Guitar Lessons in Ithaca, NY

If you want to learn jazz, rock, blues, or fingerstyle guitar and you live in or near Ithaca, NY, I give lessons to students of all ages and styles.  I’m a seasoned musician with expertise in many styles, and I’m a patient, friendly teacher, dedicated to helping students develop their own unique style by selecting techniques and approaches that best suit their personality and tastes.  I have been teaching for 24 years now.  See my article “Why I Love to Teach.”

A Philosophy Rooted in Inspiration and Creativity

My teaching philosophy is founded on the belief that it’s healthy for everyone to be creative and to express themselves musically. My approach has always been to inspire students to realize musical possibilities they might have thought unattainable and to provide a fun atmosphere where they can see real growth. This approach is not just about teaching the person rather than the subject—each lesson is custom-tailored to meet the specific needs of the student, ensuring that no two lessons are the same.

Innovative Teaching That Fits Your Life

My guitar lessons lead on both quality and convenience. We offer learning experiences that are immediately applicable to real-world playing situations. This is because we prioritize content that is most relevant to each student based on their long-term goals, and we explain it in simple terms with a focus on doing rather than just understanding. Additionally, we provide completely hassle-free, flexible scheduling to accommodate today’s busy lifestyles, making it easier for working professionals, college students, teens, younger children, and retirees to find time for music education.

Dennis Winge playing at Jazz Jam

Immutable Laws of Learning

In my lessons, we abide by a few immutable laws: “Swim! We won’t let you sink,” which means at my school, you learn by doing. We focus on a variety of relevant topics that you rotate between, and the learning process is much faster than the traditional linear method of music education. It’s not what you know, it’s what you can do—implementation and integration are key concepts. The former means putting what you learn to immediate use in a variety of contexts, while integration involves connecting new knowledge with familiar elements.

It’s your divine right to express yourself, which is why we ask for student feedback on their musical priorities and adjust lesson content accordingly. There are so many genres, styles, and approaches to the guitar, and we honor all of them, supporting you as you develop your own unique voice on the instrument.

Community and Performance

At my school, community fosters learning. We emphasize but do not require performance opportunities such as recitals and recordings. To date, we have held five recitals and produced five student albums, the video and audio of which are available under the Free Resources section of our website. These events are not only terrific learning experiences but also allow students to showcase tangible results to their family and friends. We also average two student parties per year, which are open to former and prospective students.

Here is What Dennis’ Students are Saying:

What style of guitar are you interested in learning more about?

Rock Guitar:

Folk Guitar:

Blues Guitar:

Jazz Guitar:

Complete Beginners:

A Masterclass in Musical Expression

Dennis’ personal influences range from Joe Pass to Joe Satriani, reflecting his diverse musical mastery. As someone who has never taught the same lesson twice, Dennis focuses on drawing out each student’s latent capacities for understanding and living music, rather than stuffing them full of preconceived knowledge. This philosophy is encapsulated in a quote by Nachmanovich: “To educe means to draw out or evoke that which is latent: education then means drawing out the person’s latent capacities for understanding and living, not stuffing him/her full of preconceived knowledge.”

Whether you have taken lessons before or are new to the guitar, you will find that you’re learning useful, practical things in a friendly, relaxed environment. These lessons will either kickstart your guitar journey or elevate your playing to the next level immediately.

Schedule a Free Introductory Lesson

Experience this unique approach to guitar lessons by scheduling a free introductory lesson with Dennis in person in Ithaca, NY 14850, or on Zoom. Contact Dennis now by calling 917-566-5095 or by clicking ‘contact Dennis’ at the top of this page.

Through these guitar lessons, you’ll discover the joy of music and receive support for your growth and knowledge accordingly. Dennis is of the ‘teach a man to fish’ philosophy and shows his students how to teach themselves, plus the lessons are always hands-on, and the academics of music are only taken in the context of the music itself.

Online Courses

Dennis currently offers three online music courses for all instruments: