Will Phalen

Will P.

Chicago, IL

Lesson Details

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Will teaches



Will delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 5+ and special needs

Teaching since:

I play, write, record and perform a variety of American popular music forms
including rock, folk, blues, funk, bluegrass, country, fingerstyle
guitar, and jazz.

I began my musical training learning drums as a 12 year old and a year later began private lessons on guitar as well. In the following years, while playing in rock bands and focusing primarily on guitar and continuing practice on drums, I became interested in learning other instruments: I took harmonica lessons and taught myself how to play bass guitar and keyboards. As a teenager I also began writing my own songs and teaching myself how to record music. I also play Spanish flamenco guitar and studied with master flamenco players while living in Madrid, Spain.

Today, I play guitar, harmonica, sing and write songs for my own group, while also working on a variety of other recording projects that reflect my various musical personalities. I love everything about music, and there's nothing I enjoy more than sharing music with others, whether that be playing in a group, going to a concert with a friend, or talking about music with one of my students. One of my greatest joys is seeing others get involved in the world of music by learning to play an instrument, so I take great pride and responsibility in teaching my students and I hope to make that experience as positive and rewarding as it can be for everyone I work with.

*** Lesson Details ***
I am happy to work with students of any age regardless of prior experience or ability. Music is the universal language. Everyone is welcome.

Check out my new song samples for a taste of what I do. All instruments, vocals and production done by me at my home studio.

My approach:
I take a multi-disciplinary, multi-instrumental approach to teaching music. I feel that today's students are very interested in learning more than just one instrument, style or discipline. One of my greatest assets as a teacher is that I can play and teach guitar, bass, drums, harmonica, keyboards, songwriting, and audio production/engineering, or any combination thereof, to a student that is interested in becoming more than just a guitar player.

That being said, my musical experience centers primarily on the guitar, and that's where I prefer to start teaching my students. And if you only want to learn guitar, we'll just stick with guitar. However, if you want to learn other instruments too (guitar and drums; guitar, bass, and harmonica; guitar, keys and drums; etc.) we will work together to create a program that allows you to achieve all of your musical goals in time.

No matter what, the bottom line is this: you determine the direction of your musical education. The first time we meet, we will talk about your musical interests and goals, and from that conversation I will design a curriculum that fits your personality, needs and desires. I work with each of my students to determine and constantly refine his or her path, and as we follow your path I will work to give you all the tools needed to pursue your goals...and if I can't give them to you I'll help you find someone who can. I know my limits as a musician and teacher and I will always be honest with you about those things. For example, if you decide you want to be a jazz guitarist, I can get you started on that path, but once you advance beyond my limits (I love jazz, but it's not my forte), I will help you find a teacher who better fits your needs and goals.

Finally, I have always felt that music should be fun and there's no reason that learning to play an instrument can't be fun too. That doesn't mean it won't be hard work, because, like anything else in life, as you get deeper into music it will not only become more rewarding, but more challenging too. Still, it should always be fun. I understand that each student is unique and what "fun" means for one student may be different for another, and so we will work at your pace and according to your goals and desires to create a program that is ideal for you.

My Method:

I use a variety of teaching techniques and tools in my lessons and will cater those tools toward the needs of each student. You don't need to read music to learn how to play an instrument, but I do use a number of simple, easy-to-learn written methods in my teaching. More importantly, I encourage my students to learn how to "hear" music so that as they advance they can begin to teach themselves how to play the things that they hear. Therefore, much of my teaching method focuses on seeing, hearing and feeling the music...this is the way almost all popular music has been taught and learned since the beginning of time, and with the right supplement of written methods I think it still comprises the most effective way to become a complete musician.

I can also record every lesson for my students and make the recording available as a CD or mp3 via email so that you can listen to the lesson as you practice on your own at home.

Additionally, if you are interested in songwriting or audio recording, we can incorporate lessons on those subjects into your curriculum as well. Understanding both is an essential part of being a well-rounded musician in any genre these days and both fields can open up wide worlds of expression and artistry to those willing to delve into them. I am passionate and knowledgeable about both songwriting and recording.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Guitars, Bass Guitar, Amps

*** Travel Equipment ***
Guitar, Bass Guitar, Amps

*** Specialties ***
Electric guitar, Acoustic Guitar, songwriting, bass, Harmonica, drums, music production, audio recording
Rock, Folk, Blues, Funk, Country, Bluegrass, Fingerstyle Guitar, Jazz

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Photos & Videos

Photo by Will P.


17 Reviews

Write a Review
Jim W. Mar 9, 2016
Harmonica · In home

Will is knowledgeable and helpful. He established a good platform to go forward. Now its up to me.

Kathleen S. Jan 20, 2016
Guitar · In home

My son has been taking lessons from Will for many years now. Will is a great teacher and my son has developed a very good skill set. He started with bass lessons, but when my son's skill set improved, Will recommended a different teacher and continued to work on guitar. We've been very pleased.

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David K. Mar 30, 2015
Harmonica · In home

Perfect! Couldn't be happier!

Aaron R. Apr 1, 2013
Harmonica ·

Incredible Teacher

I am completely new to playing an instrument and Will taught me an incredible amount... from playing the instrument, to understanding music theory, to listening and understanding some of the great musicians. He takes a holistic approach to his teaching and the 45 minute sessions are done before you know it. He makes it fun and comfortable, which is important when you are just learning. I recommend him if you are at any level.

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JasonK Apr 6, 2011

Harmonica Lessons

I've had a few lessons with Will, and it's going great. He's tailoring the lessons to my skill level and my goals unlike any class could. Thanks.

MaryL Sep 21, 2010

Jack's Mom

Will is a great teacher. Jack's interest in guitar and other musical instruments has increased since he started lessons with Will.

ScottP Aug 18, 2010

I thought my lessons with Will P. were great, and I'd highly recommend him to others seeking musical lessons on multiple instruments.

SeanM Jun 3, 2010

Will is doing a great job! We have similiar taste in music and he is a really patient teacher. So far, so good!

SteveK May 24, 2009

Will is doing a great job.

GeraldP Apr 14, 2009

Will is a very likeable and patient instructor.

ChrisC Apr 14, 2009

Knows his theory, honest man

Will is a talented and honest teacher. During my first lesson, he suggested that I look for a teacher who more specifically fit my goals-- Will could have kept me on as a student, and taught me many things... and gotten paid! Instead, he appreciated my goals (I want to learn how to shred) and recommended the best way for ME to reach them, with no ego involved. However, I did not leave empty handed. Will left me with some pertinent music theory knowledge and drills to hold me over in my search for a new instructor. Highly recommended!

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SamJ Feb 16, 2009

Good structure to learning

I am really enjoying my lessons - I am learning a lot of things I didn't pick up in my previous lesson with another company. I like the pace of the lessons - not too much to learn too fast but stretching me enough.

JillS1 Jan 23, 2009

Will was fantastic, great for a beginner but moved us along wuickly so I felt I was making progress. I would absolutely continue lessons if i wasn't moving. THanks Will!

KarlaT Oct 29, 2008

Great Teacher

I think that Will is a great teacher. Each lesson builds upon the previous one. As a result, I have improved in a short period of time. He also takes the time to give a brief history of the songs to learn which is great. I am very happy that I chose Will as my teacher.

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FranciscoM Oct 29, 2008

Great teacher, patient, take his time to explain the lesson. Seems to have a plan for every lesson.

BettinaS Oct 1, 2008


Will is awesome. He has a great methodology for teaching, along with lots of helpful suggestions for improvement along the way. He keeps it focused on the music while insuring that we are building a solid foundation.

LeslieC Jul 6, 2008

Will's a great teacher. He works at your pace and is totally encouraging.

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