Online and In-Person Lessons Available

Socially distancing?  Don't live near my studio?  No problem!  You can take lessons with me on Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts from anywhere in the world.  Just fill out the contact form and let's get you started!

Get your first guitar, piano, or flute lesson free!

Have you been frustrated trying to learn music on your own from videos and random tips you pick up?  Maybe you've got a few skills on your instrument but you're not sure how to piece it all together to really feel like a musician.   I'll show you the systems that professional musicians use to understand and learn music quickly.

Get the skills that will allow you to teach yourself new music.  Total beginners are welcome too!


How you'll benefit taking lessons with me:

  • We'll work by the 80/20 Rule. Right up front you'll learn the 20% of stuff you need to play 80% of the music out there.
  • HOW you practice is just as important as what you practice.  And you'll learn how to use accelerated learning principles to get the maximum achievement out of your practice sessions.
  • Just like a trainer at the gym, I'll be there to motivate you to keep working at it. And be the extra pair of eyes to catch the details you miss. (And show you how to catch them yourself.) 
  • No potholes in your knowledge!  Many teachers will show you how to play the song, but not why you're playing what you're playing.  That just leaves you stuck when you start the next song.  You'll get all the important parts here.  Technique, musicality, theory, notation, improv, and more.  (And don't let that 'notation' part scare you.  I've got a great system that makes it super duper easy!)
  • It's all geared towards songs and music styles you want to learn.  (I might turn you on to some stuff you've never thought of playing too!)
"Phil is am amazing teacher, my daughter was 6 when she started guitar lessons, and terrified! Phil is amazing with children, he put her at ease, and encouraged her. Whenever she was frustrated, he would guide her back on track; helping her work through her shortage of confidence.

My daughter is now 13, and has been taking guitar with Phil the entire time; and is now also taking piano. I have discovered that Phil is also incredible with teenagers. Once again he is never phased by her frustration, also guides her back on track, and her love of music continues to grow.

Aside from being a wonderful teacher, Phil is also extremely professional! He was the only one of 6 teachers to respond to me within 24 hours of my first inquiry, and has stayed constant in his response time from day one." - Kim G.

Let me tell you a story about one of my students, Justin. When Justin came to me he'd been banging around on guitar for a couple years. He knew some basic chords but had a lot of trouble switching between them. And he knew a little pentatonic scale pattern but didn't really know how to turn that into a melody. He could mess around and learn part of a song but never really put a whole tune together. And every time he tried a new song he felt like he was starting from near zero again. He told me it all seemed like a bit of a mystery that he was only grasping the edges of.

During his first lesson we talked about his goals - He wanted to improve his rhythm, learn how to improvise, and tackle "Hotel California" as one of his goal songs. And I suggested a few other things he could improve on that would help his playing - Better hand placement and putting together an efficient practice strategy that eliminated decision making..

Over the next few months we freshened up and improved the skills he had. I showed him how to build new skills on top of old ones so they connect logically. He became a much more solid rhythm player and began recording himself and soloing over it. And… of course… we tackled Hotel California.

Now he's got a system for approaching any song he's interested in with the both the knowledge of how to make sense of it and the strategy for learning it. Music is no longer a mystery to him!

"Learning to play guitar with Phil has been a lot of fun. I am a complete musical novice, plus I have a demanding full-time job, so he’s needed to be both patient and extremely flexible. In addition to the usual “book learning,” he asked me to find and taught me songs I wanted to learn, which was a nice break from the “Grade 1″ selections. Quite comfortable and knowledgable in a wide variety of musical tastes and styles, Phil is definitely worth talking to if you’re looking for a fantastic music teacher." - Alan L.

Here's just some of what you'll learn...

  • Correct technique and exercises to keep you from being injured
  • Every real-world trick I know to easily read standard notation and tablature
  • All the chords you’ll ever need
  • Improvisation techniques so you can enjoy the purest form of music
  • All the cool little tricks that make you sound like a pro
  • Songs you want to learn in your favorite genres
  • Groove and strumming exercises to keep you out of a rhythm rut
  • The real building blocks of music so you have a deeper understanding and a better performance

Basically, I’ll give you my college music education.  And I’ll show it to you in a way that will allow you to teach yourself in the future. You won’t be left in the dark about how or why we’re doing anything and you’ll find each new concept immediately useful.

What To Expect

At your first lesson we'll talk about what you'd like to accomplish on your instrument and create a plan to get you there. Then we'll meet once a week for a 30- minute lesson. You'll also need to set aside at least 20-30 minutes per day for your own practice sessions.  (I've got some great tips for creating more time to spend with your music too!)

For online learning we can use Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts.  Whichever you prefer.  In-person lessons take place in my studio in North San Jose.  I will continue to offer online lessons to anyone who wants them ongoing or periodically.  So don't worry if you're not near me.  I have students all over the country.

If you're playing guitar you'll receive your course book for free (because I wrote it!).  For piano and flute I'll let you know which books we'll be using during your first lesson planning session.

During your lessons we'll do just a couple minutes of technique warm up and then dig right into whatever piece you're working on that week.  If you're diligent about your practice between lessons then I guarantee you'll learn something new at each lesson.  But every so often if you have a tough week with minimal practice time, I'm happy to go over your current stuff again to keep it fresh so you can perfect it. 

Remember: You're in charge here!  I'm the coach and the guide, but the real advancement comes with how much (and how efficiently) you play in between lessons!  And I'll do everything I can to help make that experience as smooth as can be. 

If any of this seems overwhelming or "too much", rest assured we'll work at YOUR pace and I will patiently guide you ever step of the way.

Here's what you WON'T be doing:

You won't be running scales and arpeggios for hours on end.  They're tedious and not much use early in the process.  Eventually there will be a time to learn that stuff, but I'll show you how to make them musical and immediately useful so you're not left wondering what the point of it all is.

My girlfriend and I were out on a walk the other day and heard piano scales coming from someone's house.  She immediately started telling me stories of how she hated her music lessons as a kid because of those scales.  I want to create great memories for you instead!

You won't be watching me play the whole time.  I may play a little something to help illustrate it for you.  But your lesson is for you to play, not me.  (I know from experience… I had some teachers who were brilliant musicians but I never learned much because they played the whole time instead of me.)

You won't be doing recitals.  Most of my students are playing for their own enjoyment and the idea of a recital isn't appealing.  However if you are interested in performing, joining a band, etc, I can show you the ropes on how to do that.  I've performed thousands of shows and I'm happy to share my road warrior knowledge.

You won't be taking tests or trying for certifications.  Yes, there are certifications and "levels" and competitions and such out there in the music world.  But to me that's never been the point of playing music.  It's called "playing" music for a reason.  It's fun!  You can learn all the same skills and become just as good a musician without ever being judged on it.

Here's what you do now.  Schedule your free first lesson with me by filling out the contact form (above or below) or just click here.  Your first lesson is free so there's nothing to lose.  Spots are limited!

Rated 5 Stars On Google,
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And who the heck is Phil Johnson?
My childhood music was my parents' 50's and 60's rock stuff. Years of classical flute training and playing with orchestras through college. Went through my teenage metal and hard rock years. Studied jazz, blues, and funk in college. So I've got a wide range of musical knowledge to share with you.

I've been teaching music since 1994. BA in Music from San Jose State University. I'm also a nationally touring performing artist and songwriter with a ton of albums and singles released. So you'll get both a scholastic knowledge of music AND real world, "here's how to deal with this in the studio or on stage" type knowledge too.

I LOVE working with adults and teens.  You're never too old to learn music!

Guitar: 10 and up (8 and up when we return to in-person lessons)
Piano: 6 and up
Flute: 8 and up

I work in a cozy home studio on the border of San Jose and Milpitas (near Landess Ave. and Piedmont Rd.) as well as offer online lessons via Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts.

I have very few open slots at any given time, but I’ll do my best to fit you in.  Contact me here right now to secure your slot.  Your first lesson is free so you have nothing to lose.  And I rarely have anyone quit after the first lesson, so I know you’ll enjoy it.

Ask me how you can earn more free lessons!

Comments From My Students

He's very patient and has a unique way of teaching that is easy for a person to learn. - Denise G.


I'm an intermediate level guitarist and I've been taking Guitar lessons from Phil a little over 7 months now. Without a doubt, he's the best teacher that I've ever worked with so far. He's a true "guru" and a guide , so to speak. My goals with him were to analyze song structures/theory and get into songwriting and I can definitely agree that my theory/technique and analysis skills have grown tenfold in a very short amount of time. He's very methodical and organized in his approach when it comes to teaching a lesson or tracking your progress. The best part about him is he tailors his lessons specifically for your skill level no matter what part of the journey you're in. He's very patient, humble and super fun to be with. He's an amazing professional with great depth of knowledge spanning across multiple genres be it Jazz/Blues/Rock/Metal. I would 100% recommend him to any aspiring guitarist. - Sivalalith M.


My three children have been taking guitar, piano and flute lessons with Phil for six years. Phil is by far the best music teacher we've had, and the kids' progress has been outstanding. Not only that, but Phil has nurtured their enthusiasm and encouraged my older children to study theory at home to improve their understanding and playing. Phil works as well with my quiet, reserved child as he does with my energetic, loud kid, who he manages to keeps focused and settled, harnessing the energy appropriately. I can't recommend Phil highly enough, we expect to continue lessons for many years to come! - Josef C.


Phil is my daughter's piano teacher and has been working with her now for well over a year. Our experience with him has been great! He is very patient, something my daughter needs, particularly when she started as a squirmy 5 year old. I appreciate that he works with her to help her find her musical interests. While classical music is wonderful and part of the framework of learning piano in my opinion, she is also able to experience other genres of music. His laid back style has helped her to feel confident about her skills as they develop and not pushed outside of her comfort zone. We are very happy with his teaching! - Peggy G.

He is very professional and patient. I am a beginner and that is very important to me. - Ed B.


I am an adult taking guitar lessons from Phil for a little over a year now. I had never played guitar before. Every class has been a wonderful learning experience. I like the way the classes have been progressing from each lesson to lesson. It is not intimidating and makes me feel like I am making progress with each lesson. Phil is patient and encouraging and works with me if I am having difficulty with something. He has some really helpful tips to make learning something complex simpler. Another reason why I like his classes is that I have learnt about many different musicians and genres. Sometimes during lessons, he also mentions some history about the band, song or genre which is always a delight. - Nikhila K


In this age of free online guitar classes, infinite youtube videos on how to play guitar, and eye catching books and sites screaming "learn guitar in one day", one wonders if we still need "real" guitar instructors anymore! Phil Johnshon has been a clear proof to me that we truly need "real" instructors - perhaps even more so now than ever before, someone who takes genuine interest in one's progress, growth and evolution as a guitar player. I have found Phil very methodical and very professional as a guitar instructor. Many a times when I got stuck with a measure or bar, he would find novel ways to break that into simpler strokes and strums, so that I am sure to get past a difficult lesson. He very easily spots my mistakes and corrects them early on before these can become a habit that can become harder to overcome later on. Phil goes beyond just teaching how to play notes and strum chords for a song: he provides deeper insight into the musical background of a piece of music, how it relates to other similar pieces of the genre and other guitar players, how the piece is structured, so that you come out better equipped to play similar other music or to see patterns in music that you are otherwise unaware of. As with any new endeavor, hobby or passion - it is easy to get started, and initial lessons can be quick, easy and encouraging, but then suddenly you may find yourself not able to make much progress as the lessons get harder and you may feel that you have reached your potential and cannot go any further. Early on this happened to me - when I started learning my first classic-rock piece of music ("Stairway to Heaven") after several introductory and warm-up lessons, I thought I had hit a wall and that I would never be able to play my favorite rock music and was considering quitting. But Phil, as a true Coach, with his patience, led me to genuinely believe that I had the potential and that I could play all these classic rock pieces - he helped me through the process, building up my confidence. As a result, my passion for playing guitar has been kept alive, I have continued to become better at my guitar playing, and I am at a stage where I truly enjoy playing my guitar, thanks to Phil. - Presad B.

Contact Me Now For Your Free Trial Lesson.

Schedule a free trial lesson so we can sit down and get a game plan together for you.  Don’t wait!  You’ve got music in you!

Fill out the form below, including the instrument you’re interested in (Guitar, Piano, or Flute) and the ballpark days and times you’re interested in.

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