The distance lessons option is for hammered dulcimer and fiddle players who live too far away for private or group lessons. Many people want feedback or instruction on their playing on a regular basis and others (e.g. advanced players) simply want a one-time critical evaluation of a recording or a piece that they are developing. The shape that distance lessons take is worked out between the student and I.
Most of the lessons are now conducted via Skype, but we can also work with recordings and via email. I often provide written music (PDFs or Finale files via email) of various levels of the same piece (with simple to complex arrangements) and sometimes send recorded instructions for playing the piece. For example, I will play the basic tune, followed by various ways to embellish the tune with very detailed instructions, just like I do with private students.
The cost for lessons is based on my time which is $60 per hour. Distance lessons can be paid for on-line using PayPal (see below) or via credit card directly to me.
The process: Establish goals. First, I like to make sure that we have a meeting of the minds regarding what the student needs. This typically involves some discussion with the student, especially if the student is not clear on goals. I recommend an initial assessment of the student’s playing for the first lesson. The student sends a recording for the first lesson of one or more pieces that they currently play. It is absolutely not necessary to send a piece that a student perceives as finished. Usually, I like to hear at least a few pieces that represent a range of the student’s playing. While I initially leave it up to the student to chose what they prefer to have as the focus, I will sometimes hear something that I believe takes precedence and needs to happen first before we can get there. This is no different than typical lessons. This process of establishing goals is a negotiation between student and teacher but with me ultimately directing the show! The type of music or selection of tunes is primarily in the hands of the student. The only real issue is that tunes and repertoire that I know or play are generally easier for me to provide more complete feedback. I will often select a tune because it is so good at achieving a student's specified goal. I will use my judgment whether the tunes selected by the student are appropriate for their goals. I also like the student to send to me their “list of tunes” so that I get a sense of their repertoire.