What’s the difference between guitar classes and guitar ensembles?
Our guitar classes are mostly about teaching and learning guitar, plus a little performing, usually at the end of each 10-week session.
Our guitar ensembles are the reverse. They’re mostly about playing and performing, plus whatever teaching is necessary to learn the concepts and skills for each piece.
How do I decide between guitar classes and private lessons?
Each one has its benefits. It’s fun to learn guitar in a small group, make new friends and connections, get motivated by playing with your peers, and learn from each other. You’ll also have the opportunity to perform a little bit at the end of each class and get the thrill of playing with a musical group.
Private lessons are for those who want the specialized, individual attention of one-on-one teaching to address their specific needs and musical goals. Even with private lessons, you’ll have the opportunity to perform at our periodic showcases, recitals, or jams.
How do I know which guitar class is right for me?
If you have no experience at all playing guitar, start with our Fall ’14 session “Guitar for Beginners”, which is for “absolute beginners”. If you have some experience, please call us at 301-461-8798 and we’ll help you figure out which class is right for you.
How much weekly practice time is needed?
A good benchmark for both adults and kids is 20 to 30 minutes of practicing, three to four times a week. If you can do that, you should make good progress and gain a lot of skill and confidence over time. Adults have busy lives, and we recognize that the time you have for practicing will fluctuate from one week to the next. The important thing is to keep at it, and do what you can.
Take the longer view, and have confidence that over time, you’ll notice the improvement.
Of course, the more you practice and play, the better you’ll get! But even 15 minutes of practicing here and there will yield benefits. And we have practice suggestions for keeping it all fun and motivating.
How do I register for classes, ensembles or lessons?
There are a couple of options.
First, if another section of that class is running on a different day that week, feel free to drop in on that class at no charge.
Second, we run a free guitar “study hall” for two hours each week (one hour on two different days), where you can come to get instruction – or extra instruction – from one of our teachers on what the class covered that week, or anything else.
Where are the classes, ensembles, and lessons held? Is there parking available close by? Is there a waiting area at the lesson site
We have locations in downtown Bethesda and North Bethesda, each with adjacent parking, and each with a waiting area inside. For details, please see Locations.
Are there discounts for referrals?
Yes! Get a 20% discount off your next class or next month of lessons for referring someone who enrolls in a class or lessons with us. Please call us about the discount.
Guitars and Accessories
Do I need my own guitar?
You should have your own guitar in order to play and practice at home.
If you like, you can rent a guitar from us for $25/month plus a deposit.
Also, if you have a guitar but can’t bring it to class, let us know, and we may be able to lend you one for the class. Give us a call!
What kind of guitar should I learn on?
An acoustic guitar is best to is start on, but if you have a solid body electric guitar, that’ll work too.
For an acoustic guitar, there’s a basic choice between either a steel string or nylon string guitar. Many people prefer the jangly sound of a steel string guitar, which is associated with rock/pop/folk/country music. Nylon strings, which are associated with classical and Spanish/flamenco guitar, are preferred by others because they’re easier on the fingers and easier to get a good sound on. Learning rock/pop/folk on a nylon string guitar works just fine, if that’s your preference.
For our younger beginners, we recommend starting on a nylon string guitar, if possible. Younger students will enjoy playing more and will avoid any frustration that comes with steel string guitars, which are somewhat harder to play and harder on the fingers.
For either type of guitar, also consider whether you want to get an “acoustic electric” model, which means that the guitar has a built-in “pickup” (microphone) and can be plugged in to an amplifier. This would be useful, for example, for playing with one of our guitar ensembles, although it’s not a necessity – any guitar will do.
Finally, whatever guitar you choose, it should be a good quality one. It doesn’t have to be high-end, in fact, there are good guitars on the market that cost just a couple of hundred dollars. Just avoid the lowest quality guitars, which are hard to keep in tune and can be hard to play and learn on, which can be discouraging.
What accessories will I need?
It will be very useful for you to get a “capo” and an electronic tuner. Both are in the range of $15 to $20, and we have these available to students for purchase. (You don’t need to have them the first day.) A capo is the clamp that’s placed on the guitar neck to shorten the strings and play in a higher key. An electronic tuner is very useful, though on some newer guitars, these are already built in to the instrument.
Also, it will be very useful for you to have access to iTunes or a similar program for getting music onto your computer or device, for listening, learning, and playing along.