Portland Beginning Guitar Lessons for Kids and Piano Lessons for Kids

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Beginning Guitar lessons and Piano lessons for Kids in inner SE Portland

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disco-piggy by Jessi P.
disco-piggy by Jessi P.

About Music Lessons for Kids: Lessons are generally private lessons, but parents and friends can walk into the lesson room any time. Kids absolutely love my lessons; I’m goofy and light hearted. Learning the guitar (and music in general) can be great when you have the right teacher, and awful if you have a teacher that doesn’t fit your style. At my studio, kids can pick their own material and their own songs.  I love teaching kids to jump around, be crazy, and yell out rhythms. I emphasize fun, respect, and learning advanced concepts in a solid way. Many of my students write their own songs and “jam” together in lessons. It’s fun, unstructured education. However, I don’t teach kids “fake” words like saying “pine-ap-ple” instead of an actual rhythm; it’s fun, but not cutesy. Kids learn the same material that adults do.

Topics Covered: Music theory, scales, chords, rhythms, playing along to songs the child likes. Making weird sounds, being crazy. Making recordings and CDs and MP3’s. Incorporating technology into the child’s education, powered by classical fundamentals of music theory.

When a beginner comes to a lesson and chooses the song, I pick elements of the song that suit the student’s capabilities, and makes sense to the student, musically. Students often practice along to videos, CDs and MP3s to “get a feel” for things. Lessons with media are more fun!

Music Theory: Key signatures and sight-reading music notation for those whom wish to read; simplified and easy-to-use music theory for those who wish to rock. Playing in key. Scales, modes; chordal theory and rhythms. Intervals, and interval-related ear training.  For vocalists of any sort and age, a capella interval vocalization and creative improvisational composition is encouraged – and possible.

Material and Application: The kid pick the music. If the parent likes it as well, great, but at my studio, the kid picks the music.

Instructor notes: I love teaching kids. Read more about my attitudes regarding free play and improvisation. Kids get to do what they want.

You Should Bring: Your guitar, your siblings, weird drawings of the “Lesson Frogs” (more later) and your friends/parents. Piano students use the piano in the studio. I don’t care if you bring your lesson papers back. I prefer that you know the material and leave the papers at home. When we are learning what we love, we memorize it better. That’s why students of all ages guide their own lessons. For smaller kids, it is best that they bring their own guitar. I don’t have child size guitars at the studio. 

About the Instrument: Beginning guitarists, especially kids, tend to have inexpensive instruments that frustrate them (and they need motivation to play the instrument so that Mom & Dad will buy a nicer guitar). Please bring your instrument in so that I can analyze its playability, and the potential costs of fixing any problems. I used to have a part time job estimating jobs and problems, and scheduling instrument repairs and custom builds at a Portland guitar repair shop called the 12th Fret Custom Guitar Shop, a shop of master luthiers who are wonderful people; before that, I worked for a couple of years at Elderly Instruments. Keep in mind that any student is welcome to play one of my guitars at the lesson, and that I have keyboards and pianos at the studio as well.

Genres: Kid’s songs, classic rock songs (kids seem to like Joan Jett, the Beatles, Adele, and Owl City)…. kids can learn any style they want.

-Amanda Machina

squirrel at whirling squirrel dot com

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3 thoughts on “Portland Beginning Guitar Lessons for Kids and Piano Lessons for Kids”

  1. Hello,

    I’m interested in information for beginning guitar lessons for my 6yo daughter. She has taken one series of lessons through the community center – started learning a few chords and to pick the first phrase of jingle bells, but really loved it. I’d be interested in the cost of lessons at Whirling Squirrel and available days/times beginning when school resumes sessions in January. Are they private lessons or group? Do you do anything for multiple members of a family? Any additional information would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,


  2. Hello folks, for questions please email me directly, as I am much more likely to get back to you. If you comment on the website, it may take awhile.

    For questions, please contact me directly:

    Thank you!

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A music teacher in Portland Oregon