Brian Kelly, guitar and vocals

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            I had been teaching guitar to a select few students 10 years ago, then got very busy with my young family and musical performing career on top of my day job, and had to stop giving lessons due to time constraints.  Come 2008, I have re-entered the guitar teaching arena as I now have time again to devote to this task.  I bring with me a huge knowledge accumulated from my 35 years of playing/performing in every aspect from a seven piece band to the intimate solo setting. 
            Every student has unique goals as to what “style”/tunes they wish to play, and so my lessons consider that uniqueness.  I feel a minimum commitment for a student to make progress on guitar is 20 solid minutes a day/ 4 days week; if you keep this up, you will be surprised how your fingers remember what to do – they are smarter than you think.
            What should a student learn? I feel students should ideally learn on an acoustic guitar, as acoustic skills impart more finesse and rhythm chops in beginner players.
Two skills I would strongly suggest for any player who wants to advance as a musician/songwriter:  (1) Knowing the notes on the fretboard is essential to long term playing; not the most exciting task, but probably the most important.  (2) Basic music theory knowledge as far as chord construction (what makes a major or minor chord, what chords would typically be found say in a folk/rock tune in say the key of E, etc).  The use of a capo is important for playing certain tunes using open chords (e.g., G, C, D, E, A) and to transpose keys for ease of singing, but don’t use it as crutch to avoid playing those tough but necessary F and Bb chords!
             I do not have a fancy musical pedigree or a Berklee degree; however, I feel I have something even more valuable – 45 years on the guitar, 35 of which have been as a professional player performing a huge range of music on stage with numerous players over the years in a range of venues.  And remember, to improve one’s playing to another level, it is important to play with others as opportunities arise.
            I find that too many guitarists want to be just lead players, with basic rhythm/comping skills lacking; these basic skills need to be developed first.  Reading music certainly helps, but, if you are like me (I am a poor reader at best), you can certainly play that instrument without this skill.  When I was young, my ear training was done by learning songs off records; over time, I could tell major from minor chords and figure out chord progressions in songs.  Ear training is more difficult to do now as it is so easy to get song transcriptions off the net; this “short cut” in figuring out tunes impacts one’s ability over time to hear what chord is wrong or right.
            Today we have the internet, a huge musical resource, but guidance is needed to sort through the pile for appropriate and accurate material.  It is very easy to get tablature for songs off the net, but as I look up tunes now, I find a huge inventory of sites to potentially access, but some with way too many mistakes, of which some errors are subtle, some glaring.  It may be difficult for the student to tell which sites to lean towards and which to avoid like the plague.  So here is my core idea for the student -once a good musical foundation is established for a player, one can learn at one’s own pace from the net/videos.  Guidance from a more knowledgeable player can start/steer you efficiently down your chosen musical path in this digital age. Go for it!
            Music is an amazingly fun, feel-good hobby that you can enjoy either by yourself or share with others, one which can be pursued for a lifetime. Take my word and thousands of others' for it!  Come on board the music wagon.  In addition to individual instruction (including songwriting), I also do group lessons, where several interested students of similar ability can meet with me – this alternative works out to be less expensive for each student. My lessons are hour sessions minimum, and for your convenience, I travel to your home.  Give me a call and let's talk soon.
Brian Kelly  
Sandwich, Cape Cod