40 Lavender Grove, Walnut Tree, Milton Keynes. MK7 7DB Visiting the Studio? Need Directions?
I’m Pete, and I teach guitar to all ages and abilities. I’m a family man and into karate, triathlon and music – in particular – GUITAR…
When I go back and remember how I learnt guitar, I did it all wrong! – all I wanted to do was play something that sounded like the record!
First of all, at the age of 5, I attended classical guitar lessons. I remember playing songs like Bobby Shaftoe ( I completely understand if you say “what? – never heard of it – nor had I”), which sounded nothing like Jimi Hendrix or the Eagles, that my uncle was playing. I got through a few “A Tune A Day” books and can’t really complain as I developed techniques with both hands, but still, I didn’t sound like the record :-/ and so the guitar playing took a back seat.
After that, every so often, I would pick up the guitar and give it a twang; I would try to find melodies up and down one string, and try to play the infamous”Smoke on the Water” – it still didn’t sound like the record…
I then persevered through guitar books, wondering how people ever played some of those chords, and I’m sure the tune sounds nothing like that…this guitar playing seemed impossible!
I remember borrowing a 12 string when I was 10 – this was sounding a bit better. I played an Eagles tune to my class which went down well, but still didn’t quite sound right. so the guitar got put down yet again…
At the age of 16, I saved up for months to buy a “Gibson SG copy” and a practice amp…you guessed it – I couldn’t get it to sound right…argghh! I pawned the guitar.
At the age of 21, I bought myself yet another guitar and special effects processor – hey this sounded better! I found a guitar book that taught me the pentatonic scale – hmmm, this had potential! I had a jam with my brother in law who was a drummer, and never stopped playing since!
My point is, if I had the right sort of guidance, I would have got the right sound, and the right motivation to continue all those years ago, and so would have had that many more years pleasure with my friend – the guitar!
My goal is to give my students the right guidance at the right time, so as to keep the students enjoying playing, positively motivated and constantly improving. I have achieved this by tailoring the students developments by targeting relevant pieces of music they want to play
A few months after that, I got together with a few friends who also wanted to play live music. We got together in people lounges, kitchens and workshops to play earsplittingly loud music (I now wear earplugs – better late than never!). We were called “StoneCutter”, and was invariably on a Friday night, to blow away the cobwebs from the week. We regularly played till gone 4 in the morning at which time Graham made fantastic cheese and pickle toasted sandwiches. Sadly, this is one of the things I don’t yet know how to teach you – I’ve not yet figured his secret recipe!
I seem to remember the first gig was disastrous, but we got better.
Next was a band called “Dry Til Friday”. This was a band mainly playing rock original tracks plus a few covers. This was a fantastic time, and I can’t tell you how good it feels to hear the audience sing the words to a song you have written, or a complete wedding party dancing to a slow but heavy waltz called “Crack Cocaine” – playing music is fantastic – you’ve got to do it! We also did a rocking version of “Toxic” (yes – the track by Brittany Spears!) that helped us win a Battle Of The Bands competition for Livezone at the Snowdome in Milton Keynes. We also did our first radio interview then – that was weird! We also filmed a couple of track for TV, one of which got aired on one of those Satallite channels you flick through when you are bored. DTF recorded some decent Demo’s and did some great gigs, and even earn’t a few royalties!
A few years ago, I joined a band called Kickstart – they are mainly a Northampton band but sometimes play in Milton Keynes – The North Western in Wolverton and the Tawny Owl in Walnut Tree to note a couple. These play a mix of 60’s, ska, new wave, punk and indie, with the occasional pop and reggae song as requested. We play as a team, and with a lot of energy and passion – you can’t beat playing LIVE music – it’s the BEST feeling…Do it!
The first free lesson is nearly always a one-to-one.
After that and assuming you’re not a complete beginner, Pete will likely suggest that you work together initially until you’re on a level which is similar to at least one of his other students. Typically Pete will only group students of a similar age similar age and when possible, music taste. (some students want to play rock, others might prefer to play country etc). If you are a beginner, then its a lot more likely that you will be in a group from the very start.
Playing in small groups can be great fun and can enhance your overall learning – as long as the group is not too big. Normally 2 or 3 maximum for intermediates, and up to 5 or 6 for beginners.
When students first come to my studio, I ask them to fill in a form to detail any conditions I may need to know about, and emergency contacts. If the student is a child then naturally The parent or guardian will be asked to supply the information.