Derrick Campbell

Student favorite
Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Fingerstyle Guitar, Guitar, Lead Guitar, Rock Guitar
(2 reviews)
25+ lessons booked on Lessonface

Lesson Fees
from $25.00 / 30 Minutes

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I’ve been playing the guitar for twenty-eight years now, and studied with a variety of teachers including Bob Ferguson and Michael Harris.   I began teaching guitar lessons when I was a sophomore at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.   I graduated with a B.A. in Communications and then moved to the Boston area in 1997 and began working full time as a guitar teacher within a few months.  Since then, I’ve also played in a variety of original and cover bands, and written a number of songs of my own. I’m working on recording these as instrumentals with my home studio.

I'm currently playing performing a few times a month with two bands - Route One which is an acoustic duo, and the Garage Bandits which is a classic rock band.  Prior to the pandemic, I played in a cover band called Element 78. We played out every weekend, and have played at places like the Hard Rock Cafe at Foxwoods Casino, and the Boston Harborfest Concert at City Hall Plaza. The singer and I did acoustic shows as well, which were a lot of fun.  Last year, I contacted the singer in an original band I was in 25 years ago, and we started collaborating on recording the songs we did back then and started working some new songs.  He’s in Virginia, so we’ve been doing collaborating with online recording and using session drummers from  In 2022 we put out an album called Blue Sky Lightning which can be found on Spotify.

Why take lessons from me?

Good question, especially considering there are literally hundreds of guitar teachers out there willing to do it for less money.  The truth is, I may not be the right teacher for you, but you won’t know until you come in for a free 30 minute lesson.  Most likely though, I am the right teacher for you if you’re willing to practice at least 30 minutes a day.  Most of the value of private lessons comes from the student playing in front of the teacher, and then the teacher telling the student what he or she is doing right or wrong in terms of efficiency of motion.  The reason why virtuoso players make it look effortless, is because there is little to no wasted movement as they move their fingers across the fretboard.  Excess movement slows you down, and having an experienced judge to evaluate and monitor what you’re doing  is the quickest way to eliminate that problem.

That being said, you will probably also want to strike a balance between working towards perfect technique and enjoying the instrument.  Many of the classic rock legends like Jimmy Page, Joe Walsh, Eric Clapton, etc. had good technique, but not necessarily robotically flawless technique.  That is the template I have in mind for my students, and if that is what you have in mind for yourself, then you’ll probably enjoy taking lessons from me.

Places I taught in the past

Music Maker Studios in Brighton, MA This is where I taught most of my private guitar lessons, teaching adults and kids.  We did a recital once a year in the summer, and I had a lot of students participate.  I started teaching there in 1997 and stayed on through 2021.

Boston Center For Adult Education at 122 Arlington Street in Boston.  I did group classes here on Wednesdays for beginners from 2006 to 2020.  I offered a beginner class and three different level two classes.

Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, MA.  I taught private guitar lessons to the middle and high school students during the day.  I worked here from 2003 to 2020.


Taking private guitar lessons is the best way to really learn how to play the guitar, and ensure that you’re learning the instrument properly.  It also allows you to learn what songs you want, even if there is no sheet music available for it, or no resources online to learn it.  How fast you improve depends on how much you practice.

I have a set curriculum that I like to follow, developed over the past 20 years of teaching, but I do allow students to bring in songs that they want to learn, as long as they’re not too difficult.  I’m also flexible about how I teach students music – you can learn standard notation if you want, or we can just use tablature and rhythmic notation.  Students are free to record the lessons in any way they want (audio or video), and I also have a recorder at the studio that uses SD cards.

The are four basic levels to which I try to develop students’ ability.

1) In the beginning, I focus on getting students comfortable with the instrument, showing them some songs they’ll have fun with, and developing the dexterity in their hands. You’ll get a huge amount of help from in learning songs as I’ll give you sheet music, play along with you, and basically talk you through being able to play the song.

2) Once you’re comfortable learning songs with that amount of help, I’ll start giving you sheet music and asking you to take it home and try to teach yourself as best you can, and then go over questions or problems you may have the next week.

3) When you’re able to teach yourself songs from sheet music, then I’ll start giving you some easy songs to try to learn by ear. I’ll give you some hints in the beginning about what chords are used, or what key the song is in, but eventually I’ll take the training wheels off and throw you in the pool, so to speak, and make you learn the songs by ear, and then tell you if you learned them correctly or not. Obviously, we’ll do some ear training exercises to improve your ability to learn songs by ear.

4) Finally, once you’re comfortable learning songs by ear and learning songs from sheet music, you’re ready to take the leap into improvising your own solos, playing at open mic nights and coffee houses, writing your own songs, or trying to get into a cover band. Beyond this, you’re on your own – I haven’t figured out a secret formula to becoming a rock star.

I have a book that I self published that I offer to my students for free.  This covers chords, scales, and other essential info for learning to play the guitar.

Also "Music Theory For Practical People" by Ed Rosen is a good book to get if you're interested in learning music theory.

For learning how to read music, the Hal Leonard books 1 and 2 are good for guitar, but I also have my own materials that I put together that I prefer to use.

Reviews of lessons with Derrick Campbell

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