Gary L. Gerdes   Music, Lessons, Private Lessons, Seattle, Piano, Keyboard, Guitar, Bass, Songwriting

Rates: OK, let's get the hard part out of the way up front. I live in Seattle, and will happily accept students from anywhere in the area. However, it is not effective for me to commute to your house for a short lesson if you live too far away (because then I can't schedule lessons back to back).

As a result, if you live roughly within the shaded area of this map, you have a choice of having the lessons at your house or at my studio (located on the map with the red notes). If you live outside of the shaded area, you'd have to be willing to come to my studio.

1 Hour Lesson 1-1/2 Hour *
My Studio $45 ($160 - 4x40) $60 ($220 - 4x55)
Your House
(within shaded area)
$65 ($240 - 4x60) $80 ($300 - 4x75)
 

Discounted Pre-pay Rates (4 consecutive weeks) are in parentheses. The first rate cited is for pay-as-you-go.

Missing a week due to illness, etc. is not charged against a pre-paid lesson block. Pre-pay rate is not available for bi-weekly lessons.

For my style of teaching, 1/2 hour lessons are not recommended except for very young students. Rates are $35 "pay as you go" or $120 for a re-paid block of 4 lessons.

 

 

Philosophy and Teaching Methods

First let me start off by saying - If you want:
- to play "classical music" on piano or guitar - I am not your man.
- to accompany your church choir's hymns on piano or organ - I'm not the guy.
- To play piano in local theater productions of most musicals - I'm not the one.
(Don't worry; the majority of teachers - especially piano - still teach what you'll need for these styles)

However:
If you want to learn piano, guitar, or bass to play pop, rock, blues, country, jazz, bluegrass, folk, etc. - or to play in a band or with others in any non-classical or musical endeavors - I may be your huckleberry. (If you're not a "Tombstone" fan, feel free to ignore these cute catch phrases)

Ditto, if you want to learn music fundamentals, popular music theory, or songwriting in a cozy non-class environment (and at your own pace) - I may be your daisy.

The traditional approach of learning to read "the dots" has pretty much disappeared in all but the few traditional areas mentioned above. Almost all popular music is notated by just a melody line with chords - or sometimes just the chords.

So rather than reading the dots - it is much more important and useful to learn the basic fundamentals of music (including a little reading), to understand chord and key structures, and to understand all rhythmic elements thoroughly.

So I teach from this basis of fundamentals, music theory, chord structures, and improvisation.

If that's still not clear - here's another look:

In classical, choir accompaniment, or scores for musicals; you will you see this traditional style of notation. In virtually every other style of music, you'll neither read (nor write) this type of notation. Yet, this is the notation that the majority of piano teachers concentrate on.

In virtually every other genre - you may see this (at most):

Or more often this:

or quite often this:

and unfortunately sometimes this:

So, once again, learning to play piano, keyboards, guitar or bass for any sort of "popular" music is going to be most productive and fruitful for you if you learn from a fundamentals, chord, and popular theory approach.

That's why I teach that way.
- Gary

 

 

LESSONS - LESSONS - LESSONS

Piano and Keyboard Lessons
  • Available in half or full hour sessions / weekly or monthly rates (see rates).
  • Specializing to "never-touched it", beginner, and intermediate levels.
  • Due to the theory and "math" in my teaching methods, these lessons are recommended for students age 9 to adult.
  • As expected, we will start by understanding the student's (or the parent's) goals. Then, we will start at their level of experience, filling in any gaps along the way.
  • I create lesson plans, audio, and printed materials customized for each student's goals, needs and experience.
  • At some point I may recommend the student purchase certain study guides and/or music books.

General Study Areas include:

 

This a somewhat generic lesson plan. Actual plan will be tailored to the goals and existing skills of the student.

  • Music Fundamentals, understanding note values and time signatures, and general notation. Writing their own rhythms. Learning their notes on their keyboard in relation to (at least treble clef). Putting rhythms and melodies together
  • Learning and understanding keys and intervals
  • Learning basic types of chords, major, minor, dim, aug, seventh and "inversions"
  • Learning and practicing how keys and chords relate
  • Playing solo: Playing chords with left hand (and deciding which inversions to use), while playing simple melody lines with right hand
  • Playing in a band or accompanying a vocalist - left hand bass lines and right hand chords
  • Understanding and improvising using a variety of scales - for fills, solos
  • "Soloing guidelines" - to make your solos musical and memorable
  • Learning how to match chords to a melody
  • Touch and playing differences between piano, organ, etc.
  • Concepts and practice of playing solo vs. playing in a group
  • Onward and upward

CONTACT ME WITH QUESTIONS OR TO DETERMINE AVAILABLE DAYS/TIMES

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Guitar and Bass Lessons
  • Available in half or full hour sessions / weekly or monthly rates (see rates).
  • Catering to "never-touched it", beginner, and intermediate levels.
  • Due to the theory and "math" in my teaching methods, these lessons are recommended for students age 9 to adult.
  • As expected, we will start by understanding the student's (or the parent's) goals. Then, we will start at their level of experience, filling in any gaps along the way.
  • Students should bring their own guitar or bass.
  • At some point I will likely recommend the student purchase certain study guides or music books.

General Study Areas include:

 

This a somewhat generic lesson plan. Actual plan will be tailored to the goals and existing skills of the student.

  • Music Fundamentals, understanding note values and time signatures, and general notation. Writing their own rhythms. Tuning their instrument. Learning their notes on their fretboard in relation to (at least treble clef).
  • Learning and understanding keys and intervals
  • Learning basic types of chords, major, minor, seventh and "inversions"
  • Guitar - Learning a handful of starting chords. Bass players - understanding some simple patterns they can play based on simple chords
  • Learning and practicing how keys and chords relate
  • Guitar - Playing some simple chord progressions with a simple strum. Bass Players - playing some simple progressions using simple patterns
  • Guitar - Learning the next handful of chords. Bass players - learning a few more advanced patterns they can play based on simple chords and song stylings.
  • Guitar - practicing more complex strumming patterns. Bass - practicing using pick vs. fingers
  • Passing notes (Guitar - chord 'add-on' notes and substitutions - hammering/pulling notes) (Bass - 'leading' the progressions)
  • Learning how to match chords to a melody
  • Touch and playing differences between electric and acoustic guitar. Various bass techniques for holding/clipping and finger/slap/pop
  • Concepts and practice of playing solo vs. playing in a group
  • Onward and upward

CONTACT ME WITH QUESTIONS OR TO DETERMINE AVAILABLE DAYS/TIMES

 
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Songwriting Lessons
  • Designed for "wanna-be", novice, beginning, and intermediate songwriters.
  • Knowing a few basic chords on piano or guitar is helpful but not required.
  • A sincere desire or inspiration to write songs is required.
  • Recommended for ages 14 to adult.
  • The class follows my newest book "Songwriting Magic & Sweat" and a copy is included free with enrollment ($30 dollar value). Please see that page for a course description.
  • Student(s) will complete the program by writing at least one fully realized song and a "lead sheet" for it. A demo recording is an add-on.
  • Available in 1 hour and 1.5 hour sessions and only at my studio.
  • You could except it to run 24 to 30 hours (for 16-20 weekly sessions)
  • This is more a class of fixed duration rather than individual lessons.
  • As such, you have several payment plan options:
    - By the Week as we go: (16-20 @ 1-1/2 hour @$60)= $960-$1200
    - By the Month as we go (4-5 months @ 1-1/2) @$220) = $880 - $1100

    DISCOUNTS:
    - Pay in Full when Starting (18 sessions @ 1-1/2) = $800
    Since this is not a true "private lesson" - you can enroll up to 3 students in this mini-class (siblings, friends, children and parents, parents and friends, fellow musician friends). I will offer a 50% discount on 2nd and 3rd enrollees.
    - I only accept the pay-in-full option with more than one person enrolled.
    So :
    2 people together would be ($800+400=$1200) 1200/2=$600 each.
    3 people together would be ($800+400+400=$1600) 1600/3=$530 each

Although I will be serving as "mentor" and "comrade" whether 1 or 3 people - there is some advantage in having 3-4 folks to share ideas and comments (and you save $$).

This class may be offered soon at local community colleges, adult-ed etc. -- but I have no firm commitments yet. I expect the charge for those class (of similar duration) to be from $375 to $500. I am offering it "privately" here for those who may be too shy to be creative in a group of 10 or 20 people, lack confidence in their abilities, can't make those to-be-determined times, or just prefer smaller 1-1 or 1-3 interaction.

CONTACT ME WITH QUESTIONS OR TO DETERMINE AVAILABLE DAYS/TIMES

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Music Fundamentals and Theory Lessons
  • This class is somewhat similar in content of fundamentals to either the piano or guitar lessons above, unless the student plays a different instrument - Although as the lessons progress we will get much deeper into types of annotation, chord theory and progressions, motifs, and especially ear-training.

  • However this class is similar to the songwriting class, in that I will accept 1-3 students per session, with the 2nd and 3rd at the same 50% discount rate.

  • These are only available as one-hour sessions at my studio.

  • So figuring on the monthly rate ($165 prepaid) for 4 weekly 1 hour sessions:
    - 1 person would be $165
    - 2 people would be ($165+83=$248) $248/2=$124 per person
    - 3 people would be ($165+83+82=$330) $330/3=$110 per person
  • It will be helpful if the 2 or 3 people have approximately the same musical background or training.

  • NOTE: for the totally uninitiated - one month of this class would be a great first step before the songwriter class.

This is a very similar type class to those offered at Community College, but with the options of more individual attention, more flexibility as to day/time. Purchase of a somewhat inexpensive book may be recommended.

There is no fixed duration to this set of lessons - you can go on, until I've run out of things to teach you!

CONTACT ME WITH QUESTIONS OR TO DETERMINE AVAILABLE DAYS/TIMES

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