Frequently asked questions

Do your teachers and staff have a Working With Children check?

Yes. Brent Lyons is our manager and guitar teacher and he holds a current WWC certification that can be provided on request. Belinda Lyons also holds her WWC certification and delivers Supported Playgroups for the Early Years Department at the City of Whittlesea. She holds a Diploma In Childrens Services and has over 25 years experience working with children and their families. Her expertise has been utilised in the development of our guitar lesson curriculum.

You're a "family business" - tell us a bit more about yourselves!

Sure - we live in South Morang and our son Ben attends the local primary school. Brent will be your main contact at The Guitar Dojo but over time you will no doubt get to know Belinda and Ben. As well as being a guitar teacher Brent was a well known local pharmacist in the Bundoora area for over a decade. He was a pharmacist manager at both the Bundoora Chemmart Pharmacy and Bundoora Midnight Pharmacy. As mentioned above Belinda delivers Supported Playgroups through Whittlesea Council.

Do you "teach all styles" ?

We firmly believe that at beginner and intermediate level that you are mostly just "learning the guitar." Most of the skills that you learn are pretty universal and can then be directed at more specific genres as you advance. The main exception would be fingerstyle classical guitar where you would be best served seeking a specialist teacher in that style. Brent's taste in guitar music tends to be melodic rock/blues/metal with a touch of pop and jazz.

Will we need to purchase books and learning materials?

No. All you really need is a guitar , an amp and lead (for an electric) , a pick and a foot stool for practice. The Guitar Dojo will provide you with hard copy learning materials, online downloads and subscriptions to various gamified learning programs as part of your tuition fees.

What does "support between lessons" really mean?

As a small family business we are in a position to provide a level of support that employee/student teachers could not be expected to meet . Size can matter in this case!! Each member of The Guitar Dojo has access to our school app that organises and gamifies your learning materials and practice. An added feature is that our students can interact directly with Brent when support is required , either by chat or video exchange. Obviously we cannot be online around the clock but do undertake to reply to all queries within one business day and in most cases much sooner.

Will you come to me at my home?

As a rule? No. We do have Skype lessons available which should cover most situations but if there was a genuine passion for face to face lessons and circumstances beyond your control (disability etc...) then we will certainly do our best to accommodate your request.

Can you give some insight into Brent's musical interests?

The tl;dr name is Brent and I am a "music-aholic" !! :o) Music has been the one constant in my life since I was kindergarten age , where I developed a love for my father's music (Dire Straits, Chicago, Doobie Brothers etc...) . My next big influence was the KISS craze in Australia around 1980 , which saw me collecting KISS cards and developing my love for melodic rock and metal music. Since then I have amassed a music collection of around 5000 albums , mostly made up of melodic rock, hard rock and heavy metal music with a few blues and jazz albums thrown in. I love everything from Stevie Ray Vaughan to Toto to Metallica , as long as there is some melody and good musicianship on display. I also have a bit of a bug for music memorabilia from a couple of my favourite bands. In addition to the above I produce a semi-regular hard rock/metal music podcast with my son Ben for a small audience in the USA - we were lucky enough to have Gene Simmons from KISS agree to do our "bumper" that opens the show! I have one other massive project that is ongoing , which is to curate and digitise the best and most complete library of print and video guitar instructional material anywhere in the world. I have been working on this for a well over a decade and there's probably still a couple of years to go but even at this point , the quality and quantity of material at our disposal is something I am really proud of.

What is Brent's background with the guitar ?

I have been playing and/or teaching guitar for over 35 years. I began group lessons with an acoustic "singalong" class at the Macleod YMCA at the age of eight - so my interest in the guitar has been a long term one. A few years later I moved on to private lessons on the acoustic guitar (fingerstyle) and from there I formally studied both classical guitar and music theory to AMEB Grade 4. Once I hit my mid-teens I made the inevitable move to the electric guitar - the instrument that had already been a huge influence on my life. In 1991 at the age of 17 I was the first Year 12 student in Victoria to complete VCE level music on electric guitar. The feature piece that I performed in front of the examination panel was Joe Satriani's "Always With Me, Always With You." I received a Distinction in VCE music and a Music Colour from Ivanhoe Grammar School for my musical achievements and contributions to the school orchestra and jazz band.
Once VCE was out of the way I was ready to rock and not really up for further classically focused academic studies! Unfortunately we didn't have guitar focused degree programs in Australia that were in the same space as those in America such as Berklee College of Music and Musicians Institute (formerly GIT). So while I continued to play, study and teach on an ongoing basis (part time) , my academic studies went in a different direction. For what it's worth I hold a Bachelor of Pharmacy (Monash) amongst other academic qualifications.
As far as music goes I should first say that almost all of the best guitarists and teachers that I have come across over the years have spent zero time studying music academically - you really can achieve everything you need studying with a good teacher and quality learning materials. Having said that , I have completed a multitude of courses/certifications including a Musicianship specialization through Berklee College of Music and am currently undertaking futher studies there in Jazz Improvisation and also completing the Better Music Teacher certificate through the ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.) It's fair to say that I am a compulsive learner in all areas of personal interest and music is no exception! As mentioned elsewhere I am also 13 years into a 15 year project to curate and digitise one of the most complete libraries of guitar instructional books and video anywhere on the planet!

Do you teach adults?

We sure do and , in fact , we have slightly more adults than children amongst our members at this time. It truly is never too late and we love to see adults dusting off old guitars and finally getting around to really "doing it"! For busy adults/seniors we also offer Skype lessons from the comfort of your own home.

Do you teach other instruments?

We do teach ukuklele for some of our younger (and older) students but that's effectively a "four string guitar." The Guitar Dojo is 100% focused on providing the best and most effective guitar lessons and curriculum possible. Having said that we are happy to help find you a local teacher for another instrument.

Can you help with exam preparation?

Sure can. If you or your child are interested in taking exams on the guitar or music theory then we are more than happy to help with that preparation. We are quite familiar with the AMEB Rockschool syllabus (which is a lot more contemporary than the more traditional AMEB syllabus) and can fill you in on that if you wish.