after many years.  Many have never touched an instrument before and might not even know how to produce a sound.  Like most highly established teachers, only some students are advanced or even professional guitarists wanting assistance with musicality or advanced technique.  

Students often come to me feeling inadequate, overwhelmed, or stuck.  They are filled with “should haves” or worry that they are somehow wasting my time.  It is with sincerity that I help these students see that they are exactly where they belong.

I meet you where you are.  Trust is something sacred in my studio.  My sincere passion for the instrument, the pedagogy, and students help develop trust.  Only with trust can students best move towards conscious change and truly learn to play to their potential.  

Based on my experience, an adult with life experiences is a superior learner in many ways.  The ability to question, the need to understand, the faculty to seek intuitive and logical relationships give a secure edge to the adult learner.  What is taught in my studio usually transfers into other hobbies, endeavors, and even various careers.  

 How you begin:

One of my favorite things is giving a free trial lesson to a potential new student.  It is almost always a most productive and rewarding experience for clients, and a chance for me to begin sharing my passion and knowledge with someone interested in what I do.  Through this initial consultation, you share your goals and frustrations and I begin to assess your skills.  Turnover in my studio is slow. As a result, a potential new student is someone I am more than happy to invest time with. If you choose to study, you will know what to do, how to do it, and why it matters. Most importantly, you will see results! 

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Credentials

Charlotte, NC 28205
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FAQs


What is your typical process for working with a new customer?

I teach all of my students to work efficiently and effectively and to perform with security and confidence. As in so many endeavours, mastering the fundamentals is the key to success.  Learning to play music well looks very different from the outside than it does from the inside with a qualified teacher.  It is rarely about trying to play the music.  Rather, it is the thought process and how the body is used that is the key to unocking success.  I refer to these things as mental and phyasical poise. If one wants to improve their playing, the fastest way to do that is to learn to play far easier music at a professional level. 

If a student is trying but isn't getting results, then it is the teacher who is to blame.  Because the guitar is such a popular instrument, we are flooded with misinformation and incompetence.  More often than not, students approach a teacher because they have hit a wall.  This happens because the mental and physical poise has not been firmly established to match the difficuluty of the music involved.  Many teachers do not understand this and continue to try to push through the wall.  This only further frustrates the student and often leaves them feeling that they are to blame or that they lack the talent to achieve success.

More often than not, I am viewed as the first teacher that doesn't lie to students.  Teaching guitar is very serious business and it is the career I've chosen with great passion.  Instead of trying to push the wall over continuing with music that is too difficult and faulty practice habits (either through inconmptence that plagues the teaching world, or fear of losing a student), I help students to step away from the wall, and help them to see the wall dissolve through good practice techniques.  The results are that students begin learning how to play music very well with security and confidence.       


What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

I've given several hundred performances throughout the United States working with varied artists such as Bobby McFerrin, Bob Mintzer, Gary Burton, and Gregory Hines. As a guitarist in the military, I've performed in unlikely places such as Baltimore Harbor Independence Day, Times Square, a Miss America Parade, a private memorial for a U.S. President, returning home of the troops, retirement ceremonies for generals. I was called to perform various styles from classical to jazz to metal (a personal favorite). In addition to traditional classical performances both solo and chamber, Historical Period Instruments have placed me in the orchestra pit for both operas, and various chamber groups.

I've studied with world-renowned artists and educators such as leading pioneer in guitar education for children Rodney Stucky; Julian Gray of the prestigious John Hopkins Peabody Institute; 4-time gold medal winner Ricardo Cobo; and established guitarist, composer and educator Jeffrey Van. I've performed in numerous master-classes including Andrew York, Manual Barrueco, Sharon Isbin, and Eduardo Fernandez. During my earliest training as an educator under the hand of Tom Poore of The Cleveland Institute of Music, I also worked with “The Dean of Guitar” Aaron Shearer. I received my Doctor of Music Arts and Master of Music from the University of Minnesota. I received my Bachelor of Music from the University of Kentucky.

Most of my efforts have been given to guitar education. I have taught at Eastern Kentucky University, The University of Wisconsin River Falls, and at The University of Minnesota where I more than quadrupled the size of the general elective program. Outside of the University, I built the most successful guitar studio in the Twin Cities.  My greatest achievement has been making countless students’ lives more gratifying by sharing the guitar with them for the last 25 years. I currently teach in Charlotte, NC and world-wide via Skype.


Do you have a standard pricing system for your service? If so, please share the details here.

$50 per hour.


How did you get started doing this type of work?

Like most people, my first experience with the guitar was less than ideal. I enjoyed playing, had a nice teacher, but in spite of my years of hard work, I wasn't achieving the goals I wanted to achieve. Although I could play at more than a modest level, I hit a wall.  Like every other music student, my tastes were evolving (and yours will too).  More and more, I lacked the ability to play the music I was drawn to.   I was frustrated because  I worked hard, yet lacked the ability to play the music I wanted to play.


 

My realization


 

As a young adult, I was fortunate enough to finally find a teacher that wouldn't lie to me.  I didn't know how to practice, I had no sound technique, and I had developed bad habits which were holding me back. Most importantly, I didn't realize I was missing these things! As a result, I had to start at square one in order to become the player that I wanted to be. During the process, with the gifted guidance of teachers, my passion for teaching was quickly realized.  And, because I was a young adult at the time, I intimately remember the process of learning with competent instruction.  I finally learned how to work effectively and efficiently, and how to perform with security and confidence. Within months, I was playing professionally and continuing my studies with world-class artists.


 

Why I teach

It saddens me to hear someone say that they have tried to learn and couldn't. Or to hear a player lament that they do well in the practice chair but struggle to play for others with security and confidence. Such things are no fault of the student, nor is it because of any lack of ability. Rather, it is due to incompetent instruction.  A competent teacher shows a student exactly how to work, and the student sees results from their effort.  Yet few teachers know how to show this process.  Many guitarists teach on the side out of necessity.  Few actually enjoy it.  Even fewer like teaching beginners.


 

I have been teaching for decades by choice. Because of my personal journey through frustration and realization, I became passionate about helping others to avoid the pitfalls I had to endure. I don’t want others to waste valuable time and effort like I did.  I am grateful for my experiences because they helped me to establish an uncommon connection with students.  It is my purpose in life to help students of all skill levels reach their potential without frustration or confusion.


 

What I teach


Often, guitar teachers are uncomfortable teaching multiple “styles”.  Instructors from the classical music world often scoff at other genres.  Other teachers often lure students with promises of  instruction in all styles, yet are unable to offer the discipline and structure that classical music demands when students seek it.  Students are often forced, based on their teacher’s inadequacies, to make a difficult decision (classical only or anything but classical). Regardless, the process is, more often than not, a “paint-by-numbers” approach, never reaching the essence of what should be happening. What I mean is it is important to learn many things (scales, arpeggios, position, rhythms, theory, etc).  There is no shortage of teachers, books, online videos, etc. freely willing to show these things.  But that isn't learning how to work.  True study is really about learning to work effectively and efficiently, and learning to play with security and confidence.


 

I provide a foundation, nearly immediately applying knowledge to the styles of music that most interests students.  Through my decades of teaching, nearly half of my students have “cross-trained”.  The others have been classical purists by choice.  Individual choice of style and genre is not only tolerated, it is encouraged!  The foundation I provide my students makes anything possible. A paint-by-numbers approach begs for a particular style. Learning to play the guitar (learning to work efficiently and effectively) gives foundation and allows students to explore their ever evolving tastes.


 

Who I teach


 

Over half of my students have come to me as either intermediate players or rank beginners.  Many of my students choose to study later in life after families and/or careers are well-established.  Some return to the instrument after many years.  Many have never touched an instrument before and might not even know how to produce a sound.  Like most highly established teachers, only some students are advanced or even professional guitarists wanting assistance with musicality or advanced technique.  


 

Students often come to me feeling inadequate, overwhelmed, or stuck.  They are filled with “should haves” or worry that they are somehow wasting my time.  It is with sincerity that I help these students see that they are exactly where they belong.


 

I meet you where you are.  Trust is something sacred in my studio.  My sincere passion for the instrument, the pedagogy, and students help develop trust.  Only with trust can students best move towards conscious change and truly learn to play to their potential.  


 

Based on my experience, an adult with life experiences is a superior learner in many ways.  The ability to question, the need to understand, the faculty to seek intuitive and logical relationships give a secure edge to the adult learner.  What is taught in my studio usually transfers into other hobbies, endeavors, and even various careers. 

How you begin

One of my favorite things is giving a free trial lesson to a potential new student.  It is almost always a most productive and rewarding experience for clients, and a chance for me to begin sharing my passion and knowledge with someone interested in what I do.  Through this initial consultation, you share your goals and frustrations and I begin to assess your skills.  Turnover in my studio is slow. As a result, a potential new student is someone I am more than happy to invest time with. If you choose to study, you will know what to do, how to do it, and why it matters. Most importantly, you will see results!  


What types of customers have you worked with?

Like most well established teachers, my students have been primarily rank beginners, players that have returned to the instrument after many years, or players that haven't gotten the results they wanted either through self instruction or working with incompetent teachers.  I've taught advanced students and even jazz professionals. While I've worked with advanced players, those students are in the minority. 

Any teacher who claims that most of their students are advanced students is either referring to their position at one of a very small number of conservatories or universities or they are simply lying.  That isn't how it works.  Almost all teachers (even the most establsihed ones) primarily teach beginning and intermediate students.  I mention these things because it is common for students to approach me with reluctance.  They often feel they aren't good enough to study with me, or that I don't find joy in working with them.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Helping people learn to play music well is my greatest passion.


What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?

Don't waste time with an incompetent teacher.  If you are putting in the work, then you should be learning to play music with security and confidence.  Good teachers will emphasize and insist upon the extreme importance of habits in learning to play.  

One of the most fundamental things a competent teacher will do is help a student quickly achieve a great tone with minimal physical effort.  Good teachers will insist on students focusing on very specific aims such as what one particular finger is doing before it approaches a note.  Good teachers will help students develop very specific habits of sustained concentration taking advantage of the role of habits in the process.  Further, they will help students organize and balance their practice routines in order to get maximum results with minimal time and effort.  

Don't be taken by a high number of a teacher's students who play well for many reasons.  Likewise, don't assume someone is a good teacher just because they are a good player.  This is especially true if those students are primarily university or conservatory students.  Many teachers are far better at attracting students than they are actually teaching students.  Further, the world's greatest players learn to play in spite of their teacher, and not because of them.  Many of the world's greatest players were already well established prior to working with a specific teacher.  The truth is, playing and teaching are entirely different skills.  Many of the world's greatest players don't remember exactly how they learned to play.  Further, the universities do not train most people for the field of teaching.  Most university students have no interest in teaching and are focused on improving their own performing abilities.  It is only after school that they find themselves having to earn a living in a field where they have little interest or few qualifications.  

However, a believe an interested student certainly can evaluate a good teacher by their students: the weakest students.  By observing the weakest students, much can be learned about a teacher's skills.  Does the student have a good tone? Or is it harsh?   Does the student play with expression? Or are the performances rather lifeless?  Can the student play through pieces with only minor errors? Or rather does it seem that the music is too difficult or plagued with major errors?  Observe the majority of students with more modest skills or those early on in their training.  Here you will find living examples of what a particular teacher will be teaching you!

In conclusion, a student often can't know whether or not a teacher is qualified until they begin working with the teacher.  But very soon, there is nowhere to hide.  No matter how well your teacher plays, no matter how many great students they may have, no many how many prestigious degrees they have hanging on their wall; if you aren't making progress and learning to play with security and confidence, it is time to cut ties with an incompetent teacher. 


Lessons offered