Portland Songwriting Lessons

Looking for private in-home or in-studio Songwriting lessons? Our Portland teachers are ready to get you started. Find your teacher today!

Use your current location
Featured On

Why TakeLessons?

Our teachers have taught
1 , 2 6 2 , 4 4 8
lessons and counting!

Popular Songwriting Teachers Near Portland

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

Showing 5 of 20 results View More
423308_rjd253cw8dd5fdw3fwkm

Jon L.

Portland, OR

Songwriting is the wider lens on making music. Should I have a riff here, or another chorus? Should I even follow a traditional song structure? Making sure the words and music work together to tell the story you want is the heart of songwriting.

About Jon

Out of all instruments, the sound of the violin is the closest to the human voice. Small wonder it is one of the oldest instruments still being played and it's tones can fit in to almost any style of music.

Learning the violin from me can include violin fundamentals such as bow use and finger placement, reading music notation, lead sheets, and playing by ear. All of these are skills that come into play at different times depending on what your goals are. A combination of these skills will give you a foundation of music knowledge that will serve you regardless of what style of music you w
ant to play. Specific styles I've worked with are: Classical, Irish, Bluegrass, Rock and Symphonic Metal.

In addition to playing violin, I write and arrange music. My song "The Burning Plain" won a national award for songwriting. If writing songs is your goal I can help you apply music theory concepts is ways that will make your songs stand out.

I tailor lessons to my students goals. I emphasize technique fundamentals, and help students apply the techniques they learn toward music they enjoy playing, or composing.
...

Reviews

Silhouette-80
Jean June 30, 2015
Violin · In home
Jon is an excellent instructor who teaches music theory, technique in a fun way. He is very versatile in and knowledgeable about different music styles.
Silhouette-80
Cassey B. June 14, 2015
Violin · In home
Verified Student
Jon is a great violin teacher! I wanted to pick the violin back up after nearly 20 years and he's helped me get back into the swing of things. He is enthusiastic and patient and keeps me motivated to practice. l feel I improve every week.

I highly recommend Jon to anyone who wants to get back into violin!
Silhouette-80
Emily S. October 4, 2014
Violin · In studio
Verified Student
Jon is a wonderful teacher! I have been playing violin all my life but never learned theory. I told Jon what I wanted to learn, and every week he has something prepared that helps me learn just what I want. He is patient and encouraging. When I bring something in that I want to work on, not on his lesson plan, we spend time on that too. I am very pleased with my lessons with Jon. And he's nice, fun, and friendly.
View More
View Profile
Jon L.

Jon L.

Portland, OR 97225
(5)
starting at
$35 / 30-min
214778_177797_1307390255

Chuck M.

Portland, OR

About Chuck

Chuck recently moved to Portland, Oregon from Gainesville, Florida, where he was a staple 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 grandmot
her.

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 with 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

418927_88y5ytpb5pfwl2vcg8wn
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.
190184_418548_42186
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!
Silhouette-80
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!
View More
View Profile
Chuck M.

Chuck M.

Portland, OR 97212
(8)
starting at
$25 / 30-min
Profile_228997_64b6jbhsvt55lcqffxny

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 14 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

Silhouette-80
Kelley G. August 4, 2014
Guitar · In studio
Verified Student
I have taken guitar lessons from Peter for a year and a half now, and I wholeheartedly recommend him to any child - or adult, like me - for the highest quality music lessons!

When I researched the TakeLessons website (and others), I looked for an instructor with a strong music background and saw that Peter had a degree in Jazz Studies and Composition from University of Oregon. He has been teaching for a number of years now, and can teach any style of music, including classical. He incorporates music theory into each lesson - very important if you want to learn how to play, improvise or write music. For those students who want to perform, Peter has lots of experience in that arena too, regularly touring with his band and teaming up with other musicians as well.

Peter's an enthusiastic teacher who takes his lessons seriously, and it is absolutely evident how much he loves music. He's exceedingly patient and supportive, and always gives plenty of positive feedback. He taught me how to practice properly, which doesn't mean playing a piece over and over, but rather breaking it down into sections - or even a measure or two - in order to perfect an awkward chord change or erratic rhythm. But perhaps most important is that he doesn't rush through the lesson; he makes certain you understand a technical point, or makes sure you're able to play a finger exercise correctly before he moves on to the next thing.

I've had numerous music instructors over the years in elementary, high school, college and beyond and Peter is without question one of the best teachers I've ever had. He's an incredible musician and a superb instructor. And a pretty terrific human being as well!
243482_n58s5nnjvz4xvmvfpd3b
david G. February 18, 2013
Guitar
Verified Student
fun lessons!

Peter's a good teacher, smiling in the face of terrible, broken chords! The lessons are really enjoyable. Peter picks a suitable selection of music where each new piece builds on the past progress. I would recommend him to anyone.
View More
View Profile
Peter M.

Peter M.

Portland, OR 97217
(2)
starting at
$22 / 30-min
340755_mwz4wdsfrkpb682bldl7

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

Silhouette-80
Pat F. August 2, 2015
Trumpet · In studio
Verified Student
Very sharp player with lots of experience, and more importantly, a really solid teaching instinct for pushing me to improve without overwhelming. Would definitely recommend!
Silhouette-80
Evan H. July 14, 2015
Saxophone · In home
Verified Student
Great first lesson!
Silhouette-80
Evan H. July 14, 2015
Saxophone · In home
Verified Student
Great first lesson!
View More
View Profile
Kelly P.

Kelly P.

Portland, OR 97214
(4)
starting at
$40 / 30-min
Profile_76276_pi_smile

Adam T.

Portland, OR

I have been writing songs for over ten years. In college, I studied songwriting and music theory. I have developed my own way of approaching the craft of arrangement and composition, and continue to improve upon it. I will impart this information to you in easily digestible lessons, focusing on what you want to learn.

About Adam

Hello there! Thank you for taking the time to look at my profile.

My name is Adam and I am a bright, energetic, fun-loving twenty-eight year old. I did my undergraduate studies at Brown University, getting a bachelor of science in Psychology. I am currently finishing a Master's in Basic Medical Sciences at Wayne State University. I have a broad range of subjects that I like to teach and that I am interested about.

I started tutoring in my free time, about a decade ago. I have primarily focused on teaching immigrant youth, but I like to help anyone who is eager to learn.

Thank you for
taking the time to read my profile. I wish you all the success in your endeavors.

Sincerely,
Adam
...

Reviews

Silhouette-80
Mark August 23, 2015
Guitar · In home
He wants to teach what the student wants to learn, weather that is how to do basic chords, popular songs, how to write songs, and everything in between. I would definitely recommend him to anyone who enjoys freedom and flexibility in lesson progression.
Silhouette-80
Kevin C. August 10, 2015
Songwriting · In home
Adam kind of blew my mind. First of all, he had me send an MP3 of the song I wanted to work on before the lesson. He sent me back some brief notes, which I was able to start incorporating into my pre-lesson practice. By the time we actually did the lesson, the song was already in much better shape. The lesson itself was super impressive. Adam was efficient with our time and kept us moving, so we covered a lot of ground - basically all of the essential elements of the song. At the same time, there was space for me to ask questions. Just a really professional and really great guy.
Silhouette-80
Andrew August 8, 2015
Piano · In studio
Terrific teacher! I took piano lessons from Adam for about 6 months when I was learning piano and had a great time. He's a really talented musician but more importantly can really break things down to basic concepts and teach difficult concepts in simple terms. Definitely recommend him to anyone learning an instrument for the first time.
View More
View Profile
Adam T.

Adam T.

Portland, OR 97225
(7)
starting at
$15 / 30-min

How it Works

From finding the perfect teacher to managing payments, scheduling and tracking your progress,
we take care of all the details, so you can focus on learning. Learn More

Search for a teacher

Compare hundreds of teachers based on the criteria that matter to you, including background checks, age and experience.

Schedule your lessons

When you've found the perfect match, schedule your lessons online using the teacher's real-time availability.

GetStarted
BrowseListings

Connect with your teacher

Your teacher will welcome you with a personalized curriculum to meet your specific goals and you'll be able to manage your entire schedule through our free online account.

Can't find a teacher in Portland?

No problem. Our online lesson platform connects you with any teacher, anywhere. All you
need is a reliable Internet connection, a webcam and a microphone.

 
Online

Convenient

Zero travel time is great for a busy schedule.

Affordable

Typically priced lower than local lessons.

Effective

Online students stick with lessons as long as local students.

Learn More

Songwriting Lesson Reviews from Students

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

Get Started With Free Resources

Recent Songwriting Articles from the Blog

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

Are You Really Ready To Record Your Song Or Book A Vocal Session?

Think you're ready to write your own song and record it? Songwriting can be an arduous process - but seeing the final product is an amazing feeling. Read on for a helpful pre-recording checklist from Perth Amboy, NJ teacher Jeff S...   Whether you're singing your own song or hiring a vocalist to sing on your demo or master, there are many layers of preparation needed to ensure optimum results. Some songwriters like to wing it and hope that things will magically work out because th … Read More
Are You Really Ready To Record Your Song Or Book A Vocal Session?
Think you're ready to write your own song and record it? Songwriting can be an arduous process - but seeing the final product is an amazing feeling. Read on for a helpful pre-recording checklist from Perth Amboy, NJ teacher Jeff S...   Whether you're singing your own song or hiring a vocalist to sing on your demo or master, there are many layers of preparation needed to ensure optimum results. Some songwriters like to wing it and hope that things will magically work out because th
25 Ways to Break Free from Songwriters' Block
Every songwriter runs into writers' block at some point in their career. To help you dig your way out of the dreaded doldrums of songwriters' block, we put together 25 songwriting tips and prompts plus great songs to inspire you. Check out these songwriting tips and find your muse today! Write about your day. Think your life is boring and you have nothing to say? Check out the lyrics to this Courtney Barnett song and think again. She starts "Small Poppies" by describing a yard a
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
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
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

Are You a Teacher?

Find out how TakeLessons can help you grow and manage your business

Learn More