Working with me

You will find out pretty quickly that I am very much an “at will, no worries” kind of guy.  Nonetheless, just because most plans change is no good reason not to have one to lean on, even a very simple one.  What follows is an outline of how I like to work.

Getting started

When you make initial contact with me, the purpose is simple:  to decide whether to have an initial meeting, or not;  and if so, to schedule it.  It is not yet the time for details, although of course we’ll sort out whatever we need to serve the primary purpose.

The initial meeting

The purpose of the initial meeting is also simple:  to feel each other out, and decide whether or not to proceed.  It is different from the initial contact because the details, in the form of an initial plan, are now appropriate.  Here we discuss, face-to-face, what you want to do, what you wish to work on, and whether I can help you with that or not.

I envision the initial meeting taking up to a half hour, depending on how much you may already know about me, and how much I need to learn about what you are looking for.  Usually, within that time, it becomes pretty obvious whether moving to paid sessions is the right idea, or not, and either way we can proceed with confidence.

Crafting a plan

The product of the initial meeting, if we decide to proceed to paid sessions, is an initial plan of some sort.  It doesn’t have to be complex, and very likely it will change before we’re through with it.  But we’ll at least get a dart in the board.

To that end, I would recommend that you look through these notes on planning your path.  If possible, go through it before our initial meeting;  unless something more specific presents itself, I will use that document as a starting structure and list of topics from which we can construct the initial working plan.

So, coming out of the initial meeting, we’ll have a decision to proceed, an initial working plan, and an initial working schedule.  We’re off!

Working the plan

The purpose here is self-evident:  it’s what you’re here for.  The fun part!

We’ll meet according to our agreed schedule.  We’ll work on the items in your plan.  At the end of each session, we’ll review where we are, and make any necessary amendments to plan and schedule.

And we’ll repeat until it’s time to complete.

Listening for completion

We each have an important responsibility toward the other, to be aware of when the time has come to complete and conclude our work together.  There is no set time for when this may happen;  it may take just a session or two, or it may take years.  The important thing is that we each listen for it, so that we can respond respectfully and naturally, both to each other and to the purpose that brought us together in the first place.


My style

Most people seem to find me very easy to work with.  I prefer an informal, friendly style that arises directly out of my own enthusiasm.  Believe me, there’s as much “serious geek” in there as anyone may care to coax out, but even then, I have so much fun doing it, it seems to come out naturally.  In the end, it seems to work.

That said, sometimes the energy can come across like drinking from a fire hose.  If it gets to be too much, please just let me know;  I like to think I’m always on the lookout for that, but sometimes, like anyone else, I just get excited.

You will quickly notice that I try to be as precise as possible, which results in a certain emphasis on precision semantics and vocabulary, and often a volume of context to make a particular point as clear as possible.  This does not mean that I somehow expect everyone to be, or become, a geek like I am.  One of the best aspects of music in general is that it is available to anyone, from one end to the other of any continuum you care to describe:  I couldn’t possibly begin to count how many people have made beautiful music without having “known” a bunch of geeky things about the music they made.  Again, if it gets to be too much, simply ask me to rein it in–I’ll always be happy to do that.

Finally, keep in mind that I believe music to be so important that I deliberately downplay the stereotypic “teacher-student” aesthetic, and encourage you to consider me more as a facilitator or coach for your own self-directed learning.  This is on one hand a subtle distinction, but on the other, in terms of attitude and mentality, I think it is hugely important for lasting success.

And I’m up for success.