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 Sienna started online lessons for voice and guitar at the beginning of April 2020. This video shows her progress in 2 month intervals: May, July, and September. September is a performance of a pop song by Grace VaanderWaal  


I’ve been offering comprehensive and affordable private lessons since 2004. My work in music is a passion for me, and it brings me joy to be able to share this passion with my students. From day one, we work through important fundamental techniques that help boost skills and self-esteem. Each student has a unique learning style, and it’s my duty to find out what that is and adapt the lessons accordingly.

I've been playing music for more than 20 years, and performing solo and in bands for last 15 years. I have recorded an album and produced and mixed an EP (available on iTunes). I have 11 years of improvisation theater experience and bring all of this to bear in my attempt to develop my students into self-reliant and creative musicians.

Contact me today to learn how I can help you achieve your musical aspirations.


Success in learning frequently depends on finding the right instructor, someone who knows the subject well and understands how to inspire others. My teaching style focuses on skills training, but also emphasizes self-exploration through music and discovering a passion for something new in every moment. Take a look at the lessons I provide and choose the right one for you.

Guitar Playing


Beginning with the basics, my main objective is to teach you how to play the instrument. As we progress I introduce a bit of music theory in order for you apply the play you've learned within an organized musical context. 

You'll be able to play songs using chord progressions and various rhythmic and finger styles, as well as play your own solos/leads across those chord changes. 

By the time we're done you'll be able to write and play your own songs and sit in on and seamlessly play along with any musical jams you come across

Guitar Strings


The voice is a fun and challenging way to get to know and express yourself. It's very vulnerable work, because singing is ultimately a heart opening exercise whether in a ballad or singing heavy metal, and I know how difficult it can be to find a competent, reliable teacher who understands how to establish the rapport necessary to allow a singer to emerge. Whether you've been singing all your life, or think you can't carry a tune to save it, I can help you find your voice.

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The ukulele is a great and simple instrument to learn. Its joyful sound is generally well received by anyone within earshot. 

It's also a great way to transition into the guitar (if that's your aim) because the fundamental mechanics are the same, just with fewer strings. 

Guitar Playing


Group classes are a great way to learn music. I create a friendly and open environment that connects you to your fellow musicians. It can accelerate learning through challenge and connection, and you may even find a bandmate(s)

"Unleash your inner musician!  Excellent! As of 2017, Derek has been playing guitar for ~20 years and teaching for ~10.  Patient and encouraging, he has a great 'yes and' attitude and meets you where you are, building techniques and songs from there.  I've brought him lyrics and videos of songs I want to learn on guitar and he has the ability to, on the spot, detect accurate chords and any difference in tuning. I'm working to build a 20 minute performance set list.

When I selected Derek, I knew basic chords and nothing about various strumming techniques.  In a few short lessons, I've developed my right hand, chord transitions and confidence." 

Lori F.

"Derek is an excellent teacher and musician.  Over the past few months, he's helped me tremendously in working toward every one of my musical goals: songwriting, improving technique, vocal development, and performance.  He is also a very encouraging and supportive coach.  When I began working with him, I wanted very much to perform but was terrified of it! Derek created a relaxed and positive environment for me to build up my skills and confidence, sharing wisdoms and advice from his extensive performance experience at every lesson. And when I finally felt ready for my first open mic, Derek generously came along and played with me.  Having him participate in my progress--all the way to that memorable night--was invaluable. 

Wherever you are in your musical journey, and whatever you want to accomplish, Derek will help you get there.  I highly recommend him!"

Veronica A.

"Derek is a relatable teacher and impressive musician. I was a beginner when I started working with Derek. I have a good reading voice and decent rhythm but had never played ukulele or sung. Within a month I could play and sing my first song ("Iko, Iko" an old new orleans song). He effectively helped me understand where my current voice range was, and gave me actionable steps to extend it. On the ukulele, he was willing to learn obscure songs I was interested in - on his own time - in order to teach them to me. His exercises taught me the ukulele chords and greatly improved my rhythm. I now have the tools to keep making music, and consider Derek a friend."

David S.

"I have been taking lessons from Derek for about a year now, and it has been both a lot of fun and a great learning experience. This is not a "paint-by-numbers" approach to music. He really knows how to make make the lessons both fun and challenging, and is somehow able to sneak in little pearls about music theory. During a lesson you are likely to find yourself discussing how expressive a certain strum can sound or what a certain chord emotes, rather than just discussing the mechanics of a particular song. This makes the lessons more that just learning to play the guitar, and even makes it more enjoyable to listen to music. If your thinking about picking up guitar, I highly recommend Derek."

Rein G.

Man Playing Guitar


SF, CA 94116

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