Guitar Cities

Learning with Guitar Cities

Lessons are taught in a low-stress format, meeting once a week for a half-hour or full-hour lesson, and follow a program developed by Guitar Cities based on their experiences as instructors and their careers as touring and recording professionals. Lessons are catered to the individual needs and goals of every individual student. You will be getting an instructor that is a career musician and their main goal is to teach you the in the way you will learn the most effectively. Students also have the opportunity to apply their instruction by writing and recording their own songs on professional studio equipment.


Instructors

Guitar/Bass/Songwriting - Chicago

Founder of the Guitar Cities schools and a graduate of Hope College in Psychology and Music, James Lenger has been teaching guitar and bass professionally for 24 years and has given over 70,000 lessons during that time. After touring with his band for a number of years and teaching privately, he founded the Guitar Cities music program in 2006, now located in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and London. James instructs privately in Chicago, London, and New York. He is also featured on the popular Instagram site, Fifteen Second Lessons, where he instructs easy guitar lessons to around 13,000 followers. He instructs all ages and abilities, and features a specially designed program that focuses on the needs of beginners and advanced, and caters to what they want to learn. Even if you've never picked up a guitar before, he can teach you the song you've wanted to learn, dive into the theory you want to go through, or put a program together for you that will make you a well-rounded musician!
James incorporates his knowledge of muscle mechanics/memory as a member of Team USA in his instruction of music, so you can learn quickly and efficiently. Primarily teaching in the morning, you can "hit the ground strumming" with a lesson before work, so you can have a more productive work day!

Guitar/Bass/Voice/Ukulele/Mandolin/Songwriting - Chicago

Brant Buckley picked up the guitar at age 13 and never looked back. He graduated from Boston's Berklee College of Music with a Bachelors of Music in Songwriting. His music has been featured on The Times of India (India's version of CNN). While in Philadelphia, he created his own guitar-teaching business and taught songwriting clinics at George's Music Studio. He teaches guitar in all styles: Acoustic (Finger picking/Travis picking), Rock, Blues, Jazz, and Slide Guitar emphasizing harmony, melody, and lyric. He also teaches ukulele, bass, mandolin, and gives voice and songwriting lessons. His students range from 5-80 years of age. Brant assesses and sets reachable goals for each student. He is a compassionate teacher who helps students listen and understand music in a new way. Students will also find their "musical voice" through Brant's instruction. In addition, he is tennis pro and is certified by the USPTA. His tennis teaching experience has made him a more in-depth, balanced teacher.

Please note: vocal and mandolin lessons are only available after 6:30pm and on weekends

Beginning Guitar/Bass/Ukulele - Chicago

Originally from Switzerland, Davide started playing guitar over 20 years ago. He attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he graduated with degrees in bass performance, arranging & composition, and has been teaching guitar and bass in Chicago for over 10 years. He currently tours nationally with various tribute acts, plays locally with jazz ensembles and performs regularly with many singer/songwriters.

Davide teaches beginning to intermediate guitar and all levels of bass and ukulele. He will design a program fit to your needs, centered around the music that you like and want to learn. Lessons will cover all aspects of playing an instrument, from technique and theory to proper equipment and sound processing. Davide is also fluent in Italian and French.

Davide is one of the instructors leading our "Blues Club", a program that gives you the chance to jam with others in a band setting.

Guitar/Classical Guitar/Ukulele - Chicago

Daniel Larson is a classically trained guitarist. He received a scholarship to study at the Conservatory in Santiago de Compostela, Spain; a course started by Segovia to promote the performance of Spanish music. He went on to study with guitar virtuoso Denis Azabagic at Roosevelt University where he earned his Masters Degree in Music.

In addition to classical guitar, Daniel has always loved to play rock, blues, and folk music. He has played in a variety of different rock bands over the years, performing frequently in venues across the country. His current band, "Big Syn" is planning to go on tour in 2017.

Daniel has over 12 years of teaching experience. He has developed a proven teaching method that is highly effective, and highlights the pleasure in creating music. He caters to all ages, musical interests, and experience levels.

Guitar/Classical Guitar - Chicago

Forrest Weeks is an experienced music performer, writer/arranger, and instructor. He has played guitar for over 20 years and has instructed guitar for 10 years. Forrest teaches all styles of guitar including rock, classical, jazz, sacred, blues, country, and more. He is an award winning graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a BA in music/ concentration in guitar performance and is also currently pursuing graduate studies in music in a selective individualized performance & music studies program. A link to his website can be found here.

Piano/Keyboard/Organ/Voice - Chicago

Ever since her childhood, Yaocheng Yu has been extensively involved in the world of music. Her piano studies began at the age of three.

Yaocheng is a graduate of Northwestern University - School of Music and San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She has been under the tutelage of world-renowned pianists James Giles, Emilio Del Rosario, and Carol Rich. She has been concerto soloist in regional orchestras and also served as accompanist for many soloists in her career. In addition to her diverse musical background, she also has experience in a diversity of styles: classical, gospel, jazz, Latin, pop, and general improvisation. She has appeared in many venues, from churches to performance halls, lounges to large arenas. She has collaborated with many local artists in San Francisco, Orlando, and Chicago. She also served as a church worship leader, leading the oldest multi-ethnic congregation in the city of Chicago.

In addition to her piano expertise, Yaocheng is also an accomplished flute player. She has won awards and participated in major music festivals such as National Repertory Orchestra and the Colorado College Summer Institute. Yaocheng has worked as a substitute for the New World Symphony and is also a performer and educator in the Chicagoland area.

Yaocheng has also begun teaching vocal lessons on Saturdays in Chicago. Find a time for your vocal lesson using her piano schedule.

Yaocheng has had 15 years of teaching experience. She loves to think creatively with the student and believes that the best way to learn is playful learning. She looks forward to embarking with you on this exciting musical journey!

Please note: vocal lessons are only available after 6:30pm and on weekends

Piano/Keyboard/Organ/Voice/Songwriting - Chicago

Chicago pianist/singer-songwriter Liza Micelli is currently the principle keyboardist for Twentieth Century Fox's hit show Empire. She has shared the stage with Alicia Keys, Patti LaBelle, Jennifer Hudson, Rita Ora, Eddie Gomez, Ignacio Berroa and Carlo's Santana's percussionist, Paoli Mejias among others. Liza studied at Columbia College Chicago under Jazz pianist Peter Saxe and has her bachelor's degree in Jazz and Afro-Caribbean performance from the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico (CMPR). She specializes in pop, rock, soul/r&b, blues, Jazz, Latin jazz and song writing among others. For the past 12 years, Liza has taught various workshops, private and group classes at multiple universities and schools; a few of those being Sam Houston State University, Center of the Arts in San Luis Potosi, México and CMPR teaching both in English and Spanish.

Liza believes that developing the student's musical voice is important from day one no matter if you're a beginner or advanced. Depending on the student's goals, lessons will be based on strong ear-training, developing your own musical ideas and studying favorite songs while analyzing and applying basic to advanced musical theory. Each class will finish performing duo to solidify the day's lesson and will be recorded for self-evaluation.

"At the end of the day, the most important for me is that my students feel confident, inspired and are accomplishing their individual goals, while having a great time doing it!"

Please note: vocal lessons are only available after 6:30pm and on weekends

Guitar/Bass/Ukulele - London

Joe Shimmin studied at the London Centre of Contemporary Music, where he gained a Bachelors Degree in Music Performance and Production. He has played in a variety of projects, such as Musical Theatre, televised charity events and studio sessions. He currently performs jazz and world music and leads his own Jazz Quartet, playing at bespoke events across London. His friendly, relaxed, yet methodical teaching style has benefited countless musicians from all ages, styles and abilities.

Guitar/Bass - New York

Troy Fannin (Guitar, Bass, and Ukulele)
Troy received his BFA in music performance, and has since toured in most of the United States as well as Mexico, Kenya, and Australia. He predominantly performs as lead guitarist with 'St. Van Cortlandt & the 101', 'Marcellus Hall', and as a freelance guitarist with several other New York based artists. He has performed on and executive produced numerous albums and currently works as the main session guitarist for the Pilcrow Media record label in NYC. Troy Instructs guitar, bass, and ukulele.

Piano/Keyboard/Organ - New York

Anabel, a native of Baltimore, MD, holds a MM in piano performance. As a prizewinner in many local and international piano competitions, she was invited to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC at the age of 11 and gave her first solo concert in the Philippines at the age of 14. While pursuing her piano performance degrees, Miss de Castro completed additional studies in jazz piano and organ and collaborated with esteemed musicians, including members of various symphony orchestras in the NY metropolitan area and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Currently, she is continuing her musical studies on a scholarship in NYC, where she is an active performer and dedicated teacher. Anabel teaches all styles of piano.

Guitar/Ukulele - New York

Stephen Flakus (Guitar and Ukulele)
With over 20 years of experience performing and 15 years teaching, Stephen understands what aspiring musicians need to know. He also has a genuine passion to start beginners in the right direction by listening to their goals and tailoring lessons to fit their needs. He has performed in the Broadway productions of A Night with Janis Joplin, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, On Your Feet, and Beautiful, in addition to numerous club dates and off-Broadway productions. He has performed onstage with Robby Krieger, Neil Patrick Harris, and Mike Tyson, among others. Well versed in many styles, Stephen has unique insights that his years of performing, writing and studying have taught him. Stephen earned his BA in Classical guitar from the University of North Florida. He continued studies via masterclass or private lessons with Roland Dyens and Bruce Holzman.

Piano/Beginning Guitar - New York

Francis is a composer, arranger, orchestrator, conductor, producer and recording musician born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He was awarded his bachelor degree from the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico with a major in Music Composition and has a Master degree in composition at New York University (NYU), specifically in Scoring for Film and Multimedia, Music Technology and Contemporary Jazz Composition. Rodriguez' music has been performed in the Lincoln Center of New York, NYC St. Patrick's Cathedral, and has been featured on HBO New York Latino Film Festival, L.A. Short Film Festival, Fort Lauderdale Film Festival, Radio Universidad Puerto Rico 89.7fm, Allegro 91.7, MTV'U, Cannes Festival, among others.
Francis instructs all styles of piano and beginning guitar and offers instruction in English and Spanish.

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