Private Lessons | Classes | Seattle | Webcam | Ages 10+ | Acoustic or Electric | Fundamental Skills | Jazz, Blues, Rock | Pick-Style
Contact Susan Palmer: LeadCatPress@gmail.com or 206.349.3226
I’m a little different than other guitar teachers because I teach the fundamentals of music using a clear structure that I tailor to each student’s goals and learning style.
Students develop a strong skill set to use in all kinds of musical situations, and many of my students perform all over the country, in various styles, earning their living from music.
Teaching a variety of guitarists is not a part time gig for me, it is my life, and I absolutely love it!
I have a studio on Capitol Hill at Pike & Broadway where I offer lessons, classes, jam sessions, and special guest workshops. I also teach at Seattle University.
PRIVATE LESSONS: SEATTLE (CAPITOL HILL) OR SKYPE/FACETIME
Beginning Guitar Lessons
Most people who take guitar lessons want to learn how to play their favorite songs, but first they need to learn the basics. I help students develop their skills quickly and effectively so that they can play a lot of songs in a short amount of time. I use a clear system and I simplify challenging concepts by breaking them down into smaller parts that are easier to understand and play. This approach helps students develop confidence in their abilities, which leads to better playing.
Intermediate Guitar Lessons
The guitar is a fun instrument because you can sound good even if you don’t know a lot about theory or the design of the guitar. After a while, a lot of guitarists want to take their playing to the next level but they just don’t know how to do that. I use a clear system that fills in the gaps that students may have, and then I take students step-by-step through a practical course covering music theory and the design of the guitar. Students can then create more melodic and harmonically interesting music in a variety of styles.
Advanced Guitar Lessons
I have never met anyone who has mastered the guitar, and I’ve met a lot of incredible musicians over the years. While there is a finite amount of information to learn in order to be a good guitarist, a player can always see and apply those concepts in new ways. Advanced guitar lessons cover some tricky concepts, but things always come back to the fundamentals, and students see learn how everything is connected.
GUITAR WORKSHOPS AND CLASSES IN SEATTLE
University of Washington Jazz Workshop: June 2018
Created in 2001, the workshop initially began under the auspices of the UW Summer Arts Festival. 2004 was our first year functioning as a part of the UW School of Music.
Pay What You Can Beginning Guitar Class: June 2018
We’ll cover basics, like: Tuning, warmup exercises, how to learn chords and some basic songs, and a brief intro to reading music with a focus on theory. Limited to 4 people ages 12+ who have guitars.
Piano and Keyboard Styles for Guitarists: October 2017
Guitarists love creating unique and cool sounds using different types of effects pedals, and electronic keyboards offer a whole other world of sonic possibilities. If you are an intermediate level guitarist who has studied your triad inversions, this workshop will help you put it all on the keyboard, even if you’ve had zero piano experience. Get ready to impress your friends with your new skills, and get lost in a whole new world of inspiring sounds.
Improvisation Workshop with Tobi Stone: September 2017
Tobi has a 90 minute workshop planned for us and she will be focusing on improvisation in various musical styles. She will talk a little about her experiences, offer new ideas and strategies for improvising, play some tunes with us, and offer constructive feedback, all while letting the flow of your interests and questions guide us along. This will be open to my private students of all levels.
Jazz Jam Class: June 2017
Just for fun, we’ll play through jazz standards for about an hour. Because I’m not going to do a lot of, “teaching,” this is a free session offered to my current students. The plan is to play and jam on a few different jazz standards, probably including some of these tunes from The Real Book: All of Me, Autumn Leaves, Here’s That Rainy Day, Polkadots and Moonbeams, All the Things You Are, Like Someone in Love.
General Jam Classes: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
These Jam Classes are open to all of my private students who know their basic chords, scales, theory, and who seem like a good fit for the class. Each session, we focus on a specific style or concept (Jimi Hendrix riffs, slide guitar, songwriting, etc.) which we apply to songs that we all jam on. Students leave the class with a worksheet they can use to remember and practice what they learned. I love seeing students meet and play with each other on a regular basis. This is where they really have fun and get good and have fun!
Intermediate Evening Guitar Class: June 2015
In this 5 week course, you will be taken through a course of study aimed to fill in your gaps so you can take your playing to the next level. We will cover practical concepts that are taught in college music programs, and we will break them down so you can understand and apply them to the music you dig. Learn more here.
The Rock Project: Becoming a Better Musician – Cornish College of the Arts 2010-15
This summer workshop for kids sold out every year from 2010-15 when I created and started teaching it. Students worked in large and small bands, and had the opportunity to go beyond the basics and learn how to write and play rock and electronic music while incorporating elements of blues and jazz into their music. Students developed their creativity and thoughtfulness by analyzing songs together, while solving challenges along the way. The Rock Project instructors helped students learn real world skills and encouraged creative, cooperative exploration through jam sessions, discussions, lessons, and ensemble projects. The workshop culminated with a Saturday concert featuring performances by participants for supportive family and friends.
WEBCAM GUITAR LESSONS VIA SKYPE/FACETIME
I’ve been teaching students online since 2011 and I love it. (So do my students.) I work with many students in the Seattle area as well as folks across the country. If you need structure, accountability, and clear instruction; but you don’t want to hassle with traffic or parking, this is the way to go. I use both Skype and FaceTime, and I find that I get the best connection when I use my iPad.
LESSON RATES AND GENERAL POLICIES
Lesson tuition for the month is set at a competitive rate and it includes a set number of weekly hour or half-hour lessons and on a predetermined day and time. Single lessons are occasionally available. No refunds, no credits, and no make-up lessons will be given for lessons that students miss. I work very hard to offer the best guitar lessons and I expect students to be prompt and prepared for each lesson. A copy of my detailed policies and student questionnaire is sent to all new students.
ABOUT SUSAN PALMER:
Adjunct Professor Susan Palmer teaches jazz, blues, and rock guitar styles in Seattle and via webcam. Since 2006, she has been the guitar instructor at Seattle University. Palmer created and taught, “The Rock Project” at Cornish College of the Arts from 2010-15, and she was music instructor at Seattle Girls School for the 2016-17 school year. Palmer is the author of, The Guitar Lesson Companion Method Book Series which is used by teachers and students in over 10 countries, including faculty at Berklee College of Music. Her extensive collection of lesson videos and jam tracks are available for free on YouTube. Palmer’s current and former students perform regularly throughout the country, including these Seattle venues: The Comet, The High Dive, Skylark, Neumos, The Hard Rock Cafe, Chop Suey, The Tractor Tavern, The Rendezvous, The Sorrento Hotel, The Crocodile, The Mix, Cafe Racer, The Edgewater Hotel, The Sunset, and other private events.
Can Susan Palmer Play?
What is her teaching style like?
Contact Susan Palmer: LeadCatPress@gmail.com or 206.349.3226
Teaching Guitarists at Seattle University
I’m really proud of the students I have worked with at Seattle University, where I have been the guitar instructor since 2006. I enjoy working with students from various disciplines who play a wide range of musical styles. One of the coolest experiences has been to see some of my students become my colleagues after graduation! (Check out the article: The Guitarists of Seattle University)
Along with teaching guitar lessons at SU, I have also completed training for academic service learning (which I have incorporated into my course), I have secured funding for several student scholarships, I received a grant to further my musical training on different instruments, I am the faculty advisor for The Guitar Club, and I continue to help my students take advantage of paid performance opportunities on and off campus.
Matt Brown: Susan was a great teacher because she held me accountable for my homework. There was time to chat, but she made it clear that if you want to succeed with your instrument you have to work hard. You need a teacher that gets you excited to work hard. Current Projects: http://www.mattbrownsongs.com/ and http://www.brownrootmusic.com/
Matt Hitchman: What I really liked was that I was able to bring all the theory and ear training I was learning in my other music classes to Susan and she’d help translate it to my instrument. Her approach allowed me to study the guitar rigorously and academically while opening a space for me to collaborate with other students to express ourselves artistically. Current Project: http://www.cornish.edu/summer/courses/the_rock_project_becoming_a_better_musician/
Daniel Reeve: Susan challenged me to think about the guitar in ways that I had never thought of and forced me to step out of my comfort zone. Without the lessons that I took from Susan I really wouldn’t be the musician that I am today. Current Project: https://www.facebook.com/WanderingKing
Matt Bishop: I had been playing guitar for almost 15 years before I took lessons with Susan, but I’d really only taught myself first position chords so I could write songs. Susan has given me the tools to see how guitar can be an excellent lens through which to understand music. I’m a better writer and a much more capable communicator with other musicians. And I have a lot more fun playing guitar than I did before. Current Project: http://www.heymarseilles.com
Ian Carrick: Susan helps me think systematically about the guitar in ways that are eye-opening. She gives me tools to be strategic and logical with my playing, giving my passion and soul direction and guidance. Current Project: https://soundcloud.com/sarah-and-the-scallywags
Colt Craft: Susan Palmer taught me a great deal about playing guitar- one thing that stuck with me is: watch out for bad habits when learning to play the guitar. They’re easy to learn and very difficult to unlearn. Current Project: http://www.coltkraft.com/
Jon Cardiello: Growing up as a piano player, I always knew I had a long ways to go before feeling equally as comfortable on the neck of a guitar as I did on the keys, but after taking lessons from Susan I realized that even the best guitar players are practicing and learning more about the guitar every single day. I learned that learning to play guitar is a never-ending road that allows you to constantly be discovering new things and honing in your skills, a road that I hope to continue down! Current Projects: https://wrinklesrock.bandcamp.com/releases and https://soundcloud.com/joncardiello
Elijah Poston: I had no idea how to read guitar before I started taking lessons from Susan. She’s helped me stand out as not “just another dumb guitarist who can’t read/doesn’t know any theory.” Current Project: http://elijahposton.bandcamp.com/
Stefan Wanigatuna: Guitar lessons with Susan were some of my best memories at SU. I practiced the skills and technique of guitar yet I also opened my imagination to take creative risks and opened my mind to new sounds. Current Project: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/stefanwanigatunga/point-hope
Joe Kirk: Guitar lessons with Susan helped to break down and organize my musical goals, creating an environment where I could advance to more complex playing styles while learning the musical building blocks that I largely ignored as a younger guitarist. Currently, the knowledge I gained under Susan’s instruction motivates me to continually analyze my playing, allowing me to keep learning even though I am no longer a student at S.U. Current Project: https://vimeo.com/mgranger
Terra Clark: Susan’s lessons have helped me become more comfortable with being out of my guitar comfort zone of finger picking and chords. Her lessons have given me the big picture of how important it is to learn simple, but fundamental music theory in order to collaborate with others. Current Project: https://soundcloud.com/sourwidow3
Jian Liu: Guitar lessons with Susan provided me the foundations that I still use in my everyday playing. From the CAGED system, Pentatonic Scales, rhythmic strumming to 7th chords! Current Project: https://www.facebook.com/papernovaband
Austin Ryan-Mas: I took jazz guitar lessons from Susan for three years at Seattle University. Susan does a great job at ensuring that her students have the necessary foundations before moving to the next level of musical material. She did a wonderful job supplementing her lessons by encouraging jams and the attendance of gigs, in addition to service learning projects. My playing largely improved while studying under Susan. I recommend Susan as a great guitar teacher and fellow musician. Current Project: https://conductparty.bandcamp.com/releases
Joshua Guerci: More than any other discipline, music is so conversational. And because of that, Susan was unique among my professors in her ability to see where I was at, help me see what I was struggling with, and motivate me along my unique path. Current Project: http://www.joshuaguerci.com/
Eric Sorensen: Susan is one of the most dedicated people I’ve seen in any field. She brings a complete passion to her work, conveying a deep appreciation of music, musical technique and the effort required to get better.
Contact Susan Palmer: LeadCatPress@gmail.com or 206.349.3226
Teaching Guitarists Online Using Skype and FaceTime
I began teaching students via webcam in 2011 and it has been so much fun to meet and work with students all over the world. It has been exciting to be one of the first online guitar teachers, and I have plans to expand my teaching in this area in part because technology is getting better every day. Here are some testimonials from my online students:
Madi Jane, Age 16: At first I wasn’t sure about taking guitar online, but I absolutely love working with Susan because she is very organized and helps me work towards my goals with the guitar. She is very supportive, and inspiring, and I feel like I have learned more with her online than I have learned with any other teacher in person. She is very efficient, always on time, and I feel like she really has gotten to know me and where I want to go with guitar. I couldn’t ask for a better teacher/learning experience.
Josh: After spending close to a smabillion dollars on guitar instruction I learned this . . . Being an awesome guitarist and an excellent instructor are two different things. Finding someone who is both is rare. Fortunately for me, Susan is that rare gem. Here’s why:
– She’s really has a passion and enthusiasm for teaching (not just playing) that comes through in each lesson.
– Susan clearly has a game plan for each lesson based on where she thinks you are.
– Her book is really well organized. The lessons are structured in a way that make you struggle a bit without ever feeling like you want to give up.
– Beyond learning music theory and strengthening your music chops, Susan also teaches the “Zen” of music. A mindset that allows you to enjoy the process and journey.
I cannot recommend Susan more highly as a music teacher.
Grover: Initially, I wasn’t sure how webcam lessons would work for me, but after doing it for almost a year with Susan, my guitar playing skills have grown exponentially. I look forward to every lesson as it’s another opportunity for me to grow. Susan has been tremendous in providing me a plan to grow every week and I’m eternally grateful for her.
Laura: Lessons with Susan are awesome! She does a great job breaking the theory down into digestible pieces that make learning the fundamentals easier and rewarding, and she also teaches you how to play fun riffs and solos! Loving it so far, definitely recommend lessons with Susan.
Rachel: My 11 year old daughter currently takes lessons with Susan, and has been for the past 9 months. Susan is seriously amazing!!! I would highly recommend her to anyone interested in learning guitar or improving their skills.
Art: I’d like to highly recommend Susan Palmer for anyone interested in learning to play guitar. Susan’s knowledge and ability to convey her ideas is unique. She is a friendly, personable instructor, who answers questions in a clear and understandable way. I would encourage anyone who is trying to learn the guitar, to take a lesson with Susan, you won’t be disappointed.
Contact Susan Palmer: LeadCatPress@gmail.com or 206.349.3226
Teaching Guitar Lessons and Classes in Seattle, WA
My guitar teaching career began when I was 14, and I have never looked back, unless it was to think: I can’t believe I’ve been teaching for so many years, and teaching is still my favorite thing in the world! Here are some testimonials from private students I’ve worked with at my studio in Seattle.
Jakob: I’ve played guitar for about twelve years but when it came to reading standard notation I was about as hopeless as cases get. A few months into lessons with Susan, using her method, and I can sight-read at a level that (though basic in general) is far ahead of anything I could do before. I genuinely didn’t expect ever to read at my current level, let alone this early on. Obviously everyone is different, but I would strongly recommend Susan to anyone looking to improve their playing and/or grasp of notation. She’s organized, knowledgeable, kind, and runs a beautifully-appointed studio in a great location. In my case her method has succeeded where years of private lessons, self-study, and a university program failed. As someone who has had a greater-than-average number of instructors, I count her among the very best.
Nancy: I’ve been playing and studying jazz guitar on and off for many, many years, and Susan is by far the best teacher I have ever had. On our first meeting, I described the kind of music that I played, what I wanted to accomplish with our lessons, and Susan came up with a plan to help me reach my goals. She picked out specific portions from her most excellent book, “The Guitar Lesson Companion,” for me to work on, along with a couple of tunes from the “Real Book” that were perfectly suited for what I wanted to learn. If you’re thinking about taking guitar lessons, I highly recommend that you contact Susan.
Christine: Susan is an extraordinary teacher, musician and Renaissance woman. Her patience, insight, knowledge and talent know no bounds. Aside from a keenly intelligent approach to teaching, Susan has a way of helping her students discover a true passion for music. She has immense respect for her students, and she wants them to succeed. She manages to help them understand the fundamentals while allowing them to explore their creativity and realize their potential. My son spent only a couple of years training with Susan, and he still regards her as one of the most influential people in his life. She taught him, she listened to him, she believed in him, and she contributed to his lifelong dedication to music. Whether you are a beginner or an accomplished musician, learning from this amazing woman is the best thing you can do for your pursuit of music!
Tim: I engaged Susan as a guitar instructor for my 13-year old son. She is nothing short of fantastic. Susan is focused, demonstrates deep passion for the art, and is committed to the student learning to play. Susan also developed a great working relationship with the student. I highly recommend her work.
Paul Huddleston: I am happy to write a recommendation for Susan Palmer. Susan served as my son’s guitar instructor for three years, and has most recently organized and led a very successful music seminar called The Rock Project at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. Susan harnessed the collective talents of about 15 teenagers during a week in the summer and provided a very unique and rewarding experience for them. Each day presented different styles of guitar performance along with preparation for a concert, which was fun-filled and enjoyed by all. This camp served as a major highlight of my son’s summer experiences, and he is eager to participate again.
It is no wonder that success follows Susan. She possesses an impressive capacity to grapple with musical creativity and focus and fine tune a student’s abilities while commanding respect and demanding results in a positive manner. Her passion for guitar and for teaching has helped her produce and publish a highly regarded publication, with another one on the way. My son’s introduction to guitar through Susan’s instruction can be described with one word: blessed. We are looking forward to The Rock Project 2011.
Paul: She is a phenomenal player herself, and her instructional approach blends just the right amount of “vegetables” (e.g. counting, sight reading, etc) with ample “desserts” (e.g power chords, blues riffs, easy rock numbers/tabs) to keep me motivated, inspired, and practicing.
Allie: She goes way above and beyond in her efforts to transmit her knowledge and obvious love of the instrument to students. Lessons with Susan are demanding, but are well worth it. She embeds every aspect of music in your mind. Insisting that students learn the fundamentals of music, she sets us up for nothing but success later on.
Travis: I was fortunate enough to take lessons with Susan Palmer several years ago and I can say she is the most committed and focused guitar teacher I have ever had the pleasure of working with. I’ve sorted through more than a few. When I returned to the area after a few years in a job out of state I very quickly looked Susan up and began working with her again. I believe she has a real skill at determining what her students need to focus on to arrive at their goals and she is equally adept at presenting the material in the right amount at the most beneficial time. Her instruction bolstered my confidence as a musician and enabled me to achieve longstanding goals of playing with other musicians, in key and on time;) it is also very clear that teaching guitar is Susan’s passion and I found that very important, it’s what she does for a living sure, but her dedication is rooted in something deeper and it shows. There are many tips, licks, and tricks instructors out there and that can be fine, but a true teacher is rare indeed. If you follow her lead she’ll make you better.
Von: You are truly the best. From now on, you are the standard that all private teachers will be judged against…
Catherine: Susan takes challenging material and breaks it down into simple, effective steps that help students learn and retain guitar theory and techniques. When I started taking lessons from her, I had basic knowledge of how to play, but I couldn’t read music, and the world of music theory seemed kind of scary. Susan has about a thousand different ideas for building skills and knowledge in her students, and they all work. These days, I’m kind of amazed at what I can do because of her teaching, and it’s had a huge impact on my overall playing. She is terrific and I feel lucky to be her student.
Peter: The immense amount of information to be learned about jazz techniques can seem incredibly overwhelming at times, but Susan is able to break it up into manageable chunks. She is very passionate about music, and always full of energy and has a positive attitude during every lesson.
Todd: Susan is a great player and an excellent teacher! My own playing abilities continues to make jumps with her clear and concise teaching methodology.
Anonymous Google Reviewer: Susan is an amazing guitar teacher who provides unparalleled instruction. Her grasp and ability to share the fundamentals of music and beyond as they relate to the guitar truly improved my competence on the instrument. I’ve been at it for awhile and my time with Susan has easily created the most noticeable jump in my laying ability. She has my strongest recommendation.
Kate: When my son wanted to learn guitar, he chose Susan Palmer because “all the people who come out of her studio are smiling.” He figured it meant they had a good time with a good teacher.
Mark: Over the years I’ve had a handful of guitar teachers and Susan Palmer is far and away the best I’ve had the pleasure to work with. It was immediately clear that Susan is completely committed to guitar instruction, her well thought out Lead Cat Press workbooks and ability to quickly tailor the lesson plans to my playing level and desired outcome enabled me to learn so much. Importantly, Susan held me to a high standard and pushed me to do the work that increased my understanding and enjoyment of the guitar, all with a pleasant and “chill” demeanor. If you’ve thought about learning guitar or improving your guitar playing, I fully recommend Susan Palmer.
Tess: If you live in Seattle and are looking to take your guitar playing to the next level Susan Palmer is the only person you need to bother talking to. Prior to taking lessons with Susan I studied guitar at a collegiate level and I can attest that I learned more from Susan in my first year with her than I had at an expensive arts university. She breaks down mastery of the guitar into digestible chunks and works with students to create an achievable path to understanding the fretboard, music theory, improvisation.
Susan is an extremely caring and approachable educator. She’s always been quick to answer my mid-week questions and is an incredible resource in and out of lessons. As a student with ADHD she’s helped me approach,re-approach, and re-frame my playing and practicing so many times and is always experimenting with new ways to explain concepts until she finds something that really works and keeps from getting stale.
It also doesn’t hurt that her studio is a welcoming modern space in a prime Capitol Hill location, and is the sort of teacher who will send you home with a popsicle (in addition to a practice plan) on the hottest days of the year.
Patty: My lesson is the high point of my week, seriously Susan, it does wonders for my spiritual condition!! Thank you so much for your help!!
Rebecca: Susan is such a fabulous teacher!!! Super organized, always *always* keeps me on my toes, all while being incredibly kind, patient and encouraging. She’s always got several ways to teach me the material, so when I am struggling there’s another angle I can make progress in. So glad I found her, I have learned so much!
Clint: I seriously learned more in that month studying with you than I have in 3 months with other teachers.
Pam: Fantastic teacher! Susan pays attention to what her students need, how they learn and how they are motivated. If you want to really learn guitar, get on her schedule!
Bryson: Susan is such a fantastic guitar teacher–she has an ability to identify your strengths and weaknesses and really focus on developing her students as skilled musicians.
Stefanie: Susan is an incredibly talented guitarist AND a great teacher. I’ve seen so much improvement in my playing since I began working with her.
Dayton: Wonderful, insightful teacher. Susan is marvellously prepared to bring her students a big boost in their musical journeys.
Rebecca: Susan is the best! Organized, encouraging, and fun. I’ve learned so much!
Contact Susan Palmer: LeadCatPress@gmail.com or 206.349.3226
The Rock Project: Becoming A Better Musician
In 2009, I approached Cornish College of the Arts to inquire about teaching a summer workshop for kids that teaches the fundamentals of music, but with rock music as the vehicle. I began teaching The Rock Project in 2010, and it was a sold-out program for the next 5 years. There are other music camps out there, but this was the only one that focused on creating smart and creative musicians.
Matt Hitchman, a former Seattle University guitar student of mine, was my co-teacher. I think he is a big reason why this summer program was so popular! Here are some comments from the students who have attended, and they are anonymous because the quotes came from the anonymous course evaluations we received in 2014. It’s worth noting that all of our students wrote that they would like to come back next year.
I learned so much from the two instructors. I want to do it again and again.
This got down to the fundamentals of music and I appreciate that.
I really liked the schedule and the instructors! I feel like I learned a lot.
I enjoyed learning new things and being pushed as a musician to try and experience more challenging things. I was showed many new things that I can now use to be a better musician.
Contact Susan Palmer: LeadCatPress@gmail.com or 206.349.3226
The Guitar Lesson Companion Method Book Series
The foundation for my teaching practice includes the two method books I have written. I wrote them specifically for students who are taking guitar lessons, and I believe they are the most effective books available for helping people understand and master the fundamentals of music on the guitar. But don’t just take my word for it, check out what teachers, students, and editors say about my method book series: The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume One and The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume Two.
PURCHASE AT YOUR LOCAL GUITAR SHOP, OR FOR THE SAME AMOUNT, GET THE METHOD BOOKS DELIVERED TO YOU!
FREE SHIPPING (to U.S. Domestic Addresses)
|The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume One, Second Edition||$40 Donation|
|The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume Two||$35 Donation|
|Both Book & CD Packages (Best Value)||$70 Donation|
Retail Prices = Volume One: $40, Volume Two: $35 All books are mailed from the United States Post Office in a Priority Mailer, so most people receive their packages in 2-3 business days. You’ll receive an email when your donation has been processed and your package is on its way. Questions on International Donations? Email: LeadCatPress@gmail.com