frequently asked questions

OC Guitar & Music Lessons

What levels of guitar do you teach?

Beginner to advanced students are welcome. Whether you've never played before & want to get started, or have been playing for awhile & want to get better at soloing, chords, reading, or music theory...please give us a call!

Should I take lessons in your studio or in my home?  

A private studio provides one on one instruction without distraction. A quiet studio environment is ideal for success but we can also duplicate a professional learning environment in your home if you prefer. Many of our students and parents prefer the convenience of in-home guitar lessons where "we come to you". This is also easier on parents with childrens' activities throughout the week, if we come to you its one less trip for you.

How do you choose your instructors?  

We select our instructors based on these main criteria: they need to be friendly, safe people with a clean background check; and they must be experienced musicians who can teach. You'll find a safe, family-friendly environment with us where music is informative and a world of fun.


We will prepare you for live performance and have options for this throughout the year if you want to participate. You are not required to participate, this is entirely optional and we can do this when you feel ready. There is never pressure to perform, but live performance is always encouraged. Some students simply wish to take lessons for awhile at their pace until they feel ready.  We can also record your live performance and provide you a CD or audio track.

How long will it take before I can actually "play" the guitar?  

That depends on you & your dedication, as well as practice time available. Generally speaking with regular practice, you will be playing simple songs within just 1-2 weeks. After a couple months you will notice yourself playing more complex songs & probably surprising yourself. Within six months to a year you can reach an intermediate level & be able to play a variety of songs, some simple & some more advanced. From there you will continue to advance based on your goals & practicing.

Do I need a special place to practice? 
The best way to practice is in any quiet area with few distractions. You should have a music stand & a tuner. Stands are very affordable & create a better experience than trying to read music at the table, on the floor, bed, etc. Take a break from the TV & telephone, and if needed have snacks or something to drink handy so you wont have to stop to get it.

How much should I practice?

The answer depends on how fast you want to become a good guitarist. Students who get up to an hour or more of daily practice usually advance quickly and are ready for new material at their next lesson. Not everyone has an hour per day, so a half-hour every day, or one hour every other day; is still a good plan. Is there a bare minimum practice time?...maybe a little over 2 hours total weekly--that's about 20 minutes a day. Students who generally practice less than a few times per week for only a few minutes per sitting generally don’t make much progress. Only practicing before bed when you are exhausted may not give the results you want, especially if the material is new or challenging.

  • Example of practice session: a few minutes tuning, 5-10 minutes warming up, 10-15 minutes on chords, 15 minutes in the text, scales or exercises, 15 minutes or more on assigned songs and other items. This isn't the only example or approach, your practice session may vary.

  • Practice as much as you can and don’t spend all of your time on one thing. Don't worry about mastering it right away, the main thing is to practice regularly and things will come together for you.

I'm not as young as some students, isn't it too late for me to learn guitar?

Absolutely not! Students of all ages decide to take up guitar, its not unusual for older students and even senior citizens to learn guitar. You may never tour the world or play Carnegie Hall with a late start, but it doesn't mean you can't learn or even eventually play in front of a live audience. We have had students in their 70s and 80s begin guitar and learn to play.

Is it true that learning an instrument like guitar is mostly natural ability? What if I have no natural ability? 

While natural ability is certainly advantageous, much about learning music is like learning a foreign language. We believe natural ability is not a requirement for guitar, anybody can play at some level if they put the practice time in. Pure natural ability is also more of an issue for an activity like singing or sports. There are some famous accomplished guitarists that believe guitar playing can be entirely practice, effort & really no natural ability. If you put in the time & study, you will learn & be able to play. Having a "musical ear" is actually a skill that can be learned.  If you have natural music ability or have played any type of instrument before, it will help but is not an absolute requirement to learn guitar.

Is the teaching one on one? Do you do group classes or can more than one person attend a lesson ?

Yes, instruction is one-on-one unless you request otherwise.  Parents & spouses, couples, etc. are more than welcome to sit-in on lessons to observe. We also have a waiting area. Learning guitar is usually best accomplished one on one but occasionally we are asked to teach a husband & wife, couples, or siblings at the same time. For multiple family members taking lessons at once, special pricing may apply.

Do I need to learn to "read music" to play guitar?

No, believe it or not it's optional for guitar. Many pro musicians and famous guitarists do not read music, although we recommend learning to read!. Reading music (reading notes out of of a book or sheet music) is a nice skill to have & comes in handy in many areas of guitar playing, but if you prefer to focus on other areas of guitar like chords, lead playing, and guitar tablature. Guitar is very unique in this regard, it is one of the few instruments where it is possible to study without learning to read (piano, for example, requires reading music in almost all cases).  Because of the wide variety of material available to the guitarist including guitar 'tablature' (TAB) and chord charts, most songs do not require special skills to read.

I don't have a guitar, can you recommend one?
You can still get started with lessons now as we can usually provide a guitar for your first lesson, but you will need a guitar to practice with. If you don't yet have a guitar, its a very good idea to talk to your teacher first before getting one. We can make a recommendation about getting a guitar based on your individual needs.  Renting is also good if you don't feel like investing in an instrument right now but for any term longer than a  few months, buying is better.