I Am Now Offering Guitar Lessons via Skype

Contact: Ted Sablay, Guitar Instructor,theodoresablay@yahoo.com

I. Background

II. General Lesson Plan

III. Materials

IV. Lesson Duration, Times and Scheduling

V. Cancellations

VI. Tuition

I. Background: Before I started touring with the Killers for the second time, I taught private guitar lessons in Salt Lake City, Utah in my spare time from 2009 to 2012 and enjoyed it a lot. However, I had to stop giving lessons, which I taught in-person at students’ homes, due to the obvious problem of being gone all the time. Still, some of my students wanted to continue with guitar lessons regardless of my touring schedule, so we started conducting our lessons via Skype, a practice that we have continued to this day.

After watching a TED talk on using video to flip the classroom and reinvent education last month, I decided to upgrade the quality of my lessons by making video recordings of the Skype conversations and emailing video links to students, allowing them to review the examples covered in the lesson as many times as needed until they get it right. While I was not surprised by students improving after having a chance to study the lesson videos, I was surprised—and excited—to observe just how quickly students improved by simply reviewing the video that their own pace. With this simple development, I would like to expand my teaching schedule and accept more students for guitar lessons.

II. General Lesson Plan: Ordinarily I split the lesson time between teaching students how to sight read sheet music and how to play songs at the appropriate skill level that they actually enjoy.

Depending on the student, I am flexible on modifying this general lesson plan. However, one thing I am adamant about is requiring the student to sight-read music. Among other reasons, reading music allows a student to quickly learn new songs. It is also a highly effective system for improving one’s timing, tone and patten recognition and summarizing a song’s melody, pace and overall arc at a glance.

III. Required Materials: The following materials should be purchased for the start of the first lesson. The first six items listed here can be found at most musical instrument stores: 

  1. One guitar. Acoustic is preferred, but electric with an amplifier is also acceptable. ($100 and up)
  2. One electronic chromatic guitar tuner ($20) 
  3. One pack of medium-gauge picks (less than $5)
  4. One metronome that is loud enough to be heard while guitar is being played ($20)
  5. One Kyser capo ($20)
  6. One music stand ($10-20)
  7. Method Book: The student also needs to purchase one copy of Berklee Press’s “A Modern Method for Guitar – Volume 1,” available through Amazon.com here.
  8. Computer: The student needs a computer with a solid high-speed internet connection, a camera and microphone. Most new computers (such as MacBook Pros) have a camera and microphone already built into the computer.  
  9. Skype Account: The student must have a Skype account. If you do not already have an account, please visit Skype’s website to join.

IV. Lesson Duration, Times and Scheduling: I generally teach 30-minute or 60-minute lessons on a weekly basis. That said, I understand that students take vacations and/or business or school trips. To that end, I am flexible in working out a schedule with the student to accommodate change. Regarding lesson times, I try my best to keep the lesson at the same time every week, though sometimes the lesson may have to move depending on the tour schedule or student’s schedule.

V. Cancellations: Students have until 24 hours before the lesson to cancel and avoid being charged for the lesson they will be missing. That said, I understand students have emergencies and will do my best to accommodate.  

VI. Tuition: Guitar lessons are $40.00 per half-hour lesson and $80.00 per full-hour lesson. Tuition includes time preparing for the lesson and processing the video for private sharing with the student. Tuition does not cover sheet music for songs that the students would like to cover in lessons. Tuition for the entire month must be made before the first lesson of each month using PayPal, the popular e-commerce business/ subsidiary of eBay. Payment should be sent to the account linked to my primary email address, theodoresablay@yahoo.com. To sign up for a PayPal account or for more information on PayPal, please visit http://www.paypal.com.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me at theodoresablay@yahoo.com.

Thanks for reading.

- Ted Sablay