Striking the right chord

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 April, 2012, 12:00am


Playing and sharing music with friends and family is an enjoyable social activity. Learning guitar is one of the more easily achievable means, as many popular songs only require a person to learn three or four chords.

'The guitar is a good choice of instrument when you are an adult because singing and playing songs is easy to do with this instrument. Usually, an adult can play two or three songs after three months of lessons and practising at home,' says Antoine Richard, guitar teacher and founder of Start Music (

'They can often learn to sing along with the songs, as well in that time. Once they achieve this then it is possible for them to learn to play and sing any of a hundred other songs.'

Richard is a French musician who has performed in various jazz groups over the past 16 years. He has played a variety of styles that include jazz, blues, classical, Celtic, Brazilian and Gypsy Jazz. He is now performing with local band, Gadjo Station which plays a repertoire of Gypsy jazz songs.

Richard offers individual and group lessons to students of different abilities and is able to teach pop, Gipsy jazz, classical, Brazilian and traditional rock styles. Individual, hourly lessons cost HK$500 with relevant aspects of music theory taught alongside practical techniques.

'Music is a powerful medium but it should be fun for the player as well as the listeners. If you stay with the basics of playing chords and developing a variety of rhythms, a person can transmit the fun of the music to others.'

Kevin Guffy ( is an American musician and guitar teacher who offers one-on-one lessons. He has more than 30 years' performance experience and has played with some well-known country and blues performers, such as the late Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Guffy offers hourly lessons at his home or his students' at a cost of HK$500 and HK$600, respectively. Students can choose blues, pop, rock or jazz.

All lessons include tuition on practical skills and a theoretical understanding of the guitar fret board. Basic skills include comfortable hand positions and playing posture, open and barred chords, how to read chord boxes and guitar tablature, and finger and plectrum picking techniques.

'Many of my adult students started learning to play guitar because they wanted a creative outlet to pursue during their spare time,' Guffy says.

'Some have wanted to find a way to unwind and relax after a busy day at the office.'

The Tom Lee Music Foundation ( offers individual and group guitar classes that are based on the Yamaha education system.

Individual classes cost HK$490 for four, 30-minute lessons while group lessons cost HK$400 for four, one-hour lessons.