Michael Shirey

Michael S.

Chicago, IL
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Everyone can play the blues because everyone has felt them. My goal is to give you a new voice on an amazing instrument and explore the history of blues through its great players

About Michael S.

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!)


Write a Review
62 Reviews
Profile-location-online Online

Great lesson, easy to understand, and I left with great materials to practice.

Posted May 11, 2021
Profile-location-online Online

Michael helps you with whatever you need. If you want to play a song, he probably has the tab. For example, I learned 3 KISS songs. Best instructor ever!!!

Posted May 3, 2021
Profile-location-online Online

michael is the man to go to when you need guitar lessons

Posted Jan 12, 2021
Timothy Sweeney
Profile-location-online Online

Spent my very first lesson with Michael today, learned a new guitar riff, he's a good teacher. Try it.

Posted Aug 21, 2020
Profile-location-online Online

Michael is great! My 15 year loves him and he is inspired to practice all the time.

Posted Jul 28, 2020
Profile-location-online Online

He was great! Super patient with my 8 year old and very helpful. We are looking forward to next week!

Posted Jul 6, 2020
Daniel B.
Profile-location-online Online

I am enjoying the lessons

Posted Jun 22, 2020
Profile-location-online Online

Awesome lesson. Friendly, knowledgeable, and gets right to the lesson. Highly recommend.

Posted Jun 17, 2020
Profile-location-online Online

Great session!

Posted Jun 16, 2020
Profile-location-online Online

Great teacher. Lot’s of patience!

Posted May 27, 2020
Profile-location-online Online

Fantastic instructor.

Extremely knowledgeable, has a strong background in music, accomplished guitarist, understands people learn different ways, always well prepared to teach and willing to help guide you through your musical journey.

Posted Sep 6, 2019
Todd B.
Profile-location-online Online

Fantastic instructor!!!

Extremely knowledgeable, has a strong music background, accomplished guitarist, understands people learn in different ways, always well prepared to teach and willing to help guide you through your musical journey.

Posted Sep 5, 2019
Profile-location-online Online

Fantastic instructor.

Extremely knowledgeable, has a strong music background, accomplished guitarist, understands people learn different in ways, always well prepared to teach and willing to help guide you through your musical journey.

Posted Sep 5, 2019
Brad H.
Profile-location-online Online

Excellent teacher. I will continue to learn guitar from him.

Posted Apr 10, 2019
Mike M.
Profile-location-online Online

Great instructor. Knows material inside out, but sets a pace suitable to student's abilities. Michael is an awesome guitar player and I really enjoyed my first lesson with him. I look forward to many more lessons with him.

Posted Jan 4, 2019
Profile-location-online Online

Loved it!

Posted Nov 23, 2018
Phillip S.
Profile-location-online Online

I just had my first lesson and I think the teacher is very thorough and helpful. Explains concepts in ways that are easily understandable. Looking forward to more.

Posted Jul 31, 2018
Profile-location-online Online

Lesson one with Michael was excellent. I am excited for more!

Posted Jul 20, 2018
Tia M.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

This was the first time I ever took a guitar lesson and I found Michael to be friendly and easy to understand his instructions.

Posted Mar 6, 2018
Yuv P.
Profile-location-online Online

Great lesson for my son after some technical difficulties. But Michael was very helpful through the whole process.

Posted Feb 11, 2018
Patrick C.
Profile-location-online Online

really amazing one on one teacher

Posted May 22, 2017
Profile-location-online 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!

Posted Feb 13, 2017
Sejana Y.
Profile-location-online 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

Posted Feb 6, 2017
Profile-location-online Online

Exactly what I have been looking for. Terrific lesson. Just enough practice material for next week.

Posted Jan 17, 2017
Todd B.
Profile-location-online 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!

Posted Jan 2, 2017
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Great first lesson! :)

Posted Aug 31, 2016
Profile-location-studio Teacher's 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.

Posted Aug 7, 2016
Simon Cäsar Ciglia
Profile-location-online Online

Really enjoyed it

Posted Feb 24, 2016
Yakov F.
Profile-location-online Online

I enjoy his classes! Always tries to help you improve. Thanks!

Posted Feb 17, 2016
Alex R.
Profile-location-online Online

very fun helps you understand well and awesomeeeeeee

Posted Dec 22, 2015
Justin Diamond
Profile-location-online Online

I came to Mich an with 8ish years of self-taught acoustic experience looking to make my first foray into electric/lead playing/improvising/soloing. After two weeks with Mich, my playing has improved exponentially. He's extremely patient and is more like your buddy showing you cool things than a rigid instructor. If you're committed to putting in the work and really wanting to get better, Mich the guy for you.

Posted Oct 20, 2015
Darrick A.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Michael is a great teacher. I started off with very little knowledge about how to play acoustic guitar and now I feel he has provided me with a solid foundation for me to play on my own. He is personable, patient, attentive and has made it an enjoyable learning experience. You won't be disappointed in choosing Mike for your private instructor!

Posted Oct 11, 2015
Tushar M.
Profile-location-online Online

Thank you Michael for a wonderful start. Tushar had

Posted Oct 8, 2015
Profile-location-online Online

Michael instructs my 13 year old daughter. Lessons are very well structured, organized, and productive. He provides homework for her to work on between lessons. He does a great job pushing her further, but being encouraging as well. Very pleased with Michael and his instruction!

Posted Sep 9, 2015
Kledi M.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

It was my first lesson and it was great so far. Really nice guy to work with.

Posted Aug 31, 2015
Lyle Berning
Profile-location-online Online

First lesson, got off to a great start! Michael gave me a few things to work on that inspired me! I think he will be a great fit for my learning style.

Posted Aug 11, 2015
William M.
Profile-location-online Online

Michael takes your current abilities and your goals to tailor lessons best suited for you. You can tell that he is very passionate about the guitar, music, and teaching music. He makes the lesson interesting. I would recommend Michael S. to anyone who is looking for a great Guitar Instructor.

Posted Mar 17, 2015
Danny R.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Mich has been a great teacher. Not only is he an awesome guitarist but the way he teaches is so genuine and helpful. He plans out my weekly lesson and what I have to practice for the next time. I look forward to my lesson every week and I've learned so much in the past few weeks. I would definitely recommend him!

Posted Mar 5, 2015
Kyunglok S.
Profile-location-online Online

Michael is a great teacher. He really cares about his students and takes teaching seriously. Currently, I am learning Jazz and Blues from him, and it is so much fun to learn new licks, theories, and applications. Michael really tries hard not to make me feel bored. He sends out weekly practice schedules after each lesson, which I think is very helpful. Overall, I think I was very fortunate that I have him as a teacher. I highly recommend Michael as your guitar teacher.
p.s. you can learn jazz and blues via Skype, which I think is super-cool.

Posted Feb 28, 2015
Shannon B.
Profile-location-online Online

Having Michael teach my son (who is 10) has been one of the best decisions I've made. He is laid back enough to put him at ease and make learning fun, yet he is very professional and mature with his organization, structure, communication, etc. At the end of the day, the success I've seen my son have with him in learning the guitar speaks volumes. I can't say enough good things about him. Thank you, Michael!

Posted Feb 15, 2015
John P.
Profile-location-online Online

Michael is an incredibly knowledgeable and talented instructor.

Michael impressed me from our very first lesson. He listened to what I wanted to accomplish and adapted to my requests and skill level. His patience and enthusiasm make him a great instructor!

I would highly recommend Michael!

Posted Feb 6, 2015
Nicholas F.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Outstanding as an instructor, and a top notch musician.

I've had the pleasure of working with Micheal a lot the past few years, and he has shown himself to possess the proper patience and technical know-how to introduce new concepts to students in an engaging and useful way. His dedication to improving as a teacher and musician in all areas is also commendable, and that work ethic is something that he imparts on his students. Highly recommended.

Posted Jan 6, 2015
Amanda M.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Mich teaches guitar in our home to our 10-year-old daughter. What a find he is. He strikes the absolute right balance among humor, comfort, and moving her along with challenges. He has been responsive to every question I have had, and never made me feel like I was being a pushy stage mom. I feel incredibly lucky to have found Mich for my daughter and I hope they continue together for years to come.

Posted Aug 13, 2014
Sarah G.

Inspiring instructor!

Michael is a patient and passionate musician, which comes across in his teaching. As a beginner at guitar, I was nervous that I was going to be judged or talked to condescendingly but he understands what a beginner needs to know and really meets you where you're at with the lesson plans and expectations. Feel very comfortable asking questions and get honest and thought out questions. Definitely recommend for anyone at any level!

Posted Mar 16, 2014
Ritzel D.


Best guitar teacher ever! He made guitar easy to understand and fun to play! I'm looking forward to what I'm going to learn next! I highly recommend him as a guitar teacher!

Posted Aug 31, 2013
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Photos & Videos

6 Photos & Videos


Nov 2018 - Present

School of Rock

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



Fluent / Native Proficiency


Professional Proficiency


Substitute Teaching License
Jan 2019

State of Illinois

Background checked license to teach in Chicago public and private schools


Performance Scholarship
Aug 2012

Columbia College Chicago

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