Students Comment On Alisdair's Teaching
"Some say when the student is ready the teacher appears. I have been studying music for over fifteen years and I have never been satisfied with my progress until now. I felt that I could not really learn music, that it was not for everyone, and would excuse myself for not improving my music ability beyond mere mediocrity.
It was not long after employing Alisdair's system of rhythm study, metronome uses, ear training and reading that I began to feel confident in my music ability. All of a sudden, a whole world of music opened up for me that I thought previously was only for the select few. With each day I gain confidence and I believe if it was not for the encouragement and the constant feedback that I received I would not be able to play some of my jazz favorites as Autumn leaves, When I fall in love, I Got rhythm etc.
One of the things I enjoy about learning with Alisdair is his no nonsense system, he realizes that each student brings a unique experience to each study and does not make a student feel stupid for not knowing something, one of his mantras that I constantly repeat to myself is "If Alisdair can do it. I can do it." I thank him for helping me experience rhythm and making me realize that it does sound great when I play the bass in the low register.
Yes, I do owe my improvement to Alisdair for believing in me and realize that everyone can improve on his or her current skills. I look forward to my studies with him well into the future for he is a teacher's teacher."
Chris Laure, (JN Donald Laurent-Christolin), Bassist, Norwalk, CT, USA
"Alisdair's an absolutely amazing guitar instructor. Unlike many other instructors, Alisdair knows what he's talking about, and knows how to communicate it very efficiently. Any student who's willing to practice and follow Alisdair's program will improve at an amazing rate."
Samir Varma, Guitarist, NY, USA
"I can't thank you enough for everything I've learnt from you. I graduated from music college, never feeling I could play very well. Your practical approach to the instrument, changed me, my playing and approach. I find myself often quoting you when explaining things to my own students. Thanks Teacher's Teacher!"
Rick S, Guitarist, Mamaroneck, NY, USA
"I have been taking lessons from Alisdair for a little over a year. Played as a teen (by ear) and took up the guitar again a few years ago. Alisdair is excellent. Alisdair’s great strength is knowing how people learn music. He has approached my classes on a number of fronts: ear training, musicianship, and the technical aspects of playing. After a year, I am still energized and look forward to my classes. I highly recommend Alisdair as a musician and teacher."
Vince Rios, Guitarist, NY, USA
"Being a self-taught intermediate guitar player with no knowledge of music theory was leading me to nowhere and fast. I really felt like I did not know my way around the neck or how to keep myself disciplined. After going to Alisdair for lessons there was an immediate change. Now that I became more comfortable playing, I felt that I was able to listen, write, read, and understand music in a whole new way. I also really enjoyed the lessons because we were able to talk about music and really flow with ideas."
Scott Austin, Guitarist, Valley Cottage, NY, USA
"I have studied guitar for years with a number of name guitarists and had attended various rock and jazz workshops and seminars before I met Alisdair. I can honestly say that I have made more progress in my studies than at any other time. The first thing that struck me about him was that he listened to how I played and then began working on my weaknesses. Other teachers I had studied with often treated the lesson as if it were a concert. When it came to him demonstrating and showing what to play, I was really impressed with his abilities, he is a really impressive player. The other thing that really struck me about him, is how modest he is with his abilities, he brought back the fun to music for me. I feel honored to be studying with him, and think that it won't be long before more people hear and learn from him. Alisdair is a teacher's teacher, and a player's player."
Joe Mitchell, Guitarist, NY, NY, USA
"I had played electric bass, guitar, and mandolin before for quite some time. I had started playing guitar in the 50s. In fact, I was 63 when I began studying with you. So I knew theory fairly well, and would consider myself an intermediate musician on all instruments I play. Since the upright bass is so different from other instruments in playing technique, I opted to begin playing my first notes on it under the watchful eye of a teacher. Plus, despite the fact I am into playing roots oriented music: bluegrass, rockabilly, and blues, I planned to learn the upright bass as it is supposed to be played. I wanted to learn the proper way for fingerings, pizzicato (plucking) the strings, and, most important, how to read the bass clef. I had only planned on a couple of lessons to get the ball rolling, then I would woodshed on my own.
But we made such good progress on the bass, and I learned so much about music in general, that I decided to continue regular lessons much longer much longer than planned. Unfortunately, my workload in the office and free-lance projects was eating so deeply into my bass practice time, that I wasn't able to maintain my playing to the levels I hoped for, and I'm sure you expected of me. So, I had to stop lessons temporarily. I hope to return in the near future, and really get some training in jazz.
I feel I have acquired a solid base of knowledge on this very physical instrument. I can read fairly well, though not at a orchestra or classical level. I have learned a methodology for working on unfamiliar tunes and techniques that will serve me well for future exploration. I have really enjoyed the work on reading rhythms, an area I glossed over with my other instruments. I believe I got benefits from learning the Solfege system, though I never fully "got it", but I have to admire your determination to attack the subject from different angles to help me understand it better. I found that to be the biggest plus to studying with you. You don't just throw a subject for study out on the table, but you go to great lengths and varying approaches to make sure the subject is completely grasped. I will be sending students your way every opportunity I get."
David M. "Mike" Perry, Upright Bassist, Stamford, CT, USA
"Alisdair has really changed the way I approach playing the guitar. After years of playing, I found myself repeating bad habits, and staying in a holding pattern that I didn’t know how to get out of.
From the first lesson, Alisdair focused in and listened to how I actually play, assessed the weak spots right away, and created a custom plan based on his rich and extensive library of lesson resource materials. He’s an unusual combination: uncompromising about good technique and proper foundation, and at the same time consistently supportive and encouraging, - he really tunes into the student’s personal goals and musical interests. He’s also a real ‘hands-on’ teacher, playing with the student each time, really hearing and being involved in the week-to-week process. I see the improvement and feel confident I’ll continue to improve, thanks to having the good fortune of working with Alisdair on a regular basis."
Jenny Glenn, Guitarist, NY, NY, USA
"When I started taking lessons with Alisdair, I had no idea about major, minor, blue notes, triads, dominants or pentatonics. I could move fingers in a slow motion on my guitar but without any strategy or a clue of what I was doing, I could not improvise. Two years later, despite my busy schedule and lots of travel I have mastered most of the concepts and I like the sounds that I produce on my guitar. I have learnt the basis for jazz improvisation, many chords, basic scales, harmony and I can read, even though not fast enough! I enjoyed his methodology of combining a bit of theory and practice, and the simplification of complex scales."
Professor Agostinho M. Zacarias, Guitarist, NY, NY, USA
Chief, Coordination, Advocacy and Programme Development (CAPDU)
Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA) United Nations
http://www.un.org/ ; http://www.un.org/esa/africa/
"Thanks again Alisdair for the good work you've being doing with our recording artists. ***** asked me to pass on how much they enjoyed studying with you and for the improvement in their playing, composing and understanding of music."
**, Marketing, Universal Music Group, NY, NY, USA
"I can honestly say that Alisdair is an exceptional guitar teacher. His lessons are always well organized, and appropriate. He has the ability to impart musical ideas and applications with great skill, precision and clarity. Having studied with a number of guitar teachers in New York, Alisdair is by far the best. It has to be said without reservation that Alisdair is one of New York's finest guitar teachers".
Carlton Williams, Guitarist, NY, NY, USA
"Before I came to study with Alisdair I had taken lessons and accumulated a mountain of bass instruction books, but really hadn’t learned anything. I had absolutely no ear training and was truly at a basic beginning level even after playing the bass for a few years.
When I started with Alisdair he began with me a basic fundamental musical education, something I was sorely lacking. This training focused on music reading and more importantly ear training, as I had no ability in this area whatsoever. Since that foundation my bass playing ability has progressed more in the six months I have been with Alisdair then in the five years since I first picked up the bass.
One of the main reasons that I fell I have improved so much is that Alisdair makes each lesson interesting, yet still educational. He is able to take the most technically challenging concept of music and break it down in terms even a beginner such as me can understand and appreciate. "
John Battistini, Bassist, White Plains, NY, USA
"Coming to Alisdair as a beginner, simply stated I wanted to play better. After only nine months. I began performing with others in improvised jams. My confidence has been raised through ear training and learning to read music that I was able to take that leap of faith. I've graduated from struggling with tablature to reading sheet music."
Michael Farrell, Bassist, Hartsdale, NY. USA
"Auf gut deutsch: If you get a chance to study with Alisdair, take it! 'Erst gehen, dann laufen' He broke things down for me, taught me to see things simply, when I was being so busy technically. Thanks."
Niklas Bäcker, Guitarist, Köln, Germany
"I am probably one of the few students who took up guitar before Alisdair. Unlike him, I did not stick with it, owing, in no small part to the lack of a teacher like Alisdair to study with. Since I started studying with him two years ago, I feel like I am finally starting to make progress in my guitar playing. When I first came to him, he immediately assessed my playing, figured out where it was and what I needed to do to get to the next step. Unlike many guitar teachers, he has a curriculum for his students. I think many teachers feel it is a chore to teach and would rather be out gigging. Alisdair really gives the teaching his all. I am most lucky to have found him."
George Niedt, Guitarist, NY, NY, USA
"I studied with Alisdair when he was teaching in London and if it wasn't for his approach I would probably not be playing at all today. He helped guide me to a better understanding of jazz. Unlike others who advocated what seemed to me like a never ending series of scales, he emphasized the importance of melody and working on my ears. I am very thankful that I had the chance to study with him."
Themba Mkhwane, Guitarist, London, UK
"Before studying with Alisdair I was in a rut. I knew what I wanted to do, but didn't know how to learn how to do it. Alisdair cuts through a lot of myths about guitar playing and teaches you to become a musician. I've learned to read music on guitar, I've also learned scales and arpeggios and how to improvise with them and relate then to chords. All in all, I've learned a lot, and wish I had started taking lessons with him years ago."
Hugh Lehr, Guitarist, New Orleans, LA, USA
"I will miss the lessons with you. After a layoff of 2 decades, I've moved far in the time we've worked together. My understanding of the root of guitar jazz and it's fundamentals was exciting, my technique, and most of all my confidence has grown substantially. At first opportunity, once my schedule permits a complete commitment of time and energy, I'd like to resume lessons with you. You are a fine teacher, focused and thoughtful. I appreciate all you've taught me."
Jeffrey Fass, Guitarist, Hartsdale, NY, USA
"Had my audition today and everything went great.... Thanks once again for everything this summer. Studying with you was more than a pleasure. I will stay in touch and hopefully study with you at a future date when I return home. You really got me on the right track in my studies in music, and inspired me all the way. THANKS AGAIN!!!"
Mike Kirsch, Guitarist, Rochester, NY, USA
"Before finding Alisdair I interviewed and took lessons with other teachers. There seemed to be teachers that could teach but not play very well and teachers that could play well but not teach at all. Alisdair is that unique combination of both playing and teaching talents. I only wish I had found him first.
Speaking as a relative beginner it was a pleasure to find a teacher like Alisdair. Although he has been playing and teaching for a long time he can still relate to the problems that students have at an elementary level. His consistently positive attitude has helped me to conquer challenges that I believed were beyond my ability."
Jeff Grippe, Guitarist, White Plains, NY, USA
"I came to Alisdair after studying with a number of teachers and buying a library of books. Since studying with him, I've really begun to play music and my improvisation is sounding better every day. I look forward to my lessons and Alisdair's insights. I highly recommend anyone who is interested in music to study with him."
Tom Reynolds, Guitarist, NY, NY, USA
"When I first began playing all I wanted to do was to play songs, but I soon realized there was more to playing the bass than that. I wanted to learn to read music and compose songs. Now I wished I had come to you when I first started because I have just wasted ten years of my time."
John Doherty, Bassist, Yonkers, NY, USA
My Teaching Philosophy and Approach ; My Music Teaching Background ; Areas Of Music Study ; Student Comments