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Lessons with Ryan

Private Instruction in my Studio

I’m just crazy about the guitar and I love teaching guitar as much as I love playing it.  My goal as a teacher is to help people reach their musical potential and have fun at the same time.  I have been giving private lessons for over fifteen years.  My area of expertise is jazz and swing, particularly Hot Club Swing and performing these styles is how I make my living, but I have a solid foundation and years of experience playing in rock and dance bands as well as playing and studying American folk music styles such as ragtime, bluegrass and acoustic blues.

As an experienced musician and teacher, I am well aware of the common stumbling blocks and pitfalls that aspiring musicians often run into, particularly those learning on their own or through private lessons, and I know how to overcome those challenges having faced and overcome them myself.  I know firsthand how much time, effort, discipline and perseverance it takes to become an accomplished musician.

My lessons focus on the student’s musical goals whether the student wants to learn to accompany themselves singing, play contemporary pop tunes, flashy rock riffs, wailing blues licks, or study challenging jazz theory.  I can teach standard notation or tablature for those who wish to learn to read music.   I’m also happy to work with students who prefer to learn by ear.  I’m sympathetic to the fact that people learn in many different ways and I enjoy creating lessons suited to an individual’s learning style.


Online lessons are available, in fact, at the moment all lesson are online.

Teaching in Schools

I have taught beginning and intermediate guitar classes at TOPS K-8 public school and at Washington Middle School in Seattle, and I have to say, I really love working in public schools and being part of the public education community.  In my classes we work on open chords, barre chords, playing melodies and comping rhythm.  We read standard notation on guitar, study blues and pop song forms and get our feet wet with beginning improvisation.  Last but not least, we build an extensive repertoire of classic rock riffs!  Sweet Home Alabama anyone?  We’ve even learned to flat-pick a fiddle tune or two.  At the end of the year, the students can choose to play in a year end recital or participate in the all school music spring concert.  These classes are fun, lively and often loud!

I also lead ensembles and give workshops for adults (mostly) at the Jazz Night School in south Seattle.   The Jazz Night School provides a great opportunity for students to play together, learn together and grow together in an ensemble situation.  At the end of each 10 week session, each group performs in a public venue.  An excellent place for students to meet, mix and play music!

Clinics and Camps

I also offer clinics and workshops at festivals, camps and in conjunction with public and private concerts.  The Seattle Jazz Guitar Society, Wintergrass, Whatcom Symphony Orchestra, The Siskyou Institute Artists in Schools Program, DjangoCamp at Icicle Creek Music Center, DjangoCamp Juneau, Live Music on Lopez are some of the organizations or events that I have worked with in the past.

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