Clark Music Studio
Bass and Guitar Lessons in San Francisco

Students Say

Here’s a sampling of students’ comments:
“So let’s say I started off my musical career at a big fat 0! I had never picked up a guitar, I couldn’t read music, and I certainly didn’t know about tablature, metronomes, measures…okay really anything at all. But I wanted to try something new, and I had my heart set on learning acoustic guitar. Rather I thought it would be the most realistic instrument for me to learn and who doesn’t love guitar?
I borrowed my roommate’s mom’s guitar (circe 1970) and made an appointment with John. My first lesson John took a look at my borrowed guitar and exclaimed that the previous user had put steel strings on a nylon string guitar (gasp!). Obviously, I had no idea, but he told me that I really needed something that would work. We stopped the lesson, got on craigslist & John helped me find that exact guitar I needed with case & book so I wouldn’t have to spend a fortune buying a new guitar.
Fast forward a few months. I’ve learned to read music, I am learning to play chords and I can play (some) songs, pick- no pick- I can play either way. John has let me set my own pace for learning-advising me on what to practice but also helping me go beyond the book. I really like John-as an instructor he is always encouraging and patient with me. You can tell that he is passionate about music and he answers even my most obvious questions with thought-even giving me the history of why certain rules exist.
John also plays upright bass and piano and I would recommend him to anyone seeking lessons!”
Chrissy, San Francisco

“John is amazing. I’ve been taking bass lessons from him for three years and I’m still loving it (and learning tons). Remember that scary piano teacher you had in elementary school, the one who made you feel bad about yourself? Well, put those fears aside, a great instructor like John doesn’t need to resort to such abuse. But don’t think he’s going to let you get away with being a slacker. He knows just the right approach to push you to get better. John has found that perfect balance of simultaneously being encouraging and challenging—he’s an all-around great instructor…and a great guy too! John is a gigging jazz bassist who has a solid background in theory, so he’s got the goods to take you where you need to go. He teaches upright bass, electric bass and guitar. In fact, my girlfriend takes guitar lessons from him and loves him as much as I do.
Bottom line: John Clark is the best!”
Lilly, San Francisco

“I learned more from John in one lesson than I did in a year from my previous teacher.”
Catherine, Oakland

“I can be very sensitive when it comes to learning new things. Especially when that new thing is music. I, historically, have very low confidence in my ability to play instruments.
John is the perfect teacher for me. He’s always very encouraging and always assures me that my difficulties are not the result of some inborn, sucky-a-music gene, but are, in fact, part of the normal stumbling blocks on the way to playing beautiful tunes. Because of him, I can play better than I ever could after years of struggling to learn on my own. I’ve also picked up some rudimentary music theory (I’m sure he’d give me more if I wanted it; rudimentary is all I’ve requested so far).
Add to that he’s funny, kind, extremely knowledgeable about a wide range of music and loves what he does. Picking on some string in his homey apartment out in the Sunset is great way to spend a Saturday morning.”
Carly, San Francisco

“I’m an adult student who’s been out of learning music for like 20 years. I started lessons with John less than a year ago and it’s been great. John is the kind of teacher you want: encouraging, challenging and respectful of his students. He’s always got new angles on what to learn next. I’d recommend him without question to anyone.”
Caius, San Francisco

“John is an awesome teacher. Many music teachers have a system and stick to it regardless of their students’ needs/desires. John is so confident and sensitive that he can custom fit his teaching to the needs of his students.
Playing/learning music is a wonderful activity and should be that way during music lessons as well. John fully delivers by teaching correct music theory and technique with a sense of humor and general lightness of being. At each lesson there’s a felling of ‘oh, boy, what adventure will we have today?’ Due to his sense of adventure, love of music, and energy, I always leave my lesson with a bounce in my step.
One of the ways that John makes his lessons so fun is that he’s constantly looking for ways to mix it up. I suspect that this is partly because that’s something I value in lessons. (If you want consistency and predictability, I’m sure he would go with that, too.)
Whether you’re looking for lessons for yourself or for your child, I highly recommend music lessons with John.”
Jay, San Bruno

“My bottom line is that John Clark is a great teacher. I’m in my forties. A couple of years ago, I decided to learn to play an instrument. My first teacher taught by scribbling down some chords to a song and would say ‘hey do this or do that.” Then we would just play along with songs. I learned some things from him, but felt helpless and lost most of the time. Between lessons, I sometimes did not know what to ‘study.’ I’m sure some people would do well with that sort of teaching, but it was not for me.
I wanted something more, wanted a richer experience. I wanted to learn how to play music, but also wanted to learn about music and how it worked. I did some searching and found an ad for John. We talked on the phone and he seemed like a good match. So I started taking lessons with him. I find him a good balanced teacher. He teaches core techniques and skills…like reading music, fingering, etc. …. as well as how to play songs. He has helped broaden my skills and knowledge of music.
So give him a try. I think with his guidance and your dedication you’ll learn and grow and become a better player.”
John, Campbell

“I’ve been a guitar player for over 20 years and I recently decided to buy, and learn to play, an upright bass. Mostly using bluegrass as my entry point for familiarizing myself. I don’t know anything about the range of basses, the cost of materials, but have now had a crash course. I’ve been teaching myself for three weeks but realized ‘hey, I should have a seasoned professional just look at my playing and break any bad habits that I may be forming.’ All I needed was one lesson, just the opportunity to put myself in front of someone and pay them to tell me ‘you’re doing it all wrong!’ Well, John’s that guy, but thankfully he won’t say that you’re doing it all wrong. He answered my questions directly, was extremely knowledgeable and also understood that people are different, their playing will be different and one should enjoy playing more than making it perfect from the get go. I highly recommend John to anyone, whether newbie or experienced. He’s a good hang, too. Funny, engaging, intelligent guy with a great love of music. Go forth, play bass.”
Dave, Burlingame

“We are certainly pleased that we found John to teach our daughter. Elizabeth had some background in acoustic guitar and was asked to take up the bass guitar to play in her school’s jazz band. Her prior training was helpful, but we felt she would progress faster and gain confidence with some additional instruction so we interviewed several instructors. John was very knowledgeable, a great musician who we felt had the temperament to work with a youthful, enthusiastic beginning bass player. That was a great decision. With a lot of practice on her part and the right kind of encouragement on John’s part, her bass playing has really progressed big time. She is a much appreciated musician in her school jazz band. And best of all she has gained the confidence and joy from becoming increasingly proficient at a musical instrument. Thanks to John for helping to make this happen.”
Tom, San Francisco
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