Guitar lessons offered at the LAAC

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 12, 2014

Music — not just favorite songs — will be taught at guitar lessons offered by a local man at LAAC The Gallery.

Richard Rhea has been performing and teaching music for 20-plus years, and he has openings for lessons beginning in January.

“A lot of teachers teach songs, but that’s not what I do,” he said. “I teach the instrument and the music, they can learn the songs they want.

“I teach students to play by ear, and by note,” he said. “But if you start teaching notes right off, I’ve found it bores people.”

Rhea said he teaches students the basics and fundamentals of music, but it’s up to them what songs they want to play.

One student, who’s been taking lessons since May, has really been enjoying Rhea’s tutelage.

“These people are like my family,” 11-year-old Red Level student Bryson Pate said. “My sister plays the piano, so we’ve started having concerts for our family, sometimes.”

“Rudolf, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” has recently become a favorite song for Pate to play on the acoustic guitar, and he said he hopes to one day be a country music star.

The key to Pate’s success is the amount of practice he puts into learning the guitar, according to Rhea’s wife, Sheila.

“He’s learned so much, and seems to really get into these lessons,” Sheila said. “He asks a lot of questions, and he understands at such a young age the importance of practice.”

Sheila, who is the gallery manager at LAAC, said her husband can teach students anything, but it’s up to them to make the lessons count.

“If you don’t practice during the week, you pretty much have to start over when you come back in,” she said.

Sheila said the couple has been in the music industry for a long time, and not only does her husband have experience with performing, but he also went to school to teach music.

Rhea earned a degree in music education from the University of Tennessee.

“When we first met and married, performing was how we made our money,” Sheila said. “We were in Nashville, Tenn., for 24 years and had a band, where I’d sing and he’d play. We did some recording there, too.”

The couple previously owned two music stores, one in Nashville and one in Alexandria, La., which helps when instructing lesson takers on the proper instrument to buy.

Rhea began giving lessons in guitar, bass guitar and mandolin at The Gallery in 2012, and has openings in January.

The lessons are 30 minutes, once a week, and are $50 a month.

To sign up for lessons, call The Gallery at 334-222-3205 or stop by.

The Gallery is located at 116 E. Three Notch, and is open Tuesday through Friday from noon to 5:30 p.m.