Avatar of the tutor
Sean S.
Sutherlin, Oregon
Perfect your songwriting skills from an expert with 38 teaching experience
Do you have ideas for songs but wonder how to structure them into complete songs? Do you hear great tunes in your head but not know how to fit them to chords? Are you puzzled about how to weave a magical melody to match your lyrics? Stumped by limited rhyme possibilities or awkward phrasing? Perhaps you could benefit by having a seasoned songwriter as a mentor to coach you in creating beautiful songs in your own unique style. That's where I can help. I can show you how to develop an idea into a complete song, whether you start from a "hook" or melodic riff, a chord progression, or a snippet of lyrics - or even just a mood or feeling or a message you want to express. We'll look at several common song forms from contemporary music genres - for example, common verse/chorus/bridge structures - as well as classic hits that can serve as models. And most importantly, I'll help you develop your own signature style, rather than just copying what other people have done. For me, songwriting is one of the most satisfying and creative aspects of music, where all of our musical skills can come together. Yet it can also be an area where our inner stumbling blocks can seem daunting, and where some expert guidance can open up new possibilities. I look forward to working with you to tap your inner wellspring of creativity!
About Sean S.

I look at music essentially as a subject of the heart. People are drawn to learning music by an irresistible pull, and what may start as a casual curiosity can grow into a lifelong passion. The mystery of the creative process is more of an art form than a science, with as many different approaches as there are personalities. In my almost forty years of teaching music, one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is the importance of putting myself in the shoes of a learner, listening and being responsive to my students’ interests, needs and strengths. I have a profound respect for each person’s individual musical tastes and styles, and I have an abiding faith in each person’s inner source of inspiration and wisdom. My main goal as a teacher is to help you tap your own creative wellspring and discover your unique talents. I began teaching acoustic guitar and voice lessons in 1984, also offering harmonium and tabla lessons a few years later. Some of my students approach music mainly for personal enjoyment and deepening their self-identity, while others use the skills they learn in their careers. I'm grateful for my exposure to the music of different cultures from around the world, from my roots in back-porch American folk music to the fascinating polyrhythms of traditional African drumming and the deeply moving melodies of Indian Classical music. I had the good fortune to study these disciplines intensively with Master Teachers during my time at Dartmouth College, at Wesleyan University, and through independent studies in India. My teacher training at Pacific Oaks College further deepened my appreciation of cultural diversity as well as my sensitivity to different learning styles. This experience has enriched my own compositions, as well as my ability to connect with learners from diverse cultural backgrounds, and to help guide people in developing a personal style free from artificial boundaries of genre. I never cease to be in awe of the amazing potential that each student brings to the table, and I am grateful for the chance to help people open up their musical gifts. Currently, I'm working on recording an album of original songs based on the poetry of Rumi, Hafiz and other mystics. # # # COVID-19 Update: I've resumed in-person lessons, using careful safety protocols. Please check with me for details. I will also continue teaching lessons online using specialized teaching techniques I've developed for online lessons, which my students have found very satisfying (please read my reviews!) You can use either the TakeLessons mobile app or your web browser (no software is necessary to download). I've found the clarity and responsiveness excellent, and a great bonus is the option to record your lesson for you to review later. Don't hesitate to give it a try!

Levels taught

Teaches all skill levels

Teaching since

Teaching since 1984

Education

BA, Human Development

Teaches ages +

Teaches ages 5+

Speaks

Speaks French, Spanish

Speaks

Has background check

Avatar of the tutor
Sean S.
Sutherlin, Oregon
Perfect your songwriting skills from an expert with 38 teaching experience
Do you have ideas for songs but wonder how to structure them into complete songs? Do you hear great tunes in your head but not know how to fit them to chords? Are you puzzled about how to weave a magical melody to match your lyrics? Stumped by limited rhyme possibilities or awkward phrasing? Perhaps you could benefit by having a seasoned songwriter as a mentor to coach you in creating beautiful songs in your own unique style. That's where I can help. I can show you how to develop an idea into a complete song, whether you start from a "hook" or melodic riff, a chord progression, or a snippet of lyrics - or even just a mood or feeling or a message you want to express. We'll look at several common song forms from contemporary music genres - for example, common verse/chorus/bridge structures - as well as classic hits that can serve as models. And most importantly, I'll help you develop your own signature style, rather than just copying what other people have done. For me, songwriting is one of the most satisfying and creative aspects of music, where all of our musical skills can come together. Yet it can also be an area where our inner stumbling blocks can seem daunting, and where some expert guidance can open up new possibilities. I look forward to working with you to tap your inner wellspring of creativity!
About Sean S.

I look at music essentially as a subject of the heart. People are drawn to learning music by an irresistible pull, and what may start as a casual curiosity can grow into a lifelong passion. The mystery of the creative process is more of an art form than a science, with as many different approaches as there are personalities. In my almost forty years of teaching music, one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is the importance of putting myself in the shoes of a learner, listening and being responsive to my students’ interests, needs and strengths. I have a profound respect for each person’s individual musical tastes and styles, and I have an abiding faith in each person’s inner source of inspiration and wisdom. My main goal as a teacher is to help you tap your own creative wellspring and discover your unique talents. I began teaching acoustic guitar and voice lessons in 1984, also offering harmonium and tabla lessons a few years later. Some of my students approach music mainly for personal enjoyment and deepening their self-identity, while others use the skills they learn in their careers. I'm grateful for my exposure to the music of different cultures from around the world, from my roots in back-porch American folk music to the fascinating polyrhythms of traditional African drumming and the deeply moving melodies of Indian Classical music. I had the good fortune to study these disciplines intensively with Master Teachers during my time at Dartmouth College, at Wesleyan University, and through independent studies in India. My teacher training at Pacific Oaks College further deepened my appreciation of cultural diversity as well as my sensitivity to different learning styles. This experience has enriched my own compositions, as well as my ability to connect with learners from diverse cultural backgrounds, and to help guide people in developing a personal style free from artificial boundaries of genre. I never cease to be in awe of the amazing potential that each student brings to the table, and I am grateful for the chance to help people open up their musical gifts. Currently, I'm working on recording an album of original songs based on the poetry of Rumi, Hafiz and other mystics. # # # COVID-19 Update: I've resumed in-person lessons, using careful safety protocols. Please check with me for details. I will also continue teaching lessons online using specialized teaching techniques I've developed for online lessons, which my students have found very satisfying (please read my reviews!) You can use either the TakeLessons mobile app or your web browser (no software is necessary to download). I've found the clarity and responsiveness excellent, and a great bonus is the option to record your lesson for you to review later. Don't hesitate to give it a try!

Levels taught

Teaches all skill levels

Teaching since

Teaching since 1984

Education

BA, Human Development

Teaches ages +

Teaches ages 5+

Speaks

Speaks French, Spanish

Speaks

Has background check

Instructor details
Songwriting
Teacher's Studio
Teacher's Studio
SEE MAP
Valley Ct
Student's Home
Student's Home
Teaches Online
Teaches Online
Work hours
M
T
W
T
F
S
S
Times are shown in your local timezone (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)
Pricing
30 minutes
$42
45 minutes
$55
60 minutes
$67
90 minutes
$92
New Student Special
First 3 lessons
$30
Photos & videos5 photos & videos
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Group Lessons
ReviewsWrite a review
4.9
32 Reviews
5Review Star
94%
4Review Star
6%
3Review Star
0%
2Review Star
0%
1Review Star
0%
Teacher's Studio

Sean seems to get me and to understand where I want to go. I am a pretty fair player in my own right, I am recovering my skills after a long break. Sean helps with this, offering key insights that I might never have found on my own.

Posted May 21, 2022
Online

Great 1st lesson. Sean is patient and kind, Thank you!

Posted Feb 22, 2022
Online

Great first lesson looking forward to the next.

Posted Oct 25, 2021
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Music Teacher
Jul 2014 - Present
Umpqua Valley Music Lessons
Teach individual guitar, ukulele, voice and percussion lessons for ages 5-adult, with specialty in fingerstyle guitar
Elementary School Music Teacher
Sep 2018 - Jun 2021
Roseburg School District
Teach music, including voice and multiple instruments, to Elementary school classes (K-5); design age-appropriate lesson plans to meet state curriculum goals.
Elementary School Music Teacher
Feb 2018 - Jun 2018
Winston-Dillard School District
Teach music to Elementary school classes (K-6); design age-appropriate lesson plans to meet state curriculum goals.
Music Director
Jan 1988 - Apr 2014
Lighthouse Center Oregon
Led community weekly music program for guests and staff at spiritual retreat center; Arranged and conducted music program for regional gatherings and special events; Taught group classes and individual lessons in Indian Classical music: voice, harmonium, and tabla
BA, Human Development
Sep 1985 - Aug 1986
Pacific Oaks College
Traditional African Drumming
Sep 1982 - May 1983
Wesleyan University
Indian Classical Music
Apr 1979 - May 1992
Private instruction with music teachers in Delhi, India; Eugene, Oregon; and Hanover, NH
Music major
Sep 1977 - Jun 1981
Dartmouth College
French
Professional Proficiency
Spanish
Limited Proficiency
Elementary School Music Teacher
Aug 2018
Roseburg School District
Bachelor of Arts in Human Development
Aug 1986
Pacific Oaks College
Pacific Oaks College - BA in Human Development August 1986
D'Adarrio Education Collective
Aug 2021
a global community of music educators who are committed to inspiring the next generation of lifelong musicians. Our program provides music teachers with access to resources and other tools to help support their role in education. The Education Collective will grow to include opportunities to network with other teachers, share your knowledge and content, and attend special educational events. Our goal is to support those that support the future of music.
American Composers Forum
Aug 2021
The American Composers Forum enriches lives by nurturing the creative spirit of composers and communities. We provide new opportunities for composers and their music to flourish, and engage communities in the creation, performance and enjoyment of new music.
SoundExchange
Apr 2020
SoundExchange helps the music and creative community thrive in the digital age. SoundExchange is the independent nonprofit collective management organization that collects and distributes digital performance royalties to featured artists and copyright holders. We represent recording artists – from unsigned a cappella to acid rock to multi-platinum stars and master rights owners including major and independent record labels. It’s our job to ensure that these artists and copyright holders are compensated when their work is broadcast by non-interactive digital radio.
National Education Association
May 2019
The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.
National Honors Society
Sep 1976
The National Honor Society (NHS) is the nation's premier organization established to recognize outstanding high school students. More than just an honor roll, NHS serves to honor those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, and character. These characteristics have been associated with membership in the organization since its beginning in 1921.

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Instructor details
Songwriting
Teacher's Studio
Teacher's Studio
SEE MAP
Valley Ct
Student's Home
Student's Home
Teaches Online
Teaches Online
Work hours
M
T
W
T
F
S
S
Times are shown in your local timezone (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)
Pricing
30 minutes
$42
45 minutes
$55
60 minutes
$67
90 minutes
$92
New Student Special
First 3 lessons
$30