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The Founding Father of the Guitar Scene in Washington, DC

By Bob W. - DC Guitar Teacher

Most guitar aficionados know of Andres Segovia's role in bringing the classical guitar to world prominence. However, I think fewer know about Segovia’s friend, Sophocles Papas, who also had a huge influence on guitar culture originating in the Washington, DC area.

Papas was born in 1893 in Sopiki, Greece. In his early teens, he began studying guitar and other instruments. He moved to Washington, DC in the early 1920’s to begin his career as a music teacher and performer. At that time, the guitar was not considered a serious solo concert instrument.

In 1928, Papas attended Segovia’s American debut, and saw the full potential of the classical guitar. Papas began to write about Segovia and his classical technique in a publication called Crescendo and began teaching it to his
students, who in turn started a renaissance that began with their guitar lessons in Washington, DC and ultimately spread worldwide.

Some of these students include world-famous classical and jazz guitar player Charlie Byrd and John Marlow, who was commemorated by the International Conservatory of Music through its John E. Marlow Guitar Series. Another famous student, Aaron Shearer, worked with Papas to create the first known guitar degree program at major universities, including American University in Washington, DC, and the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, MD.

Today, thousands of students take guitar lessons in Washington, DC and follow in the footsteps these famous musicians. Given the important history of guitar in the Washington DC area, I’m honored to represent TakeLessons in this great city and to have the opportunity to teach guitar lessons in Washington, DC.
...
Jon W. Washington, DC

Can teach everything from different styles to technical aspects to help you hone in on your own individual sound. I can also teach pedal/FX knowledge, pickup selection, and amp designs!

About Jon

I have been playing guitar for 10 years and have been writing for about 6. I have taken lessons from various teachers for multiple years including notably the University of Maryland jazz professor Gerry Kunkel. I can teach songwriting and performance as well as many different forms of music, with a specialty in modern rock and indie rock. I write for a DC indie rock band that has sold out the 9:30 Club & Black Cat and has played other iconic DC venues such as The Howard Theatre. I have been teaching friends in their 20's and children for 3 years now and love working with all ages. I have a true passion for teaching and music and I look forward to getting to know my students and to help mentor them to be the best musician and songwriter they can be. I believe I can offer an unmatchable ...

Reviews

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Athena J. December 29, 2014
Acoustic Guitar · In home
Verified Student
Jon is fantastic. He has been incredibly patient with me - both as a brand new player and as a busy working mom who sometimes needs to shuffle things around or doesn't always have as much practice time as I'd like. He teaches comprehensively - from reading music to understanding every aspect of my guitar to learning how to play. He's laid back but takes his teaching seriously, and is generally just a joy to learn from. I would recommend him to anyone - beginner on up, and at any age. I can imagine him being great with kids. He has seemingly endless patience!
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James G. November 26, 2014
Acoustic Guitar · In studio
Verified Student
Jon is a really talented and passionate teacher that I'd highly recommend. He makes the lessons fun, will tailor every one completely around your interests, and is very attentive and patient. Also, he's just a super nice guy that you'll enjoy being around. Very humble, and seems to genuinely enjoy helping people develop.
As for logistics, Jon works with my schedule and is great about communicating. I enjoy learning at his house and he even lends me a guitar so I don’t have to bring mine across the city. So I'd encourage anyone interested in guitar to seek him out... he makes it easy, really encourages you, and is the kind of teacher who will keep you moving forward.
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Madelyn B. November 25, 2014
Acoustic Guitar · In home
Verified Student
Jon is a great guitar teacher and I've learned so much already and I'm only a few lessons in! He's patient, encouraging and knowledgeable. I would recommend him to anyone!
John B. Arlington, VA

Learn how to play many styles of guitar, including Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and Suzuki guitar. Through one on one instruction, students will learn scales, improvisation and solo phrasing, note reading, theory, chords and chord progressions. In addition, students will also learn how to play their favorite song/s, whether it be Led Zeppelin, Greenday, Wes Montgomery, Miles Davis or Stevie Ray Vaughn. Through the useful tools on line and the many great music software programs that are now available, students will find learning a song to be very easy and enjoyable.!

About John

I have been playing for about 35 years and teaching music and guitar for 25 years. I have a Bachelor of Music in Jazz and Classical guitar. I've taught at the University level and currently maintain a professional studio in Arlington, Virginia. I am very well versed in many different styles of music including, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Classical and Suzuki guitar. Students who decide to sign up with me, will have a lesson plan, a strategy for meeting their musical goals and will enjoy themselves in the process. *** Lesson Details *** Lessons are custom designed to meet the needs of every student, whether it is someone just starting out with the basics or for that seasoned player that wants to hone their professional skills. As a teacher, I consider myself easy going and laid back, with an ...

Reviews

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Melvin C. February 18, 2015
Bass Guitar · In studio
Verified Student
If there was anyway to give John 6 stars I would! John is the best teacher and also a really great guy all around. John is very knowledgeable and I learned a lot from my lessons with him. John is a very patient instructor which helped make the lessons better. I would be remiss not to mention his cool cat Mr. Buttons who would often come down just to listen in on our lessons and even the occasional jam session we would have afterwards. Thank you for all that you do John!
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Garari M. November 26, 2014
Guitar · In home
Verified Student
Great Teacher! I look forward to continuing to progress with my playing.
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Kate S. October 20, 2014
Mandolin · In home
Verified Student
John is an amazing teacher and an extremely talented musician. He is very patient and a great motivator. I highly recommend him :)
Dennis B. Bethesda, MD

I teach all levels of guitar in the areas of rock, blues and jazz, but I really focus more on the musical skills need to play guitar in any style. These include a thorough chord vocabulary, experience playing rhythm guitar, and a complete progressive study of scales and their use in improvisation (lead guitar) starting with pentatonic scales and progressing to major scales, different forms of minor scales and modes. All scales are learned in multiple positions and the student learns to perform with them in any key. In every lesson the student and I play exercises and study materials together to make actual music from the materials being studied.

About Dennis

I have been teaching guitar for 25 years in the Washington DC metro area. I work with students 12 years of age and up, but I am especially experienced at teaching adult students regardless of whether they are beginners or have previous guitar experience. I have performed in acoustic Celtic, new age, funk, progressive rock, fusion and contemporary jazz groups and am currently performing regularly as a solo acoustic guitarist. I have composed over 40 works for solo guitar as well as numerous pieces for small jazz bands. I have played on numerous CDs including my most recent solo CD 'DARK MATTER'. *** Lesson Details *** I tailor the lesson materials to suit the interest of the student but I am dedicated to teaching students at any level to learn to better understand the fundamentals of ...

Reviews

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Edward M. April 24, 2015
Guitar · In studio
Verified Student
Dennis is a real musician and a great teacher.
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David G. December 15, 2013
Guitar
fabulous teacher

Dennis is a wonderful teacher. His extensive knowledge of all forms of music comes through in his teaching skills. He is extremely patient and understanding as we work through pieces. I started taking classes as an adult in retirement, with past experience limited to a few chords learned way back in high school. We're now well into number of beautiful classical pieces, I've gained a significant knowledge of music theory, and we've just now starting to tackle the blues !!. I may have eclectic tastes, but Dennis feels very comfortable with it and loves teaching all types of music. I know I'm in the hands of a master musician and teacher.
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Marilyn W. December 9, 2013
Guitar
If you are serious about learning this instrument, you couldn't find a better teacher.

Dennis is extraordinary in all ways: He knows about all there is to know about harmony; he can pinpoint and diagnose exactly what difficulty a student might be having and then explain how to overcome it; he is a talented composer and improvisor; and above all, in whatever genre he chooses to play, he is simply a beautiful musician.
Joe B. Washington, DC

The Essentials:

Tuning
Changing strings
Strapping up
How to hold a pick
Plucking strings
Accents
Chords
Power chords
Double stops
Barre chords
Arpeggios

Techniques:

Shifting
Fretting
Sustains
Palm mutes
Slides
Bends
Tremelos
Hammer-ons
Pull-offs
Natural harmonics
Strumming patterns
Unpitched slides
Fret hand mutes
Improvising and jamming
Vibrato
Scales and modes

Additional Bass Techniques:

Fifths
Roots
Slapping
Popping

Advanced Players:

Double stop, Oblique, and Compound Bends
Two hand tapping
Articulation and phrasing
Pinch harmonics
Extended harmonies
Hybrid techniques
Advanced chords

About Joe

RockSmith Journey is a fun, energy-packed and safe environment where kids are encouraged to love God, music, their band members, and their electric guitar or bass. My desire is to partner with parents to teach kids (6 & Up) basic music skills using technology, Rock, Blues and Worship and this to serve as foundation for their musical growth and performances in their lives. Mastering an instrument is never going to be easy, but I will be there to make sure the whole process is approachable and fun for young kids while still providing experienced guitarists plenty of tools to experiment with. I'm your RockMaster.RockSmith 2014 is the main road of your journey. You choose your path (Lead/Rhythm/Bass Guitar). I believe God is the source of all truth and musical abilities. Everyone can ...

Reviews

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Mike S. June 21, 2014
Rhythm Guitar · In studio
Verified Student
Joe's lessons have made a tremendous, positive impact on our seven-year-old son, Thomas. A year ago, Thomas expressed interest in learning guitar after seeing the musicians at church. We connected with Joe to arrange for some lessons. Following Joe's instruction, supplemented with practice at home, Thomas has become a devoted guitar player, learning chords and songs along the way. He now improvises a little on his own with chords and is even keeping a journal of different chords he has learned. We highly recommend Joe, and his method of using the RockSmith game on the XBox is uncanny - the game is sophisticated enough for an adult, yet very accessible for someone Thomas's age. We plan to keep up with Joe for the foreseeable future.
Michael K. Arlington, VA

About Michael

- I teach beginners, intermediate and advanced students. - My students' ages range from 6 years to older adults. - Styles taught: Folk, Folk Rock, Classical, Jazz, Blues & Country. - I have taught guitar for more than 10 years. - I have performed professionally for over 25 years. - I have released five audio recordings. *** Lesson Details *** My students' musical interests, goals and abilities dictate the direction that we select for their lesson plans. By recognizing and understanding each students learning style, I use techniques/methods that are suited to that particular student. This improves the speed and the quality of learning. I am flexible and easy going but focused - and I encourage my students to do the same. I want

Reviews

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Cin C. February 2, 2015
Guitar · In studio
My 9 year old daughter has been taking weekly lessons with Michael for about 6 months. In that time, her guitar skills have really progressed. Michael is a very patient instructor who strives to make each lesson an enjoyable learning experience. My daughter is inspired to practice, and she looks forward to her lesson each week.
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Lori B. September 29, 2014
Guitar · In studio
Verified Student
I've just started lessons with Michael. He has been very aware of my goals and learning style and has adjusted his approach to suit me. I've been very pleased.
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John B. January 18, 2014
Guitar
Excellent Musician and Teacher

Michael is the ultimate professional musician and guitarist. He's very well versed in many styles of music, including Classical, Jazz, Country, Blues and Rock. He's very responsible. easy going and takes care to assure that his student's get the best in quality guitar instruction. I highly recommend Michael for all of your guitar instructional needs. You will be very pleased with the outcome!
Grant F. Washington, DC

I play many different styles of guitar and love them all. I am happy to teach a particular style or help bring your musical interests along with some of what I already know from many varieties.

About Grant

My name is Grant and I have been playing the guitar/piano for almost 20 years. I am 30 years old and have a passion for playing and recording music. I love sharing what I know and bringing students to the level they want to be playing. Lessons will be different for students of different skill level, but all will revolve around catering to what the student wishes to learn. I can play many different styles on the guitar and would love to share them all.

Reviews

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julie L. October 27, 2014
Guitar · In home
Verified Student
Grant is GREAT! Very knowledgeable about the guitar. His positive and encouraging attitude was a wonderful bonus.
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Tim T. July 17, 2014
Guitar · In studio
Over the last year, I have taken many guitar lessons in the greater DC area in search of a teacher that will help further craft my amateur skill set. To-date, Grant has not only been the most knowledgeable out of any of the musicians, he also beams with passion for the trade. Not to mention his patience and encouragement - a quality that makes even the most rookie guitarist feel like he is the next "The Edge."

- Tim T.
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Jon T. July 16, 2014
Guitar · In home
I have always wanted to learn to play guitar but I never pushed myself passed learning basic cords and several elementary songs via videos and books. Recently, I decided if I wanted to really learn it was now or never and I started taking lessons with Grant. In addition to his ability to shred on the guitar, which he gladly did when I asked for a demonstration, he is a great teacher. He has been a patient teacher when I repeatedly make mistakes and always sends me off with something cool to practice before the next lesson. I strongly recommend Grant and will continue to use him as my teacher.

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Recent Guitar Articles from the Blog

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7 Ways to Use Movable Guitar Scales to Write Solos and Riffs

Learning guitar scales prepares you for the fun of playing riffs and solos. If you know your scales but you don't know how to take the next step, try one of these tips from guitar teacher James W... You have 7 notes to choose from and the following 7 steps will help you in ways you cannot even predict. Most guitar players learn the basics such as the 5 basic major scale patterns in G major and go on to learn them in the other major keys as well. Perhaps you know what a pentatonic scale is in … Read More
7 Ways to Use Movable Guitar Scales to Write Solos and Riffs
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