Michael Shirey

Michael S.

Chicago, IL

About Michael S.

Background check: Last verified 06/14/2016
Michael passed a background check on 06/14/2016 that included the following:
  • National Criminal Record Check
  • County/State Criminal Record Check
  • Sex Offender Registry Search
  • SSN Trace & Verification
For more information, please click here.
Michael teaches: Ages 8 and up
Special needs
Teaching since: March 2011
Last sign in: Yesterday


Expressing yourself is the ultimate goal of music and my job is to help you get your point across!

Like any musician, music is my life.
I love to soak it in any way I can! Whether it be listening to records, jamming with my friends or watching all the live concert footage of Stevie Ray Vaughan I can get my hands on.

I graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a Bachelor’s of Art in Music with a concentration on guitar performance. Throughout my undergraduate studies I performed in various ensembles within the college’s curriculum. Currently, my solo project gives me the opportunity to continue to grow through writing and performing my own original pieces. Throughout my career I have had the honor of performing with renowned songwriters Todd Rundgren and Charlie Sexton as well as being mentored by jazz drummer Frank Donaldson of The Ramsey Lewis Quartet.

*** Lesson Details ***

Studying at the college level taught me a lot about what not to do as a teacher. The material is already difficult enough, so why would I be difficult with you?

I strive to be more of a mentor and friend rather than taskmaster. However, I do require structure and commitment to getting better. My curriculum will revolve around you and your needs with added material that I feel will help you succeed.

A typical lesson plan includes:

 physical technique

 chord and scale knowledge,

 soloing concepts

 and tying all of these ideas together by learning a song in a genre you love!

All of these concepts culminate in the discovery of your own personal voice!

*** Studio Equipment ***
My teaching studio is just steps away from the Belmont Blue Line stop! Our lessons will be held in a private practice space in my home. The large room has multiple amps and guitars, so there is no need to bring an instrument for lessons if you don't want to! (But, you do need an instrument to practice with outside of our lessons!)

Photos and Videos


Guitar Instructor
Mar 2011 - Present
Independently and with TakeLessons

Music Theory Tutor
Aug 2012 - May 2013
Columbia College Chicago


Bachelor's of Art in Music
Aug 2009 - May 2013
Columbia College Chicago

Languages Spoken

Fluent / Native Proficiency
Professional Proficiency


Performance Scholarship
Aug 2012
Columbia College Chicago


National Association for Music Education
Oct 2013

Founded in 1907, NAfME is among the world’s largest arts education organizations. NAfME advocates at the local, state, and national levels; provides resources for teachers, parents, and administrators; hosts professional development events; and offers a variety of opportunities for students and teachers.

26 Reviews on Michael S.

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Mary Ellen M. Mar 5, 2017
Verified Student · Guitar · Online
Tracy Feb 13, 2017
Verified Student · Acoustic Guitar · Online
Michael was clearly very experienced. He did a great job of explaining the concepts and specific techniques for the practice exercises. He emailed me clear homework. I am glad to have found him and excited to finally be taking real steps to lear to play the guitar!
Sejana Y. Feb 6, 2017
Verified Student · Acoustic Guitar · Online
I have had a year's worth of lessons with Michael- our first lesson was 1 Feb 2016. When we hit our anniversary, I wrote down what I was able to accomplish because of his efforts in helping me to learn to play the guitar. I went from knowing NOTHING about the guitar to playing in 3 regular "gigs" (as he calls them) during our 1 year of lessons together. I would call that a success.

I had the guitar for a year before lessons, but with only using Youtube video tutorials and zero experience, I was not dedicated enough to learn anything on my own. So, that guitar just sat there until I ran across this site and chose Michael for my very first lesson, 1 Feb 2016. Well it is now 1 year later and after a year's worth of lessons, I want to publish a review. Michael was very patient with me. I am a very busy homeschooling mom. Originally, I signed up for guitar lessons thinking that it was an affordable option for me to learn and then teach my children- but it ended up being really fun for me to be able to play a tune all on my own! Well, after only 6 months of hard work, I joined (and still continue to play) on my church's praise and worship team. Michael helped me with questions about the music I was given to play. I knew NOTHING before and now I am on a worship team! I have also been asked to play in other places- it is all because of this teacher. I had A LOT of questions and Michael did an exceptional job explaining things without the frustration I would have had since I am not able to physically touch their guitar or their fingers. Before I joined the team, I emailed Michael songs that I was interested in learning how to play and he figured out the chords and strumming patterns and would teach me the song. He would record himself playing back the song (slow and then normal tempo) as well as provide a written tab or whatever it was that I needed in order to "get it."

I made a recording to document my journey (video below with a link to the written part). I know it's not the best, but I know from where I came and how far I had come with the guitar. If you are looking for a teacher who takes any kind of music that you are interested in and helps you reach your goals- whatever they might be for the guitar- then this guy is your guy. Thank you Michael for all of your hard work. Also, thank you for for being so patient with me when I did not do my homework as much as I should have. Your accountability and grace kept me going. Look at me now!!! https://youtu.be/l8yixvi1ohM
bob Jan 17, 2017
Verified Student · Blues Guitar · Online
Exactly what I have been looking for. Terrific lesson. Just enough practice material for next week.
Todd B. Jan 2, 2017
Verified Student · Guitar · Online
The first lesson with Michael was fun. He has a great personality and doesn't sound like Ben Stein when he's teaching.

Micheal has a great way of communicating the lesson information through teaching principals, he has a wealth of music knowledge and recognizes my way of learning. I liked that the lesson was broken up into segments and he ensured I understood the concept before we moved on the next portion.

Micheal provided valuable feedback during the lesson and followed up with me via email. Included in the email was tablature and backing tracks to assist with practice.

I'm looking forward to our next lesson!
Gurmit Dec 19, 2016
Verified Student · Acoustic Guitar · Online
Gina Aug 31, 2016
Verified Student · Guitar · In studio
Great first lesson! :)
Isaac Aug 7, 2016
Verified Student · Guitar · In studio
Not only is Micheal one of the nicest, coolest teachers, he is also one mean guitar player. I've been playing for about 7 years and my classes have made me improve faster than ever before. He is a teacher who will tailor your classes to exactly what you want to learn and welcomes every lesson with great energy and enthusiasm. He is as helpful as he is inspiring.
Simon Cäsar Ciglia Feb 24, 2016
Verified Student · Guitar · Online
Really enjoyed it
Yakov F. Feb 17, 2016
Verified Student · Guitar · Online
I enjoy his classes! Always tries to help you improve. Thanks!
Michael Shirey
Michael S.

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