Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions, grouped in the following broad topics:


How long are lessons?

All lessons are 45 minutes long.

Is 45 minutes long enough to make progress?

Pascal takes a highly organized approach to each student's instruction, and in the course of teaching for 20 years has developed the 45-minute lesson format into a surprisingly effective vehicle for guitar instruction. Because of his ability to quickly identify each student's particular needs, a 45-minute lesson covers plenty of material to practice during the time between lessons.

How can I learn guitar as fast/soon as possible?

In addition to your private lessons, consider taking Pascal's harmony classes. Many students find this accelerates learning and ensures they become balanced, well-rounded players. Pascal will gladly direct you toward the most appropriate classes once he has assessed your playing and goals.

How many lessons do I have to commit to up-front?

Only the lessons that you choose to schedule. There is no minimum number of lessons for which you must sign up.

Do I have to commit to the same day and time every week?

No. You schedule your next lesson at the end of your current lesson (or as soon as you know your schedule after that lesson) and can choose whatever days/times are open for each week. If a student requires the same day and time each week, Pascal will work with them to try and accommodate their needs.

Can't you teach closer to where I live?

If Pascal taught in more than one location, the time spent moving from place to place would limit the number of students he is able to teach. Moreover, Pascal thinks his students are much better served when he has immediate access to his large stock of teaching materials and specialized musical equipment — something he could not practically offer if he taught in several different locations. If a student practices what is taught in the lessons, the commute will actually be a small portion of the total time invested in studying guitar. Pascal has a number of students who travel from Everett, Kent, and even Tacoma because they find his teaching is worthwhile. Ultimately, students will have to decide for themselves whether their commute is justified by the quality of lessons they receive.

How long will I have to take lessons before I become a good guitar player?

It depends on the individual. For example, mastering rhythm and timing is essential to progress. In order to play a note or chord at the right time, you must anticipate the exact moment that the pick will strike the strings. To some people, it's instinctive. For others, it's a tough skill to master. Eventually with time and practice, rhythm, harmony, scales, and improvising will become second nature. Pascal has a reputation for helping students see steady and continual progress on their journey.

Do I get any written materials during the lesson, or do you just "wing it"?

All teaching is accompanied by written materials, which include rhythmic notation with tablature, the key of the song or exercise, and proper fingering.

Why should I pay for private lessons when I can pull pre-recorded lessons off the Internet for free?

Good question. Most tablature and guitar lessons offered on the Internet do not include rhythmic notation, which is essential for proper learning. In addition, a pre-recorded lesson or two (or even ten) do not make a comprehensive approach to learning the guitar. Pre-recorded lessons also do not take into account your current level of playing, nor do they provide any way to ensure you are learning the material correctly. You will make more progress and enjoy your playing sooner by studying one-on-one with a good teacher who gives you personalized instruction and feedback in real time than you ever would by learning some other way.

What about personal lessons via Skype?

Skype lessons allow for more personal feedback than other forms of remote instruction, but they are still not ideal. For now, latency and inconsistent throughput mask problems with rhythm, timing, and attack, and they make it impossible for the student to play along with the instructor in sync. Moreover, it's difficult for the instructor to zoom in and out on subtle problems with posture and hand or finger positioning. And of course, it's impossible for the instructor to physically position the student's hands or correct a guitar setup issue on the spot. Latency and throughput consistency may improve enough to approximate real time some day -- although in music, milliseconds count, even for beginners -- but it's hard to see how Skype's other limitations can be fixed. Remote instruction via Skype will never be a fully adequate substitute for personal, hands-on instruction from a real teacher who gets to know you as more than just a face in the monitor.

Aren't private lessons from a cheaper instructor a better deal?

They're usually not. It's penny-wise, pound-foolish to pay for numerous "cheap" lessons trying to learn what you could master in a single lesson with an experienced, professionally trained instructor. Save yourself (or recover from) years of wasted effort and bad habits -- Pascal will help you learn it the right way, right from the start.

Can Pascal help me get awesome sound (tone) from my guitar?

Absolutely. Pascal's experience working with leading arrangers and sound engineers has given him an extensive knowledge of guitar gear and sound equipment in the context of a mix. With Pascal's assistance, you will learn what it takes to make your guitar work cut through the mix and enhance the song.

Does Pascal play in a band?

Pascal was a full-time performer with several different bands for the first ten years of his career. Now, he prefers to focus on songwriting, and he is working with various vocalists, composing, arranging, and recording fully produced songs. Although he isn't currently in a band, thanks to his extensive experience as a performer he can show you how to perform in a band setting so that you not only hold your own, but inspire the rest of your band to play at their highest level.

What are Pascal's musical influences?  His favorite guitar players?

Pascal has numerous influences. He enjoys quality players who have a strong sense of melody and fluidly express themselves with passion and intensity through the music they create. That being said, there are hundreds of guitarists Pascal is inspired by, and he is always looking for more!

What's the deal with the saying "Good players aren't necessarily good teachers?"

Think about it. How many guitar players put as much time into perfecting their teaching techniques as they do their own playing? How many ace players remember how hard they had to work as beginners to learn certain concepts? How many of those killer players wound up following a long and winding path to mastery of their instrument because they didn't have a proven method of learning that saved them years of frustration?

Tips For Beginners

Does Pascal take total beginners?

Yes! Total beginners are welcome! Many of Pascal's advanced students were absolute beginners when they began studying with him.

I don’t have a guitar yet; do I need bring a guitar to my first lesson?

If you are a total beginner and do not yet have a guitar, Pascal has spare guitars that he can let you use during your first lesson.

I already have a guitar; should I bring it?

Definitely! That way, Pascal can address any problems with ergonomics and setup, allowing you to get the most enjoyment and progress out of your practice and playing.

I’m left-handed for most things but I’m not sure if I am for guitar. Can Pascal help me figure this out?

Yes. Pascal has run into this situation a number of times. Most of the time, left-handed people are left-handed guitar players and therefore will require a left-handed guitar … but not always! Pascal (a right-handed player) has both right- and left-handed guitars; he can observe you on both types and help you determine which is more suitable for you.

What kind of guitar should I get?

Pascal can help you determine this at your first lesson. Generally, beginners find electric guitars easier to learn on because, physically, they are significantly easier to play. Even if you greatly prefer acoustic guitar music, it can still be worthwhile learning on an inexpensive electric and then switching to an acoustic once you’ve mastered the basics. Because playing an electric demands much less finger strength, you can concentrate on rhythm, finger independence, brain-finger connection, etc., and start playing music immediately. Once you have this under your belt, tackling the physical demands of acoustic playing is much less frustrating, because that’s pretty much all that’s left to do! That being said, if you decide you want to start out with an acoustic anyway, no problem — Pascal will be happy to help you learn to play it. (Pascal loves both acoustic and electric!)

Apart from the electric/acoustic issue, there are also questions of scale length, neck width, body size, and the like. Pascal can help you determine what guitar is the best ergonomic match for your body (finger length, hand size, arm length, torso, etc.) Pascal does not sell guitars and his recommendations are unbiased.

What is the best way to make all of these decisions?

Come to a first lesson. Pascal has spare guitars (both acoustic and electric) for you to try out. Pascal can fully inform you about the differences you’re likely to pick up on and he can point you in the right direction for your particular needs.


What is the minimum age for taking lessons?

Students must be at least 8 years old.

Should parents attend the first lesson?

Yes, Pascal strongly encourages parents/guardians to attend the first lesson. It gives him a chance to get to know the family a little, and it gives parents a chance to assess his teaching skills and learn about necessary administrative matters.

What about attending subsequent lessons?

This is entirely up to the parent. Whichever way the student is best able to focus is probably the way to go. By the way, parents who are worried about leaving their child in the company of a guitar player (gasp!) should know that Pascal doesn't smoke, drink alcohol, or do drugs — never has, never will.

I want to handle lesson scheduling myself rather than have my child do it. What is the best way to do this?

Simply come in toward the end of your child's lesson and schedule the next one at that time. This gives you a greater chance of getting the time slot you want than if you wait a few days and do it over the phone.

What benefits will my child get out of learning how to play the guitar?

If you're looking for a way to provide your child with a source of life-long joy, satisfaction, and accomplishment, musical education is an excellent step. The benefits are manifold:

Self-expression, relaxation, enjoyment, and constructive use of leisure time.

Self-confidence. Every child needs some area of personal accomplishment. It's part of the growing-up process, with each accomplishment contributing positively to the development of a stronger personality. Music provides almost daily opportunity for individual accomplishment — and with each success your child gains confidence.

Brain development. Playing an instrument is arguably the epitome of a skills-based music experience. It requires the player to develop and coordinate many different brain functions — auditory, visual, cognitive, affective, and motor-related — simultaneously and at increasingly challenging levels.

Self-discipline, patience, and the ability to memorize and concentrate are all enhanced by the study of music. These skills will serve your child well on whatever path he or she chooses in life.

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