Ryan Burns
Chicago, IL
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Ryan Burns

Ryan B.

Chicago, IL
Profile-background-check Background Check
This teacher successfully passed a thorough
criminal background check with SterlingBackcheck.
This badge verifies trusted teacher status.
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Profile-location-home Student's Home
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Profile-location-home Student's Home
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate
I've helped many band members, friends and students to write songs and would be glad to help any future students. But songwriting is a very personal thing and so rather than push too many ideas on a student, I find it's ideal to provide them with tools and let their creativity take over.

About Ryan B.

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.

Reviews

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4.9
71 Reviews
5
87%
4
11%
3
1%
2
0%
1
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Shaelyn J.
Profile-location-online Online

He's great.

Posted Apr 3, 2020
Barbara K.
Profile-location-online Online

Good teacher.

Posted Mar 18, 2020
Jonathan M.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

I'm three lessons deep into the ukulele and I'm really satisfied with Ryan. We've met once in person and twice online; I've had some health issues and he has been really accomodating switching this up for me. He's easy going and takes his time expaining history, theory, and taking it step by step while remaining encouraging and giving honest feedback. He wastes no time and you really get the most out of your lesson. I look forward to continuing on with Ryan. As a teacher and performer myself, I appreciate that he gets down to the business of doing the work but is just very nice as well!

Posted Feb 28, 2020
Barbara K.
Profile-location-online Online

Patient and very professional musician and teacher.

Posted Feb 26, 2020
Jertaker G.
Profile-location-online Online

Posted Feb 21, 2020
Jennifer T.
Profile-location-online Online

Ryan Rocks!

Posted Feb 18, 2020
Sean M.
Profile-location-online Online

Great first lesson! Ryan broke down into very digestible parts both the history of the banjo and how a beginner should approach the banjo from the very start. Well done!

Posted Feb 5, 2020
Eric
Profile-location-online Online

He's a great instructor who is very patient.

Posted Jan 30, 2020
Jane W.
Profile-location-online Online

I enjoyed my first lesson with Ryan
and am looking forward to my next one. I feel like I good a great introduction to Banjo. I am a complete beginner with no real musical talent so I might be his biggest challenge to date. However, I am determined to be successful He was patient and gave me just the right amount of things to practice. I am looking forward to making progress under his guidence.

Posted Jan 30, 2020
Barbara K.
Profile-location-online Online

Great instructor. Patient and honest instruction. Gives background and instrument history as well. Chill guy who is gives good grounding on technique.

Posted Jan 24, 2020
Micah B.
Profile-location-online Online

Great instructor for a beginner like me. Provided a lot of valuable history on the banjo, then seamlessly transitioned into more practical information and drills. Looking forward to more lessons with Ryan!

Posted Jan 20, 2020
Brian K.
Profile-location-online Online

Ryan is a great teacher.

Posted Jan 18, 2020
Dwayne G.
Profile-location-online Online

Ryan is very patient and encouraging. I am a slow learner so that's a good thing. Its only my third lesson but I see he has a strategy for progress.

Posted Dec 12, 2019
Dwayne G.
Profile-location-online Online

Posted Nov 27, 2019
Nadia
Profile-location-online Online

Posted Oct 15, 2019
Frank
Profile-location-online Online

very patient

Posted Oct 9, 2019
Corie
Profile-location-online Online

Posted Sep 25, 2019
Michael Y.
Profile-location-online Online

Posted Aug 30, 2019
Nancy
Profile-location-online Online

Ryan was very accommodating to my needs as a beginner+. He covered just enough detail and adjusted to my specifics. I have good take aways and will practice. Looking forward to my next lesson.

Posted Aug 7, 2019
Morgan K.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Very patient, made my granddaughter feel comfortable. She learned a lot at the first session. Looking forward to more.

Posted Jul 2, 2019
Tim
Profile-location-online Online

The instruction is both helpful and patient.

Posted Jun 24, 2019
Lorraine D.
Profile-location-online Online

teacher is way to sensitive for me. other then that was okay

Posted Jun 12, 2019
Tim
Profile-location-online Online

Ryan provides professional and patient instruction, Highly recommended.

Posted Jun 9, 2019
Tim
Profile-location-online Online

Posted May 26, 2019
Samantha G.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I have only completed one lesson, but overall I am really impressed and excited for the next lesson. Ryan took the time to talk through the basics, and he is a great teacher.

Posted May 1, 2019
Barbara
Profile-location-online Online

Posted Apr 16, 2019
Doreen L.
Profile-location-online Online

If your looking for a patient teacher, you’ve found him. Ryan has been a breeze to work with and you won’t feel like any of your questions are silly. His explanations and talents along with his patience has helped me get further then I ever thought possible.

Posted Mar 29, 2019
Susan S.
Profile-location-online Online

Posted Mar 10, 2019
Ben Sinclair
Profile-location-online Online

A great banjo instructor, and helped me with some general music and theory!

Posted Feb 27, 2019
Fran C.
Profile-location-online Online

WONDERFUL instructor! Has taken my ukelele playing to new levels. Patient with great advice....moves at my pace. Highly recommend

Posted Feb 26, 2019
Doreen L.
Profile-location-online Online

My first lesson worked out great! Ryan is a very relaxed knowledgeable musician who takes the time to teach and listen.

Posted Jan 16, 2019
Lorraine D.
Profile-location-online Online

so far very good just started

Posted Jan 2, 2019
Bill F.
Profile-location-online Online

Ryan adapts to your speed of learning. Very important!

Posted Dec 7, 2018
Claudia
Profile-location-online Online

Posted Dec 6, 2018
Bill F.
Profile-location-online Online

First lesion... Ryan Doesn't rush, explains in detail, listens and answers questions. Ryan is a very good instructor.

Posted Nov 29, 2018
Sigrid
Profile-location-online Online

Posted Nov 23, 2018
Amy J.
Profile-location-online Online

Awesome!

Posted Nov 17, 2018
Kevin
Profile-location-online Online

Instructor is great. On line has its problems as connectivity can be spotty.

Posted Nov 10, 2018
Kevin
Profile-location-online Online

Ryan was great. I am looking forward to my next lessons.

Posted Nov 3, 2018
Chris
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Outstanding teacher. Ryan has a gift for teaching music. He made sure that I learned clawhammer banjo the correct way and gently steered me away from bad habits. If you want to play an instrument, all you need to do is take lessons from Ryan and practice. You will succeed. It's that simple.

Posted Oct 22, 2018
Max R.
Profile-location-online Online

Love that my 11 year old can take the lessons from home. He is in a car a lot of the week, so being able to not loose time over sitting in traffic yet again, is really fantastic.
I don’t stay in the room for his classes, but what I notice with Ryan, is that my son is making steady progress and is taking up the banjo every day to practice, without me having to tell him too. That, to me, is an accomplishment on its own :)
Love these lessons, love Ryan who is friendly, relaxed and practical. Two thumbs up.

Posted Sep 19, 2018
Stuart
Profile-location-online Online

4 weeks into banjo lessons has been great. He does a great job explaining and answering your questions. Im just a beginner but its going well. Thanks Ryan.

Posted Aug 27, 2018
Jane J.
Profile-location-online Online

Ryan is very flexible and accommodating. I took a banjo lesson and a mandolin lesson from him. He helped me transition easily between instruments. He also was most willing to indulge my love of Irish music. I found him to be relaxed and yet encouraging.

Posted Aug 23, 2018
Paula
Profile-location-online Online

Great

Posted Aug 16, 2018
Samantha
Profile-location-online Online

Posted May 30, 2018
Fran C.
Profile-location-online Online

So far so good! Instructor very knowledgeable. Felt very comfortable with the online experience. First time for me. Feel quite motivated after first lesson. Look forward to next. Thank you Ryan.

Posted May 24, 2018
Sigrid
Profile-location-online Online

Posted May 20, 2018
CPO Rob
Profile-location-online Online

I am a 60+ guy that had gotten a banjo for Christmas. I had one many, many years ago and I wanted to start again with lessons. With Take a Lesson I met up with Ryan. Here is a Kool layed back kinda guy that is a musician and a real good instructor. He has taken me from zero to cords and rolls. He listens well and is flexible enough that you learn at your own speed. Get in line for this Guy. Thanks Ryan!

Posted Mar 29, 2018
Claudia
Profile-location-online Online

Extremely patient and helpful

Posted Mar 21, 2018
Waylon
Profile-location-online Online

My first lesson with Ryan went very well. I look forward to continuing our lessons. He is very knowledgeable and friendly to work with.

Posted Mar 6, 2018
Drew
Profile-location-online Online

Posted Mar 4, 2018
Gerry
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

When Ryan accepted me as a student almost 2-1/2 years ago, he took on the daunting task of teaching both mandolin and banjo to a complete novice...who also happened to be nearly 70 years old! Ryan is a technically accomplished professional player who patiently encourages and supports his students as they find their own musical voices. He himself is a broadly cultured and serious student of musical theory, who welcomes and is happy to answer questions about why things do - or don’t! - work musically. Studying with Ryan has been a splendid experience, and an excellent investment of time and money.

Posted Mar 3, 2018
Claudia
Profile-location-online Online

Posted Feb 21, 2018
Joyce
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I come to ukelele with a mixed background of other instruments. Ryan did a great job of tailoring my first lesson to my musical skills and interests. I'm really looking forward to my weekly lessons!

Posted Feb 21, 2018
dan
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

good

Posted Feb 20, 2018
Sydney
Profile-location-online Online

Eager to break down theory and provides a clear lesson plan.

Posted Feb 1, 2018
Sydney
Profile-location-online Online

Posted Jan 17, 2018
CPO Rob
Profile-location-online Online

This was my first meeting an Banjo lesson. It was just perfect for my abilities. Homework was just great. One problem is my Web Cam is vertical not horizontal.

Posted Jan 12, 2018
Sigrid
Profile-location-online Online

Posted Oct 22, 2017
Ana
Profile-location-online Online

Posted May 12, 2017
Brian
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Extremely knowledgable, nice and overall great teacher. I'm extremely happy with my first mandolin lesson and can't wait to practice what Ryan taught me and return for my next lesson.

Posted Mar 19, 2017
Blanche D.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Great lesson! Ryan is patient, thoughtful, and teaches things step by step so it isn't overwhelming. Can't wait to come home from work and practice!

Posted Mar 10, 2017
Alice K.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Learn something new, good experience.

Posted Feb 23, 2017
Kathy
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Lesson 1 was Great! Ryan assessed my skills first and reviewed the foundation. He zoned in on details that I need to be mindful of when playing. He gave me homework to work on which is good. I took notes because I value his guidance and suggestions. In conclusion, Ryan is a patient and knowledgable teacher and you should take lessons with him because it is fun to learn more and hear the difference after you play it!

Posted Jan 8, 2017
Alina K.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Lesson 1 was great, Ryan is a very nice person he worked well with my 8 year old.

Posted Jul 31, 2016
Manopriya
Profile-location-studio Teacher's 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!

Posted Feb 27, 2016
Liz
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

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.

Posted Dec 15, 2015
Dan E.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

My daughter gets along with him. He's easy going and she enjoys her lessons. Recommend!

Posted Dec 2, 2015
Lynne Roberts
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Ryan is extremely patient and helpful!

Posted Sep 9, 2015
Jeremy
Profile-location-home Student's Home

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!

Posted Aug 11, 2015
Kelly E.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

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!

Posted Jul 2, 2015

Photos & Videos

5 Photos & Videos

Experience

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.

Education

BA in Ethnomusicology
Aug 2005 - May 2009

University of Illinois

Languages

English

Fluent / Native Proficiency

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