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Recommended Acoustic Guitar and Instrument Lessons


Whether you are a beginner looking to strum your first musical instrument or an experienced musician ready to take your skills to the next level, the Denver Folklore Center can connect you with an instructor to fit your musical level and style. Contact us to get a teacher recommendation or see our list of outstanding teachers below.

The award-winning, esteemed folk music school Swallow Hill Music Association was an outgrowth from the Denver Folklore Center over 40 years ago. Started by our founder Harry Tuft, the organization brings people together through its school, outreach programs and concerts, and is a home for individuals and families who want to learn about, listen to and perform music. Swallow Hill offers group and private lessons in three locations around the Denver Metro Area. For more information visit their website.

These accomplished local teachers are our favorites. 
We are confident you would enjoy working with any of them.

Bret Billings – Dobro, Harmonica, Bottle-Neck Slide, Pedal Steel Guitar
Bret Billings is a musician who has played locally and regionally in Colorado since 1977 with the Desperados, Kenny Brent and the Texas Express, Briar Rose, the Red Eye Band and Halden Wofford and the Hi*Beams. Bret is also a skilled music teacher who primarily teaches through Swallow Hill MusicIf you’d like to contact Bret text him at 720-272-4151. You can also reach him by email and FB messaging. Read more about Bret HERE.

Mark Caldwell – Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin, Ukulele
Mark is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and a pleasant and patient teacher on guitar, banjo, mandolin and ukulele.  He was the Musical Director of a 12-piece band for the production of “Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum” from 2006 to 2019, and also composed a number of music pieces for this show. Learn more about him HEREYou can reach him at and 720-934-3864.

Deb Carstensen – Fiddle
Specializing in Celtic music, Deb is known throughout the Colorado Front Range for her passionate, fiery fiddling. She played classical violin until college and, after taking a long break from the instrument, took it up as a “fiddle” and has been playing and performing folk music ever since. She has studied Irish and Scottish intensively and is expert in playing both. Are you ready to learn fiddle with Deb? Learn more about Deb HERE. And you can text or call 303.408.3010 and connect with her on Facebook.

Spencer Crawford – Guitar, Accordion, Banjo, Guitar, Mandolin (and sometimes Ukulele, Fiddle, Percussion, and Piano/Keyboard)
Spencer teaches mostly group lessons at Swallow Hill Music, one-on-one private lessons at Flesher Hinton Music and some online lessons as well. His lessons are catered to the interests, goals and skill level of each student. Teaching genres include bluegrass, country, Cajun/zydeco, jazz, blues, rock, Americana, Irish and world. Folks can get in touch by email or phone: 785-969-8407. Learn more about Spencer HERE.

Joshua Fenner - Violin, Guitar, Mandolin, Ukulele, Piano, Synthesizer, Composition
Avid musician and music educator, Joshua Fenner teaches at Swallow Hill Music and at his studio. He teaches all ages and skill levels. Learn more about his education and current pursuits HERE and contact him at

Tina Gugeler – Hammered Dulcimer, Bodhrán
Tina Gugeler is one of the best-known performers and teachers of hammered dulcimer in the Rocky Mountain Region. She has won numerous competitions on her instrument and is one of the leading figures in the region’s contra dance scene. She began teaching hammered dulcimer after moving from Ketchikan, AK to Denver around 1992 and currently teaches students of all ages at the Center for Musical Arts in Lafayette, CO, and at the Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp and Colorado Dulcimer Festival. Learn more about Tina HERE and contact her at 

Daniella Katzir – Ukulele, Guitar, Piano, Songwriting
Born in Israel, Daniella Katzir is an accomplished singer-songwriter who grew up soaking in the sounds of the Middle East. As a teenager, Katzir fell in love with the songwriting of Bob Dylan and other traditional American folk artists. This combination of influences colored her musical upbringing. Daniella is available for online lessons for all ages on ukulele (all levels), beginner guitar, beginner piano and songwriting. You can reach her at

John Kramer - Classical Guitar
John has over 15 years of experience teaching and performing classical guitar and has a Masters in Music from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied with world renowned teacher and performer Professor Adam Holzman. Lessons are offered online or in person to all ages and abilities, and focus on making music, developing great tone, classical guitar technique, repertoire, sight reading, memorization, ear training and composition. Learn more about John HERE. To contact for a lesson, email him at or visit his WEBSITE.

Josie Quick – Violin
Boulder, Colorado native Josie Quick is an accomplished violinist and music teacher who plays classical music, rock’n’roll and everything in between. Her teaching style is individualized – she spends time figuring out what will appeal to each student to keep them motivated and having fun. “I love sharing music with other people and helping them get the sound they want or play the music they like, and to feel a sense of accomplishment." Learn more about Josie HERE. And contact her at

Jeff Rady – Pedal Steel, Acoustic and Electric Guitar
Jeff offers online courses and private online lessons for pedal steel, acoustic and electric guitar. He teaches teenagers to older adults and offers private in-person lessons, online classes and in-person ensembles. Jeff runs electric ensembles at The Band Cave every Monday and Tuesday night from 6pm-9pm. For more information about ensembles and his music lessons, email Jeff and check out his website. Learn more about Jeff HERE.

Founded in 1942, Rocky Ridge Music Center is dedicated to providing transformative music education at both their historic summer campus in Estes Park, CO and their year-round Music Academy in Boulder and Denver, CO. In light of the current Covid-19 crisis, Rocky Ridge Music Academy is offering online classes with any of their instructors in 30, 45 and 60-minute increments. Please visit their website for more information or call 303-449-1106.