An introduction

I offer private tuition from my home in Hertfordshire, and have many years of additional experience teaching for both Barnet Education Arts Trust and Hertfordshire Music Service. I have an up-to-date DBS certification available to see on request. 

After studying at the Royal Academy of Music for six years with Michael Lewin, I graduated from the BMus course with First Class Honours, followed by Distinction from the MMus. During my time as a student, I was a twice-recipient of the Academy’s Bache Fund Prize, in addition to a Council of Honour Prize, Mrs MA Garrett Award and a Blythe Watson Scholarship. I was also fortunate to have been generously sponsored by the Wolfson Foundation, The Countess of Munster Musical Trust and the Marylebone Education Trust. I am also a member of the ISM (Incorporated Society of Musicians). 

About my Teaching

Both adults and children are welcome, of all ability levels. One of my priorities is to make lessons engaging and varied for students, whilst meeting the individual needs of each learner. Planning lessons and honing innovative ways to teach musical fundamentals is important to me. For instance, if a student is learning to read music, then I will often make good use of coloured practice revision cards as well as a miniature music white board to visually illustrate ideas. If a student finds a particular aspect difficult, then I will try different ways of explaining or demonstrating to help them grasp the idea; I do this in an encouraging, patient way, and I am delighted if pupils' engagement with the lesson leads them to ask relevant questions.

 

An emphasis is placed on sourcing good quality and appealing repertoire for students, and I take the stance that if pupils genuinely enjoy the pieces they are studying, then the level of motivation and engagement will be much greater than it would be if lessons were to rigidly follow the same prefabricated syllabus for every student. Moreover, if there is a particular piece of music that someone particularly aspires to learn that is currently out of reach, I will design relevant preparatory exercises, or locate substitute pieces of an easier level which could help facilitate learning the goal piece at a later point. 

Available Lesson Formats

 

I offer two main approaches to organising lessons: a course-style format or a single weekly lesson:

1. Course

For the course format, students can begin by attending several lessons each week. This could be a daily 20 minute lesson, Monday to Friday, or perhaps 2 or 3 lessons spread out through the week. After the initial stages of learning, this can drop to a single lesson per week of a longer duration. The course approach has a number of potential benefits:

  • The increased regularity of lessons means the student is supervised throughout the week, helping them to establish good playing habits, which is easier than if they are left to their own devices for the entire week.

 

  • Lesson plans can have a greater sense of continuity.

 

  • On lesson days, there is no requirement for the pupil to practice at home. The lesson functions as guaranteed guitar time for that day. For students on the daily course, they would not be required to practice at home until they reduce the number of lessons after a number of months. When they come to practice at home, then they may feel more equipped to do so, having grasped the fundamentals of playing and working effectively.

 

  • It is easier to concentrate for 20 minutes each lesson, than for a big block of time in one go. This has the potential to make lessons seem more enjoyable and accessible for pupils.

 

  • If students need to ask questions about their music reading or require help with how to play something, then I am available to offer support more frequently.

  • Consider your learning process of beginning to read and write words, or even maintaining a garden, growing and waterering the plants. Neither of those things would be given an optimal start with one session per week. Music lessons are comparable in the sense that increased regularity can help consolidate the lesson topics more effectively, and help to avoid the scenario of a student doing no practice during the week and then finding they can barely remember what they covered in the lesson a whole week ago.

2. Weekly Lesson

For single weekly lessons, I offer time slots of either 1 hour; 45 minutes; half an hour; or 20 minutes (I would recommend 20 minutes for a child beginner for the first several lessons, before moving to more time).

 

Having outlined the potential benefits of the course format, I am appreciative that travel and time constraints may make that appoach inconvenient for you. Weekly lessons can still be very productive, the main difference being that, for children, there is a greater need for parental involvement regarding the scheduling of practice time. This is something I insist on, as the learner's progress is highly dependent on it. Again, imagine learning to read or write with one session each week and then no practice time in between - it would be extremely difficult.

 

The good news is that there is an easy way to integrate the practice, and that is to schedule a designated guitar time on a minimum of four or five days per week. The time does not have to be very long (10-15 mins per practice should be sufficient), but it is the consistency which is key! This will lead to fulfilling learning in the long-term.

Lesson Prices

1 hour £32

45 minutes £24

30 minutes £16

20 minutes £11

Please contact me if you would like to book lessons and discuss your requirements. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have, and to organise a consultation lesson.

Mobile: 07831572618

Email: merlinmiller72@gmail.com

Alternatively, feel free to use the form on the contact page.

 

© 2019 Merlin Miller