Andrew thinks of himself as a music teacher first and a guitar and bass teacher second. He is aware of the skills required to be a successful musician and strives to develop these in each of his students. In the same way that general education touches on many subjects to create a well-rounded student, an education in music should touch on many subjects to create a well-rounded musician.
Technique: It takes a great deal of strength and endurance to play the guitar or bass at all, let alone to play a four hour gig. Proper technique allows a musician to get the most from their instrument with the least effort.
Musicianship: These are the intangibles… the things that turn a series of notes into a work of art: Dynamics, Articulation, Interpretation, etc. These are lifelong pursuits for any musician.
Improvisation: What do Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis and Beethoven all have in common? They were all amazing improvisers. It is a skill that is developed through practice and grows with your understanding of your instrument and of music itself.
Music Theory: The answers to most of your musical questions lie here. Be prepared though, it is a can of worms and every answer leads to more questions.
Sight Reading: It is seen as a tragedy when a child slips through the cracks and graduates high school without the ability to read a newspaper, yet 95% of guitar players can’t read or write music… and that number is growing. The fact of the matter is that, when auditioning for a high school or college band, the best sight-reader almost always gets the gig. The same is true for professional studio work and touring bands.
Performance: Stage presence is a huge thing for all performers. We can not be masters of every situation so musicians need to practice acting confident, even when they are nervous. They often need to prepare themselves for a certain level of interaction with the audience as well.
Music History: Nearly everything you hear your favorite artist do has been done before; it is rare when something is truly new. In fact, Mozart’s favorite way to end a song was The Beatles’ favorite too. Imagine that.
Ear Training: The most common request a music teacher hears is, “will you teach me how to play my favorite song?” Andrew’s answer is, “Sure, but how about I help you figure it out instead?” If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day… If you teach a man to fish, he spends all his time at the river.
Instrument Care and Maintenance: Musicians should have a basic understanding of how to keep their instrument in good working order. For guitar or bass this means keeping it clean, changing strings, minor setup work and possibly some electronic work as well.