HILLMAN GUITAR INSTRUCTION

Lessons

GUITAR LESSONS

The most important thing to realize is that you already have a good understanding of music built into you and that all you need to fulfill your musical aspirations is a little dedication and some help from the right teacher. I’d like to be that teacher. I have built a comfortable, low-stress, fun place for you to learn how to play the guitar, and I invite you to give yourself the chance to become the musical being you have always dreamed of.


BEGINNERS

Playing the guitar isn’t easy.  If it were, it wouldn’t seem so cool and mysterious, everybody would be doing it, and of course, I’d be out of a job. But it’s not impossible either, and I have learned that anyone can learn to play if they have the right help and apply themselves. A big part of the trick is to understand that we all come to the guitar with “bad habits” before we even begin. The way our hands operate for almost all of our everyday tasks is different from the way they need to operate to play the guitar. I can help you overcome this.

Fundamental exercises and proper technique, while not incredibly exciting, can get one on the right path and make the journey to guitar proficiency shorter and more fun. I have found that this, coupled with students learning the songs of their choice, to be a very satisfying and effective method of learning how to play. A little hard work focusing on the basic skills will get you playing some of your favorite songs in no time.

I also like to throw in a little music theory at the beginning. Having a basic understanding of how songs and music work make the whole endeavor that much more enjoyable. In fact, because music is a simple and elegant system based on how the world of sound vibrates around us, we as humans already have an innate knowledge of its rules. Music without lyrics is pure emotion, and it’s fairly simple to put some labels on those vague feelings and create order out of what you are hearing.

INTERMEDIATES

One of my favorite things to do is help those players who have been playing for awhile, but have found themselves in a rut or at a dead end. I can quickly assess where you are, help you dispense with any bad habits you may have picked up along the way, and get you pointed in the right direction, achieving the goals you have always aspired to. Understanding music theory is not like becoming a Jedi, and I can show you how accessible this knowledge really is.

The art of the guitar solo is akin to speaking another language. I can get you past just being able to order coffee and asking directions to the museum and on the way to telling amazing heartfelt stories. Music is all about perspective. There are many ways to describe and label things that happen in music. I can help you find the perspective that works for you so you can think less about the technical aspects of what you are playing, and enable you to focus on moving your listeners with meaningful emotional content.

ADVANCED

You've been playing for a long time. Maybe you've even been touring and putting out records. But some things just seem out of your reach. Or maybe you are missing the one concept that will tie all of your knowledge together. I can help you, probably in just a few lessons. Like I've said earlier, music is a simple and elegant system. I love to show accomplished players how to wrap their heads around that concept so they can conquer the technical and focus on the spiritual, emotional significance of their music. Let's talk on the phone and find out where you can take your playing.

SONGWRITING

One of my favorite things, and favorite things to teach. I have a method for understanding good songwriting. I put songs I've heard to into 3 categories: 1. That's horrible and I never want to hear it again. 2. That's pretty good. And 3. Damn! I wish I would have wrote that! I keep a list of category 3 songs and spend time tearing them apart to understand why they move me so. Then I try to find ways to steal those elements without anyone finding out! Yes, that's right! John Lennon, when asked about his songwriting said "I'm the greatest thief of all time. I've just never been caught!" I can show you how to do this as well.

IMPROVISATION

Improvising is the art of making up music as you go, right there on the spot. It's not as hard as you think, and it's another one of my favorite activities and things to teach. I have spent many years in an improv band with good friends. We have hundreds of hours of recorded material. Some of it is great. Most of it is so so. Some of it is absolutely horrible. But you get better at it the more you do it, and one of the greatest joys for a musician can be to fall into a sweet improvisational jam.

OTHER SKILLS

I can help you with just about anything guitar related. Finger picking, alternate tunings, slide guitar, you name it. I also have extensive experience in the following subjects and can offer advice on: singing, recording, sound engineering, live performance, guitar amplifiers and effects, band dynamics, band marketing and booking.