2 Hour Lesson
What I learned in my first lesson with Robert is that he is as energetic and friendly as he is in his DVDs. I’ve watched hours of the DVDs and it was a privilege to be able to personally converse, for two hours. Within the first 15 minutes, Robert watched me play and asked a few questions, and then had his tech email me three pages, which we spent the remainder of the lesson on. During the analysis of those pages, he answered the question I had not asked, which was how do I apply the Etudes from The Precision Technique and the few lines I learned in the Jazz Lines to a song. By focusing me on Green Dolphin Street, he answered this question and gave me some wonderful homework. The most important impact of the lesson though, was that Robert has helped me integrate and focus all of the skills and knowledge I’ve developed over the years into a direction that will allow me to improvise lines easily. Handing someone a scale book or a list or arpeggios to learn is like handing someone a fishing pole and walking off without telling them to thrown the line in the water. Robert wants you to land a big fish…tonight at the gig.
I thought it was about time to update my review of Robert and his teaching. All I can say is that it really works. However, one needs to put the time in to practice and getting comfortable with the neck. This is not a Vulcan mind-meld exercise. Robert can expertly guide you to success. Because of his teaching my gig schedule has increased and I am getting calls to sub. The poster attached is from a past gig. I have more coming but you get the idea.
Also attached is a recent video. I no longer worry about my improvisation skills when they point and tell me to play. Do yourself a favor and book it. Have fun playing...
Earlier this week I had the opportunity to do a 2-hour online lesson with Robert Conti.
Robert’s approach to teaching jazz guitar is to get you playing and that’s exactly what we did in our lesson. Just like his books and DVDs, there is a lot of information packed into a very small space. This can be deceiving, in my opinion, because it’s going to take time and effort on my part to learn and internalize the material. There aren’t any shortcuts.
The two hours went by quickly, and I look very much forward to doing more lessons with him. I also received a video of our lesson that day. As a teacher, Robert Conti was personable, patient, knowledgeable, and encouraging. As a side note, I really enjoyed his stories and look forward to hearing more in the future.
I just wanted to give a shout out to Robert Conti. I started taking lessons with Robert about 2 years ago and picked up a few tricks. I decided to get serious back in February and made a weekly appointment for a 2 hour lesson. It is the best musical investment that I have ever made. The progress has been amazing and his teaching style fits with the way I need to learn.
Robert teaches a no modes/no scales method...and he hates that I use the word “method”. Make no mistake though the guy knows his music theory. Not only does it sound good to your ear but he can explain at a Ph.D. level why it sounds good.
Do yourself a favor and take a lesson from the guy. I guarantee you will walk away with something new. Every week I have met with him save a few times when I was traveling and I walk away exhausted and energized.
He has completely changed my playing...for the good. He’s a rare combination of being a stellar player who can teach.
My first lesson with Robert Conti was playing right out of the chute. He asked me to play a couple of things to quickly evaluate my technique, and then we started playing jazz. Robert emailed a chart and a handout with 12 tasty licks that can be used forever in your repertoire. We worked on the first 4 licks together and then started applying them immediately into the chart he sent. He talked about what to think about when applying these licks over the chords and theoretically why they work over the chords. Also, how to use these phrases over more chords and why they work over those chords. He talked about my technique, the equipment I used (strings, picks, etc...) to get a great sound from my instrument, and lots about the music. Robert teaches in a studio with an assistant that plays chords and backing tracks as Robert demonstrates playing the stuff we're working on. This really helped save time and our workflow was quick and efficient in the lesson. About an hour after my lesson was over, he sent me the video of my entire lesson. This is invaluable! I, like most people, cannot remember everything that was said in a 2 hour lesson a week later. Now I have a great reference video to go back and watch Robert play and talk about what I'm working on. Robert has the online teaching game down! With great content, fast workflow, great knowledge and all the extras like the video file and handouts, this was one of the most professional online lessons I've ever taken.
Thanks for the lesson Robert! It was certainly an eye, mind and ear opener. I too enjoyed the lesson. Warm regards.
I think it's time for a proper feedback. Over the last 3 months I've been taking 1-on-1 Skype lessons with Robert on a weekly basis. And wow! What an impact! In order to put this into context, I will provide a little background info.
I've been playing guitar for over 20 years and used to play semi-professionally before I graduated and got a corporate job in early 2012. My previous musical experience has been strictly within original and cover rock, blues, and folk music and I had no real experience with jazz prior to taking these lessons besides a dozen lessons or so I took with a local jazz player 11 years ago. Also, I bought most of Robert's books and DVD's in 2015 but that's about it in terms of my previous "jazz" experience.
During the last 10 years, where I have been working full time in the corporate world, had kids, etc., my guitar practice has only been sporadic. Besides learning a new song here and there, I didn't really play or practice in structured fashion. Working +full time as a lawyer, having small kids, and other competing interests made it difficult for me to play consistently.
At some points though, I did feel the "urge" to play and tried to get back on the horse. For instance, I worked through the Chord/Melody Assembly Line and some of the Ticket to Improv solos a few years ago (great products btw, which I highly recommend).
Since I started listening to jazz in 2008, I have been wanting to learn this style. My first step was to learn from the usual free stuff on the Internet, which got me into new scales, arpeggios, and chords, etc. When I took jazz lessons in 2010 I got turned on to transcribing jazz solos, which paid huge dividends in terms of language and opening my ears. But I still never felt like I "got" it.
Like most others starting on this path, I got the impression that you are supposed to know all music theory, scale fingerings, chord inversions, etc. before you can learn to play jazz. As a disciplined guy, I trusted this process and spent years (literally) running scales, arpeggios, chord exercises, transcribing licks, etc. but for some reason, I was never able to merge this attained knowledge and these playing tools into "one" and actually play jazz and improvise over jazz standards.
When I got Roberts books and DVD's, I knew I was onto something. After working through the Chord/Melody Assembly Line, I was able to make simple chord/melody arrangements. Actually play my own arrangements of jazz standards. But life got in the way I didn't manage to stick with it consistently.
Fast forward until 2020. The Covid19 pandemic had shut down most of society and I've been working from home for almost a year. While being a rough period in general, for my family it was also a time to take stock of our lives. I worked too much and felt bad not spending more time with my family. Also, I knew and felt that I had to make music a part of my life again. I decided to leave the law firm I worked at and got a new job with much better working hours allowing for more family time and time to play music. I started practicing consistently again and I made a plan to study Roberts books and continue with learning solos.
However, after a few months of this, I discovered the possibility to take Skype lessons with Robert. I was intrigued about the idea of getting personal feedback and having the structure of a weekly session and booked one lesson. During my first lesson he threw some lines and some very high impact concepts at me, which opened completely new doors to me, and he had me improvise to On Green Dolphin Street. Playing jazz and improvising with a few devices immediately. I had just seen the tip of the iceberg and immediately made a promise to myself to stick with the lessons every week.
So what have I learned during the last 3 months? I've basically learned to practice improvisation first and foremost (by playing it). As someone with sufficient technical chops on the guitar, we spend most of my lessons on getting my "brain up to speed with my fingers" as Robert would say. I assume this depends on the strengths and weaknesses of the student. My weakness is not being able to use the technique and knowledge I have because I've skipped this most important step of applying these tools to actual music.
I learn a new new standard every week on my own, which forms the basis of the lesson. Robert then teaches me lines and explains how to use them and the necessary theory. I practice it, vary it, and try to make it my own. Also, I get honest feedback. It's a very organic process and I get the whole package in terms of jazz language and understanding it.
Robert Conti is a monster player and educator and really knows his stuff. I highly recommend taking Skype lessons with Robert!
(I've uploaded a short video of an improvisation over Bluesette, filmed by my father at a family reunion from a month ago, using some of the devices I've learned in my lessons.)