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Guitar Lessons in the West Island of Montreal, Guitarist Stephen Weiss Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec
Contact Details
Name:   Stephen Weiss
Phone:   (514) 676-0825
Website:   Click here to go to my website
Last Update:    2019-02-17 22:57:33
Montreal, St. Laurent, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Dorval, Kirkland, Laval, Pointe Claire, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Vaudreuil, Beaconsfield and Pierrefonds.



Teaching experience: 17 years
Accreditation: Bachelor of Music in Music Education Degree

Classical Guitar:
- Beginners to advanced students welcome!
- Royal Conservatory of Music examinations, all grades (optional).
- Form and analysis of studied works.
- Opportunity to perform in guitar trios, duets and quartets with other students.
- Utilize numerous supplementary guitar exercises and studies for efficiency.
- Learn to apply warm-up and technique ideas to the needs of your playing style.
- Apprenez à jouer de la guitare de nombreuses périodes historiques.
- Tous les âges et les débutants sont les bienvenus.
- Théorie et histoire.

Popular Guitar Styles:
- Learn to play your favorite songs on the guitar.
- Tabs of numerous rhythm and lead lines available.
- Ear skills for learning from recordings and for improvisation.
- Lessons on fingerstyle, lead, rhythm and improv. techniques.
- Create full accompaniments for solo guitar arrangements.
- Learn to read guitar music from manuscript, tablature and chord charts.
- Memorize complete forms of songs, from recordings and sheet music.
- Recording studio available for jam tracks.

Date:  2011-08-30 13:14:39
Description:  Guitarist Stephen Weiss performing Jorge Morel's Danza Brasilera.

Date:  2011-08-30 13:13:55
Description:  guitarist Stephen Weiss performing Lui Bonfa's Manha de Carnaval.


No testimonials listed

Date:  2011-08-30 13:25:51
Subject:  A few thoughts on guitar lessons
Blog:  It is exciting that in taking lessons to play the classical, fingerstyle or popular guitar (electric or acoustic), after just a few weeks we can be able to play music! With practise at home during the week between lessons, guitar students can enjoy the sweet sounds, fun rhythms and colorful tones while they play melodies, first position chords (chords within the first four frets on the guitar neck) and scales, the type of which are dependent upon the musical genre we choose to study and all of which can be utilized in excellent technical exercises and for improvisation.

So, when we are taking guitar lessons, we learn to have a good mix of things to steadily work on, amongst them pieces of the Western European art music historic periods (if we choose to study the classical guitar), tunes from recordings (if we choose to learn popular styles), studies, exercises and a few scales (too many can become a bit boring while just the right amount helps our progress, especially if they are related to the music we play in discussions during lessons; important in all styles). All of these areas are important to expect or have explained when beginning to take guitar lessons because they are the basis for a well-rounded study of the instrument. The goal of being able to play beautiful music on our guitar as soon as possible is most easily accomplished when we have a program in place which facilitates the many necessities which help us to have fun playing guitar while gaining a thorough understanding of music.

It is mostly a matter of squeezing the tree: As is most of the guitar, the neck is made of wood, and it is not often in day to day activities that we squeeze a tree, while creating intricate movements between fingers! Yet, concerning the left hand, this in part is what is required of the student when learning to play the guitar. The initial awkwardness is overcome with careful attention to material covered during the first few lessons, self-reminders during practise and lessons to keep the left hand relaxed while fretting notes/squeezing the guitar neck, and in playing a few specific exercises and repetitive motions which loosen tendons, promote familiarity concerning left and right hand distance judgment and boost confidence in the guitar student as he/she gains a physical sense of what is required to play and practise the guitar. Without going into excessive detail, the main thing is to stay as relaxed as possible while having to squeeze the 'tree piece' and move the fingers freely.

Whether the student chooses to take guitar lessons in classical and fingerstyle guitar, or popular styles which require the use of a pick in the right hand, from the beginning of our first few lessons we learn how to keep our hand/arm/shoulder/entire right side in a position that enables us to be ready and close to the strings in a relaxed way. The key is to always remember how effortless it is to produce a tone from each string. While at times we may think that tightness and a hard-work attitude is necessary in the right hand, at the same time we can try to produce a tone while "brushing by" or just "slightly leaning into" the string(s) and we will find that the same full tone/sound will be produced with close to no effort. This is crucial because the effort is better saved for other things anyhow, such as thinking about what is coming next in the music, listening to our overall sound, thinking about how we are going to end the piece as we are four measures away from the final bar or deciding on a scale we may use when our turn to solo arrives. None of these things can be carried out or thought about while we play if we are tiring ourselves with over-squeezing or a "tight claw" right hand approach.

For beginner and advanced guitarists alike, repetition of a tiny, chosen idea makes a world of difference: It stands to reason that the more specific (and simple) the idea or technique we are practising, the more we will progress - right? The thing is, we first have to dissect what it is, the tiny thing/technique that, once practised and having become fluid, helps us to achieve a sense of ease and coincidentally more enjoyment with the piece or genre with which we are spending much time learning. Is this a purpose of the teacher? Yes! I have always found it useful, both for myself and my students in learning to overcome certain technical difficulties, to constantly detract from the 'bumps in the road' the problem at hand. The goal is to be able to play beautiful guitar music and anything that we can squeeze into our daily practise routine to help us achieve this is to our benefit. Also, over time the student should learn independently to analyze the trouble areas in a piece or in overall playing so that he/she can create short, repetitive exercises which help overcome and therefore make playing more fun.

A tiny idea created because of a problem can be played and repeated during the warm-up routine or somewhere else in the guitar student's schedule, the most important thing being that it is repeated, with focus, for a certain amount of time. This idea is similar to many repetitive motions used in sports, repeated not for the purpose in and of themselves, as in a hockey practise, with the goal not being just able to skate to the blue line, stop and then come back, but to build muscle tissue, grow necessary respiratory material, stop rapidly, gain endurance, etc.. The team practises this for a certain amount of time, every time they meet, with the hope of having the skills and physical preparations necessary for the game. Whether we are learning to play the guitar from scratch or if we are quite advanced, these very specific ideas help us to move on to play our beautiful pieces with more ease.

Date:  2011-08-30 13:18:09
Subject:  Thoughts on Royal Conservatory of Music Examinations
Blog:  The Royal Conservatory of Music graded repertoire? (Participation is optional for all students)

For guitar students choosing to study the classical guitar, these graded books are an excellent way to get a taste of Western European music dating from the Renaissance period to the present. In studying "classical" music on the guitar, or on any instrument for this matter, playing music from all of the periods gives us a great insight into period-specific styles, cultural considerations, individual compositional colors of particular composers and even fascinating social-historic situations as we are likely to learn about a few things non-musical as well when delving into history lessons. To have pieces by most of the important solo guitar music composers in one set of books, each of them graded from elementary (can be played within the first year of study) to advanced (equivalent of difficult concert and university music department repertoire), is an advantage well worth taking part in. Each of the graded books are cheap, between fifteen and twenty dollars, and they are available at most sheet music or musical instrument stores. This almost appears as a sales pitch for the Royal Conservatory (!). During the past few years I have had the chance to see students learn and enjoy tens of pieces in the repertoire and thus I have an opinion that it is a beneficial collection to a classical guitar student at any level.

R.C.M. Examinations: There are opinions both ways in this area because while some folks enjoy the idea of being adjudicated (performance-graded), in a fairly formal setting by a professional, others find it to be unnecessary and a bit 'stuffy'. My view as a teacher is that these exams, at all grade levels, are a great way to apply oneself to a program with an exact curriculum, having included areas such as repertoire/pieces from all of the historic periods, studies, scales and technical exercises, and ear training. Also, each grade level is well displayed and described in a published R.C.M. Syllabus. At higher grade levels (5 and up), co-requisites of theory and history are required.

In my experience, the examination process is positive if the student is well prepared, a readiness accomplished both in weekly guitar lessons as well as at home during individual practise. When we are ultra-rehearsed for a musical performance of any kind, it is almost impossible that a negative outcome be the result. This is true of all musicians, from Jimi Hendrix to serious symphony orchestra players (who often times have runs of rapid notes in their pieces longer than imaginable!). So, after students have been playing the guitar long enough to have learned a few pieces of the different historic periods in the grade one book, which is easily accomplished within the first year of study, we can discuss during our lessons whether or not to go the route of preparing and playing for an exam. This is a combined decision to be made between the student, parent and myself.

Guitar Lessons in Popular Styles: During guitar lessons in folk, rock, blues and other popular musical genres, ear skills are equally (or more) important as reading skills in becoming a proficient player. While we learn to read from tablature and manuscript, we also learn to hear 'by ear' the chord changes, forms, licks/riffs and keys in the recordings of the songs we are learning to play. At all levels, this is a concept - learning to play by ear, that is not only for the prodigies or those born into the elitist group of perfect 'pitchers' (no pun occurring or intended!), but it is also for students wishing to learn to play songs, from Neil Young to Jimi Hendrix to John Mayer.

Put simply, if we can hear the difference between a train horn and a fog horn, there is nothing stopping us from hearing the mood change created when playing a major chord followed by a minor chord. It is true that the more complex and thus subtle the sound difference the more difficult it is for a beginner to distinguish, but with practise, starting with basic ideas and harmonic sounds, we can learn to relate what we are hearing to the guitar. Then, through experimenting, and there are no wrong notes when experimenting, we gain confidence when we translate the sounds, chords, melodies and riffs to our guitar. The key is practise, practise, and yes, just a little more practise!
When I transcribe for my students a song from a recording, I teach them a combination of reading, listening, technical ideas, necessary chords and scales for rhythm playing/solos and riffs and overall forms (music is similar to poetry in form, so for example a form such as "A B A B C A B B" would mean that the song's structure is verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-verse-chorus).

I have found it to be important to learn more than one song by a given recording artist so that we can gain a deeper sense of style and personality from his/her approach to the instrument and the music. Also, for things to really 'soak in', this is necessary because guitar players and songwriters all have unique ways in their approach to form and every other possible musical idea so the more music of one artist we learn to play and groove to the more we are influenced personally in our own style.