Thomas Millioto not only takes music seriously- he takes teaching seriously. He is able to individualize his teaching style to fit each student’s particular needs. He takes the whole student into account- strengths, weaknesses, and even cognitive style.
Our son began taking lessons from Tom in November 2003. He was nine years old, and it was the first time he had a lesson of any kind. We didn’t expect much. Our son is autistic and has always been a challenge to teach. He had obvious musical talent, but it did not show up in his two years of chorus. He often thought that he was singing when he wasn’t.
Our son requires special consideration in teaching. He learns most easily from a top-down approach and then re-approaching the information bottom-up. He also tends to fail to understand what a person is talking about if they skip logical steps. Tom immediately understood how to translate this into a wonderfully methodical approach to teaching our son.
If left to his own to pick out music, our son would most likely end up with a very limited repertoire and a highly circumscribed area of expertise. I asked Tom to create lessons and choose music with the goal of making our son into a well-rounded musician. Our son has learned how to read music, play chords and notes, to improvise – all within months of his first lesson. It is a pleasure to hear him play, and often his brothers gravitate toward him when he’s practicing.
Our son is not only progressing at an extremely rapid pace- he is having fun. His lessons are one of the highlights of his week. His self-discipline has improved, and he enjoys practicing each day.
Tom has gone beyond teaching for our son. He is like that doctor who does house calls. He always is available for questions- and has helped us with the impossible, like picking out a guitar, and taking the time to explain guitar care and options. He has done an amazing job with our son and has made it so that the only effort we need to make is to take him to his lesson.
I am thankful that we have Tom for guitar lessons. The gains that our son has made, and Tom’s mentoring have made a great difference in other areas of our son’s life. It is unusual to have a teacher who truly knows how to teach.
June Shapiro, Ph.D.