Words From Our Students

Taro Wayama’s one on one lessons, created a unique experience that enabled me, the student, to excel in the use of a guitar. I was able to take my new-learned skills and amaze my family and friends with my noticeable improvement in guitar strumming, smooth transition to different chords, and being able to read tabs and play like I was a teacher. Had I not chosen to take individual lessons with Taro Wayama, I would most likely have been an untalented, boring person with nothing to brag about. Taro goes through each guitar lesson with a step-by-step method that enables anyone to catch on quickly. He is a remarkable teacher and I do not recommend that you trust any other guitar teacher if you dream of reaching your full potential in the art of a guitar!

-Bryan Kang


Mr. Wayama is a superb and talented teacher who has skills that surpass many other teachers in the field of music, but more specifically, the guitar.  Mr. Wayama has taught me how to play the guitar within less than a few weeks and made it a very enjoyable experience. He is very skilled with the acoustic guitar and has a very unique style when it comes to performing or working with students. As one of his students, I can certainly recommend Mr. Wayama as a teacher as well as a mentor. I was very honored to have had a chance to work with him.

-Kelvin Sonbalee


This is the story of why I fired my first guitar teacher. They say self-instructed classical guitarists have two jobs: student and teacher. Neither is more important than the other. And, for several years, I held both of them. I was never much of a student. I did all the things slacker-guitarists do: practice on the floor; watch interesting (and distracting) TV programs while playing; partially memorize pieces before moving on to repertoire beyond my reach. I even went through a period where I ate my dinner during practice.Despite this, I always secretly thought of myself as a pretty good teacher. After all, I’d managed to get my student (me) to make decent progress. The teacher didn’t know all that much, but he worked hard and was always available. The teacher read books, enforced mandatory practice hours, and did his best to focus on technique. But, in time, the student’s progress slowed and, eventually, came to a complete standstill. I was stuck. Frustrated, I took an extended hiatus from the instrument, picking it up only here and there.I met Emre in the midst of that hiatus, at an event at which he was performing. It was a complete accident, since I knew nothing about the performance and regrettably missed the show entirely. We talked briefly, I gave him some version of my poor guitar credentials, and he handed me his card. I’d met other guitar teachers before, but even though I hadn’t heard a single note from Emre’s guitar, he immediately came across as an exceptional one. It was just too bad I didn’t need a good guitar teacher. As far as I was concerned, I already knew a decent one.

Everything started to change a couple years later when I decided to get serious about the instrument again. The first thing I did was to get a hold of my old teacher, which was easy. His job was to get me where I was before and then, hopefully, figure out a way to get me past my old obstacles. Things started off well, and I started to slowly regain my old abilities. Then I started to see little glimpses of the old problems and, on a hunch, I decided to seek out a better teacher. I didn’t have to think about it that much. I remembered good things about this Emre guy. I e-mailed him.

I doubt he realized it, but before the end our first lesson, Emre had already accomplished a number of things. First of all, he established himself as the kind of down-to-earth, friendly guy you’re happy to work with on anything, whether that’s guitar or baking cakes. Second—and more importantly—he confirmed that he was a supremely talented, knowledgeable guitar teacher and performer, with a solid teaching philosophy and technique. He wasn’t just teaching something because it’s what he’d been taught; he had a method, based on his own mastery of the instrument. The third thing he accomplished was to demolish the notion that I was a terrible student. Instead, he unwittingly made me face the reality that I was a woefully inadequate teacher. Within moments, he’d identified fingering improvements and important technical corrections to pieces I’d been playing for years—things my old teacher never identified, and never could have. The last thing he did was to renew my excitement for this beautiful instrument. I felt the same way I did as I walked away from the store with my first guitar in hand—like the possibilities were endless.

So I went home and fired my old teacher.

-William Chiriguayo


I owe a lot to Emre, not only for his excellence, professionalism, and dedication as a teacher but for his enthusiastic, personal support for my goals as a musician, academic, and friend. He has been a true inspiration for me and has given me the technical and professional tools necessary for me to pursue music professionally. As a very experienced and flexible teacher, Emre tailors lessons largely to the needs of the students. Both challenging and encouraging, he will go as fast-paced or as slow-paced as you want to go. His lessons were not only worth the money but worth the hour or so I had to drive every week to arrive at the studio.In spite of my inexperience in classical guitar, Emre prepared me for college auditions within the span of a year. I currently attend Northwestern University and am pursuing degrees in Music Performance and International Studies, with a minor in Music Composition. I cannot thank Emre enough for his help. If you’re serious about pursuing guitar performance or music composition, Emre can help you reach your goals. I only wish I had more time to study with him.

-Sasha Bayan K.


I have had the pleasure of taking classes with many great music teachers, but I believe that Emre is the best one. By best, I mean a mixture of everything good that a music teacher should be. Emre’s technique on the guitar is stunning (though he does not flaunt it). It is obvious how much time he puts into his craft and that he really enjoys what he does. As an instructor, his demonstrations and explanations are clear and comprehensive but remain interesting. Instead of just giving you a piece to play, he will mix in theory by discussing the reasoning behind the notes, chords, etc. that the composer chose to include. As extraordinary as this sounds, he makes music theory… fun. Also, his knowledge of classical and flamenco guitar, as well as non-Western music, seems limitless. One more aspect of Emre’s lessons—which I think is the most important one—is that they are two-way. He always has you, the student, play back what you’ve learned and he does not move away from it until you have fully grasped the concept or technique, which is something many teachers overlook. Finally, Emre is a very likeable person. His patience and politeness are qualities to be admired, and I certainly consider him a friend as well as teacher. Emre is first rate in what he does, and I highly recommend him to anyone who is interested in playing the classical/flamenco guitar and who wants an enjoyable time doing it. In a short while I have established a solid base on the instrument, and I owe it all to him.

-Sam Eggenschwiler


I started taking guitar lessons with Emre in early 2006, approximately nine years after I had last touched a guitar. After just a few lessons, I thought that Emre was the best guitar teacher I had ever had, and I still think this is true. Learning how to play the guitar well does not require that you start taking lessons when you are three years old or that you count Paul Galbraith and other famous guitarists as acquaintances. What it does require is a framework for study of the instrument and the time to practice. Emre will provide the framework, and you must supply the time. If you follow Emre’s instruction, you will become a guitarist. Whether you become a professional or an amateur depends on your interest, effort and the time you have available. In any case, Emre will help to make your experiences with the guitar enjoyable. Emre also has a rich history as a classical guitarist and draws on musical traditions from around the world. This has influenced my playing in surprising and positive ways, and I am sure the same will happen to you.

-Vikram Karnaker

My lessons with Emre have been truly excellent. I came to Emre as an advanced classical guitarist with my Bachelor’s degree in music, but I felt I had hit a wall in my technical development as a guitarist. Emre quickly identified deficiencies in my technique and addressed them in a gentle yet effective manner. He introduced me to the art of Flamenco guitar and greatly increased my knowledge of Latin American music, a topic which I had expressed a strong interest in. Emre’s lessons addressed my individual needs and interests while constantly pushing me to overcome daunting technical hurdles. My lessons with Emre were extremely enjoyable and productive and I consider myself lucky to have had him as a teacher.

-William Beuche

I’ve been playing and studying the guitar on my own for a long time, so I know an excellent teacher when I meet one, and Emre is exactly that. Emre was able to quickly assess my – (previously unknown) – weaknesses and strengths to develop a custom-tailored program designed with my goals in mind. During our sessions together I found him to be personable, professional, gentlemanly in manner, and above all, infinitely knowledgeable in the details of playing and performing with the classic guitar.There is only so much one can learn by studying on their own with books and the like. Whether your goals are to prepare for auditions and performances, or just to become a proficient recreational player, Emre is a teacher that can show you how to open the doors to your dreams. The rest is up to you.

-Terry Buchanan

As an adult beginner, the last thing I wanted was to spend the next three years playing scales and stumbling through pages of sheet music. To my benefit, Emre insured that his instruction included the basics, AND to my great benefit, Emre also demonstrated an eagerness to understand my personal goals. In doing so, he employed a variety of teaching methods, to maximize the progress and fun. From “Pop” to “Classical” to “Flamenco”, studying with Emre has allowed me to enjoy both the playing and the process.

-Peter Jenkins

I really enjoyed working with Emre. As a beginning guitarist, I entered the lessons somewhat intimidated by my lack of knowledge. However, Emre’s teaching style and enthusiasm in his students made my progression rapid. I gained more than just a basic grasp for the guitar but an overall appreciation for the instrument and music as a whole. Thanx Emre!

-Paula Jepson

However weak my fingers were when I first approached Emre seeking Classical Guitar lessons, for I remember the torture my little pinky was to later endure (!), my experience as a student under Emre has been a phenomenal one. Emre has always met my demands (of him as a teacher, and of myself as a classical guitar player) with a loving patience and boundless encouragement. By mere conversation, I have tasted music cultures in Spain, in Africa, in Turkey. From sight-reading and music theory, our discussions would move to areas of performance and philosophy. In this sense, Emre has not only inspired me with his wealth of knowledge, but has also shared with me the gift of trust. It is a trust that speaks in the holding down of a single note, and is one that I continue to meditate on for myself as classical guitarist, as stage actor, and as God’s SoulJah!

-Fareed Zaman Butt

When I first started classical guitar with Emre, I didnt know what I wanted to learn about the instrument. I naively thought that classical guitar was only about guitar chords. However, Emre has helped broaden my horizon by his introduction to all kinds of classical guitar music, particularly the Latin American and Spanish works. His encouragement on my guitar playing has also made a strong impact on how I view my instrument that I started to take it more seriously than ever. I’m always amazed by the immense amount of patience he has on his students. And now, I always tell others how much I love my guitar and of course my guitar teacher. 😛

-Claudia Law

My guitar lessons with Tom have been an absolute inspiration for me. He helped me master a repertory that reflects my musical tastes in a very short time. More importantly, he has given me confidence to perform with ease and accuracy in public.

-Amy Stanley

Tom’s easy going demeanor and great depth of knowledge combine to create a teacher whose skill and talent inspire his students and keep learning a difficult instrument fun.

-Ginny Hawes