Why You Should be Transcribing

When asked about how they learned to make music, any musician will answer with some variation of ‘I listened to a lot of music and learned to play what I liked’. The technical term for this process is called ‘transcription’, and it is absolutely integral to progressing as a musician. As I tell many of my students, learning music is…

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Good Practice Habits

  Good practice habits are crucial for any musician looking to improve.  Consistency with practice is important in maximizing the amount of progress made in weekly lessons. I always recommend setting goals such as learning a song or finishing an exercise in a method book.  When goals have been set, it is important to find a time to devote to…

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Restringing a Guitar

Restringing a guitar can be a daunting task for beginners. However in just a few simple steps this can be accomplished with minimal frustration. When I started teaching music lessons for beginners in St. Louis I found it very hard to show youngsters how to restring their guitar. Here is my step by step process for changing a string on…

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Warm Up Exercise Blog

Warming up is a crucial part to every musicians practice habits. Whether this be scales or technique exercises it is very important to give yourself time before you begin to dive into pieces to simply get warmed up. Guitar lessons, piano lessons and vocal lessons all share similar technique and warm-up exercises that enable our bodies to begin to be…

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Guitar Lessons – Working with Guitar Music Effects

Why Doesn’t My Guitar Sound Like The Recording? One of the most time-consuming aspects to playing the electric guitar is the different ways you can affect your guitar’s sound.  Don’t get me wrong, I love spending countless hours adjusting and tweaking my guitar’s sound.  But for a beginner, trying to perfect your sound can be incredibly frustrating.  We’re used to…

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In the summer of 2003, Dave Simon took a job waiting tables at Sqwires Restaurant in St. Louis, where he and his wife, Keri, lived at the time. It wasn’t a bad job, but it wasn’t exactly what Simon had envisioned for himself at the age of 36. “I’ll never forget, all these old classmates from Clayton (High School) coming in, married with kids,…

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VOICE LESSONS- Proper Breathing Techniques for Singing

VOICE LESSONS: Proper Breathing Techniques for Singing

Every vocalist should know how to breathe correctly, protect their vocal chords, and find correct vowel placements. Breathing is one of the most important things to be mindful of when singing. Be sure to breathe in by expanding your rib cage outward. Creating this space allows you to take bigger breaths. Your breathing determines how steady your notes are. Even…

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Matt’s Fingerpicking Exercises

Fingerpicking exercises with Matt



This instructional video features one of Dave Simon’s Rock School’s experienced instructors, Matt Maher. During this video, Matt explains fingerpicking exercises that are perfect for beginner guitar students. Fingerpicking is a great way to start to practice playing the guitar with just your fingers and without a pick. Playing without a pick can feel at bit awkward at first, so it’s always good to build up the muscles and comfort level. For beginner students, fingerpicking can help get your fingers accustomed to the feel of the guitar strings. This is a great exercise for students who want to get started with fingerpicking but may not be ready to tackle an entire song.

This video goes over a few simple exercises that use different fingers and techniques. It starts with a C chord using a few fingers and thumb, and then moves into a different pattern that allows you to work on some different muscles. This is just one of many exercises that students can look forward to during Dave Simon Rock School classes. Each class strives to move students’ overall progress forward, without overwhelming them with complicated skills outside of their current skillset. Simple exercises, such as this fingerpicking exercise shown here, not only build muscles, muscle memory, and physical comfort level on an instrument, but also help build students’ overall confidence. If you’d like to set up a class with Matt or any of our other talented and experienced teachers, contact us!




  • Power Chords
  • Open Chords
  • Barre Chords
  • Seventh Chords
  • Jazz Chords
  • Major/Minor Pentatonic Scales
  • Natural Major/Minor Scales
  • Modes
  • 12-Bar Blues
  • Improvisation
  • Rock, jazz, folk and classical stylings
  • Reading chord charts
  • Reading lead sheets

All students in guitar lessons take assessments each session to track their progress and set new goals. We encourage students to bring CDs or iPods to their lesson to learn their favorite tunes.