Lessons and Policies

These are guidelines that every student and/or parent should become familiar with.  I do not charge any registration fees and only ask payment for lessons and any books or other materials (at cost) that I supply.
My Commitment to the Student
I view my students as clients and I am committed to each one.  My commitment is to provide excellent one-on-one instruction in a relaxed, comfortable environment and to make our time together as productive and enjoyable as possible.  Each student/client is at their own unique level and working on their own particular pieces of music.  I keep notes of all this and review them before the student arrives.  This ensures that I also am adequately prepared for every lesson.  You shouldn't expect any less if you are going to make an investment in musical instruction.
Musical Styles
While classical guitar is my primary personal passion I do enjoy playing and teaching other styles of guitar music.  I first learned blues and rock on the electric guitar and that is still with me to this day.  I am well-versed on the acoustic steel-string and flat-picking in the bluegrass/country style also.  I am happy to help anyone get up to speed on the guitar playing whatever style they prefer.
Kids:  Lessons for children are generally scheduled in 30 minute time periods on a weekly basis.
Adults: Adults are welcome to take 30, 45, or 60 minute lessons weekly.  I have one adult student who has committed to 90 minute lessons every other week.  This works well for him as he is an intermediate level player and has quite a drive to meet with me.  I am flexible and will be as accomodating as scheduling permits.
Students are asked to arrive on time for their lessons.  There will likely be another student scheduled immediately after your lesson.
Students should bring their instrument, books and any accessories to each lesson - be ready to learn.
Record Me! - As a practice aid I allow students to record (video) portions of the lesson.  I will gladly play any exercise or musical passage and even explain it on video if you have the ability to quickly and easily capture it.  Most everyone can use their cell phone for this purpose and it does provide an excellent reference for your practice time between lessons.
Lessons are based on the rate of $40 per hour and so individual lesson prices are: $20 / 30 minutes, $30 / 45 minutes, and $40 / 60 minutes.  Anything over 60 minutes should be based on the rate of $40 / hr.
Thirty minute lessons are enough for a young beginner, but all others should consider committing to the longer times.
Lessons are purchased on a monthly basis (typically 4 or 5 lessons depending on day and month).
Payment should be submitted by the first lesson each month.  Cash or check (payable to James Caldwell).  I can also accept payment via PayPal.
Absences & Make-Up Lessons
If you know in advance that you will miss a lesson (upcoming vacation, etc) inform me at the beginning of the month and pay only for the intended lessons.
If you are sick, or will miss a lesson for any other reason I will try to schedule a make up lesson - This may be difficult to accomplish and should not be abused.  There will be no refunds for excessive missed lessons (please come to your lesson!).
I can't make you practice between lessons, but I will strongly encourage it.  It will benefit the student most if they practice at least a little each day.  Waiting until the day before your lesson and practicing for an hour or more will not achieve the progress yielded from playing only 15 or 20 minutes (minimum), if done every day.  Parents: Encourage your kids to practice and make sure they have time set aside each day for it.  You'll be glad you did.
The nails of the left hand should be kept trimmed and filed back short of the fingertip.  This will prevent the nails from contacting the fingerboard (wood) of the guitar when pressing down (fretting) allowing the notes to sound clearly.  Right hand nails can be kept at a length of 1/16" beyond the tip, but should also be smooth.  This allows for better volume and tone control when playing guitar in the classic style.  If you are playing strictly pick-style then right hand nail length is of no consequence.  This advice applies to right-handed players.  If you happen to be a lefty, like me, the reverse will be true (right hand nails short, left hand nails a little longer).
Click the PDF attachments below to download these General Policies and New Student Information sheet.  Requires acrobat reader.
James Caldwell,
May 28, 2016, 5:01 PM
James Caldwell,
May 28, 2016, 5:27 PM