Walnut Creek Songwriting Lessons

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Popular Songwriting Teachers Near Walnut Creek

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John D.

Berkeley, CA

In order to write songs, you need to know how music works. My students learn, in a clear and fun method, how the structures of their favorite songs work. Let's start by learning about what we like to listen to, and then we'll have the tools to write something of our own!

About John

*** Lesson Details ***
My students will develop a passion for music and a desire to play!

I like to get right to the experience of actually playing music. I start with learning songs, drum beats, and chord progressions and get to technique and music reading AFTER we have had some fun.

My key to successful teaching is to create a custom curriculum for each student. Some students are interested in the details of how to do it "right", and others just want to rock. I try to adapt to different learning styles and musical goals to give each student an ideal experience.

I want student
s to learn how to play, not just how to read or do drills. We will listen to music together, and talk about the function of each instrument. For drummers, I play bass lines on the piano and we lock into a groove. For piano students, I play along with drums or percussion. It's important for students to learn how to play with others, and to listen and get inspired by what's around them.

Students will have the option to perform in a student recital where you are backed by a band of professional musicians!

***John D.'s Biography***

I was born in Amsterdam, Holland, where my father worked as an opera singer. While listening to vocal warm-up arpeggios, my mother bounced me on her knee and taught me rhythms and rhymes.

In my family we beatbox, play piano, and sing together. The family moved to the States in 1995 where my parents worked as music teachers. My Dad is a voice professor at the University of Wisconsin, and my Mom runs an amazing music program at Country View Elementary School in Verona, WI.

I played in the band program throughout high-school and had an amazing and demanding music teacher and highly talented friends. The drumset became my passion and I played, blissfully and recklessly, as often possible. Our teacher took the high school band on a concert tour of Europe in 2002 in Austria, the Czech Republic, and Italy.

The band program led me to classical and contemporary music at the University of Wisconsin, where I honed my craft and discovered the profound breadth of music around the world. I paid my way through college as a member of the WI Army National Guard Band, a great wind ensemble with jazz and rock band components, and slowly built a career as a musician. I took every gig that came my way and created my own if nobody was calling. Pretty soon I became "œthe guy in, like, 8 different bands", including Funk, Rock, Jazz, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, and West African bands. I've been working as a musician ever since, performing several nights per week, and teaching during the day.

I began teaching drum lessons to my friends when I was about 18 and realized I was really good at it. I began taking on private students and teaching group lessons and classes. Students of mine have achieved the highest ranks at the State Solo and Ensemble Festival in Wisconsin, and auditioned into the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra. I am on the annual faculty Wildcat Percussion Camp, was adjunct faculty at New York University, and directed the world percussion ensemble at the University of Wisconsin. I've worked as a teacher with the Madison Area School District, Wisconsin Youth Company, YMCA, Global Arts to Go, University Settlement, and in many different public schools in the New York metro area. I taught a high school class called "The Spirit of Jazz", and

I've learned how to be a real teacher, to put myself in your shoes to help you achieve your potential as a drummer, and as a musician. My teaching style is to de-mystify the art of percussion: getting great sounds out of the drums, being prepared for any style, practicing productively, and focusing your mind.

I have a Bachelor's degree in classical percussion from the University of Wisconsin, a Masters degree in Jazz Performance from NYU, and have traveled to Africa, Europe, and Latin America to perform, record, and study. I have performed with Badal Roy (Miles Davis), Chris Potter, Kenny Werner, Brad Shepik, Lenny Pickett, Chuchito Valdez, and many other great musicians. I was Adjunct Faculty at NYU'™s jazz program, and at the University of Wisconsin dance program. I've given masterclasses at Juilliard, University of Michigan, Lawrence Conservatory, and many other colleges. I played for 5 months in the Off-Broadway show "Fun Home", and toured and gigged with a wide variety of bands.

I've recorded on nearly 20 albums and have been involved in many other projects. Ask me anything you want in our music lessons!
...

Reviews

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Kameron February 23, 2016
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
Very impressed with his teaching methods and my son feels very comfortable with John.
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Eva L. September 25, 2015
Piano · In home
Verified Student
Our son enjoys working with John. He is very patient with young kids. I am amazed at what he's learned in a year!
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Cristina E. September 25, 2015
Drum · In studio
Verified Student
John is a great teacher. My 7-yr old enjoys his classes. John is very patient and knows how to draw my son's attention back to focus. A lot of hands-on drumming even before my son knew how to read notes.
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John D.

John D.

Berkeley, CA 94708
(8)
starting at
$30 / 30-min
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Steven B.

Alameda, CA

I will teach you the basic concepts of how to compose songs and make those musical ideas of yours a reality. Through music theory techniques, progression theory, lyric concepts and ear training, we'll take that song that's "in your head" and make it into a reality you'll be proud of!

About Steven

Have you always wanted to learn how to play the piano, guitar or electric bass? Or maybe you've just felt like brushing up your musical knowledge and playing skills? Now’s your chance to fulfill those dreams!

About Me: San Francisco Bay area pianist/guitarist/bassist; I've been playing music for over 50 years. I'm classically trained with a solid foundation and knowledge of music theory, and have 35 years experience teaching, recording and performing. I have done session work and/or performed with members of Journey, Santana, Jackson Browne, Eddie Money, The Doobie Brothers and Greg Allm
an to name a few. Let me take my education and experience and pass them on to you!

My main goal as a music instructor is to pass along my love and knowledge of playing music to my students, always vigilant for sharing shortcuts that will help the student to achieve their lesson goals faster. Some teachers teach only out of books. I am not such a teacher. Books solve the problem of learning music in generalizations and by their very nature, cannot take into consideration personal issues a student will encounter.

Most students are able to learn enough of the necessary mechanics at the first lesson to actually play something before they leave that lesson. This is important because they realize that playing music IS possible. I always enjoy the look on their face when they realize they have actually “played” their instrument at their first lesson.

I am not the sort of teacher who yells and screams if the student comes in unprepared. I realize that people come to me for a variety of reasons and I work with them with whatever they bring in. I am patient and if a student is not understanding a certain aspect, I bring into play alternate approaches. Not everyone assimilates information in the same way. Learning music should be an enjoyable adventure for the student and I venture to say that my students enjoy coming to their lessons. We have fun, and we learn.

>>> FYI: I'm happy to come to your home if traveling to my studio in Alameda isn't convenient for you, and I cover most of the East Bay, including Oakland, Berkeley, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Orinda, Lafayette, Walnut Creek and (of course) my own lovely town of Alameda. As much as I love our "City by the Bay", traveling to San Francisco, Marin, or the Peninsula just isn't cost or time effective for me; I apologize to you fine folks and potential students of the West Bay!
...

Reviews

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Billy May 17, 2016
Piano · In studio
wow amazing!
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Tim M. February 22, 2016
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
Great teacher and great time taking the lessons! I wish we could take more lessons with him but we've recently moved out of the area. Thanks for everything Steven!
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Noor A. October 18, 2015
Classical Piano · In home
Verified Student
I was, initially, unsure whether I had made the right decision in using TakeLessons to revive my piano-playing skills, but after meeting Steven, I have no doubts that it was one of the best decisions I have yet to make.

Steven is wonderful! He is inspired and inspiring, encouraging, and his passion inspires passion - I could not have asked for better! Steven is an absolute pleasure, and I would absolutely recommend him to anyone!
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Steven B.

Steven B.

Alameda, CA 94501
(16)
starting at
$40 / 30-min
213893_265082_29530

Mark B.

Castro Valley, CA

I teach and help people how to write songs at all levels. Whether you are a beginner, or more advanced and need new ideas to draw from. There is an endless reservoir of ideas and concepts to help you to create any kind of music imaginable.

About Mark

I have played on tour with several professional bands, playing rock, pop, blues, African, metal, and country. I now perform live in various bands and record original music as often as possible. My music has gotten airplay in many countries.

I started playing guitar at age 9, and recorded 2 singles in the LA area by age 14. I was a music major throughout High School and College. I also learned a lot by educating myself at the Brand Library in the Los Angeles Area, which specializes in the arts. I specialized in advanced music theory and improvisational techniques.

I have enjoye
d teaching music lessons since 1978.

I custom tailor a lesson plan to fit your individual needs and goals! I can teach you songs you'd like to learn instantly when I hear them on your iPod, mobile phone, cassette or CD that you bring in. I can explain musical theory and concepts many different ways to make sure you understand them. I am very friendly and patient.

Sometimes I might inject humor into the learning process to make it an enjoyable learning experience, and to help you remember the important things.
I love the satisfaction of seeing my students grow musically proficient and and seeing the JOY that it brings them. Many of my students have gone on to become professional. I am well-versed in many styles: Rock, Pop, Blues, Alternative, Country, R&B, Metal (and a few plastics and wood as well).

*** Lesson Details ***
I will develop a personal lesson plan for each individual student. During your lessons, I might cover topics ranging from learning how to play, starting from the basics (if you are a beginner), to choosing music that will inspire you on your level, to improving your technique, ear-training, music reading (if that's what you'd like), reading and understanding tabs (if that's what you'd like), knowing what it is that makes certain chords and notes sound good together for writing your own music, as well as guitar maintenance and adjustments, getting a good tone, amplifier settings, effect pedals (settings & placing them in the most effective order), recording tips, and where to get a decent pizza.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Living Room or Studio, both very comfortable. Amplifiers, guitars, effects pedals, bass, ukulele, balalaika, drum set, PA system and recording equipment.

*** Travel Equipment ***
I provide guitar, bass, or ukulele and amplifier when necessary, teaching tools. The student provides their guitar and paperwork I give them.

*** Specialties ***
Teach note reading using Alfred's New Guitar course. Genres: Rock, Pop, Blues, Jazz, Alternative, Punk, Metal, Folk, Country, Hip Hop, Funk, R& B, New Age, Ambient.

I currently have 4 albums out under my name. My music is on a major new age compilation, and has been played on the radio in several countries, and several internet radio programs. I have played on other people's albums.
...

Reviews

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Ray A. July 8, 2015
Guitar · In studio
Verified Student
I think Mark is a good guitar player and the best guitar instructor i ever had. Igive him 5 star rating.
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Todd R. February 15, 2015
Acoustic Guitar · In home
Verified Student
Mark is very patient and very talented! I never feel like he is rushing through my lesson. He makes learning fun!
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Marc M. December 18, 2013
Guitar
Verified Student
Everything a music teacher should be

My worst nightmare was that taking guitar lessons as an adult would be similar to my forced and short-lived piano lessons as a youth. Mark quickly set my fears aside the first lesson by outlining what I would need to learn to reach my goals. He is very adaptive to the student based on music preferences and skill progression. Each week we focus on progressively harder songs.

Aside from guitar knowledge and teaching skills, Mark is also very flexible around your schedule. He really makes an effort to communicate and to reschedule when needed.

I'd recommend Mark to anyone looking for guitar lessons. I feel lucky to have found Mark as a teacher.
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Mark B.

Mark B.

Castro Valley, CA 94546
(12)
starting at
$40 / 30-min
Profile_46433_pi_matt%20and%20lea%20france

Matthew F.

Walnut Creek, CA

Composing music has two main approaches, composing with knowledge of music and composing using the learned ability of improvisation.
Most composers use some level of both when writing, and it is necessary to practice both as a composer.
This involves learning at least basic music theory and the basics of how to play an instrument or sing.
If you already play and can improvise on an instrument you're already part of the way, as well as if you already know a bit of theory.
I can teach you all you need to know about music theory from basic intervals, chords, and scales, to complex microtonal tuning systems and complete analysis of any style and any music. From positional analysis, roman numeral, Schenkerian analysis, and others which help one understand from a theoretical perspective how music we enjoy works.
Alongside ear training, sight-singing and dictation, these skills will give you everything you need to compose from the theoretical perspective.
On the right brain side, ...

About Matthew

Hello!

My name is Matthew, and I teach many people of different ages academic topics from arithmetic to algebra 2/trigonometry, science, reading/grammar, as well as all kinds of music and instruments!

I hold a Masters of Arts in Music Composition from Mills College in Oakland, CA and a Bachelor of Arts in Music from UC Santa Cruz.

Musically, I specialize in drum set and percussion, piano, voice, and guitar instruction (4 and 6 string) woodwinds, brass, and violin family strings. I have been teaching in Walnut Creek at my home studio/office for 10 years, worked with local schools such
as Walnut Creek Intermediate, Meher School, Las Lomas High School, and Stanley Middle School.

Some basic pedagogical ideas:

I make sure each student learns the necessary techniques, rhythms as well as reading and performing skills that each player must posses on their instrument or voice to properly play the instrument. Alongside this crucial, ever-lasting quest to have a good sound and play the repertoire of the instrument I teach many other aspects of music that most students indulge in as they progress. These including but not limited to ear-training, improvising, composition, theory, music history and appreciation, transcribing, arranging and performing popular music, basic tracking and recording/computer compositions, as well as basic singing and drumming.
Each student has different goals and interests that draw them toward certain aspects of music. My goal is to supplement the basic music training while offering guidance in more complex areas of music that bring excitement and enjoyment to learning. I work with each student to find not only what aspects of music they are interested in but also what styles and groups they enjoy and aspire to play or just enjoying listening or singing along.
Balancing all of this during a 30-60 min lesson and then during your practice time in the week can be tough, so I work with each student to set priorities and goals based on their interest and skill and follow through with them!

Here are a few of my BASIC POLICIES; please read so you can know if we will be a good fit. If you have any questions about them feel free to ask, but I rarely make exceptions!

-I only accept students who take weekly lessons

-I only accept students (usually) who have already started reading

-All students and parents must be on a fairly flexible schedule and reply to phone calls or texts on the day of lessons. With 30+ concurrent students and families, schedules are constantly changing to accommodate each other. If it works for everyone to help another student out by switching, then I will request that of you, but I ALWAYS GUARANTEE YOUR SCHEDULED LESSON TIME.

-I always guarantee your full lesson time. Driving from my home studio and house to house around the East Bay during the after school/work hours does come with traffic delays, so I ask that each student (unless previously noted) keeps 10-15 minutes before and after their lesson free in case of an unexpected delay or cancellation.

- I require AT LEAST 72 HOURS ADVANCED NOTICE FOR RESCHEDULES. If you need to reschedule then I prefer knowing a week in advance. IF YOU CANCEL WITHIN 72 HOURS I DO NOT GUARANTEE A MAKEUP SPOT.

-I rent beginner instruments so that you can get started while I help you shop for an instrument. This includes weekly checkups, maintenance, changing strings, cleaning, and covers any basic damage done to the instrument (for example, broken bridges, broken bow hair, pegs, tuning parts, replacing strings, minor dents on brass). This does not cover non-reusable parts (strings, reeds, drum heads, cork/slide/valve oil, rosin) as well as damage to the body of the instrument or theft. I charge $45 dollars a month flat for the instrument and service.

If you are at all interested for yourself or your child please don't hesitate to call and ask questions.

Have a great day!
...

Reviews

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Sam Maldonado January 11, 2016
Composition · In studio
Verified Student
great time at my first lesson
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Denise S. October 31, 2015
Viola · In studio
Verified Student
My daughter took lessons with Matthew for 5 months and we are severely disappointed. We originally switched because he was constantly changing the days/times of our lesson to accommodate his schedule or that of new clients, which is a terrible way to do business. However, after having one lesson with a new teacher, we realized that my daughter never learned the basics of viola playing - how to hold the instrument properly, how tightly the bow should be strung, the names of the parts of the instrument, etc. He also rented us an instrument that didn't tune properly at twice the cost of what local music stores were charging. She also was not properly measured for that instrument, which I learned was standard. Since I am not musically trained, I went on faith that she was being taught properly. After the first lesson with a teacher who actually knew what they were doing, my daughter was in tears over all the things she didn't know. I feel like all those basics should have been covered in the first month of instruction. In addition, his bio states that he has been teaching for 10 years. At his current age, that would mean he started teaching at the age of 13 or 14. I'm very disappointed in our experience with both this instructor and with Take Lessons for not vetting their instructors properly.
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Adriana September 25, 2015
Violin · In home
Verified Student
It was excellent. He has the patience and the knowledge. I do recommend him.
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Matthew F.

Matthew F.

Walnut Creek, CA 94595
(5)
starting at
$45 / 30-min
Profile_88362_pi_11885209_243355766014639_871319132381902024_n

Marissa K.

Emeryville, CA

I'm currently teaching songwriting to help my students understand the basics of composition, song structure, and creating melodies and chords. I have studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston for songwriting and have been writing music for over 10 years.

About Marissa

I am a singer/songwriter/guitarist and I have been playing and singing for over 10 years. I have played many high-profile gigs including the St. Petersburg Pride Fest and Tampa Gasparilla Festival. I am very excited to teach and work with many different learning styles. If you want a dedicated guitar teacher with lessons that work with your style and pace of learning, hit me up!
...

Reviews

Silhouette-80
Brie April 29, 2016
Guitar · In home
Verified Student
Very effective teacher, knowledgeable and patient. Highly recommend!
Silhouette-80
Kate April 6, 2016
Guitar · In home
We are very satisified with the lessons Marissa is providing our child. She is very patient, very clear and thorough in instruction. Our son actually practices and looks forward to lessons for the first time. Marissa has a wide range of music stylings, so our son is learning other genres he wouldn't have discovered on his own. So very happy we found Marissa!
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Marissa K.

Marissa K.

Emeryville, CA 94608
(2)
starting at
$20 / 30-min

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