Portland Songwriting Lessons

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Popular Songwriting Teachers Near Portland

Check out some of our most popular teachers near Portland including Lake Oswego, Happy Valley, Beaverton, Gladstone and Marylhurst.

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Chuck M.

Portland, OR

Styles covered include pop, rock, R&B, country, and jazz. Basic skills on piano or guitar are recommended.

About Chuck

Chuck moved to Portland, Oregon from Gainesville, Florida, where he was a prominent member of the music teaching and performing community for more than 25 years. Originally from Chicago, Chuck completed his BA in Music History and Masters of Music (MM) at the University of Florida. Chuck became obsessed with The Beatles when he began piano lessons at age 12. His first attempt at composing was actually improvising melodies over the ending chords to "Hey Jude". Along with playing Beatles tunes Chuck learned classic standards from a set of Reader's Digest Songbooks inherited from his grandmo
ther.

Chuck has performed with classic rock, top 40, funk, R&B, and jazz groups, and has served as an opening act for Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, and legendary Texas bluesman Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. As a soloist he's played classical music, blues, jazz, and original compositions. Before devoting himself to music full time, he worked for 8 years as a radio announcer on WUFT-FM Gainesville hosting shows such as "Nothing but the Blues", "Montage" (acoustic jazz), and "Musica Antiqua" (Renaissance and Medieval).

Chuck has taught students of all ages and skill levels in piano, guitar, organ, flute, digital keyboards, recorder, and ukulele. He's also a multi-faceted composer whose instrumental pieces are infused with elements of classical, blues, and jazz styles.

Chuck's teaching philosophy: "In my 25 years of teaching I’ve found that everyone learns in different ways and at different rates of progress, so each of my students is treated as a unique individual. I try to get to know my students in the first few lessons so I can be more sensitive to their personalities. This helps me choose the best teaching approach for them. From the very first lesson I create a relaxed setting so students feel no apprehension, especially when trying something new. This allows them to feel free to take chances and experience playing music as something enjoyable, not a life or death situation! The biggest measure of my effectiveness as a teacher is when my students embrace new challenges and the opportunity to improve".

*** Lesson Details ***
My primary goal as a teacher is to present musical material in a way that keeps students excited about what they are learning. Even with absolute beginners, I will have a student playing actual songs that they are interested in as quickly as possible. Along the way I include fundamentals such as scales, strength-building exercises, rudiments of theory, and ear training. Some of the method books I use include the Alfred and Faber and Faber series, and Hanon's The Virtuoso Pianist, among many others. These materials are always supplemented with arrangements and transcriptions of popular songs and classical pieces, along with original exercises designed to teach specific styles and techniques. I also use interactive music websites to introduce students to concepts of music theory. The styles that I cover include classical, rock, jazz, and blues. As students progress in their creativity, I also introduce them to composition and improvisation.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Kawai K50 upright piano, music playback devices, Hammond C3 organ, multiple keyboards/synthesizers, acoustic and electric guitars, amplifiers, computer recording equipment; parents are encouraged to sit in on lessons.

*** Travel Equipment ***
I don't provide any specific equipment. Piano students should have either a well-tuned piano or full-sized weighted-key digital keyboard (Casio Privia, for example). Guitar students should have a well set up electric or acoustic guitar and an amplifier (for an electric guitar).

*** Specialties ***
I teach students of all ages and skill levels. The styles that I cover include classical, rock, jazz, and blues. I also teacher recording techniques using computer software including Ableton Live, Reason, and Pro Tools.
...

Reviews

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JIA Z. February 12, 2014
Piano
Verified Student
Mr. Michaelson is the best teacher I've met at Portland.

I do appreciate Chuck for his professional piano lessons and kind. My son enjoyed his lessons sooooooo much and, loves piano more from then on. He is really a great musician and responsible teacher I've ever met at Portland. His patience and style of teaching are sunshine to my son's piano life.
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lulu M. November 5, 2013
Ukulele
Verified Student
Great music teacher!

I've been taking ukulele lessons with Chuck for over a year now. I am always impressed with his musical knowledge and appreciate the way he goes beyond the songs and also teachers me musical notation, chord progressions, and more. My lessons are always fun, with just the right amount of challenge to keep my skill development moving forward. Thanks, Chuck!
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Heather B. April 29, 2013
Guitar
Verified Student
skilled teacher

My teen has been taking lessons from Chuck for many months and has learned a lot from him. He is knowledgeable and skilled in guitar, always on time and willing to be understanding with our schedule conflicts. His studio is very attractive and professional, very comfortable and nice location. He is patient and obviously enjoys what he does! thanks Chuck!
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Chuck M.

Chuck M.

Portland, OR 97212
(8)
starting at
$35 / 30-min
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Peter M.

Portland, OR

Whether you're interested in writing pop songs with basic chords or intricate pieces full of advanced techniques, learning the fundamentals of good songwriting will keep your writing focused and effective.

About Peter

I knew I wanted to be a professional guitar player from the first time I picked up an electric guitar over 16 years ago. I started taking private lessons as soon as I got my first guitar, and without the crucial guidance and encouragement I received early on I certainly would not be the guitarist I am today, and that old guitar might even be collecting dust in a closet somewhere. Since I began teaching 8 years ago my goal has been to provide that same encouragement to beginning students and to help them realize that no matter what their ambitions are, they can be achieved with enough practice
and they can have fun along the way!

When I started high school I realized there was a lot more to playing guitar than the hard rock and blues songs I had been learning up until then, so I enrolled in a music theory class, joined my school's jazz band and began taking classical guitar lessons at the University of Wyoming. After high school I accepted academic and music scholarships to attend the University of Oregon where I majored in Jazz Studies, and I graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Music degree with an emphasis on jazz arranging. While at UO I performed in student combos and my own rock band Just People as well as the award winning Oregon Jazz Ensemble. I also had the opportunity to perform with the Eugene Symphony Orchestra and play several shows with Grammy-Award winning country artist Lynn Anderson.

This diverse experience allows me to help my students improve their technique and gain a deeper understanding of the guitar, regardless of the style(s) of music they are passionate about. I firmly believe that anyone can learn to play guitar and that lessons should be fun, whether your goal is to be able to sing your favorite song and strum a few chords or start your own band and take over the world!

*** Lesson Details ***
I believe that lessons are most effective when they relate to your life and the music you love. I've talked to countless people who have told me "I used to play violin..." or "I played piano when I was younger...", and every time I ask them why they stopped I get a variation on the same answer: "I just didn't feel like practicing." My goal is for every student to look forward to their practice time, and to prevent it from falling into the 'chores' category next to taking out the trash and washing the dishes.

In order to make learning fun we'll start by learning songs that are meaningful to YOU. After becoming familiar with the basics like chords and strumming patterns, we'll dig a little deeper and look at the structure of the song and the fundamentals of music theory that went into composing it. After learning a few songs this way you'll gain not just a larger vocabulary of chords and rhythms, but also the tools to start writing your own music. From there we can develop a more concrete lesson plan based on your individual goals as a musician, whether you're interested in songwriting, improvising, advanced techniques or music theory.

In addition to practicing the material covered in each week's lesson I'll often give students small homework assignments, which can range from finding a musical example of a topic we're learning to writing their own chord progressions. I'm very relaxed and easy-going, but I expect students to come to each lesson prepared to work on new material after a quick review of the previous week's lesson.

After a few months of lessons each student will be able to comfortably play several songs from beginning to end, play basic major and minor scales, discuss the basic structural elements of songwriting (verse, chorus, etc) and tell all of their friends how much fun they're having learning to play guitar!

*** Studio Equipment ***
Dedicated teaching studio w/ guitars and amps. There is no waiting area for parents but they are welcome to sit in on lessons. Lots of street parking.

*** Travel Equipment ***
I provide a laptop, lesson-related handouts and staff paper. I expect the student to have their own instrument and basic equipment (picks, spare strings, etc)

*** Specialties ***
My college degree is in Jazz Studies with an emphasis on arranging, I specialize in teaching jazz guitar as well as classic rock, hard rock, fingerstyle acoustic and blues.
...

Reviews

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Elizabeth January 19, 2016
Guitar · In home
Peter arrived right on time for his first lesson with my daughter and husband, who have decided to learn guitar together. He put them immediately at ease and got started with the basics. They have been learning their first cords and are getting used to playing, and they sound great! We are very excited to continue!
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Tim January 6, 2016
Guitar · In home
Verified Student
I enjoy working with Peter his methodology is great and I left my first lesson with some clear objectives to work on for my next lesson.
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skip October 12, 2015
Guitar · In studio
Positive, up-beat and knowledgeable. Since I was in Portland on a vacation this was an out of the box lesson which Peter handled graciously to accommodate.
The two and a half hours flew by and sadly it was time to leave. I have been playing the guitar on and off for 40 yrs. and had many teachers along the way.
I would consider Peter to be the best well rounded instructor I have had.

Thanks
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Peter M.

Peter M.

Portland, OR 97217
(5)
starting at
$22 / 30-min
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Don C.

Portland, OR

About Don

Don brings over 36 years of teaching experience in Piano, Voice, and Guitar. His relaxed and humorous approach to music encourages students to embrace a love for the musical art.

With 2 American Idol finalists to his credit, along with numerous students who have gone on to professional careers in theater, television, and film. He also has 16 years experience as Musical Director for over 45 theatrical productions in Southern California, Oregon, and Washington.

He has received an award in Southern California for Outstanding Musical Direction in a theatrical production of "The King and I.
" He is currently the vocal coach for Magenta Theater and Musical Director for Metropolitan Performing Arts Academy, both in Vancouver, WA.

He has traveled the US with The Continental Singers, an international singing group, been a choral director in churches and various performing groups. He has worked as a recording studio engineer, live sound engineer, and theater sound designer.

Don strives to bring out the best in each student. Whether a beginner, intermediate, or advanced student, Don will expand your musical horizon and styles to new levels.

*** Lesson Details ***
All that I request from a student is a desire to learn. I will work with you at your pace to achieve the musical goals you have. Each student begins at a different level.

The first lesson will focus on your musical background. If you are a beginner, that's no problem. I specialize in working with beginning students to teach them all the joy and satisfaction there is in mastering an instrument.

I love to laugh and the lessons are very laid back and fun, but I desire that a student move forward and learn new techniques.

You will be playing simple songs after your first lesson. I'm asked many times by students "how long will it take until I'm good." My answer is: that is in direct proportion to the amount of time you dedicate to practicing. After a month or two, you will know how to read music and have a basic understanding of music theory.

I use various curriculum depending on the student's need. For piano, I generally use Alfred Methods. For guitar, Hal Leonard or Mel Bay. For voice, the curriculum is individually tailored to the students level and goals.

*** Specialties ***
I specialize in theatrical performance for actors/vocalists.
...

Reviews

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Nina C. January 21, 2016
Guitar · In studio
Verified Student
Love it! Easy going, easy to understand, great tips and techniques I can use to get stronger more quickly. Looking forward to next week!
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Robin Villarreal January 21, 2016
Singing · In studio
Verified Student
I was quite nervous trying to sing after many years away from the choir. Don makes your first class friendly and comfortable. I left feeling like he will know exactly what I need. Was great!!!
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Andrea S. November 18, 2015
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
I really enjoyed my lesson with Don. He was very professional, but laid back. He helped me with exactly what I had asked for. I felt comfortable making mistakes. Also, while practicing in between lessons I'm able to contact him with questions.
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Don C.

Don C.

Vancouver, WA 98665
(5)
starting at
$25 / 30-min
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Kelly P.

Portland, OR

I have worked with some of the most critically acclaimed and respected songwriters of our time (including David Byrne, Chris Martin, Weird Al Yankovic, Zach Condon, Annie Clark and others) in addition to my own songwriting (Bright Moments).

About Kelly

After graduating from the University of Kentucky with a degree in music, I moved to New York where I lived for 11 years. I have been a professional multi-instrumentalist since then and a member of many bands including Beirut and Arcade Fire. I have also performed and/or recorded with many others including David Byrne, Passion Pit, Coldplay, and LCD Sound system. I have performed in dozens of countries, at some of the world's biggest festivals (Bonnaroo, Coachella, Glastonbury), and on many television shows (Colbert, Letterman, Fallon).

I have experience in playing and teaching many differen
t styles and can teach you what YOU want to learn. Playing music can be a very rewarding experience, but should also be fun. I can promise you will have fun in our lessons and have fun with music in general.

*** Lesson Details ***
We will focus first and foremost on what you would like to learn on your instrument, whether it be specific songs, styles, or a more general approach to your instrument or music-making. I have taught students of all ages on many different instruments and can work with anyone at any skill level.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Trumpet, flugelhorn, French horn, trombone, euphonium, tuba, flute, clarinet, saxophone, drum kit, keyboards, piano, organ, guitar, bass, ukelele, accordion, mandolin, various synthesizers, various percussion, and recording rig.

*** Travel Equipment ***
I can bring any portable instrument, and any sheet music required for our lesson.

*** Specialties ***
For brass I am a strong proponent of the Carmine Caruso method. As for genres I am most well versed in jazz, rock, and classical.
...

Reviews

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Jesse K. January 19, 2016
Trumpet · In home
Verified Student
Kelly was very positive and reinforced great performance and gently corrected and looked for areas of improvement
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Em November 16, 2015
Trombone · In home
Verified Student
Great first lesson!
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James D. September 1, 2015
Trumpet · In studio
Verified Student
Kelly has a great teaching technique - really knows how to engage my son (13) and keeps him excited about coming back.
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Kelly P.

Kelly P.

Portland, OR 97214
(7)
starting at
$40 / 30-min
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Sean A.

Portland, OR

Particularly excited about doing this one with Kids. I have been writing songs for the past 12 years (I estimate I've written close to 300 songs), and have explored countless methods and techniques. I can show you how to blend the Magic of Songwriting with the Sciene of Songwriting... So that you can keep moving forward even when the "inspiration" isn't there, and how to best capture it when it is.

About Sean

My name is Sean Archer, and I would love to work with you or your kid as an instructor! I have been playing in, recording, and touring with bands for the past 10 years... and also have 3 years experience working in Head Start classrooms. My specialty is kids 6-12, but am comfortable with all ages. I am particularly interested in offering hybrid lessons, where we work on guitar, songwriting and possibly recording all in one.

For young students, I think what sets me apart is my experience working with kids at a variety of different levels. At Head Start I learned how to instruct and guide ki
ds, but most importantly how to find each kids individual style of learning. My focus is always to keep the kids interested and engaged, while ensuring they make the progress they’ll need to maintain their confidence and motivation.

For adult students, my focus is essentially the same. I want to focus on exactly what's important to you, balanced with the skills you'll need to reach your individual goals.
...

Reviews

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Morgan November 5, 2015
Music Recording · In home
Sean is an old roommate of mine who showed me how to record. We would work together on projects (first on 4-track, then Logic) and he showed me how recording can be an artform. He was great at giving me the motivation and skills I needed to start recording on my home. I learned to think of the recording equipment as another instrument, to be okay making mistakes and to find the fun in recording. I would highly recommend Sean for you or your kid who is seeking to learn recording, whether it be for home demos or to professionally record bands.
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Dan November 5, 2015
Guitar · In home
I have known Sean for the past 3 years from our bands playing together, and while I haven't taken lessons from him myself I have learned so much from playing with him, discussing songwriting, and doing recording projects together. Sean has a unique mind when it comes to discussing and teaching songwriting in particular, and I feel he would be a great fit for you or your kid. Go for Sean!
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Sean A.

Sean A.

Portland, OR 97211
(2)
starting at
$28 / 30-min

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Songwriting Lesson Reviews from Students

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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.

The Anatomy of a Hit Pop Song [Infographic]

When you're learning how to write a song, looking at how other songs are structured can be a great place to start. Like looking at a map before you go on a roadtrip, checking out the basic elements of songs you love gives you a sense of how they were written and what you need to do to write a song of your own. If analyzing all your favorite songs sounds like a daunting task (it is), you're in luck. The Billboard Experiment wanted to know if there was a formula that could determine which songs … Read More
The Anatomy of a Hit Pop Song [Infographic]
When you're learning how to write a song, looking at how other songs are structured can be a great place to start. Like looking at a map before you go on a roadtrip, checking out the basic elements of songs you love gives you a sense of how they were written and what you need to do to write a song of your own. If analyzing all your favorite songs sounds like a daunting task (it is), you're in luck. The Billboard Experiment wanted to know if there was a formula that could determine which songs
How To Write a Song Today: 4 Easy Steps
Learning how to write a song is easier than you think! Greeley, CO teacher Andy W. outlines the steps here...  Don’t you wish you could write a song that tells your own story - whether it’s about love, hardships, or finding humor in life? There’s no reason that you can’t do that today! To help get you started, here are four easy steps to writing your own song: 1. Play chords or a riff. 2. Sing or hum over the harmony. 3. Repeat steps 1-2 to form a chorus and then a bridge. 4. Place
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
9 Unusual Love Songs That Are Almost Romantic
Are you in the mood to listen to typical love songs? If so, you're in the wrong place! In this article, you'll get a look at 9 unusual love songs that raise more questions than answers...   We've all heard conventional love songs before; When a Man Loves a Woman by Percy Sledge, Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars, and hundreds of thousands more. But what's so interesting about someone professing their undying love for someone else? Where's the interesting twist? Without giving too
5 Reasons Why Songwriters Should Collaborate
This article was originally published on Soundfly and is being shared as part of Songwriting Week! Join the conversation on social media (#SongwritingWeek) for even more tips, articles, and resources.   So many musicians and songwriters stress the importance of collaboration. But without knowing how collaboration could benefit your work, why would you share an idea you’ve spent countless hours thinking about, only to open yourself up to criticism? As it turns out, all those advice

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