Who is Andrew Kennedy?
Andrew is an experienced and qualified music teacher from Brisbane, Australia. Having completed a Bachelor of Music Degree at the Qld Conservatorium in 1999, and a Bachelor of Education in 2002. Andrew has worked as a classroom teacher at Palm Beach Currumbin High School and Brisbane's Music Industry College, with a university lecturing stint at JMC Academy.
Andrew has also taught guitar as a private guitar tutor at The Browns Plains Music Spot, Holland Park State High School, MacGregor State High School and currently at Cannon Hill Anglican College (since '13) where he has over fifty guitar students and three guitar ensembles.
Andrew is also an experienced performer, gigging regularly around Brisbane for about two decades as a soloist, in duos and in bands. He has also released several albums of his own music and also recorded and produced music for others.
With over 18 years experience as a private guitar tutor, Andrew can help you to discover the joy of guitar for yourself. Get in contact to discuss your own goals and dreams for guitar.
How much do lessons cost?
When can I have lessons?
I fit Skype lessons in around my regular students. Currently I teach over 50 private students at Cannon Hill Anglican College in Brisbane, Australia. So I'm only available for regular Skype lessons during Australian school holiday blocks.
This is perfect if you're after bursts of lessons to reach a particular goal. But if you're looking to be a long-term student, we can certainly organise extra check-ins as required.
Available Dates 2020:
- Jan 1 to 27 (four weeks)
- April 1 to April 19 (two weeks)
- June 20 to July 13 (three weeks)
- Sep 19 to Oct 6 (two weeks)
- Dec 5 to Jan 27-2021 (seven weeks)
Australia GMT+10: 8:30am - 3:00pm Mon to Fri
Please use the following website to calculate the time difference from your part of the world:
How are online lessons different from in-person lessons?
Obviously, having a teacher and student together in the same room is ideal. Communication is easy, you can play together and the teacher can easily reach out and physically adjust your technique if necessary. However, in-person lessons aren't always possible for everyone.
Online lessons are convenient, and flexible. However, from an educational point of view, there are actually some profound advantages to the online process:
Both teacher and student are forced to improve their communication because of the limitations of technology. We can't talk over the top of each other or interrupt. We become better listeners.
Because the teacher can't simply reach over and make adjustments to the student's technique, the teacher must use clear instructions and help the student make their own corrections. This encourages the student to be more independent, more reflective and more autonomous.
Lastly, the online process encourages good planning, accountability and record keeping on behalf of both teacher and student. It encourages both of us to be more organised.
Lastly, one of the biggest advantages to a online lesson is that the student can simply hit "record" and keep the lesson forever. The student can also look back and see problems in their technique that they may not have been aware of at the time. It's a great tool for post-reflection.
What do you teach?
Here's some of the things I can teach you:
- Good technique (Left hand, Right Hand, Fingerstyle, Picking, Strumming etc)
- Rhythm Guitar
- Lead Guitar and Improvisation
- Music Reading and Theory, especially in relation to improvisation or creativity
- How to play by ear
- How to work out songs on your own using a combination of tablature, video and listening
I also offer music exam preparation through the ANZCA Music Examination Modern Guitar Syllabus.
The ideal Online student
Online students need to be:
- confident with technology
- well organised
- patient and positive
- good listeners and able to follow verbal instructions
- well coordinated, because the teacher can't physically adjust your technique, you have to be able to do it yourself.
What software do I use?
Generally, Zoom is easiest for most people, but I'm open to other platforms like Skype, Google Hangouts and Streamyard as well. Especially as some of these have advanced audio features which can enhance the experience.
The ideal learning path from start to finish..."hypothetically".
Hypothetically. If I could teach a student from a young age completely from scratch, and take them all the way through their guitar education, how would I do it? Probably like this.
THE STRUCTURED HALF
- Start young, about 6-7 years old, and learn piano first. This gives every musician a perfect foundation for music reading, visualising the musical alphabet and how melody/harmony work.
- A few years later, about age 8 years old, start guitar. Start with tablature, simple songs, chords and strumming.
- After about a year (age 9), when the student is coordinated enough to maintain correct technique, hold a pick and play without needing to look at their hands, they should start learning to read standard notation music on guitar. They will already have experience at this from piano.
- From about age 10, they should aim to follow a graded Guitar Syllabus (I use ANZCA). If they complete one exam per year, they should be up to Grade 7 or 8 (very high level) on by the time they finish high school. Some students will not get this far, some will get further.
THE UNSTRUCTURED HALF
- Along with everything mentioned above, the student should also be playing music that they're passionate about. If they're into folk, jazz, country, rock, fingerstyle, metal or whatever, then that should be an essential part of their musical "diet" too. They should also be encouraged to be creative: to compose, to improvise, to jam with others, to find their own sound. And to clarify, this unstructured half of their learning should be student directed. That means, it's not supposed to be spoon fed from their teacher, they should be mostly finding and learning this stuff on their own. If they're not doing this, it's probably a sign that they're just not that into guitar.
There needs to be a 50/50 balance of the structured half and the unstructured half.
Using this approach, a student can become a well developed and mature musician by the age when it matters; their late teens. That's the age when choices are being made for University courses, careers, life direction. A student who follows the path I've mentioned above may place themselves in an ideal position to follow their dream, whether that be a Music Degree or treading their own path in the music industry.
If, however, a student follows the path described above and decides that they don't want to pursue music as a career. What have they lost? Nothing. But hopefully they've gained a lifelong passion for guitar anyway.
Of course, The path I've described above isn't for everyone, but as a teacher, it's an ideal path that I guide my students along unless there's a reason not to.
Is there anything you don't teach?
As a player, I'm an all rounder. So I can help students to a point with almost anything, whether it be Pop, Rock, Country, Jazz or Metal. However, if I think a student would be better off with a different teacher, I'll be the first one to recommend it.
It's probably important to mention, however, that I'm a contemporary guitar teacher, not a classical guitar teacher. So if you are interested in learning classical guitar, then you should find a dedicated classical guitar teacher.
The deal breaker
While it's normal in everyday conversation for people to overlap each other's sentences in a rapid-fire exchange, that's not possible via Skype because of the limitations of two-way audio signals. Skype students need to be able to take turns when playing and speaking. If this isn't your natural way of communicating, and if you don't think you can adapt, then Skype lessons might not be for you. It might be better to get lessons in person with a local teacher.
* Note, children can sometimes struggle with this aspect and may not be suitable for Skype lessons.
Before your lesson
Before your lesson begins:
- tune your guitar
- make sure you're sitting somewhere comfortable
- angle your webcam so that the teacher can see your guitar/hands and face
- your music should be printed out and on a music stand of some sort. You shouldn't be reading your music from the same device that you're skyping with.
- Also, make sure the area you're in is quiet and without interruptions.
- Log in to the Student Portal and check your homework notes, they will also be emailed to you automatically after each lesson.
- Print out hard copies of any music that you've been sent or downloaded and keep them in a display folder.
- Aim to practice a minimum of 2-3 times per week (or more). You can also log your practice time in the Student Portal and see it graphed over time.
What if I'm unhappy with lessons and want to cease?
If you find that my teaching style doesn't suit you then that's OK. I offer the first lesson for free to see if we gel, and from then on it's standard rates. The important thing is that if you're not happy with the direction that lessons are going, you need to say something rather than let it simmer. That way we can address it and see what can be done.
Do I get a refund if the internet is slow or my computer doesn't work?
Please contact me for a copy of the refund policy. But generally, it's your responsibility to make sure that your internet connection and computer equipment are suitable. We can also test this during our first free trial lesson.
Services in Lieu:
If we're unable to proceed with a scheduled lesson due to technology failure at your end, I will endevour to use the remainder of our lesson time to film a custom video lesson just for you which I will upload and send to you in lieu. This custom lesson will align with whatever repertoire or homework you're currently working on.