Mark Banning

Mark B.

Castro Valley, CA
100% Satisfaction Guarantee

100% Satisfaction Guarantee

Try the first lesson and if you’re not satisfied we'll refund any unused lessons.

Lesson Details


Levels Taught:
I teach and help people how to write songs at all levels. Whether you are a beginner, or more advanced and need new ideas to draw from. There is an endless reservoir of ideas and concepts to help you to create any kind of music imaginable.
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Mark teaches



Mark delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 5+ and special needs

Teaching since:
December 1978

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

I started playing guitar 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 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 ***
Living Room or Studio, both 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!

*** 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 5 albums out under my name. A song of mine is on a major new age compilation, and several of my songs have been played on the radio 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!

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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

Photos & Videos

Playing "Cause We've Ended As Lovers" by Jeff Beck.
Mark Banning & The Troublemakers starting off a show with "Malaguena."
Performing on stage at a festival in Milbrae, California.

Mark playing "Little Wing" with The 7th Sons @ The Fenix in San Rafael.
One happy Strat cat.

Playing on stage with The Unauthorized Rolling Stones.

Hanging out with my grandson, Timmy

My wife & I at a Christmas party.

A Led Zeppelin cover with a lot of guitar.  The guitar I'm using was made by my son!

23 Reviews

Write a Review
Tina M. Jan 31, 2019
Acoustic Guitar · 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.

Joshua Nov 3, 2018
Ukulele · In 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! :)

Scott Aug 1, 2018
Acoustic Guitar · In 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!

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Jordan Jul 22, 2018
Acoustic Guitar · In studio

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

David Feb 14, 2018
Guitar · In 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.

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Alex Jan 17, 2018
Bass Guitar · In 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.

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Marc Jan 11, 2018
Bass Guitar · In 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.

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Tommy A. Oct 17, 2017
Harmonica · In home

Great experience.

Paul M. Oct 16, 2016
Bass Guitar · In studio

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

Michael P. Jul 6, 2016
Guitar · In 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

Scott Jun 8, 2016
Acoustic Guitar · In 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.

Ray A. Jul 8, 2015
Guitar · In studio

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

Todd R. Feb 15, 2015
Acoustic Guitar · In home

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

Marc M. Dec 18, 2013
Guitar ·

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.

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Mike E. Nov 12, 2013
Guitar ·

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

Christian H. Apr 29, 2013
Guitar ·

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.

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MikeE2 Jun 4, 2012

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

RickP3 Jan 19, 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.

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RaymondA Jan 18, 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.

AndreasS Nov 23, 2011

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.

NikkiP Nov 3, 2011

Guitar lessons with humor

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

CurtisC 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.

ValeriaS Oct 2, 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.

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