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  1. #1

    Check This Out! My Skype jazz guitar lessons with Matt Warnock

    Hello all (especially beginners to jazz guitar),

    I have been frequenting this forum for several months, primarily reading posts and learning from all of you. Now I want to give something back to the forum.

    I started jazz guitar lessons via Skype with Matt Warnock on July 28. I plan to update this thread from time to time, primarily to let others know how Matt teaches jazz guitar, what I think of his lessons, and my progress, but primarily to encourage others of my skill level, who would like to take jazz guitar lessons from a teacher, whether it's Matt or someone else, and feel they "just don't know enough to qualify to take jazz guitar lessons" with a pro like Matt.

    First off, my background. I am 53. I got my first guitar when I was 8 and have owned a guitar ever since then. Like most of you, I bought chord books to memorize chords (mostly open chords, although I didn't know it at the time) and barre chords, plus I tried to mimic the rock stars of the 60s and 70s as I watched them on TV. I took my first real lessons in classical guitar when I was in my 40s wanting desperately to be able to learn fingerstyle guitar instead of the strumming I taught myself. I chose classical guitar because it is all fingerstyle and I read that Eddie Van Halen, and several other rock guitarists, learned classical guitar first (not sure if that is true, but that is what I read). So my technique is the "neck up" position of a classical guitarist and my finger picking approximates how a classical guitarist plays. After a few years of classical lessons, I switched to jazz guitar lessons and tried that for a few years. Each time I moved with my job I would seek out a teacher who would teach me something. Most teachers I encountered loved to show me how well they played but not many of them had a lesson plan or a goal in mind for me when we had our lesson. I never really connected with my guitar and, more importantly, I never had any fun, either during the lesson or during practice sessions.

    So I describe myself as a guy who wants to be able to sit down after work and play some tunes for myself, and perhaps my wife and friends. I just have never been able to connect everything together to actually learn guitar.

    I started seeing posts on this forum from some guy with the moniker "m78w". I found out this was Matt Warnock. I started reading his posts which lead me to his Facebook page and web site. After watching all of his videos on FB and YouTube I finally built up the nerve to email Matt, explain my story kind of like I did in the paragraph above, explain my goal of being able, someday, to play a chord melody solo like Have You Met Miss Jones?, which is one of my favorites. Matt was extremely nice and assured me he could teach me how to play and would work with me starting at my skill level, which is Late Beginner, at best, and improve my skills and help me learn the language of jazz guitar and ultimately reach my goal of being able to play a chord melody solo.

    We agreed upon a one hour lesson every 2 weeks so I would have plenty of time to practice and absorb the lesson material from the previous week. The Skype lesson itself works much better than I had hoped. The picture and sound is clear and I can easily see how Matt demonstrates the chord progressions and scales as he is teaching me. We have had a few internet disconnections, but reconnect within a few seconds and then carry on where we left off.

    I have had 3 lessons thus far. I have learned the 12 Bar Blues progression, a couple of scales, a few jazz licks, and Matt has sent me a few backing tracks so that I can learn to improvise over these scales I am learning. He explains everything very clearly, knowing that my knowledge of guitar theory is low. He has asked me several times if "what he is teaching me is what I want to learn and if I am OK with the lessons". I have never had a teacher ask me if I understood the lesson or if I was happy with the content. Matt gets a Big Plus+ for his interest in making sure that I, his student, am happy with the way the lessons are progressing.

    Each lesson, since my first, progresses and builds upon the lesson from the previous week. In my next lesson, we are going to bring everything Matt has taught me so far together and study rhythm (and "yes" I had to look up the word "rhythm" in the dictionary - can anybody remember how to spell it?!?).

    THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT I want to make, especially to those of you new to jazz guitar, or just new to guitar, is that I am, for the first time in my 43 year relationship with a guitar, HAVING FUN! I record the video/audio Skype lesson so I can watch it to see again how Matt demonstrates a chord, progression, scale, or lick. Matt sends a PDF file on what we have covered and what I should work on for the next lesson. I usually get that via email 10 - 20 minutes after our lesson ends. He also send backing tracks for improvising with my scales and midi files of the licks he taught me. No more wondering what my teacher said about a chord or what to practice - it's all right here!

    Matt has a great sense of humor, is very friendly, and is a super guitarist. I see glimpses of his ability during my lessons when he demonstrates improvising over scales.

    I have done it all from taking lessons with less than great teachers, purchased and watched DVD lessons and internet streaming lessons, joined on-line teaching sites to try to learn how to play. None of these compare to having a real, live teacher who likes to play jazz guitar, is good at it, and likes to teach what he knows to others so they, too, can enjoy this instrument. I highly recommend you stop wasting precious time and money and find a good teacher who can open up the fun of learning this instrument, whether it is Matt Warnock, or some other internet pro, or your local teacher at the music shop in town. Just find someone who will take the time to teach you how to play.

    Finally, a plug specifically for Matt Warnock and Skye lessons with him. I am learning so much from him, primarily because he doesn't put any pressure on me or make me feel like he is bored with the lesson or that I am a poor player. He stays very engaged and interested during the whole lesson and makes me feel very comfortable as I try to play what I have practiced in the previous weeks. I now look forward to practicing as much as possible each day and really look forward to my next lesson with Matt. If you are like me with very little knowledge or skill, but have this burning desire to learn jazz guitar, then why don't you email Matt, tell him about every bump, wrinkle and wart in your playing ability, and tell him what your goals are. Then see if you don't have the same great experience I am having.

    I will add to this thread occasionally as I continue on my path with Matt's guidance. I may even get up the nerve to record a video of my current playing and then add a new vid as I improve. Stay tuned...a jazz guitarist is being created!!

    Regards and HAVE FUN! ,


    p.s. Sorry for the long post - just had a lot to say

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Woodshed, CA
    Thanks for the report.

    I'm and older Cat like you and have taken a few Skype lessons with someone else and think the Skype thing is great. Once in awhile I miss the one on one, but Skype is very close (and saves gas too.) Keep posting.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010


    Good evening, Rich...

    No need to apologise for the length of your post, we could do with more of that sort. I fully empathise with your story, having turned 62, and, without being exactly jazz-orientated (I enjoy messing about in many styles...) I have never had a formal guitar lesson at all. I can understand your elogious endorsement of Matt's teaching style; I took the liberty of downloading and printing out a whole bunch of 'chord-melody' pdf's which he had posted on his site, and they are wonderful. I equally enjoy his regular newsletters and posts here for their quality and pertinence.
    I'm not sure that my web speed would be adequate for Skype (remote-ish countryside cottage, but having captured your enthusiasm, I may be tempted to at least get a trial going. I am a very slow learner (over 40 years with Mickey Baker; I may get to page 10 soon..! ), but would, I feel, benefit from a more focused approach to my (very...) modest goals.
    Congratulations on your new-found path, and many thanks for sharing your experience. Perhaps the 'kick up the rear' that I need..?

  4. #4
    Great post guys...I am a 52 year old player who took a 15 year break from music and came back to it a year ago.

    It is rare to find a teacher who can deliver so much for so little (the cost of a skype lesson). I know that Matt is a rare teacher, especially among those on the internet that is full of bogus teachers teaching regurgitated drivel, who gives much more than what he asks for in return.

    He has made so many resources available via his great website and news letters as Rich pointed out. The best thing I can say from personal experience is that the guy really cares. He cares about his students and he cares about preserving and passing on the art. Most guys just want your money...Matt really wants you to learn.

    I am personally ever grateful for what he has done for me..

    Thanks Matt!


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    I ´m also taking lessons with Matt and he´s a great player , great teacher and great man that is allways ready to help at any time.

    Thx Matt


  6. #6
    And another in the growing list of players that have nothing but positive praise for MW's lessons.

    I couldn't believe how clear and precise Matt's entire review of the entire lesson was, both via video and pdf.

    There was no doubt in my mind what it was I needed to practice to master the material presented. I've not been able to say that about other instructor's by and large, and we all know that frustrating feeling of returning home with that nagging question of: what the *ell did he say again?

    Thanks Matt! Highly recommended!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Tucson, Arizona
    I just wanted to jump in and give a big thanks for the kind words in these posts, I don't know what else to say except I am humbled by reading this thread. Thank you.
    Matt Warnock Guitar
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