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Private Lessons - Skype Lessons - Student Testimonials

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PRIVATE LESSONS:

(Queens, NY and surrounding areas)


I've been helping guitarists of all ages and experience levels reach their goals since 2005.  I've also taught beginner through intermediate bass, as well as music theory and songwriting.  I've been playing guitar for 23 years, and received my BM in Jazz Studies from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 2005.  Scroll down to find testimonials from students and parents who believe I'm the right teacher to help any guitarist reach new levels of playing, from absolute beginners to seasoned pros and everything in between.  For more about me, see my bio.

 

Lessons take place at my studio in Forest Hills, NY.  (For anyone not local, scroll down to read about  Skype lessons).  All lessons are paid in advance on a monthly basis, and I also offer 5 and 10 lesson packages at discounted rates.  Send me a message here, including your full name, level of experience and - if not a beginner - a list of your goals, and a link to your playing, if possible.  I'll get back to you quickly with my lesson policies and pricing! 

 

If I sign up for lessons, what should I expect?  What's your approach?

 

Beginners:  You may not be sure what to expect from guitar lessons, and find yourself worried, intimidated, and hesitant to make the commitment. You want a teacher who is not only knowledgeable and effective, but also friendly and willing to work hard to make your first lesson experience completely enjoyable. I'm extremely patient and will adapt to your pace and style of learning. I have years of experience teaching the basics and working with absolute beginners of all ages.  At first, we'll focus on the fundamentals, like tuning, playing chords cleanly, strumming, single notes in open position, using a capo, and finger-picking.  If you work hard in between lessons, you'll be playing some of your favorite songs within a few weeks/months, and more importantly, you'll have a strong grasp of the most important guitar techniques and a solid foundation to build on.

 

Intermediate and advanced students:  If you study with me, you'll learn anything you need to know about technique, music theory, effective practicing, composition and songwriting, ear training, and more. I can also help you understand music theory (note that my concentration in college was a mix of jazz theory and classical composition), and provide you with a deeper understanding of the songs you listen to and play, so that you can start writing your own songs and solos. I can spot whatever is holding you back and give you the necessary tools to expand and improve in all areas of musicianship.  Once we identify your goals, I'll implement a plan to help you attain them as soon as possible.  If you stick to that plan and work hard, you'll soon reach new heights in your playing and will start to realize your true potential.

 

Here are just some of the things I can help you with:

  • Building a personalized repertoire of your favorite songs and solos
  • Expanding your scale and chord vocabulary, learning about scale/chord compatibility
  • Learning about effective practicing and develop your speed and accuracy
  • Learning new techniques like right-hand tapping, hybrid picking, economy picking, and sweep picking
  • Memorizing and understand the modes of the major, harmonic minor, and melodic minor scales
  • Training your ear to recognize intervals and scales, and identifying chord tones and progressions
  • Improvising with professional quality backing tracks
  • Studying the art of songwriting and composition
  • Writing your own music, and demoing your ideas in my studio

Please note that while these are areas I understand and can teach effectively, for myself and most players, they often take years to fully develop.  Many teachers pretend to have the magical ability to save you years of work by teaching you the "secrets of guitar" and providing quick fixes, only to disappoint after only a few sessions when the student realizes there really is no "silver bullet".  So, make no mistake:  Studying an instrument is a big commitment, and there's no shortcut around putting in the necessary hours.  That being said, I believe that with my years of experience, I can absolutely help any student to streamline the process and avoid wasting time with ineffective practice methods. 

 

SKYPE LESSONS:


No matter where you live in the world, I'm available to teach you.  Whether you're interested in having me break down elements of my own playing and solos - from YouTube videos, or my album, or stuff nobody's heard yet - or other topics such as general insight into practicing, writing, recording, developing your own style, studying other players - I can help you!  All you need is Skype, a good internet connection, a guitar/amp setup near your computer, and a commitment to learning.

In my experience, many students are hesitant about signing up for Skype lessons because they're not sure what it will be like, whether they have a good enough internet connection and/or audio-video configuration, etc.  For this reason, if you're genuinely interested in lessons, I offer the first lesson as a free trial, on a "try before you buy" basis.

Here are a few other things you should know if you're interested in signing up for Skype lessons:

 

  1. You must speak fluent English.  Please don't take this personally - but major language barriers will make lessons extremely difficult on both ends.
  2. You must be serious about lessons, and have a reliable internet connection.
  3. Contact me here about rates.  Lessons are paid for on a monthly basis or in blocks of 5 or 10, and tuition is due via PayPal.  I sometimes run promotions offering special rates for new students, so don't hesitate to send me a message if you're interested.
  4. Many of the students I've taught over the years have complimented me on how generous and flexible I am with cancelations and make-up lessons.  That being said, you will be eligible for (not guaranteed) a make-up lesson if you cancel your lesson with at least 24-hour's notice.  Make-up lessons are subject to what's available in my schedule.  You will not be eligible for a make-up lesson if you cancel with lesson than 24-hour's notice or if you no-show. 
  5. I understand that Skype connections are not always perfect, and we may occasionally encounter a technical difficulty.  If we experience major connection issues during the lesson, I will do my best to work with any extra time I have available to give you the time you've paid for, or re-schedule if absolutely necessary.
  6. I can't emphasize enough that you will get more out of the Skype sessions if you take notes.  Even though we'll ideally be spending a lot of lesson time actually playing, you should keep a pen and paper (or digital notebook) handy and jot down any important concepts we discuss.  If absolutely necessary, I can also provide a summary via e-mail upon request.

 

TESTIMONIALS:


These are references from students, parents, and colleagues who have had success with my lessons:

 

"My daughter took Guitar lessons with Brian, and shortly after seeing how great she was doing, I signed up for lessons as well. Brian is a brilliant guitar player, has an enormous amount of music knowledge, and does an amazing job of sharing that knowledge, skill and enthusiasm for playing guitar, and music in general with his students.  My daughter and I always look forward to our lessons with Brian and could recommend Brian to anyone looking to learn and get excited about playing music."  - Stefanos Evangelinos

"Brian is hands down one of the most professional music instructors that I have had the pleasure to work with. His attention to detail is unsurpassed. Mr. Larkin is a dedicated perfectionist and will ensure that every student he interacts with is always treated with respect. I am honored to recommend Mr. Larkin and can ensure that he will always strive to provide the utmost level of professionalism in all that he does." - Elkin Vizcaino

 "Brian is one of those rare finds and we are very lucky to have found him. He is patient, honest and has a direct approach in delivering his instructions to my son. My son looks forward to his weekly classes and practices daily to achieve the goals Brian outlines for him. In addition to methodical instruction, Brian has a keen way of encouraging creativity and musical individuality which translates to my son’s enthusiasm for the guitar. I strongly recommend Brian to anyone searching for that one teacher that will make a difference." - Gary Kerzhnerman  

"Brian is an excellent guitar teacher. His knowledge and abilities to work with beginners and to get them motivated to continue learning is great. He will guide you step by step to make sure that you are playing the instrument correctly as well as finger position and formation for various chords. Lessons with him are always interesting and fun. No boring stuff here! This is what lessons are supposed to be. Fun! I take lessons with my son weekly for over a year and it is always fun and interesting. Our need to want to learn more and improving on the guitar grows constantly. I will recommend Brian to anyone seeking to learn guitar. Great teacher!" - Chet Ramnarain

"Brian is a great guitar tutor/instructor. My experience as his student was nothing less than great as I became better as a musician. Brian has a deep knowledge of guitar and music theory and was more than helpful when I had questions. I would recommend him to anyone I know who is interested in learning music." - Lionel Chan

"Imagine you had the opportunity to take guitar lessons from Beck (Jeff, that is) Satriani or Vai......Before they were famous!! Thats the feeling you get studying with Brian. One day I am going to be able to point to the stage and tell my friends that I studied with "him." Unlike a lot of others who have great musical talent, Brian is able to relate to the rest of us mere mortals and break down complex concepts in terms we understand. Whether you want to delve deeply into theory, develop superior technique or just jam to your favorite riffs, Brian will be a great help to you. Not only will you be a better guitar player.......... you will have fun doing it!!" - Jeff Goldberg

"Brian is a gifted and talented musician and teacher. He is thoughtful and expressive with his ideas and illustrates an impressive level of knowledge about guitar and music theory. He clearly puts a lot of time and effort into his teaching as well as his music, and he is also a great guy."  - Seth Cohen

"I had electric guitar lessons from Brian via Skype and he is one of the most talented and sincere teachers I've ever had. He is able to teach a variety of music and tailor the lessons according to his students' needs. He prepares the lessons, follows up and always answers my questions on time. I highly recommend him to anyone who wants to learn guitar, bass and music theory!" - Yvonne So

"Brian is a very talented musician and a superb teacher. He loves his craft and passes it on to his students. Brian is very organized and always prepared for the lessons. He keeps his students focused and provides realistic feedback. My son has been taking lessons from Brian for the past year and I see an amazing progress in his skills and music theory knowledge. I would highly recommend Brian." - Marianna Gorovaia

"My frustration built up from not making progress on my guitar journey led me to Brian. His passion and enthusiasm have allowed me to overcome the frustration to the level where I record my songs and post them on Soundcloud! Thanks, Brian!" - Hideki Hayashi

"Brian gave my son guitar lessons for about 6 months. He is personable, patient and great with kids. I highly recommend him for anyone seeking affordable and quality guitar lessons." - Lance Gambis

"Brian's passion for his craft is only surpassed by his knowledge of music theory and guitar. He is articulate and always enthusiastic about sharing his love of music and guitar. He has invested copious time into developing and refining his instructional materials and methodology. As an added bonus, he backs up his teachings with real life experience in the music world as a performer, recording artist and writer." - Jim Voorhees

“My 2 kids, aged 10 and 13, are currently taking guitar lessons from Brian. He works very well with the kids and they enjoy learning guitar from Brian. When their previous instructor moved out, my kids were a little apprehensive to take lessons from Brian. But they quickly overcame their anxiety and started looking forward to lessons. His coaching has been a significant influence on their improvement in playing the guitar. I would recommend Brian to anyone interested in learning to play guitar.” - Sridhar Ranganathan

“Brians overall knowledge of guitar & music theory coupled with his incredibly advanced skill at playing the guitar make him an asset to any organization or institution.  I have had the pleasure of seeing Brian on a weekly basis for the past four years. In addition to his music skills he posseses great confidence, has a pleasant and patient nature, and is a genuinely good guy.  I recommend Brian without any reservations." - Joseph Cotillo

“My 9 year old son has taken guitar lessons from Brian for the past 2 years. Brian is patient, yet has high standards. His background in music theory and his ability to translate his experience into something fun and exciting have motivated my son to love the instrument. I would absolutely recommend Brian!” - Jayson Sutton

“Brian Larkin is a fellow Instructor at Music and Arts in Exton, PA. In the time that I have worked with him, he has proven to be an effective communicator and knowledgeable about Guitar Performance and Guitar Pedagogy. I would not hesitate to recommend him for any guitar teaching or performance situation.” - Paul Colombo

“Brian worked well with my son who was 12 at the time. He taught him guitar out fo his home. Did a great job!” - Cheryl Bellaire

“I have taken guitar lessons with Brian Larkin at several different times in my career and each experience has been of great value to me. As an instructor of musical theory Brian is an expert and is extremely well versed. As a musician he is multi-talented and his experience within the industry allows for a rich learning environment. As a teacher he is patient, creative, and always willing to adapt his methods to your needs.  All of my experiences with Brian were positive. I have always been impressed by his professionalism, attention to detail, and intrinsic passion for music. Brian is forward thinking and his lessons are very dynamic. I have had several instructors over 13 years of playing guitar and Brian's instruction stands out as the most beneficial to the development of my musicianship.   Brian's wealth of knowledge, exceptional musical talent, and devotion to his students all make him an excellent instructor that I look forward to working with again in the future. I would highly recommend Brian Larkin to others as the quality of his work and his dedication therein is world-class.” - Jared Cary

“I saw Brian weekly for guitar lessons for about a half a year. Brian is an excellent musician and teacher. He offers a great value for his services, and offers convenient times and locations. His level of instruction was much different than I was used to with other guitar teachers; he taught me some very advanced concepts and idea, and, at my choosing, we did a detailed study of music theory. For someone interested in advanced concepts, Brian is definitely the man to see. At the same time, Brian would be a good instructor for a more casual musician: someone who wants to learn the basics and some tunes. Obviously a teacher with a varied and detailed understanding of his instrument and music - such as Brian - would be able to teach experienced musicians as well as beginners.” - Christopher Williams

“Brian is a very talented and knowledgeable guitarist and teacher. I have taught guitar professionally, and am an advanced player myself, and I was still able to learn a great deal from Brian. He's also a very nice guy. I would recommend him for guitarists of any ability, but what really sets Brian apart is there's really no limit to how far you can go with him, he's that good!” - Gianmarc Johns

"What I can tell you about Brian with complete confidence is that he cares deeply about the instrument and what he does with it, whether it's composition or teaching...  both of which he excels at to ridiculous degrees.  Brian helped my refine my technique and my approach in a VERY short period of time.  He taught me a lot about thinking outside the traditional boxes, so to speak, and how to develop a more "outside" approach, for a lack of better words, which really helped me develop a more unique touch and approach to doing what I was already well-adept with.  Brian will guide through what you want to learn and more.  In fact, if you don't walk away from your very first lesson with Brian feeling enlightened and curious about the possibilites of your own musical abilities, well then you're not doing something right and may be there for the wrong reasons.  :)  This guy can and WILL teach you anything you want to learn and explain it in a way that anybody can understand, which is the mark of a truly great teacher. "  - Matt Janicki (Medford, NJ)

 

Brian Larkin