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Pleasant Hill, CA Songwriting Lessons

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Popular Songwriting Teachers near Pleasant Hill, CA

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About Amber S.

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Vallejo, CA

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Award nominated singer-songwriter (wife and mom) with over 20 years experience available to teach eager students of all experience levels and ages! I structure my lessons so students learn what they want to learn, while also building a strong foundation of skills, focusing on self-expression and technique. I specialize in pop, folk, rock, blues and country styles. Let's have fun making music!

About Amber
I have been a performing singer-songwriter/graphic artist for 15+ years have written roughly 200 original songs, released several CDs and performed hundreds of shows. Music has been an important part of my life and has given me enormous amounts of joy and growth as an individual. Both of my parents are musicians and I was fortunate to have their support and guidance in addition to formal and informal training from various musicians over the years but mostly, I developed my style of playing from many hours of playing and experimenting. I am excited to have the opportunity to teach others the tools needed to start their own journey in music.

*** Lesson Details ***
I am both easy going and goal oriented. I want my students to get the most out of their lessons and enjoy every minute.

I provide the syllabus & handouts needed initially
but will may assign a book after the first few lessons. Students should have an empty three-ring binder handy or iPad in addition to owning their own guitar or piano/keyboard. I recommend supporting local music stores before going to the big chains. I can help with choosing an instrument if needed.

Within 6 months*, the student should know and be able to play major and minor chords (instruments only), understand basic music notation, time signatures, and be able to follow basic sheet music. Students are encouraged to name songs that they wish to learn to keep them excited and interested in learning.

Emphasis will be on accuracy, performance techniques and having fun!

* results will vary with each student.

*** Travel Equipment ***
Each student needs a guitar or piano/keyboard and a 3 ring binder.

*** Specialties ***
Guitar, Piano, Songwriting: Folk, Rock, Blues & Country.
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Reviews
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JannessaB April 25, 2012
· ·
Great Teacher

Amber was great with my son. She was very pleasant, professional and on time. Very good teacher!
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Amber S.

Amber S.

Vallejo, CA 94589
(1)
starting at
$30 / 30-min

About Steven B.

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Alameda, CA

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I will teach you the basic concepts of how to compose songs and make those musical ideas of yours a reality. Through music theory techniques, progression theory, lyric concepts and ear training, we'll take that song that's "in your head" and make it into a reality you'll be proud of!

About Steven
Have you always wanted to learn how to play the piano, guitar or electric bass? Or maybe you've just felt like brushing up your musical knowledge and playing skills? Now’s your chance to fulfill those dreams!

About Me: San Francisco Bay area pianist/guitarist/bassist; I've been playing music for over 50 years. I'm classically trained with a solid foundation and knowledge of music theory, and have over 40 years experience teaching, recording and performing. I have done session work and/or performed with members of Journey, Santana, Jackson Browne, Eddie Money, The Doobie Brothers and Greg Allman to name a few, and am currently teaching piano, theory and bass to Mike Dirnt, the bassist for Green Day. Let me take my education and experience and pass them on to you!

My main goal as a music instructor is to pass along my love and kno
wledge of playing music to my students, always vigilant for sharing shortcuts that will help the student to achieve their lesson goals faster. Some teachers teach only out of books. I am not such a teacher. Books solve the problem of learning music in generalizations and by their very nature, cannot take into consideration personal issues a student will encounter.

Most students are able to learn enough of the necessary mechanics at the first lesson to actually play something before they leave that lesson. This is important because they realize that playing music IS possible. I always enjoy the look on their face when they realize they have actually “played” their instrument at their first lesson.

I am not the sort of teacher who yells and screams if the student comes in unprepared. I realize that people come to me for a variety of reasons and I work with them with whatever they bring in. I am patient and if a student is not understanding a certain aspect, I bring into play alternate approaches. Not everyone assimilates information in the same way. Learning music should be an enjoyable adventure for the student and I venture to say that my students enjoy coming to their lessons. We have fun, and we learn.

My current rates are $40 per half hour, $60 per 45 minutes and $80 per hour, and believe me... you will get your money's worth! Also I should note that due to my current students, plus teaching at a private school in Sausalito and recording sessions, my time constraints only allow me to teach lessons out of my home studio in Alameda. Hopefully this will work for you as well!
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Reviews
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Eric H. June 10, 2017
· Piano · In studio
Steve is a rare find - an accomplished musician, a great teacher, and a genuinely nice guy. My 10 year old and I have been taking lessons with him for the past year, and our progress/improvement has been significant and noticeable. Particularly with my son, Steve is patient, supportive, and very encouraging, and he teaches at just the right level. He always makes sure that we cover music theory along with learning our favorite songs in order to get the most out of our training. My enjoyment of piano has increased significantly since starting lessons with Steve, and each time we leave a lesson he says: "Have fun with it!" I highly recommend Steve as a teacher.
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Billy May 17, 2016
· Piano · In studio
wow amazing!
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Tim M. February 22, 2016
· Piano · In studio
Great teacher and great time taking the lessons! I wish we could take more lessons with him but we've recently moved out of the area. Thanks for everything Steven!
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Steven B.

Steven B.

Alameda, CA 94501
(17)
starting at
$40 / 30-min

About Jim T.

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Fairfax, CA
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I teach how to develop chord progressions from basic triads to advanced jazz chords. Lyric writing, phrasing, arranging, and basic music theory are also covered. Melody and rhythm and syncopation are studied to develop songwriting skills and performance and recording are also included.

About Jim
My career in music began at an early age (four!) with classical piano lessons until the age of thirteen. After expanding my musical horizons in high school listening to jazz, blues and rock I attended Cabrillo College in Aptos, CA where I studied jazz & music theory with renowned jazz educator Ray Brown and jazz piano with Paul Nagle who has worked with Grammy award winning singer Bobby McFerrin among many others.
I have been performing solo and in groups since the Eighties in a variety of different genres including rock, jazz, blues, r&b, funk, reggae and everything in between! Performing with such artists as Bob Weir (Grateful Dead), Dan Hicks, David Grisman, Tommy Castro, Eric McFadden, Mark Karan & Vinyl I have appeared at most of the major venues in the Bay Area including the Warfield Theatre, the Great American Music Hall,
Yoshi's SF, the Regency, Bimbo's & the Sweetwater.
My teaching experience goes back over twenty years and I relocated to Marin County in the Bay Area in 1995 where I've been teaching extensively since 2002. Since then I have helped hundreds of students realize their dream of learning to play piano and keyboards as well as read music, play perfectly in time and learn songwriting skills. Playing music is fun & easy......I can show you just how easy it is!!

*** Lesson Details ***
My style is laid back with a large supply of patience and devotion to my students. I teach beginning , intermediate & advanced piano and keyboards (including organ). For adult beginning piano students I use the John Thompson Modern Course for the Piano Grade One along with Thompson's Note, Scale & Chord Speller books and flash cards for a quick and easy route to learning how to read music and basic music theory. For kids (5-7) I like Thompson's "Teaching Little Fingers to Play" along with the kid's music theory books by Linda Ng.
In the first six months students can expect to study basic finger exercises and scales, how to read music easily and quickly, how to play perfectly in time & develop a repertoire of songs to play. Once students have learned basic skills it is possible to explore many different genres including classical, jazz, blues, rock, reggae and much more. I customize the lessons to fit each student's needs and desires and can also help the students with songwriting and learning from the recorded works of great artists!

*** Studio Equipment ***
Beautiful 1884 carved English maplewood Estey upright piano!

*** Travel Equipment ***
I provide the books and supplies at cost...students should have some kind of keyboard to practice on...preferably a real piano although I have taught many students initially on electric keyboards.

*** Specialties ***
I teach beginning, intermediate & advanced piano in the styles of classical, jazz, blues, rock, r&b, pop, country, etc. ages 5-105! Usually I start beginners in the John Thompson method & speller books along with music flash cards and then am willing to shift into different styles as the students gain basic skills.
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Reviews
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Al Lyle December 30, 2015
· Piano · In home
Great Teacher
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Lorne P. October 1, 2015
· Piano · In home
Jim was a great teacher. His patience and positive attitude made it easy for my wife and I to learn something new.
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dorothee C. March 4, 2013
· Piano ·
Great teacher for children, including jazz

Our 3 kids have taken piano lessons at our house with Jim for 6 years. Jim is a unique piano teacher, the kind that is hard to find in the bay area. He teaches classical music to beginners and confirmed students and goes to your house to teach. His training was in classical music, and he knows very well that it takes time and effort to get there, he is patient and encouraging, our kids NEVER felt pressured by him and still learned how to play in an exponential way. Thanks to Jim, they like to play for themselves AND in front of other people, which is one of Jim's important goals. Jim is now a renowned jazz piano player and cofounder of a band (Tre Mojo's) and we are always invited in his gigs when they take play in the bay area. Our son is learning jazz with him, it has been impressive to watch and hear, after a year he does know the jazz harmonies and can do impros. Every spring, Jim organizes a very nice recital where all his students come and perform various types of music (from Beethoven, Chopin, to the Beatles, to jazz impro. from beginner to professional level). Jim basically taught our children to play music with no stress, no competition, and still at a high level. Besides, Jim is highly professional, has NEVER been late, and always does what he says and -we believe- says what he thinks. There has never been a bump in our relationship. We would highly recommend him as a piano teacher.
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Jim T.

Jim T.

Fairfax, CA 94930
(3)
starting at
$40 / 30-min

About Mark B.

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Castro Valley, CA
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I teach and help people how to write songs at all levels. Whether you are a beginner, or more advanced and need new ideas to draw from. There is an endless reservoir of ideas and concepts to help you to create any kind of music imaginable.

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 Arrica R.

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Oakland, CA

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I've been studying songwriting for over 20 years and I've professionally released several albums. I am grateful to have had my music licensed by Starbucks, NBC, The CW network, NikeWomen.com, and MTV. Whether you've never written a song before or are just in need of growth and guidance with your existing body of work, we'll work together to expand your songwriting skill set and repertoire.

About Arrica
I was born and raised in Los Angeles but I've just recently relocated to the Bay Area. I am a Professional Musician/Songwriter/Vocalist teaching songwriting, voice, and performance technique as well as a combination thereof. I began singing at a very young age for anyone who would listen (so my parents tell me) and began taking music lessons shortly thereafter. I am now a USC graduate and have also studied music privately for over 25 years as well as at the esteemed Vocal Power Institute. I've professionally released several albums and I am grateful to have had my music featured/licensed by Starbucks, NBC, The CW network, NikeWomen.com, and MTV. I've toured extensively playing to audiences across the country and have had the honor of sharing the stage with artists ranging from Conor Oberst, Inara George, Johnette Napolitano, Martha Wain
wright, to Jackson Browne. I have experience teaching both adults and children, and enjoy teaching beginning as well as intermediate to advanced students. In addition to teaching privately, I have experience teaching children through my volunteer work with The Girls Rock Alliance, a non-profit organization that aims to teach young girls about self-confidence and self-expression through music education.

*** Lesson Details ***
I am easy-going, friendly and I believe that developing a great student/teacher rapport is the key to making the most out of the time we spend together. The curriculum I utilize is specifically designed to meet the student's individual needs. Initially we'll spend time assessing where you are and where you'd like to be. Most importantly, we'll set goals and create a lesson plan that will allow you to attain them. We'll work on basic techniques (or intermediate to advanced depending on skill level), for example - breath support, vowel placement, posture, relaxation, the fundamentals of song structure and music theory. We'll also work on the psychology of performance and eliminating any unwanted tension that may arise. We'll choose songs to work on that you'll enjoy singing, or analyze the songs you love in order to discover and/or improve upon your own songwriting abilities.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Front music studio area w/ guitars, computer with protools, keyboard, microphone, pa system, and seating for parents

*** Travel Equipment ***
I can provide a small keyboard and/or guitar

*** Specialties ***
My main musical styles that I perform and teach are Pop, Rock, Folk, and Americana/Country. I specialize in creating a lesson plan that suits the needs of each individual student.
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Reviews
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Evelynne L. January 7, 2016
· Singing · In studio
Connected well with my 9 year old daughter. Strong musical and teaching skills and a pleasure to work with. Run don't walk to see Arrica!
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Richard M. October 1, 2015
· Singing · In studio
First lesson very comfortable, relaxed yet structured, getting to know each others personality, musical abilities.
Take home exercises.
Looking forward to the next lesson.
Thanks Arrica
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Julie B. September 10, 2015
· Music Performance · In home
Arrica has been such a wonderful teacher for my 11-year-old daughter. (She was 9 when she started with Arrica.) Our girl has a lot of raw talent but needed some good instruction that wasn't too formal. Africa is just the right blend of traditional singing technique and fun rock-n-roll, record your own music on Garage band. We love her!
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Arrica R.

Arrica R.

Oakland, CA 94611
(8)
starting at
$60 / 30-min
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About Larry T.

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Albany, CA
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Hello,

I began my Songwriting and Composing career in New York City's famous Tin Pan Alley working as a Staff Songwriter for Kama Sutra Records.

While there I was discovered by a Rock and Roll manager, who put me to work as a Songwriter/Composer/Pianist/Mime in an Art Rock band called “The Hello People”.
The band created five commercially released record albums, two of which were produced by Todd Rundgren.

The band appeared on the “Tonight Show”, Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, and the Fillmore's East and West while constantly touring the U.S

I toured with Todd Rundgren as a Pianist/Keyboardist and Vocalist on his “Back to The Bars” tour.

My true passion has always been Songwriting, Composing and Teaching.

I studied Piano, Songwriting, Composing Music & Jazz Theory privately.

Samples:
www.reverbnation.com/thehellopeople
www.reverbnation.com/largimusic
Thank you,
Larry Tasse

About Larry
Music is my passion. As a professional Songwriter, Composer and Pianist, I have toured the United States in Rock and Roll bands, and made my living working as a songwriter, composer and pianist accompanying singers and instrumentalists, as a soloist, and as a recording session keyboardist and composing music and writing songs for Film and Live Theatre.

I am an award winning songwriter and I am a member of The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers- A.S.C.A.P.
...
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Larry T.

Larry T.

Albany, CA 94706
starting at
$45 / 30-min

About Taylor G.

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Richmond, CA

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Want to express yourself through poetry and song?
We will go over the basics and have a private workshop for your music or music in your head!

About Taylor
Taylor G. has been teaching lessons since 2014 and is currently available to teach lessons at your home or at her studio. Taylor has helped students woodwork, paint/draw, build with clay, sing, and explore.

Taylor G. received her training at California College of the Arts in 2015 where she received a degree in Sculpture, Sound, and Community Art. As an expert in her field, Taylor looks forward to helping new students achieve their goals. Taylor's teaching style is casual, relaxed, and encouraging.
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Ariana H. June 1, 2017
· Ukulele · In home
Taylor is great with my 13 year old daughter. She is knowledgable, patient and nice.
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Brian March 4, 2017
· Ukulele · In home
Taylor, has been a very patient and perceptive teacher, helping me past the obstacles in my playing. She came up with exercises snd songs appropriate for the challenges i faced. I would strongly recommend her for a late beginner like myself.
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Lily February 10, 2016
· Ukulele · In home
great. my daughter had a first lesson with Taylor. she enjoyed it.
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Taylor G.

Taylor G.

Richmond, CA 94804
(3)
starting at
$55 / 30-min

About Marissa K.

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South San Francisco, CA
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I'm currently teaching songwriting to help my students understand the basics of composition, song structure, and creating melodies and chords. I have studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston for songwriting and have been writing music for over 10 years.

About Marissa
I am a singer/songwriter/guitarist and I have been playing and singing for over 10 years. I have played many high-profile gigs including the St. Petersburg Pride Fest and Tampa Gasparilla Festival. I am very excited to teach and work with many different learning styles. If you want a dedicated guitar teacher with lessons that work with your style and pace of learning, hit me up!
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Lore July 26, 2016
· ·
Marissa is an excellent music teacher!
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Lore E. June 22, 2016
· Guitar · In studio
The lesson witharissa was great!
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Brie April 29, 2016
· Guitar · In home
Very effective teacher, knowledgeable and patient. Highly recommend!
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Marissa K.

Marissa K.

South San Francisco, CA 94080
(4)
starting at
$40 / 30-min

About Frederick L.

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Antioch, CA

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I've written songs, attended songwriting seminars and studied songwriting for 30 years. During this time, three of my songs have been placed in a major motion picture.

About Frederick
Hi, my name is Frederick and I can't wait to meet you!
I've been teaching for about 7 years, however, the passion for music and stringed instruments, has been with me for over 30 years. I play Guitar (Acoustic and Electric), Mandolin, Ukulele, Electric Bass and Harmonica (no strings, go figure),
My goal as a teacher is to help you achieve your goals as an artist and musician.
I've taken guitar, voice and harmonica lessons myself and have also attended workshops in professional song-writing. Three of my songs are placed in a major motion picture.
Patience and listening are among my strengths and I understand that students learn at a different paces.
Let's get together and play some music!
...
Reviews
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Kathy March 19, 2017
· Acoustic Guitar · In studio
Fred is an excellent teacher. He took me from somebody with no knowledge of playing to being able to accompany myself on a few songs in a matter of weeks. It's been a great learning experience.
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Kathy March 19, 2017
· Acoustic Guitar · In studio
Fred is an excellent teacher. He's taken me from no knowledge of a guitar to playing the chords of songs that I perform in a matter of weeks. He brings the benefit of his experience of *live-performance* to his student.
Thanks Fred!
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Emma November 25, 2016
· Acoustic Guitar · In studio
Great teacher! Very knowledgeable, and can teach students of all levels. Would definately recommend.
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Frederick L.

Frederick L.

Antioch, CA 94531
(6)
starting at
$35 / 30-min

About Spenser S.

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San Francisco, CA

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We'll look at what makes us like and feel connected to a song and how we can produce that same effect in a unique way!

About Spenser
Hello my name is Spenser! I am a performing guitarist, vocalist and songwriter in the bay area. I have been teaching for nearly 10 years and have taught all ages and experience levels. My main focus in teaching is to help my students fulfill their intentions with the chosen instrument. I studied jazz guitar at San Francisco State University (BA).

Thank you for your consideration!
...
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Spenser S.

Spenser S.

San Francisco, CA 94122
starting at
$20 / 30-min

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Songwriting Lesson Reviews from Students

Students are raving about their Songwriting instructors on TakeLessons. Check out some of these recent reviews.

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Our teachers have taught

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Recent Songwriting Articles from the Blog

Whether you're just starting out or a seasoned pro, check out the Songwriting articles on our blog.

Tips for Writing a Song | Starting Songs And Ending Writer's Block

Tips for Writing a Song | Starting Songs And Ending Writer's Block

Feeling stuck? Get back on track with these helpful tips for writing a song, courtesy of Perth Amboy, NJ teacher Jeff S...   One of the most frequent problems that songwriting students encounter is pushing past writer's block and generating ideas for new songs. So here are several tips for writing a song that will help you overcome a creative dry spell and get you back to creative productivity. Start With A Title Think of some interesting subjects that you think would make goo … Read More

Tips for Writing a Song | Starting Songs And Ending Writer's Block
Feeling stuck? Get back on track with these helpful tips for writing a song, courtesy of Perth Amboy, NJ teacher Jeff S...   One of the most frequent problems that songwriting students encounter is pushing past writer's block and generating ideas for new songs. So here are several tips for writing a song that will help you overcome a creative dry spell and get you back to creative productivity. Start With A Title Think of some interesting subjects that you think would make goo
Logic Pro Tutorial: How To Create An Audio Slow-Down Effect
Want to add a cool slow-down effect to your music? Learn how in this Logic Pro tutorial from Brevard, NC teacher John C...   If you've listened to popular radio in the past several years, and I’m guessing you have, you've heard either a vocal melody line or an instrumental part of a song make a particular effect. Listen to the following Fall Out Boy song and pay attention to the music in the background at 00:27 seconds, again at 1:27, and once again at 2:27: Did you hear it? Th
3 Things Songwriters Should Always Keep in Mind
Are you perfectly content performing the pieces of famous composers and lyricists... or do you want to make your own contribution? If you want to learn how to become a songwriter, check out this guest post by teacher Eric C...   The world of music is as vast as the world that we live in. Some genres have existed for thousands of years, while others are still being created today. This is all because music is constantly evolving. The evolution of music comes from songwriters and
Songwriting Tips | The Wisdom of a One-Of-Kind Song Title
What's in a name? If you're looking for songwriting tips as you pen your next tune, check out this advice from Perth Amboy, NJ teacher Jeff S...   There is not one "right" or preferred way to write a song. It's a very individual choice. Some songwriters start out with a patch of melody or a line or two of lyric as their creative catalyst. Others will initiate the songwriting muse with a unique and instantly-captivating song title or writing from their emotions. And in this ever-cr
Quiz: What Should You Write Your Next Song About?
Writing songs is hard enough work without having to deal with songwriters' block! To help you find inspiration for your next song, we created this easy personality quiz. Take the quiz and find out what your next hit single will be about... For more songwriting tips and songwriting prompts, check out our infographic guide 25 Ways to Break Free from Songwriters' Block! Share your songwriting ideas, struggles, triumphs, and questions in the comments below.   Interested in

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