Portland Guitar Lessons

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Learn Guitar in inner SE Portland

Portland guitar teacher - multiple studios, tons of guitars
Portland guitar teacher - multiple studios, tons of guitars

Guitar Lessons:
 The guitar lessons given by Whirling Squirrel Music are really, really varied according to what you’d like to learn. Please click here to see the classes page for more information. Lessons can include rock guitar, blues guitar, slide guitar, jazz guitar, metal guitar, thrash/death/black metal styles, hard rock, soloing and leads, fingerstyle guitar with open tunings, folk guitar, indie rock guitar styles, 80’s pop and rock guitar styles, country guitar, country leads …. and beginning guitar lessons as well. I have also spent time studying Arabic and Turkish music and traditional instruments; I play the lute family of instruments including mandolins, Turkish saz … and specialize in Course Instrumentation such as mandolin, saz, hammered dulcimer. And much more….

Portland metal guitar teacher and lessons
Portland metal guitar lessons

Topics Covered in Guitar Lessons: Music theory, songs, rocking out, playing to songs you like. Scales, intervals, basic soloing. Fundamentals of theory. Whatever you like. Generally guitar lessons also include CAGED application of intervals. CAGED is a teaching fundamentally based on Fretboard Logic book series by Bill Edwards.

Music Technology: Music technology is incorporated into all lessons. How do you record a song and burn it onto a CD? What is a dynamic microphone? How do you record a drum pattern onto a CD and multi track guitars over it? These topics and more are covered.

You can learn theory and sight reading IF you want
You can learn theory and sight reading IF you want

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: You pick the music.

Instructor notes:  I love teaching music; the guitar is definitely my specialty. Read more about my attitudes regarding free play and improvisation. Many of my beginning students write their own songs. Kids get to do what they want. For more information, click here for kid’s lessons.

You Should Bring:
Your guitar, and your friends/parents. After the first lesson, you’re welcome to use one of my guitars. It’s important for a beginner’s guitar to not be too hard to play; make sure to bring in the guitar so I can assess it. 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.

About the Instrument: Beginning guitarists tend to have inexpensive instruments that frustrate them. 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 you can play one of my guitars at any lesson except the first lesson.

Genres: Beginner guitar students with complex musical tastes have a larger gap than most students. Remember what Ira Glass said (see the right sidebar?) and try to pick a simple song to learn. You probably shouldn’t try to start by playing Slayer. Settle for the Beatles. If you are patient, in short time you will be able to cover your favorite music.

Be still and immovable; do not rush to the next level. Be stubborn about being a beginner. It’s a valuable time of your musicianship.

-Amanda Machina

squirrel at whirling squirrel dot com

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A music teacher in Portland Oregon