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Pickin’ Through Music City: A Quick Guide for Nashville Guitarists

By Tyler J. - Nashville Guitar Teacher

Thinking of trying out the Nashville guitar scene? Are you looking to take guitar lessons in Music City? Well, you’re not alone. For decades, Nashville has been one of the most influential hubs for popular music and entertainment. Thousands of musicians have made the move to Middle Tennessee with big aspirations; to become a superstar, to get hired as a sideman, or even just to start a band with like-minded individuals. Whether you want to play for fun or play to pay the bills, Nashville has plenty to satisfy any guitar player’s cravings for a musically rich environment.

First of all, while the country music industry is centered in Nashville, there’s much more than just country here. Rock, indie, pop, blues, and jazz are everywhere in the city, and for those who are interested in Christian and gospel music, you’re in luck: Nashville is the center for the Christian music industry.

I always recommend checking out lower Broadway first. Between the intersections of 6th and Broadway, all the way down to 1st, the streets are lined with live music venues. Some of the people playing on Broadway are playing for tips full-time to pay their rent, while others are playing for fun while they’re in town from being on the road. It’s a great place to network with other guitarists, so go on down, and take it all in. Over time, once you’ve become friends with some of the local players, they may ask you to come “sit in” for a couple songs while they take a break. It’s good to become a familiar face on lower Broadway if you’re looking for gigs on the road; many of these players are hired guns for some of the biggest names in the music business.

Music stores around town are also great places to hang with other guitarists. Corner Music on 12th Ave. South is a local staple for musicians, and Gruhn Guitars is an excellent place to see some vintage guitar gear. I should also mention major stores such as Sam Ash Music and Guitar Center – always great places to meet similar people.

There are plenty of open jam nights around town, too. If you’re ready to jam with some strangers (that soon will become friends), don’t be afraid to ask around for where the “hot spots” are. When I first got to town, the Fiddle and Steel bar on Printer’s Alley was the best place to go on Tuesday nights. There are places like that all over, so don’t be shy about asking people! Whether you go to play or not, it’s great to go and hang out at open jams to hear people play and to make friends.

Going out to the music venues in town is the best way to get some inspiration. Seeing successful players playing great shows is something that always motivates me to strive for bigger and better things. But music venues aren’t the only place you can find other guitarists. As a matter of fact, considering that Nashville has such a high concentration of musicians, you can go just about anywhere to meet players. Coffee shops and local churches are always full of people who are involved in the music business. Be kind, be considerate, and don’t be afraid to open up conversation. While Nashville has a reputation for being competitive, I’ve found it to be very welcoming to newcomers. Most musicians I meet around town are willing to be helpful to newbies looking for work.

Before you start your guitar lessons in Nashville, there are a couple things you should be working on, such as the Nashville number system. Ever hear of it? It’s a form of musical shorthand used to notate chord charts, and while people in most cities don’t use them, almost everyone in Nashville does. There are plenty of resources for learning the number system, including websites and books, so don’t hesitate to start learning now! Most music instructors in Nashville would be glad to help you become a fluent reader of number charts – and many of these instructors can be found right here at TakeLessons!

Something that isn’t all that surprising - but is often overlooked - is the fact that Nashville is all about relationships. Getting hired for a road gig or a spot playing downtown is often simply a matter of being a “good hang,” as I call it. Having a positive attitude, being reliable, and being trustworthy will get you far in life, and Nashville is no different. In fact, I’ve even found that you don’t have to be the most amazing guitarist in town to get hired – you just need to be a good team player.

Music City is glad to have an ever-growing number of musicians around. The metro area has seen unprecedented population growth in recent years, and the economy is booming, so there’s no better time to jump on board. So, if you’re looking to get involved in this local guitar scene and take guitar lessons in Nashville, you’re in luck, because Nashville is an exciting, eclectic, unique, and inspiring place to be. Beginners, intermediate players, and professionals are all welcome; so don’t be afraid to check it out. Good luck, and keep on playing!

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Jonah K.

Nashville, TN

About Jonah

Hello! I believe that music is something everyone can do: it can be played alone or in pairs (and trios, quartets,etc). Playing music is extremely rewarding. It's about discovering your potential, and having fun doing it! Having played music for 25 years, and teaching for 12, I have experience as a performer, composer, and producer. I grew up playing cello before switching to guitar, and graduated from New England Conservatory of Music with a BA in jazz performance. Most recently, I moved to Nashville where I am currently training to be a Registered Piano Technician.

*** Lesson Details
***
I offer a wide pallet of musical options. Whether teaching guitar, piano, bass, violin, or cello, I aim to provide a well rounded approach to the performance and understanding of music. Context is everything, so after we cover the basics, we can move in a direction of your liking. Whether you want to sit and compose by yourself, or let loose on stage in front of screaming fans, you will get there! In the first 3 to 6 months, we will cover basic music theory, technique, rhythm, and basic improvisation. After that, we can continue in any (and all) of these subjects, and begin to introduce ear training, the most essential element of your musical education. Overall, I want you to have fun and get what want out of your lessons.

*** Studio Equipment ***
piano, music stands, guitars, amps, chairs

*** Travel Equipment ***
Car, music stand, staff paper, instrument

*** Specialties ***
Balanced lessons -- playing by ear, learning the staff, composition, improvisation, try to have a little bit of everything with concentrations depending on the level and style of student.
...

Reviews

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Lynne H. September 30, 2014
Cello · In home
Verified Student
He is a superior teacher! His musical ability is sine qua non. His ability makes it easy for me to learn from him. He began early with the cello, which he plays beautifully. He has also mastered other instruments. We play duets together and I enjoy playing with him very much. His theory is excellent; I have learned so much being his student. He has made me better and I feel more confident about my own playing and about myself.

I would definitely rate Jonah a 5 star teacher and would strongly recommend him to others.
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Loretta R. August 6, 2014
Cello · In studio
Verified Student
We are so pleased with the instruction our son received this summer with Jonah. He is excellent with students. You can tell he cares about their progress and their personal goals and that they really learn with him as their teacher. We have taken lessons with other music teachers in the past with our older children, and we have not found one that takes as much time with the student and really cares that they learn the way Jonah has.
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Tysha H. November 18, 2013
Piano
Verified Student
Laid back guy, great with kids, excellent musical knowledge

Jonah works with both of our sons teaching piano. He is positive and upbeat and encourages them to do their best. His credentials are impeccable with a wide-ranging and deep musical background/education. He expects success from the kids, he gently pushes them to succeed. He is always on time to our house and is trustworthy. We highly recommend Jonah.
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Jonah K.

Jonah K.

Nashville, TN 37207
(5)
starting at
$54 / 30-min
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Dustin B.

Nashville, TN

Professional instruction on acoustic or electric guitar.

Learn: basic guitar playing techniques, how to get a quality sound from your amp and instrument, how to tune your instrument, learning chords and scales, playing exercises, fundamentals of music, playing different genres such as Classical, Jazz, Rock and R&B, learn Improvisation, performance techniques, stage presence, equipment selection, play along with your favorite songs and much more.

As with all the lessons I teach, being comfortable in the lesson and with your craft is crucial for making great music! Lesson are customized for each students needs and goals preparing a plan that is enjoyable, fun and motivating.

About Dustin

Teaching Experience:

Private Lessons - 22 years
Public and Magnet Schools - 7 years

I've tutored 100’s of students on Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute, Piano, Guitar, Bass, Percussion, Tuba, Trumpet and Voice just to name a few. I also give instruction in music theory, improvisation, arranging, composition, engraving, music notation, and general studio operations from recording to engineering. I give lessons privately and also teach within local school and magnet programs.

I hold a Music Performance Degree from the University of Miami, and have also studied at the University of Northern Io
wa and Florida International University in classical music, arranging, composition, jazz band, marching, ear training, theory, history, and business.

Professional Experience:

As a musician I have traveled to and performed in over 51 countries around the world, all the major cities in the US and many famous venues in New York City, London and Rome. I've appeared with such artists as: Michael Brecker, Arturo Sondoval, Jerry Bergonzi, David Sanborn, Bob Mintzer, David Liebman, Joe Lovano, Jamey Aebersold, Bobby Shew, Poncho Sanchez, Duffy Jackson, American Idol's Kimberely Locke, Earth wind and Fire, Lionel Richie, Clarence Clemets, William Shatner, The Miami Heat American Airlines Arena Band, and most recently Grammy award winner and Gospel Singer, Mike Farris.

Student Lesson Details:

Most importantly, I believe music and music lessons should be fun and motivating. I custom build lesson plans based on a students individual goals and experience and use most efficient and effective methods available to achieve the best possible results. It is important that all students understand and learn the fundamentals of music yet I’m very accommodating to each student’s individual needs and goals.

Teacher Equipment and Studio:

The lesson studio is located in the heart of Nashville’s Music Row and offers a quiet teaching space, comfortable seating for parents, audio and video recording equipment and a host of other amenities. There is also a lavatory and free parking. I can also provide all lesson materials and books required for learning and some additional instruments are also available.

**Special services**

For the same price as the lesson time I can also provide instrument repair service. I have many years experience working on saxophones, clarinets, flutes and other instruments dealing with general maintenance, to complete overhaul. Please inquire for more details.
...

Reviews

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Adrienne M. August 26, 2015
Saxophone · Online
Verified Student
Dustin is a great teacher! I wasn't sure how it would be taking lessons online especially since I do not have a background in music and I'm learning the sax for the first time. He has made learning fun and easy. I can already play a song! He is very knowledgable and providing me with music theory as well. Highly recommend!
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Jessica R. August 18, 2015
Ear Training · In studio
Verified Student
Dustin is a great teacher. I have always had difficulty with ear training ever since I started formally studying music. Dustin did a great job of breaking it down and incorporating skills you already have. Highly recommended.
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Tyrone J. June 23, 2015
Saxophone · Online
Verified Student
Starting off good!
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Dustin B.

Dustin B.

Nashville, TN 37212
(8)
starting at
$21 / 30-min
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Leandria L.

Nashville, TN

Leandria is a laid back teacher but loves to see her students’ progress with their music. She uses the Mel Bay method, and believes it’s very important for her students to learn the basics of the instrument(strings), how to read music, chords etc. In a typical lesson they would start with a ---finger exercises up the guitar neck starting saying the note, saying the finger number, and then saying both--- then they would work on which ever piece is their focus at that time.

About Leandria

Born in Huntsville Al, Leandria L. received her Bachelors from
Tennessee State University with a Commercial Music Performance Degree, since then, she has traveled to Europe to play in work shops and concerts, she's had the opportunity to played for gospel artists Kirk Franklin, Kurt Carr, and Tye Tribbett, and has just finished up her first year of teaching music in a classroom. Her most recent teaching experience was Kids On Stage Academy, where in one week her students learned how to read music and how to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Her love for the arts keeps her love for teaching al
ive.

*** Lesson Details ***
Leandria is a laid back teacher but loves to see her students’ progress with their music. She uses the Suzuki method, but believes it’s very important to for her students to learn the basics of the instrument, how to read music and at least 2 songs within the first 3-6 months. In a typical lesson they would start with a scale---saying the note, saying the finger number, and then saying both--- then they would work on which ever piece is their focus at that time, and then they would bow to each other dismissing the lesson.

*** Travel Equipment ***
Their own instruments and music stands.

*** Specialties ***
Suzuki, however I think it is extremely important that the student learns how to read. I use my own method to ensure this.
...

Reviews

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JANETH M. June 9, 2015
Violin · In studio
Verified Student
She is a good teacher! Recommend for other students! Not a problem.
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NICOLE M. May 12, 2015
Violin · In studio
Verified Student
I have little time in Nashville because my parents moved to the US, my first language is Spanish. Therefore Leandria has been very patient with me. Thanks
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Yaseny A. March 27, 2015
Violin · In home
Verified Student
Leandria is very patient and breaks down the information in a way that my daughter understands which has helped her keep a steady progress.
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Leandria L.

Leandria L.

Nashville, TN 37217
(8)
starting at
$25 / 30-min
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Jack P.

Nashville, TN

I teach according to a students goals. If a student wants to learn to play some Taylor Swift songs for fun, I'll teach them how to play Taylor Swift. If a student wants to become a professional musician, I'll teach them how to be a professional musician. If a student wants to do something in between, I'm more than set up to do that as well. I will, of course, supplement this with lessons on music theory as traditionally taught to serious music students over the past few hundred years.

About Jack

Jack has been teaching private lessons since 2013 and is currently available to teach lessons at his home studio in East Nashville. Jack has helped students increase their confidence, break out of musical ruts, explore new musical ideas, and prepare for the rigors of an elite music school.

Jack trained at the prestigious Berklee College of Music between 2009 and 2013, where he received a dual Bachelor's degree in Guitar Performance and Songwriting. As an experienced professional in his field, Jack looks forward to helping new students achieve their goals. Jacks's teaching style is high ener
gy, pragmatic, and guaranteed to get students excited about music!
...

Reviews

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Troy July 23, 2015
Guitar · In studio
Not only can Jack help you find the notes you're looking for but with his knowledge of gear he can help you find the tone you're looking for.
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Kat V. July 23, 2015
Guitar · In studio
Jack is a great guitar instructor and very knowledgeable about many different styles. He knows a ton of songs and makes them super fun to learn. He also knows a lot about music in general, and is a great person to spend time with and learn from!
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Philip July 22, 2015
Music Theory · In home
Jackson has an amazing grasp of the theoretical side of the fretboard. Being a graduate of Berklee College of Music, he has learned from the best and boy did he learn! Whenever I reach a dead end or become stranded with a question, Jack is bar none the first I call to help untangle the mess.
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Jack P.

Jack P.

Nashville, TN 37207
(5)
starting at
$25 / 30-min
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Caleb E.

Nashville, TN

I am a 12 year guitar player and teacher. I studied under 2 time Grammy Winner, Curtis Burch to specialize in bluegrass, folk, country, jazz, and blues. I am very versatile and a sought after session player from Cincinnati to Nashville. I started playing when I was 10 and love teaching kids that same age.

About Caleb

Caleb E. has been teaching music since 2005 and is available to teach at your home or his studio. Caleb has helped students from age 8 to 65 and believes that there is no age limit on learning and trying something new or even getting better. Caleb is a two year student of the Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music with a degree as a professional recording artist.
Helping students achieve goals regarding musical technique, personal creativity, and self confidence is a personal mission for Caleb and loves to teach in a personal, hands on approach.
...

Reviews

Silhouette-80
Curt Y. June 29, 2015
Guitar · In studio
Verified Student
Caleb worked very well with my Son Grant. He was a 15 year old beginner and was really able to help get him engaged and have fun while learning.
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Richard C. June 4, 2015
Banjo · In home
Verified Student
Great easy going guy with full range of knowledge. Fantastic attitude.
Silhouette-80
James P. May 16, 2015
Banjo · In home
Verified Student
very good teacher
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Caleb E.

Caleb E.

Nashville, TN 37211
(5)
starting at
$20 / 30-min

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50 Awesome Summer Guitar Goals
Summer's here, so grab your guitar and set a new goal with the help of guitar teacher Jerry W.... Summer has officially arrived, which means the sun is out, the days are long, and you have plenty of opportunities to pick up and practice your guitar! Now is the time to go after those dreams you've had of mastering the tricky aspects of learning guitar that have been a roadblock in your practice throughout the year. To help you get started, we've compiled 50 guitar goals that you can foc
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