Guitar Lessons for All Ages, Beginner to Advanced

Guitar Lessons

Learn To Play Guitar With Merriam School of Music

Learn how to play guitar with Merriam’s top-rated teachers and amazing lesson programs. Whether you’ve never picked up a guitar, or whether you’ve been playing for years, you’ll learn faster, have more fun, and be inspired by one of the most elite teaching staff of any school in North America. 

Focus on electric guitar and learn today’s modern licks and rhythm guitar styles, or pick up the acoustic guitar for beginning technique and start strumming your favourite guitar chords. We teach classical/blues guitar and ukulele too. 

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Guitar Lessons

Preschoolers • Kids • Teens • Adults • Seniors

Fast Progress, Fun Lessons

Guitar Lessons for All Ages, Beginner to Advanced

Anyone can learn guitar, and our beginner guitar lessons prove it every day. We accept students aged 7 and up (exceptions considered with assessment), and we offer specialized one-on-one lessons for kids, tweens, teens, and adults. We also have the programs and staff to work with beginners in every age group as well as burgeoning experts. 

Some people join us right at the beginning of their path, while others are seeking out specific coaching to help them get into college or university, pass an exam, work on a song or an album, or create new content for their socials.

Good Fit Guarantee

Love Your First Guitar Lesson, or It’s Free

Your first lesson with a new tutor is protected by Merriam’s Good Fit Guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with your lesson, you don’t pay. No questions asked.

Chart-Topping Coaches

Who better to learn guitar from than those who have actually performed your favourite tunes? Many of our guitar players are active touring musicians who have played for some of the biggest names in music.

Convenient Scheduling

Merriam School of Music is open 7 days per week offering lessons at two convenient locations in the GTA (Oakville & Vaughan Campuses), with 150 teachers to choose from , both on location and in your home.

FLEX Lessons

When you’re signed up for a Merriam lesson program, you choose whether you’re online or in-person….week-to-week. Never let a snow day, sick day, car or traffic problems, or scheduling conflicts cause a canceled lesson again.

HD Performance Videos

Receive an individualized High-Definition Video Log of all of your performances throughout the year - never miss a special moment again, and easy to share with friends and family

Ensembles & Bands

Merriam offers a variety of ensemble programs, some paid, some free, so that guitar students have a chance to expand their learning beyond a solo instrument experience. Most are by audition, so ask your teacher or your Education Counselor for more information

15+ Recitals

Students have 15 chances per year to perform their music. The performances are a mix of formal and informal, solo and group, and are offered in a variety of settings including our performance hall “Studio A”, and the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts.

No Long-term Contract

We’re confident you’ll be with us for years. But for any reason if you need to end your journey with us, 30 days written notice is all we require to stop lessons, penalty-free.

5-Star Google Rating

The most reviews, the highest rating. Merriam serves over 3000 weekly students, and our customer satisfaction rating is over 97%.

Guitar Lessons in Person or Online

In-Studio & Online Guitar Lessons

We’re not just guitar experts…we’re music lesson experts too – our one on one lessons are world-renowned and available both in person at one of our GTA campuses, or online video lessons for anyone in the world.

So you can stop choosing between the school you want and the drive you hate. For students close to one of our campuses in the Toronto area, we offer a wide range of coaches, training levels, and extra-curricular activities. For those outside of Toronto or even Canada, access the same great teachers, many of the same activities, and all the same programs online through our online guitar lessons portal.

Guitar Teachers With Degrees

The Perfect Guitar Teacher For You

Choose from a diverse and highly trained selection of top guitar instructors when you join Merriam. Getting the right match between teacher and student is critical for motivation and speed of progress, and we’re blessed with numerous guitar professionals who have chosen to make teaching a major part of their careers. This rare breed of musician has achieved phenomenal musical accolades on stages around the world, and on countless albums, but has a genuine love of sharing those gifts with students ready to learn how to play guitar.

You’ll love the weekly sessions, watching your teacher perform, and getting inspired by where you could wind up in a short period of time.  In no time you will learn riffs,  fretboard patterns, basic guitar chords, fingerstyle, fingerpicking, pentatonic scale, and so much more.

Best Quality Guitar Lessons

Exceptional Customer Service

Our customer service team has received an astounding 97% satisfaction rating over the last 5 years from our student body, and we’ll deliver the same experience for you and your family. Our dedicated team get to know you and your family, constantly tracking and recommending adjustments to your program, checking in to ensure that your concerns are addressed, and being available 7 days a week to take a phone call or answer your email. This is no outsourced call centre; they know the teachers, the administrators, and most importantly, they know you. Once you’ve experienced it, you’ll never want another music school again.

Customer service – just one more example of Merriam striving for the very best customer experience possible.

Earn School Credits with Music Lessons

Earn Highschool Credits

As a certified private high school, we’re proud to offer a range of Ontario High School credits – if you’re interested in earning high school credits for your work here at Merriam, please let us know and we’ll tell you all about it.

Merriam School of Music is one of the only private music schools in North America to offer high school credits. We’re internationally recognized, university-endorsed, and one of the most respected leaders in guitar lessons & education.

Guitar Classes & Programs

Private • Group • Enriched • Online

Private Guitar Lessons

One-On-One Guitar Lessons

Private coaching makes some of the most common but equally challenging guitar fundamentals easier to take on, from barre chords and power chords, learning to read guitar tabs and standard voicings for minor chords and major chords, and common capo techniques. Our teachers have prepared hundreds of tutorials to help students of every skill level so that no matter where you start, you’ll be ready to play lead guitar over your favorite songs and bands.

Private Guitar Lessons

Online Guitar Course

Online Guitar Lessons

Merriam offers one of the most engaging and well-organized online experiences of any school in North America. Your lesson launches with all the right tools on the screen like Youtube, Soundcloud, Miro, and Google Drive all in a single environment. 

If you’re convinced that Merriam’s the right school, but don’t live in our area, then online lessons are your gateway to you learning the guitar.

Best Online Guitar Lessons

Best Guitar Lessons in Toronto

Playing Guitar is Fun. Learning It Should Be Too.

It’s easier to work at things that are fun – we all know it, but why shouldn’t it apply to music lessons too? We’ve cracked the code of how to make lessons engaging, and something you’ll continue to come back for again and again. There are several factors that go into ensuring that the lesson stays fun for students of all ages and levels.

Some tools are obvious, like a tuner, and metronome, but the biggest impact comes from having the right teacher. We take the luck out of it by ensuring we’ve got the right selection of the most qualified and experienced teachers. And just like working with a great sports coach or renowned tutor, there are proven strategies they use that dramatically improve your odds of success while learning guitar, and lightyears beyond what most people can achieve through free guitar lessons from an app, or guitar-centric youtube channels.

Then it’s about finding the songs you love so the first time you hear yourself play it, your brain explodes with pride and excitement. It’s about knowing exactly what exercise will push you through to the next level. And it’s about giving you a venue to show it all off – our performance and recital program that dwarfs anything else out there.

Because virtually everyone can learn guitar, and our mission is to connect with as many of you as possible to make that dream become a reality. So whether that dream is playing like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Slash, Ed Sheeran, Joni Mitchell, or just a campfire hero, we know exactly how to get you there.

A Guitar Lesson Beyond the Notes

Harmony, music theory, or technique shouldn’t be bad words. In fact, by understanding the building blocks of music while learning how to play, you’ll more deeply understand the music and actually accelerate how quickly you can learn your next songs.

We began in 1988 by asking a few simple but powerful questions – can starter musicians be taught complex musical concepts within the first few years of their journey? After all, when people learn new languages, they don’t begin by reciting super complex passages…they start simple like learning basic chords…and by understanding those basics. And in no time, they’re actually speaking the language.

Music works exactly the same way. When you build a musical experience with those same fundamental building blocks like understanding chord progressions, analyzing song structure, and knowing how to solo over a specific scale, you ‘get’ the songs you learn at such a deep level that you’ll never forget them, and actually gain the ability to recreate other songs that sound the same.

If you’ve wanted a different dimension in your guitar playing, or just want to start the right way, our proven curriculum is ready to take you there.

The Science of Musical Excellence

Merriam School of Music has been involved in multiple university studies, many asking the same question: how to increase engagement, reduce obstacles to rapid learning, and why Merriam succeeds where others have failed.

It starts by infusing the 9 areas of musical literacy into every class, to ensure that the learning is permanent and comprehensive.

Then, add Merriam’s testing system – acknowledged as the most comprehensive in community music today – which meticulously measures development in rhythm, ear training, harmony, technique, repertoire, composition, fingerstyle, arpeggios, and more.

Sprinkle in up to 15 times every year to share and hone your work in front of real audiences, including constructive feedback after every performance.

And finally, oversight by a department leader who is there to ensure student and program success – something normally only found at colleges and universities.
It all adds up to a formula that has created smiles and success for over 30 years. And what we call ‘The Science of Musical Excellence.’

The Merriam Curriculum 

A Complete Music Education

Students at Merriam don’t just learn differently. Their entire experience is broader and more engaging. They learn creativity and free expression while building confidence, self-esteem, and friendships. It all begins in the classroom, but where it takes them, goes far beyond.

private Guitar lessons

One-On-One Guitar Lessons

The fastest, most fun, and long-lasting way to learn guitar. Faster than Youtube, more fun than an app, and the real musical background to understand and ultimately build your own musical vocabulary and ‘sound’.

It starts with motivating, inspiring teachers who’ve lived the same journey as you. Feel accountable to someone you admire, and watch as they set attainable goals that excite you.

Online Guitar Course

Online Guitar Lessons

Merriam offers one of the most engaging and well-organized online experiences of any school in North America. Your lesson launches with all the right tools on the screen like Youtube, Soundcloud, Miro, and Google Drive all in a single environment. Scale your video windows the way you want to see your teacher better when you need to. Set your audio and video bit rates to maximize the quality of the streaming. And access our huge library of sheet music and audio tracks for a jam-packed lesson.

If you’re convinced that Merriam’s the right school, but don’t live in our area, then online lessons are your gateway to you learning the guitar.

"Our mission and purpose is to help foster and inspire creative, connected, and well-rounded lives with the power of music."

- Alan Merriam, President of Merriam Music
Common Questions & Answers

Frequently Asked Questions

The average cost of guitar lessons in North America is $25-35 USD for a 30-minute lesson. Specialty schools like Merriam generally charge a premium ($30-50 USD per lesson) to access better equipment and facilities, events and guest artists, and professional customer service and administration. Teachers with advanced credentials or established performing careers can charge as much as $100 USD or higher for an hour of instruction.

The specific price you’ll pay at Merriam is determined by your coaching level (Certified, Specialty, Master), the length of lesson (30 or 60 min), plus any specialty programs like Enriched or Bandchops.

Annual discounts are also available. To find out what program is best, and its related costs, get in touch with our admissions team.

Unlike Piano or Violin, guitar requires more strength and physical development to successfully begin learning. As a result, most teachers suggest waiting until 6 or 7 before starting a guitar lesson program.

For parents who wish to begin their children at a younger age on a strum instrument, Ukulele can be learned as early as 4.

Playing any musical instrument is an enormous source of pride and joy to those who undertake the journey. But with so many free or software-based ways to learn today, why take a guitar lesson with a real teacher? There are three big reasons separating your guitar dreams from short-lived interest.

Proper Technique

An app or a Youtube video can’t tell what you’re doing or how you’re playing. It can’t fix a wrong note or show you how to improve your strumming or grip the guitar. Bad technique can cause unnecessary pain, stop your progress, and lead to embarrassment in front of other musicians. A real teacher will ensure that you’re learning the right way, right from day one.

Motivation

People who work with personal trainers are almost 5 times more likely to achieve their fitness goals than those who begin a self-guided workout regime at the gym or at home. With music lessons, the ratio is even higher. Why? Most people only try new things for two reasons: when they have to, or when the excitement of doing it exceeds the work involved.

Everyone starts guitar excited, so working through the first few weeks or months is easy. But once the initial novelty wears off – as it does for everyone – the required work takes far more energy than the small amount of excitement remaining…and most people give up and quit.

A personal coach & teacher gives you so many new and relevant reasons to want to get better from week to week, from setting the right short and long-term goals, to holding you accountable for the week’s assignments.

Leadership

So you’ve learned your favorite song. Now what? Is that all that there is to playing the guitar? OF COURSE NOT! Learning guitar can be an intensely satisfying process that will give your life a whole new dimension of expression and enjoyment. A professional guitarist, guiding your development, will help match your learning style and your core talents as they emerge – leading to a highly personalized and long-lasting feeling of achievement.

Merriam’s MMOA platform gives guitar students anywhere in the world the chance to take guitar lessons from our award-winning teachers through our easy-to-use technology. Find out why most of our instructors actually prefer teaching online and have seen even greater levels of progress amongst their online students than their in-person students.

Seeing as guitars come in so many types, shapes, and sizes, selecting the ideal guitar for a beginner can seem like a daunting task. There are three main types of guitars: nylon string acoustic, steel-string acoustic, and steel-string electric.

For young students, nylon string instruments are almost always preferred given their soft, gentle feel on the fingertips. Nylon string guitars can also be excellent choices for adolescent and adult students that are looking for a softer touch. Steel-string acoustics and electrics are a little harder on the fingers but do offer a more appropriate tone for genres like rock, pop, and country and, as such, for students with the strength and dexterity to establish a clear sound on these instruments, can be a more inspiring experience dependent on their musical preferences.
The other big consideration is size. Guitars are offered in four main sizes: 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and full size. Here is a general breakdown of recommended size based on age range (*note: this can also vary based on the individual height of a student):

AGE

SIZE

5* – 8

1 / 2

8 – 12

3 / 4

12+

FULL

In terms of specific manufacturers, established brands like Fender, Epiphone and Yamaha are always safe bets. Their great reputations as guitar manufacturers are merited given the quality they provide throughout their entire product lines. This is particularly true when it comes to the factory setups these brands offer even in their entry level models.

As easy and effortless as guitarists make it look, playing the guitar is more physically demanding than most people expect and it’s often the reason that new beginners sour quickly on learning it.

As the famous saying within the guitar community goes, “tone is in the fingers”. While this is true for any instrument in which one’s touch is directly linked to sound production, it is one of the primary reasons guitarists get discouraged early on. It becomes a difficult prospect to keep an aspiring guitarist practicing when the sound they are hearing back from the instrument is buzzy, muted, or non-existent. For this reason, a suitable instrument to learn on and lessons from an experienced instructor that aptly prioritizes technique development in fun and engaging ways is one of the best weapons to combat discouragement.

Another important factor in maintaining motivation is presenting a sense of purpose. While technical development, drills and reading exercises are undeniably important, students need to see a tangible use for the skills they are developing to justify their time investment in practice and lessons. Enrolment in ensemble programs is a fantastic means to establishing a greater sense of purpose, but utilizing technology can certainly help bridge the gap when ensemble playing is not a possibility. Interactive apps and play-along tracks can keep things stimulating and engaging for students.

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