Professional Guitar Instructors in Ithaca, NY 14850

Have A Ton of Fun Making Great Progress On Guitar!

Are you feeling stuck and making slow progress on the guitar?


Have you been playing for years but still struggle?  


Are you frustrated trying to learn on your own?  


If you live in or near Ithaca, NY and answered ‘yes’ to any of these, our expert, professional instructors can really help, and fast!

Guitarists can often experience real frustration when they realize that months or even years are going by, and they are not substantially better at guitar.  Perhaps you’ve tried to look at YouTube videos, or read books, or learn from friends, but none of it really helped.  What makes it even worse is that you put in all this time practicing, you’re still not seeing improvement, and you’re not enjoying the process.

Well, I’m here to tell you, I know how you feel.   I have felt the same way many times in my musical life!  Most students who come to me for guitar instruction also feel the same way at first.  I have helped hundreds of students overcome these frustrations and make real progress quickly while enjoying the process of learning.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to start feeling great about playing guitar… 

Guitar Lessons Ithaca is a completely unique approach to learning guitar.  We want to inspire people to realize musical possibilities beyond their wildest dreams and to provide them a fun atmosphere for them to achieve real musical growth.  We emphatically belief that it’s healthy for everyone to be creative and express themselves musically, and it’s our mission to inspire & challenge students to get massive results in a relatively short time.

We offer learning experiences that are immediately applicable to real-world playing situations because we prioritize what content is most relevant to each student based on his/her long-term goals and we explain it in simple terms and with a focus on doing rather than just understanding.  In addition, we provide completely hassle-free, flexible scheduling for maximum convenience to accommodate today’s busy lifestyles.

If you live locally*, the lessons can be done in person at our School.  You may also take lessons virtually online via videoconferencing over Zoom.

Generally we service four types of students which include working professionals, college students, teens and younger children, as well as retirees. We recognize that each group is predisposed to certain unique learning challenges and variations in amount of practice time, cognitive rates of learning, physiological obstacles, and treat each student accordingly.

Head teacher Dennis Winge says “I have innovative and creative, proven strategies and techniques for helping my students have a blast and get better quickly.  I have helped hundreds of students make great music in my 20+ years of teaching.  These are not cookie-cutter lessons.  Many guitar teachers view their position as a job.  I see myself as a guitar teacher, trainer, coach, and mentor.”

* (By ‘local’ or ‘near you’ or ‘near me’ we mean people who live in these areas of New York State: Ithaca, Groton, Newfield, Freeville, Lansing, Finger Lakes, Varna, Jacksonville, Etna, Enfield, Brooktondale, Dryden, Caroline, Slaterville Springs, Trumansburg, Locke, King Ferry, Genoa, Ovid, Lodi, Interlaken, Danby, Willseyville, Cayuta, Alpine, Montour Falls, Watkins Glen, Candor, Spencer, Van Etten, Odessa, Mecklenburg, Burdett, and Richford NY.)

We offer both in-person and virtual / online lessons for maximum convenience.

We also teach bass guitar. 

See our bass lessons page.

“I’ve learned more in 2 years than I did in 11 years on my own.”

“I’m [now] able to move around the [guitar] neck much more comfortably, I’m able to follow whatever inspiration strikes me much more easily, play with others more comfortably. I’ve now done 2 recitals and [soon I will have done] 2 student albums. [I can also] play by ear and transcribe my favorite songs. [I like] the direction that [lessons] give me, and I’ve learned more about guitar in 2 years [of lessons] than I did in 11 years on my own.” – Taylor Moon

If you want to be able to do any or all of these, then you came to the right place!

jam with friends / play for friends & family / join a band – in order to feel connected & creative

play favorite songs – so that you can perform the songs you love for your own enjoyment or for other people

improvise / solo expressively – in order to express yourself musically the way only you can!

write songs – so you can create musical landscapes and allow other people to step inside of them

play by ear – in order to play what you hear, either from your speakers or from your imagination

learn music theory – in order to understand and appreciate your favorite songs better, or compose your own

expand chord vocabulary / learn to embellish chords – so you can make your accompaniment sound exciting and rich

understand the fretboard – so that you can use the guitar at the highest level of artistic expression

“I’m pretty happy with what I can do.”

“When I started, I knew absolutely nothing about guitar… I think I’ve improved a lot because now I can read notes, read chords, read tablature, and I think I’ve come a long way.  I’m pretty happy with what I can do.

It’s a fun way to learn a new instrument, and if you learn a new instrument there are so many more things you can do because even if you just learn one instrument and learn how to play notes on that instrument, then if you go for another instrument, it’s so much easier.  You already know how to read notes, you already know how to do all that stuff.   That’s still very fun and its just a nice way to pass time.” – Elena Sorrentino

What makes Learning with Guitar Lessons Ithaca Different:

You are much more likely to get fast results and have a great time doing it with Guitar Lessons Ithaca than any other alternative because our teachers are required to continually improve their skills as guitar instructors.   You will receive the latest, most innovate teaching and learning methods.

Here are some of our sayings that illustrate our teaching philosophy:

Swim! We won’t let you sink – (We only teach what is relevant for you based on what style you want to play, and by rotating between different topics with spaced, interleaved practicing which is scientifically proven to facilitate faster progress.)

It’s Not What You Know, It’s What You Can Do – (You learn best by doing. We help you put what you learn to immediate use in a variety of contexts as well as tie new things learned together with other elements you are already familiar with. Only in the doing can the information and its relevance truly stick.)

It’s Your Divine Right to Express Yourself – (There are so many genres, styles, and approaches to guitar and we honor all of them. We ask you your musical preferences and adjust lesson content accordingly. As you progress, you get to make more and more choices about what you want to do and we support your developing your own unique voice on the instrument.)

Community Fosters Learning – (We emphasize but do not require performance opportunities such as recitals and recordings. These events are a terrific learning experiences and allows students to show tangible results to their family and friends. We also host two student parties per year.)

“I’m very empowered to go play music.”

“I was very stuck in certain patterns on the guitar neck. So it was very hard for me to visualize the guitar neck all over the place.  This program is really helping me to visualize the guitar neck better. I’m starting to understand musical harmony and theory now and how the notes and chords all relate to each other.

I’m gigging out about 10 gigs a month for the next few months, yes. And I can play songs ’til the cows come home, like a lot of guitar players who are in bands like me.  But to understand what you’re doing and to really understand the guitar, you need some kind of program.  There’s so many of us guitar players out there that are, like I said that play in bands that can play songs, go to YouTube and learn licks, but to put it all together in a real musical format, that’s what I feel like this program is doing. I feel like I’m going to love taking guitar class, like GIT or something, that’s how I picture it.

When I’m done playing here, I’m very empowered to go play music. Very motivated. So, it’s more than notes and its more than scales. There’s just so much more to music than just that.  I like this spiritual and the zen part of this too that I don’t see, I haven’t seen in other teachers.  So that’s an important part of music.

Dennis is able to really break it down to the bare minimum and get me down to a point where I feel like I’ve gotten that, and I can move back up again. That makes me feel good and that’s a super important part of the program.” – Dan Paolangeli

Here’s What Our Students Get:

a customized lesson strategy so that you can play the music you really want to play, the way you want to play it.  Most teachers simply “wing” teaching guitar lessons.  You get a detailed plan so you always know what and how to practice.  In addition, you receive an organized, easy to use way to track your progress from week to week, month to month, and year to year!

great confidence so that you can play with anyone, any time, anywhere.  This is what making music is all about.  I show you how to get there, not just through teaching, but with lots of training.  With extensive training, you’ll never go home from a lesson and ask, “Now, what was I supposed to practice, again?”

totally innovative and creative ways to help you improve quickly and enjoy the process of learning.  I have a whole slew of ways to help you keep your motivation and enjoy the process of learning.

a sense of community.  There are lots of ways in which students can connect, network, share, grow, and get inspired from each other.

opportunities to record and perform.  Not every student wants to perform or record, but for those who do, there are plenty of opportunities I create for them.

personalized support for how to practice the lesson content for the week, including tools with which you can easily track your progress from week to week, month to month, and quarter to quarter.

a wide variety of free bonus items that are used to reward you for milestones you hit, or simply to assist you in learning.  This includes a huge library of supplemental material that can be used to reinforce what you did in the lesson.

content that is relevant to your goals.  Too many guitar lessons are the same for everyone.  Usually, students we get who have been pushed along through a method book don’t really have a grasp on how to play in time or play with other people.

innovative teaching methods.   We use a geometric teaching method, which simply gets you way faster results and is much more fun than the traditional method.  Our teacher(s) are trained and strive for continuous and never-ending improvement.

 fun.  Students often tell so many horror stories of how they lost their enthusiasm for learning because of unsupportive, unfocused, or even negative teachers.  You will experience a great many ways in which you can have a blast and rapidly improve at the same time!

“I’ve always wanted to pick up the guitar. I want to take lessons because I’m the type of person that does well with a lot of structure, and I knew that if I had a teacher and one-on-one lessons [I’d be] more likely be committed to the process than if I was doing it alone.

Dennis is a great teacher, one of the best music teachers I’ve ever had. He is passionate, he is committed, he is inspiring, and I feel like every time I take a lesson with him, it’s tailored towards my needs.  And he’s very flexible.  I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would become as passionate as I am about playing the guitar since I started taking lessons with Dennis.

Dennis has all the characteristics of a master teacher.  He has a thought-out plan for each lesson, adapts to students’ needs, is patient, has a good sense of humor, and is innovative.  The amount that I learned from Dennis in the first 3 months was more than I learned in 3 years with my former teacher.  Dennis is the real deal.

I feel way more confident playing in front of people, and in groups. I’m even part of a band now, which I thought, that would never happen, and I enjoy playing out with other people now, and I think that’s a tribute to the way that Dennis teaches.” – Hilary Greenberger (now celebrating 5 years as a student)

Spotlight on Head Teacher Dennis Winge

Why I Love to Teach

Dennis Winge has written an article called “Why I Love To Teach,” which will give insight into his teaching philosophy and environment at Guitar Lessons Ithaca.

Dennis says “I am on a mission not to let [taking ages to become good on guitar due to poor teachers] happen to other guitarists [like it did to me]!  There is no reason it should take decades to become the musician you want to become.  With the right knowledge of what to do and how to do it, combined with the motivation and excitement that frequently accompany taking lessons, you can learn quickly and easily!  Whatever your musical goals are, you deserve to meet them, you just need to be shown how!”

What Makes The School Unique

Dennis reflects on how his own performing & teaching  experience helps makes the school like none other in the Ithaca area.


There are multiple packages available for different types of students.  Price is one important when making a decision on whether to study with a certain teacher; and there are many other factors to consider.   Even more important than price and location are:

a) how much fun you have in the lessons

b) how flexible and easy it is to schedule / re-schedule lessons

c) (most important of all) how quickly and easily you get results

There are several ways we offer completely scheduling flexibility.  You can manage your own lesson schedule with complete ease and convenience.

We won’t post that here for internet security reasons, but keep in mind that distance is only one factor.  When the teacher helps you manage your time by practicing inefficiently, that is the most time-saving factor rather than the commuting distance.

We know that you have busy schedules, and that’s why we offer our classes on Zoom and in person.

We do teach both electric and acoustic (upright) bass.  Visit our bass lessons page for more detail.

Tell us more about yourself or your child by answering the questions below, or call head teacher Dennis Winge directly at:


Claim Your Free Intro Lesson

During this intro lesson, we’ll get to know each other a little bit, talk about your interests and what you’re looking to achieve from your guitar lessons.

We’ll play some guitar and you’ll get an assessment on how to get to where you want to be as fast as possible.

Then we’ll see if we’re a good fit as teacher and student!