I've not played before, is this for me?
Three of the four courses are suitable for first time players and those who may have played a little before but without any formal training. All learning starts by building on what you can already do and the courses here do the same. You'll take movements that you already know and apply them to your cigar box guitar, modify these movements and slowly build a solid set of skills.
I have a little played before, I hope it's not too basic
They may start with the absolute basics but soon progress on to more advanced exercises and tunes, check the course previews and course outlines on the front page to get more of an idea. Even if you've played before there'll be something for all but the most experienced player here and we can all benefit from a fresh look at the essential skills.
How long will it take?
You progress through the courses at your own rate so it'll be different for everyone. I'd expect a quick learner to get through each course in around 6 months. It doesn't end there though, over your first couple of years you'll continue to reinforce the skills you learned in the course and refer to the course materials to help your ongoing learning.
Who is the course aimed at?
The course is aimed at people who want to learn to play. There are a number of options now if you're looking to learn this instrument and I find that the most successful learners on this site are those prepared to take a little time, have some fun on the way and enjoy the journey more than focus on the destination. If you're attracted to those 'play guitar in 5 minutes' ads then you'll probably want to look elsewhere.
Do I need to learn any theory?
The short answer is no you don't need to but you can if you want to. It's presented in a way that's relevant to your playing but you can still play all the songs and do all of the exercises without it. Likewise all of the tab is also presented in standard notation for those interested but you can get by without it. The advanced improv course does rely on the theory a little more.
What is your background? Why should you be the one to teach me?
I've played guitar for over 40 years, taught for 30 of those. I have degrees in music, in education and in health science. I've had careers in education and in allied health where I specialised in applied biomechanics for musicians. I know what I'm talking about. And at the end of the day this is important only because the course reflects my skills and expertise. It's the course that matters, that's what you're investing in.
Is the content downloadable?
All of the course content is downloadable. Lesson notes, audio files, videos etc all have direct links on their respective lesson pages.
Why Vimeo hosting?
Because it's the best. In standard definition the file sizes are small, they stream in no time and they look great. In HD they look even better. It's reliable, videos look great on any device and OS. And it makes my life easier which means I can spend my time writing lessons and not tearing what's left of my hair out trying to make videos work across every platform.
Do I need to be online to practice?
No, you'll spend your time playing, not watching videos. Most lessons will require one or two plays through the video, from there you can use the notes to jog your memory. You'll have a few specific tasks to do, you learn them real quick, the time is taken practicing the skills and you don't need to be online to do that.
Are there any DVD's
No. The videos are an important part of the course but only a part. There has been a lot of research into online and distance learning and all of it says that you need a variety of media to get the best results for your education dollar. The course is constantly evolving, the videos are updated from time to time, there are written notes, audio files, extra lessons appearing every now and then, you can ask questions right there on the lesson page. This would not possible in a few DVD's and is why interactive, multimedia rich content offers the best way to learn online.
How will I go without a teacher to guide me?
A teacher does two things, tells you what to do and then tells you if you're getting it right. The resources will explain your tasks easily enough but what about the feedback that you need to know that it's working for you?
When you understand the task at hand and how it fits into the context of your learning, when outcomes are made clear and you know when to move forward and when to stop and consolidate, then you become your own teacher. This is extremely empowering and the research is clear that this approach, combined with access to an experienced mentor, consistently produces the best results.