Michael Ellis

Michael E.

Dallas, TX

About Michael E.

Background check: Last verified 12/23/2015
Michael passed a background check on 12/23/2015 that included the following:
  • National Criminal Record Check
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  • Sex Offender Registry Search
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Michael teaches: Ages 7 and up
Teaching since: February 1972
Last sign in: 2 days ago


My name is Mike E. I am a resident of Lake Highlands. I played by ear for eleven years before starting training on music and how to teach by Mr. Terrill Gardner. Terrill took me through music from the Rolling Stones all the way through "Modern Method for Guitar" books I, II, and III from Berklee College in Boston. He was my mentor and taught me a method that he spent thirty years perfecting. It works, guaranteed. He also taught me on bass guitar and banjo. I can help you.

Lessons are customized to meet the needs of the individual, with the primary focus on playing songs as soon as possible. I am talking about playing along with the pros, not reading notes for months and playing "Mary Had a Little Lamb." I have combined my "by ear" knowledge with Terrill's training to provide a unique approach to music, chords, music theory, ear training, and more. Even piano lessons start with learning chords. Chords are what the musicians play behind the vocals.

Give me thirty minutes of your time and I will show you why students keep coming back to me, even after stopping for a while.

*** Lesson Details ***
Note Reading provided on request only.

Beginner Guitar - We start with simple chords and eight easy one-verse songs. These teach chords, timing, hand technique, ear training, song construction, and the start of music theory.

Intermediate to Advanced Guitar - all of the above plus tablature, different styles, advanced chord theory, performance, lead guitar, and more.

Beginning Piano - We start with simple chords and go straight into the songs the students like. These teach chords, timing, hand technique, ear training, song construction, and the start of music theory. I can teach you every major chord on piano in one sentence.

Bass Guitar - We start with learning the location of notes on the neck and move immediately into major chords so you can start playing with songs. The chords are divided into their single notes, but viewed as chords because that is what the other musicians are playing during the vocals.

Banjo - I teach from the book "I Can Teach Myself Banjo" but you really need a teacher/mentor to show you all the things that seeing and being able to ask questions covers that just can't be covered in a book.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Piano, amplifiers, cords, computer, free WiFi, all in a spacious room with a window for parents to view the teacher and student. Parents have a large, comfortable waiting area. Restrooms and water fountain provided.

*** Specialties ***
I specialize in mentoring, being a friend as well as a teacher. I have never gotten mad at a student and never will.

I have written three books on chord theory, "Chordmaster Chord Theory for Keyboard," "Chordmaster for Beginner Piano Students," and "Chordmaster Chord Theory for Guitar." You can learn more about these online.

You can read my article for Takelessons.com at http://takelessons.com/blog/lead-guitar-tips. Just paste the address in your browser.

Photos and Videos

An original piece by a former student, David Oneal (guitar). I can't claim any more than helping him get started on guitar. He did the rest.


Private Guitar, Bass, and Banjo Instructor

Jan 1974 - Dec 1987
McCord Music Company

Mike taught at McCord Music Company for fifteen years. He taught alongside teachers like Chuck Rainey (bassist for Aretha Franklin and more), Greg Bissonett (Drummer for Ringo Starr, David Lee Roth, and more), Mac Dougherty (Berklee College guitar instructor), and Chris McGuire (classical guitarist who auditioned for Segovia).


Guitar, Bass guitar, Banjo, and Music Theory

Feb 1974 - Aug 1987
Terrill Gardner

Sight Reading for Guitar

Aug 1980 - May 1981
Terrill Gardner / Berklee College (Boston)

Guitar and Piano studies

Sep 1962 - Aug 1973
Self Taught

Piano Lessons

Sep 1955 - Jun 1957
Stonewall Jackson Elementary


Johnny Smith Jazz Seminar

Mar 1982
Johnny Smith Music

8 hour seminar on guitar and jazz guitar.

Write a Review

16 Reviews on Michael E.

David N. Sep 30, 2016
Guitar · In studio
Verified Student
Very friendly teacher, very knowledge
Bill B. Sep 8, 2016
Guitar · In studio
Verified Student
Mike was on time. His studio is very professional. He listens well. Our first lesson was great. I am looking forward to next week.
Tom Aug 4, 2016
Guitar · In studio
Mike Ellis is amazing! I always wanted to play guitar and now, at 65, I’m learning.
Mike makes learning guitar easy – and fun! He matches his teaching style to your goals. If you want to master the guitar, he can teach you. If you just want to learn some techniques and how to play your favorite songs, he can teach you. There’s no pressure. Mike will work at your pace.
Everyone’s life is getting busier and busier. Mike understands schedules can change. If I need to reschedule my standing lesson time, he’s very accommodating and flexible.
Lessons are held in a nice, quiet studio.
Thank you, Mike, for helping me learn to play and for making my lessons so enjoyable. I look forward to it every week.
Madhavan R. Aug 1, 2016
Guitar · In studio
Verified Student
Michael is an awesome teacher! His passion for music and teaching easily translates into an enriching experience for students of all types and varieties. Not only does Michael help his students refine their playing skills, but he also encourages a fuller appreciation of music (and music history) along with an advanced foundational and holistic approach to music theory.
Blake K. Jul 30, 2016
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
After one lesson with Mike our 8 year old came home and went straight to the piano to play! He then thanked me for taking him to lessons!! He had lessons for almost a year prior to this with a different teacher and we couldn't get him to practice let alone be grateful for his lessons. Mike is awesome and well worth the 30 minutes it takes us to get to him.
Jennifer M. Jul 28, 2016
Banjo · In studio
Verified Student
I've been taking Banjo lessons with Michael for 5 months. I am an adult with absolutely no experience with any string instrument. Michael has taught me the basic roll patterns and techniques such as pull offs, hammer downs and slides and I can play several songs. I never thought that would be possible! Banjo is much harder than I imagined, but I can do it thanks to the encouragement and instruction from Michael! We are working through the book "I Can Teach Myself Banjo".....but I couldn't do it without Michael. Even my husband comments on how much better I am getting. Michael does demand excellence....I can't roll past a mistake, he always hears it and has me try again! He is super patient and we laugh alot! I look forward to my lessons every week and love to practice my new skills.
Jennifer M. Jul 28, 2016
Banjo · In studio
Verified Student
I've been taking Piano lessons from Michael for about 5 months. I am an adult and took years of piano as a kid. I decided to take lessons again when we bought a baby grand from a garage sale. I searched for a teacher that would be fun! This time I wanted to learn pop songs with chords; music that I enjoy. It has been so much fun but I'm also learning about music theory in a way that I really understand. Michael is patient, funny, and very talented. I tell him what song I want to learn and he picks it out by ear, writes it down, then helps me figure out the best way to play it. He has written a great book that breaks down all the chords so it is easy to learn and remember. I'm having a great time and keeping the cobwebs from forming in my brain!
Adam Jul 28, 2016
Guitar · In studio
I have been a student of Mike's for almost two years now and he is absolutely great. First, he is a great guitar player which I think is prerequisite to being a great guitar teacher. Second, I really enjoy his teaching and I have improved tremendously.
Ivanna B. Jun 22, 2016
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
Michael is great, My daughter enjoys very minute of it!
Bill M. May 27, 2016
Banjo · In home
Verified Student
Teacher has excellent sense of humor ans explained the lesson clearly.
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