Jay Hildebrand

Jay H.

Tacoma, WA
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Profile-location-home Student's Home
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Profile-location-home Student's Home
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Doctorate in Classical Guitar, Award-winning performer. Students of all ages and abilities welcome!

About Jay H.

I'm an award-winning guitarist with a Doctorate of Musical Arts (Guitar and Music Theory, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, 2016), and a Masters in Classical Guitar Performance (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2013). I've taught students of all ages and abilities at the University of Minnesota and at the Saint Paul Conservatory of Music.

My teaching philosophy is simple; each student is unique and each student requires a unique approach.

Using my experience and training in a range of teaching methods and schools of guitar playing, I take the time to get to know you, to learn what it is you want to play, to learn your music, and teach it to you in the way you will understand.

You should expect professional, personalized, and engaging lessons each week. And ask any of my other students: you'll have lots of fun too :)


Write a Review
33 Reviews
Erich L.
Profile-location-online Online

Jay was very nice to work with.

Posted Oct 17, 2017
Sam Claeson

Jay is fantastic. Not only is he a fun, outgoing person, he is absolutely brilliant on the guitar. I reached out to Jay because I wanted to improve my finger picking. He thoroughly taught me many different picking patterns that helped develop proper technique and accuracy. Because I taught myself to finger-pick on guitar my first 2 years of playing, I developed very bad habits. But with just 3 half-hour lessons with Jay, I've corrected these bad habits.

Posted Mar 20, 2017
Katie Nelson

Jay was very patient in teaching me guitar as a beginner! It was easy to learn from him and he taught me a lot to get started in a short amount of time. Great lessons!

Posted Mar 13, 2017
Erik Nelson

Jay is great! His knowledge of all things guitar make him a wonderful teacher. He asked me what I would like to learn and we began using my (limited) knowledge of chords and the basics to play while I learned. I would highly suggest him to anyone looking to learn--from the basics to advanced techniques--Jay knows what he is doing. As a person he is also fantastic, he was flexible and patient as I struggled through some parts of the lesson.

Posted Mar 10, 2017
Chelsie Tilkens

I had no experience playing the guitar prior to my first lesson. Jay was super friendly and very approachable. Definitely knowledgable about the guitar and how to teach it to a novice. I would absolutely recommend lessons with Jay!

Posted Mar 3, 2017
Ray Cheng

Very good teacher, I learned a lot from him.

Posted Feb 28, 2017
Claudia Kittock

Jay is knowledgeable and very flexible. He is relaxing and makes every lessons fun. Jay knows the guitar.

Posted Feb 16, 2017
Jesse Gilsrud

Very impressed with Jay during our first lesson. He understood exactly what I was looking for and came up with a lesson plan I am very happy with. Looking forward to next week.

Posted Feb 10, 2017
Aaron Lissarrague

Jay is extremely knowledgeable and has a great ear for music. Within moments of my 1st lesson we were dissecting complex music by ear and strategizing a practice plan for me.

He is enthusiastic, knowledgable, and friendly. I would recommend him for lessons anywhere from the most inexperienced guitarist all the way up to the person who has played for 20 years! He is the professor of guitars!

Posted Feb 8, 2017
Wade Johnson

Jay does a great job tailoring my lessons in a way that makes sense for me. Definitely one of the good ones!

Posted Oct 18, 2016
Paul Fedora

Jay is a gifted musician, versatile on his instrument and patient with this rank beginner in classical guitar. Paul

Posted Sep 27, 2016
Phillip Paulson

Jay is a phenomenal guitar teacher. He is exceptionally kind, caring, knowledgeable, and patient. Very respectful, relaxing and enjoyable to learn from, it is nothing short of an absolute pleasure to know and work with him. He is exceedingly competent, both in teaching method as well as guitar performance itself; he is a brilliant musician and continues to absolutely blow me away with his talent. I enjoyed every moment spent under his teaching and learned so much, so quickly. I would recommend Jay to anyone and everyone!

Posted Jun 28, 2016
Tanner Brandt

I echo the things said by the others here--caring, fun, knowledgable, individualized attention, and absolutely phenomenal at guitar.

Posted May 27, 2016
Audrey Benson

I took a semester long class with Jay and thoroughly enjoyed him as a teacher. Even though the class was with multiple students, he did an excellent job providing individualized attention and so I can imagine lessons with him would be excellent. He is patient while stretching his students appropriately.

Posted Apr 29, 2016
Brodrick Romero

Jay is an absolutely wonderful guitar instructor. Jay is both knowledgable and caring. He has the understanding and patience to follow you through every step of the guitar learning process. I would highly recommend Jay to anyone wanting to learn more about the guitar.

Posted Apr 29, 2016
Fenggang Wu

Jay is one of my favorite teachers.
I learn beginning guitar with Jay in last semester. He cares every student, and gives respect with everybody no matter at what level the student is, or with what pace the student makes progress.
He is willing to explain every question that you have about guitar, even about ones that are not in the scope of class. This is a great personality. By contrast, some other teacher will show impatience or are unwilling to waste time on our silly question but Jay never do so.
Jay can explain new materials little by little with iteration and repetition, that are very helpful for us to take in new skills are knowledge.
I feel very relax, enjoyable and feels I am making real progress in Jay's class. I love guitar and music more after Jay's class. I would recommend Jay's class if you are looking for guitar lessons.

Posted Apr 28, 2016
Michael Zajac

I used to think there was more to life than classical guitar; Jay taught me that I was wrong. Guitar is love, guitar is life, guitar is everything. In earnest, Jay is a superb instructor. He is incredibly knowledgeable and gentle in his approach. He taught me in a structured and precise way that will be applicable to all guitar performance in the future, yet there was plenty of room allowed for personal expression and interest as well. He has gone as far as to file my nails himself to achieve maximum tone; never have I had an instructor before or since show as much care for me as a student. I recommend Jay for anyone looking to take the next step in cultivating guitar skill.

Posted Apr 27, 2016
Anita Kimaiga

I have always wanted to learn how to play the guitar and Jay was so patient with me seeing that I was a beginner. He tailored the lesson to what I needed and the best way that I learned. I will definitely take a lesson with him in the future. He is an excellent teacher and I can guarantee anyone that they would have a blast working with him.

Posted Apr 26, 2016
Max Ouellette

The energy and passion that Jay brings to his teaching make learning guitar more fun than I could have imagined. He is patient, and incredibly talented. If you take lessons with Jay you will not be disappointed and will be strumming away in no time.

Posted Apr 26, 2016
Dakota Greenwalt

Had Jay for private lessons once a week for half an hour for a semester. He's a great teacher who taught me not only new pieces of music but technique, how to practice, and a little bit of music theory behind some of the pieces I was learning. Strongly recommend him to beginners and experts alike.

Posted Apr 26, 2016
Kelli B

Jay taught my beginning guitar class at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. He is so patient even when the class is pretty large and gives every single student individual attention. If you want to learn guitar, sign up for one of his classes! He's amazing.

Posted Apr 26, 2016
Martin Waddell

I had Jay as a guitar teacher at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. He is an amazing teacher who takes time to help all his students. You can tell he is extremely experienced in teaching beginning guitar lessons. Great teacher highly recommended.

Posted Apr 26, 2016
Mason Hastings

Jay is an awesome teacher. He teaches you how to play correctly the first time so you don't develop bad habits that need to be fixed and if you're struggling with a concept, he always knows how to fix it. He also always has a great energy when he teaches which makes learning a joy. Highly recommend him to anybody!

Posted Apr 26, 2016
Ellen Hunt

Jay has been a great teacher! He is very patient and has great suggestions on how to improve playing and technique. There is a lot of focus on skills, but also the ability to just go out and perform. Learning with Jay has definitely helped my confidence in guitar and also my enthusiasm to learn!

Posted Apr 26, 2016
Brennan F

I had Jay as a teacher for my intro Guitar class at the University of Minnesota. Super nice guy who also happens to be a phenomenal guitar player. He is a patient teacher who is very good at tailoring his approach to fit players of any skill level. You can tell he has a great passion for music. He covers everything: technique, reading music, tabs, a bit of music theory, and most importantly, having a fun time. I'd recommend him to anyone!

Posted Apr 26, 2016
Gunthar Reising

Learning guitar with Jay has been a wonderful experience. Not only does he focus on technique and teaching musical theory, he conveys an admiration and understanding of music and its composition that is energizing to people of all skill level. He is always trying to better understand the students needs and struggles, which made learning fast and efficient.

Posted Apr 25, 2016
John Kilmer

Jay is an amazing teacher!!! During the 6 months of lessons that I had with him, I mastered Barre Chords, Palm Muting, and perhaps most importantly, understanding how to listen to songs and quickly determine the strumming pattern! One of the things that most amazed me about Jay is that he can listen to a song and within seconds know all the chords and can even transpose them to fit your skill level so that you can get right to playing your favorite songs! I would highly highly recommend Jay as a teacher, and your guitar skills will thank you if you take lessons with him.

Posted Apr 25, 2016
Alex Broderius

Jay is an amazing teacher! I had him as my instructor for my MUS 1471 Beginning Guitar class at the University of Minnesota and he does a phenomenal job with students! He is very patient and always has great back-up techniques for those who struggle to learn. I was always one that didn't have a problem learning music after 6 years of band, but he made this class very well balanced between challenging those who could use a challenge and those who struggled a bit but wouldn't be left behind. He always assigns and teaches great pieces that are well known and touches on many techniques for playing guitar. I would highly recommend Jay as a guitar instructor!

Posted Apr 25, 2016
Claire Breitenstein

I had an AMAZING experience learning from Jay. I strongly recommend him to any student (at any level of experience) looking to develop their guitar skills!

Posted Apr 25, 2016
Jessica Jaunich

Amazing teacher!!! I had Jay as a teacher when I attended UMN. He taught me the fundamentals of beginning guitar and as I singer, I have been able to incorporate the techniques I learned from Jay into my performances!!

Posted Apr 25, 2016
Yun Taek Oh

Best guitar teacher ever. Quickly notices each student's level of guitar skills and playability, and provide lessons that fit the best.

Posted Apr 25, 2016
Nic b

Had Jay as an instructor for a guitar course during my time at the UMN. Overall great instructor. Hands on, and has a number a great techniques for easy learning.

Posted Apr 25, 2016
Lily Wilson

Jay is a fantastic teacher who really takes the time to provide his students with a wholesome approach to guitar. As someone who had never played guitar before, he helped teach me the fundamentals of beginning guitar as well as incorporate well known songs into the lessons. Very informative and eager to share his own love of music.

Posted Apr 25, 2016

Photos & Videos

11 Photos & Videos


Guitar Instructor
Sep 2015 - Mar 2017

Saint Paul Conservatory of Music

Taught individual lessons for students ages 5-18.

Guitar Instructor
Sep 2013 - May 2016

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Taught Beginning Guitar Class and Individual Lessons for over 500 students.

Guitar Instructor
Sep 2011 - May 2013

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Taught Guitar Ensemble, Sight-Reading for Guitar Classes, and Individual Lessons.

Guitar Instructor
Sep 2009 - May 2011

Whitworth University

Taught Beginning Guitar Class, Intermediate Guitar Class, and Individual Lessons.


Doctorate of Musical Arts in Guitar and Music Theory
Sep 2013 - Dec 2016

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Masters of Music
Sep 2011 - May 2013

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


Suzuki Guitar Books 1 & 2
Jul 2012

Suzuki Association of the Americas

Certified Suzuki Guitar Instructor for Books 1 and 2, specializing in early childhood education.


First Prize
Apr 2014

Northwest Guitar Festival

Wilson Center Guitar Competition
Jul 2013

Wilson Center Guitar Festival

Indiana International Guitar Competition
Oct 2011

Indiana University

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