Guitar Lessons For Students Becoming Musicians (and Beginners!)

Guitar Lessons For Students Becoming Musicians (and Beginners!)

5.0 (1)
1 employee
8 years in business

About this pro

Hi. I'm a guitar player/teacher in Oakland. I play funk, jazz, rock, afrobeat, and blues mostly, but am fluent in other areas. I've noticed that with a lot of folks there is a divide between playing notes and playing music. I was classically trained as a kid, and could hit all the notes, but it wasn't until I was in my 20's that I think I first played music. The change was magical. So how do we get from one to the other?

It's a personal and organic process, and that's how I treat lessons. I guess I'm looking for students that find themselves looking across that divide. That can be especially useful for people starting up bands or starting to play with others or in front of others. It has a lot to do with pulse/rhythm and listening, but there is also technique and music theory. I can work from both sides depending on where you are. I also work with beginnners!

In terms of my background, I have a biology Ph.D. from Berkeley but have also been playing music my whole life. I've performed across the bay, at Elbo Room, Boom Boom Room, New Parish, Starry Plough, and many others. I'm happy to share some tracks if you want to hear.

I'm located in Temescal, Oakland but can also travel nearby. Let me know if you have any questions. If you want to set up a lesson, definitely send me some info about your interests.

As we all know on some level, music is amazing! Some play, some listen, some dance, some observe, but whichever way, we know it's special. I find it so rewarding to help people bring more of that richness into their lives by experiencing music through themselves. Even in small ways its fun, and its the greatest hobby in the world that you can take with you forever.

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Oakland, CA 94609
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1 Review


  • Mark Francis

    The instructor is both a talented musician AND a good teacher, not always an easy find. Having come in with many years experience playing music, but very little formal teaching of any kind, I had some very specific points of interest and those have been addressed directly and in an approachable manner. So far I have enjoyed working with him.

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What is your typical process for working with a new student?

In the first lesson, we'll talk for a bit about what you're looking to get out of the lessons. There's quite a range of desires out there, so it's important to be on the same page. That might mean which genres you want to learn, if you want to play alone or with others, if you want to read music and learn music theory, or play more by ear .We'll also see where you are currently on the guitar, without ANY judgement. Total beginner is fine, and if you've had some experience I don't want to waste your time by teaching things you already know. From there we'll come up with a plan that suits your needs.

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

I started playing the trumpet at 7 years old, then picked up the guitar at 13, so music has been with me for most of my life. Trumpet was a classical training, and guitar was more rock/blues/jazz and improvisational. Played lead trumpet in jazz band and orchestra through college, where I was probably just a credit away from a music minor, and then switched more to guitar in my 20s. I've given lessons sporadically over the past 20 years and I really enjoy it, and I've also enjoyed teaching as a TA in grad schoool. Both of my parents were teachers, so I guess it's in my blood! I've led a number of groups as well.

Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.

My standard rate is $45 for 45 minutes, though I'm rarely watching the clock. I can give 30 min or 1 hour lessons, but I've found this duration to be a nice balance. I give an intro lesson for $25 where we can feel each other and see if it's  good fit to move forward.

How did you get started teaching?

Many, many moons ago! I suppose it was one of my first jobs as a teenager.

What types of students have you worked with?

As young as 12 and as old as 50. Mostly beginners and intermediates in a range of genres.

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

When I handed over my electric guitar to my 12 y/o student, cranked up the distortion for him, and played drums with him on a White Stripes tune. He had a big smile on his face. :-)

What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

Find someone you get along with, as well as respect. See if their teaching style matches your learning style, and don't feel compelled to continue if not. Make sure it's someone who is listening to you and what you want, not just doing their usual thing. I recently asked a student whether a previous techer had already taught him something, and he said, "He didn't really teach. He just wrote things down." Not good!

What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?

What do I want to do with the guitar? Play for myself? Play for my friends or family? Start a band? Play around a campfire?

What styles of music do I want to play?

Do I have the right guitar for what I want to do?

Do I want to read music? Am I interested in music theory?

Am I interested in playing chords, or single-note leads, or both? Do I want to learn to improvise?

How much effort am I willing to put into this?

I'm sure a bunch of others. Happy to have this conversation with you in real time, as well.

Lessons offered