Top Five: The best places in Austin to learn to play music

Whether you’re a long time resident of Austin or a visitor to the city, you’ve more than likely heard the stories of the music legends and famous venues that earned the city the title of Live Music Capital of the World.

There are more music venues in Austin than anywhere else in the U.S., so it stands to reason that this town has many places to learn the art of music. Here are some good places to learn how to play music in Austin. All of the locations will work with musicians of any level.

South Austin Music

1402 S. Lamar Blvd


Located near the St. Edward’s University campus next to the Saxon Pub, this local guitar shop is currently celebrating its twenty-fifth year in business. Richard Jessee teaches many styles of guitar and bass and Eddie Collins teaches banjo, mandolin, and fingerstyle guitar. Rates for one-on-one lessons range from $25-30 per half hour. The shop also carries all sorts of rare and eclectic guitar products at a wide range of prices.

2428-B W. Ben White Blvd 512-476-7666

Austin School of Music

13945 N. Hwy 183


The Austin School of Music has two locations, and the staff can teach you to play a wide variety of musical styles, as well as sing, compose, and generally rock out. The school also has camps and group classes in addition to one-on-one lessons. Instrument lessons generally run around $107 per month, and vocals are around $127 per month for four half-hour classes. However, these prices may vary as all instructors work as independent contractors. Four-to-six week group classes range from $100-300, and focus on more specific disciplines than one-on-one classes. Instructors will perform one-on-one lessons to teach the principles of the class if there isn’t enough student interest.

Austin Guitar School

5501 N. Lamar, Suite A-111


Don’t let the name fool you—these guys teach more than guitar. The instructors at Austin Guitar School also provide lessons in bass, vocals, drums and percussion, piano, violin, and banjo. Ted Hall, a guitarist with 34 years of experience, founded the school in 1987. The school also has a “guitar gym,” which—for a small fee—allows students access to thousands of music magazines, videos, sheet music, and computer programs to help them learn. Single lessons run around $80 per hour, and the classes are $65 for eight weeks.

Strum Music

3316 Bee Caves Rd


Strum Music may be hidden away up on Bee Caves Rd, but that should not discourage interested parties from inquiring about lessons. Private lessons are available in guitar, bass, drums, piano, violin, fiddle, and voice, all in a variety of styles. Strum employs seven teachers, all with years of experience. Owner Steve Glazer proclaims on their website that, “People should learn to love music in a place they love to be.” Strum charges $50 per hour for single lessons, and the price decreases a few dollars the more lessons you buy in bulk. An additional $10 is added for vocal lessons.

Red Leaf School of Music

4800 S. 1st St.


Founded by Geno Stroia, a former teacher at Strum Music, Red Leaf combines one-on-one work with group classes. They have three different teaching methods, and operate on skill levels akin to those of martial arts, and finally a professional musician course that ends in the student setting up a website, recording a demo, booking and publicizing shows, among other things. The rates for classes range from $195-495 depending on the number of weeks, and camps are about $795-825, depending on how early one enrolls. Call for rates on private lessons.