A photo of Sam, a tutor from Berkeley City College

Sam

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Lets work on our Ears and our Rhythm! Music and art have been a consistent theme in my life for almost 30 years . I have traveled the world playing gigs and also did plenty of busking (street performing) along side it. I appreciate the idea that all styles of music can be tasteful or fun. I studied Song Writing and Music Therapy at Berklee College of Music and thus have a Jazz approach when it comes to musical analysis. My principle instrument was guitar but I also practiced many others. For me, learning the rhythm and groove is tremendously important. What i've learned from teaching is that there is always a way to make learning fun and that everyone has the chance to be amazing if they put in the time.

Sam’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Berkeley City College - Bachelors, Professional Music

Hobbies

Juggling, Farming, outdoor swimming, cooking, fire spinning, comedy, all forms of art, smash brothers melee, culture

Tutoring Subjects

Drum

Guitar

Music

Music Theory

Piano

Songwriting


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy includes three basic principles: 1. Everyone has a unique pace and method of learning that must be discovered and understood by both teacher and student. Through this, it is my goal to help you discover or evolve your method of learning to improve the amount of focus and information retainable. 2. It's important to keep things simple and fun. I choose to follow the joy and excitement of the student. What this means is if you are understanding an aspect or topic that you want to take further, I'm happy to continue down that direction. There are many dimensions to music, and I think it's helpful to follow your highest interest. 3. Rhythm is everything when it comes to playing all styles and instruments. Thus, improving our rhythm through many techniques and learning to befriend the metronome is a consistent focus.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

In my first session I always get to know the tastes and level of the student. This means asking what music do they enjoy to listen to or strive to play. Determining the level of the student involves playing with them and having them play alone. If they cannot play, then this is unnecessary. Next I would have some basic goals for knowledge and technique that don't have to be the same for everyone. For example, learning the musical alphabet and writing it down in notes. Also a basic finger exercise at the level of the student. I would lastly recommend, based on taste, to listen to some bands that might inspire them and hand them a chord chart for homework.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

To me, being a good independent learner comes from being inspired and knowing what produces results. I have created many exercises and concepts in music through isolation training, (focusing on one basic concept at a time for example: string bending), and when the individual has a personal connection to the content, I find it increases their desire to practice. Also pointing out bench marks or subtle growth, both over time and in lessons, to make it clear what improvement is. This makes it more tangible for the learner and gives them a direction to walk towards.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I would stay within their level of passion and stay lighthearted about it. I personally find that people regress when they feel judged or pressured to do something. What I do everyday to stay motivated is to listen to my heroes of music. If my student didn't know who those people were for them, it will be a blast to find out.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

I'm always happy to find a new approach to understand. Analyzing music is basic math, but because it's arranged in a circle, we can achieve the same answer from many different directions, and all are correct. Secondly, I would play the example many times before analyzing. Once we know it in our head and can hear it, the rest will follow eventually.