Eric Justen

Eric J.

Elgin, IL

Lesson Details

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Eric teaches



Eric delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 5+ and special needs

Teaching since:
January 2003

I'm Eric and I own a Music Lesson Studio in Elgin, IL.

I specialize in working with beginners of any age as well as advanced students who are interested in taking their playing to the next level. Here are some of the things I like to focus on.

Child beginners: Learning to read music. Building confidence and self esteem through learning to play guitar. General music education. Teaching children songs they enjoy to listen to.

Adult Beginners: Learning to play popular rock songs. Chord strumming. Having a nice, relaxing, no pressure lesson.

Advanced students: Learning to read music at a professional level. Lead guitar. Jazz improvisation.

I'm a professional, full time musician and educator and my guitar has been paying my bills my entire adult life. I have real world, professional experience playing and teaching guitar as well as bass guitar, drums, piano, mandolin and more on countless gigs here in Northern, IL. I teach between 30-50 private students per week. I have taught hundreds of students in the past 12 years how to reach their musical goals. I've played tons of theater. I played guitar, mandolin, and drums as a swing musician for the Chicago Production of Jersey Boys at the Bank of America Theater in 2008. In 2014 I played a lot theater gigs for local productions such as Little Shop of Horrors (bass), Hands on a Hardbody (Guitar, Steel/Slide) and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat (guitar). I grew up as a gigging rock n roll/blues guitar player, but my heart is in jazz. I am confident and fluent in, and have gigged most styles of guitar playing.

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Lead Guitar Player
Jun 2015 - Present
The Tripping Billies

Last year I joined the one of the hippest bands in the midwest, the Tripping Billies. It's a Dave Matthews tribute band. They send me around the country playing a ton of really great tunes and I get to play with some amazing musicians!

May 2013 - Present
Private Studio

This is my private studio in Elgin, IL. It's my home away from home. My studio is probably one of the best outfitted private lesson studios in the area. I keep tons of instruments on hand. Multiple guitars, basses, mandolins, ukes, etc! I also like to keep an electronic drum set and piano set up there for when students want to learn on a new instrument. It has a fully functional recording studio so we have a lot of fun recording students lessons for them to take home. my studio is my favorite place to be and I think you'll have fun there too!

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Bass Player
Jan 2013 - Present
Word to Your Mother - Chicago's Premier 90's Cover Band

Word to Your Mother is the best 90's tribute band around. I was their go-to bass sub for years and now I play for them as a full time member. It's a great show that's suitable for all ages and plays all your favorite hits from your favorite decade.

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Jan 2010 - Present

A 'jobber' is a musician who pays his bills by taking any gig he can. It's kind of romantic if you ask me... The jobber gets a call when a regular band member can't make the gig. You call him because he's really good and can adapt to any style and is easy to get along with. He's a musicians' musician. One night he's playing jazz in a smokey club and the next he's playing Lady Gaga cover tunes for a corporate event. He slips in, plays like a champ, gets his check and slips back into the night, only to resurface for the next gig.

I am a jobber. Do you need a jazz player to sit in with a saxophonist for cocktail hour at your wedding? You hire me. Do you need someone to learn a hundred 80's pop tunes for a last minute retro gig? You still need me. Are you a rap artist from the South side who needs someone to play funky drums at a club in the city? ...yep...I'm still your guy.

Much of my performing work is of the 'jobbing' variety. I am a musical gun for hire and as a result I've played tons of gigs on every end of the musical spectrum. The list is long and not worth listing here but let's just say I've gigged pretty much every instrument and every style apart from brass/wind/and orchestral strings.

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Lead Guitar Chair for Beehive: The 60's Musical
Jun 2015 - Aug 2015
Raue Center for the Arts - Crystal Lake, IL

We just wrapped this show in August. I played the guitar chair with some amazing musicians by my side. The show is a jukebox musical featuring female fronted pop songs from the 60s. It was a blast to play. I always love working with the crew at the Raue Center. I've uploaded some pics from the show below.

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Guitar/Slide/ Dobro Chair
Nov 2014 - Dec 2014
Hands on a Hardbody - Crystal Lake Raue Center Production

This one has a funny story behind it. Hands on a Hardbody is a two guitar show. I was assigned guitar book 2 but was mailed guitar book 1 by mistake. I didn't find out until I met the other guitar player and we were both confused why we had the same book. Turns out guitar book 2 is all slide guitar, dobro and pedal steel and other 'country' type guitar parts. Being someone who doesn't know how to play a lick of pedal steel, I naturally panicked.

I adapted all the pedal steel to my electric as best I could. I learned to play a dobro properly and built my own lapsteel guitar specifically for the gig. Between the last minute scrambling to master an instrument I've never played and the experience of building my own lapsteel guitar I think it's safe to say this gig as a kooky, unusual and awesome place in my heart.

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Music Instructor
Jan 2003 - Dec 2014
Dr. Woods Guitar Emporium

Best little shop in the burbs. This place was my stomping ground as a kid and I was honored to serve them as a full time instructor for more than ten years. I even managed a 'Rock University' program there for young musicians to jam after school!

Bass Guitar
Oct 2014 - Oct 2014
Little Shop of Horrors - Woodstock Opera House Production

What a fun gig. I don't take a lot of theater gigs on bass but I just HAD to take this one because the material is really fun to play and I really wanted to get a selfie with the big talking plant at the end of the show! Joey Z was my musical director and he's probably my favorite person to be conducted by!

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Swing Musician on Guitar, Drums, and Mandolin
Jul 2008 - Oct 2008
Jersey Boys - Chicago Production

Back in 2008 there was a nasty rumor going around Chicago that I was friendly, knew how to play well, and was rarely late for a I got a call to do work on probably the biggest theater production country at the time! What a blast. I got to play with...and make some mistakes in front of the best players in the entire region. The 17 shows I played are some of my fondest musical memories.

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B.S. Political Science
Jan 2006 - Jul 2009
Northern Illinois University
B.S. Political Science
Sep 2004 - Dec 2008
Northern Illinois University
Jazz Studies
Aug 2004 - Jul 2006
McHenry County College


Fluent / Native Proficiency
Limited Proficiency

Photos & Videos

Photo by Eric J.

I went through a Pat Martino phase a last year :)
Check out my youtube channel where you can see me perform pretty much any style of music from metal to jazz.

-Eric Justen
Rock N Roll Gig!

Playing jazz at weddings puts me out of focus...

Behind stage with my fellow put musicians at the Raue Center for the Arts in Crystal Lake, IL.

Another theater gig shot with my homemade lapsteel guitar.

More theater!!!! This was my office during the Hands on Hardbody run in Crystal Lake, IL.

Jobbing it with my good friend Josh at a wine bar in the suburbs.
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13 Reviews

Write a Review
Onkarpreet Oct 14, 2018
Guitar · In studio

Fantastic teacher

Rob Apr 24, 2017
Acoustic Guitar · In studio

He did a good job making guitar interesting.

Josh Aug 4, 2016
Guitar · In studio

My son is thrilled. Eric was friendly, funny and patient. Josh is so excited for his next lesson.

J.R. M. Jun 29, 2016
Guitar · In studio

I met with Eric at his studio in Elgin, and he was extremely friendly and welcoming. He gave me a very good and informational lesson on some specific musical questions I had about progressing in my saxophone career. He gave me specific instructions on places to visit, useful websites, and names of people. This information may seem trivial, but I was at a personal stopping point on some issues, and Eric provided the tools for me to continue. I highly recommend Eric to anyone looking to learn what it means to be a professional.

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James D. Feb 8, 2016
Guitar · In studio

Great teacher. He is knowledgeable and patient with kids.

Eric H. Feb 4, 2016
Guitar · In studio

Great instructor if you ever need lessons you should definitely call him!

Michael S. Dec 13, 2015
Guitar · In studio

He is very patient with my beginner teen student. He also knows how to make the lesson fun by having them learn simple songs they know right away. Keeps them interested.

PAOLA LORCH Dec 7, 2015
Guitar · In studio

Eric is a great teacher!

Gina H. Aug 21, 2015
Guitar · In home

Eric teaches my 9 year old daughter who can sometimes lose focus. She is just learning (six weeks in) and he's been great about teaching her fun songs she knows and now he's progressed into teaching her to read music. He's great about balancing the fun with the learning to keep her engaged! I'm learning things too!

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Kim M. Aug 20, 2015
Guitar · In studio

Eric is very enthusiastic and does a great job of building his lessons around the student's music interest.

Guitar · In studio

Very comfortable atmosphere, Eric listened and tailored lessons to my needs

Jeremy Y. Mar 17, 2015
Guitar · In studio

Taking lessons with Eric is awesome. He shows me how to play my favorite songs but he also shows me how to understand the music theory behind the songs. This makes learning songs so much easier. Eric always finds a way to keep me learning the things I SHOULD know while teaching me the stuff I WANT to know.

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Mike H. Mar 17, 2015
Guitar · In studio

Lessons with Eric provided me with the tools I needed to become a more complete musician – not just a better guitarist. In broad strokes, I read music, developed a much better ear, learned how to construct chords, got exposure to the Real Book, possessed a nice repertoire of scales, and could tackle songs without the assistance of tabs after taking lessons from Eric for a few years. The structure of each lesson built on previous material and can be presented at any pace; Eric's attention to detail makes sure every student masters the material to the best of his or her ability before moving on to a more advanced topic, which helps ensure legitimate progress is made lesson-to-lesson. Eric's emphasis on music theory and jazz allowed me to pick up the piano rather easily, and dynamic lessons where he got behind a drum kit to teach me odd time signatures helped me develop a fantastic sense of timing and the confidence to sit behind the drums as well.

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