Geoff Sawyer
Fairfax, VA
Profile-background-check Background Check
This teacher successfully passed a thorough criminal background check with SterlingBackcheck. This badge verifies trusted teacher status.
Geoff Sawyer

Geoff S.

Fairfax, VA
Profile-background-check Background Check
This teacher successfully passed a thorough criminal background check with SterlingBackcheck. This badge verifies trusted teacher status.
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Experienced in playing many guitar styles, including rock, folk, classical, jazz, blues, etc.. Experienced in teaching guitar for over 30 years.
Studied Classical Guitar with John Marlow (AU) and Larry Schnitzler (GMU). Studied Jazz Guitar with Rick Whitehead (GMU) and Roger McKinley (Guitar Shop in DC). Recording experience on numerous albums or CD.

About Geoff S.

I played on a toy piano when I was very young, learning a bit of sight reading from my Mother, while listening to classical, jazz, and rock music. When I was 12, I learned guitar and later took private piano lessons from a prominent Philadelphia instructor. After playing in a rock band in high school, I went to college and received my degree in Physics. During this time, I joined a choir, and sang and played guitar in a contemporary vocal group where I became the lead guitarist and vocal arranger, and later became the director. I also played guitar in my church, as well as in a small folk group, performing music of the Beatles, Bacharach, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and many others. I also played or sung in a number of weddings during my college days.

Upon graduation, I moved to the DC area to work in the engineering field, while simultaneously pursuing my music ambition. I studied classical guitar at American University with John Marlow, a student of the great Andres Segovia, and also studied jazz guitar with a former student of a prominent jazz guitarist, Pat Martino. Additionally, I sang in choirs and studied composition privately with Russel Woolen, a prominent Washington area composer and performer from Catholic University, I also began to teach at an area performing arts academy.

My most long-term experiences in music have been serving in my local church for over 30 years, either playing guitar (acoustic, electric, bass), piano, or arranging vocals in a contemporary worship band. I also started a church choir, and led both choir and small orchestra in a number of special performances. Additionally, I led congregational worship in different scenarios. During this time I also taught students of all ages guitar, piano, and music theory, and have continued to today in helping students to find their musical potential and pursue their musical ambitions.

I have since retired from my engineering career so I can use my musical gifts in my local church and teach, compose, and perform music as a second career. I have completed my Masters of Music degree at George Mason University, and continue to play with other musicians there. I continued guitar studies with Larry Snitzler (classical) and Rick Whitehead (jazz), and composition with Dr. Glen Smith. More importantly, I continue to learn how to better teach others of all ages how to grow in all aspects of music-making.

*** Lesson Details ***
Having taught for many years, my approach is flexible and I can adjust my teaching style and/or curriculum to maximize the student's potential for learning at any age. I encourage disciplined practice while working to make learning music an enjoyable experience. Although I specialize in guitar styles, I also teach piano, and can include music theory, sight reading, composition, and how to improvise on any instrument. I have taught improvisation on a number of different instruments such as violin, cello, flute, and clarinet.

Here are some testimonials from present or former students/parents:

"Mr. S. is very earnest; when he gives you a compliment, you can tell he really means it. He's very patient and experienced and skilled and he is willing to take what he's teaching down to my level to help me understand it." Gregory K., age 10
Geoff is a patient and encouraging instructor. He tailored my lessons towards the skills that I needed. He provides the necessary encouragement when the long hours of practice seem impossible to sustain. I could write a book about Geoff's credentials: highly qualified is an understatement. -- Neal B.
Mr. S. is awesome at playing and teaching guitar, and he is nice and helps you. -- Michael B., age 12
œI'm sure I could learn to ˜Play Guitar Today™ using books and videos, but I think I'm on the right track with private one-on-one instruction. “ Linda H.
The guitar lessons are fun, interactive, and instructive. A great way to make learning a delight!“ Gina R., parent

*** Studio Equipment ***
Office at home w/ keyboard and guitars, white board, seating for parents

*** Travel Equipment ***
I provide self-produced instructional material.
Students provide their own instrument and a folder to store instructional material.

*** Specialties ***
I teach any style of guitar, including classical and jazz. I also teach improvisation or "playing by ear" on any instrument; my experience includes piano, violin, cello, clarinet, and flute.
I'm very familiar with 60's music (e.g., Beatles)
I've performed a lot of folk music, rock music, and classical music
I've played classical guitar and in classical and jazz ensembles at weddings and other special events.


Write a Review
14 Reviews
Profile-location-home Student's Home

I totally enjoyed my class with Geoff. We immediately started my lesson with tuning the ukulele. Then we went over the cords and strumming. I have been researching on playing the ukulele and his explanation on the strumming was a lot better than the book. He is teaching me how to play by listening to the notes which is great because I would be able to play the Hawaiian music for my hula classes. In addition, his studio is only a 5 minute drive from my house, which means I don’t have to deal with traffic.

Posted Dec 31, 2018
Bill Smoot
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

great understanding of what I know and how to improve! Experienced instructor

Posted Jul 24, 2018
McKinley Dyer
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Geoff is great! Really knows what he’s doing. I’ve learned a lot in the three weeks that I’ve been working with him.

Posted Jan 17, 2018
Gordon Lu
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

hope there is more effort in teaching.

Posted Oct 11, 2017
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Geoff puts you at ease, he listens. Teaches to your skill level. I'm actually looking forward to the next class. I haven't looked forward to picking up a guitar in years and now I'm jazzed

Posted Jul 28, 2017
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Excellent instructor. Knows how to keep you engaged even when you have no musical experience at all.

Posted Jul 6, 2017
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Good lesson. Geoff immediately recognized things I can do to improve my techniques.

Posted Dec 2, 2016
Adam B.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Geoff is very experienced and knows how to work with my son. He responds well to feedback and is a quiet, gentle instructor. My son enjoys his lessons and is improving on the guitar.

Posted Mar 11, 2016
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Geoff has been excellent (my daughter is the student). He teaches theory and tailors his instruction to match skill level while challenging her to reach the next level.

Posted Mar 8, 2016
Natasha W.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Geoff is great and very patient!!

Posted Feb 10, 2016
Stuart R.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Great first lesson! Geoff is very knowledgable and gave me some great information to help me begin improving my guitar playing knowledge and technique.

Posted Jan 13, 2016
Bradley B.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

If you're interested in studying classical guitar you know that it is both difficult and important to find a quality guitar instruction. Look no further. Geoff is fantastic. His daily exercises for guitar have helped improve my technique dramatically. I'm so glad I found him and had an opportunity to work with him.

Posted Jul 16, 2014


I am enjoying my lessons. You are being extra patient with me I suspect. My practices since our last have gone better I think. I think I am picking up things better. I practiced quite a lot today. Every commercial break in the football game as well as half time. See you in two weeks. Thanks

Posted Sep 18, 2011
Art B.
Profile-location-online Online

Posted Nov 16, 2020

Photos & Videos

6 Photos & Videos


Church Worship Ministry Leader
Apr 2010 - Present

Sovereign Grace Church

I am currently involved with the music development for the worship ministry at my church. This includes leading congregational worship, leading seminars, teaching music workshops, and arranging special music for small ensembles, choirs, and contemporary worship bands. I directed the musical production of Godspell in 2016. I also participated in a number of studio recordings, including: - Adoption Project, 2010-2011 - PDI Classics, 2001 - Chosen Treasure, Hosanna! Integrity Music, 1991 - The Nations Are Waiting, People of Destiny, 1987 - Arise, People of Destiny, 1986 - The Praise Album, Saturday Night Alive Ministry, 1980

Music Instructor
Aug 1980 - Present


I have taught guitar for over 30 years, specializing in classical guitar, but also proficient in rock, jazz, and other contemporary styles. I have also taught piano, music theory, music appreciation, and basic musicianship in various venues. I also have experience in teaching classically trained musicians how to play by ear (piano, violin, flute, cello, clarinet, etc.). I studied classical guitar with John Marlow (AU) and Larry Snitzler (GMU). I studied jazz guitar with Rick Whitehead (GMU) and Roger McKinley (GuitarShop/DC). I also studied composition with the late Russel Woolen (CU) and Glenn Smith (GMU).

Classical Guitarist
Jun 1980 - Present


I have played at hundreds of weddings and special events for over 30 years, including solo as well as in small ensembles. I have written and/or arranged music for many of these events. My repertoire includes a variety of hymn arrangements as well as standard classical pieces. I have studied classical guitar with the late John Marlow (AU) and Larry Snitzler (GMU).


Masters in Music
Jan 2015 - May 2021

George Mason University

BA Music
Sep 2010 - Dec 2014

George Mason University

BS Physics
Sep 1970 - May 1974

Villanova University


Guitar Foundation of America
Sep 2014
Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) is the America's leading classical guitar organization founded in 1973 at the National Guitar Convention sponsored by the American String Teachers Association (ASTA).
American Choral Directors Association
Nov 2013
Founded in 1959, the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) is a nonprofit music-education organization whose expressed purposes outline the associations dedication to the advancement of choral music. The mission of ACDA is to inspire excellence in choral music through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.

Let Our Student Counselors Help You

We can match you with the perfect teacher and take care of all your scheduling needs.
Reserve Your Spot
change subject
  • {{ subject.value }}
{{ (view.locations.length > 1) ? 'Select a ' : '' }} Lesson Location
Other lesson locations may be too far away. show all
Geoff's Availability
{{ time }}
{{ time }}
{{ time }}
Time Zone:
Geoff's {{ (view.location && view.location.isStudio) ? 'Studio' : '' }} {{ (view.location && view.location.isTravel) ? 'In-Home' : '' }} {{ (view.location && view.location.isOnline) ? 'Online' : '' }} Lesson Pricing
{{ rate.duration }} minutes
{{ rate.locale_rate }}
{{ view.loadingText }}
100% Satisfaction Guarantee

100% Satisfaction Guarantee

Try the first lesson and if you’re not satisfied we'll refund any unused lessons.

Recently Viewed