Guitar Chicago


"I have always wanted to learn to play guitar and Tim is doing just that. I enjoy the sessions I have done so far and look forward to several more. Guitar New York is worth the time and money! Thumbs up!" -- Sharon S.
"Ok, so I thought I would be cool and write a little review for GNY and was surprised (pleasantly) that other folks had already written about GNY and Troy. Ok, so a little about me forst. I suck at guitar. I totally do. And I know it. I can admit it. But good old Troy is always so patient with me. Yes, I know I don't practice nearly the amount I should. But again, Troy is so so patient with me. I enjoy my lessons with him and have only had one other teacher in my life (back when I lived in Chicago)-- and that guy was great too...but I always felt he was a little impatient with me and I spent half my lesson watching him play stuff I will probably never play in my life.
I truly adore Troy..not only because is he easy on the eyes ( feel me?) but he is also a very talented teacher with a great, easy going persona who is obviously very knowledgeable about music.
I am very, very lucky to have found GNY and Troy. Call and ask for him-- you will not be disappointed. I guarantee it! Well, not really but I think you will really be pleased." -- Shantel M.
"I've never played an instrument my whole life, and a few months ago I got the bright idea to try and teach myself the bass. Bad idea. So I decided to take lessons. I got a deal with Groupon through Guitar New York and since I work in midtown I thought I would give it a try. First of all, the customer service was awesome, and I had a lot of questions, especially since I didn't even know the basics of reading notes or knowing how to hold the instrument correctly. Luckily I was paired with Alessandra, who is not only patient with total beginners, but is knowledgeable and fun. I took four lessons to start but then I signed on for more since I enjoy the lessons and am making good progress. Cheers to Guitar New York!" -- Stephen
"I like Tim because he always listens to what I have to say. He helps me when I am not doing something right. Tim lets me choose the music I am interested in and keeps it fun. Tim taught me how to play classical songs like Minuet Fur Elise and rock songs like All Together Now and Yesterday by the Beatles. Thank you Tim for helping me." -- Paige S. (age 8)
"Daniel has made learning guitar a great pleasure. He is extremely patient and fun to work with. I have small hands and not much of a musical background and was sure I was doomed to fail but Dan has really made me feel confident about my abilities. I have improved SO much over the past few months. I highly suggest studying with Daniel at his new location at Guitar New York." -- Annelisse F.
"GUITAR NEW YORK IS THE BEST. I took lessons with Troy for 3 months - then, the next thing I knew he got me a gig covering the Allman Brothers Band at The House of Blues, people! Somehow, these guys just know how to break down the instrument so it makes sense, and after a few lessons you're flying." -- Wes W.
"Tim is an outstanding teacher. When I first met him at Guitar New York I had barely ever touched a guitar. Now I can play some of my favorite songs! Tim takes the time to work with you to meet your individual goals and his patience makes even a beginner player feel comfortable. My lesson with him is the favorite part of my day. I highly recommend Tim and Guitar New York." -- Laura A.
"I took bass lessons with Tim here and it was a great experience. Tim was knowledgeable, patient and encouraging - three traits you definitely want with any teacher. He didn't seem to have any problem figuring out and showing me how to play any song I played for him and it was a lot of fun learning the bass parts to some of my favorite songs. I'm pretty busy and definitely wasn't able to practice as much as I should but Tim was always understanding and had something new to show me or tips for improving. Great teacher and great learning experience. Would definitely recommend him and Guitar Cities for lessons." -- Andrew C.
"I have always wanted to learn how to play the guitar, but I figured that it was too late to start learning to play a new instrument at my age. It was overly intimidating and I'd had bad experiences in the past as a child trying to learn how to play piano, etc -- with a mean teacher, and music I didn't like or enjoy. I really didn't want to rehash my childhood. But a couple months ago, I saw a deal on Groupon for guitar/bass lesson packages at Guitar Cities - New York in Midtown and I thought, "Why not? If I hate it, I just walk away once my coupon is finished".
The location was really convenient for me and the hours were flexible -- they're open late for people who have to work during the week and they even have Saturday and Sunday hours which was key for me. I work extremely long hours so it was important that I'd be able to make it to the lessons every week. I chose lessons on Sundays with Dan Larson, one of the veteran teachers at the school.
To be honest, I was so nervous about my first lesson, I almost cancelled. But I'm so glad I went through with it. From my first lesson, I could tell right away that Dan was going to be a great teacher and that I would enjoy working with him. Our first meeting included talking over my past musical experiences, how much I knew (or did not know) about guitar, the different types of guitars, as well as what I wanted to get out of my lessons. I knew nothing basically and wasn't sure what kind of guitar I wanted to play, or what style of music I wanted to learn. Dan asked really great, really specific questions and I could tell he was genuinely interested in what I had to say and wanted to make the process as comfortable and nurturing as possible to put me at ease. He played all the different types of guitars for me to give me an idea of what the differences were (classical guitar, regular acoustic, electric, bass) and played samples of a wide range of musical genres to see what would interest me. But it was when he picked up the classical guitar and played some samples of classical Spanish pieces that I was totally blown away. He played so beautifully, it was beyond moving- I literally had a lump in my throat and decided on the spot that I would choose the classical guitar. Dan was pretty pleased as classical guitar is his specialty so it's really an incredible experience to be taught by someone who is amazingly passionate about the music as well as teaching it. And right away he put the guitar into my hands and got me started.
Dan is by far one of the best teachers I've ever had for anything. He's incredibly patient and extremely knowledgeable. He's a great communicator, he makes things very easy to understand. He is always emphasizing the proper technique while at the same time constantly striving to make the lessons fun and enjoyable. I'm amazed at how the hour just flies by! He takes the intimidation out of learning the guitar by breaking everything down and going at your pace. He never rushes you and he'll always take the time to go over something until you feel comfortable and satisfied. He never gets cross or frustrated and he always has positive feedback and encouraging things to say. He never wants you to give up or get discouraged and he truly loves teaching. He always has time for questions and he'll never let you walk out of the lessons if you're confused or unsure about something.
Other places probably herd their students in and out like cattle and you just feel like a number. Or your teacher seems bored or completely disinterested and doesn't really have a plan for how to get you to where you want to be. But not at Guitar Cities and not with Dan. He really cares about my learning experiences and my progress. My lesson plans are always specific to me. He goes at my pace and when I want to do more, he gives me more. If I want to go back and polish up other things, he's constantly supportive. He is always generous with his time and attention, always present and engaged and really enthusiastic. I can't believe I'm saying this but I really enjoy learning guitar and it's been a wonderful experience so far because of Dan.
I was so happy with my rapid progress that I signed up for a year's worth of lessons! I can't wait to get home every night and practice, it's such a great way to unwind at the end of a stressful day. And my friends and family are amazed with how much I've learned in such a short period of time. I would definitely encourage anyone, no matter what your situation or circumstance is, if you've ever thought about taking guitar lessons, you should come to Guitar Cities New York." -- Joyce G.
"Troy is absolutely fantastic. He tailors lessons to match whatever your goal is, whether it's playing in a band or just for yourself, and he goes at the pace you want to go. He's flexible, patient and personable, and he has a knack for breaking down musical concepts and relaying them in a way that's easy to understand, which I really appreciate. I highly recommend him as a teacher and Guitar Chicago as a school." -- Danielle N.
"It's a refreshing break. I appreciate Jim's ability to adjust to my situation whether I practiced or not. He caters the lessons to my needs. I always get something out of lessons." -- Bob Tennant
"I have always wanted to learn to play guitar and Tim is doing just that. I enjoy the sessions I have done so far and look forward to several more. Guitar New York is worth the time and money! Thumbs up!" -- Sharon S.
"Troy has made learning how to play the guitar so easy. After several attempts to learn by myself with books and various online tutorials I was about to quit when I found out about Troy and Guitar New York (formerly with Guitar Chicago) and I was able to learn multiple songs/solos within a couple months, which is huge because I had ZERO guitar experience prior to taking the lessons. Troy does a great job of explaining the little things that help make learning guitar easy. Things that I couldn't pick up on my own with the textbooks or online tutorials. After several lessons, I was able to learn songs on my own, but was enjoying my lessons so much that I decided to continue lessons and since then have learned much more than just how to play songs. Troy has a great way of teaching Guitar Theory without even really focusing on it by incorporating it into solos, songs, and lessons that make it fun to learn and understand the importance. I highly recommend Guitar New York and Troy!!!" -- Leigh G.
"I was hesitant to take lessons in the past because I wasn't sure I'd get to focus on what I wanted to learn. Troy caters the lesson to his students' desires. For me, personally I just want to learn to play songs and don't care much about music theory. This is great for people that already play but just want to improve on their techniques and skills." -- Ronald S.
"I just started guitar lessons 2 months ago and Troy has been an excellent teacher. The lessons are very relaxed and the pace is perfect for me. I love coming to the lessons each week and learning that "one more thing" to build upon what I've already learned. I'd wanted to learn guitar for a long time and I'm glad I'm finally getting to it." -- Rob T.
"They are so encouraging and patient while navigating the lesson through all the complexities and beauty of the guitar. One does not have to have a musical background to study with them. The Guitar Chicago style of teaching allows the student to have a practical learning experience first. I highly recommend Guitar Chicago." -- Catherine Zukowski
"My 8 months of studying guitar with Troy was time well-spent. His instructions were always encouraging & geared to my pace & "skill level". He was very generous with his time in making up a couple of my sick days. I just hope my next instructor will be nearly as proficient & personable as Troy." -- Mike C.
"As a suburban commuter to my job in the loop, finding Jim has made it possible to continue my interest in learning guitar. He has been flexible and accommodating in rearranging lessons based on my schedule. Also, I like Jim's laid back, yet cerebral, teaching style." -- Robert Bartl
"I linked up with Troy while I was traveling each week on business and decided to take advantage of the extra time I have away from home to learn something I always wanted to learn, guitar. Going in I was merely expecting to get linked up with some college student to teach me how to bang out a few chords. What I found instead was professional, working musicians that not only play and produce music for a living but also have an incredible formal music education and ability to teach. Troy has been amazing in working with me to achieve the balance I was looking for of not only learning to play, but also learning to read and understand music. Great setup, great people, lucky to stumble upon them." -- Ken R.
"I look forward to lessons. You don't have to start out with songs like 'Mary had a little lamb' (although you can), you can pick what you want to play." -- Will Hylton
"These are the Troy Truths: 1. Whatever song/style you want to learn, he will teach you. And make it seem effortless. This guy's a pro. Not like Marge Simpson "I just have to stay one lesson ahead of the student". He has quite the impressive resume coupled with crazy talent. I've seen this guy in action; trust me. 2. He'll not only teach you that song or style, he'll give you the "why" behind what you're doing. He teaches in-depth music theory, so you really understand how it's all put together. Pretty cool for the music student on the search for enlightenment. (PS- he writes legible notes, which is a rare gem in the music world for some reason). 3. Not content with just playing what somebody else created? With his theory fundamentals and technique instruction you will be creating your own music lickety-split. And isn't that what the veteran student is all about? Maybe, like my husband, you've got years of guitar under your belt, but just need that extra boost. Well, here you go. (Get confident, stupid!)" -- Bridget G.
"I enjoy playing the guitar in my retirement. It's fun going from teacher to student." -- Pete Burkey
"The instructors at Guitar New York excel as both musicians and teachers. Though the lessons are laid back and fun, they always make sure progress is being made to my long term goals. They are very good at recognizing when the pace is too fast or slow and adjusting it right away. Admittedly, I'm not the best student. But somehow, without my knowledge (or consent) they have gradually been able to peel back the layers of procrastination and laziness that I have spent a lifetime developing and perfecting. In addition to being great at their jobs, they are genuinely nice guys. Unlike some other instructors I've tried in the past - I never dread going to my lesson - it's always going to be fun and I'll always come away with something new. I'm fortunate to have found such good instructors!" -- Douglas D.
"Jim is an excellent teacher at an affordable price. He is very open to suggestions and is very flexible with scheduling. He also provides a very comfortable environment." -- Tony Carlson
"I like to learn about guitar. It is fun to use that to write my own songs!" -- Michelle Ott
"Playing guitar during the work day is hard to beat. I shut down my email, walk down the street, grab a pick and start playing. Jim's approach to teaching is clever, they keep things at an appropriate pace and he sets the lesson plan according to what is most important to the student. His knowledge and talent runs deep, and he's not a bad guy to hang out with in the middle of the day." -- Scott Corley
"Started taking lessons with Troy after 7 months of self-teaching. Now 6 months of lessons later, and about to play live for the 1st time, he has definitely helped me overcome many hurdles, and achieve many milestone in my playing. My playing ability has vastly improved since I started taking lessons. He's a great teacher who tailors lessons to meet your goals and/or musical tastes." -- Dave S.
"They make the guitar fun to play, but I also learn many things about how to play it." -- Sean Horner
"I like their program. Even though I have a busy schedule there is plenty of fun things to learn on guitar." -- Taylor Webb


What Would You Rather Do, Sit in a Cubicle or Play Guitar? - Chicago Sun Times January 28th 2007

Guitar Lessons Strike a Chord with Busy Workers - Columbia Chronicle December 10th 2007

Seen & Noted: Music lessons play on at work - Crain's Chicago Business

House of Blues Stage Welcomes Guitar Gig by Lawyers, Financial Analysts - Crain's Chicago Business

What's for lunch? Brain food - Chicago Tribune, October, 2011

Best Music Lessons in Chicago - CBS Chicago, January, 2012

Stressed City Staff Become Lunch Break Guitar Heroes - London Evening Standard, January, 2014

6 Reasons Learning An Instrument As An Adult Is Easier Than You Think - Huffington Post, March, 2014

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