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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 now offering lessons online. 
We are confident you would enjoy working with any of them.

Bret Billings – Dobro, harmonica
Bret is currently using Zoom, Skype and FaceTime to teach harmonica and dobro for all skill levels.  He has played locally and regionally since 1977 with the Desperados, Kenny Brent and the Texas Express, Briar Rose, the Red Eye Band and Halden Wofford and the Hi*Beams.  Call or text Bret at 720-272-4151.

Barry Brown – voice, piano
Barry teaches online private lessons for voice and piano.  He creates a personalized experience during every lesson based on the goals and desires of each student.  Email Barry for a return document regarding the set up at

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.  You can contact Deb at

Spencer Crawford – accordion, banjo, guitar, mandolin, ukulele
Spencer is available to teach remotely.  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.  Contact him via email at

Tina Gugeler – hammered dulcimer
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.  You can reach her at 

Jeff Jaros – claw-hammer banjo
Jeff is the manager at the Denver Folklore Center and has taught at Swallow Hill Music School for over 10 years.  His specialty is claw-hammer banjo, which he is now available to teach online.  He also plays guitar, mandolin, ukulele and old-time fiddle.  His musical heroes are Norman Blake, Doc Watson and Brad Leftwich.  Send Jeff an email 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

Josie Quick – violin
Josie offers "office hours" on Zoom, where students can check in and ask questions, perform for her and get feedback and play together ($10).  She also offers video exchange where a student records a video of themselves playing a song and she records and sends video feedback to them ($20).  Josie also gives private online lessons for $30/half hour.  Contact her at

Jeff Rady – acoustic and electric guitar
Jeff offers online courses and private online lessons for acoustic and electric guitar with an emphasis on basic fundamentals, fingerstyle, chicken pickin', slide, soloing and more! He also teaches pedal steel. Email for more information.

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.