Dennis Benjamin

Dennis B.

Bethesda, MD
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Lesson Details

Guitar

Levels Taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
I teach all levels of guitar in the areas of rock, blues and jazz, but I really focus more on the musical skills need to play guitar in any style. These include a thorough chord vocabulary, experience playing rhythm guitar, and a complete progressive study of scales and their use in improvisation (lead guitar) starting with pentatonic scales and progressing to major scales, different forms of minor scales and modes. All scales are learned in multiple positions and the student learns to perform with them in any key. In every lesson the student and I play exercises and study materials together to make actual music from the materials being studied.
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Dennis teaches

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About

Dennis passed a background check that includes a SSN verification, national criminal record check, and sex offender registry search. Learn More
Dennis delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
and Ages 12+

Teaching since:
January 1987

I have been teaching guitar for 25 years in the Washington DC metro area. I work with students 12 years of age and up, but I am especially experienced at teaching adult students regardless of whether they are beginners or have previous guitar experience. I have performed in acoustic Celtic, new age, funk, progressive rock, fusion and contemporary jazz groups and am currently performing regularly as a solo acoustic guitarist. I have composed over 40 works for solo guitar as well as numerous pieces for small jazz bands. I have played on numerous CDs including my most recent solo CD 'DARK MATTER'.

*** Lesson Details ***
I tailor the lesson materials to suit the interest of the student but I am dedicated to teaching students at any level to learn to better understand the fundamentals of the language of music. My teaching focuses on critical fundamentals of guitar technique including chords, scales and rhythm guitar playing as well as the art of improvisation. A significant amount of time in the lessons is spent actually playing with the students so that the technical concepts are put to use in real music situations. To further the student's understanding of music I frequently teach elements of music theory to those who are interested.

*** Studio Equipment ***
I have guitars and amps available for student use although I prefer that the student bring their own instrument. I also have all the needed accessories, cables, stands etc.

*** Specialties ***
Adult students (and older teenagers ) whether beginners or experienced are a particular specialty of mine. Adult learners want to be treated as adults and often times benefit greatly from a more mentor oriented approach to teaching. I like to describe myself as both a teacher and a coach so as to emphasize that the student and I are on the same team sharing the goal of improving their guitar playing and musicianship. We are both on the same path of musical discovery. I am probably just farther along on that path with insights and knowledge that will hopefully help them along their way.

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Experience

Guitar Instructor
Apr 1987 - Present
Music and Arts Center.

I have taught private guitar lessons for more than 25 years at Music and Arts in McLean Virginia. (I have given more than 25.000 guitar lessons over that period). As a performer I have played in bands in the Washington D.C. metro area and the New York metro area in various styles including folk/ new age, celtic, progressive rock, funk and contemporary jazz. I have composed numerous jazz songs and over 30 pieces for solo guitar. I also recently co-authored the book 'GETTING MUSIC' , a practical guide to music theory for popular styles of contemporary music.

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Education

Bachelor of Music, Jazz Studies, (Summa Cum Laude)
Sep 1987 - Jun 1991
Howard University, Washington D.C.

Photos & Videos

Photo by Dennis B.

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Photo by Dennis B.

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14 Reviews

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Jennifer W. Aug 23, 2017
Guitar · In studio

Dennis is a friendly and kompetent teacher and I am looking forward to his next lesson!

Thalia Jun 30, 2017
Guitar · In studio

Dennis was an excellent teacher. He is incredibly talented and his passion for music is contagious. Dennis was also very patient and understanding. He meets you where you're at, and is able to address any questions or difficulties you might encounter. I enjoyed every lesson!

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Juan Martin May 31, 2017
Guitar · In studio

Dennis has been my guitar teacher since May 2014, but he has really been much more than that. He has a great ability to create lessons that help you to understand the musical context behind the chords and notes. In the process of learning, you find yourself wanting to explore music theory and practice (not really two separate things in Dennis' world) even more, and I can honestly that I have learned so much not just from the guitar lessons themselves but but also from our conversations about music. If you want to make a long-term investment in learning the language of music and how it manifests itself on the fretboard and the vibrations of six steel/nylon strings, then I would recommend buying some of this stock!

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Michael Brannan Apr 15, 2017
Guitar · In studio

Lessons have really helped my playing, Dennis is a good guy.

Alexander Miller Mar 8, 2017
Guitar · In studio

I'm 66 years old and I believe that Dennis is one of the most effective teachers in any field that I have experienced. I'm sure he is equally effective with any age level, but I know he is superb at teaching adult students. His approach to teaching makes it clear that he has a " roadmap" to learning the guitar that is much more effective and rewarding than just learning random chords. He is engaging, personable, supportive and very patient. I look forward to every lesson and I always leave energized and eager to work on the "next milestone" of the journey. I honestly cannot recommend him highly enough.

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Linda H. Feb 2, 2017
Guitar · In studio

I am a former singer and keyboard player who is trying to learn a new instrument, the guitar, and I just had my first lesson with Dennis last night. He is extremely knowledgeable and personable, and he made many great suggestions to counteract problems I was having. I love the exercises he gave me, which were designed to build on my own musicality (but which could build on anyone's innate and acquired knowledge of music), and am very much looking forward to the next lesson.

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Sam Sep 20, 2016
Guitar · In home

Dennis is the fourth guitar teacher I have had over the past 8 or so years. As a casual guitar player signing up for Dennis' lessons, I simply wanted to enjoy playing the instrument while also improving my technique. Having taken lessons with him for about a year now, I can confidently say that both of these goals have been fulfilled. My technique has definitely improved with Dennis more so than it had with any of my past teachers. Not only is he a good teacher, but he is also just an all around chill, good guy. I always look forward to my weekly lesson.

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Andrew McGehee Mar 4, 2016
Guitar · In studio

Dennis is professional, knowledgeable, and easily constructs a lesson plan tailored to your needs. Would recommend!

Clay Jones Dec 3, 2015
Guitar · In home

After the first lesson I can tell this is going to go great! Dennis is very personable and easy to talk to, and communicate with. It is immediately apparent that he has a wealth of knowledge not just about guitar, but about music theory in general and I am so excited for what I will learn!

Also, he has a lovely home and his wife is so nice :) I felt right at home.

I definitely recommend Dennis to anyone who is considering lessons.

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Thomas P. Jul 2, 2015
Guitar · In studio

Dennis is a great teacher, he is effective, patient, passionate, I could not be happier, he has an excellent teaching style made me improve a lot. Highly recommended

Ana C. May 28, 2015
Guitar · In studio

I found his teaching style very clear and rewarding; his approach seems to be especially effective for adults. He has sustained my attention for a long time, and has been very responsive to my learning needs (including special projects and questions) while keeping a very clear roadmap for learning music and the instrument.
He obviously has great musical talent, and his explanations and demonstrations are very clear. He has been super flexible and adaptable schedule-wise.
Overall, a pleasant, enriching and rewarding experience. Highly recommended!

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Edward M. Apr 24, 2015
Guitar · In studio

Dennis is a real musician and a great teacher.

David G. Dec 15, 2013
Guitar ·

fabulous teacher

Dennis is a wonderful teacher. His extensive knowledge of all forms of music comes through in his teaching skills. He is extremely patient and understanding as we work through pieces. I started taking classes as an adult in retirement, with past experience limited to a few chords learned way back in high school. We're now well into number of beautiful classical pieces, I've gained a significant knowledge of music theory, and we've just now starting to tackle the blues !!. I may have eclectic tastes, but Dennis feels very comfortable with it and loves teaching all types of music. I know I'm in the hands of a master musician and teacher.

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Marilyn W. Dec 9, 2013
Guitar ·

If you are serious about learning this instrument, you couldn't find a better teacher.

Dennis is extraordinary in all ways: He knows about all there is to know about harmony; he can pinpoint and diagnose exactly what difficulty a student might be having and then explain how to overcome it; he is a talented composer and improvisor; and above all, in whatever genre he chooses to play, he is simply a beautiful musician.

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