James Riley

James R.

Seattle, WA
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-home Student's Home
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-home Student's Home
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
As with all instruments I teach, we'll explore chords, scales, improvisation, songs by beloved artists, etc.. I make sure to play my Stratocaster every day because without it I might go insane! In my band I am the lead guitarist and singer. Riffs, rhythm, lead, you name it, we'll cover it!

About James R.

*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.


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

James was awesome! I took a series of 10 at home lessons that really boosted my bass playing. He used a combination of learning with music that I could play along to as well as practice chord tones and other more classical learning tools. I would recommend him to anyone that wanted to build their skills.

Thanks James!

Posted Apr 18, 2019
Profile-location-home Student's Home

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

Sincerely anticipating more!

Posted Aug 11, 2016
Tim/Teresa G.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

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

Posted Jun 27, 2016
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Patient and encouraging instructor for a beginning student.

Posted Mar 14, 2016
Profile-location-home Student's 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!

Posted Jan 20, 2016
Nick L.
Profile-location-home Student's 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

Posted Jan 7, 2016
Profile-location-home Student's Home

A good first lesson

Posted Oct 1, 2015
Profile-location-home Student's 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!

Posted Sep 30, 2015
Mark J.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

He is great, excellent! Doing a great job!

Posted Jun 1, 2015
Gabrielle B.
Profile-location-home Student's 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.

Posted Sep 19, 2014

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!

Posted Oct 3, 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.

Posted Sep 2, 2011

Photos & Videos

13 Photos & Videos


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

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