Kenny Smilovitch

Kenny S.

Chicago, IL
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Kenny has been playing guitar since the age of 14, has received awards and grants from the Canada Council, and is an instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His approach to teaching guitar helps students learn quickly and maximize musical potential.

I'm a guitar player and singer songwriter from Montreal, Canada, have been living in Chicago for seven years, and have been playing electric, dobro, and acoustic guitar in the studio and on the stage for 20+ years. I play fingerstyle in a variety of tunings and am also a proficient flatpicker covering folk, bluegrass, electric, blues, and country picking techniques.

Whether you are a songwriter looking to improve your basic skills to perform a wider range of material, or a flatpicker looking to refine your improvisation skills or learn fingerstyle and open tunings, I can help you learn the correct approach to help bring your playing to a new level.

We all have within us, the ability to be an excellent player. With proper guidance, learning guitar can be a fun and meaningful experience. It is my hope that my approach to teaching will help aspiring guitarists realize their musical potential as quickly and easily as possible.

I am as enthusiastic and excited about music as the day I picked up the guitar and enjoy sharing my experience with other musicians that are starting out or looking for new ideas.

Let me know how I can help!

About Kenny S.

Kenny has been playing guitar since the age of 14, has received awards and grants from the Arts Council, and is an instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His approach to teaching guitar helps students learn quickly, have fun, and maximize musical potential. Kenny has played at Festivals and venues across North America and plays acoustic and electric guitar. Kenny has a flexible schedule and is available to teach all ages and experience levels. He plays folk, country, blues, jazz, and rock styles and enjoys teaching everything from Bob Dylan and Neil Young to Led Zeppelin and Johnny Winter.


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

Great first day!

Posted Mar 4, 2020
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I recently started taking lessons with Kenny to try to learn some basic lead guitar in a one on one setting. I've been very impressed with his preparation, taking the time to tailor the lesson to my level of play and the music I am interested in playing. He also is very encouraging and is interested in my learning and progress, even going beyond the one hour lesson time to ensure that I have the tools necessary to continue to work at home.

Posted Feb 3, 2020
Zion and Isadora R.

Great 1 st lesson. He was patient and supportive with the kids!

Posted Nov 4, 2019
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Kenny really knows his stuff and assembled a comprehensive lesson specific to my goals. Looking forward to next week!

Posted Oct 1, 2019
jamison odling

I studied guitar with Kenny for five years and his lessons undoubtedly made me not only a better guitarist but a better musician. Kenny is an incredibly patient teacher with well thought out lessons that follow a natural scope and sequence while always fitting the needs a likes of the student. He is an expert communicator and an inspiring performer. I highly recommend his teaching to any and all levels of aspiring guitarist whatever the style of music.

Posted Jun 16, 2016
Michel Zabitsky

I took weekly lessons with Kenny back when he was in Montreal and it was a great learning experience. He was not only open to working on the songs that I wanted but also introduced me to new and exciting stuff that have really broadened my horizons. Kenny is not only super knowledgeable and talented but above all is a great communicator and teacher who makes you feel comfortable learning new techniques and material in a stimulating and exciting way. Highly recommended!

Posted Jun 8, 2016
Michael G

Great musician. Great guy. Most important, a great teacher. Kenny can clearly articulate what you need to know.
Technique, right/left hand position, theory, altered tunings.

Posted Jun 6, 2016
Jeremy Stern

Kenny is not only a fantastic fingestyle player and teacher, but he has a way of giving you these incredibly valuable tools to really make the lessons worthwhile. He also can cover so many different styles from simple acoustic strumming, to intricate fingerstyle, to jazz, to full on Led Zeppelin! He is such a unique teacher that will make you feel comfortable whatever your level. He happens to be one of the nicest guys in the world and I couldn't recommend him highly enough.

Posted Jun 5, 2016
Mike B

Kenny's the complete, and rare, package of excellent guitarist, knowledgable musician, and patient, experienced teacher. Years after my lessons with Kenny I'm still benefiting from what he taught me, from his sensitivity to technique and tone to the incredible music he introduced me to.

Posted Jun 5, 2016

Photos & Videos

9 Photos & Videos


Sep 2011 - Present

School of the Art Institute of Chicago


Sep 1988 - May 1990

University of Western Ontario



Fluent / Native Proficiency


Arts and Letters
Jan 2000

Council for the Arts

Canada Council for the Arts


Arts and Letters
Jan 2000

Council for the Arts

NWT Arts Council
Sep 1995

NWT Arts Council


Jan 2000
SOCAN (the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) is a not-for-profit organization that represents the Canadian performing rights of millions of Canadian and international music creators and publishers. SOCAN is proud to play a leading role in supporting the long-term success of its more than 130,000 Canadian members, as well as the Canadian music industry. Through licenses, SOCAN gives businesses that use music the freedom to use any music they want, legally and ethically. SOCAN licenses more than 125,000 businesses coast to coast and distributes royalties to its members and peer organizations around the world. SOCAN also distributes royalties to its members for the use of Canadian music around the world in collaboration with its peer societies. In addition, SOCAN plays a leadership role in mentoring emerging creators on various aspects of the craft and business of music. We also advocate on behalf of our members to ensure that copyright is respected and that creators are appropriately remunerated for the use of their work.

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