- Levels Taught:
- Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
- Teaches students:
- Ages 18+
- Teaching since:
- January 2005
Hello! My name is Allen and I've been playing guitar for 16 years, and teaching for the past 10. I've been performing and writing since the age of 16 with bands in many styles. I'm originally from Santa Maria, CA, and I obtained my knowledge of music theory, performance, and songwriting skills from taking private lessons in the central coast at a place called Coelho's Academy of Music. Our head instructor, Jerry Coelho, was a student of the late Howard Roberts and was one of the first graduating students to who helped to establish Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT), currently known as The Musicians Institute. After dedicating 4 years of private lessons under Jerry and his other top instructors, my hard work payed off and I was given the opportunity take students of my own. For the following two years, I've managed to consistently teach 40 students per week. I decided to move forward and take my musical experience with me to San Diego, where I currently teach, write, record, and perform my music with others who have similar goals and aspirations. I love playing in as many bands as possible. The main one I play in is called Quel Bordel. Some of the bands I've played in have given me the opportunity to perform with local and big named artists such as D.J. Artistic, Gary Wilson of Stones Throw Records, The Aristocrats, Terry Bozzio, Alan Holdsworth, and Tony Levin. As a full time musician and performer, I'm typically out gigging anywhere from 2-5 a week. As a teacher, I'm here to help you with where you want to be with guitar. Whether it's rock, pop, funk, hip hop, reggae, jazz, blues, indie, folk, and country, I can help you with the technical and theoretical side of things.
*** Lesson Details ***
My goal- To get you to become better than me. I find myself as an easy going teacher, and can provide that push when I see students getting more engaged in their lessons. I typically teach out of two main books, and it's optional for students to have their own copy of my recommended method books. I emphasize heavy chord vocabulary and steady rhythm. I believe that in order to be a good lead player, you would have to be a great rhythm player. As we develop technique, you can expect me to incorporate theory as to maintain an even share of the HOW's and WHY's. Moreover, expect to DO something with our lessons. Repetition is the mother of learning, and sometimes it comes down to the idea of 'monkey see, monkey do' before we can have in depth conversations about the application of your lessons in real situations. To me, music is very creative. So I'm a big believer on improvisation with both chords and scales. I believe in practical application when learning the songs you want to learn. So every student will have a unique way of learning the fundamentals only necessary to their personal goals.
*** Studio Equipment ***
Two small practice amps, cables, method books (personal copies), extra picks, extra guitar, music stand, blank sheet music/tabs for notes, extra strings, music stand, metronome, tuner
*** Travel Equipment ***
Music stand, extra guitar (if needed), blank staff/tab paper, tuner, metronome, battery powered amp, cables, extra strings (if needed), picks
*** Specialties ***
I primarily use Hal Leonard method books for beginners when it comes to reading and basic technique. For those who want to learn at the intermediate/advance level, I use the book called Jazz and Pop Guitar (chords and progressions) and Scales and Modes in the Beginning which can cover all aspects of chord theory and improvisation. I model my curriculum off of my prior lesson plans from my teachers ( based off of Berklee and GIT) My genres specialize in rock, funk, jazz, indie rock, folk, country, blues, pop
excellent instruction - great mix of theory, and applied skills. Very good at adjusting instruction for student skill and interest level
I’ve taken lessons from Allen for almost two years. He is an excellent instructor. He is knowledgeable, patient, and talented, as well as flexible with scheduling. I highly recommend him as a teacher.
My daughter is very shy which is why she won't try new things very often. However, after her first lesson with Allen she was excited. She said he made the lesson very fun and made her very comfortable. She learned her first two chords and is eager to practice transitioning between the chords and is looking forward to her next lesson with Allen.+ Read More
Allen is terrific!!!! Patient and clear he does a great job of connecting with my 7 year old. They are making ALOT of progress.
Allen's an awesome teacher. He definitely knows his stuff and he's a well-rounded guitar player. He's really easy going and doesn't ever make you feel intimidated or dumb asking questions. He's really helping in bringing my guitar playing to the next level.+ Read More
Allen is a very knowledgeable, kind and patient instructor with a laid-back and hands-on approach to teaching the guitar. I have already taken few sessions with him and see quite a bit of improvement, and I always look forward to my next class. I recommend Allen to everyone who feels the passion for learning the guitar at any level.+ Read More
Great instructor. Very patient and encouraging.
Allen is great! He is very adaptable and friendly, without being so loose that the lessons feel unstructured. He is a talented musician who will play WITH his students at their level to ensure musical growth and inspire confidence. Maybe the best thing about him, though, is how sincere he comes across in his love of music, complements and encouragement.+ Read More
I'm a total beginner with no experience on any instrument. I don't know have anything to compare to but I'm pretty sure Alan is an outstanding instructor. He got me from the basic understanding of a timing signature to through various strumming techniques to playing a song on my first lesson.
I've had several lessons now and am able to play several of the songs in the awesome song book he sent. Not only can I pluck them but I can strum them in various ways to create different vibes. I honestly didn't think I'd be progressing this fast and I'm pretty sure it's simply because Alan is awesome at explaining things with a combination of techniques.
He draws on paper to show the score / theory and then he demonstrates - starting very slow at first. Then he speeds up to regular time for a moment. Then he slows down and we play together. By watching and following what he does everything just seems to come together.
Alan is obviously a gifted musician. I imagine he would be an awesome instructor for even experienced folks.
His apartment is centrally located with ample street parking during the day. I went for a lesson once at night and the parking was kind of tight. Just allow time to walk a block or so. The lesson is definitely worth the walk and the neighborhood is nice.
He gives lessons in his living room which is very comfortable. He uses apps on his phone and a tablet in addition to paper that he scores during the lesson. You get to take the score home to practice from, which is awesome. He also takes video of his demos and emails them to you after the lesson so you can review during practice.
Alan is really nice and does a good job or encouraging me to practice and participate in the ukulele community, which is a lot of fun and highly motivational.
Great first lesson for my daughter. Not only did she learn chords but also the history of the instrument!
Excellent teacher. Great with Kids.
Allen is very kind patient and extremely great with kids. My daughter (6) looks forward to seeing Allen via Skype. Allen is always flexible, encouraging and surprises me with his ability to connect with my daughter right where she's at.
Very flexible and encouraging. Easy to learn from and super creative and fun!
He gave me courage, he inspired me.. Thank you Allen!!
Great teaching concept.
I've been taking guitar lessons with Allen for a little more than a month and already I can see benefits. I've played for about 20 years on and off and had some lessons in the past, but Allen has really been able to teach in a clear, understandable way that opened my eyes to certain concepts that I struggled with in the past. He is very patient,knowledgeable and encouraging and a nice guy to study with.
Working with Allen D. has been an incredible experience. I studied guitar as a child, but my experiences were not good, and although I never lost interest in guitar completely, I did lose enthusiasm for my studies. Things are so different since finding Take Lessons and specifically working with Allen D.. Each lesson sparks my enthusiasm for guitar and music more and more. I have learned more in the short time I've been working with Allen D. than I did after years of lessons elsewhere. Allen is patient, extremely knowledgable, and makes learning fun. I look forward to my lessons each week. Best of all, I am actually playing and understanding music!
Great Ukulele Teacher
I have no stringed instrument experience and no background in music theory, but Allen taught me both. Allen recognized that with my scientific background I would do much better if he broke it down with music theory. He was very patient and understanding of my lack of music knowledge and taught me in a way that suited my learning preferences and it because of it I have learned a few songs on the ukulele and he even helped me write a song myself!
Overall, a great teacher.