Private Lessons & Group Classes | Ages 10+ | Acoustic or Electric | Fundamental Skills | Jazz, Blues, Rock | Pick-Style | All Levels
1) Teaching is my passion. Students sense this and they feel inspired to work hard. It's been 3 years since I had to close my physical studio space, and I have many successful students who have been surprised to learn that studying guitar online with me is not only convenient, but also highly effective, and fun!
2) My experience makes me a more effective teacher. I was the adjunct professor of guitar at Seattle University from 2006-18, I taught at University of Washington's summer jazz workshop in 2018-19, I created The Rock Project at Cornish College of the Arts and I was the lead instructor from 2010-15, and I taught music at Seattle Girls School for the 2016-17 school year. Before the pandemic, I was teaching a full studio of private students along with weekend guitar classes for beginning through advanced students at my Capitol Hill Guitar Studio in Seattle.
3) I am dedicated to improving ways for guitarists to learn the fundamentals of music. When I realized that students and teachers needed a more effective method book, I wrote The Guitar Lesson Companion series, which is used in over 10 countries, including by faculty at Berklee School of Music.
4) I create a plan for each student to reach her/his goals. This helps us stay on track during our lessons so students reach their goals quickly and effectively. I'm probably one of the most organized guitar teachers you will ever meet. You can check out my 5 Year General Syllabus, which is the basic framework I use for all my students.
5) Students get help between lessons so we can get the most out of our lesson time together. I encourage students to send videos of their assignments so I can check them without taking time in our lesson, and I'm also available to answer questions via email between our lessons. On top of that, I have an extensive YouTube Channel with hundreds of jam tracks and lesson videos.
6) I hold students accountable. If a student doesn't practice, we talk about it and we develop a plan. If a student continues to not practice, I discontinue our lessons.
7) Teaching people how to play the guitar is my full time job, and while I do play regular gigs, my students needs and goals always come first. If I'm not the best teacher for a student, I may be able to recommend another teacher.
8) I have always worked to make high quality music education more accessible, and I also believe that teachers should be paid for their work. While I was teaching at Seattle University, I added an Academic Service Learning component to my courses so that my students could work with younger students in the area who might not have been able to afford guitar lessons. I started my YouTube Channel to provide the public with instruction to learn the fundamentals of music on guitar, and today I offer one free small group guitar class online each month (details are in my monthly newsletter.)
9) I do my research. There are new educational resources available all the time, and part of my job involves seeking out new learning tools for students, like the TrueFire supplemental courses.
10) My students are successful. Not all of my students decide to use their skills to pursue a professional career in music, but many of them perform often at these and other 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, Bumbershoot, and more.
WHAT DO HER STUDENTS HAVE TO SAY?
Jakob: 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.
Jason: She gracefully strikes a balance between patience and expecting her students to do their best. I tried a couple other teachers and realized they didn’t have any real method to their teaching; it was as if every class they were just winging it. Not Susan. She’s created a remarkable (and challenging) guitar study program that is also very enjoyable.
Bess: Susan's structured approach feels very grounded and comfortable, and the way she holds me kindly and firmly accountable to practice has pushed me to grow and be more confident in my playing. She is probably the most brilliant teacher you will ever meet.