A typical private lesson consists of warm-up and technical exercises, ear training (playing by ear), reading, and a piece of repertoire. I combine the warm-ups with the technique portion of the lesson.

Warm-up exercises

Warm-up exercises are hand and finger movements designed to increase flexibility and strength in the hands. Technical exercises are designed to increase the knowledge of the fret board, isolate various methods of producing sounds as well as adding strength and flexibility. Technical exercises include scales and arpeggios.

Ear training

Ear training is something that I have been doing since I started to play the guitar. Ear training is the skill of listening to a tune and then playing it. Easy enough. We start by playing melodies using notes the student is learning. I play a melody, the student sings the melody and then the student plays the melody. It’s great fun once everybody gets the hang of it.


I incorporate reading into every lesson, even if most of the lesson involves ear training. Sometimes I have to be sneaky. I believe that in order to communicate in music, we must have a common language. Therefore, all of my guitar students learn to read music.


Repertoire is the real reason people study guitar. They want to play music. I spend the majority of the lesson playing, or working on music that the students want to play (whether its Bach, the Beatles, Joni Mitchell or Metallica), or music that, I believe, will stimulate their growth as musicians.

Steve Waugh teaching guitar.

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