John Butler

John B.

Arlington, VA
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100% Satisfaction Guarantee

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Lesson Details


Levels Taught:
Beginner, Intermediate
Learn how to play Banjo!

While learning the Banjo, students will learn specific rolls such as forward and backward rolls, chords strum patterns, rhythm playing and various songs such as Foggy Mountain Breakdown and Dueling Banjos. They will learn the styles of Bluegrass and Claw Hammer playing.
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John teaches



John passed a background check that includes a SSN verification, national criminal record check, and sex offender registry search. Learn More
John delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 5+

Teaching since:
April 1986

I have been playing for about 35 years and teaching music and guitar for 25 years. I have a Bachelor of Music in Jazz and Classical guitar. I've taught at the University level and currently maintain a professional studio in Arlington, Virginia. I am very well versed in many different styles of music including, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Classical and Suzuki guitar. Students who decide to sign up with me, will have a lesson plan, a strategy for meeting their musical goals and will enjoy themselves in the process.

*** Lesson Details ***
Lessons are custom designed to meet the needs of every student, whether it is someone just starting out with the basics or for that seasoned player that wants to hone their professional skills. As a teacher, I consider myself easy going and laid back, with an emphasis on encouraging each student to do their very best.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Guitar, instruments, keyboards recording equipment, waiting room, seating for parents

*** Travel Equipment ***
Music stand, foot stool, cables.- Teacher
Own instrument, amplifier if needed, notebook.-Student

*** Specialties ***
I have been teaching for about 25 years and am well versed in Jazz, Classical, Rock, Blues and Country genres. I focus on anything from note reading, theory, improvisation and composing.

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Guitar Instructor
Sep 2004 - May 2009
Mary Washington University

Taught privately as an adjunct faculty member. Responsible for guitar instructions in Classical and Jazz guitar. Students were instructed in note reading, theory, improvisation and appropriate classical and jazz guitar repertoire.

Guitar Instructor
Sep 1989 - Dec 1999
College of Southern Maryland

Taught privately as well as group guitar instructions for 10 years. Responsible for building a guitar program, maintaining and instructing students in the areas of guitar performance, guitar studies in Classical and Jazz guitar, note reading, improvisation and music theory.

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Bachelor of Music
Sep 1992 - May 1996
Howard University


Fluent / Native Proficiency


Music Teachers National Association
Sep 1996

The MTNA was founded in 1876 with the goal of advancing the value of music study and music-making to society while supporting the careers and professionalism of teachers of music. With nearly 22,000 members in 50 states—and more than 500 local affiliates—the MTNA is the preeminent source for music teacher support, where members embody like-minded values and commitment to their students, colleagues and society as a whole, while reaping the rewards of collaboration, continuity and connection throughout the lifetime of their careers.

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69 Reviews

Write a Review
Daniel Cook Sep 6, 2018
Bass Guitar · In studio

John is very patient and knowledgeable

Sara Jul 12, 2018
Guitar · In home

Johns great. I wasn’t sure which instrument to begin and after mandolin lesson number 1... I showed up at his studio with a guitar. Lots of fun and he has lots of patience.

Bob Jul 9, 2018
Mandolin · In studio

John has been teaching me chords, which are very difficult on the mandolin. He's an excellent teacher.

Min Apr 21, 2018
Ukulele · In studio

John is a very good teacher. He figured out my learning ability and interest level quickly in the first lesson, and covers the material as much as I can handle In short 30 minute lessons. I leave each lesson with enough work to go over and practice in the coming week. He makes Ukulele learning fun and easy.

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Lisa C. Apr 3, 2018
Guitar · In studio

John is an excellent teacher; he is able to adapt the way he teaches to your learning style and teaches theory and techniques through songs. He finds ways to develop the skills you are seeking and is always encouraging and (very!) patient. Finally, he keeps the lessons fun!

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Mary Beth H. Feb 19, 2018
Classical Guitar · In home

John is a great teacher—very patient with me as a beginner in the classical guitar. I highly recommend him as a teacher!

Curtis H. Jan 19, 2018
Bass Guitar · In home

John is so encouraging, and he was able to read my abilities and needs in just a few moments. I'm looking forward to more lessons!

Kent Jan 9, 2018
Banjo · In studio

Knowledgeable. Excellent corrective feedback. Appropriately challenging. Highly recommend.

John Dec 29, 2017
Mandolin · In studio

First lesson helped to get a solid footing and decide what course to take with the lessons.

Anton W. Dec 22, 2017
Ukulele · In studio

Very patient and skilled instructor.

Sophia L. Dec 10, 2017
Ukulele · In home

John has been a great and patient teacher for my 7yo daughter. She’s learning to sight read, music theory and rhythm :)

Andrew H. Dec 8, 2017
Guitar · In studio

John is a patient and encouraging instructor. He was easily able to meet my needs and requests for different aspects of learning the guitar. Definitely recommend him to students seeking good guidance.

Sopha Sep 7, 2017
Ukulele · In studio

Very easy-going and chooses great music to use. I love taking lessons from him.

Chris Jul 14, 2017
Ukulele · In home

John is great. I really enjoy my ukulele lessons with him.

Nelson T. Jul 1, 2017
Guitar · In studio

John was awesome he know exactly how to take me step by step with my very first lesson with the guitar, no rush and patient and showing me the propher steps. Can't wait to move onto the next lesson.

Binh Apr 30, 2017
Guitar · In studio

John is a seasoned teacher and player. He is soft-spoken and patient; my two girls (13 and 16) don't feel intimidated or fearful and really enjoy their lessons. He challenges them and provides just enough push for proper progression. John is very effective and I highly recommend him.

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Sophia Jan 23, 2017
Ukulele · In studio

Great instruction that is understandable and positive. As a beginner I want to learn and have fun-- John does exactly that.

Kamel Z. Dec 20, 2016
Guitar · In home

I like John. Higly recommend him to any guitar lover!

Namon J. Dec 13, 2016
Guitar · In home

John, what does your schedule look like on Saturday. Would like to begin my winter schedule with the Best Teacher in Town.

Tim Oct 16, 2016
Guitar · In studio

Just finished my third lesson and I am impressed. I am essentially a beginner, and John took me through basic chords and scales, challenging me accordingly, but at the same time making it fun. John is a great teacher - very capable, extremely patient. I feel fortunate to be learning from John!

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mike Aug 10, 2016
Ukulele · In studio

Able to coach along a student with absolutely no talent - and make it fun.

Tammy Jul 18, 2016
Guitar · In studio

very patient and informative. I would definately recomend this instructor.

Tammy Jul 1, 2016
Guitar · In studio

he was patient; attentive, took his time to show me the chords, explain the guitar. I have never played before, and didn't know the first thing about it. He showed me how to tune the guitar, I look forward to my next lessons.

Andy Jun 29, 2016
Guitar · In studio

Would give 6 stars if it was an option. John is an awesome guitar teacher

John H. Jun 18, 2016
Ukulele · In home

Great instructor. I'm making progress!

David Rapp Jun 13, 2016
Flamenco Guitar · In studio

John's a great teacher!

Joshua K. Jun 3, 2016
Banjo · In studio

John was a great instructor. Friendly, encouraging, and great at demonstrating techniques.

Sharon B. May 29, 2016
Bass Guitar ·

I am a 53 year old student learning how to play bass guitar. John is an excellent instructor & teacher! I began playing "Louie Louie"& "The eye of the Tiger" in the 1st session. Awesome!!!!

Pete S. May 12, 2016
Ukulele · In studio

Unlimited patience! And that's on top of seriously knowing the instrument -- and how to get a rank beginner like me to play it. (Sort of. :) Highly recommended!

david-sanchez2010@hotmail. Apr 29, 2016
Guitar · In studio

I love how I am learning everything j want to learn thanks to John

Courtney W. Apr 22, 2016
Ukulele · In studio

He's patient & cued-in-on what the client wants. He "gets it".
Example, I want to learn certain songs & not begin lessons from the beginning. Ergo, he does this, but, isn't reluctant, to suggest a what's helpful to do this.

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Amer C. Apr 12, 2016
Guitar · In studio

helpful tips for learning scales and mastering fretboard

John Apr 11, 2016
Ukulele · In studio

Great first lesson. Looking forward to next one.

Arta S. Mar 23, 2016
Bass Guitar · In studio

John is a cool dude with a rude 'tude. He was very positive and encouraging for my first lesson.

Jeanne G. Mar 4, 2016
Guitar · In studio

My guitar lessons with John have been terrific. John is very knowledgeable, encouraging and patient. He makes the lessons enjoyable while learning. I would recommend him to other students interested in learning to play the guitar.

Jaclyn L. Jan 14, 2016
Ukulele · In studio

Brand new to music and John was very patient and encouraging with me.

Andy Symonds Jan 8, 2016
Guitar · In studio

John is a great teacher. Patient and knowledgable, he'll get you playing tunes in no time.

Andy Symonds Jan 7, 2016
Guitar · In studio

John is a great teacher. Patient and knowledgable, he'll get you playing tunes in no time.

Sameer Dec 2, 2015
Bass Guitar · In studio

John's been great so far--very knowledgable and willing to change pace/style/material to suit te student's needs and preferences. I will be re-upping!

Seth P. Nov 25, 2015
Mandolin · In home


Jason S. Aug 26, 2015
Guitar · In studio

John's very relaxed and patient, and did a great job listening to my objectives and matching exercises to my skill level. I'm looking forward to continuing to work with him.

Gabrielle L. Aug 12, 2015
Guitar · In studio

Just had one class with John and I learned a lot. Very passionate about music and patient with my elementary skills!

Don B. Aug 11, 2015
Guitar · In studio

John has been great! He is very patient and always constructive. I leave every lesson with renewed enthusiasm.

Christopher B. Aug 4, 2015
Guitar · In studio

Talented musician and great listener.

Brandon G. Jun 10, 2015
Guitar · In home

John is a fantastic teacher. After my first lesson I am confident he was the right choice. He made the lesson very fun and enjoyable and we even had a short jam session which was a ton of fun. I would highly recommend him and his teaching style. Looking forward to continuing lesson.

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Nicole D. May 15, 2015
Mandolin · In studio

Very productive! Happy with the experience and looking forward to upcoming lessons

Melvin C. Feb 18, 2015
Bass Guitar · In studio

If there was anyway to give John 6 stars I would! John is the best teacher and also a really great guy all around. John is very knowledgeable and I learned a lot from my lessons with him. John is a very patient instructor which helped make the lessons better. I would be remiss not to mention his cool cat Mr. Buttons who would often come down just to listen in on our lessons and even the occasional jam session we would have afterwards. Thank you for all that you do John!

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Garari M. Nov 26, 2014
Guitar · In home

Great Teacher! I look forward to continuing to progress with my playing.

Kate S. Oct 20, 2014
Mandolin · In home

John is an amazing teacher and an extremely talented musician. He is very patient and a great motivator. I highly recommend him :)

Amanda L. Oct 8, 2014
Ukulele · In studio

Sign up for classes with John. Just do it, and you won't regret it.

Whatever the opposite of musically-gifted is, that is what I am. I'm an adult beginner in the truest sense of the word - never read sheet music, couldn't hold a beat to save my life, and hadn't played an instrument. EVER. That's why I'm still amazed that I've learned to play a couple of simple songs after a few lessons with John - it's a great achievement on his part!

John has the patience of a saint and a great ability to teach. If I don't understand a concept or have difficulty contorting my fingers to hold a certain chord, he shows me a different way and can break it down to simpler terms. He's really a great teacher. On top of that, he's laid back, approachable, amiable, and very understanding of my busy work schedule. He makes sure I leave each lesson with enough homework to practice and gives me constructive criticism to work on my technique. Like another reviewer said, John is really worth his weight in gold!!

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Matthew M. Jun 26, 2014
Flamenco Guitar · In studio

After only a few lessons, I feel that John is an excellent teacher. He is incredibly knowledgeable and teaches in a way that is easy to understand. He selects pieces for me to practice that are both challenging and fun. I enjoy the lessons very much and would recommend John to anyone.

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Melvin C. Jun 12, 2014
Bass Guitar · In studio

Worth His Weight In Gold!!!

I've been taking lessons with John for over a year now and I've learned so much from his teachings. He has a way of making you feel at home and relaxed during the lesson. I'm partial to playing the Blues but, he has taught me how to relate the different scales to the different types of music.

At this time I'm learning how to read music and understand the theory behind it. The stage that I am at it comes down to practice. If I put in the practice I will be ready to play for that Jazz/Blues band that I so desire.

At the end of my lesson with John, he always find time for us to have a "jam session" be it Pink Floyd's "Money", Eric Clapton's "Sunshine of Your Love", or some good ole' down home "Blues", we get it done! John is a great teacher, musician, instructor and is as advertised!

Melvin C.

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John R. May 29, 2014

John is a patient and knowledgeable instructor that is easy to work with. He is flexible with lesson planning and he really listens to what the student wants and needs. I believe John is an exceptional music instructor.

Lida S. Apr 5, 2014
Classical Guitar ·

A Great Teacher

John is a great teacher, encouraging, knowledgeable and flexible. I would recommend him for any level of lessons.

Ed P. Feb 25, 2014
Guitar ·

Provided quick tips that helped me immediately

John is a great one-on-one instructor. I had taken an 8-week, beginner guitar, group lesson through Arlington County, but almost nothing was said about how we were holding our hands or holding the guitar. Several quick suggestions from John improved my ability to practice immediately. He is friendly, easy-going, and has kept up my interest by virtue of what he sends me home with to practice for the next lesson. I don't think one can go wrong taking lessons from John.

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Sue P. Feb 8, 2014
Guitar ·

John Butler is a great teacher

John is an excellent teacher. He is very knowledgeable about the guitar and the technical aspects of music, and he is also very personable and encouraging. When I started lessons with John last summer I had been playing the guitar for over 30 years, and feel I have learned a tremendous amount from him.

I would recommend him for any level of lessons. He's a great guy!

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krishna P. Feb 5, 2014
Classical Guitar ·

Could not ask for more..Fantastic teacher!

As someone who knew nothing about playing/reading music of any sort, I find myself recognizing and playing a few chords and notes just after about 10 classes! All thanks to John. I agree with the other reviewer that he truly has the patience of a saint. He is very laid back and helps me learn at my own pace while enjoying myself throughout the process irrespective of how much practice I put in. Whole heartedly recommend John for learning the guitar. Thanks very much John. You are the best!

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Rebecca R. Jan 29, 2014
Guitar ·

Great teacher

John is an extremely patient and positive teacher. He is exactly what my son needs. He is encouraging and funny and the lesson with him just flies by. My son, who is not quite six, is already playing many notes and chords and reading music after just two months. I whole-heartedly recommend John.

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John D. Oct 28, 2013
Classical Guitar ·

Enjoying Guitar Lessons

John does a great job teaching me how to play the guitar. He focuses on form, which is important and is patient when I don't get something quite right. If you are looking for a qualified, friendly and professional instructor give him a try.

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Mandy H. May 20, 2013
Guitar ·

guitar lessons review

John is patient and he makes learning the guitar fun! His instruction is very encouraging and my son was playing music from the first lesson! We are 100% happy with our choice to go with John!

Renee A. May 6, 2013
Guitar ·

Very patient and supportive

As an 'older' student, John is great in understanding the time contraints of an adult. He is very patient and never makes one feel like a naughty teenager if not enough time was spent on practice. After a few months I am really starting to have fun with the lessons and look forward to branching into different areas.
John is the best, you cant go wrong with him as your teacher.

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Melvin C. May 2, 2013
Bass Guitar ·

A Great Musician and Bass Guitar Instructor!

Jon is one of the best instructor's I've come to know. Although I've only been taking lessons from him since February 2013; he has proven to be a true musician and a great teacher. His teaching style is relaxed which removes the pressure from learning how to play which allows you to absorb more instruction. He instills confidence in you while you're trying to play the instrument which motivates you to want to learn more. We even have a "jam" session at the end of my lesson which is really fun. I enjoy taking lessons from Jon and am sure that every who does (and plan to) share the same feeling. Good job Jon!

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JANET Y. Apr 18, 2013
Bass Guitar ·

Stress Free and Tailored to You

John provides balanced lessons tailored to your level and how much you want to work. Learning music fundamentals and songs are seamlessly mixed. He has a laid back style, which is great.

Rick P. Mar 1, 2013
Guitar ·

John is one of the best instructors I have seen...for any subject.

John has a teaching presence, especially with children, which is amazing; he is patient, enthusiastic and very encouraging. As a professional musician, he knows his trade and he has the uncanny ability to share his knowledge in a way that makes perfect sense.

I would recommend John as an instructor for any, and all, levels of instruction.

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Namon J. Feb 13, 2013
Guitar ·

My lessons

John is cool. His teaching ability is exceptional. Plus he can really teach and more importantly play my genre of music which is Jazz.

Carlos A. Feb 13, 2013
Flamenco Guitar ·

Excellent instructor.

Very patient teacher. He has the patience of a Saint.
Great progress.

Susan M. Feb 1, 2013

I plan to continue lessons in the future

The 45 minute lesson just flies by! John is friendly, inspiring, has a great sense of humor and is very patient.

TuanL Jul 26, 2012

John B. is a great instructor. Thank you.

YbonyM Jul 16, 2012

Great lessons

I am enjoying my lessons with John, he is knowledgeable and the time seems to fly by. I feel I have already learned a lot from John.

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