Copyright Fred Hughes 2019

Study With Fred

How I Arrived at this Method of Instruction


I took some time off from teaching.  Eventually, my former students started asking me when I was going to resume teaching.  They wanted the opportunity to continue where we left off, but I still needed time to regroup and reimagine the entire process. 


I knew several things needed to change if I were to return to teaching.  These included:


  • Better use of technology
  • How best to effectively reach my students 


I felt that since all of my former students were on a more advanced level, the entire "scheduled lesson" for "X amount of time" was not working for me or my students.  Moreover, my schedule and travel were becoming a real challenge.  I wondered:


  • How could technology be utilized to replace regularly scheduled, timed lessons


As I worked through the technology issues a few things surfaced:


  • Every student knew how to record audio and video
  • Every student knew how to send audio and video


That led to thinking of the advantages to teaching using audio and video:


  • Most students recorded their lesson, so why not use video technology.
  • Students could move at their own pace without being confined to the regularly scheduled lesson model.
  • Students could prepare their lesson material, and when they were ready; give me their best rendition on video. No more, "well I played it great at home."


The advantages for me as the instructor were:


  • If I had video of my students prepared lesson material I could:
    • More intensely study the student's lesson preparation
    • Truly analyze; rather than hearing and immediately having to critique
    • Create a more focused course of action because I had the opportunity to review rather than on-the-spot correction


With all of this in mind, I created the following method which I believe will be quite effective in improving your skills and my effectiveness as an instructor.


The First Step

  • Send an e-mail to letting me know that you are interested in studying with me.  In the e-mail let me know the following:
    • What's your background
    • How long have you been studying
    • Who have you studied with
    • What you've worked on and what you're currently working on
    • Links to performances or attach audio/video of your playing
  • Based on your response and performance samples, I will reply with 3 things I would like you to prepare.
  • When your 3 prepared selections are ready - record them and send to me via Dropbox. My Dropbox address is:
  • I will reply with a written critique of what I think you need to work on as well as video of what I saw and heard with examples of what you can do to improve.  Here's an example video:

Everything to this point will have been at no cost to you.  If you are not satisfied with my response and feel that studying with me would not be a good fit; no problem.  If you like the direction I am taking you in, read further for the next phase.

Lessons Begin


If you agree with my critique and recommended direction of study, there will be a Begin Studying button at the end of my e-mail that you will click and it will take you to a PayPal page.  On the PayPal page will be a $50 charge for getting the detailed assignment I had described in the video and e-mail.  Once I receive your payment, I will send the detailed assignment via e-mail which will include video detailing what I would like you to do.  Here's an example video:

Continued Study 


Just like the first exchange, after you have prepared the assignment you paid for; record and send it via Dropbox.  I will again send my critique and recommended direction of study.  If you agree and want another lesson, click the Next Lesson button and you will be connected to the PayPal page to pay for the next lesson. Once I receive your payment, I will send the detailed next assignment via e-mail and video.


If at any time you feel that you have received all that I can offer, don't click the Next Lesson button and that's it. 



Here's what you will need:

  • An e-mail account
  • A way to view and listen to video (mp4 format)
    • PC: Windows Media Player
    • Mac: QuickTime
  • A device to record video/audio (mp4 format)
    • Cellphone
    • iPad
    • Tablet
    • Webcam
    • Note: I can assist you with this, if necessary 
  • A Dropbox account (it's free -

The Fine Print 


Here are additional benefits to this method that you have available to you:


  • E-mail communication
    • I'm available 24/7 via e-mail. Have a question, go for it.  Need clarification, ask away.
  • Schedule a video call with me if you need further clarification

The Finer Print 


My schedule is a hectic one and as such:


  • I will endeavor to respond to you as quickly as possible. 
  • If I am tied up with another project, I will let you know when to expect a response from me.  
  • Not all instructor/student relationships are a good match and if I deem a situation not workable, I will let you know why I am unavailable.