Cain's Music

Cain's Music

5.0 (3)
1 hire on
1 employee
2 years in business

About this pro

Hi, my name is Ian Cain and I’ve been studying music for 35 years. I’d say studying guitar but really it’s been so much more than just that. It’s been a lifelong passion of listening to, watching, and learning the history of so many genres of great music. From age 8 when my father brought home a much oversized for my little hands Fender 12 string acoustic I knew there was something incredible at my fingertips and that I’d found a lifelong companion. In teaching what I’ve learned over the years I hope to pass that same gift on to others.

I grew up in Pittsburgh and received formal training in rock and jazz while also being granted a scholarship for classical guitar from Mercyhurst College. In 2003 I moved to the Pacific Northwest performing both as a solo artist and in a few local bands before moving back home in 2017. I’ve learned a great deal over the years both from formal instruction and through the other musicians I’ve met and played with. I’ve experienced the teaching methods that work and promote growth and I’ve also witnessed the methods that suck the enjoyment out of playing guitar leaving students confused, bored, and without clear direction. There’s no one size fits all approach to learning to play music. Each student learns and thrives in different ways and a teaching method needs to be adaptable to accommodate that.        -Stylistically I lean towards classic, indie, punk, garage, & yacht rock, classic & indie folk, 70’s-80’s metal, and classic jazz.

With that in mind my goal here is to make learning guitar fun with a structure that has room for flexibility and tailored to fit each students’ individual goals. Yes, we will learn music fundamentals and theory along the way but it will be presented in a context that is enjoyable and directly related to the songs and styles you want to learn! Whether young or old, just starting out or you’ve been playing awhile but you’re looking for a new approach don’t hesitate to contact me so we can talk about your goals and how I can help you get there.

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Pittsburgh, PA 15221
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3 Reviews


  • Sharie Ganchua

    I liked that during our first meeting Ian asked me about my background in music, what my goals are in learning how to play the guitar, how I like the lessons to be structured and what songs I would like to play. I've had music lessons before and my teacher would always set everything up for me and tell me what books to buy and doesn't even bother to ask why I wanted to learn how to play that instrument in the 1st place. Ian made learning guitar fun by picking songs that I wanted to learn which makes me want to practice more. If I was having trouble playing a certain chord or following a rhythm/timing, he would suggest alternative ways to play/think about it. He is very knowledgeable, patient, kind, understanding and encouraging. Honestly, one of the best teachers I've had!

  • Mimi Applebaum

    The instructor (Ian Cain) is incredibly patient and knowledgeable. I was nervous about whether I would be able to learn from him since I've tried on my own and didn't do well at all (books, YouTube, etc.) but soon realized that having a live person show me how to adjust what I thought would be horribly wrong (...and in truth was just a little off) made learning a much less daunting idea. I'm really impressed by how much he knows. He had answers for my questions and made note of what I was interested in learning. I'd recommend him to anyone that has always wanted to play guitar but has been to nervous to start.

  • Frank Hieber

    Ian is patient and even tempered. He is a very talented musician.

Photos & Videos


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

Note: I am now making a transition to offering online lessons in addition to traditional face to face sessions to provide more flexibility with people's time and needs.

The first thing I want to know from every new student I meet is what their personal goals are for learning the guitar. What music do you listen to? What are you're expectations from taking lessons? How do you learn best? I want students to feel comfortable and enjoy their lessons. I work for you after all. After learning about my student I then work on a lesson plan approach where we can integrate basic music fundamentals and fretboard theory into the things they actually want to learn and realize the real world application to these new concepts. 

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

I have over 36 years of experience performing, playing, teaching, and continued education. I've had formal training in rock & jazz and I was granted a scholarship to Mercyhurst College for Classical in 1993. I am also a registered tutor with the London College of Music.

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

Individual lesson rates are very affordable at $25/hr which is competitive for the Pittsburgh market. 

How did you get started teaching?

I started teaching from a very young age and quite inadvertently. By playing for friends, in school bands, and later as a working musician people have asked if I could show them how to play. I've always been more than happy to share the knowledge I have whatever their level. I truly and honestly love watching people learn and progress. 

What types of students have you worked with?

I've worked with people of varying ages and abilities. From children to adults, beginners to experienced players who've tried but stalled out either with their past teachers or trying to plug away on their own using books or websites.

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

My band very recently had the opportunity to open for nationally touring indie music darlings The Sea The Sea at Pittsburgh's Club Cafe and we were exceptionally well recieved!

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

Make sure you find the right fit for you. You're teacher should be interested in your personal path, not in teaching you a rigid structure that they want to force feed you. It's also as much a personal relationship as it is a business relationship so be sure you find someone you actually enjoy spending an hour of your week with. Learning an instrument should be fun and educational.