James Riley

James R.

Seattle, WA

Lesson Details


Levels Taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Ukulele is an instrument I've come to play a lot and really appreciate in recent years, and I love to teach it! I've got you covered for CLASSIC Ukulele songs as well other familiar non-Uke recordings for a new twist. Chord sequences, scales, strum and pick-patterns.. just like all my lessons we'll cover music's essentials.
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James teaches



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

Teaching since:
March 2007

*PLEASE NOTE: I don't travel to Bellevue, Mercer Island or anywhere that requires me to drive over I-90 or the 520 bridge. Sorry! 3 miles is my maximum distance of travel, and please take note of the time slot I have open (usually just a few).

I've been exploring music since age 13 when I started on guitar and electric bass. I've gigged around the Puget Sound area for over a decade and am passionate about many styles of music. I've played in jazz and blues ensembles while studying music in Boston and Seattle. I perform my own music. I play acoustic and electric guitar, electric bass, ukulele, mandolin, piano, drums and I sing.

*** Lesson Details ***
Required Accessories: Music Stand, 3-Ring Binder, Sheet Protectors

Chords, scales and finger-picking are the three areas of guitar, ukulele and mandolin playing which I have my students work on each week (the areas for bass are; scales and the different types of bass playing methods). The format for my sheets is done in traditional music notation with a mix of tablature - the standard presentation for guitar books. Sessions are also divided more or less in half between working on fundamentals and working on songs. Music appreciation, learning to play with other instruments and play-alongs with recordings are also a part of my teaching platform. Students are encouraged to give song suggestions for learning, and it's one of my favorite aspects of being an instructor! My YouTube channel has some Student Favorites playlists with the most memorable and effective songs I've been teaching over the last decade. Cheers!

*** Travel Equipment ***
I bring one of my acoustics to my lessons.

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Private Instructor
Jan 2005 - Present

I've been teaching since high school.


Area of Study: Songwriting
Oct 2009 - Apr 2010
Seattle Central Community College
Area of Study: Guitar Performance
Oct 2007 - Dec 2008
Berklee School of Music

Photos & Videos

Photo by James R.
Photo by James R.
Photo by James R.

a three piece jam on a reggae classic, slow build to the real deal!
Corporate Gigs!

Wedding Gigs!

Bar Gigs!

Ghetto Gigs!

Country Club Gigs!
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11 Reviews

Write a Review
Alton Aug 11, 2016
Vocal Training · In home

James was a delight, and our son was pleased with his first lesson.

Sincerely anticipating more!

Tim/Teresa G. Jun 27, 2016
Guitar · In home

Engaging, patient and very talented. Wonderful with our teenage son.

Carl Mar 14, 2016
Guitar · In home

Patient and encouraging instructor for a beginning student.

Jagger Jan 20, 2016
Guitar · In home

So patient with my 5 year old! He really was great at making it easy for him to understand and follow along! Can't wait until the next lesson!

Nick L. Jan 7, 2016
Guitar · In home

James is very nice and patient. He taught me a lot of fundamental skills and knowledge, which helps me really understand how guitar works. I look forward to making more progress with James in the future sessions

Stewart Oct 1, 2015
Guitar · In home

A good first lesson

Carissa Sep 30, 2015
Bass Guitar · In home

James is fantastic! Very kind and professional. He has been flexible with my schedule. Made me feel comfortable to work on my bass playing skills (which need a lot of work ;) ) and even my dog loved him! Very excited to continue to work with him and become a bass master!

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Mark J. Jun 1, 2015
Guitar · In home

He is great, excellent! Doing a great job!

Gabrielle B. Sep 19, 2014
Guitar · In home

I had a wonderful experience learning from James! He was very attentive to my learning style and pace, and I felt supported and encouraged.

RachealA Oct 3, 2011

Mother of 12 Year Old Student

James is a fantastic teacher. He totally resonates with my 12 year old son. He's patient, kind and enthusiastic. Ricky and I both feel lucky to have him as his teacher. Thank you, James!

LeisaW Sep 2, 2011

Knowledgeable, Relevant, Friendly

James has expertise, talent and a genuine desire to see our son truly learn guitar. He meets our son at his level and makes learning enjoyable and effectual.

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