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El Cerrito, CA Guitar Lessons

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What I love about being a guitarist in El Cerrito are the parties, of course!

By Monique L.-El Cerrito Guitar Teacher

Last weekend, I received a text inviting me to an impromptu gathering that would be that very night to play some good music before a friend was to embark on an expedition to the rainforests of Central America. For gatherings at Cam’s house, I’ll clear my Friday night schedule in one hot second. The reason I love meeting up with the crew of folks who turn-out for his often last-minute and spontaneous events is what draws me to all parties: the promise of playing music with good people.

I rode my bike the ten minutes it takes to get across town to my friend’s house, feeling the cool evening air swirl across my face and enjoying the familiar bump of my guitar against my back. As friends welcomed me across the threshold of Cam’s house, I could already hear the soft sound of guitar strings rolling into his kitchen from the backyard. I felt the familiar butterflies in my stomach at the thought of sharing some of my new homemade songs with these cool people.

Danny led me through the sliding glass doors and into the backyard where a small bonfire glowed warmly in the center of a crowd. “Hey, Monique, check out my new backpacking guitar,” Cam called to me, his face happy and aglow, as he perched on a simple stool cradling his instrument.

“Wow, that is gorgeous,” I smiled to him as his fingers begin dancing along the guitar strings. Closing his eyes in concentration, his smoky and resonant voice slowly uncurled from his lips, and he began to sing. I love the way songs comes out as often as conversation when musicians and friends gather together. As Cam’s voice grew stronger, Little D picked up his ukulele and Leslie grabbed her violin. Danny offered me some of the tasty food they had grilled earlier, but all that mattered to me was diving into that song with my friends. Even people I hadn’t met yet, nodded to me and smiled as I settled onto a wooden chair pulled up near the fire and opened my dark brown guitar case. With my round, classical guitar, I picked out a soft bass line, weaving a new rhythm into the song, helping it to spring to life.

When Cam’s song faded, I swooped in with a favorite Cat Power song of mine. Women’s voices around the fire took up the chorus and Shawn’s lead guitar started to ice skate in quick fast strokes all along the neck of his slide guitar. When the sweet pull of violin strings caught my attention, I smiled as we created a song. As a guitar teacher in El Cerrito, these are the moments that I love. I also love living in El Cerrito as a guitarist and playing music with the amazing musicians who live in my neighborhood, as well as teaching guitar lessons.

About Marc D.

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Petaluma, CA

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Scales, technique, tunes, improvisation techniques,finger picking,flat picking

About Marc
I've been playing music since I was 14 years old. I studied classical guitar at State University in Buffalo, NY. and also studied guitar at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. I love just about every style of music. I mostly play Celtic, Bluegrass, American traditional, jazz, and classical. I also love to improvise.
My goal is to get my students results so they feel that they are really making progress. I do this by incorporating practice exercises, ear training and some music theory.
Music theory and reading music can be intimidating for beginning students. So I like to get you playing first and add theory a little at a time so you can better understand it through experience and it makes learning more fun.

*** Studio Equipment ***
The studio has a piano, acoustic guitars,mandolins and other instruments.Students receive sh
eet music and written materials.

*** Travel Equipment ***
Sheet music and other written materials.

*** Specialties ***
I play a lot of Irish fiddle tunes and also know a lot of American Folk styles,popular music and some jazz. I play some classical pieces on the mandolin and some bluegrass. I consider improvisation one of my strengths.
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Reviews
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Avery B. January 26, 2016
· Violin · In studio
It was really good information and I had a lot of fun.
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Annie B. March 3, 2015
· Fiddle · In studio
I have been taking fiddle/violin lessons from Marc for a few months now, and it has been a great experience. He is very patient and keeps things fun by helping me learn pieces that I am interested in learning to play. I would highly recommend him for any instrument you are wanting to learn.
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David S. February 19, 2015
· Mandolin · In studio
I have been playing the mandolin for about four years now and have had several different teachers, of which Marc is by far the best one I have had. I wish I had started with him. Marc is very patient and works with you to bring out your best effort. He challenges me with interesting music to play, helps me to understand the piece and shows me different ways to finger the notes. When I started with Marc two months ago I was playing hornpipes and dances and now I've moved up to Bach and Vivaldi. Marc is also an accomplished instrument maker.
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Marc D.

Marc D.

Petaluma, CA 94954
(7)
starting at
$39 / 30-min

About Mark B.

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213893_265082_29530
Castro Valley, CA
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I teach all levels of guitar lessons, from beginner to advanced professional...in all styles, except classical/flamenco.

About Mark
I have played on tour with several professional bands, playing rock, pop, blues, African, metal, and country. I now perform live in various bands and record original music as often as possible. My music has gotten airplay in many countries.

I started playing guitar at age 9, and recorded 2 singles in the LA area by age 14. I was a music major throughout High School and College. I also learned a lot by educating myself at the Brand Library in the Los Angeles Area, which specializes in the arts. I specialized in advanced music theory and improvisational techniques.

I have enjoyed teaching music lessons since 1978.

I custom tailor a lesson plan to fit your individual needs and goals! I can teach you songs you'd like to learn instantly when I hear them on your iPod, mobile phone, cassette or CD that you bring in. I ca
n explain musical theory and concepts many different ways to make sure you understand them. I am very friendly and patient.

Sometimes I might inject humor into the learning process to make it an enjoyable learning experience, and to help you remember the important things.
I love the satisfaction of seeing my students grow musically proficient and and seeing the JOY that it brings them. Many of my students have gone on to become professional. I am well-versed and well-equipped to teach many styles: Rock (including all sub-genres...Tribal Ambient Doom neo Punk, etc), Pop, Blues, Jazz, Alternative, Country, R& B, New Age, Ambient, Electronic, Metal (and a few plastics and wood as well).

*** Lesson Details ***
I will develop a personal lesson plan for each individual student. During your lessons, I might cover topics ranging from learning how to play, starting from the basics (if you are a beginner), to choosing music that will inspire you on your level, to improving your technique, ear-training, music reading (if that's what you'd like), reading and understanding tabs (if that's what you'd like), knowing what it is that makes certain chords and notes sound good together for writing your own music, as well as guitar maintenance and adjustments, getting a good tone, amplifier settings, effect pedals (settings & placing them in the most effective order), recording tips, and where to get a decent pizza.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Living Room or Studio, both very comfortable. Amplifiers, guitars, effects pedals, bass, ukulele, balalaika, drum set, PA system and recording equipment.

*** Travel Equipment ***
I provide guitar, bass, or ukulele and amplifier when necessary, teaching tools. The student provides their guitar and paperwork I give them.

*** Specialties ***
Teach note reading using Alfred's New Guitar course. Ear Training, Genres: Rock, Pop, Blues, Jazz, Alternative, Punk, Metal, Folk, Country, Hip Hop, Funk, R& B, New Age, Ambient.

I currently have 5 albums out under my name. My music is on a major new age compilation, and has been played on the radio in several countries, and several internet radio programs. I have played on other people's albums...some of which get major radio airplay in Europe.
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Reviews
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Paul M. October 16, 2016
· Bass Guitar · In studio
Hanging out like old times and had a Great lesson. Thanks Mark
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Michael P. July 6, 2016
· Guitar · In studio
Mark was an excellent teacher, made me very comfortable. We talk about music and set some goal,he keeps a chart to know what his teaching each student and he write it all out on paper and he writes that you can understand his writing .so very happy. Mike
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Scott June 8, 2016
· Acoustic Guitar · In home
First lesson. Mark really dialed in my skill level and completely exceeded my expectations in terms of material, lesson plan, genre etc. Even got to play one of his ridiculously sweet tele's.
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Mark B.

Mark B.

Castro Valley, CA 94546
(15)
starting at
$40 / 30-min

About Rhonda S.

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Hayward, CA

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I've been teaching guitar to students of all experience levels and ages for 20 years. I structure lessons so students learn what they want to learn, while also building a strong foundation of basic musicianship. I typically use Hal Leonard Guitar Method for those students who want to learn to read music.

About Rhonda
I have always had a love for music. From all the music trivia games my family won't play with me, to my large collection of records, cassettes, and CDs - I am hooked!

I made my solo performance debut at age 7 by singing "It's A Small World" acapella in a school talent show. At age 9 I started taking clarinet lessons where I learned musicianship and how to read music. Throughout my school years I also sang in choir, played tenor saxophone in the school jazz band, and hoofed it in marching band.

During my first year in college I took a beginning guitar class for fun and I never looked back! I studied classical guitar for 3 years and piano for 2 years. I ultimately received a Minor in Music from California State University, Hayward in 1990.

I have been playing guitar for 27 years. I have played professionally in the San Franc
isco Bay Area in various rock, country, and blues bands as well as playing solo acoustic performances at local coffee houses.

I have been teaching private guitar lessons for 20 years and piano for 10.I like to keep learning fun! I am a very patient, compassionate teacher who will come up with creative ways to explain/demonstrate something new.

*** Lesson Details ***
Music is the most fun activity that people of all ages can enjoy. And learning how to play music should be fun too! When students inquire about taking lessons from me I always ask, "What do you want to learn?" I try to keep students interested by showing them things they want to learn. I also believe in teaching the basics. Whether you want to take piano or guitar lessons I believe you should learn basic musicianship which includes learning to read simple notes and where those notes are on your instrument, rhythm concepts, and tempo. It's easier than you think! The more you know the more you can teach yourself later on, and the more you can collaborate with other musicians.

After 3 or 6 months of taking lessons with me, students will be able to read basic music notation. They will be able to play songs either by their choosing or mine, they will have self-confidence to play songs in front of an audience/friends, and they will have the knowledge to figure out how to play songs on their own.

*** Specialties ***
I studied classical guitar at Cal State Hayward and have taught different finger picking styles as well as genres such as pop and country.
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Reviews
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Kathleen June 2, 2017
· Piano · In home
I have great experience w/ Rhonda on my first day to be with her. She's attentive to her students needs & concerns. Thanks Rhonda!
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Sia K. March 22, 2017
· Piano · In studio
She is very patient with students, organized, reviews the materials and most important makes sure that the students understands. She is fun living and a very sweet person.
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Kylie February 20, 2017
· Piano · In studio
Very patient, skilled, and knowledgeable. Thanks!
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Rhonda S.

Rhonda S.

Hayward, CA 94541
(38)
starting at
$25 / 30-min

About Rory C.

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San Francisco, CA

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Throughout the last 10 years I have toured internationally and across the US, recorded and collaborated on dozens of musical projects around CA, and taught hundreds of private music lessons.

I teach music as a language with three main components; melody, harmony and rhythm. Lessons emphasize ear training and technique, pushing students to develop a personal relationship to their instrument and understand how to best utilize it's strengths, either on its own or in a group setting.

About Rory
Rory is a touring guitarist and songwriter with Bay Area based Americana trio Quiles & Cloud, signed to Compass Records Group; a Nashville based roots music label with over 25 years in the industry.

With nearly 2 decades performance experience and over 12 years teaching private lessons, Rory provides musical instruction tailored to individual skill sets and goals.

From beginners to intermediate and advanced students, lessons cover a wide range of topics including - ear training, left and right hand technique for both flat-picking and finger style playing, basic to more advanced music theory and ear-training, sight reading, rhythm and lead playing, and more.

Have any other questions, feel free to ask!
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Rory C.

Rory C.

San Francisco, CA 94131
starting at
$35 / 30-min

About Peter D.

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Oakland, CA
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From beginner, to rock, jazz, and pop... I teach all the basics, as well as rhythm strum patterns, chord progressions, lead lines, scales, and also learning how to play songs - and don't forget improvisation!

About Peter
Whether piano, voice, songwriting/composition, music theory or music production, I bring all that I have learned and developed as a musician to the lesson in the interest of the student’s growth.

Whether we work in classical, jazz, or pop, We focus on what will directly fit your individual goals. We can cover the full spectrum of technique, theory, ear training, sight-reading, and performance. What emerges over time is tailor-made program suited to your needs and goals.

A little bit about my background: I have studied with over 12 music professors, both in the classroom and individually for 6 years at Saddleback Community College in Orange County. I’ve studied a number of styles while composing for and performing in various small ensembles, including:  world music, classical, pop, jazz, and musical theatre. I continue teach, produ
ce and compose music for myself and other artists as well.

I look forward to getting to know you!
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Reviews
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Sam October 21, 2015
· Singing · Online
I have always known I have had some kind of voice. I started doing lessons with Peter for not only vocals but also guitar. He has helped me explore the different ranges my voice can actually hit and how to add more emotion into a song. In one lesson just today, he made a song that i perfomed which sounded okay in the beginning of the lesson sound 10x better and to the very best of my ability by the end of the lesson. Every lesson is alot of help! He is great at understanding how to work with people whether it is vocally or trying to learn to play guitar - he uses great techniques for understanding and will work at the perfect pace appropriate for the student. He makes learning guitar and singing very fun. Highly reccomended!
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Charles October 19, 2015
· Piano · Online
I am Peter's father, so obviously this review will be a little biased. And, I have never taken a lesson from Peter, as I am not a musician and do not play an instrument. BUT, I can say this: Peter is hard-working, conscientious, and devoted to his profession. He is passionate about music and about teaching, and genuinely cares about each student. AND, he knows how to make learning fun! (Evidently he inherited that trait from his mom, who teaches English and Spanish). So, hire Peter! He's the best!
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Louise Comfort September 29, 2015
· Piano · In home
I found Peter to be very intelligent and very knowledgeable. Peter was great in not only classical styles of playing but also jazz which really kept me engaged! I especially liked the way he taught music theory alongside some of the standard learning points like scales and such. Overall I had a delightful experience with this teacher. If Peter ever moves back to my area I would love to take lessons with him again!
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Peter D.

Peter D.

Oakland, CA 94609
(19)
starting at
$40 / 30-min
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About John T.

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Novato, CA

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i tailor the lessons to your skill level.

About John
My name is John, and I have been a guitar teacher here in Marin County, Ca since 1990. Before that I taught guitar and played gigs in the Kansas City area since 1974. I taught at Mt Tam School in Mill Valley for 10 years 1999 to 2009, and I taught part time at Branson HS in Ross Ca from 2006 to 2017. I am a patient, fun teacher and I teach everyone from beginner to semi pro. I can teach you to read, and to improvise over songs, and my specialty is chord, scale relationships, and chord building. I travel to you if you live in Marin or southern Sonoma County. My fees are reasonable and are figured on distance from me to you. I also teach over the internet which I have done with numerous students over the years.
I'd like to say a few words about my early lessons with you. If you are a beginner, we will start by becoming comfortable with th
e guitar, and explaining how it works, i.e. how to hold the guitar, how to hold the pick, some strumming tips, and explaining a bit about how the musical alphabet works, and any questions you have will be answered. If you've played before I will ask you some questions about what direction you want to take, and if you can, I will hear you play. If you are shy don't worry about that, you won't need to play for me. We will learn to find all notes on the guitar neck quickly, and will make sure your technique is proper. If you desire to learn to read music, I will also introduce that subject to you. Some other early lesson topics will include some picking exercises, and technique related issues. The lessons are geared for you, so you can let me know what you want to work on. Thank you and looking forward to our first lesson.
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SC August 12, 2017
· Guitar · In home
John is a great guitar teacher. He is friendly, relaxed and easy-going. John provides just the right amount of music theory. He keeps things moving during the lessons so there is time to cover and practice a concept. He is patient and there is zero pressure. John is conscientious and reliable about scheduling.
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Marc July 17, 2017
· Guitar · In home
Excellent Instructor with loads of information from the first lesson!
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Sophie March 23, 2017
· Guitar · In studio
I've been working with John for a while and have learned so much! We've been working on everything from acoustic guitar to electric bass, and I couldn't ask for a better instructor. Not only is John a great teacher, he's a fun person to be around!
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John T.

John T.

Novato, CA 94947
(11)
starting at
$60 / 60-min

About Nick M.

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San Francisco, CA

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Proficient in all styles of guitar music and strong ability to sightread.

About Nick
Nick is a musician born and raised in Michigan with a degree in guitar performance. He has over five years of professional music experience as a music educator, performer, and composer/arranger. Nick’s teaching career has included private lessons in Central Michigan, guitar classes in suburban Chicago, tutoring at Grand Rapids Community College, classes in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and private lessons in San Francisco. Nick’s performing career has included performances in the Mid-America Guitar Ensemble Festival in 2014, and as a presenter and performer at Eastern Michigan University’s Undergraduate Symposium in 2015. He has also been an avid performer in pit orchestras for musical theatre productions such as "The Last Five Years", "Little Shop of Horrors", and "Hairspray". Nick received his Bachelor's Degree in Guitar Performance from Eastern
Michigan University in 2016.
...
Reviews
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anita wadia March 24, 2017
· Piano ·
Very friendly, kind and knowledgeable teacher
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Kevin Chuang March 10, 2017
· Acoustic Guitar ·
Nick is an excellent instructor. He's great about teaching the fundamentals of finding chords and strumming patterns so that I'm really feeling like I'm learning how to play the right way. Also great about adapting his teaching to my type of music, so I'm learning to play a lot of the songs I enjoy. Also a really friendly and easy-to-work with guy. Highly recommend Nick if you're looking to learn guitar!
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Evan Waddell February 23, 2017
· Guitar ·
Nick is very knowledgeable in music theory and does a great job in explaining the details behind certain chord progressions. Very easy and flexible to work lessons into your schedule.
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Nick M.

Nick M.

San Francisco, CA 94109
(5)
starting at
$35 / 30-min

About Brian M.

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Oakland, CA

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I have over 10 years of experience teaching in schools, music stores, and privately. My lessons are tailored to fit you because everyone has different goals, tastes in music, and different ways of learning. I am capable of teaching a wide range of subjects including sight reading, improvisation, composing, music theory, and many others. Whether you want to be a rock god or just play songs around a campfire, I can help.

About Brian
I have over 10 years of experience teaching in schools, music stores, and privately. My lesson plans are tailored to each student so you can expect to see improvement week to week.

My experience stretches a wide range of styles including rock, jazz, folk, blues, pop, soul, funk, country, and hip-hop to name a few. I have performed with several Grammy Award winning artists as well as Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, and am currently working on several bands and projects.

I think the world would be a better place if everyone could play music. I can work with you on songwriting and composing, improvisation, music theory, reading charts, and technical skills among other things. I look forward to meeting you and helping you become a better musician!
...
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Melody August 6, 2017
· Guitar · In home
Brian is so knowledgeable about music theory, and has been teaching for some time, and knows a lot of great mental tips to help me as a student learn things quickly. After only 2 lessons I could already play a whole song through! I would definitely recommend Brian as an instructor.
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Brian M.

Brian M.

Oakland, CA 94612
(1)
starting at
$42 / 30-min

About Michael F.

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San Francisco, CA
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Private instruction includes everything from basic chording to advanced theory and technique, with a focus on the mechanics of the instrument. Topics covered include rhythm and technique studies, chord and scale theory, chord progressions, songwriting, musicality and performance, and improvisation. These topics are studied at a rate commensurate with the studentʼs ability.

About Michael
My name is Mike, and I have been teaching the guitar for over 20 years. I have helped hundreds of musicians develop their skills. As a performer, I have played in many bands, and shared the stage with performers such as Imagine Dragons, Train, Blues Traveler, Camper Van Beethoven, and countless others. In addition to teaching music and rock ensemble to the students at the University of San Francisco, I maintain an active schedule of teaching, performing and recording. My most memorable musical experience was playing "Imagine" on my guitar for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in 2003.

My teaching philosophy is that if you understand the instrument, you can play any style of music you choose. The more you dedicate yourself to learning the fretboard, the more freely you can express yourself musically.

Private instruction includes eve
rything from basic chording to advanced theory and technique, with a focus on the mechanics of the instrument. Topics covered include rhythm and technique studies, chord and scale theory, chord progressions, songwriting, musicality and performance, and improvisation. These topics are studied at a rate commensurate with the studentʼs ability.
...
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Kevin Whalen December 19, 2016
· Guitar ·
Mike is an excellent guitar teacher with a well thought out and easy to approach plan for new players. His passion, depth of knowledge, and talent are plain to see. He combines that with a real aptitude for teaching.
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Ranah Edelin November 3, 2016
· Guitar ·
Mike is great! Friendly, knowledgeable, positive, takes good notes that are helpful to refer back to later, and seems to adjust to whatever level student you are.
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Paul Gilliham September 8, 2016
· Guitar ·
What a find Mike has been. Friendly, fun, knowledgeable, Mike is a great teacher. I have been playing decades and Mike is helping teach me a boat load of new things, even in the first few lessons. I can't wait till the next one.
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Michael F.

Michael F.

San Francisco, CA 94117
(16)
starting at
$67 / 30-min

About Lauren S.

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San Francisco, CA
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Teaching music is one of Lauren's passions in life and she wholeheartedly believes that music can change lives for the better. Her goal and emphasis in teaching is to help students enjoy their music experience, learning music theory, technique, home recording, songwriting and playing the music they love.

About Lauren
Lauren Sum teaches all ages from beginner to intermediate level. Teaching music is one of Lauren's passions in life and she wholeheartedly believes that music can change lives for the better. Her goal and emphasis in teaching is to help students enjoy their music experience, learning music theory, technique, home recording, songwriting and playing the music they love.

Lauren is a singer/songwriter and music has always been her inspiration and heartbeat. At the age of three, she started playing piano. She then learned to sing, play the violin, guitar and ukulele. She found her voice by singing in several choirs, one of which includes ten years with the International Children's Choir. Her experience also consists of being a school show choir pianist, school orchestra violinist, busking guitarist in downtown Salt Lake City, recording in mu
sic studios and performing at various events.
...
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Lauren S.

Lauren S.

San Francisco, CA 94116
starting at
$50 / 30-min

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