Neil Kelly

Neil K.

San Jose, CA

About Neil K.

Background check: Last verified 01/18/2016
Neil passed a background check on 01/18/2016 that included the following:
  • National Criminal Record Check
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  • Sex Offender Registry Search
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Neil teaches: Ages 8 and up
Teaching since: March 2000
Last sign in: 4 days ago


I am a Jazz Guitarist / Composer / Arranger / and Band Leader and teacher who has been working in the greater San Francisco Bay area for the past 10 years. Originally from the East Coast and Chicago I arrived in California in 1992. I hold a Master's Degree in music from San Jose State University where I majored in Jazz guitar performance and composition / arranging. I have been passionately teaching guitar for the past 12 years to students of all ages. My goal is to teach you the music YOU want to learn while expanding your musical awareness. I am a patient and understanding teacher who will attempt to inspire students while pushing them to their playing potential. In addition to teaching I lead by example performing regularly in various Jazz ensembles. I have released a CD of original works entitled “Rivers Converge.”

*** Lesson Details ***
I have played and studied extensively the styles of Jazz, Rock, Blues, Classical,electric and acoustic guitar. I begin lessons by teaching students the fundamentals of the instrument and after a basic grasp of the guitar is developed I encourage students to learn songs / styles of their choice so that the musical experience is fun for them. In the first few months beginning students will learn the architecture of the guitar: string names & numbers, finger numbers, fret numbers, tablature, chord diagrams, basic time signatures, strum patterns, chord charts. I divide guitar playing into 3 major principles: Lead playing / improvisation, Chord playing / accompaniment, and Melody / note reading. Lessons will reflect the development of these principles. Scales and arpeggios and music theory lead to improvisation. Chord playing, chord progressions, open chords, bar chords, & power chords are used to play rhythm guitar in songs of the student’s choice. Melody playing is developed through learning to read music. For reading studies I utilize the Hal Leonard Guitar method for beginners and William Levitt’s Modern Method for guitar for more advanced students.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Converted room in garage w/ seating for parents.

*** Travel Equipment ***
students should have guitar, music stand and two armless chairs

*** Specialties ***
I specialize in Jazz, Blues, and Rock styles but am equipped to teach beginning classical guitar as well. I try to combine technique and music reading with the learning of songs that interest the student.

Photos and Videos

A video from my CD Release concert in 2010.


Class Instructor

Sep 2001 - Present
City of San Jose Parks and Recreation Dept.

Since the fall of 2001 I have taught group classes in beginning and intermediate guitar. Ages 10 - 15 as well as Adult classes.


Masters Degree Music (Jazz Studies)

Aug 2007 - May 2009
San Jose State Unisversity

Master of Arts (Music - Jazz Studies)

Aug 2007 - May 2009
San Jose State university

Languages Spoken


Fluent / Native Proficiency


Outstanding Graduate Student

May 2009
San Jose State Unisversity


American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers

Sep 2010

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a membership association of more than 480,000 US composers, songwriters, lyricists and music publishers. The ASCAP is committed to nurturing music makers throughout their careers.

Write a Review

2 Reviews on Neil K.

Juan M. Apr 9, 2015
Guitar · In home
Verified Student
Before Neil, my 9-yr old son had taken "group" lessons for a year that were unstructured and did little to expand my son's interest in playing (thankfully these were with friends so he stuck with it).

Having studied music very seriously, I helped him a little but knew that a real guitar teacher is what he needed. Neil is just what I was looking for! He has a very laid back "attitude" but he's laser focused on keeping things moving, keeping things light, and being totally encouraging. He also is very open to teaching rock and jazz and I can tell he just wants to teach a student whatever style/music type that will keep the student engaged. After every class my son has been satisfied and excited with what he's learning (and I stay and listen and get a kick out of it too). We drive quite a ways to get to his place, but it has been totally worth it. Thanks Neil! You RAWK!!
robert V. Jul 11, 2013
Verified Student
This course served my purpose

I have had only oneother guitar Teacher, and Neil was the Best of the 2. He is very easy to understand, and he makes it Fun and interesting. He is just a Great Teacher.
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