Q: What is your lessons, attendance and payment policy?

A: Drum and guitar lessons are 30 minutes each week and cost $130 per month or $30 per lesson. Payment for the month is due at the time of or before the first lesson of the month. No long-term commitments are required. You can pay month-to-month if desired. Venmo (@Darren-Matthes) and checks are accepted.

If you can't make it to a lesson, let me know as soon as possible before the lesson, and I will send you a link to my availability calendar, in case you want to make up the lesson. If I have to cancel a lesson, I will let you know as soon as possible and send you a link to my availability calendar.

Lessons begin and end promptly on the hour and half hour. If you are late, the lesson will still end at the scheduled time.

Q: What ages do you teach?

A: For guitar, around 9 years old up to well above retirement age. It's never too late to play guitar, but for kids under nine, it's often difficult to hold down the strings. They usually don't have problems grasping the concepts of guitar or being excited about it, but their fingers may or may not cooperate. For drums, around 7 years old up to well above retirement age. For younger ages, you might want to check out a program like Kidzrock at Up Tempo Music Lessons in Sioux Falls.

Q: Are there any prerequisites for taking drum or guitar lessons?

A: No. Sometimes schools and others instructors require piano lessons or other music lessons before drums, but since I studied piano and have years of experience playing drums, guitar and writing music in standard notation, I'm able to teach the concepts necessary to understand how drums and guitar fit into the wider scope of music as it relates to other musical instruments and music theory.

Q: Do students need to have their own drums or guitar?

A: No. I can teach a student all of the standard drumming rudiments and concepts with just a practice pad and a pair of sticks. He or she will play my drums during our lessons. Eventually, a student will most likely want to have a drum kit (set) or a snare drum at home. I can give you some tips and ideas about buying drums.

If you're starting guitar lessons, I have a couple guitars that you can try (right and left-handed) if you'd like to take a few lessons before committing to buying a guitar.

Q: Is it better to start with an acoustic or electric guitar?

A: Either one is fine. Acoustic guitars usually have thicker strings that are further from the frets, which can make them more difficult to play. On the other hand, an electric guitar needs an amplifier, a cable and an eletrical outlet and requires more finesse and control to achieve a pleasing sound. I believe it's best to try a few different guitars at a local music store and let the student decide which he or she is most excited about playing. If the student has no preference, then I would start with an acoustic guitar, mainly because there's less peripheral stuff you have to mess around with. If the student uses an electric guitar, I have an amplifier that he or she can use during lessons.

Q: You're holdng the guitar wrong. What's the deal with that?

A: I play guitar left-handed. So when a right-handed guitar player faces me during a lesson, it's exactly like they're looking in a mirror, which actually works out really well for teaching guitar lessons.

Q: How do we sign up for lessons?

A: Just contact me, or visit my availability calendar. You can book a lesson time yourself, directly on that page or let me know if any of those spots will work for you. Thanks!