Music Lessons at Ōmata School

Taught by multi-instrumentalist Jazz musician, Simon Manning-Jones.

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Guitar Lessons

There is a lot to handle when first starting guitar lessons!
Students need to find a comfortable body position holding the guitar, learn to coordinate their fingers to form shapes on the strings, and strum and pluck in time.
To ensure they achieve success, students must be 8 years or older.

Group Classes – $15/session
These are a great way for most beginners to get started on the instrument.
Students need flying hours on the guitar rather than focussed one-on-one attention, and group classes offer an affordable solution.
Students in group guitar lessons spend a mixture of lesson time working on playing chord songs as a group, as well as independent time reading and playing single note melodies.

Individual Classes – $25-35/session
Students in individual lessons have a customised program built around their specific interests and development stage.
This can include advanced chord playing, finger picking, soloing, reading music, and rhythm and lead parts from favourite bands!

Purchasing a Guitar

Students do not need to bring their own guitar to lessons.
If you do arrange for the guitar to come to school then as a bonus we can help with tuning.
(We can also do string changes as an added service).

A few things of note:
Guitars comes in 3 main sizes: half, three quarter, and full – Choosing the correct size is based on student height.
They have steel or nylon strings – Nylon is recommended for beginners.
Nylon guitars are usually (but not always) designed as a ‘classical guitar’ made of wood with no steel reinforcing.

There is nothing wrong with a second hand guitar (and there is often a decent instrument to be had for $50).
If you hear buzzing when playing the instrument, it is because the neck angle is wrong or the strings are too low.
The plastic guides at either end of the guitar can wear down over time and are cheap to replace. Bent necks are tricky.
More of an issue is if the strings are too high. There is no risk of buzzing BUT they are very hard for young fingers to press and play.

Both sun and water can be guitar killers – so look out for signs of either in the wood.

Drum Lessons

Some kids have a primal need to whack things – rhythmically of course.
Our lessons focus on stick techniques (grip, bounce, coordination), reading rhythms and playing drum beats/fills along to the piano/guitar and backing trackings.

Recommended starting age is 7.

Purchasing Drums

A simple practice pad – $25 New

Students don’t have to buy a kit immediately, but being able to practice sticking patterns, technique and coordination daily is essential.
A practice pad is essentially a piece of rubber that imitates the bounce of a real drum head.

Acoustic Kits – from $200 second hand / $1000 New 

Pros: Big second hand market. Can start with a cheaper kit and upgrade them slowly (part by part) over time.
When they break you know exactly why!

Cons: Noise. Drum skin mutes are essential for in home sanity!

Electronic Kits – from $400 second hand / $800 new

Pros: Quiet. With headphones. Lots of different sounds at the click of a button.
Some units allow for backing tracks to be added into the headphone mix using an Aux cable.
Trigger pads can be replaced and are not hugely expensive ($60-$100 new.)

Cons: Will need an external speaker system to play along with others.
If something breaks in the master controller, you are looking at the whole kit breaking without any DIY remedies.

Lesson Details

Venue: Ōmata school music room space and school hall.
(Held during the school day – students must attend Ōmata school)

Group Lessons
$15/week (Max 4 students per class).

Individual Lessons
20/30 minutes – $25 or $35/week

Teacher: Simon Manning-Jones

Lessons scheduled on Tuesdays between 9am and 3pm

Meet the tutor

Lessons in New Plymouth are taught by Simon Manning-Jones, the founder of Dynamite Music. Simon has a Masters of Teaching and Learning and is a very experienced music educator. He also works part time as a primary school teacher.

“Dynamite Music represents everything I believe beginner-music-lessons should be: affordable, effective, and fun! We give students the opportunity to explore and develop their own musical tastes and as a result, they practice more and make more progress in lessons. It has been a privilege to be that great first teacher for so many students over the years!”

Simon Manning-Jones

Nuts and Bolts
If you are a new student, your first lesson is a free trial. You’ll then have the option to keep your time for the rest of the term (and every term after that for as long as you continue with us).

Lessons are generally booked for a full term and billed in a lump amount.