Pat Shelby

Pat Shelby

Pat Shelby has been playing guitar for 34 years. He is an award-winning guitarist and has been a worship leader for 17 years. Pat's passion for teaching guitar and equipping worship teams is expressed in his mission statement, "To equip musicians to master their gifts as an offering to The Master." In 2012, Pat launched his official website patshelby.com and blog worshipBOOST, to share that passion with the world. In addition to serving as the Worship Director at Rejoice! Church in Dundas, MN. (Northfield area) for the past 11 years, Pat teaches lessons through his own guitar studio and through Forte Fine Arts Academy in Lakeville, MN. He also enjoys arranging songs for worship teams. Pat makes his home in Northfield, MN. with his wife, Brenda and their two sons.

“If you don’t practice this week and come back ready to play your piece, you’ll have to do ten push-ups.”  That’s how a piano teacher friend of mine gets at least one of her students to engage at their lesson.

I’ve got one of those myself.  He’s about 8 years old and we’re working in Alfred’s Kids Guitar Method Book.  He’s developed this super annoying habit – He strums his strings really really loud and really really fast every single time I try to correct his playing.  He does it again…and again…and again.  I mean…every…single…time.  It’s like fingernails-on-the-chalkboard annoying.

One day, I reached my limit. I had a James Thurber-esque daydream where I clobbered him over the head with his little 3/4 size guitar.  There he was with his head popping out of the sound hole and his nylon strings flopping all over…. birds and stars spinning around his head.  But something brought me back to reality.  Ahhh… the delightful sound of him banging on those strings again.  In a moment of desperation, I said, “Knock it off!  This is a guitar lesson!  I want you to count out loud and play this piece correctly…or….or….you’ll have to do ten push ups!”  His eyes popped open wide and he was totally silent.  He sat up straight and played his little piece about as good as I’ve ever heard him play.  I nearly fell out of my chair.

The next week he was back at it again.  I asked him, “Do you know what a habit is?”

“When you do something over and over?”

“Yup.  How’d you like to do ten push-ups over and over?” I’m amazed at how fast the posture improves and as well as the playing.

Unfortunately, the following week…same old same old.  “Listen Kiddo, we’re going to have to figure this out.  This guitar studio isn’t big enough for the both of us!  Here’s the deal… You and I are going to make a SUPER PROMISE!  Do you know what that is?”

“No, sir.”

“I didn’t think so.  It means you have to promise you won’t do that annoying thing on your guitar anymore when I’m trying to talk to you.  When two people make a SUPER PROMISE, you have to shake hands…and then you can NEVER break that promise.  Ever.  If you do… it’s NO BUENO!  Do you know what that is?”

(Gulp!) “Nope.”

“Not good!  It’s always best to never break a SUPER PROMISE.  So here’s what you and me are going to promise to eachother…   YOU promise to practice your assignments and be ready to play, sit up straight, and count out loud…AND…YOU promise never to bang on your guitar anymore.  For me, I PROMISE not to make you do 100 push ups.  Deal?”

(Gulp.) “Deal.”

We shook hands, he packed up his guitar, and we walked out of the studio.  His grandma handed me a a check and asked me how things went.  I said, “Just great!”, with a big smile and a wink. “Be sure to ask him about the SUPER PROMISE we made today.”

The following week all I had to do was mention the SUPER PROMISE and we had the best lesson ever!

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Screenshot 2014-11-29 14.01.03

A screenshot of the top of my Thumbtack profile page.

One day I saw an ad on my Facebook page from Thumbtack.  Have you seen it?  It said something to the effect, “Thumbtack needs guitar teachers!”  Curiosity got the best of me one day so I clicked on it.

Turns out they do!  Thumbtack connects people that have project goals with professionals that can help them accomplish those goals.  As a private guitar teacher, I can post a profile on Thumbtack that allows people searching for a guitar teacher to send me a request for a lesson quote.  If they like the quote, Thumbtack puts us in touch and voilá, I’ve got a new student!

Thumbtack made it pretty easy to get started.  The sign-up process was guided and surprisingly easy.  When finished, your profile will have a clean and professional look.  Here’s a link to my profile.  (I’ve included some screenshots of the edit view of my profile page in this post.)  You can include a bio, studio logo, details about the kinds of services you offer as well as professional credentials and that’s just for starters.  You can included links to your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, too, not to mention your Music Teacher’s Helper Website!  When you’re ready to reply to customer requests you purchase credits, which are currency on Thumbtack, you use to pay when you send a quote to a customer.  (Quotes cost between 2 and 9 credits depending on the type of project.)  For guitar lessons it costs 2 credits or about $3 to send a prospective customer a quote.  Would you be willing to pay someone $3 to find you a new student?  That should be a no-brainer! [···]

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http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-boy-playing-guitar-image11707742

One of the biggest challenges students face when playing guitar is learning how to strum correctly.  They usually have a favorite song they’d love to learn how to play but when they sit down to try and figure it out it just doesn’t sound right.  Every time they try it, the strum sounds all herky-jerky instead of smooth and flowing.  Sound familiar?

Before we get started, be sure to open this PDF: Keys To Strumming, which I’ll be referring to throughout this post.  If you’re wondering what chords to play during this lesson, click here to use any to use any of the common-tone chord shapes I wrote about.

THE QUARTER NOTE BOUNCE

It’s fairly easy to teach a student how to play the quarter-note strumming pattern in Fig. 1 (Keys To Strumming PDF).  All you have to do is play a down-strum on every count (or beat). Every time you strum down, you count 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on.  But there’s really more going on here.  Once the down-strum is played, you have to lift your hand back up to prepare for the next down-strum, right?  This down-up movement of the strumming hand is more accurately represented by eighth notes.  Look at Fig. 1 again.  The arrows above the staff, hovering over each down beat and up beat, represent those eighth notes.  In other words, you should be counting “one and two and three and four and” as you strum down, up, down, up, etc.  This steady down-up strumming movement is what I call The Quarter Note Bounce. [···]

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