Justine Dolorfino-Thieman

Justine D.

San Diego, CA
Teaching Locations:
Teaching Locations:
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate
I have been playing pop and rock guitar for 14 years and am excited about the opportunity to share my passion for the instrument with you! Our first lesson will begin with a quick assessment of your musical background, experience with the instrument, and your musical goals. Your next lessons will build on that foundation to support the goals you want to achieve.

Whether it's starting a band with friends, getting stronger on technique, or learning how to play in a new style or genre, we'll work together to reach your goals!

About Justine D.

I love music and believe in its ability to bring people together. It's been a part of my life since I was 5, practicing piano at home in Michigan.

Music was a big part of every single one of my school years, and I was lucky enough to be able to double major in music and psychology at Kalamazoo College once I graduated from high school.

My passion for music has taken me abroad, to London, where I studied Western & Russian art music and took classes in popular music studies at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

It spurred my move across the country to New York, where I developed a better understanding of how important creativity is to all of us -- especially musicians! -- at Teachers College, Columbia University.

And, most importantly, it's allowed me to do what I love from my home in San Diego, teaching privately both in-person and online. I've recently moved to private teaching full-time and couldn't be happier!

I'm excited to get started with you and help you set and reach your musical goals!

*** Online & In-Person Lesson Details ***
It's most important to me that you are excited and motivated about your music lessons! I am a flexible instructor and am always open to hearing your ideas for songs. After working together to identify your beginning knowledge of music and your instrument, we'll progress from song to song to develop your musical abilities.

All of my online and in-person lessons begin by warming up with a quick exercise, scale, or even an improvisational activity. We'll use the music you love to develop your guitar technique, learn new chords, and sharpen your listening skills.

You'll gain an understanding of what makes the music work and why the notes, rhythms, and harmonies are what they are.

The music we study can also serve as inspiration for creativity. I may ask you to come to the next class with a short composition of your own or we'll finish a lesson by improvising together on related musical themes.

I'll do my best to make my expectations for you clear and at the end of every lesson, we'll go over what we accomplished together and make sure you understand what to work on before our next class.

*** Additional Online Information ***

Online lessons can be just as effective as in-person lessons for teaching you the basics of your instrument, developing technique, and achieving your musical goals! I'll use screen sharing to display music, chords, and scale charts during the lessons. Materials will be emailed to you as well for you to use at home. And communication is extra important when it comes to online lessons; because I can't make physical adjustments, I'll often assess how you hold your musical instrument and describe how you can make the adjustments yourself.

Please note that a high-speed internet connection is needed in order to make sure that we can see and hear each other appropriately. In addition, I expect that you will be able to provide your own musical instrument (and amplifier, if you have an electric instrument) to use during the lesson.

*** Additional In-Person Information ***
I teach my in-person lessons from my home office with comfortable seating for both students and parents. I expect that you will be able to provide your own musical instrument to use during the lesson.

I will have music stands available for use during lessons and will accompany and demonstrate on my musical instruments. I will have an amplifier and cables, but if you prefer to bring your own amplifier you can do that, too!

Please note that I have two cats; they'll be in an enclosed room away from where we will have lessons, but if you have cat allergies this may not be a good fit.


Write a Review
24 Reviews
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Had my first lesson with Justine and I was impressed by her knowledge and especially by her patience and encouragement. She makes a point to understand your goals and the types of music you like so she can tailor your classes to that style.

Posted Apr 25, 2018
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I love it

Posted Jan 31, 2018
Namita S.
Profile-location-online Online

She is a Great Teacher very clam and supportive, I learnt a lot from her, right from basics to some complex thing on guitar like bar chords, power chords, hammer etc. In addition she also had a good theory knowledge.

Posted Aug 24, 2017
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Great instructor, very knowledgeable and flexible

Posted Jul 30, 2017
Profile-location-home Student's Home

We met with Justine for my daughter's first guitar lesson at her home and it went really well. My daughter said that Justine was very helpful with teaching her about the parts of the guitar, string exercises, strumming, and play some chords. My daughter is excited for her next lesson.

Posted Jan 8, 2017
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Justine was great, communicative, prompt and my daughter had a great time!

Posted Jan 7, 2017
Profile-location-online Online

She is doing really well with my daughter. She is great at identifying weaknesses and kindly correcting them, and keeping her encouraged and having fun.

Posted Dec 29, 2016
Namita S.
Profile-location-online Online

First Lesson and I learned a lot about the Guitar; from recognizing the strings, to get familiarize with the chords to reading music for the first time.

Great Experience !!

Posted Mar 29, 2016
Nyah W.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Great experience with our little one!

Posted Jan 14, 2016
Bethany B.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

My granddaughter tells me she easy to listen to very nice, and she believes that justine will teach her quite a bit. Myself I believe we picked a great teacher Experience wise and age compatible Justine I'm so thankful Your teaching Bethany.

Posted Jul 2, 2015
Evelyn C.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Justine has been teaching my daughter to play bass, and we could not be more happy. Justine delivers the fundamentals through the songs my daughter wants to play, which makes it more fun for my daughter and results in more practice!

Posted Jun 24, 2015
Miguel N.
Profile-location-online Online

Justine is very patient when teaching, and always has great advice to give at the end of a lesson. Her sessions are concise, friendly, and very helpful. She was a great teacher for me, as a beginner.

Posted May 14, 2015
Kristen O.
Profile-location-online Online

Justine was very patient and kind yet offered the right about of constructive criticism. She always picked great songs for my daughter to play as well. Thanks Justine

Posted Jan 13, 2015
Jacqueline M.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Justine is quite knowledgeable and patient, as she tailors the lessons to the student's ability and interest.

Posted Dec 30, 2014
Salina M.
Profile-location-online Online

I had apprehension about an ON line guitar class, however I live very remotely in the mountains of CO and finding a teacher to work with wasn't easy...FORTUNATELY, that was the case, because I found Justine! She is knowledgable, is very tuned into MY pace, and has the flexibility I need with my unpredictable scheduling needs. I can now pick up the guitar and play a tune and sing along, and am learning more and more each time. I can't say enough about her!

Posted Oct 31, 2014
Maria E.
Profile-location-online Online

Justine was great; she was patient and informative. My daughter enjoyed her first online lesson and looks forward to more.

Posted Sep 6, 2014
jorge V.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Justine is extremely patient and great at breaking down the process for beginners I appreciate the work she is doing with my 10 year old Daughter. I highly recommend Justine!

Posted Jun 21, 2014
Maria F.
Profile-location-online Online

EXCELLENT teacher!!! Justine is very patience and extremely flexible w/schedules; willing to adapt and overcome to military mom's schedule. I truly appreciate the hard work she is doing with my son. I highly recommend Justine!

Posted Jun 10, 2014
Kelly P.
Profile-location-online Online

She has been a great teacher! I have had other teachers from other places but Justine has been the one that has kept me interested,motivated, and loving to practice! She gives me things to work on but is always very encouraging! I feel like I am learning a lot. Most other teachers don't give you songs to play on your second lesson, but she did and I felt totally ready for it! I was really hesitant at how lessons on Skype would go but they rock! I am able to see her show me things and able to hear her play her bass guitar. We are now sometimes even able to play duets together and I think that is a really neat experience. She is teaching me all the things that I would need to know if I were going to play in a band or write my own songs. Overall I have had a great experience with her and would HIGHLY recommend her to anyone!

Posted May 22, 2014
Monica G.

excellent teacher

My kids have been taking lessons with Justine and we are very happy!! She is professional, patient and always on time.I was very hesitant about skype lessons but it has been great. We give Justine 5 stars.

Posted Apr 30, 2014
Celeste M.

fabulous music teacher

When I was looking for a guitar teacher for my 12 year old daughter I wanted someone who had a great background academically and also for that instructor to be approachable and kind and laid back. We gave Justine a try, with a little hesitation knowing that we're in NC and she's in CA, I thought this might be a big hurdle but soon any worries dissipated as Justine, not only has amazing professional and academic credentials but is absolutely the sweetest, most patient and caring teacher. Using skype to view her lessons my daughter is absolutely at ease and has learned the principles of guitar playing and started to play on her own and built enough confidence to the point that she enjoys and plans to continue learning the guitar. Thank you Justine for all your hard work and we highly recommend anyone searching for a guitar instructor to get Justine. Great investment!

Posted Mar 28, 2013


Justine is amazingly patient and great at breaking down the process for beginners. I like that she teaches using an app on her iPad - which I can use as a practice tool at home. She's flexible with my changing schedule and communicates in a timely manner with appointments. She makes learning guitar fun!

Posted Jun 7, 2012

Justine is very patient but also careful to ensure that necessary capabilities are established before moving on. My coordination is taking awhile! In the meantime, a family illness has deferred lessons for awhile.

Posted Mar 2, 2012

Justine is a fabulous teacher. In my previous attempts with guitar lessons, teachers would just show me how to play something and I got good at mimicking what the teacher was doing, but left to my own devices, I had no idea. Justine actually knows HOW to teach, in such a way as to create lasting learning and give me the tools to learn more on my own. She has stepped me through learning new chords and notes/scales and how they play out in music and even how a guitar is constructed. It makes so much more sense when you have a full picture of what's going on. I even hear music differently now. Thanks Justine!

Posted Nov 29, 2011

Photos & Videos

4 Photos & Videos


Private Instructor
Sep 2011 - Present


As Private Lessons Instructor, I am grateful for the opportunity to teach both online and in-person guitar and bass guitar lessons to students of all ages and levels! Thank you for reading my profile!

Teaching Assistant / Private Instructor
Oct 2011 - Jun 2012

School of Rock Burnsville

As Teaching Assistant, I assisted with early childhood music classes that focused on music appreciation, ear training, singing, and rhythm skills. As Private Instructor, I introduced guitar to students aged 6-7 in one-on-one classes.

Orchestra Teacher
Aug 2011 - Jun 2012

Heritage E-STEM Middle School

As Orchestra Teacher, I worked directly with classes of 5th & 6th graders and 7th & 8th graders to teach basic skills on the orchestral instruments -- violin, viola, cello, and bass -- as well as basic music reading, music theory, active listening skills, and improvisation. I coordinated performances throughout the year with other music faculty in the district and assisted with an extracurricular iPad music technology class and an extracurricular evening performance.

Music & Music Education Teaching Assistant
Sep 2010 - Aug 2011

Teachers College, Columbia University

As Teaching Assistant in the Music & Music Education program, I helped ensure the smooth running of three classes: Comprehensive Musicianship, Creativity and Problem Solving in Music Education, and Creative Arts Laboratory. I made copies of handouts, took notes, and recorded performances during classes, and posted weekly to class blogs. I was involved in in weekly pre-class meetings with the professor and had input on daily lesson plans.

Associate Faculty
Jul 2010 - Jul 2010

Music Improv Camp - Teachers College, Columbia University

As Associate Faculty, I worked directly with a student ensemble to compose their own pieces and develop their jazz and improvisational skills over the course of five intensive camp day sessions.

Music & Music Education Researcher
Nov 2009 - May 2010

Teachers College, Columbia University

As Researcher, I assisted with researching the history of the Music Education department at Teachers College, Columbia University, in conjunction with Dr Harold Abeles. Our research focused on the experiences of students who play gender astereotypical musical instruments.

Music Counselor
Jun 2008 - Aug 2009

Cranbrook Educational Community - Kingswood Day Camp

As Music Counselor, I worked at Kingswood Day Camp from June-August 2007 in charge of 7 year old, June-August 2008 and June-August 2009 teaching music to 6-14 year old. I saw each troop twice weekly and was responsible for coordinating two performance concerns throughout a six week period. Campers gained experience singing, engaging in active listening, improvising, exploring rhythms, and creating their own choreography for performances.


Music & Music Education; Ed. M.
Sep 2009 - Aug 2011

Teachers College, Columbia University

Music & Psychology; B. A.
Sep 2005 - Jun 2009

Kalamazoo College



Fluent / Native Proficiency


Limited Proficiency


Jazz Improvisation
Jun 2013


I received this certification after completing a six-week intensive Berklee School of Music course taught by Gary Burton. We studied the foundations of jazz improvisation, submitted recordings of our playing, and engaged in peer review.

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