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Learn More About Neal
General Teaching Style
My teaching style is based on: Let's have fun and work hard.
The curriculum I use is designed to make a student have fun while learning strong fundamentals so they can progress and find there personal role in the arts. I teach reading musical notation and playing by ear. I use a basic guitar method and simple songs to build up understanding and ability to get you playing your favorite songs, and maybe some of mine. I customize the materials to each student, based on what I know will make you a strong player -- whether it's just for fun or you want to play professionally.
I have taught lots of young kids, teens, and adults. I feel very comfortable with any age or experience level. Enthusiastic music lovers fit my style of teaching the most!
Focus & Goals of the First Lesson
During the first lesson, we talk about any musical experience the student may have had, and I use that to help guide my lesson planning.
Regardless of their age, I use chord pictures and simple music notation to teach them three notes, three rhythms, and three chords -- all in a fun and relaxed way. I say 'relaxed' because each student is different, and I work to match my approach with their learning style and ability to pick things up.
After the first lesson, I usually teach them three short songs of my choice, and I encourage them pick an artist or song of their choice if they would like.
I try to get the student to have fun so that they like to practice, but I also make sure our approach includes a good understanding of important music fundamentals!
My strengths in teaching music are patience, understanding and explaining harmony and the guitar in different styles, and a passion for music!
Additional Experience & Instruments
I have a lot of experience performing and recording with lots of different people and groups. I teach from these experiences and my experiences as a student -- I still take lessons.
In college, I was a Jazz Composition Major and performed with jazz combos, big band, singer/songwriter, soul and funk ensembles. As a professional, I have played in numerous groups, as well as write my own music compositions in mostly jazz and funky rock styles.
In addition to the instruments that I teach, I have experience with piano, banjo and harmonica.
Most Inspirational Music Moment
My two most inspirational teaching moments are:
- When we were having a recital and my young student was so nervous to perform, we planned an extra last minute rehearsal right before the performance. She comes walking in that morning and she says, "I think I got it Mr. Neal!" Sure enough, everything had changed, she was happy and empowered with confidence because she knew she could do it! She rocked that version of The Beatles' Hey Jude.
- When my private student showed me his fancy acceptance letter from the music department at U.S.C.!
Top 3 Desert Island Albums
- Wes Montgomery - Smokin at the Half Note
- The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Axis: Bold as Love
- James Brown - Soul Session