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How Having a Teacher Makes You a Better Player

When I was in my late teens (back when the Earth was cooling off) and still living at home right here in New Britain I knew I wanted to learn to play the banjo. The problem was there was no one teaching banjo around here back then, instruction books were practically non-existent, and – of course – there were no DVDs or Internet.

Today the world is at our fingertips. Want an instruction book? There are hundreds for each instrument, delivered to your doorstep in a day or two. Instructional videos? Thousands upon thousands, and most are instantly available and free on the web.

So why take lessons from a teacher?

We have offered instrument lessons here at our shop since the day we opened almost 50 years ago. Jackie and I were actually the first guitar and banjo teachers. So what is the value in sitting face-to-face, instrument-to-instrument, with an instructor here at our shop?

• Lessons tailored to your wants and needs:

Our teachers will talk with you and work to develop lessons based on exactly what it is you want to learn (style of music, specific songs/artists, playing styles) and what will work best to get you there. Taking the time to lay the groundwork for your lessons is such an important first step and there are no “cookie cutter” approaches here.

• Feedback:

Your teacher is with you, talking with you in real-time providing feedback on what you are doing, how you are doing, and answering your questions. What I would have given to have had a teacher when I was starting out! It took me much longer to learn to play banjo without one and I made a number of mistakes that became habits that were hard to unlearn later on.

• No Distractions:

Our homes can be filled with distractions. Just as we sit down to focus on learning the phone can ring, a family member needs something, or those little things like household chores, paying bills, etc. keep us from ever really getting down to learning. Having a set day and time AND having a place to learn helps keep you on track.

• Collaboration:

As your lessons continue you and your teacher will continue to collaborate on your progress and your goals. Our teachers use various teaching methods to help you learn. One approach may work well for some students, while alternate methods may work well for others. When I was teaching I could see when a student was "getting it", when they weren't, and what to do to show them the way. I make sure the teachers we have on staff can do the same.

• You can try out a new Guitar, Banjo, Fiddle, Mandolin, or Uke:

As a student here you have the option of trying out one of our showroom instruments during your lesson. You can either let your teacher know or stop in during store hours and Jackie, Evelyn, Kim, or I are happy to help. As you progress as a player, even a small instrument upgrade can accelerate your learning and you are always invited to try before you buy.

• No need to switch teachers:

All of our teachers are qualified to teach beginning, intermediate, and advanced players. As your playing advances you can build upon the relationship you and your teacher have already established. No starting over from scratch!

• Rentals available and can be used toward a future purchase:

All of our rental instruments have been hand-selected and professionally set up here by Jackie and me. All students are also eligible for rental credits, up to $300, toward the purchase of an instrument here at our shop.

It's very important to me that our teachers are here to personalize your learning, to make it truly unique, and tailored to you. You will learn more quickly and, more importantly, with more enjoyment.

Check out our Lessons Page (under "Our Services") to learn more and read bios on each of our instructors.

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