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I offer lessons in:

  • Classical Guitar
  • Acoustic Guitar
  • Jazz Guitar
  • Electric / Rock Guitar
  • Basic Music Theory
  • Psaltry
  • Songwriting
  • Ukulele
     
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    Helen ParsonOffering private lessons in
    Seattle, Washington
    About MeContact Me
    "...People are taught to have too much respect for music; they should be taught to love it instead."
    - Igor Stravinsky


    Playing guitar is my absolute passion in life, and I love nothing more than helping others experience the joy of creating music. I consider myself quite lucky that this is my job, to have the privilege of witnessing my students' progress. Music is an essential expression of happiness and I believe that learning (and teaching) an instrument should be a joyful experience!

    I accept students of all ages and have teaching locations in both Seattle and Bellevue.

    My Background

    I am a classically-trained guitarist, composer, singer, songwriter, and music teacher. I have studied classical guitar technique for over seventeen years. I was trained in the Suzuki method by Eve Weiss and later studied performance technique under Frederick Hand; I have also studied music theory, composition, and songwriting with Allen Shawn and Nicholas Brooke. Drawing on my classical education, I have taught myself to play electric and acoustic steel string guitars as well and become proficient in myriad styles of playing, from flamenco to jazz. Nowadays I perform mostly original music, whether solo vocal/acoustic songs with folk fingerpicking, or three-chord punk songs with my band(s).

    Teaching Philosophy

    I was trained from early on with the Suzuki method of instruction, and this informs my own teaching philosophy more than any other. The Suzuki philosophy is essentially the promotion of fluent musical understanding through the method of learning with which all children learn their native language (the "mother tongue" approach). This approach is extremely effective and allows even very young children to obtain musical knowledge quite naturally and without frustration. The improvisational, the collaborative, and above all the creative aspects of playing music are what I emphasize in teaching. I believe that a guitarist should have not only technique, but a deep understanding of the instrument and of music itself; I never ask a student to learn or practice something without explaining why. All of my students learn music theory and reading hand in hand with playing. I will teach you how to read a Mozart sonata, to figure out the chords to a song on the radio, to play with perfect classical hand technique, and to improvise with a jazz band in the key of B flat - anything less would not be a true understanding of the guitar.

    I consider teaching to be a creative and collaborative art, and not a series of rote recitations. Everyone has a unique way of learning, a unique language with which they interpret ideas, and figuring out how best to tap into one's innate artistic perceptions is the key to unlocking any creative skill. I take the time and energy to understand my students as individual scholars and help them find their own unique relationship with music.

    Rates/Availability

    I teach at two primary locations: my home in Seattle (Capitol Hill) and Pacific Northwest School of Music in Bellevue. My rate for lessons at my studio in Seattle is $40/hour. Lessons at Pacific Northwest School of Music are paid with a monthly tuition starting at $160, which includes weekly private lessons, participation in an annual music festival and student artist recitals, and participation in group lessons in the Suzuki tradition.

    Please contact me for current availability as my schedule is constantly changing. Thank you!