Frequently Asked Questions - Correspondence Guitar Lessons


1. Is it possible to learn via correspondence?
2. How can you know if I am learning and progressing on the guitar since you cannot see or hear me?
3. What if I have questions about the lesson materials?
4. What can you teach me?
5. How well have you taught other students?
6. Will I receive lessons specifically designed for me?
7. Are the lessons sent via email?
8. Can you capture my enthusiasm and make me the guitarist I want to be?
9. What musical styles do you teach?
10. How often should I take lessons?
11. Why do I need to determine a regular lesson schedule?
12. Can I change the frequency of how often I have lessons with you?
13. How much time will I need to spend on the lesson material?
14. What is the size of each lesson?
15. What will my first lesson contain?
16. How much does it cost?
17. $59 is a lot for me, can I try only one lesson?
18. What are the ways to pay for lessons?
19. I want to learn from you, but I am skeptical because I do not know you personally.
20. How to start?
21. I still have other questions before I decide?



1. Is it possible to learn via correspondence?

Of course it is. Read what students have to say about it here. And see their results for yourself here.  People can (and some do) earn college degrees from online courses. (My wife's final year at Roosevelt University in Chicago was completed this way). As mentioned earlier, Correspondence Guitar Lessons do not work well for total beginners. People new to guitar must have the aid of a teacher sitting in front of them while learning the very basics of playing the guitar.

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2. How can you know if I am learning and progressing on the guitar since you cannot see or hear me?

In three main ways:

  1. It is recommended that you give me feedback after you receive your lessons and have had time to work with them. You will be telling me how your progress is going and we will discuss via email challenges or problems that arise with regards to playing, practicing and learning your lesson materials.
  2. You are encouraged to submit periodic recordings of your playing to me for regular feedback (you can do so by filling out this form.)  By hearing you play, I will be able to refine the lesson strategy that I create for you and help you reach your goals even faster! Even on audio recordings I can hear more than you probably think I can. For example, if you play a scale, I can almost always hear if you are using down strokes or up strokes or any combination, with your guitar pick.
  3. I'll know from the types of questions you may ask (if you need to send me any) if you are understanding the theoretical concepts.
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3. What if I have questions about the lesson materials?

It is my job to help you understand all the materials, and I have continuously refined my approaches to teaching over the last 15 years to improve my effectiveness in communicating music to all types of students. On this web site, there is a large Correspondence Guitar Lessons FAQ section, where you can find most answers to a large variety of questions on many lesson topics that you will receive. You are welcome to check out the Correspondence Guitar Lessons FAQ now if you wish.  However, please understand that if you simply try to understand the questions and answers BEFORE you actually receive the lessons from me, it probably won't make sense, since you have not studied the actual lesson yet. So you would be only reading these answers without the context of having the lesson in your possession.  Additionally, as a student, you will have access to my amazing private Students forum that is frequented by some of my most advanced students (and of course I am very active on the forum as well).  Many of my students are highly advanced guitarists and professional music teachers from all over the world.  you are welcome to post your questions right on the forum to be answered by myself and/or my other students. 

If you have a question about your lessons that you can not find on the Correspondence Guitar Lessons FAQ or cannot get satisfactory answered on the forum, just email me and I'll answer you in detail so that you can understand what you need to know.

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4. What can you teach me?

I can teach you a huge amount, but it's not the quantity that matters most, it's the quality. If you have read any of my articles, you already know that I am very goal oriented. Unfortunately, most guitar teachers are not focused on helping the students reach their unique goals. If you have already taken lessons from other music teachers in the past, how many of them even bothered to find out what your goals were? There is a small percentage teachers who actually may ask you what your goals are, and an even smaller percentage of them actually follow through with creating a unique strategy for each student. The result is usually frustration on the part of the student and a lack of significant progress and unfulfilled goals. The vast majority of new students that come to me fall into one of two groups:

  1. People who have had guitar teachers in the past, but didn't get the results they wanted from their teachers.
  2. Other teachers who want to improve their own teaching skills.

I don't just teach a bunch of guitar licks. I am committed to building a strategy for you and your goals, so I can't tell you what kinds of things I would teach you before I study your answers to the evaluation form. You can be sure however, that the things we will work on together will be directed specifically towards whatever your goals are. These things might include topics like: lots of specific guitar techniques, music theory, ear training, improvising, composition/song writing, recording skills/advice, releasing your own CD, promotion of your own CD, the music business, how to become a guitar teacher, how to get the best deal buying a guitar, etc, etc, etc.  Each of the above categories is very broad and there can be dozens of lessons in each category that are very specific to what you need to learn in order to reach your goals.

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5. How well have you taught other students?

Here are some brief samples of our results...I'll let you be the judge!

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 6. Will I receive lessons specifically designed for me?

Yes. Everything I send you is based on your answers to the questions on the evaluation form. I analyze these results and create a strategy to get YOU to reach YOUR goals. I do not send everyone the same things. What I do is very different from the typical "online guitar lessons" web sites where all beginners receive the same lessons, all intermediate students receive the same lessons, etc. That type of teaching never works well unless students are total beginners and are starting from zero skills and zero knowledge. That is why all the "online guitar lessons" that you buy on CD-ROM or DVD or in books probably did not give you very good results. It is also one of the reasons why what I do (Correspondence Guitar Lessons) is superior to other lesson products and programs offered on the internet.

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7. Are the lessons sent via email?

No. All lessons are posted to your student account that will be created when you fill out the evaluation form.

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8. Can you capture my enthusiasm and make me the guitarist I want to be?

There is only one person who possesses the true power to capture your enthusiasm. That person is you. I seek to be a great conductor for it to flow. I invite you to read about the massive success I have with my other students. Hear it in their own words here, and here.

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9. What musical styles do you teach?

I teach most major styles: rock, metal, shred, neo-classical, progressive at any skill level. I teach blues and jazz as well, however most of my students are rock players. I've taught many hundreds of students in these styles. Many of the most serious students play on a semi pro or professional level, many are teachers themselves now.  Of course I teach people with less experience as well.

I do not teach the following styles: country, bluegrass, nylon string classical guitar, finger picking (beyond the beginner level) or professional level jazz. If your main focus is to learn one of these styles, find another teacher. (I can recommend great teachers to you that teach in these styles.)

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10. How often should I take lessons?

That depends on several factors, such as how much time you have available to practice each week for example. Most students take one lesson every 2 weeks, every 3 weeks or once a month, however some students choose to take lessons less frequently. You may change your lesson schedule at any time. Obviously, the more lessons we do together, the faster you will reach your goals.

I've given you a wide range of options so you can choose whatever you best fits your situation. You have several options for setting your own schedule. They are:

Once a week   $55.00
Once every 2 weeks $55.00
Once every 3 weeks $57.00
Once every 4 weeks $58.00
Once every 6 weeks $59.00

After you fill out the evaluation form, I will make a recommendation for a lesson plan that I think will work the best for your situation.  However, you are free to choose from any of the plans listed above. 
 

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11. Why do I need to determine a regular lesson schedule?

In the past, I never asked my correspondence students to do this. They all just emailed me whenever they were ready for the next lesson and then I created it and sent it to them. They sent me payment after the lessons arrived to their home. In the beginning, this worked out well for me and the students, but two main problems sometimes arose by doing it this way.

  1. Because there was no set schedule for the student (as there would be with private lessons where you meet with your teacher face to face, once a week for example), it became harder to maintain a consistent rate of learning and progress for each student. It also made my ability to monitor each student's progress much more difficult.
  2. As both my own professional music career and the number of my correspondence students grew much larger, the inconsistency of not having students on a set schedule, made it increasingly difficult for me to stay on top of everyone's lessons. I put a considerable amount of time into planning out the strategies for helping each student reach his/her unique goals. Sometimes I might not have any Correspondence Guitar Lessons to do for 2-3 days and other times I might have requests from 10-20 students in one day. It became harder and harder to do 10 or 20 lessons in a single day. So I needed to spread out my teaching/work load so that I can be sure to give every student the time he/she deserves.
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12. Can I change the frequency of how often I have lessons with you?

Yes. It is very easy to do. If you begin with monthly lessons with me and later you want to have lessons more (or less) frequently, all you need to do is:

  1. Email me and tell me what changes you want to make
  2. Go to the Order Lessons page and select the new lesson option you want and follow the simple instructions.
  3. Cancel your old Lesson schedule (subscription) by logging into YOUR PAYPAL account and select cancel subscription - it's very easy.

That's it. The whole process takes about a minute.

 

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13. How much time will I need to spend on the lesson material?

The key to obtaining the maximum results with these lessons is consistent practice on a daily basis. The more time you can spend, the better. I think it's more important to focus on practicing everyday, than worrying about how long to do it. If you practice at least 45 minutes a day, you will see good results.  60-90 minutes a day would be better. However, many students are not able to make this kind of time investment due to other responsibilities.

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14. What is the size of each lesson?

Question: you said each lesson contains 7 parts. If I choose to pay for lessons every 2 weeks, will I receive all 7 parts at the same time and then after another 2 weeks I will receive 7 more parts? Or do I receive only 1 part (of the 7 parts) every 2 weeks, so every 2 weeks a new part is sent to me from that group of 7?

Answer: If you choose the option for lessons every 2 weeks. You will receive the full lesson every 2 weeks (all 7 parts plus additional materials at once). Your first lesson will contain all 7 parts + additional materials. Then 2 weeks later, you will receive the next lesson (containing 7 more parts + more additional materials). 2 weeks later, you will receive the third lesson (also containing 7 more parts + more additional materials). So after 3 lessons (6 weeks) you will have 3 complete lessons (containing 21 lesson parts and several additional materials). The cycle continues for as long as you choose to study with me.

you can choose other options also. For example, one lesson every 3 weeks, or once a month or whatever you want. It all works the same way, but the time in between lessons and payment would be longer if you choose one of those options.

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15. What will my first lesson contain?

This is the one question I am asked the most and have the most difficult time answering, but I'll try.... All materials are specifically related to reaching your goals. I do not send the same lesson to everyone as their first lesson. I also do not have have 5 or 10 "first lessons" that I choose from and then just send you one of those. That is not how this works...

The reason why I do not want to get into answering your question directly with a specific list of items for you is because most students would then make a decision based on what they "think" the value of the contents would be and/or how it relates to what they think they want.... Example: let's assume that your primary goal is soloing/improvising. If I told you that your first lesson would contain (among 6 other things) materials on fret board harmony, many people would think this is not something that really relates directly to the goal of soloing and improvising. And therefore they would not be interested in taking lessons because they are looking for a bunch of new licks to play, versus an understanding how soloing really works in all of its aspects... Bottom line: in order for me to work with a student, that student must be willing to trust that I know what I am doing as a teacher. This means that:

  • you establish your goals, but not the strategy. You need to remain focused on the goal. Focus on the end result that you want...
  • I establish the strategy of what we will do and how we will do it. It is my job to keep you on track during the process to reaching your goals...
  • Then we work together to implement the tools, knowledge, skills and strategies that I am giving you in each lesson.

If you want to try 2-3 lessons and "see how it goes", this will not work. Of course you can quit at any time, but in order for me to be effective in helping you, you need to trust in my abilities and in my sincerity to genuinely help you manifest your goals into reality. Big results will take time, it won't happen over night. If all I wanted was your cash, and didn't care about my students, I would be saying anything you wanted to hear just to get you to sign up today. My primary goal is to develop as many musicians as I can and to help them (you) actually reach your short and long term goals... In other words, I want YOU to get real results and be included on Feedback page and eventually the Students Spotlight page

 

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16. How much does it cost?

Each lesson is very large and typically contains 7 different components per lesson. It is a lot of material and requires a considerable amount of time for me to prepare each lesson. The cost of one lesson is:

Once a week   $55.00
Once every 2 weeks $55.00
Once every 3 weeks $57.00
Once every 4 weeks $58.00
Once every 6 weeks $59.00
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17. $59 is a lot for me, can I try only one lesson?

Question: $59 is a lot of money for me because I am a teenager. If possible, I would like to buy one lesson, and if that really does help, then I’ll move onto a regular schedule. $59 on a monthly basis would be a major budget strain. But music is really important to me, and I do think it would be really cool to have a mentor like you. So I hope you are willing to do a single lesson, so I can really see what it's like before committing myself.

Answer: If $59 is a lot of money, it is a lot of money. So it doesn't really matter if the lessons are great or not, if you believe you cannot afford it, then you can't afford it. With this type of thinking, there is nothing for you to consider. However, if you are absolutely committed to achieving your goals, then you WILL find a way to save or earn $1.40 per day ($59 per 6 weeks) to make that happen. The issue is not whether you are going to commit to me, it’s whether or not you are going to commit to yourself to achieve what you want. Why have you searched out a teacher, tracked me down, and come to my website? It is probably because you were not getting the results you wanted on your own, or with another teacher, for whatever reason.

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18. What are the ways to pay for lessons?

Paypal is the most secure and easiest method of payment. I am a verified merchant at Paypal. If you do not have a Paypal account, it is a very easy and fast to set up a Paypal account ( go to http://www.paypal.com/ ). If you live in a country where Paypal is not available, contact me and we'll discuss what other options would be the best for you.

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19. I want to learn from you, but I am skeptical because I do not know you personally.

If you have spent some time looking at what I have achieved as a teacher, guitarist and musician, you will see I am already very successful in the music industry. I've performed in world concert tours in North America, Europe, and parts of Asia. In Europe, I've played for tens of thousands of people each night. I've sold my CDs in more than 50 countries around the world! I have invested the last 20 years of my life to achieve what I have achieved. I have earned the trust and respect of thousands of people. I'm smart enough (and honest enough) to never violate that hard earned trust, reputation and respect. After all the years of extremely hard work, it would be very stupid for me to do anything that might weaken my reputation.

 



20. How do I Begin?

Begin on this page.

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21. I still have other questions before I decide?

Send me an e-mail at hess@tomhess.net

 


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