I Was Only 16 Years Old When I Taught My First Guitar Lesson, And It Was To A Group Of 12 People Of Varying Skill Levels

We had a supply teacher in our guitar class that day, who knew me and egged me on to teach the class myself. As an 11th grader and an introvert, this can easily send your anxiety through the roof, but I decided to give it a shot. I chose a topic, and away I went.

The most challenging aspect of teaching this lesson, was making sure that those who struggled got the help they needed, and those who got it right away were shown the next steps in their learning.

That way they could continue to progress and be challenged, without being held back by the person beside them. Those who needed more time can have it, without the quick-learner beside them making them feel pressured to move on before they’re ready.

Guitar Lessons Etobicoke

This is why most people struggle to teach group guitar lessons. You can’t paint everyone with the same brush, because in truth, even if every student started the lesson at the same level, they will have their own individual strengths and weaknesses and will progress at different rates. A great teacher must be able to accommodate for that.

The way a group of kids learn math in school, is not the way people should learn to play a musical instrument – at least, not in my eyes.

So what is the right way, in my eyes? Well, it’s why I founded the Etobicoke Guitar School.

My Teaching Philosophy Is To Help People Get What They WANT, By Giving Them What They NEED

Have you ever tried learning a new song on guitar, played all the right notes, and then wondered why it didn’t sound like the song you know? It’s because there’s more to learning a song than just “playing the right notes”.

There are foundational skills needed to play that song correctly and adequately. Once these skills are developed, you can play that song, as well as the next 5, 10, 50 or 100 songs all made of the same ingredients.

It's like cooking – if you know how to cook pasta al-dente, you can make that 1 pasta dish, as well as a bunch of others where it’s cooked the same way.

It’s this realization as well that makes me think back to my own beginnings as an aspiring guitar player.

Guitar Lessons Etobicoke

If Big Ryan Could Teach Little Ryan, What Would He
Have Little Ryan Do Differently?

The answer to this question is what I teach my students. While I do sometimes draw upon my experiences of learning with other well-known teachers like Chris Brooks and Tom Hess, the bulk of my teaching comes from reflections of my own journey in learning guitar. Specifically,

  1. What were the most important things for me to learn?
  2. How do I practice these things properly?
  3. How do I avoid the trial and error that everyone else goes through, by doing it the right way the first time?

That way, my students will learn the same concepts that I know and the skills that I have, but learn them in less time than it took me.

But I also want to go farther than that. I want to help my students connect deeply with their instrument by getting creative with the skills they learn, whether it’s writing a full-length album or simply adding their own personality to a song they love.

I’ve Been Asked Many Times If I’m Affiliated With The Toronto District School Board, Or The Royal Conservatory Of Music.
The Answer Will Always Be “No, And I Don’t Want To Be.”

I have my own philosophies about what aspiring guitarists should learn, how to teach them and how they can effectively practice what’s being taught to them. These primarily draw from my own personal experiences (including my endeavors with both of my 2 bands, whenever it’s relevant), and had I instead chose to teach under another organization and adhere to their curriculum, you likely wouldn’t get the Ryan Mueller teaching you there, that you would get teaching you here.

As a result, I have a career doing what I love and it brings me great joy to teach my students and help them improve their guitar playing. All while creating a fun, engaging and supportive environment, where they can connect with other aspiring guitarists on the same path as them.

The only times I get frustrated with my students are when there’s something pivotal to their learning that they’re just not seeing – for whatever reason. And that frustration comes from a place of deeply caring about them and their progress on guitar, and wanting to be the best teacher, coach and mentor that I could be for them.

Because they deserve to play guitar the way they’ve always wanted to, and so do you.

A guitar is not just for Christmas. It’s for life. So grab it, and let’s get started!

Guitar Lessons Etobicoke

About The Etobicoke Guitar School

Our school is in the heart of Etobicoke with dozens of successful students and alumni.

The school runs a busy schedule of in-person and online classes with adults, teens and kids. We have done recording projects with our students which received great feedback, and will be pursuing greater activities in the future to give our students the opportunity to take their guitar playing beyond the classroom.

Our classes are full of energy and are an exciting learning environment. If you want to see how happy our students are, please see our video testimonials and online reviews.