Mike Ellis Music Instruction

Mike Ellis Music Instruction

5.0 (5)
6 hires on Lessons.com
1 employee
16 years in business

About this pro

My teaching approach: Lessons are customized for each student. Beginners learn basic songs with easy chords to build coordination and timing, then students recommend songs THEY want to learn.

Advanced songs, ear training, and music theory then go with the teaching of the songs they enjoy. Whether it is guitar, piano, bass, or banjo, we will have fun and you will learn to play.

My influences are: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Joe Walsh, and MANY more. Here's an example of how I teach on guitar. Piano, bass, and banjo are similar. Take a look.

Guitar Techniques: Lead guitar, Rhythm guitar, Open tuning, Fingerstyle, Slide Guitar, Vocal Accompaniment, Performance, Improvisation, Jamming Skills, Reading Music, Music Theory, Scales and Exercises, Song Writing, Recording and Production, Guidance In Equipment Selection Your first guitar lesson with me might include the following: First I talk with the student about who they are and why they are taking lessons. I introduce myself and demonstrate, briefly, that I know how to play. I don't try to intimidate the student, ever. For a beginner, I explain about the parts of the guitar and how it works. Then I start with two simple chords used to play a simple song. For more advanced students, I ask them to play anything that they are most comfortable playing. I then ask some questions to see if they understand why they played what they just played. This gives me an understanding of what they need most. A guitar lesson with me might entail the following: Learning new songs and understanding why the chords or lead licks were used by the band. Playing songs is only part of the learning process. You need to understand why you play the chords and notes you play. In this way students learn faster and can even start writing songs on their own.

The qualities I look for in an ideal guitar student might include the following: A student who PLAYS between lessons. I never practiced. I played. I played poorly at first, but the more I played, the better it sounded. I encourage students to gather whatever they can from friends, the Internet, and learning by ear. I also encourage the student to use the same techniques (hammers, slides, etc,) that the original artists used. It's not just the notes the artist played, but how they played those notes. That makes the difference between sounding professional or not.

The thing I enjoy Most about teaching music is watching the "light bulb" go on as a student starts understanding or physically accomplishing something.

The second thing I enjoy about teaching is using the method that Terrill Gardner taught me to use, which shows how EASY learning to play an instrument and understanding music can really be. It's not really as complicated as you think. Heck, even Paul McCartney of the Beatles CAN'T READ MUSIC! :-)

Check out my website at www.ellismusiclessons.com or give me a call at 469-855-6865.

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Dallas, TX 75238
Phone verified

5 Reviews


  • Steven Reeves

    Mike is a genius and a very fun teacher.

  • Mark Merritt

    To Mike it's not just about learning to play "songs", but for you to grasp why music works, and how. He adjusts his teaching according to your ability and knowledge, with patience and humor. I'm a beginner and appreciate all I've learned in a short amount of time.

  • Mark Merritt

  • Josy Trigueros

    He makes everything simple and actually explains the reasons why things are so I'm getting a full understanding of everything, also he's very easy going which makes the experience of being taught by him very enjoyable!

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

First I explain how the lessons work, explaining the terms and payment schedule, missed and makeup lessons, etc. Then I get a feel for where the student stands as to their ability. Lessons are customized for each student, individually. For example, if a student is new to the instrument, I start with basics and simple songs. Exercises achieved by playing music, not exercises.

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

After playing by ear in bands for eleven years, I was taught how to teach by a teacher with thirty years experience. He took me from Rolling Stones all the way through "Modern Method for Guitar" Books I, II, and III from Berkley College in Boston. They are on a par with Juliard.

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

Half hour lessons once per week are $30.00 each, paid monthly. If the student misses a lesson, a makeup is given in its place as soon as is convenient. If I miss a lesson for any reason, illness, holiday, and such, the student's next month's tuition is discounted by the price of that one lesson.

How did you get started teaching?

I applied for a position as apprrentice guitar instructor at McCord Music Company in Dallas. Terrill Gardner took me under his wing and gave me two hour-long lessons each week for a few weeks, teaching me his method. After those few weeks, he gave me three six-year-old students. When I asked why such young students to start he replied, "Their hands are small, their fingers are very tender, and their attention span is about fifteen minutes. If you can teach them, you can teach anybody." He was right! :-)

What types of students have you worked with?

I have worked with all ages and types, including one student with Cerebral Palsy, a blind student, students in jazz band at their high school, adults, professional musicians who needed help, a student of the Sitar from India, a violin student, a sax student, and of course piano, bass, and banjo students.

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

Every time I see the "light bulb come on" I am inspired to take the student farther. It's why I teach. I had one student who brought a friend each time he came. The friend waited in the waiting area outside the teaching room. After a few weeks, he enrolled. I asked what made him join. He said, "I heard you guys laughing and having a good time every time I came. I had to give it a try."

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

Try to find a teacher, not just a player who decided to teach. There really is a big difference. I get into the anatomy of the armand hand and why things work and don't work. I get into the way you learn and the role the subconscious plays in learning. It's not just showing the students chords or tabs and saying, "Here, play this."

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

None. All questions are good questions, whether right off the cuff or deliberated for a time. Don't ever worry if your question is a good question or not. If I ask you a question, the BEST answer you can give me is "I don't know." You are paying me to tell you the answers.