1. What first inspired you to teach music, and what do you think sets you apart as a teacher?
I don't think I was initially "inspired" to teach; I just decided to give it a try after seeing a Help Wanted flyer in a local music store. Someone who was starting his own music teaching business needed guitar teachers to work for him. This was a travelling or mobile gig, meaning we teachers would be driving to the students' homes in our own cars. I was in-between jobs at the time and needed something new. But now, yes, I feel very inspired to spread knowledge to my music students, who are very important to me.
2. What are some of your favorite parts of your job teaching individual private lessons?
The best is explaining some aspect of music theory to a student who's eager to grasp it. A serious, diligent student is my favorite part of the job. It's all about the reactions of the students--I react to how they react. If they look forward to the lesson and to learning, I look forward to teaching. Otherwise, it's also nice to be able to focus solely on one student at a time and give him or her all of my attention.
3. Why did you decide to offer lessons in people's homes rather than in a studio or at a music store, etc?
That was an idea I picked up from my former boss, the guy who hung the flyer in the music store. It's a cost-saving measure. Bricks and mortar can be expensive to lease, and I'd be awfully nervous if my student roster was low--as often happens in the summertime. I should mention that I went into business for myself in 2008. I own the company and am my own boss. I also have a half-dozen teachers working for me. A studio or music store wouldn't allow me to have the full flexibility I want. Left to my own wits, I can do a much better job for my students. I give a lot of flexibility to my teachers, too, which is why they enjoy working for me more than for other outlets, i.e. studios and music stores.
4. What geographical area do you serve with your in-home lessons, and what about your lessons offered via Skype?
We’re mostly in three counties in suburban Philadelphia, PA. We’re in Montgomery County, Delaware County, and Bucks County. Those areas are slightly northwest of the city, mainly. We might go into Chester County a bit. One of my guitar guys lives in Philadelphia proper, so he handles that area. I'll teach anyone on Skype, but bear in mind, I only speak English.
5. If someone is reading this who has always wanted to learn to play an instrument but never felt "gifted" when it comes to music, what would you say to that person?
I'd say, "That makes two of us!" Persistence can often overcome a lack of "natural talent." I never felt like I was a natural--and still don’t--but I knew if I kept at it, relentlessly, I could achieve a lot. As a friend and ukulele teacher once said to me, "You have to be too stubborn to quit."