Ryan Burns

Ryan B.

Chicago, IL

About Ryan B.

Background check: Last verified 03/24/2016
Ryan passed a background check on 03/24/2016 that included the following:
  • National Criminal Record Check
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Ryan teaches: Ages 5 and up
Teaching since: June 2013
Last sign in: Today


Ryan is a musician from Jefferson Park who plays a plethora of different instruments. He specializes in guitar, banjo, mandolin and ukulele, but also dabbles in accordion, piano, drums, harmonica and several others. Learning to play instruments is one of the true pleasures in his life and he hopes he can make it one of yours, too.

As a teacher Ryan's goals are fairly simple. First and foremost he wants to make his lessons comfortable, interesting and fun. A close second is to build a strong foundation on the basics, so as we learn more advanced techniques we have a solid base of technique to build upon. And third, an understanding of the theory and history behind the music is a great way to engage in the music beyond just the rote learning of technique.

After a brief foray in physics, Ryan settle into a degree in music at the University of Illinois, specializing in Ethnomusicology (the study of music of different cultures). This education gave him a strong background in music theory and history in the Western tradition, but also opened him up to a vast experience of a diverse cross section of music from around the world. His insatiable love for learning new instruments started here, where he studied music from West Africa to Bali.

Currently Ryan is a co-lead singer, songwriter and stringed instrument player for the local band Distant Brothers, a folk rock band based out of Chicago. They play venues throughout the Midwest, with some of the notable venues being House of Blues, Metro and Cubby Bear in Chicago. Another highlight of his time with the band has been a collaboration with Oistrakh Symphony Orchestra, where he not only was able to play in collaboration with the orchestra, but joined in the arranging and conceptualization of some of the pieces played.

Photos and Videos


Guitar Training Staff

Aug 2010 - Sep 2010
Youth Encounter

Trained outgoing team members in performance of pieces and gave instructional presentations as part of the training staff team.


BA in Ethnomusicology

Aug 2005 - May 2009
University of Illinois

Languages Spoken


Fluent / Native Proficiency
Write a Review

7 Reviews on Ryan B.

Alina K. Jul 31, 2016
Guitar · In home
Verified Student
Lesson 1 was great, Ryan is a very nice person he worked well with my 8 year old.
Manopriya Feb 27, 2016
Ukulele · In studio
Ryan is a very good teacher. I have been trying to learn how to play for a long time, but his techniques helped me grasp the basics quickly. He provided notes, recordings and homework after every class which helped a lot while practising and getting better at playing the ukelele. He was able to solve my doubts and issues effectively as he would imitate my play and figure out my problem areas and advise accordingly. He's very patient and consistent, it was a great experience learning with him!
Liz Dec 15, 2015
Guitar · In studio
Verified Student
I really enjoy taking lessons with Ryan! He took time to really listen to and understand what my goals are and is helping me work towards them, which is no small feat for a complete beginner. He explains new concepts in ways I can understand and I feel comfortable asking for clarification if there is something I'm having trouble with. He also gives me a variety of different exercises (chords, scales, picking, strumming, full songs) to keep things interesting and to keep me engaged. I also like that he adds in a little music theory so that I know why I'm doing what I'm doing. In all Ryan is kind, chill, accommodating, talented, and thoughtful, so I would definitely recommend him as a teacher.
Dan E. Dec 2, 2015
Ukulele · In studio
Verified Student
My daughter gets along with him. He's easy going and she enjoys her lessons. Recommend!
Lynne Roberts Sep 9, 2015
Banjo · In studio
Verified Student
Ryan is extremely patient and helpful!
Jeremy Aug 11, 2015
Banjo · In home
Verified Student
Ryan did a great job getting to know my needs specifically and making sure I had the basics down before proceeding. Learned a lot in 45 minutes!
Kelly E. Jul 2, 2015
Ukulele · In studio
Verified Student
My 13 year old daughter just finished her first lesson with Ryan. She was so excited to show me what she learned and said he is a great teacher and is looking forward to future lessons. She is usually a bit shy, but assured me she was comfortable with him, and my husband confirmed. So glad we found him!
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