+ Do you teach beginners?

Yes, beginners are welcome. However, it's important to realize a few things:

  • Many beginners have the goal of playing popular songs they like - that's great and we will absolutely work on reaching your goals. But along the way we will also work on your fundamental knowledge of the guitar and music in general. Just like any other instrumental lessons (violin lessons, piano lessons, etc.) this will include reading music notation (not tablature), scales, basic theory, etc.
  • Some beginners do not want to learn these things and that's understandable. But I require this of all my students regardless of level, so if you are uninterested in "formal lessons" unfortunately these lessons will not be right for you and you should contact another teacher.

Find more info about reading or theory in the answers below.

Contact HERE

+ Do we have to work on reading music?

Yes, we will work on both reading and writing at least basic music notation (NOT TABLATURE). But it's up to you how much time is spent on it. Many students spend only about 5 minutes of the hour reading and writing, while others may want to spend more.

Please feel free to read the answers below, but I will not be willing to debate the value of reading and writing in lessons - so if you are sure you do not want to read music, unfortunately these lessons will not be right for you and you should contact another teacher.

Why do you teach reading and writing?

  • Reading and writing is part of the formal study of guitar and it has been for over 300 years.
  • The guitar is just as serious of an instrument as any other instrument commonly associated with reading music (piano, violin, etc.)
  • Reading and writing is part of the formal study of western music just as it is with all western languages regardless of what instrument you play.
  • The ability to read and write music is an immeasurably useful skill just as it is with any other language.
  • As a music teacher, I simply can't condone musical illiteracy and I will not contribute to the unfortunate lack of music education in our culture.

But what's the point in knowing how to read and write?

Unfortunately, this is not a serious enough question to get much of a serious response - If you can read these words, you must realize literacy has value. Musical literacy is no different than your ability to write a sentence or to read through this website.

Related Questions:

What about tablature?
If you like to use tabs on your own time that's fine, but I don't allow tabs in lessons.
Do we have to learn scales?
Of course.

+ What is Music Theory?

Much of what people call music theory is in fact not theoretical. It could be compared to the study of architecture: How was a building built? What materials were used? There are definitive answers to those questions that are not just “theories.”

This type of established music theory is the study of verifiable patterns in common musical structures which provide well-substantiated explanations of how certain aspects of music work. Understanding these things gives musicians a sense of grounding, an appreciation for more music, and the ability to learn and write music much faster.

Some people may eventually want to study advanced music theory or to explore the possibilities of certain patterns. This is when things become more “theory” oriented. This type of music theory eventually gives a musician the freedom to develop theory of their own and to assess the theory of others.

Do we have to learn music theory?


Well... If you consider theory to be things like reading music, song structure, scales and understanding the patterns on the fretboard, then yes.

Real music theory tends to be most relevant to people interested in improvising, songwriting and composition. But however deep or shallow someone wants to dive into theory is perfectly fine with me.

What is guitar theory?

In short, just like music theory is the study of patterns, guitar theory is too- however guitar theory is specifically the study of these patterns on the fretboard. All instruments have their own theory and methods and some are more different than others - for instance, the guitar has dramatically different patterns and theory than that of the piano.

+ What is your background?

I'm an active NYC based guitarist, composer and music educator. Find more info at www.ColinCannon.com


Bachelor of Music: Guitar Performance
Berklee College of Music - Boston, MA
Master of Music: Music Composition
Hunter College Music Department - New York, NY
Undergrad Studies: Jazz Guitar
Eastman School of Music - Rochester, NY

+ What style of music do you play and listen to?

  • My original music incorporates different styles including modern jazz, classical, rock, electronic, funk and avaunt guard music.

Listen/Watch HERE or on spotify, apple music and all online music stores and streaming services
  • I also work professionally as a freelance guitarist and am hired for things like studio sessions and to accompany various artists. For this I play whatever is needed. Usually that means "strait ahead jazz," rock/pop, Fusion, or singer-songwriter/folk-ish music.
  • When I'm teaching I work on and play whatever music the student is interested in.

    What style of music do you listen to?

I listen to a lot of music... Some of my well-known favorites are: Miles Davis and Wayne Shorter (jazz); Kurt Rosenwinkel and Brad Mehldau (modern jazz); Stravinski and Ravel (Classical); Philip Glass and Nico Muhly (Contemporary Classical); Nick Drake and Joni Mitchell (folk/Singer-Songwriter); Margaret Glaspy and Elliot Smith (modern folk/Singer-Songwriter); Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix (Classic Rock); Radiohead and Grizzly Bear (Modern Rock-ish); B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan (Blues); Hundred Waters and Aphex Twin (Electronic); Kendrick Lamaer (hip-hop); Johnny Cash (Country-ish); Ravi Shankar(Eastern/Indian); Chris Thile (Bluegrass-ish) and on and on... Other artists I've been listening to in the last few years who are more obscure or harder to categorize are The Books, Joanna Newsome, Caroline Shaw, Sufjan Stevens, Makeunder and many more. I'm also involved with many local musicians in NYC whom I listen to just as much as anyone else. If you don't recognize any of these names, it really should not concern you, we don't need to listen to the same music.

+ Do you offer a "trial lesson"?

Yes, the first lessons is only $30 so that you can try it out without paying full cost. For further prices, please check Prices

+ What are the days/hours I can take lessons? / How often do I take lessons?

I hold lessons 3 days per week over a 10 hour day-

Currently the schedule is Sundays-Tuesdays 12PM-10PM.

Most students take lessons every week and every week is recommended. But occasionally a student might want to take lessons every other week, twice per week or only every few weeks- Two important policies in regard to this are below:

  • I can only reserve a weekly day and time for students who come on a weekly basis - However, it is still possible to take lessons less than once per week but it would be a on a "floating schedule," based only upon what happens to be available that week.
  • Package/discounted lessons are only offered to students who come on a regular basses, meaning once per week with a set day and time.

Due to lack of weekly openings, it’s common for new students to began on a floating schedule until a weekly time becomes available. Contact for current openings.

+ Where do lessons take place?

Please view https://www.nycguitarlessons.net/location

+ What is your cancellation policy?

  1. Unless it’s due to being sick or a genuine emergency, if you don’t show up or if you cancel in under 48 hours of your lesson, your lesson will be “counted.” Meaning: the lesson will either be subtracted from your “package” or you’ll need to make an online payment in full as soon as possible.

  2. Regardless of the first policy, a “Package” of discounted lessons must be completed in a reasonable amount of time. "Reasonable" is defined as 4 lessons being completed within 8 weeks.

    In other words, you’ll always have an entire extra month to complete your lessons if needed. Things happen, I get it, so this leaves you more than enough time to reschedule around conflicts.

  3. Regardless of the first policy, If you reserve a weekly time and cancel half or more of your lessons I will likely move you to a floating schedule.

+ Can I borrow a guitar during lessons?

Yes, there will always be both an acoustic and electric guitar to borrow during lessons. Keep in mind some people find it easier playing on their own guitars, but you're always more than welcome to borrow one for lessons.

+ Do you teach both acoustic and electric guitar?


Does it matter whether I use an electric or acoustic guitar?

No it does not, use whichever you prefer.

+ Do you teach children?

Yes, but usually no younger than 10. I work with plenty of kids in the 12-17 range. I usually only offer half hour lessons to preteens, but that all depends on their interest and attention spans.

Will you teach my 4, 5, 6 or 7 year old?

No unfortunately. For children that young you should find some sort of specialist music teacher or go to one of the many "music for babbies" style classes in NYC.

Why the guitar for my child?

For a number of reasons. The most cliche reason is that the guitar carries a "sense of cool" with it that children are attracted to, and tend to have more fun with. It's an instrument you can play with others AND by yourself, which is not true of all instruments commonly taught in public schools. It's also a chordal instrument and over time this will spark deep musical theory conversation that will involve unique uses of mathematics.

May I come to the lessons with my child?

Of course.

+ Do you teach adults?

Yes. 75% or so of my students are adults.

+ What if I'm COMPLETELY new to music?

Music, on a completely technical level, can be broken down into two parts, pitch and rhythm. If you seriously lack in one or both of these areas we will devote portions of our classes to certain exercises. For recognizing pitch, we will do simple voice (singing) exercises (the quality of your voice is of absolutely no importance)... For rhythm we will use a metronome and drum loops and try out many different exercises. Regardless of your level I will be committed to your progress.

+ How much do I need to practice?

Try to think of it like exercise: how much do you need to exercise? Well that all depends on your goals.

If you don't exercise you don't get stronger, right? Same is true with music - If you don't play your instrument you will absolutely not get better (you'll get worse).

Professional musicians practice for many hours per day. But of course you may not have that time or that goal. But just know if you want to see any progress at all, you'll need to practice a minimum of about 20 minutes per day 4-5 days per week.

+ Can you come to my home?

No, unforunately.

+ Do you give Skype Lessons?

Yes, I do. But there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • If you live in New York City and are capable of taking lessons in person, it is absolutely in your best interest to do so, as Skype lessons are no substitute for a real life lesson (and you should be cautious of any teachers or schools that tell you otherwise). Skype lessons are virtually impossible for beginners, and limiting for intermediate-advance students.

  • Skype lessons are ideal for people who do not live in NYC, or do live in NYC but are not able to make it into the studio on occasion due to work, travel, sickness, etc.

If you'd like to set up a skype lesson please Contact Here.

+ Can I buy lessons for a friend or family member as a gift?

Yes, but there are a few rules and things to keep in mind listed below...

  • The trial lesson is not offered as a "gift lesson" nor will it be included in any package of lessons purchased as a gift.

  • The student would need to own a guitar of their own to practice on at home.

  • The lesson(s) must take place or start in no more than one month after the purchase.

  • A "package" of four lessons must be completed in no more than 10 weeks after the purchase (usually this is only 8 weeks).

  • Payments are non refundable

The student would need to fit into my schedule and vise versa... (Read more below on this)

The biggest thing to consider is scheduling/availability...currently the schedule is Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays from 12PM to 10PM.

I tend to break New Yorker's schedules down into two types, and here's what I'd recommend for both.

  • The busy and/or unpredictable schedule: Say they can only do lessons at 7PM on one specific day of the week- or maybe they can't commit to any day/time on a recurring bassis (etc.) In that case, purchase only one lesson as a gift, and at that lesson the student and I can plan on how to schedule future lessons.

  • The fairly flexible schedule: Say they don't work a 9-5, and/or have flexibility in their work/school schedule, and/or have at least some weekday afternoon availability, etc. In that case, purchasing a "package" of lessons should be perfectly fine.

So if you're interested in gift lessons, just Contact Me Here and we'll try to work out the details.

+ What are composition and songwriting lessons like?

When doing songwriting/composition lessons, we simply focus on whatever is needed and desired. Some students need better understanding of song structure, some may want to learn how to notate their ideas, some feel stuck in their musical/guitar techniques and are looking for new possibilities, some may want to learn how to arrange and write for different instruments, some may want to understand theory and it’s application in composition, and some simply want to share/perform their work just to get someone else’s feedback. Etc. Whatever it may be we'll work on it together.

Basic lessons in certain software such as Sibelius, Ableton, logic, or Garageband can be very useful in someone’s progress in songwriting/composition, but is in no way required.

It’s also important to note there’s no need to do 100% composition/songwriting lessons, we can work on many different things.

What is the difference between composition and songwriting?

There is no definitive difference, there's only what the words tend to be associated with. For instance:

  • Composition is usually associated with notated music and music that involves significant harmonic considerations in the writing process (meaning theory, harmony and arranging). These qualities are heavily associated with Classical music, and most Jazz music, etc. To use obvious examples: think Beethoven or Duke Ellington.

  • Songwriting tends to be associated with non-notated music and music that involves great lyrical and stylistic considerations in the writing process. These qualities are heavily associated with singer-songwriter music and most Rock music, etc. To use obvious examples: think Joni Mitchel or Bruce Springsteen.

There are many styles and artists that could easily fit into both of these descriptions (including some Joni Mitchell and Duke Ellington). There's no need to completely identify with one or the other. In the long run, composition and songwriting are about the same thing, the creation of new music.

What are software lessons like?

I don’t claim to be an expert in this area, but I can offer help with certain software. Sometimes people need help getting started, have technical questions, or need a better understanding of the application of certain software in their writing, etc. I work and teach with the following software: Sibelius, Ableton Live, Logic Pro and Garageband.

+ Do you accept credit and/or debit cards?

Yes, but please remember an additional 3% is added to cover transaction fees. To avoid the 3% charge just bring cash or a check to the lesson. Cash is always appreciated.

+ How much do lessons cost?

Please check the 'Prices' section of this website.

+ Do you give group lessons (2 or more people)?

Yes, but in general I don't recommend it. Because such personal attention is needed when studying any instrument and the speed of progress varies greatly from person to person, one on one lessons are typically best (and you should be cautious of any other teachers or schools who tell you otherwise). However, if the students are more advanced it may not be as much of an issue. Either way, if requested, yes I do give group lessons.

Prices for group lessons are $7.50 less for each student compared to a private lesson.

+ Do I need to own a guitar to take lessons?

YES. Practicing what is discussed in lessons is 90% of learning any instrument. If you want to try out one lesson before buying a guitar that's perfectly fine, but after that lesson you absolutely must own your own guitar. I'd be happy to recommend guitar brands in your price range at your first lesson.