Guitar teachers are some of the most in-demand independent contractors in Lancaster County, PA.
This may not be news to anyone who’s familiar with the Lancaster music scene. But for anyone who’s learning about their options, you might be surprised that there are dozens of guitar teachers throughout Lancaster.
Many of them are independent, and they teach lessons out of their garage, basement, or in-home studio.
Some others are affiliated with big-box vendors like Guitar Center.
But at Gents of Lancaster, we like promoting small businesses and independent business owners who aren’t affiliated with big-box stores.
There are a couple reasons for this — the biggest one is that we believe in Lancaster County, which means we also believe in the people who make it economically powerful.
The other reason is that when you pay a big-box store, most of the money leaves the county and goes to the people who own the big-box store.
With independent guitar teachers, the money stays in Lancaster and supports Lancaster.
So with that in mind, here are the 5 top guitar teachers we know in Lancaster County (and their websites).
1. Thomas Music Co.
Thomas Music Co. is the official company name for guitar teacher Jim Thomas.
Jim and his company top our list because his website comes with so much information. It’s not just a way for him to promote his lessons and earn new signups — it comes with full curriculum areas and helpful resources for students who want to become professional musicians.
This is the kind of energy that goes the extra mile for someone like Jim and his students. He even has a blog about how to pick a guitar teacher.
In addition to being conscientious, Jim is probably the most experienced guitar teacher on our list. He started composing in 1968, giving lessons in 1980, and he continues to make waves in Lancaster County’s music scene.
Is Jim’s website the most up-to-date thing in the world? No.
But the talent, experience, and professionalism that he possesses is second to none.
2. Quarter Bend Guitar Studio
Quarter Bend Guitar Studio is a Lititz-based collection of guitar teachers. The reason they make our #2 spot is because they’re technologically-savvy enough to embrace virtual / video lessons, which is essential at the time this is being written (September 2020).
Aside from their conscientiousness and embrace of technology, Eric (who writes for the organization’s website) has a number of testimonials from past students, which include touring musicians.
They credit him with everything from establishing skill-appropriate challenges, building confidence, and generally helping them grow.
Eric also hits on a major part of the educational experience that others don’t mention — habits. On his website, he discusses in huge detail the importance of establishing good habits (and avoiding the bad ones) to facilitate techniques that lead to that growth.
It’s that kind of perspective that makes Eric a good teacher.
3. Cavod Academy
Cavod Academy is an arts school in New Holland, which is in the eastern section of Lancaster County.
Cavod makes our list because it’s one of the only areas that’s not centrally located — which is great for anyone further away from Lancaster City — and they have a huge range of different lessons they offer, including karate.
Plus, they offer virtual lessons, which is essential during COVID.
It’s also important to note that Cavod has a pretty formidable online presence, including a YouTube channel, an easy-to-use website, and more.
In that way, Cavod isn’t so much a “guitar teacher” as it is a community based around children participating in the arts.
As a result, Cavod is great if you’re a parent with an eager child who wants to be among like-minded peers. This is the place to choose if you want to not only get a child guitar lessons, but also help them forge lifelong friendships with others like them.
4. Guitars on Main
Guitars on Main is headquartered in Mount Joy (northwestern Lancaster), and it’s one of the largest music-oriented businesses in the small town.
Guitars on Main makes our list because they’re good at what they do. Their website isn’t the best (call them if you want to start lessons), but their team, presence, and history in Mount Joy makes them great.
They also sell and repair instruments as well, which makes them a one-stop shop for anything you might need related to your music lessons as well.
So if you’re up toward the northern end of the county, Guitars on Main is probably your best bet for guitar lessons whether you want them for your kids, parents, friends, or yourself.
5. Drums Etc. (Mark Ryan)
Drums Etc. is a staple of Lancaster City, located a short distance from J. P. McCaskey and one of the city’s two McDonald’s.
As the name implies, Drums Etc. focuses mostly on drums, but they also offer music lessons for a wide variety of other instruments too.
Mark Ryan is one of their guitar teachers, who focuses in jazz guitar. This makes him one of the only jazz guitar teachers in the city (and county), which is important if you want to learn more than rock or pop guitar.
He also teaches six days every week. That may not sound like much on the surface, but it’s a huge commitment to your schedule and it reflects a level of flexibility that can be hard to find in music teachers.
If you have a busy schedule, you need some flexibility, and you want to challenge yourself musically, Mark Ryan at Drums Etc. is a great choice.
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