Home Forums Guitar Instructor Sarah Spisak Lesson Reviews

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    • #36070
      Sarah Spisak
      Keymaster

      Please post your lesson reviews here! I will be keeping this thread tidy as we go. Thank you!
      -Sarah

    • #36230
      BrazilBill
      Participant

      I have a number of Sarah’s instructional courses including 100 80’s Metal Riffs, Easy Guitar Modes, Melodic Principles, and Riffology. I think they are wonderful courses and she teaches them expertly. Wish I had such a teacher way back when I started, I would be a better guitarist today. While I have a number of Metal Method videos from all the instructors, I personally like the way Sarah teaches the best, as well as her subjects (Michael & Doug are also very good). Depending on where you at (if you are a complete beginner then get Doug’s complete course) I think you would greatly benefit from Sarah’s expertise and easy teaching style. Thanks to all the MM instructors as well, I think you have the best system for learning out there!!!

    • #36231
      GuitarMan2055
      Participant

      I have purchased several of Sara’s lessons including 100 Metal Riffs, Easy Guitar Modes, Metal Riffology and Melodic Principles for Rock Guitar. Sarah is a great teacher and musician. I like that for each lesson you get the lesson video as well as a study guide and tablature. As an added bonus you also get lesson files for Guitar Pro.
      I also have lesson from other Metal Method instructors, they are all great.

    • #36232
      Duncan
      Participant

      The Metal Method courses would be very helpful for most beginning and intermediate players of any type of guitar music. Many advanced players could also benefit. I especially recommend these courses for advanced guitar players of other types of music besides Rock and Heavy Metal who want to improve their already fabulous playing skills and styles by getting involved in something new.

      I am a 72 year old man, who has been playing guitar since grade school. I started with folk music and moved on to Rock as I entered college at the University of California. Soon I was playing in a heavily vocal rock band in Berkeley. About that time I became interested in jazz. I have been performing music in public regularly since college, and I am sure that it is obvious to anyone who listens that over the years I have developed my own style which incorporates many of the elements of jazz. I have studied chords and chord progressions; major, melodic minor, harmonic minor, diminished, and augmented scales and modes; a large number of very beautiful arpeggios; and many licks, phrases, and tunes. I regularly play and improvise in public using these skills. Sarah discusses many of these ideas and skills in her courses.

      All of the instructors at Metal Method are clearly very accomplished musicians who have spent the considerable time and effort necessary to build clear, informative, and useful courses. Although, I am principally a jazz player, I was attracted to the Metal Method courses; because, I anticipated that the techniques involved would be useful in my playing. Indeed, most of what I learned enhances my jazz playing.

      Try out any of Sarah Spisak’s courses. I am sure that you will find them enjoyable and very useful. When I talked with Sarah on the telephone a few years ago, I found her to be very helpful, and talking with her was easy and quite pleasant. She is certainly an accomplished player and a wonderful teacher.

    • #36233
      metaphorz
      Participant

      I have a few of Sarah’s courses, and they are excellent. She does not rush the instruction,
      rather taking time to explain exactly what she is doing. This is critical for learning guitar,
      as many instructors rush through things as if they were playing a cover. Of course, tuning the
      speed on videos helps as well.

    • #36234
      SonicRider
      Participant

      By coincidence, I have just finished Melodic Principles Vol. I which is a gentle introduction into the building blocks of melodies, that is intervals. Each interval from unison to octave is demonstrated and explained by a number of typical rock and metal riffs.

      The “theory” involved is easy enough to be understood by a total beginner, but to play the exercises at tempo requires a certain level of fluidity and routine. That’s why I struggled some time ago when I was in the early stages of the Complete Basic Course and put the program aside. Being in the intermediate stages of the Complete Course now, I found it much easier to go through the exercises within a reasonable amount of time (as usual, with some exceptions).

      I would like to mention that in order to make the two-or-three notes riffs more interesting, Sarah has in some cases applied interesting rhythms which in my opinion are above beginner skill level. Hence, for the advanced beginner or early intermediate guitarist, this is also a nice rhythm workout.

      For some exercises there are full backing tracks provided. Since some of these tracks are somewhat “squiggly” (not just simple drum patters but more complex patterns), I find it considerably harder to play along them than to play along the Guitar Pro files.

      As a side note, the enclosed warmup exercises are really great and made into my current daily routine.

      The only thing which I thought was missing, is a written summary of some kind. But then, I compiled my own summary sheet (a simple table with the interval names and according remarks). Like any cheat sheet in school, once you compiled it, you will probably rarely need it. 🙂

      All in all, a very fine program. I am now looking forward to Vol. II. From a cursory preview I think this might be a bit deeper into “theory”, but still based on cool-sounding examples. I will tell about it in due time…

      • This reply was modified 1 year ago by SonicRider.
      • This reply was modified 1 year ago by SonicRider.
    • #36237
      Steve Duckett
      Participant

      I have almost all of Sarah’s lessons, and I love them all!! I even have her first book that I am sure is a collectors item by now, it is called “Melodic Principles for Rock Guitar” Published by MetalRiffs.

      I have learned a lot from Sarah, and I really enjoy all of the Metal Method programs she has created. I am always excited when she comes out with a new program that I can buy and start working on.

      Keep up the good work Sarah!

      I wish she would write and record some tunes we could buy and listen too, I would love to hear Doug and Sarah write and record some songs… Hint Hint

      Sarah Spisak ROCKS!!!

    • #36238
      2ndTimeAround
      Participant

      This is my 2nd time around doing guitar. Started with Dougs video tapes back in the early nineties and had great fun playing metal but hadn’t played in 25 years. Bought his new lessons with the help of Sara. I bought 4 of Sara’s new lessons and they’re great. She’s answered all my questions and is very helpful. After I do my daily hour of Dougs main lessons, I do some of Sarah’s to keep things interesting. I’m sure I’ll be looking at other lessons in the future.

      Thanks

    • #36239
      jrs
      Participant

      I’ve purchased pretty much all course packs Sarah put out thus far. Working your way through these courses will teach you everything you need to know, ranging from scales, modes and intervals to tons of sick licks and riffs – everything to totally boost your confidence on the instrument and make you a better guitar player and musician in general.

      Using an interesting and exciting approach to teaching, each and every exercise is explained in a clear and concise manner, played both slow and fast, using catchy examples and backing tracks. Everything is transcribed note for note on-screen, in tab PDF as well as Guitar Pro files – all in all definitely worth your time!

      Metal Method and chill.

    • #36240
      Rick228
      Participant

      I like the Arpeggios for Rock Guitar a great deal. Sarah is an excellent instructor. This lesson is challenging, yet incredibly rewarding. A great break from the Metal Method instructions-enough to regenerate the passion to get back into Doug’s Metal Method. I will be ordering the Metal Riffology- The Art of the Metal Riff next! Thanks!

    • #36244
      rorygfan
      Participant

      GuitarSarah taught me more guitar tricks in a short time of several lessons I took from her nearly 20 years ago, that helped more than the 6 years of local private lessons prior to that. I also gladly paid to have her personally transcribe for me numerous Rory Gallagher and other solo’s- all accurate note for note.

      I met Sarah from her website in late 1998 (Just double checked, wow time flys), and am really happy Sarah that you have gotten so much mileage out of your original idea around ~2000, the original Riffology course (and glad to have helped with encoding all your first videos to digital VCD’s way back then!)

      And best of all you are still are selling it! And expanded it into a long term business. That’s great, keep it up. (I hope you don’t mind if I post this nice historical stuff)

      https://web.archive.org/web/20001208111400/http://guitarsarah.com/riffology.htm

      I remember this… very cool Euphonic Crunch, “Ancient Dream”, “When we were kings”.


      https://web.archive.org/web/20000613152331/http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/57/guitarsarah.html
      https://web.archive.org/web/20001208110700/http://guitarsarah.com/demoriff.htm

      • This reply was modified 1 year ago by rorygfan.
      • This reply was modified 1 year ago by rorygfan.
    • #36265
      Sarah Spisak
      Keymaster

      I am so very grateful to every one of you for your kind and thoughtful reviews!!!!
      Many, many thanks. 🙂 Sarah

    • #36288
      dragos
      Participant

      Sarah’s lessons emphasize mastering fundamental skills and then linking those skills together to play some pretty cool stuff.
      Buy them. You will enjoy them.

    • #36290
      NefariousZhen
      Participant

      I have been taking lessons from Sarah for about the past six months. These lessons have changed everything I know about music and the guitar. My only regret was not pursuing them earlier in life. I have had an off and on again relationship with the guitar for about ten years now. It is finally an “on” relationship that isn’t going anywhere. I am a successful computer scientist and music is, and will always be, a side-passion/hobby of mine.

      Sarah’s natural love language is, without a doubt, words of affirmation. Her approach to teaching always gravitates toward words/phrases/exercises/lessons that help you feel good about yourself, your abilities, and your progress. She is a superb listener and incredibly smart.

      Do you want to know how awesome Sarah is? Let me start by telling you where I was before I met her. The biggest thing that was holding me back from becoming a musician was myself. I, like many of you, am most afraid of failing. I am afraid I would wake up one day and still be empty musically; with an inability to say anything personal through the guitar. With a feeling of disappointment, I would reflect on my life. I would think of all of the time, money, effort, and passion that I poured into playing only to discover that I truly am some empty emotionless shell of a person. Sounds scary, right? So, I tried to structure my learning and practice around this idea of finding that personal expression of music.

      The consequences of this were:

      • I avoided learning pre-existing songs / licks / phrases because I didn’t want to only be able to “say” what others have already “said”.
      • My definition of musician was “someone who could express themselves musically.”
      • I didn’t spend time thinking about why I liked the music that I did like.
      • I avoided finding inspiration from other guitarists.
      • I was always intimidated to play in front of other people. (“Oh, you call yourself a musician? Probably better not quit your day job just yet.”)
      • I would lose motivation when I got stuck in Doug Mark’s course. I never allowed myself to access other course content because I “couldn’t even make it through the beginner’s course”.
      • I avoided drop tunings because I felt they were cheating. Anything that simplifies anything is cheating, right? (Turns out much of the music I love is in drop tunings — which I avoided discovering because I didn’t want to only repeat others.)
      • I avoided playing on open strings because I felt it was cheating. Anything that simplifies anything is cheating, right? (Not fretting a note must be cheating!)
      • I was subconsciously judging myself and my abilities by comparing me to those who have devoted their entire lives to making a career out of music.

      Worst of all, this framework I laid for myself kept me stuck in a world of misunderstood music. I am certain if I would have kept this approach, that, sixty years from now, I would have woken up and realized my biggest fear. Thanks to Sarah, I discovered just how wrong those ideas were! I wouldn’t have done so if she didn’t have patience, an open-mind, or wasn’t judgement free. Those qualities make Sarah an awesome instructor!

      Here are just a few of the things I have learned since I started working with Sarah:

      • Your ears hear the intervals between notes. Learning to identify these intervals is what makes it possible to play any music you can hear in your head. (I’m still not good at this yet, but if I would have known ten years ago…!)
      • Copy & Paste: Take some phrase or exercise and play it in the same key in the next octave. This allowed my subconscious to understand how the tuning of the B-string affects the copy/paste, and it began to drill into my mind that there are only twelve unique tones.
      • That it is the scale that gives a lick/phrase its sound; you can take any pattern, lick, or phrase and play its scale degrees in another scale. I lost my pants the first time I played the main riff from Three Days Grace’s “Riot” in Phrygian dominant.
      • Root Emphasis / Fretboard Geometry. I almost wish I’d never learned positional scale patterns on the neck; they are musically misleading. Instead, playing scales root-to-root (a la copy & paste) is a great way to begin to hear what notes belong to the scale. Then, learning all of the scale note locations near a root (on the strings above, on, and below; and on the frets reachable from the root) turns the fretboard into sets of interlocking patterns. These patterns can’t be unseen and, now, they constantly show up whenever I am learning something new.
      • Arpeggios and chord progressions are the fundamental building blocks of music in the same way that meter and rhyme schemes are the fundamental building blocks of poetry.
      • Learning how to be musical can and should continue when you don’t have the axe in your hands. When I started watching youtube covers I started to get a much better idea of the kind of music I liked hearing and the kind of music I wanted to hear myself playing. I also began to appreciate the details and thought a guitarist might put into altering a prelude, postlude, or solo.
      • Perfect practice makes perfect (Thanks Dan Mumm!). Seriously. Giving up the desire to play to play something at speed in favor of playing it in time has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Learning a single riff, lick or phrase from songs I have always regarded as “AWESOME!”, yet way out of my comfort zone, has propelled me into a person who could actually play the guitar for hours and love to hear what I was playing (because I was playing only the slivers of music that I loved hearing over and over and over and over).
      • I realized that sometimes I would put down the axe after feeling dissatisfied of what I was playing or trying to play or, rather, not playing at all. This used to be very demotivating and it would be “a while” before I grabbed a guitar again. Now, when I feel this way, I use it as a cue to immediately pick the guitar back up and go play an exercise I have never played before. This has become an extremely rewarding habit to change and I always feel drawn to the guitar either later that day or the day following instead of feeling pushed away for a week or more.
      • I also realized, anything I was avoiding, was exactly what I needed to do next. I’ve since set-up my guitar, played music with a complete stranger (who I hoped wouldn’t murder me in the practice space that had its entrance off of a dark alley below a raised highway all the way in Brooklyn), tried alternative tunings, played open strings, listened to other non-famous musicians, purchased a drum machine, recorded myself, critiqued myself, watched/listened to instructional video without my own guitar distracting me, worked on ear-training exercises (see musictheory.net), took a (super high quality) music theory class on coursera, tried different types of strings, and still more.

      I have since revised my definition of musician. Now, to me, a musician is someone who has a passion to enjoy and absorb musical knowledge. By changing my own heart and how I approached music, I was able to unlock what I have always wanted; to become a musician. My journey is still just beginning, yet I’m already here, and this time, I’m no longer set up for failure.

      Sarah is my guitar hero.

    • #36319
      SonicRider
      Participant

      Very encouraging words, also for the other forum members like me!

    • #36609
      Rick228
      Participant

      I just finished my second lesson with Sarah. I cannot provide enough positive feedback about Sarah’s teaching style or her music knowledge. Sarah is extremely patient, enough, so that learning is fun and exciting. I look forward to my next lesson! My only regret is that I did not start this earlier!

    • #37396
      Sam97
      Participant

      I have most if not all of Sarah’s video lessons offered on Metal Method. I was only practicing a couple of times a month at best and trying to learn songs from Tab I found online. I saw that Sarah was offering private lessons online and decided to try that out. I am really glad I did. I have been taking lessons from her online for about 3 months now. We meet once a week and she offers advice and suggestions to improve my technique. One important thing I have learned from her during the sessions is that there is a very big difference between ‘Learning to play a song’ and ‘Learning to play the guitar.’ I takes patience and practice. I am really enjoying my new journey to actually learning to play the guitar. Thanks Sarah!

    • #37416
      Rick228
      Participant

      I have been taking Skype lessons from Sarah for four months now-WOW, WHAT A DIFFERENCE!In these past four short months my Music Theory knowledge has increased quite dramatically. I recently purchased a Music Theory book to augment Sarah’s lessons. Instead of trudging through the book, trying to comprehend and absorb the information, I was able to understand and apply the principals presented. This is only thanks to Sarah’s intuitive teaching techniques and pleasant, patient and professional persona. If you want to learn the guitar, I mean really learn it, then Sarah is a great candidate for an instructor.

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