I have been taking lessons from Tommy since Sept 2011. I have been very pleased with the way the lessons have been going. I am an older person with limited time to devote to practice. I explained this at the beginning. True to his word, he has been very patient with me, allowing me to progress at a rate that is compatible with my other obligations; no pressure. He is an excellent musician, himself, with a profound understanding of music theory. He is also a master guitarist. He has several strengths as a teacher besides the above qualifications. First of all, he is a genuinely nice guy. He has a pleasant, mellow personality and a good sense of humor. Secondly, he has a knack, as excellent teachers do, to take complex aspects of music theory and make them understandable. I am very pleased with him as a teacher and highly recommend him to anyone interested in learning guitar or bass (I am working on both). I just read a previous review (babydahl 7/24/11) in which someone complained that they were not able to make up a lesson missed due to illness. There was a week where personal circumstances resulted in Tommy having to cancel a planned lesson. He gave me a makeup lesson as well as an extra lesson at no change due to the inconvenience. I have had to skip a lesson on two separate occasions. I found him to be very gracious. He allowed me to take two lessons in one week to make up for the one that I missed. I did not have the experience of being charged for a missed lesson without being given the opportunity to make it up at a different time. My experience in this regard was very different from the previous reviewer.
Off The Rails is simply a great place to learn how to play guitar. After my first few lessons I quickly realized that Tommy is a musical genius, and I dont use that term lightly. Recently in a two hour lesson, I learned more about music theory than I had in over 10+ years of playing jazz trombone. Tommy also has the great ability of being able to articulate concepts in a way that is understandable for a beginner. He is very patient, encouraging, and also challenges you to excell. He has so much experience in teaching that he has seen alot of the struggles of a beginner and can offer valuable encouragement and insight when you get discouraged. They are also very organized and professional at Off The Rails. This is something that I greatly appreciate as a busy professional myself. Scheduling is never a problem, and they are very easy to reach with questions, or if you have a scheduling problem. Perhaps the biggest strength that Tommy has is his ability to tailor his lessons to the individual student. This is something that is missing with most music teachers. This personal touch allows for each student to learn the types of music that they want, while keeping it interesting enough that you always want to practice. Lastly, this is an exceptional value! You will not find this quality of education anywhere in Vegas, let alone at such a low price. I would gladly pay double for each lesson! Dr. M.W. (Henderson)
I've been messing with the Ukulele for about 6 months now. I started out strong but was beginning to have a lot of unanswered questions and my progress was slowing down significantly. Tommy has been great in combining both the fundamentals of music theory and helping you play the songs you are most interested in. Teaching is not a side job, this is his primary focus which makes this a great place to learn your instrument. Tommy is familiar with all the mistakes that beginners make and he knows how to help you work through fundamental concepts. I was a little skeptical at first because Tommy's backgroud is more developed in electric guitar and bass but the skills and techniques can be applied to Ukes. It turns out that a lot of material that you need to know is not written out explicitly for the Uke or is not organized in a way that you can easily consume. Tommy can transfer concepts such as scales, modes, fingerings etc. to the uke and put it down on paper for you so you have something to review at home. This is really a big help. I've investigated a few instruction options in LV and Off The Rails is very affordable in comparison to instructors with similar levels of experience. He is also thorough with communications, well organized and quick to return messages which helps you get the most out of your lesson. -Dave
Can’t say enough good things about Tommy and Kristie at Off the Rails. Tommy’s approach to teaching is just what I was looking for. I’m a novice player and never had taken lessons before hooking up with Tommy. He sat down with me and basically interviewed me during the first lesson to see what my skills where and discuss where I wanted to go as a player. From there, we jumped right into it. Even though Tommy is an amazing musician himself, he never comes across as pompous or condescending in his instruction. He is very patient and encouraging as a teacher. So far, every single lesson has had some type of “oh wow” moment of clarity that instantly improved either my playing technique or understanding of theory. One of the things I really appreciate is his ability to relate everything in the lessons back to solid music theory. He does it in such a way that you don’t even realize he’s doing it. Tommy has worked with me on several occasions to make up classes that I’ve missed due to obligations of a demanding job and family. On top of it all, he’s actually a really nice guy and great to talk to. The kind of guy you could sit and talk blues and metal all night.
Just recently started taking lessons from Tommy and have never been so inspired and enthused to play the guitar. I was never interested in theory, scales and modes until Tommy broke it down for me in a way that was not intimidating but actually made sense. I am having a blast and look forward every week to see what is next. Also my lady wants to hear what I have learned because she actually enjoys listening to me now! On a personal note Tommy's range of musical knowlege is awesome! I just want to talk music with the guy, he is a human jukebox and sooo enthusiastic about all styles of music. I have never played piano and now it is one of my favorite things to do. Tommy has broadened my horizons to music and I feel has encouraged me to explore wider ranges in myself without self doubt. Thank you! Playing guitar is fun again and I thank Tommy for his patience and approach. I can be myself with him and enjoy his company. We have become great friends over the past couple months and every curveball I through to him he knocks out of the park. Tommy is an overall rockin good guy and the best instructor I will ever meet. Thanks bro!
Tommy is Awesome! Tommy is an amazing teacher, and a very talented musician. He makes learning fun. He explains difficult music theory very well making it possible to understand ,unlike the books and self learning programs wihich are so complicated. He is very nice and easy to talk to. Very professional ,knowledgable , friendly ,polite very helpful. Has a lot of patience. Will explain over and over again the subject untill you understand. I have the most wonderful experience taking guitar lessons from Tommy at "Off The Rails Guitar and Bass".Tommy and Kristie are very nice people and i am very very happy that i found this great school with a totally awesome and talented teacher like Tommy. I love my lessons! Learning something new and useful every time. Get my quastions answered. Looking forward to my lesson every week for mamy many more years to come. Thanks Tommy and Kristie at "Off The Rails Guitar and Bass"! P.s. lessons are Very Affordable! I was pleasantly surprised!
I love instrumental surf guitar music, the music that has evolved from the surf scene of the 60's. I had trouble learning the tunes myself because I could not find the tabs anywhere on the web and I did not understand how the notes related to each other and the chord progressions of the tunes. I found Tommy's music instruction ad on Craigslist, asked if he could help, and started lessons with him a few days later. Since I have been working with Tommy, I have learned, and am now able to play, the lead to several fine surf guitar tunes. Tommy writes out the tablature to the tunes for me as well as shows me how the lead notes fit into the corresponding scale patterns and work over the chord progressions. He challenges me to use my new knowledge of scales to deduce for myself some of the lead riffs in the tunes we work through. Working with Tommy has been valuable, stimulating, and lots of fun. I am on my way to becoming a guitar player.
I used to play several years ago, but got turned off from personal instruction because of a lame teacher. In the 2 years of playing that I did, I learned very little on my own. Several months ago, Tommy signed his daughter up for Martial Arts lessons at my studio, and the passion and love of music that radiated off of him inspired me to pick up the guitar again. Now, in the two months that I've been studying with him, Ive learned more than I ever did in the two years I previously played. Coming from someone who is a personal instructor himself, I can say his teaching is top of the line. He charges a very fair rate, but I would happily pay twice as much for his lessons. Every time I go in, we are always working on the music that I like. And taking that music and learning FROM it, which has proved to be very effective. If you EVER had a desire to learn the guitar, call him now. Alex K.
Good God I wish found this teacher when I first started guitar! Like many students, I received that one size fits all instruction that bores you to sleep. And you wonder why so many students give up music?!! That method blows!!!!! Tommy’s teaching style is unique; he tailors his lessons to your learning style!! Furthermore, he will teach specifically what interests you!! Imagine that, you get to learn the music you want to play!! Tommy has extensive music theory background and has applied his knowledge in countless bands playing original music. If you want a credible, patient, affordable, and inspiring music teacher, look no further. Should you prefer to learn ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ at $60 per hour, I encourage seeking lessons elsewhere. - Rich C. (Southwest Las Vegas)
The instructor, Tommy, is great, but their policies are very unprofessional. Upon signing the agreements, I was told that &quot;extenuating circumstances apply&quot; but this is only the case when it pertains to them. They had an illness in the family and had to cancel our appointment, which we were fine with. The following week, our children became ill and we had to do the same. Instead of allowing us to have the classes we paid for in advance, we were told we had to forfeit the monies and pay for another class. She refused to allow our children to be taught by Tommy unless we paid again for the class our kids were too sick to attend. THe teacher is amazing, but the organization is pathetic. Think twice before signing up with this company.