"What is the correct way to hold a guitar pick and why?", "How can I most efficiently organize my practice time?", "Why do all the songs I write sound the same?", "I got to a point where I can't play any faster, and I don't know why. What's holding me back?" No matter where you're stuck, Sybil could spend hours on the topic breaking it down into the essential details and training you to move forward. She has an engineering background, and it shows in the way she has clearly dedicated herself to becoming an expert in her field. She is not only an expert in guitar, but also efficient teaching and learning. Highly recommend.Jennifer Solman5/06/2019
I'm not sure that there are words to adequately express the amazing journey I've been on with Portland Guitar Academy, but I will try! In 2016 I bought an acoustic guitar, and tried for almost two years to learn to play on my own. I built up some skills and knowledge, but was not progressing in the ways I had hoped to be. After much research on guitar teachers and lessons in the Portland area, I decided on Portland Guitar Academy. In the 10 or so months that I've been learning from Sybil (the amazing, badass, and wickedly talented owner and teacher of Portland Guitar Academy), my guitar playing has evolved so much more than I honestly thought or imagined it could. Sybil teaches like no one else—she is unbelievably good at knowing how to meet her students where they are, and tailoring instructions and lessons to them and their specific goals and abilities. She is encouraging, supportive, and funny as hell. If you want to really learn how to play the guitar and play it efficiently and well, then I highly recommend Portland Guitar Academy.kayla bryson5/05/2019
When I relocated to the Portland area recently I was looking for a place to take guitar lessons. I decided on the Portland Guitar Academy because it looked like it had the scope and flexibility to meet my particular needs. I've been taking lessons from Jesse, and have been very pleased with the direction he's taken. This is an organized, technical approach given by an excellent musician, and is moving me in the exact direction I want to go. I am very impressed that this school has a well articulated philosophy and method to teaching, playing and understanding music, and to music itself. Very highly recommended, for those who want to take a deeper dive into applied theory and develop themselves as musicians.Mike Odell2/23/2020
I highly recommend Portland Guitar Academy to anyone that is interested in really learning guitar. The classes provide a good mix of technique and knowledge, and both re-enforce each other. Sybil is a motivating coach and a great instructor, and she is an amazing professional guitarist. I think you can come in at any skill level, and if you are ready to learn and practice, you will see results.J G5/07/2019
Great experience! I'm an older student taking lessons remotely -- a much better experience than what I've found elsewhere. Everything started from me explaining what I needed and where I wanted to end up. From there, each lesson's geared toward matching my goals, and one lesson clearly builds on another. The supplemental materials they provide are a big help and the weekly check-ins hallow me to ask questions and get tips on being more effective in my weekly practicing. My experience has been way more productive than with other places and instructors. Highly recommend.Richard Hicks2/27/2020
When trying to decide where to take lessons, I read tons of reviews online looking for the best guitar studio in town. Portland Guitar Academy stood out so I chose them and I’ve had a great time learning to play guitar under Joe’s guidance. He’s personable, funny and most importantly, patient with a brand-new guitar player. I really appreciate the fact that he will tab everything out on paper that we’ve been working on during a lesson so I can take it home and work on it over the week. He’s also full of tips and tricks regarding metal guitar.
If you, or someone you know, wants to learn how to play guitar this is the place to do it. Sign your kid up, sign yourself up…heck, sign your grandma up here! Its definitely worth it.Kristy Myatt8/05/2019
After literally innumerable failed attempts at learning to play the guitar through other teachers, both live and online, I've finally at long last found a teacher in Sybil at Portland Guitar Academy who's put me on a path of discernible progress. Sybil is a virtuoso as a guitarist but is also a gifted teacher, and it is difficult to find those two qualities exemplified so superlatively as they are in Sybil. She is patient, very understanding, and gives me as a student a realistic sense of what my expectations should be. I would wholeheartedly recommend Portland Guitar Academy to anyone seeking to seriously learn to play the guitar.Decrepitude andDeath5/05/2019
Great experience overall! Previous guitar lessons I'd taken really didn't do more than kind of teach me to strum along with songs to songs I liked. This is a much more serious program that really focuses on nailing the fundamentals. Sybil has put together a great program, and Jesse has been a phenomenal instructor!Devin Sperling2/24/2020
I have been playing guitar for years and was self taught determined to figure it out on my own and I finally made the decision to find an instructor and in just the last month of working with Jesse and the Academy I have made more progress then I have ever done before at a rate I did not think was possible. I hit a rut and was frustrated that I was not getting better, everything I was teaching myself was not leading me anywhere and I figured that I have been making noise for years and I wanted to really make music. Jesse has been able to show and explain the guitar to me a way that no other person or book or youtube video has and he is able to break down theory in a way that makes sense and builds upon itself, including connecting theory from previous lessons that have made learning the guitar so much quicker and I am not just memorizing theory I am learning and applying it. If you are a musician and want to get better learn from me and do not waste anymore time, there is no time like now and if you really want to see major progress in your abilities and knowledge this is the place for you.kevin sell10/30/2019
I highly recommend Portland Guitar Academy to anyone that is interested in really learning guitar. The classes provide a good mix of technique and knowledge, and both re-enforce each other. Sybil is a motivating coach and a great instructor, and she is an amazing professional guitarist. I think you can come in at any skill level, and if you are ready to learn and practice, you will see results.Jay Gondek5/07/2019
I was originally interested in learning to play metal guitar, and Joe was more than happy to share all kinds of relevant skills! He knows plenty of exercises and tips to get you there. Before I started guitar, I wasn’t sure how long I’d stick with it, but Joe’s fun personality and technical expertise will keep me coming back!John Eastbrook7/23/2019
Portland Guitar Academy is an amazing place. I was totally new to guitar before starting here. Finishing the guitar introductory class with Jesse and Sybil , I learned a lot of great techniques for practicing and improving my guitar skills. So sad that I am leaving Portland soon and am not able to take more lessons here 🙂Masooma Jafari10/28/2019
I have been extremely impressed with my online course through PGA. Jesse provides incite and personalized tips that go far beyond any course I could find online. He's always ready to answer questions via Skype and has really motivated me. I also think its worth noting that the online component of the lessons makes it harder to make excuses about traveling/being busy.Jacob Frisch5/10/2020
Studying at Portland Guitar Academy has been an amazing experience. I was very nervous about starting guitar again because of past experience with an instructor that shamed me constantly.
Sybil could not be more different than many of the instructors i have encountered. She is patient and works with you where you are. She takes the time to support you through the difficult process of learning an instrument, especially after the WOW factor wears off. She knows the technique and theory, because she has had her own struggles , is constantly learning and is committed to teaching about the joys of music. At the same time, she is practical and realistic. She lets you know how much work needs to be done to improve or achieve your goals. She pays attention to the details and ,while she does not needle you about them, she is paying attention and taking note. Most of all she shreds on the guitar.
The group lessons were a first for me and I don't think I would want to go back to private individual lessons again. With almost each lesson you discover that you are not alone in having questions or finding something difficult. You all play off each other and learn more and see things in a new way.
If you have wanted to play guitar and are looking for a school that will help you achieve that goal, I highly recommend Portland Guitar Academy.Craig LeMay9/17/2019
I’ve been taking guitar lessons with Jesse for about a month and my experience has been great! In the past, I was trying to learn on my own. I’d pick a song to play and get frustrated when my fingers couldn’t form the chords and after a while I’d stop altogether.
Now with Jesse’s homework assignments, I’m practicing with a purpose and when I try to form the chords my fingers are stronger and know where to go. He’s also super encouraging when I share a song with him that I’m wanting to play. He’ll research the song to help me with tips on how to master it!
Thanks JesseJennifer Rossi10/31/2019
We absolutely loved the group class! Jesse is a fantastic teacher and the space is way cooler than we could have excpected. We'll keep coming back for sure 🙂Lyke Media9/28/2019
I have been taking lessons with Jesse at Portland Guitar Academy for the last month, and I have been super impressed. Jesse does a great job of meeting students where they are. Coming in with no experience, I was definitely worried about being in over my head. But Jesse was great at my picking out my strengths and helping me stay motivated. He’s a great teacher for newbies and pros alike. Plus they’re super flexible which made scheduling easy. I highly recommend these guys!Lauren Clark1/07/2020
Brief: Jesse is a terrific teacher, musician and guitar player. Seize any opportunity to work with him.
I've bee learning from Jesse for a few years now. He has provided inspiration and understanding about many avenues of music (technique, theory, production, composition, mindset, philosophy, health, message, legacy). He is incredibly present, and efficiently identifies goals and obstacles where I lack the experience to articulate them. He works collaboratively, providing dense and effective education in an organic way. I enjoy our lessons. Not only are they fun, but they always yield large progressive steps in my understanding of music... to the point that I've become addicted to the "epiphany" moments. The curriculum is an example in master design. As a student I am excited and engaged in the immediacy of a lesson. I feel empowered by new perspectives and insight following a lesson, and my playing leaps forward every time. This is all very abstract, just know Jesse is an incredible teacher!
More technically, Jesse has helped me improve:
- musical ear, listening and hearing music
- composition, stretching immediate improvisation to longer, larger structures
- intervallic thinking, and the ability to rapidly capture or notate musical thoughts
- interaction with the instrument, posture, ergonomics, strategy
- pattern visualization, the ability to embed theory beyond paper and then apply those visualizations at will
- connection between previously disparate theory structures
- technique, understanding the nuances that make studio quality guitar playing
- confidence in playing and navigating the entire neck
- presence and mindset
- ability to formalize and think about my own guitar goals on the scale of a lifetime, down to the immediate hour of a practiceDavid Young11/09/2019