REFERENCES FROM HAPPY PICKERS!
I am in my early fifties and have been tinkering with
a guitar forever, trying to play guitar for more than
twenty years, still not being able to play a few songs
properly. Many years ago, I tried a classical teacher,
went for two lessons, and decided much too complicated
for me. The desire has always remained with me to play
the acoustic guitar, and as a result last year, I walked
into a guitar shop and asked about lessons. I was referred
to a music school, and signed up for lessons. The
school has some 500 pupils, mostly teenagers. I attended
for two months, struggling with the rigid timekeeping,
(the next pupil for lesson waiting outside the see through
glass classroom) and noise from next door classrooms,
drums, electric guitars and other instruments which was
lessons are very CD orientated, teacher goes through tab
form only, demonstrating on his guitar, and lesson is
over, you then rely entirely on CD till next lesson, with
no review of workspace in the next lesson, the lessons
are designed to finish as a course within a time limit!
Well, then by chance, browsing the internet for acoustic
guitar information, I discovered Hugh’s website.
I had met Hugh many years ago, he placed me through his
recruitment business with a company which I did extremely
well some nine years later, and also, he assisted me in
choosing the best out of two Martin guitars in a music
shop in Sandton City!
contacted Hugh, visited, and had great fun chatting about
past, he is a fine host indeed, we chatted about guitars,
careers and so on, Hugh listened patiently to my frustrating
gripes concerning my music lessons, and suggested I get
in touch with John. I have been taking lessons from John
for several months, and cannot say enough. What a fantastic
person and teacher. I have learnt notes, chords, fingerpicking
styles (including bluegrass!), strumming techniques, and
best of all I am learning to read music, both music notation
and tablature form. I would
never believe I was capable of all this in so short a
time, a few months back. I already confidently play several
songs, including Classical pieces! What more can I say,
Thanks so much John.
is patient; gently administering pressure to learn in
a one on one basis in a peaceful environment where one
can concentrate. What a contrast to what I have been exposed
to, I love my lessons. John also has phenomenal music
experience in many different styles of music and will
accommodate any style you aspire to learn. I now look
forward to each lesson, enjoying the session, having fun,
and always assured that I learn something new, and most
importantly John teachers to play the instrument strictly
the right way, where one will benefit for future. My old
habits are fading fast!
have no hesitation in recommending John van Nierop as
a music teacher, and thanks Hugh, for your introduction
I have been trying to play guitar for more than fifteen
years, not really getting anywhere and playing a few simple
songs badly. I decided to start lessons and found John Van
Nierop through Andy Mc Gibbons Guitar World. (John will
be referred to as “TEACH” from now on in this
testimonial). I have been going to lessons with teach for
about 2 years now. In the beginning it was quite difficult
for me to convince teach that I didn’t want to learn
to read music but rather just take the easy “Castle
Lager route”. By that I mean that I wanted the bare
minimum to get me on the right track, play songs that people
want to listen to, more importantly that they would enjoy
listening to. Once Teach realised that I was a bit of a
hopeless case, he has helped me with many simple techniques
that make my MARTIN GUITAR more palatable to the listeners
ear. He has taught me tons of songs that I have perfected
and filed away in the file. Recently I have played in a
few pub gigs and four pub evenings at SA Breweries (+/-
100 people at each gig). I would never have been able to
do this before my lessons with teach. I can’t believe
that they keep asking me to come back. They haven’t
offered to start paying me, perhaps that’s coz I work
there. All the same I have managed to pull it off with all
credit to teach.
I would recommend anyone (of any playing level) to go to
Teach for his reasonably priced lessons and I would strongly
recommend that they do not take the Castle Lager route,
but do things properly. Listen to the bleddie teacher.
Forgot to mention, these lessons are great fun too and that
I purchased my Martin Guitar from Hugh’s fine guitars.
Martin Jorgensen & Martin Guitar
I have been taking guitar lessons with JohnVon Nierop for
the past 3 years and have opened up a whole range of new
opportunities and challenges that I never knew existed.
I am mainly an acoustic guitar (Martin D18GE) player and
John has taught me a variety of songs ranging from Dylan
to Clapton. I have also ventured into playing classical
guitar and electric guitar (you can’t get more adventurous
than Hendrix!). My next trick is to learn to sing (…nog
John is a fantastic teacher and musician, has huge patience
(thank G..) and is a great guy to learn (and jam) with.
John is a holistic music teacher, not just a guitar teacher.
By that, I mean he covers Music in a contextual sense: it
is of very limited use to just learn pieces/songs in isolation,
because then all you've got is a few songs but no idea how
to progress musically out of that 'box' - those pieces will
exist by themselves but not be linked together as part of
the Greater Database of Music. A lot like learning to say
a sentence in a foreign language but not having the faintest
idea of what you are saying.
Ultimately it goes nowhere, adding to the frustrations of
the players... and the listeners too, don't forget them!
Whereas with his profound understanding and intelligent
teaching approach, John shows the pupil (at the same time
as learning to play the guitar - it is fun too) the 'relationships',
or more specifically how to learn to identify the relationships,
of the parts that together make up the whole: the 'why's
& wherefore's...'. Sometimes we can't see the scenery
to the side of us because we are so busy looking to the
front. Understanding the relationships is key to the future
manipulation of the 'tools' in The Music Toolbox.
The importance of this is that the students will develop
a comprehension of how the Building Blocks of Music fit
together, and why, and in the long run the learning curve
is straightened making it sooner it will be for them to
rise to a higher level of performance and creativity. Knowledge
is power. This sounds like a very good deal to me. John
is the best music teacher I have ever had!
Geoffrey Walter Harris : ex pupil, now living and playing
in the UK
John van Nierop has been my guitar teacher from 1989 to
the present. He has helped me in all styles including: Bluegrass
flatpicking, the Blues, and various folk styles. John has
a tremendous knowledge of the guitar, and has a great way
of teaching, never intimidating the pupil, and is always
very patient and understanding. I have no hesitation in
recommending John as your teacher, and am confident that
you will grow from strength to strength in your guitar playing.
- Hugh Cumming.