What Our Students Say
In the time I’ve had him as a tutor, I’ve improved a huge amount. I’ve been trying (and failing miserably) to play, for years, using books, videos, etc and it was only when I started with him that I felt I was making progress. He studied the way I was attempting to play, then took me back to basics, highlighting areas to work on and showing me tips, techniques and ways to improve.
He makes his lessons fun – even managing to teach me some music theory (something I never thought I’d ever understand!) and easily explaining how this can make you a better musician generally. I always looked forward to going to my lesson and he has inspired me to keep going with my practicing and continue to try and improve.
I was lucky to have both individual and group lessons. They are both superb ways to learn – the group lessons help you play in time, in key and give you the confidence to play in a group of like-minded guitarists. Individually, obviously, there is more time to identify areas for improvement and more time to concentrate on those things which have driven you crazy over the years.
If you are a frustrated player, stuck in a rut of playing the same old things with the same old mistakes (as I was), I would thoroughly recommend going to James for lessons – he will inspire you with his gentle sense of humour, his excellence at identifying what is wrong and pushing you (carefully) through those mistakes to make you a better player. However, his ability to teach would help anyone from the beginner to someone who has been playing for many years.
Thanks, James – you’ve inspired me…I’m stronger, more confident and more prepared to keep improving now, thanks to you!
“Before coming to James I was a largely self taught guitar player. As a result I had no idea how bad some of my playing habits were, and how limited as a player I had become. The doors to learning correct techniques, which have made playing so much easier, coupled with James’ coherent and modular approach to music theory, have led to some quantum leaps in my playing and creativity. I have learnt how to practise properly and effectively and have seen a fivefold improvement in the speed of my learning, I used to get stuck at a particular skill plateau for ages, rather than the constant noticeable progress I am now experiencing; this is because James understands where I want to improve, and has a structure behind what comes next to get to where I want to be. At the same time it doesn’t feel too formal, so the atmosphere is one of just wanting to absorb more. I now look forward to every lesson because I know that I will be a better player and musician as a result. Even my band mates have commented on my improvement, and band mates never, ever usually say that!”
“Before I started my Guitar lessons with James I had a good idea of what I was doing on the guitar and had learnt quite a few chords. But since I have been with James I have been able to learn new things and improve on my earlier skills. I have improved on my chord progressions and all round playing of the guitar, but James has also taught me how to pick and play tab which I couldn’t do before. Before, I would see a tab and leave it because I didn’t know how to play it, but now I can confidently tackle different tabs with ease because of what James has taught me. I am continuing to get better and better at the guitar each week and feel I have improved at least 50% since before I had the lessons, not only on playing the guitar but also my confidence of playing the guitar in front of others. I really enjoy the lessons because it means I get to learn something I love, before them I would get frustrated easily because I couldn’t do certain things but now I am able to play the guitar stress free.”
“It’s absolutely true! When James told me I would be playing from day one, I found it really hard to believe. But given the information & hands-on teaching methods he practices, not only was I able to play the guitar from the word go, but was encouraged to build my knowledge & playing abilities with every lesson. James made that possible with his unique teaching style that made learning the guitar informative & ultimately, a pleasure to learn.
I can’t thank him enough for giving me the opportunity to develop an extensive skill set of various playing methods & styles. After just a few months, I had so much confidence with the techniques I’d been shown, I even displayed my new talent in front of a small audience!
I would recommend anyone to pursue this pastime with such a devoted & experienced mentor. Just give it a go. I promise you won’t be disappointed & you’ll walk away feeling accomplished & ready to challenge the likes of any guitar legend you care to mention.
JUST DO IT!”
I have always played in bands and solo. My guitar playing is in accompaniment to my singing. Now I am able to take lead breaks and feel more confident in playing. My playing is lighter, my pitching has improved dramatically as the pressure with which I play has been decreased. this in turn has sped up my playing ability – though I have no desire to shred.
My goals when I started with James were to be able to read tab, to be able to jam in a key someone else yelled out, to know where to go on the neck and to gain the dexterity to move from rhythm to lead smoothly. James has ensured that my goals have been met.
James is easy going, knowledgeable and keeps things interesting which is a necessary thing for me as a 50 year old. My daughter wants to learn and as soon as she can hold the guitar properly she will be signed up with James. I thoroughly recommend him. Especially for folks in a mid life crisis who want to rock.”
“Well, when I first started I had only picked up the guitar a few times, so I was a real beginner. Now however I can safely say that I am not! … I have a broad base from which I can learn to play loads of songs from the bands I love.
Before I started having lessons with James, I didn’t really have a great interest in guitar. But by having lessons with James I now have a new interest and hobby! So if ever i’m bored in my room I can just pick up the guitar and really rock out! And now I’m even looking to buy my first guitar!
If I had to put it as a percentage i’d say (I’m now) about 300% better, from knowing nothing to being able to play complicated songs is a big jump!
During the course of having lessons with James I have had a much greater interest in the guitar than before. I usually spend parts of the lesson learning about, for example, the different types of pickups you can get on a guitar or how you make up different chords.
Before having lessons with James I couldn’t really play anything on the guitar. Which was annoying because I wanted to be able to play some of the songs I listen to. But it is much easier now to just listen to the song and attempt to play parts of it.
I’d just like to say a big thanks to James and I look forward to having many more lessons in the future!”
“In 7 months I have gone from knowing nothing about a guitar to being able to play barre chords, arpeggios, scales and music theory. Although obviously I still need to improve a lot, I have now began to look at improvised techniques such as solos and making my own songs thanks to James. Combined with my dedication to practicing I feel I am improving every week due to James being an awesome teacher. He clearly has a lot of knowledge and enthusiasm for music which makes for fun and interesting lessons.
I always enjoyed music (who doesn’t) and always said one day I would learn an instrument. Now that I have, I feel that my life has been enriched and I have a love for music that I could only appreciate through learning the guitar. I can imagine playing the guitar for the rest of my life and I haven’t ever said that about anything. More importantly though, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t even know a quarter of the stuff that I know now through having lessons.”
“Before I started taking lessons with James I had been playing on & off for 13 years. My playing was limited to the styles of play that I had become comfortable with & my knowledge of why certain parts of my playing sounded good & others didn’t was limiting my ability to play & write.
After having lessons with James for 9 months my guitar playing & writing ability has drastically improved. James was quickly able to ascertain my playing level & existing knowledge break it down & fill in the blanks.”
“It took me more than 20 years to get round to learning the guitar. Despite many of my music heroes being left-handed it always seemed like a barrier to getting started. How wrong I was! James is a fantastic guitar teacher who gets you playing music from your very first lesson. In just a short while I felt comfortable and confident with a guitar in my hands.
James understands that people want to play because they love music, and his enthusiasm for the guitar and for sharing his knowledge is infectious. I should also point out that he is a great player in his own right and listening to him play is inspiring stuff. The great thing about the way he teaches is that it isn’t all about learning your favourite songs. He gives you all of the techniques, tricks and skills you need to be able to play anything you want, in any style, and ultimately write your own.
Every lesson is structured with a specific goal, from how to tune your guitar and hold a pick through to reading tab, strumming, chords, arpeggios, hammer-ons and pulls offs, slides, scales etc. I didn’t know what half of these things where before I started and I am learning more and more every lesson.
I have been learning for almost a year now and when I compare where I started with where I am today the difference is incredible. However, my ambitions of what I want to achieve have also increased as I have improved and realise what I am capable of!
Becoming a guitarist is journey (one that I now wish I had started a lot sooner) and James takes you on this adventure at your own pace. Learning isn’t always easy, but it is always enjoyable. If you have always wanted to play them I could not rate James and Winchester Guitar Lessons more highly.”
“Rather than just ‘learning to play the guitar’ James has helped me become a ‘guitarist’. Unlike a lot of teachers of instruments James is a musician first and a teacher second. He knows how to make you play in a practical way – not just theoretical. His teaching methods and individually tailored approach gets the best out of me. Not just playing but playing well.
I have tried other teachers in the past and they seemed to concentrate on theory and repetition, and I got bored and frustrated. James relies on techniques that get you playing tunes very quickly and because you get to play a lot in the lessons James identifies, and eliminates, weaknesses as they arise.
I have always loved guitars and wanted to play them for years and it has been frustrating failing to learn with other teachers despite my passion. It was therefore liberating to find, in James, a teacher that allows me to be the best guitarist I can be.
The lessons are enjoyable and productive and within a matter of months I became proficient as a guitarist and feel comfortable playing at home. I will continue to learn from James and who knows where this will take me.”
“Before I met James I had been playing the guitar already for a year or so. I remember feeling that I had no certain direction to follow but a whole lot of ambition left in the tank. What James has done for me I cannot thank him enough for, he gave me the sense of direction I was looking for – laying out the what, how and when factors to my dream. How far I have progressed as a musician as well as a guitar player since I have been one of his students is incredible and it’s all thanks to James. I have now started studying at British Irish Modern Music Institute (BIMM) to further my understanding within the world of music. Not only is he a teacher, but a good friend too. I wouldn’t recommend anyone else. Thanks again James.”