Student Testimonials

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  • "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 Solman Avatar
    Jennifer Solman

    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 sell Avatar
    kevin sell

    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 Clark Avatar
    Lauren Clark

    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 Eastbrook Avatar
    John Eastbrook

    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 Hicks Avatar
    Richard Hicks

    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 Frisch Avatar
    Jacob Frisch
  • I’m still a guitar novice, but PGA and Jesse especially have made me feel comfortable just starting out! More than a guitar teacher, you can tell that Jesse has a wisdom for communicating with people that transcends teaching music. Amazing instructor, amazing experience. Go for the lessons, stay for the people!

    Chloe Autio Avatar
    Chloe Autio

    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 G Avatar
    J G

    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 Sperling Avatar
    Devin Sperling

    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 Gondek Avatar
    Jay Gondek

    I take lessons with Jesse weekly and it has been an awesome experience and really helped me take my playing to the next level. I came in looking to improve my music theory knowledge as well as my technical abilities, so that I could get away from simple chord progressions and a limited ability to play tabs. Jesse will listen to your thoughts about what you're playing and struggling with and teach you what you need to know and more! Can't recommend this group enough!

    Mitch Mellen Avatar
    Mitch Mellen

    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 LeMay Avatar
    Craig LeMay
  • I have been studying electric guitar with Jesse for three months. Jesse teaches students with efficient and positive way, and I always enjoy the lessons with Jesse. He is able to very clearly explain the knowledge about musical theory and guitar mechanics. Definitely worth to try if you wanna systematically improve your guitar skills.

    Li Changhao Avatar
    Li Changhao

    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 Myatt Avatar
    Kristy Myatt

    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 Media Avatar
    Lyke Media

    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 practice

    David Young Avatar
    David Young

    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 Odell Avatar
    Mike Odell

    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 Jesse

    Jennifer Rossi Avatar
    Jennifer Rossi

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