Guitar Lessons for Kids

Parent Q&A

Guitar teacher for 8yo with learning differences Mar 11, 2021 (4 responses below)
Suggestions for drums & guitar classes for 6-year old Aug 28, 2018 (5 responses below)
Guitar Teacher for almost 7 year old? May 12, 2017 (2 responses below)
Daddy and kiddo guitar lessons? Mar 29, 2017 (4 responses below)
Best Guitar Teachers - who travel to you Jul 17, 2016 (3 responses below)
  • Hi

    i am looking for a guitar teacher for my 8 year daughter. She has learning difficulties and I would love someone who understands this. I live in Oakland, so someone close preferably! Thanks!!

    I recommend asking Ian at IR Guitar to set you up with a trial lesson. They have many great teachers and a diverse student population

    Joe Osborne is amazing. He has taught in Oakland public schools but recently started his own music school. Really great with all kinds of different kids. I give him my highest recommendation - just excellent!

    If you can make it to North Berkeley, Mori Achen is worth the drive. My daughter loved him, and years later she says if she ever had a wedding that she'd have him play at it!

  • Looking for suggestions for drums classes/instructors in Berkeley, and preferably offering guitar lessons as well. Most recommendations on BPN seem quite old. Thanks in advance. 

    [Moderator Note] Music teachers with current openings can be found in the Tutor/Teacher Listing on the BPN website. These are local teachers and tutors who support BPN by purchasing a subscription.

    We LOVED Jon’s School of Music. My son started in the general music class when he was 4. He was exposed to several instruments and learned basic music skills. At 5 he joined one of Jon’s “rock bands” - where the kids make up the songs and learn how to play together on a variety of instruments. My son was particularly drawn to the drums and electric guitar. Jon is quirky and fun, and really gets how to engage kids in developing a passion for and skills to explore music.

    Yes! I have the perfect recommendation—Jon’s School of Music, which is located at Totland in Berkeley. My son is in the “rock band” class, where kids have the opportunity to play keyboard, drums, guitar, and sing. They even write songs, which is super fun and sweet. Check it out—I think he offers a free trial class.

    Hi!  I would recommend Jon's School of Music.  Jon is wonderful with kids, and truly enjoys teaching them and watching them progress.  My kids have been taking classes with him for a few years, and have learned more about the love and art of making music than I can encapsulate in one small review.  He teaches in the building over in Totland Park, and offers classes for all ages as well as private lessons.  Mine play the piano, drums, and one has now begun the guitar.  You should check him out!

  • Guitar Teacher for almost 7 year old?

    (2 replies)

    We are looking for a guitar instructor for my just about to turn 7-year-old son. He is interested in learning and I want to give him a good foundation! Someone who is good with kids and is preferably in the El Cerrito or Albany area. Private or small group classes. Most of the recommendations in the archives are pretty old. Thanks!

    Check out Bill Collins on Facebook - he's amazingly talented and teaches all ages (located in Berkeley). 

    Ethan Lee is a fantastic character who has been teaching to all ages for 10 years. He teaches guitar along with a host of other stringed instruments (standup bass, ukelele, banjo, pedal steel...). He has a very comprehensive knowledge of music history and different genres. He is based out of Subway Guitars in north Berkeley, but also travels for private lessons. His contact info is 510-847-6213, [at]

  • Daddy and kiddo guitar lessons?

    (4 replies)

    My husband and son are both interested in learning how to play the guitar.  Are there any classes or teachers out there that would be willing to teach introductory classes to these two together?  My son is five, and both he and my husband have their own guitars.  I'm thinking this would be a great father/son bonding time...? We live in Martinez but are willing to drive as far as Berkeley if there's a good teacher out there.  Thanks in advance!!

    My husband and daughter have been doing guitar lessons with the same teacher for several years (she's 12), and now they do a joint lesson. It is indeed fantastic parent-child bonding time. Their beloved teacher is in Vallejo, but if you're in Martinez that might work for you!

    Our teacher Elijah is a consummate musician. Open-minded, versatile, playful, tolerant, good-natured. Parent of a pre-schooler. And a loyal friend.

    You can reach him at

    Elijah Helmer


    Jennifer Trowbridge is great.  Her studio is in Oakland but she sometimes travels to Concord and Walnut Creek as well.  Check out her web site

    She has years of teaching experience (including both adults and kids of various ages). She is a pro and has a PhD in music, and her specialty is classical guitar but she also teaches music theory, and some piano, and she also plays electric guitar.  She is wonderful and she also did some of the music at my wedding.  You should speak with her - you won't be disappointed.

    Alyssa Browning

    My husband and son have been taking lessons for years in Pleasant Hill (nearer to Martinez) with Jeff Eyman---He's WONDERFUL!!    Can't recommend him highly enough.  Here's his website...  

  • Best Guitar Teachers - who travel to you

    (3 replies)

    Hi there, 
    In the bay area, there are tons of guitar teachers to choose from...but I'd like to hear a current recommendation from a fellow parent....

    I'm looking for my child and for myself. 


    Van Jackson-Weaver. (505) 264-6695

    Greg Pratt is a wizard -- a truly excellent player, patient, and kind. His wheelhouse is big --  country, ragtime, Swing, folkie, or jazz. He mostly plays acoustic, but can get around like a pro on an electric jazz guitar.

    He taught me to play long ago, and I now can hold my own with a roomful of jamming pros!

    He also is a good mandolin player, and can even do some old style boogie woogie on the piano. His ear is great, and even if he doesn't know a song you want to learn, he'll figure it out, turn right around, and teach it to you.

    His # is 510 708 2536


    I recommend Ryan Schaffer. He travels to my home in Montclair, which is perfect for my schedule, since I have a 3 year old. He's young (mid-twenties), but has training in guitar (I believe guitar performance was the focus of his music education at the Univ. of Oregon). What I appreciate most is that he has a very gentle and patient way about him. 

    His # is 510-219-1284 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions Related Pages

2011 - 2013 Reviews

Guitar lessons for 5yo boy

Nov 2012

My 5 yo son has expressed interest in taking guitar lessons. I am looking for a teacher that has private or semi private lessons and experience teaching such a young student. I have found places like johns school of music, but I don't think my son will do well in a large group where it is sort of everyman for himself. He specifically wants to learn guitar. Anyone have any suggestions? Mom to semi-shy aspiring guitarist

My shy boy began taking guitar lessons with Maggie Forti, a local musician and parent, and she has been so patient, kind and flexible with him. I really appreciate her. Her email is musicrivers [at] -jmf

A friend of ours is a guitar teacher. While I've never taken a lesson with him, I know that he's a great guy, very personable and eager to engage with students in their learning process. He is a professional musician will all sorts of institutional and practical training and experience. I could see a little boy thinking the world of him given his broad range of interests and talents (the first thing that you see when you arrive at his place is his work table where he constructs those cool fish bait thingys with the feathers and stuff - I'm clearly ignorant about the correct terminology). He is definitely where I will go when the time comes to begin my own lessons with my little guy in tow (I intend to follow the original logic behind the suzuki method). His name is Tom Warren and here's his email: tawguitar [at] Faye

Check out Both Eli Wise and Karl Evangelista are extraordinary teachers and are licensed and certified KinderGuitar teachers. Their information is on the website. They specialize in early music education through the guitar. And, the curriculum is taught to very small (2-3 children) age-specific groups. good luck, leo

Guitar lessons for shy 10-year-old

April 2011

If anyone knows a good teacher for a shy 10-year-old boy who's new to the instrument, we would be grateful! [We'd prefer something near North Berkeley.] -j

I prolly posted about my guitar teacher in 2009, but I'm still taking lessons and still impressed. His name is Raphi Gottesman and he's in S. Berkeley. He teaches classical, acoustic and electric guitar as well as drums (my 9 y.o. daughter just started drums with him). He knows his stuff COLD and has a very friendly and gentle way of teaching. He also has a nice rapport with children. I highly recommend him and he can travel to your house for lessons if you prefer. His number is: 614-581-1719 Pleased classical student

Roger Riedlbauer is an excellent guitar teacher. He is very gifted teaching beginners and children. Roger is a professional performer, as well, and his teaching style reflects his musical education and creativity. He's a gentle teacher, who would be great for a shy kid, and he encourages students to think comprehensively about music as they learn technique, note reading, and even composition. Roger Riedlbauer rawgerm [at] 510-599-6788 -Sarah (music teacher and parent)

My son has been taking guitar lessons for the past year with a terrific teacher, Jerry Kennedy, who has a gift for encouraging young musicians and teaching beginners from the ground up. Jerry also teaches bass and ukelele, among other instruments, and he teaches at local schools and summer camps, as well. He can be reached at guitarforkids [at] Elisa

Guitar teacher for almost-7-year-old

March 2011

Looking for a guitar teacher whose approach is based in classical guitar or jazz for my almost-7-year-old son. A lot of the current reviews seem to be for teachers who focus on rock or folk. While my son would love to rock out and already plays plenty of air guitar :) we'd like to find a friendly, experienced teacher who can give him a solid grasp of good technique and age-appropriate music theory. Someone who teaches in the Oakland/Berkeley area or who could come to our home would be great, but we can travel a bit more if necessary... Thanks! Mom of guitar fan

Ernie Mansfield of Mansfield Music is classically trained and could be a wonderful choice for your son! He is near the North Berkeley BART station. He's great with kids and totally professional! As well, he is an amazing musician. This is not a side-line for him. He does this full time and has great recitals for the students. I encourage you to meet him and see if it's a good fit! My kids are musicians and it is such a joy! He can be reached at 510-524-2055. Have fun! Leah

Hi, Not sure where you're located, but ALMA in Orinda, CA is great. Ask for Jim. David

Karl Evangelista is a certified KinderGuitar teacher and specializes in this age group. He's awesome. Check out for his contact info (karl (at) kinderguitar (dot) com) Good luck. Leo

My daughter's guitar teacher is amazing. Michael Goldberg (510) 559-2941 - in Berkeley @Ward and San Pablo. My daughter has taken lessons for almost two years and I am amazed by her fingering, ability to read music and performances. She makes time for practicing and is definitely inspired. Marie

Guitar teacher in N. Berkeley/Albany

Feb 2011

I am looking for a guitar or ukelele teacher that has experience with kids who has a studio near north berkeley/albany or who would come to our home in North Berkeley. We are looking for a lesson during the week once a week sometime between 4-6 pm. Please let me know if you are open to teaching both a child and parent at the same time. Please let me know your rate per hour. nila

Roger Riedlbauer is a wonderful and experienced guitar teacher. He is an avid performer as well as a teacher. He teaches students to have good technique and note reading skills as well as cater to their musical tastes. He has a great approach with kids. rawgerm [at] -Sarah (mom and violin teacher)

2009 - 2010 Reviews

Is 3-year-old too young for guitar lessons?

Oct 2009

My 3 yr old is very musically inclined. She was given a real child sized guitar for Christmas and will sit and play, singing and rocking in rhythm to all the various songs she knows. She has music classes at school and is learning some very basic music theory. She uses a pick and is now trying to move her hands around on the neck trying to hit chords. Is she too young for guitar lessons? Should I start her with piano lessons instead? I never had any music lessons when I was younger so I really don't know where to begin. Any advice, teacher suggestion, etc? Mom to budding rock star

I think that if the child shows ability, talent, enthusiasm, and interest, then go for the music lessons! Is your child physically capable? I had a piano student that was very smart and could pick up everything she was learning, but she had trouble playing the harder songs because her hands were so delicate and small at her age. Piano lessons are great because students get a good background and can learn other instruments pretty easily afterwards. But if your child is already showing great progress in guitar, there's no reason to stop guitar and switch. I think learning both piano and guitar together would be ideal though. nancy

I personally (and professionally, I am a child psychologist) think 3 is too young for lessons that focus on a specific instrument. In such a setting, any progress will depend on practice (which 3 year olds can't/shouldn't be required to do), and 1:1 lessons probably won't be much fun. Instead, you MUST check out Jon's School of Music ( He teaches in Berkeley on Mondays and Thursdays. He is wonderful with toddlers and does teach basic keyboard, guitar, and drum skills, but in a completely play-based group setting so it is really fun for little ones. My kids were students of his for years. They love him, and they learned so much about music. They now play duets together on the piano, or on the piano and drum set, even though they have never taken a formal piano lesson. Liz O.

Guitar Lessons for 6 yr old boy?

Aug 2010

Any recommendations for a guitar class (private or group) for soon to be 6 yr old boy in Oakland, Emeryville or Berkeley? If you post to BPN, please copy me.

I have a really good recommendation for a guitar teacher. Mine. His name is Raphi Gottesman and he is an experienced teacher of both children and grown ups. He can teach classical, folk and electric guitar. I have found him to be enthusiastic, knowledgeable, patient and very friendly. He's in S. Berkeley. His cell is: 614.581.1719 happy student

My son is taking private lessons from Eric Lenchner in Oakland. He came highly recommended to us. My son is loving the lessons and continues to be inspired to practice and play at home.

Eric teaches all ages in guitar, bass, and drums, and all styles but he specializes in rock 'n' roll. He's been a music teacher for a decade and a professioal musician before that.

Here is his online brochure:

Here is a link to a SF Chronicle article about his teaching:

You can contact him at eric [at] 510-482-2001 Happy we found Eric

Guitar teacher for mom and 10 year old together

Aug 2010

I am looking for a guitar teacher close to N. Berkeley/Albany area to teach myself (an adult with no musical background) and my 10 year old daughter together. We are total beginners. If anyone can recommend someone who could come to our house - all the better. Thanks.

Ernie Mansfield was very good and teaches not only guitar but a bevy of other instruments as well. Check his website out at Stephanie

Hi Anon, I highly recommend Matt Heulitt. He is passionate about music and teaching, and it shows. He has played with famous musicians like Sting and Carlos Santana, but he is so humble and down-to-earth. My husband takes lessons from him and enjoys every minute. I've met some of his younger students, and they also seem to enjoy his teaching style. Matt lives in Richmond, but he often travels to meet his students. His # is: (510) 260-7134. You can also check him out here: Rebeca

One guitar teacher you should definitely talk to is Tom Warren. I know he has taught several parent + child duos, including beginners. He is very experienced, patient, great with kids and has a wonderful sense of humor. His prices tend to be slightly less than average as well. Though he is in Oakland, you can ask him about traveling to your home. His phone is 510-530-8875 and website is Have fun! Joan

I would like to recommend my son's guitar teacher Tom Warren. I am very impressed with the progress that my son has made since he started working with Tom -the lessons are fun AND focussed which is very unusual. His home is conveniently located off Park Boulevard in Oakland, very easy to get to. You can reach him at tomwarrenmusic [at] Anne

I highly recommend Josh Downer as a guitar teacher. His phone number is (510) 501-1329. He lives in North Berkeley, although he is available to travel to students' homes for lessons. He works well with children and adults. Josh describes his approach: 'My main goal is to find out what the student wants to get out of the lessons; I establish goals first and foremost. I then apply what I know about music (from having studied musicianship and music theory and performance heavily, having spent time as a music major) in going about helping the student meet those goals. I put a heavy emphasis on playing with others (duets, trios, etc) as well as improvisation and exercises to enhance motor skills.'

A friend of mine who is taking lessons with him describes her experience: 'Taking guitar lessons with Josh has been really fun and enjoyable and I have learned a lot. He caters to what I want to get out of the lessons. He is very patient and works with me at my level. He challenges me in an appropriate way without frustrating me by presenting material too far above my level. He seems to enjoy giving the lessons and I feel comfortable with him.' Sally

Guitar teacher for 7-year-old

June 2009

I'm interested in current recommendations for guitar teachers for my 7 year old son in or near Berkeley. He has no formal music training. If there is someone out there who teaches parents and children together, I'd be into that too, since I've always wanted to learn to play but never have. wanna be music mama

I highly recommend Carson Sipes (510 381-3219)! He comes to our house and has taught guitar to both my 8yo and 10yo sons. He really follows the kids' lead in terms of musical interest. My younger son has been working on ''Smoke on the Water'' for a long time (he has a disability and Carson is the most patient, positive and encouraging person). Carson really knows how to break it down to make it work so my son can feel successful.

My older son started with electric guitar and was picking it up very quickly but then took up acoustic as well because of the songs he was interested in. He goes back and forth. He's learned a TON.

Now my youngest (4.5) is asking for piano lessons and Carson has agreed to give that a try. I think it will be perfect.

Carson is never rushed, always patient, and very committed. We've recommended him to others who have been very happy as well. His fees are reasonable too. Mary

In case he doesn't respond to this, I want to let you know about Andrew Harris who specializes in teaching kids guitar, and also teaches adults. He is affordable (only $25 an hour) and is really patient with beginners. Also,from the first lesson, he'll have you playing something you are interested in playing. The kids relate well to him, so they want to practice. He teaches in Berkeley. Phone number is 510-847-3098. BHS mom

I highly recommend Caren Armstrong, she is a performing singer songwriter (has several CDs) who supports her music by teaching. She started working with my son Ben (now 11) when he was 9 and still struggling to learn how to read (dyslexia). He had very good musical sense but no formal training. She has been amazing with him. He has now done a few performances himself, practices without prompting up to an hour a day and probably knows 100 songs, tons of chords, excellent rythym several different picks and strums and can read a new chart and play it. carenlessons [at] She is also very flexible and sometimes we split the lesson or do stuff together. She teaches in Kensington one day a week (Wed?) and also at her home in Oakland hills (Tues, Thurs). She may not have room right away but be patient.

Another is Lisa Zeiler--another performer-singer-songwriter-producer. Lisa also does a kids rock band camp. A number of my friends kids (and grownups) take lessons from her. Not sure how to contact her but she's in Berkeley, and maybe by googling Rebecca Riots, her band. Marguerite

Guitar lesson for 8 yr old

March 2009

Can anyone give me an updated recommendation for a guitar teacher in the El Cerrito, Richmond, Albany area for an 8 yr old child? Anna

Our son has studied with Michael Goldberg for several years and we think he is a wonderful guitar teacher for kids. You can reach him in Berkeley at 510.486.1863. Jen

Guitar lessons for 9 year old?

Jan 2009

I am looking for affordable, quality guitar lessons for a 9 year old girl in Berkeley or Oakland. Please share recommendations of classes and or studios to me. Thanks! Ab

I can't say enough great things about my son's guitar teacher, Lisa Zeiler, (415) 377-8588, whose studio is on College near Ashby. Lisa has taught for many years and has a great rapport with kids of all ages (I've also seen her in action as a camp counselor). My son started at age 8 and is still going strong at age 12. I am amazed at how much he's learned, and he's not a kid with tremendous drive. They mainly do folk and rock. There's an easygoing, fun atmosphere to their lessons. Also, during the summer, she runs a rock and roll camp where kids form bands and put on a show, which my kid loves. She goes with his interests so he stays engaged, and she builds up his confidence. Guitar has turned out to be a positive force in his life. She's definitely got a gift for what she does! alika

My 6 year-old son is taking guitar lessons with Ira Marlowe, who is also a kid's songwriter/performer...and he's really good with him. Not intimidating, makes it fun, with some ''free-play'' in his studio on other instruments (if you want him to, after the core instruction is done. My son loves this). He seems fairly flexible on times, which I appreciate, and his rate is really fair. He's near College Ave./Broadway Terrace. contact him at 510-922-1770, or ira [at] PS - he also does kid's rock n' roll party ''recording sessions'' in his studio...really fun. Each kid gets a CD of their songs. My kids listen to their CD all the time. sfk

2007 - 2008 Reviews

Seeking guitar teacher for 7 year old

Nov 2008

We're looking for a guitar teacher for my 7 year old. Any suggestions? Dyan

There is a fantastic teacher at the 5th String in Berkeley. His name is Peter Madsen. My two daughters 13 & 9 take classes with him and enjoy it. He plays guitar in the Bungie Jumping Cows. Super Fun! You can check out the 5th String Web site. Rachael

Daniel Tucker is a Berkeley-based musician and music teacher that my 9 year old daughter takes guitar lessons with. He used to hold family music classes through Music Together. He teaches both guitar and piano privately, comes to our home, and plays a ton of other instruments as well as sings with a rock band and kirtan band. More specifically, he is wonderful as a teacher because not only does he know music theory, he is patient and incredibly encouraging, works with childrens' assets and strengths and what they are doing well, not what they are doing wrong. (203)962-3753, Laine

My daughter started guitar lessons with Brent last spring and liked them from the start. Brent took the time to get to know her level of experience, her taste in music and her technical musical knowledge. Using songs that she picked, he was able to teach her how to tune her guitar, how to play chords and the theory behind them, how to play individual notes and scales, how to make her strumming more consistent and a variety of strumming and picking styles. He gave us excellent printed materials to augment their work together. He was enthusiastic in his presentation and patient as she struggled to learn new skills. His teaching style was very positive. I would highly recommend him as an instructor. Sincerely, Caroline

Guitar lessons for 8 and 12 yo boys

Jan 2008

I am looking for a current recommendation for a guitar teacher for my two boys, ages 12 and 8. They both play other instruments and would like to learn to play an acoustic guitar. I would like to find someone who could either come to our home in El Cerrito or is located nearby. Thanks so much. Leslie

My daughter (now 13) has been studying with Peter Morley for a few years now, and really likes his style. Peter has a great mellow vibe, can really rock out, and encourages kids to play the songs they love (my daughter has done lots of Beatles). He also has nice annual recitals. He lives in Benicia, but teaches in Albany, right next to Colusa Circle in Kensington. Two thumbs way up! Peter can be reached at guitaralpha [at] or 847-3432. Jeff

I recommend Steve Gibson and his wife Andrea Hurley. They are both excellent teachers who really engage their students. My son started taking lessons from Steve when he was 8 years old and started playing in rock bands through BandWorks at 9. Steve has been a great music teacher and general positive influence in his life. My son is now 13 and still studies with Steve. Steve's positive approach made a all the difference. Alan

My 9 year old son is taking guitar lessons from a talented guitar/mandolin player named Dave Rosenfeld, and is really enjoying it. Dave is a patient and knowledgeable teacher, based in Berkeley. He can be reached on his mobile phone (415) 407-7162. Chantal

Dan Lewis (773 527-9685) is a great guitar teacher. He has been teaching my 14-year-old son for the last year and my son loves him (much more than his former teacher). He is very patient, great with beginners and has a very down to earth approach to his teaching. He has an informal teaching style and great at focusing on what the student wants (rock, folk, etc.). Great with teens and kids. He is based in Rockridge and is willing to travel to your home. He is relatively new to this area and is quite reasonable. lexine

Guitar teacher for 8 year-old

Oct 2007

I'm looking for some current recommendations for a guitar teacher for my 8 1/2 year old son who has been playing guitar for about 1 1/2 years. He has been studying classical, but is very interested in learning more rock/pop styles. N.Oakland/S. Berkeley is ideal, but I'm open to traveling for the right teacher. Thanks! Tara

I highly recommend Roger Riedlbauer for guitar lessons. He teaches out of his home in Temescal neighborhood of Oakland. He's fantastic with kids -- and adults -- and can teach any style, including the popular music your son is interested in. He is patient, fun and flexible in addition to being a very talented and knowledgable musican himself. His number is 510-599-6788. Zoe

2005 - 2006 Reviews

Oct 2005

I have 2 very different sons who studied guitar with Dave Cohen. Dave is a terrific teacher who teaches out of his home near College and Ashby in Berkeley. He teaches all styles and is very good at catering his teaching to different ages, levels, and interests. He knows a lot, but makes the lessons fun. He can be reached at 845-0199. emily

Guitar teacher for VERY VERY SHY 10 yo boy

May 2005

My almost 10 year old son is MAYBE interested in learning guitar. I've taught him a few chords...but I don't really play regularly or well. My son has a social anxiety disorder called Selective Mutism. He doesn't talk to most adults, and no new adults. Is there a teacher out there who could teach a boy who at first may not respond at all, but would sit and listen and take it all in, then over time would (hopefully) participate and play, but sitll may not speak to the teacher? This would have to be someone (I'm thinking a young man/teenager) who would be really fun, cool, maybe silly, but VERY patient. It's tricky working with selectively mute kids, but can be done. Thanks for any ideas. I haven't gone to the archives for this cause even though there are teachers highly recommended, this is an unusual situation. Thanks for you help. June

We have a great guitar teacher who is interested in working with your son. He is mid 20's, I think, and very good with my 7 year old son and his 6 year old friend. My son has been taking lessons with him for about 9 months. Tom is a musician (in a band)who obviously loves teaching kids. He is cool, fun, playful, creative,flexible and very patient. He may even be able to come to your house for lessons, which could help ease the strain of a new situation for your son. His name is Tom Carns, and you can reach him at 336-3303. Feel free to email me if you want more information. Alicia

Inexpensive Guitar Lessons in Berkeley

Jan 2005

I am looking for inexpensive guitar lessons in Berkeley for my daughters. I could consider a gifted highschool or college student or group lessons. Anon

Try Andrea Hurley. She's a great guitar player..also sings/writes/performs. She's great with kids! Her number is 235- 9749. Katie

2004 & Earlier

Guitar lessons for mom and daughter

Sept 2004

I would like to take beginning guitar lessons with my 5 year old daughter. Any reccomendations for a teacher? (We can't pay a lot of money.) Thanks, Jessica

I'd like to recommend a really good guitar teacher. Tommy Carns has been teaching guitar/bass to people of all ages for six years, the bulk of his students being teenagers from Piedmont/Montclair/North Oakland. He's taught kids as old as five and as young as seventy. The atmosphere during his lessons is relaxed yet challenging. For those who want to read music, he has methods and books that help make it fun. For those who want to learn music by ear he teaches how to learn songs, how to accompany one's voice with guitar and gives tips on playing with others. Tommy charges $45 per hour for lessons in his home(Glenview District of Oakland) and $50 per hour for house calls. You can reach him at 510-336-3303 or at tommycarns [at] I highly recommend him! satisfied mom

Guitar teacher for 9-year-old

June 2004

I have a 9 year old son who has been taking guitar lessons for the last 10 months. Our teacher is moving back to the East Coast and we are looking for someone who lives in Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, North Oakland, Rockridge for lessons. Our price range for a 45 minute lesson is between $30-40. Shari

My 13 y.o. son happily endorses Rob Michaels who teaches guitar at Music Works, on San Pablo Ave, south of Potrero, in El Cerrito. (Music Works is a sweet store, btw.) Rob charges $25 per half hour lesson. My son takes 1 hr lessons, and his two best friends take 1/2 hr lessons, also with Rob. Rob is my son's third music teacher, and his second guitar teacher. Rob books his lessons thru his home phone, apparently dedicated to this purpose: 707-645-8583. He's maybe 50 years old. My son is enamored of punk, but I think Rob is very versatile.

Roadie Mom, who posted last week looking for a drummer

Acoustic guitar for 10-year-old

May 2004

My 10-year-old daughter would like to take acoustic guitar lessons. She would like to play fun/cool/recent music with a teacher that is friendly and patient. I would like to find someone with reasonable rates in the Rockridge/Elmwood/ Berkeley area. We'd like to start soon, but many of the reccommended teachers aren't taking new students, so we're hoping someone has ideas. Sarah

Gordon Kahan (my legal man friend) runs the Advanced Music Institute and teaches guitar and bass guitar. He's great w/ kids (his youngest pupil is 4.5 years old) and adults, beginners and more advanced students. He can teach acoustic, electric, rock and roll, pop, jazz, and classical -- basically, he'll personalize the lessons according to your ability and interest. for more info, check email ami AT or call Gordon Kahan at 510.301.6951 shedragon

Lessons for 7-8 Year Olds

March 2003

Not long ago, someone asked for recommendations for a guitar teacher for their child. I was looking, as well, for my eight-year-old and called three of the four teachers(one phone number was wrong), and found that they had different approaches and all but one weren't taking new students. Any recommendations for teachers?

would like to let other parents know of a multi-talented music teacher in the Piedmont/North Oakland area. Maurice Charriere has been teaching music, dance and drama to kids from pre-K through Middle School for over 20 years. His semi-private classes offer lots of hands-on experiences with percussion instruments, as well as singing, improvisations, music theory and an introduction to the guitar. My 7-year-old son truly enjoys playing raucous music with the other 3 kids. Because of this well-rounded music training, he was inspired to take up piano lessons recently and has been practicing willingly at home without much urging on my part. Classes for Pre-K, Kindergarteners, and First Graders are offered on Wednesdays after school. He charges $15 an hour. Maurice also offers private guitar lessons for older kids. If you need more information, please call him at (510) 654-7439. 3/13/03 H. Chan

My 7 year old son has been learning guitar from Leo Garcia for two years now, and has made amazing progress. Leo can find something positive to say about every child, is always upbeat, kind, and gentle, and makes the lessons a lot of fun. We started in a class with one other child, which was great in terms of them making music together, then moved to private lessons when the children's rate of progress started to differ. There are advantages for both private and group lessons. I respect Leo Garcia's teaching and musicianship tremendously and highly recommend him. Happy parent

Larry Klein is a guitar instructor for both adults and children. He works from his home in N. Berkeley (right near the library)and runs the guitar program for Berkeley Arts Magnet school. On top of his talent, he is really nice guy! He can be reached at 526-2988. Lisa T.

Adam Lipansky is a fabulous guitar teacher. He teaches folks of all ages and teaches both in Alameda and Dublin. He is schooled in jazz (Berkeley school of music in Boston) and teaches kids and adults about theory and improvization. The kids get to play whatever music they want, but instead of just memorizing it, he teaches what is going on, so the kids understand music, and later have the ability to sit in on anyone playing, jam with friends and or write their own music. He takes them to a real recording music studio once a year where they can put down a demo, and once or twice a year people can join an open mic night through the dublin facility. his number is 510.337.0762. Have fun ! JS

Jan 2003

I would like recomendations for guitar lessons for a 7 year old. I have looked on the website but would like an update. Thank you Elisa

Music Works on San Pablo ave in El Cerrito has 2 good teachers. My 11 year old son studied with Dwayne for the better part of the school year. He's patient, kind, very clear in his explanations. My son really liked him. June

I recommend Gyan Riley as a classical guitar teacher. He has recently graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, his father is a famous composer, and Gyan is young, personable and accessible. He travels from SF to the Bay Area to give lessons. His e-mail address is gwunderthump [at], or he has a website: He is sometimes available by telephone (415) 566-2871. Linda

Michael Goldberg is a wonderful guitar instructor for kids. You can reach him at 510.486.1863. He also teaches a beginning group class at Crowden Music Center, 510.559.2941. Elisabeth

I recommend Brian Bertino. My 14-year-old has had 5 lessons with him and she already sounds pretty good. He is incredibly nice. A couple of my daughter's friends recommended him to us. His phone number is 845-4704. Nancy

I'd like to recommend Adam Lipansky as a great guitar teacher for your 7 year old. Adam's background is jazz (studied at the Berklee School of Music) and teaches kids the songs they want to learn (rock, kids music, etc) and music theory, which eventually leads kids to be able to improvise and sit in with any friends when they get to high school age. If you want your child to just play music from memory and not understand what he/she is doing, he is not the teacher for you. He can be reached at 415.377.8567. He lives and teaches in Alameda now, but also teaches up in Dublin too. Have fun! JS

January 2000 Can anyone recommend a great guitar teacher? Our seven year old daughter is very enthusiatic about learning to play and we would like to find someone who is creative, patient, and fun to teach her. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Desiree

Two recommendations for a guitar teacher. I have taken lessons from Robin Flower and I know she also teaches children. Her number is 428-9497. Another person to contact is Erik Hoffman at 444-4397. They are both great with children.

From: Betsy

A piano (and guitar) teacher in north Berkeley who has a good reputation is Robbie Dunbar, 925 962-2200. I haven't taken any lessons from him but I know him as a dad at my son's preschool. Betsy

Bass Guitar

My daughter and several of her friends take bass guitar lessons from Kerry Yates at a place next door to Subway Guitars on Cedar St. in Berkeley. They really like him alot; it's an easy walk from King or BHS; and he has a very reasonable sliding scale. I don't have his number on me, but I think it's posted on the window there, or e-mail me & I'll try to find it. randice