I am a composer, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter working in a variety of genres. I regularly perform around the Washington, DC, area as a solo guitarist, as a singer/songwriter, and with numerous classical, folk, rock, and musical theater groups. My primary musical influences include folk and world music, J.S. Bach, cool jazz, prog rock, American primitive, and contemporary guitar music.
I have recorded several CDs of my original compositions, including music for solo acoustic guitar, chamber music for classical banjo, and scores for live theater productions. I have also recorded and produced CDs of other recording artists.
I teach private and group lessons on guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, and bass guitar at my home studio in Maryland, at several area music schools, and online. With my broad performance and compositional background, I offer students a wide musical perspective and tailor lessons to match student interests. I work with students on music of their choosing to improve technique and develop an understanding of music theory, improvisation, and composition. For classical guitar students who would like to pursue the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) graded exams, I offer coaching in preparation for all aspects of the practical exams.
Teaches Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Teaches students 5 and up
Mark has been a great teacher for this adult beginner! I take lessons in clawhammer banjo and ukulele with him, and his easy-going nature and skill in identifying ways to improve make it a joyful experience! Highly recommend.
Mr. Sylvester is one of the greatest. He is not just an amazing guitarist, but he is also very kind. He treats people with so much respect. He speaks to me and my mom so nicely. He is very patient. He has a deep knowledge of music and knows how to get the most out of even the least talented people (like me!). He doesn't ever get mad if you make a mistake or forget to bring your music notes. We were so lucky to find Mr. Sylvester.Show More
Mark is a talented musician who plays and teaches multiple stringed instruments. His lessons are always informative and supportive. They are driven by the student’s interest, so anything you want o learn— styles of music, how to do a particular technique, music theory— you can bring to class. And every now and then he organizes a recital— terrifying but great practice!Show More
Mark has been teaching our 11 year old son for the past 3 years. He is always engaged and excited about learning his next songs and going to his lessons. Mark is very relaxed in his style of teaching but has high expectations for learning the songs and improving overall. We are lucky to have him as a teacher.Show More
Our son has been receiving lessons from Mark for the past two and a half years. Mark is professional, punctual, and a wonderful teacher and guitar player! Our son looks forward to his lessons every week and Mark has been so patient in helping him as he bounces around between classical and electric guitar, and we're thrilled to have him as a teacher.Show More
My daughter has been taking lessons with Mark for a little over a year. She has learned songs she likes and Mark helps build her abilities and confidence. In her words: Mark plays along with you and tells you what you’re doing well and what can be improved. He gives good tips about how to work on what you need to improve. He recommends songs to play but also asks what songs you want to play.Show More
Mark is teaching our teenage son electric guitar and has been doing so for more than a year. He really is a great guy and a terrific teacher. Patient and obviously knows music and music theory, inside-out. I also appreciate the fact that he is organized because it makes it a lot easier determining schedules and whatver.Show More
I have been taking guitar lessons with Mark for 4 years, and I have enjoyed every minute of it! He is an excellent teacher, and is also kind, laid-back, and very funny. After my first year of lessons, I signed up my 2 children, and they have learned so much from Mark as well. Tuesdays are a treat!Show More
Mark is an absolute gem as an instructor. He is so talented, knowledgable, personable and so very patient with my daughter. We could not have asked for a better instructor and look forward to continuing more lessons with him. If anyone is on the fence about requesting Mark as an instructor, don't be. He's the best! You'll learn so much and enjoy every minute of it.Show More
Mark is an exceptional teacher. I have been taking banjo lessons with Mark, both bluegrass style and clawhammer. He is able to teach well so many other string instruments like ukelele, mandolin and guitar. His wide knowledge base allows him to help you with any instrument or situation. He is very patient, observant and detail oriented. I like that he is able to assess my issues quickly and provide good feedback. He builds confidence in you. The best thing that you can hear from Mark is "for you the best way to approach this...". His lessons are really tuned to you as an individual with the best plan and strategy that will work for you and your weaknesses and strengths. You end up doing things that you thought were too difficult for you just a week before. He's great!Show More
Mark has a wonderful way with students of all ages. His music and instrument knowledge is excellent, and he manages to balance his knowledge with listening to his students' interests and ideas. His rates are reasonable, and he makes lessons rewarding.
Mark instructs my 8-year-old daughter for the past 4 months. He's patient, polite, and well-organized. My daughter enjoys her lessons and has progressed nicely. I also saw a recital of Mark's current students a few months ago and can attest to the wide diversity of students and musical styles he teaches. We heard beginners, folk, country, metal, you name it. It was a testament to his wide-range as an instructor and his ability to cater to each student's interests and abilities.Show More
Mark's versatility is exceptional. He is as fluid and adept at music styles ranging from classics to folk, heavy metal to country. He is patient and flexible and helps students to find the right pace for themselves.
- Levels Taught:
- Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
I play and teach both clawhammer and fingerpicking banjo styles. As a performer, I mostly play traditional and contemporary classical music, though I also have performed and recorded quite a bit of folk music on banjo. I enjoy working with clawhammer students as they create their own arrangements of tunes.
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