A letter from Stringz founder Paul Gagen

Hello there, Paul Gagen, founder of Stringz Guitar Studio and Stringz Kidz here.

If you will, let me talk to you about fun!

Good humour, acceptance and laughter – this is the milieu that makes for optimum learning, for people of any age. The relationship between student and teacher can make or break the process of learning.  So cultivating a happy environment where each student is given my personal attention, this is bedrock in my approach.

Each student comes to me with their individual musical needs and my job initially is to explore what those needs are and the approach that they want to take. I have students who want to follow the intuitive trail, with an intensely aural approach; they’re not so much interested in formal musicianship skills. Others want to underpin their playing with theoretical knowledge that opens up a world of musical communication.

For me, learning to play the guitar is not merely the acquisition of particular playing skills. In my holistic approach, we nurture a student’s whole musical development. I love students to play together, to play with other people, to accompany songs, to sing themselves, write music – whatever they feel inspired to do (and feel comfortable doing it.)

I have developed my own guitar-oriented approach to the cultivation of musicianship to equip you with the knowledge you need for your musical life. Music is another language, and many people cannot acquire that language by traditional music teaching methods. Much traditional music teaching is keyboard-based with regard to the interrelationship of melody, scales and keys. Using the guitar as the lens through which to view the world of music requires a totally different emphasis, focussing initially on the intuitive side. Then we may relate that back to more theoretical concepts.

Whatever the instrument or style, playing confidence comes from the gradual acquisition of physical and intellectual skills. Many people with good theoretical knowledge end up rhythmically and melodically insecure. I cut through a lot of teaching claptrap to ensure that traditional musicianship skills such as music reading are bedded in a good earth of bodily knowledge, so your fingers and hands, ears and voice know and are happy in the music – rhythm, chord and melody.

Paul Gagen
Founder of Stringz Guitar Studio and Stringz Kidz