Note about teaching with regard to Covid-19: Until further notice, 100% of my lessons will be delivered online. Many of my students are of retirement age, immunocompromised, or children. As much as in-person lessons are preferable to distance learning, especially for beginners, I can't put their safety and health at risk.
Thank you for understanding.
For very young students (under the age of 10,) I strongly encourage parents to consider the ukulele in place of the guitar; the smaller size and scale are easier on little hands.
My teaching style is all about what my individual students want and need:
I tailor my instruction to your musical interests and skill level, and teach you the best way to achieve what you want with guitar
I teach you to be literate in music, so you can use
Lead sheets and charts
I teach you the elements of music, so you understand how your favorite songs work.
I teach you safe posture and efficient technique to help you play comfortably and musically, and avoid repetitive stress injuries.
I started teaching private guitar lessons in 2009, while I was a music student at CCBC Essex. I transferred to Towson University in 2010, where I performed in master classes with David Russell and Roland Dyens, won three scholarship prizes for my performances, and taught private lessons and small guitar classes at Mother Seton Academy on Greenmount Ave. In 2012, I started teaching Guitar lessons for the Maryland Performing Arts Institute.
In 2014, I gradulated from Towson University with a BS in Music Education and taught general music, guitar classes, and directed choir for 5 years in Baltimore City Public Schools. I maintained my private lesson business during this time as well, and am dedicated to teaching students of all ages, backgrounds, musical interests, and levels of ability how to express themselves with the guitar.
"James is a very skilled teacher. His passion for guitar is infectious. He is able to break down important concepts as appropriate, but still keep lessons interesting. He is a pleasure to work with for both students and parents." -Octavia S.
"Best teacher ever! Taught my son who didn’t have much self confidence or music background. He now plays 5 or 6 instruments and has played in several bands. Highly recommend Jim as a guitar teacher!!!" -Cindy R.
"James is a very knowledgeable teacher who is patient and understanding. He teaches at a pace that is comfortable yet demanding. His knowledge of music theory is outstanding. I plan on being a student for quite awhile." - Ernie H.
"I've been taking lessons with James for 6 months and have enjoyed every minute. He's excellent at tailoring the lessons both to my abilities and to where I want to go as a musician. I recommend him highly to anyone who wants to learn to play the guitar." - Bill U.
"I played violin for 10 years in school, but haven't practiced for more than 20 years. James has done a wonderful job helping me remember what I knew and fill in the gaps about what I didn't as I transfer to a new instrument. He's a flexible and perceptive teacher who will definitely help you become a better musician." - -Michele R.
James has been teaching our 11yr old daughter and we couldn’t be more impressed. I’ve known just how talented James is for many years but now I get to see what an amazing teacher he is! James has the wonderful ability to meet our girl right where she is while teaching real skill building techniques, a deeper understanding of music and offers lots of encouragement. Between the genuine enthusiasm, knowledge and building of confidence our girl has already seen, I can’t imagine it getting much better than lessons with Leitch Guitar. -Burgandy N.
Suggested Resources and Materials for Beginners:
In addition to a real, suitable instrument and a comfortable place to practice, I strongly encourage my students to get or have access to:
- a guitar support device (strap, stand, cushion, or otherwise)
- a tuner (there are appsl)
- a metronome (there are several free websites and apps that work)
- blank staff paper (books are available online or you can print blank sheets from the internet)
- blank chord diagrams
- blank fingerboard diagrams
- a notebook or folder to keep everything guitar related
Stang, Aaron. Sound Innovations For Guitar, Book 1. Los Angeles:Alfred Music, 2012. ISBN 978-0739077900
This revolutionary method combines solid pedagogy with a focus on real-world guitar skills such as strumming and fingerpicking, pivotal rock and blues riffs, improvising, reading music, and music theory.
Shearer, Aaron. Classic Guitar Technique, Vol. 1. Los Angeles:Alfred Music, 1963. ISBN 978-1470633769
Aaron Shearer's Classic Guitar Technique has long been the core guitar method used by generations of classical guitarists. Alfred Music is proud to present Aaron's first fully revised and re-edited edition of this benchmark work. In addition to new exercises and music, Aaron and music editor Thomas Kikta have included critical new insights into core guitar techniques.
Pretor Pinney, Gavin. The Ukuklele Handbook. New York:Bloomsbury USA, 2013. ISBN 978-1620402207
The definitive illustrated guide to the ukulele, from its history to how to play, including a fantastic songbook.