Guitar Lessons

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Brandon Bermudez (he/him) - West Seattle
Drums - Music Production - Bass Guitar - Ukulele - Piano - Guitar

Brandon has been a working musician, producer, and engineer in the Seattle/Tacoma area for the past decade. He regularly plays in and around the Seattle area and sometimes tours in other countries. Brandon frequently collaborates with many professional musicians in the area. Recently, he's played bass with prog-rock band Bone Cave Ballet and alt-rock band Starry-Eyed Samurai, and drums with both new-wavers Trick Candles and pop-fusion band Nitrogen Lion Society.

Brandon believes that consistency, versatility, and attitude are the traits that make great musicians. With his interactive-guidance teaching approach, the student controls the pacing of each lesson, which alleviates classroom anxiety and helps the lesson material become more comprehensible. With a heavy emphasis on creativity and technique, Brandon will improve the understanding of rhythm and the ability to perform in many styles of music by sharing from his 20+ years of composition and performance experience.

VENMO: @ezekiel-lords

Ricky Claudon (he/him) - West Seattle
Piano - Guitar - Ukulele - Bass Guitar

Ricky brings together his background as a tutor and paraeducator with his lifetime experience in music for an individualized approach to music education that focuses on memory, fluency, and music appreciation. As a working musician he has spent time developing his skill by adapting and learning a variety of styles on piano and guitar.

In piano, he specializes in theory, memorization, performance, and improvisation, has a deep knowledge of classical style and teaches popular Baroque and Romantic repertoire. Ricky also teaches Blues, R&B, and Rock & Roll styles, and in general encourages his students to explore a diverse range of music.

In guitar/uke/bass, Ricky enjoys teaching finger picking style, improvisation, and basic theory. He also teaches students who want to learn to sing+play, and write their own music. He specializes in combining rhythmic and lyrical styles and teaches techniques on how to effectively memorize lyrics and changes in songs.

VENMO: @Maximilion-Mondale PAYPAL: ermarchantc@gmail.com CASHAPP: $StickyRixky

Nate Rogers (he/him) - West Seattle
Piano - Guitar - Ukulele

Nate Rogers has a diverse background in the arts, having worked on professional film sets and for literary journals, but music has been the constant throughout his life; his musical endeavors (and teaching) are informed by that multitalent background. His first and primary instrument is the piano, which he studied classically starting in the first grade and continued to do so actively through college. He also began playing in jazz combos and rock bands starting in middle school, the age at which he also picked up guitar and saxophone.

An occasional DJ, Nate listens widely and loves drawing connections between diverse styles of music across the world, in his own playing and his teaching. He has played in numerous bands in Seattle, including Friends and Family, Pampa, ANDY, and The Quiet Ones, and they have played alongside such notable groups as The Polyphonic Spree, The Moondoggies, and Blitzen Trapper, both in the Northwest and on tour. He loves to instill the same diversity of interest in students that his own teachers gave to him.

VENMO: @nathaniel-rogers-2 PAYPAL: nathanieletrogers@gmail.com

Gianni Aiello (he/him) - West Seattle
Bass - Guitar - Piano - Drums - Ukulele

Gianni Aiello is a Burien born multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and performer. He is driven by a strong musical curiosity which has taken him from learning Beatles tunes on the piano as a child to touring across the country in his rock band Naked Giants. In addition to his bass work with Naked Giants, he has played guitar and piano with Car Seat Headrest on such stages as Madison Square Garden, the Tonight Show, and Primavera Sound in Barcelona, and he also plays drums in the Seattle-based band Pablo’s Legs.

The desire to be a lifelong student of music keeps Gianni reaching for the next steps, and he believes that same desire can be found in anyone. His lessons focus on exploring what excites each student about music - whether it’s personal expression through songwriting, intellectual development through theory and analysis, or just the sheer fun of jamming! While basic techniques are fundamental to any field, Gianni seeks to create a low-pressure learning environment where a student’s progress is determined not by their technical skill but by their enthusiasm for music.

VENMO: @Gianni-Aiello PAYPAL: gianniraiello@gmail.com

Blake Madden (he/him) - West Seattle
Electric Bass - Upright Bass - Guitar - Music Theory - Songwriting - Ukulele

Blake Madden has twenty years of experience composing, recording, and  performing music in New York and Seattle. He is the bass player and musical director for the Prince tribute band Purple Mane, and the bassist, lead singer, and principal composer for his own noir pop group, Hotels. Blake has performed live on KEXP, studied music theory and composition through the Pacific Northwest Film scoring program, and studied electric bass with Todd Kovell at Seattle School of Strings.

VENMO: @SoupIsLove

Craig Suede (he/him) - West Seattle
Guitar - Voice - Ukulele - Piano

Craig is transplant from San Diego where he played music for a living in casinos, bars and restaurants between tours, travel, and shows. He got his musical start singing in various audition choirs, competing in vocal competitions, and performing in musical theater. He started playing guitar in 8th grade and that began shaping his future path of songwriting and singing/playing guitar in a variety of bands. He currently fronts and tours with the indie rock band Happy Heartbreak, sings harmonies and plays lead guitar for local pop-soul/ R&B singer Young-Chhaylee, and plays lead guitar and performs harmonies/alt-voicings for emo-revival/post-hardcore band, Dearheart.

After several years of running education programs for students and teachers around the World, Craig has decided to settle in Seattle and re-focus his efforts on music and its local educational impact. He bases his teaching strategies in brain-based learning and finding simple connections between music theory and the joy of playing music. The ability to connect and express through music increases confidence and critical thinking. Strengthening these skills can also increase retention of information in other areas and improve quality of living. Music and learning should both be joyful experiences that encourage us to continue moving forward to connect, create and share.

VENMO: @CraigSuede

Michael D. Marcus (he/him) - Vashon
Double Bass - Piano - Guitar - Ukulele - Violin - Viola - Cello

Bassist and educator, Michael Marcus was born into a musical family going back 5 generations. Presently his Brother, Sons and Nephew are all actively working as musicians. In 1981 Michael received a scholarship to New England Conservatory of Music in Boston where he graduated with academic honors. He has been a private music teacher since 1985.

As the Bassist, Michael has performed, recorded and or toured with many artists since 1977: Ray Charles, Mose Allison, Benny Green, Charlie Haden, Hal Galper, Andrei Ryabov.

In the Seattle Metro and here on Vashon he has performed with: Jose Gonzales, John Hansen, Danny Kolke, Gregg Curry, Rick Dahms, Doug Pine, Kat Eggleston, Rebekah Kuzma, Joe Panzetta, Christopher Overstreet, Michael Whitmore, Wes Peterson, Emory, Roger Taylor, Tony Mann, Jason Lollar, Lonesome Mike, Sarah Howard, Dianne Krouse.

Zander Marcel (He/Him) - Online Only
Guitar - Drums - Piano

Zander Marcel began learning drums and guitar at age 11, studying under two legendary artists: jazz drummer Brad Gibson and guitarist/director Thaddeus Turner (a.k.a. Thaddillac) of Grammy award-winning Digable Planets and Maktub.

By age 14 Zander played in bands like The Pink Pajamas in Seattle and around the pacific northwest.

He now has an extensive list of collaborations, performances, and musical experiences under his belt, two of his favorite being touring and writing with local breakout group Tres Leches and playing guitar onstage with Soundgarden collaborator Artist the Spoonman.

Zander typically lets students choose a song or genre they are interested in, and often tailors that song or style to a student's individual experience level. Zander often listens to and arranges/transcribes the music in front of the student to demonstrate how specific intervals are heard, eventually challenging his students to hear different rhythms and intervals and find them on their instrument.

As a professional songwriter, performer, and producer, Zander has overcome a childhood diagnosis of Nonverbal Learning Disorder, a disorder which decreases fine-motor coordination, mathematical reasoning, and visuospatial memory, which are all areas of functioning utilized in playing and composing music. Because of this adversity, Zander has developed a keen interest in the neuroscience of music, and a well-structured understanding of ear-training, music theory, and fine-motor skill development in the context of learning an instrument. Zander is a firm believer in the healing power of music and its potential to improve all areas of life and learning.

Ken Jacobson (he/him) - Vashon
Guitar - Classical Guitar - Bass - Oud - Piano - Ukulele - Production - Theory - Cello - Dulcimer - Mandolin - Banjo

Ken Jacobsen is a guitarist, cellist, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer who currently lives in Tacoma WA and teaches there as well as Vashon Island. He has a degree in classical guitar performance and has performed and recorded many different classical styles including Renaissance, Baroque, Spanish/Flamenco, Brazilian guitar, Tango and modern music. He performs regularly as a solo guitarist and with various ensembles including Tacomas's Verde ensemble and the Vashon-Maury Island Chamber Orchestra.

He also loves playing Jazz guitar, everything from Duke Ellington to Miles Davis and John Coltrane, Bossa Nova, and Cuban Son. Ken has been playing cello as well for many years, beginning in college with an irresistible urge to learn the Bach Cello Suites, and currently performs regularly on electric cello with loops and effects, creating multi-layered ambient soundscapes. His love of world and folk music led him to the Middle Eastern Oud, Hammered Dulcimer, Mandolin and Djembe. Ken's first real instrument was a Fender Stratocaster, and he's always ready for a funky throwdown, having played with bands such as Vashon funk powerhouse Blue Monster. He has more recently been involved in electronic music production and performance, with unique live performances combining hardware synthesizers and drum machines with cello, guitar and percussion. Ken is the Executive Director of Destiny City Music Collective, a Tacoma non-profit dedicated to providing quality, affordable music education and performance opportunities to students or all ages and income levels.

Rachel Ewen (she/her) - West Seattle
Voice - Piano - Guitar - Ukulele - Flute

Rachel Ewen is a Seattle based vocalist, songwriter, and educator. She has taught voice, piano, and guitar for 6+ years, and strives to nurture confidence and creativity in her students. She is a classically trained vocalist who specializes in a variety of vocal styles such as pop, jazz, R&B and musical theatre. Rachel has performed with various bands and musicians throughout her career such as Mary Lambert, Jimmie Herrod, Baby Jessica, and Maiah Manser. Let's make music together!

VENMO: @Rachel-Ewen

Jeff Kink (he/him)
Bas / Cello / Violin / Guitar / Piano
Jeff began his journey as a musician when he was a young student, taking lessons for contra (upright) bass violin, as well as playing it in school orchestras and jazz bands. As an adult Jeff continued to grow his instrumental skills, learning cello, viola, and violin, as well as guitar, bass (guitar), drums, and piano.

As a professional musician Jeff has recorded, performed, and toured with various bands over the past twenty years. For thirteen of those years Jeff was also a music venue manager, booker, and live sound engineer. Jeff is currently in two bands and occasionally works as a freelance studio musician.

Jeff lives in the Ravenna neighborhood with his partner Lara, their dog Emmitt, and their cat Hunter

Celeste Felsheim (she/her), (they/them) - West Seattle
Voice - Songwriting - Guitar - Piano

With experience in both professional orchestras and rock bands, Celeste is a lover and appreciator of many different musical genres. Celeste is a Seattle native who got her musical start at the youth summer program, Rain City Rock Camp as well as the global year long program School of Rock. (yes, it’s just like the movie!)

Celeste currently attends Cornish College of the Arts, pursuing a Bachelor's of Music in composition and songwriting, and she also plays all around Washington under the stage name King Sheim with a band of rotating Seattle musicians. She loves to teach the passionate beginner and the weekend musical-lover alike!

VENMO: @celeste-felsheim

Brian Spenser (he/him) - West Seattle
Guitar - Ukulele - Drums

Brian is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter who grew up in Seattle. He has been playing drums since he was 8, and learned from legends including Michael Shrieve and Jerry Garcia. He has been touring for a dozen years with bands including Isenordal, Impulse Noise, Endorphins Lost, Wilt, and Asymmetric Warfare, among others. Brian volunteers at local all-ages DIY venues, and loves encouraging and empowering young people to build their own joy, freedom, and culture through the egalitarian DIY approach that has always been so important to him. He is fun-loving, non-judgmental, and has worked with students from the ages of 4 to 64.

A lesson with Brian usually focuses on a song (or some parts of it) that the student has identified or expressed interest in. Brian loves the opportunity to help students connect not only with what an artist played, but also the music theory and culture that informs how and why they played it that way. During lessons, he often makes quick observations about the theoretical structure or cultural tradition of the song so his students are able to naturally pick up important music theory concepts from multiple different examples without feeling lectured. Brian has great success relating to and working with students who have attention disorders or learning disabilities.

Brian has a broad taste in music ‒ he likes everything from Brutal Deathgrind to Funeral Doom. Sometimes he even listens to music that isn't some obscure subgenre of heavy metal! Actually, Brian loves all kinds of music and is happy and able to dive into any style students are interested in. Some of his favorite styles include post-punk, black metal, '70s jazz fusion/prog, and modern opera.

VENMO: @Brian-Spenser

Kevin Murphy (he/him) - West Seattle
Guitar - Ukulele - Songwriting

Kevin Murphy picked up the guitar when he was 10 years old. At the age of 14, he formed his first band and performed around Seattle opening for established local bands, including Mudhoney. In 2006, Kevin formed the rock/folk band The Moondoggies which led to 4 full length albums on Sub Pop subsidiary Hardly Art. The Moondoggies have toured and performed alongside bands such as The Lumineers, The Cave Singers, The Head and The Heart, Blitzen Trapper and Dawes. Kevin has also shared the stage with legendary artists Robbie Robertson, CSNY, Brandi Carlile, Dave Mathews, and more.

Kevin’s teaching philosophy is based on learning the instrument in a fun, creative and personalized way connecting to each individual student and their own mode of expression. He believes there are songs to be learned and songs to be written. Kevin’s goal is to ignite a fire in one’s self expression and a confidence in playing that will remain with them during their whole life, whether it’s onstage or in their living room. He feels music is incredibly valuable to communicate the feelings we can’t always put into words and that it has the ability to rewire our brains for the better, especially in the minds of young students. Kevin is the father to two wonderful young girls, Sonnie and Zuma.

VENMO: @kevin-murphy-273

Jordan Brawner (she/her) - West Seattle
Guitar - Ukulele - Bass Guitar - Drums - Piano

Jordan Brawner has been playing guitar for 15 years and has been a professional working musician for over six years, completely steeping her life in guitar and music theory. She has worked in the Grammy-award winning studio Orbit Audio as an assistant engineer and session musician. Jordan has also toured and recorded with her own bands Meanderthals and Hurry Up Snufkin.

Jordan attended Shoreline Community College's music program, and has worked with artists of every genre and skill level. Possessing a background in childcare, Jordan has had many opportunities to work with young children and has experience working with musical students of all ages. She has been devoted to developing her guitar chops through years of practice. Jordan has a personal fondness for jazz fusion and punk rock. She currently lives in Bothell with her cat Paul. She teaches guitar, ukulele, bass, drums, piano, theory, composition, and music technology.

Jules Mayfield (she/her) - West Seattle
Drums - Guitar - Bass Guitar

Jules is an experienced live performer and studio musician specialized in rock genres. Over the years she has performed behind the drum kit in over a dozen local Seattle bands both live and in the recording studio. She specializes in percussion and also plays guitar, bass and sings in her own band. She is most experienced in hard rock, but also has experience playing in Americana, pop, synth wave and folk bands. She is known locally for her past, current and up and coming performances with True Unknown, Jules Attempt, Sprig, Sweet Creature and Bad Time Friend. You can expect to find her performing on stage most weekends!

As her student, you can expect to learn how to have fun playing your instrument first and foremost! You will be guided through all the essentials such as stick control, independence, beats, fills, drum notation, rudiments, musicality, dynamics and how to apply these skills to the music you love. She believes that learning to play music should be full of fun challenges and will help you set your own musical goals and design a practice routine to help you achieve them.

Bashar Balleh (he/him) - West Seattle
Flamanco Guitar - Classical Guitar - Guitar - Violin - Ukulele - Oud

Bashar’s been playing and teaching music for over 12 years. When he left Syria for Turkey before settling in Seattle, he founded the band Country For Syria to raise awareness of the overlap between Western and Eastern cultures amid the refugee crisis. Bashar is a multi-instrumentalist specializing in all stringed instruments.

As a teacher Bashar takes a personalized approach to meet each students’ need, and is very invested in his students’ success. 

VENMO: Bashar-balleh

Abigail Rowland (she/her) - Online Only
Violin - Viola - Piano - Guitar - Ukulele

Abigail loves everything about music, especially getting to connect people to their own musical creativity. She is a classically trained violinist, who began playing violin at the age of five in a Suzuki school. Since then she studied violin performance at the University of Minnesota and has performed with numerous orchestras and quartets. She also plays guitar, ukulele, piano, and performs as a singer and songwriter. As a teacher, Abigail is playful, creative, and patient. She loves working with students of all ages and engaging every learning style.

VENMO: @playingwithrania

Nika Feline (she/they)
Guitar
Nika is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter from Seattle. She began playing classical music at 8 years old, switching from strings to percussion to wind and eventually landing on bassoon from age 12-22. Currently she plays in a funeral-doom band (Vouna) as a session musician on lead guitar. She mostly writes folk and ambient music but has a strong affinity for country, punk, metal, and classical. Nika firmly believes that teaching depends on collaboration and showing others how to make the tools they need to empower themselves.

Nika works well with students of all ages, especially kids and teens. Her beginner lessons will focus on what excites students about music in general and how to engage that fervor on their instrument. Excitement and comfort leads to motivation and practice, as such Nika centers her lessons around fun and movement. Attention-deficit or hyperactive students will work well with Nika and find her holistic approach to music easily digestible.

Besides playing music and singing in her free time, Nika loves to identify plants while contemplating the intersections of identity, ecology, and culture. She has and continues to work as an audio engineer and now also works as a substitute teacher in Seattle and Olympia.

Nika graduated from Fairhaven College at WWU in 2016 with a focus on Community Engagement and Youth Empowerment through All-Ages Music and a minor in audio engineering. She has taught audio workshops through the Vera Project and Make.Shift Art Space, served as an art docent for elementary classes, and has significant childcare experience. Nika thinks that kids rock!