Mainly, we’ll talk. I need to learn what you know already and what your past experiences, if any, have been. I’ll also ask you what you want to accomplish as a guitarist or bassist, and more generally as a musician. We’ll talk about favorite artists, songs and styles. All of this will help me assess where you are now, and how I can help you get where you want to go.

Beginners will leave the first lesson with a plan and a few simple exercises to start with. More experienced players will get materials they need to fill in their learning gaps and move ahead. In every case we’ll get to work right away.

For gear, let’s make a short list: we’ll need you and your instrument. I have just about everything else: amps, cables, music stands, and so on. At the end of the lesson we’ll talk briefly about your need to get a folder or a three-ring binder (with dividers) so you can organize and protect your lesson sheets, of which there will soon be many. I’ll also hand you a policy sheet with contact information. Please read that over carefully at home, and let me know if you have any questions

I’ll help you choose a good pick and check the playability of your guitar. Other essential bits of gear we’ll talk about will include a metronome or metronome app for your phone, a flash drive so that you can bring in copies of the songs and pieces you want to work on, a guitar strap (bring that along if you have one), and a footstool (no need to bring yours, unless you want to).

The strap and footstool will help you hold the guitar. Not everyone needs them, but many people do. We’ll figure that out.

The flash drive will be really important. It’s the quickest and easiest way for us to move music files around. I often create slowed-down versions of songs for students to work with if they don’t have or can’t easily work with the Amazing Slow Downer, and we’ll need the drive so you can take those files with you.

As we go, you may find it really helps to make audio or video recordings of parts of your lessons. It’s another reason to love your smartphone. I like making rehearsal recordings with my iPod and Blue Mikey, which turns my iPod into a very good audio recorder. I move those recordings from my iPod to my computer, label them, and move them into folders so I can find them easily. This way you can re-take the lesson whenever you want.