Mark Banning
Castro Valley, CA
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This teacher is rated in the top 15% of teachers in the specialty subject. This badge demonstrates subject mastery on a nationwide scale.
Mark Banning

Mark B.

Castro Valley, CA
Profile-student-favorite Student Favorite
This teacher is rated in the top 15% of teachers in the specialty subject. This badge demonstrates subject mastery on a nationwide scale.
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Levels taught:
I love to teach music theory at all levels. Music Theory helps you understand many aspects of music, including why certain notes and chords sound good together, finding the right key to sing a song that is in your voice range, improvisation and soloing on your instrument, timing, rhythm, creating original melodies, thinking outside the box for composition, and many others.

About Mark B.

I have played on tour with several professional bands, playing rock, pop, blues, African, metal, and country. Now I am a bandleader and perform live in various bands and record original music as often as possible. My music has gotten airplay in many countries.

I started taking guitar lessons at age 9, and recorded 2 singles in the LA area by age 14. I was a music major throughout High School and College. I also learned a lot by educating myself at the Brand Library in the Los Angeles Area, which specializes in the arts. I specialized in advanced music theory applications and improvisational techniques.

I have enjoyed teaching music lessons since 1978.

I custom tailor a lesson plan to fit your individual needs and goals! I can teach you songs you'd like to learn instantly when I hear them on your iPod, mobile phone, cassette or CD that you bring in. I can explain musical theory and concepts many different ways, to make sure you understand them. I am very friendly and patient.

Sometimes I might inject humor into the learning process to make it an enjoyable learning experience, and to help you remember the important things.
I love the satisfaction of seeing my students grow musically proficient and and seeing the JOY that it brings them. Many of my students have gone on to become professional. I am well-versed and well-equipped to teach many styles: Rock (including all sub-genres...Tribal Ambient neo Punk, etc), Pop, Blues, Jazz, Alternative, Country, R&B, New Age, Ambient, Electronic, Metal (and a few plastics and wood as well).

*** Lesson Details ***
I will develop a personal lesson plan for each individual student. During your lessons, I might cover topics ranging from learning how to play, starting from the basics (if you are a beginner), to choosing music that will inspire you on your level, to improving your technique, ear-training, music reading (if that's what you'd like), reading and understanding tabs (if that's what you'd like), knowing what it is that makes certain chords and notes sound good together for writing your own music, as well as guitar maintenance and adjustments, getting a good tone, amplifier settings, effect pedals (settings & placing them in the most effective order), recording tips, and where to get a decent pizza. Haha.

*** Studio Equipment ***
I have a home studio which is very comfortable. Amplifiers, guitars, effects pedals, bass, ukulele, balalaika, drum set, PA system and recording equipment. This is a very serene and peaceful environment with no distractions like nearby lessons in a music store.

*** Travel Equipment ***
I provide guitar, bass, or ukulele and amplifier when necessary, teaching tools. The student provides their guitar and paperwork I give them.

*** Specialties ***
Teach note reading using Alfred's New Guitar course. Ear Training, Genres: Rock, Pop, Blues, Jazz, Alternative, Punk, Metal, Folk, Country, Hip Hop, Funk, R& B, New Age, Ambient.
What ever your musical preferences are, I will enjoy teaching the kind of music you are interested in. This helps in keeping you motivated to learn more and practice often.

I currently have 6 albums out under my name. A song of mine is on a major new age compilation, and several of my songs have gotten radio airplay in several countries, and several internet radio programs throughout the world. I have played on other people's albums...some of which have received major radio airplay in Europe, and gone to #1!


Write a Review
29 Reviews
Profile-location-online Online

The best

Posted Dec 15, 2020
Amit Dubey
Profile-location-online Online

Mark is a great instructor. Chill dude and lots of fun to work with. Loads of musical knowledge, and a ton on handy tips. If you ask nicely, he'll even teach you to play the uke behind your back or with your teeth.

Posted Nov 29, 2020
Serena C.
Profile-location-online Online

Mark is an awesome instructor who makes learning the ukulele fun. I feel like I've already learned so much in the 7 classes I've taken. He is patient, creative, and easy to learn from.

Posted Oct 8, 2020
Profile-location-online Online

Best instructor ever

Posted Apr 7, 2020
Scott F.
Profile-location-online Online

great slide lesson today - really patient and effective teaching - breaking the song down and getting into technique - thank you Mark!!

Posted Mar 31, 2020
Richard D.
Profile-location-online Online

Great instructor, gave me tips that immediately improved my playing.

Posted Feb 1, 2020
Tina M.
Profile-location-online Online

Mark is a wonderful guitar teacher and is great for anyone at any level. He's an awesome guitarist too. I highly recommend Mark.

Posted Jan 31, 2019
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Mark is very patient and funny! My son and dad both enjoyed ukulele class. They are looking forward to continuing their weekly lessons. Thank you so much Mark! :)

Posted Nov 3, 2018
Scott F.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Been working with Mark for 2 years now - electric and acoustic; it's time I share just how much learning and fun is going on! Some lessons we pick apart songs to understand how/why they work. Some lessons are thematic - modes, signature changes, turnarounds, etc. Crazy impressive guitar skills, explains theory and conjures up relevant examples, very adaptable, and extremely patient. My friends say it's made a huge difference in my playing!

Posted Aug 1, 2018
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Highly knowledgeable and an excellent teacher. Always finds a way to make lessons entertaining.

Posted Jul 22, 2018
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Just had a great first lesson with Mark. I'm an intermediate guitarist with a few years of experience looking to work on improving my improvisation. Right away, Mark helped get me started in the right direction and gave me some valuable tips that I'd never considered, which are already helping how I think about my playing.

Looking forward to continuing lessons.

Posted Feb 14, 2018
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I started Bass guitar lessons from Mark about 4 years ago. He is a very talented and patient musician who really pays attention to detail. I have a busy schedule and sometimes I just can't practice as much as I would like to. to make things even harder, I play Left handed. Mark takes the time to go over things with me with out any frustration. I really had no idea what it would be like taking lessons at my age (let's just say I'm way past 50), but I truly look forward to meeting with mark for my weekly lesson. I'm making progress and one of these days I'll be able to say Yes, I can play this bass.
I would recommend any student that wanted to learn to play the Guitar or Bass guitar to Mark. you will not be disappointed.

Posted Jan 17, 2018
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Mark is a terrific teacher. He knows and loves music. He is an awesome guitar player. He is patient and fits the lessons to your ability and tastes. He is also quite funny which helps make the lessons be enjoyable. His home studio is a great place to have the lessons.

Posted Jan 11, 2018
Tommy A.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Great experience.

Posted Oct 17, 2017
Paul M.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Hanging out like old times and had a Great lesson. Thanks Mark

Posted Oct 16, 2016
Michael P.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Mark was an excellent teacher, made me very comfortable. We talk about music and set some goal,he keeps a chart to know what his teaching each student and he write it all out on paper and he writes that you can understand his writing .so very happy. Mike

Posted Jul 6, 2016
Scott F.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

First lesson. Mark really dialed in my skill level and completely exceeded my expectations in terms of material, lesson plan, genre etc. Even got to play one of his ridiculously sweet tele's.

Posted Jun 8, 2016
Ray A.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I think Mark is a good guitar player and the best guitar instructor i ever had. Igive him 5 star rating.

Posted Jul 8, 2015
Todd R.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Mark is very patient and very talented! I never feel like he is rushing through my lesson. He makes learning fun!

Posted Feb 15, 2015
Marc M.

Everything a music teacher should be

My worst nightmare was that taking guitar lessons as an adult would be similar to my forced and short-lived piano lessons as a youth. Mark quickly set my fears aside the first lesson by outlining what I would need to learn to reach my goals. He is very adaptive to the student based on music preferences and skill progression. Each week we focus on progressively harder songs.

Aside from guitar knowledge and teaching skills, Mark is also very flexible around your schedule. He really makes an effort to communicate and to reschedule when needed.

I'd recommend Mark to anyone looking for guitar lessons. I feel lucky to have found Mark as a teacher.

Posted Dec 18, 2013
Mike E.

Very good teacher

Helps you out when in need doesn't get frustrated . Will take the time to teach you how to play rather than to assign you something and except for you to understand. Very good teacher

Posted Nov 12, 2013
Christian H.

Mark is an outstanding teacher - Highly Recommended

I contacted take lessons in hopes to better my soloing abilities and improve upon my theory. Mark Banning is the real deal. The man can play like no other and is undeniably knowledgeable in the realm of guitar. I have been playing since elementary and was once taught by Mark. It's great to have stumbled upon his profile on the take lessons site to be reunited with such an awesome teacher.

Teaching Skill:
-Extremely knowledgeable in countless styles of guitar
-A varied and highly organized curriculum that keeps things interesting
-I have applied everything that Mark has shown me thus far.

-Apart from his goofy delivery of information it is clear that Mark has a professional side to him as well. Don't get me wrong. The guy is hilarious.
-Mark tracks every player's status in a binder so he knows exactly where they left off. I can feel and see my progression after every lesson.
-Mark will motivate you. He is not there to simply collect funds. The man genuinely cares about your playing ability.

-The information is always clear
-Allows time for questions each lesson
-Responds accurately

-I have only needed to reschedule once with Mark because he had a gig down south.

Teaching environment:
-In-house studio with a number of amps/guitars to choose from

Get lessons from Mark Banning. You WONT regret it.

Posted Apr 29, 2013

very caring and understanding. takes positive teaching skills to positively enhance learning experience. Awesome experienced musician

Posted Jun 4, 2012

I have received more theory and practical knowledge than I thought possible. His approach makes a lot of sense to me and it's interesting and fun. He took two songs off my phone, played them back nearly perfectly, wrote them down for me, gave me blues lesson and all of a sudden I knew more about the bar cords than I did over 30 years goofing off. I got a smile.

Posted Jan 19, 2012

One on one Harmonica lessons

After many years of teaching myself to play my harmonicas I finally got some basic instructions. Mark did a great job,especially on BENDING notes.

Posted Jan 18, 2012

Great Teacher

Mark is great teacher - super knowledgeable, skilled and friendly. What I love is his flexibility in the lessons, so I got to learn music that I was really interested in. I always look forward to my lessons with Mark.

Posted Nov 23, 2011

Guitar lessons with humor

Sammi says:He is a funny instructor that really knows how to teach.

Posted Nov 3, 2011

retired teacher

I am having a great time with Mark, He is very knowledgeable about what I want to learn and able to answer any questions that I have.

Posted Nov 3, 2011

beginning ukulele

Mark is a very good teacher. He helped with learning strumming and chords. Wrote chord charts and strumming patterns for me. Answered all my questions and even came up with a score for some music I wanted to play.

Posted Oct 2, 2011

Photos & Videos

8 Photos & Videos


Music teacher
Jan 1978 - Present

Self employed

I have been successfully teaching music lessons since 1978. It is my passion, along with recording and live performance. Several of my students have become professional musicians and/or columnists for a guitar magazine.


No degree
Sep 1982 - Jun 1986

University Of The Pacific



Fluent / Native Proficiency


Feb 2008

Hayward Battle Of The Bands

I was a judge at the world's longest running battle of the bands.


King Of The Blues
Oct 2009

Guitar Center

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