What Parents are saying about Leo Garcia’s KinderGuitar:
Our daughter, Ruby, is 18 now, and headed off to college this spring. The one item I know for certain she will be taking with her is her classical guitar. She never leaves home without it.Ruby has been taking weekly lessons with Leo Garcia since she was 5 or 6, too little to get her feet on the ground. But it’s not nearly enough to say he taught her to play guitar. He taught her how to love playing, how to love music, how to listen deeply and sensitively, how to challenge herself, how to get through the boring bits, how to feel good about her accomplishments. He taught her resilience and patience and self-regard. He taught her how to break a problem down into smaller, more solvable chunks. He was the first teacher she ever had to tell her she wasn’t just a student or a child – she was a musician. He did all of this with unfailing gentleness, good humor, and a genuine love of teaching, lesson after lesson, week after week, year after year.Your mileage may vary. But it’s not too much to say that Leo helped Ruby figure out who she was and what she was capable of. We can never thank him enough.
It is hard to describe in simple words the impact that Leo and his incredible style of teaching has brought to our lives and most of all our children’s lives. The musical journey we were so fortunate to have Leo skipper over the past few years has allowed our children to truly appreciate the guitar as an instrument but also the guitar as a key to unlock an inner wealth few teachers could reach and tap into so effectively. Both our sons have discovered not only a new language but sensibilities only the greatest mentors can unleash. Nothing prepared us for how far a simple guitar could enrich a household. Leo has also encouraged us all to discover and appreciate a variety of guitar works and come to wait impatiently for the genius of his students at his incredible concerts. His gentle approach and kindness makes him one of the most wonderful people we have been so fortunate to meet and journey with and there is so much more to say. I unequivocally recommend him to any child or parent wanting to awaken the genius and musical sensibilities in them.
Our children’s discovery of music and of the joy that comes with playing an instrument started when they were five years old as students of Leo Garcia. Through his amazing patience, kindness, playfulness and genuine caring, and above all, his tremendous skill, Leo uncovered a talent in each of them and helped them gain the confidence they both needed to grow as musicians. His teaching technique is truly remarkable, using a variety of techniques to help his students grasp the abstract concepts of rhythm, harmony, dissonance, musical ‘color’ and much more. By constantly encouraging them through praise and empathy, he is able to keep them motivated and excited to learn challenging pieces. Always looking for ways to keep their interest in guitar alive, he goes beyond the lessons by organizing recitals, setting up master classes, and sending notices about upcoming performance by notable musicians.
I can say without hesitation that Leo has left a true mark on our children and has enriched their lives in a wonderful way. It is thanks to him that their love of music, in particular guitar music, will always remain with them.
For over nine years Leonardo Garcia taught both me and my son about the world of great guitar performance and repertoire. As a former musician I have long believed that a great teacher must be able to teach by example, and Leo is one of a few teachers who made the choice to teach, but whose performances are important musical events, extending the repertoire. Not many youngsters will proceed to a career in music, but any student of Leo’s will be prepared to do that if he or she has the motivation. The depth of Leo’s grasp of harmonic and structural concepts, particularly for someone who enjoys teaching very young musicians, surprised me, until I learned about his background, conservatory training and world famous teachers. Finally, there is an integrity enforced by the marriage of discipline and emotion essential to the performance of great music. Leo, both personally and as a musician, is the embodiment of that integrity to our family, and most importantly, to my children. I have many times cajoled Leo to pursue performance; had he listened my children would not have had nearly as much of him in their lives, and for that I’m glad I failed.
My son Case studied guitar in Leo Garcia’s KinderGuitar for four years, and it was a marvelous experience. Leo has a special empathy for kids and an intuitive sense of what will excite and motivate them. He is patient, kind, and makes the lessons fun, and his program reflects these qualities. Although he teaches a skill, and teaches it very well, he also engenders in children the same love and respect that he so obviously feels for music and for classical guitar as a form of personal expression. Case regards Leo as both a teacher and a friend and enjoyed being part of the KinderGuitar experience. We were very lucky to find him.
I would recommend Leo Garcia to anyone who was looking for a guitar teacher. He has been teaching me guitar for about four years and would still be teaching me if I weren’t moving. Leo is a great teacher because he works well with his students and is very encouraging and patient. When I first started taking guitar lessons, I didn’t know any thing about music. Now I can read music, write music and play a lot of good music. And I owe it all to my guitar teacher, Leo Garcia.
-Luz Brown, 11 years old, June 2005
My husband and I have been astounded and delighted by Leo’s teaching abilities and his KinderGuitar program. He has guided and supported our daughter, Luz, to become a talented guitarist. Luz started taking lessons with Leo when she was 7. She immediately began playing simple tunes. She looked forward to every lesson. We have been impressed with Leo’s instruction style where Luz moved from very simple pieces to more complicated pieces that involved detailed scales and fingering movement.
The most notable thing about Leo’s method of instruction is his ability to motivate and inspire his students by his gentle, knowledgeable, humorous and positive style. At one point Luz was not interested in practicing guitar at home and Leo was able to turn this thought around by positively praising her and telling her what a great musician she was. He has a persuasive and motivating way of getting kids to do their best.
If Leo and his family would come we would take them with us to our move in Nevada City because he is an awesome teacher and his KinderGuitar program is great. We highly recommend him!
-Nicky Philips-Brown, June 2005
Dear Leo, We have been telling friends that, in fact, we feel you’re the best teacher Nick has ever had inclusive of his elementary and middle school experience. He’s had some awesome teachers… We’ve enjoyed being part of your KinderGuitar program for the last four years!
Our son came to Leo when he was eight. Leo had him playing a song the very first lesson. Using games, humor and patient encouragement, Leo led him through a veritable forest of musical notes, to continual success at a pace perfect for him. Six years later, he still loves to play his guitar.
Leo knows how to focus each student to help them discover their joy in making music, and nurtures their budding skills to allow that joy to continue to grow, with confidence.
-Lynn Ursic, Frank Edie, Sam Edie
Our eleven year old son has taken guitar lessons from Leo Garcia for six years now, and our younger son for three years. Both have made amazing progress. Leo always finds something positive to say to every child. He is upbeat, kind, and gentle, and he makes lessons a lot of fun! His suggestions for games and practice techniques make life at home easier too for parents helping their youngsters learn the guitar.
Leo is a gifted musician, who is technically very skillful and knowledgeable, as well as articulate about conveying these details to students. His playing is also artistically nuanced and beautiful, and he is talented at helping uncover his students’ innate musicality.
The KinderGuitar Song Books Leo Garcia has developed have lovely pieces that are a pleasure to listen to and play, in a progression that has provided songs at the right level for our developing students. Recitals are a pleasure now that the children are playing the songs and etudes that Leo has introduced from around the world, rather than the collections in standard student guitar books. We highly recommend Leo Garcia, as well as his KinderGuitar method, for any young student of the guitar!
We are very fortunate to have found Leo Garcia and his KinderGuitar program. Our two daughters (now 7 and 10) both started with Leo at age 5, and we’re thoroughly impressed not just with their ever-growing repertoire, but also their understanding of guitar and music in general.
Leo is a rare breed: a masterful musician, who also happens to be wonderfully patient and in sync with children’s unique interests and learning styles. He truly “gets” kids and has plenty of tips for how to make practice sessions productive and painless. He’s also just plain fun – our girls love their lessons!
The winter and spring recitals are another wonderful aspect of the program. We’ve seen our kids grow in confidence as performers each year, and of course, the concerts are a special treat for the whole family.
-Charlie & Maria Cypher
Leo Garcia is a wonderfully talented musician and teacher. My daughter, Amalia, started learning on a half-size guitar at age seven and now, eight years later, looks forward to her lesson more than ever. Leo has a wonderful ability to nurture young children’s love of music and proven more than able to support their musical development on any level. Amalia says that Leo is a great teacher because he is patient; carefully builds technique to prepare for more challenging music; and he introduces something new each week.
His superb ability as a performer of classical music is an inspiration and gives Amalia absolute confidence in her training. Since parents are encouraged to sit in on lessons, can attest that Leo truly enjoys his role as a mentor and that his approach is always to focus on the child’s accomplishments. He provides instruction with unfailing good humor.
I am grateful that Leo does a lot of work, completely on his own initiative, to promote his students’ growth as musicians. He organizes occasional master classes with other world-class guitar players; and hosts a biannual group recital where every student gets to perform on stage. All of this has enabled our daughter, and other students we’ve seen over the years, to enjoy performing and learn what it takes to do well as they take on ever more challenging music.
-Thomas J. Korczowski, Berkeley, CA, USA
Mr. Garcia is an excellent teacher. Aside from being a highly skilled musician, he clearly has a love of children and a natural knack for teaching them. With his endless patience and warm, easygoing personality, he’s always coming up with new games and tricks to keep kids engaged and having lots of fun while learning.
-Paula M., Kinderguitar parent
Leo is not only a wonderfully talented musician and guitar instructor but he has a way of teaching children that is kind, patient and caring. My two girls have been learning classical guitar with Leo for over 13 years combined, and have thrived under his instruction. They have also developed in to very talented players.
We have been traveling to Oakland once a week from Walnut Creek for over seven years because of all that Leo has to offer. His classical guitar instruction is presented in a positive, patient and constructive learning environment. We are very dedicated and thankful to him for the Kinderguitar program.
I am impressed with Leo Garcia’s ability to instruct young children and keep them motivated. His charm, patience, and praise gives students the encouragement and self-confidence to do well. With parental involvement encouraged, it allows me to be a part of my children’s musical education.
What keeps me coming back year after year is Leo makes our guitar lessons fun. He challenges me to play my best.
-Emily (Leo’s student for 9 years)
Leo makes learning the guitar fun and easy.
-Tess (Leo’s student for 3 years)
My 8 year old daughter started taking lessons last year from Leo in Kinderguitar. It has been a great introduction of music into her so-far sports-heavy life!
Leo teaches in a very supportive, fun, kid-friendly way. Lessons and practice are a great experience for both kids and parents. My daughter is really enjoying herself and it is thrilling for me to see her pick up the guitar to play without being reminded to do so!
From Hot Crossed Buns to Villa-Lobos, it has been a delightful journey with Leo. Our son gave Leo the status of “best guitarist in the world soon after his first lesson in January 2000”. Now a fussy teenager, he still admires Leo as a musician, a teacher, and a cool grown-up.
Leo knows how to catch the right moment to cheer or challenge his student and makes progress seem completely natural. He has given our son a solid foundation for musicianship – a treasure to last. We are thankful for that. We wholeheartedly recommend Leo to any child who takes interest in guitar. He is simply the best.
-Chikako & Ken (Ian’s parents)
Ever since Tristan began taking lessons from you at the age of 8 he has found your teaching style to be very effective and highly enjoyable. He has progressed through the years to the point that now at age 15 he is composing songs for his own enjoyment and recording music with his friends. He has felt motivated by your class to a degree that extends beyond the world of music. Your engaging manner has been inspirational for him, and has been a fine example of what he should strive for himself as an adult.
Of all the teachers I have ever had, Leo Garcia has been the best. Leo is one of the only people I have never been angry with, simply because of his patient and kind personality. I walked into the studio with a smile almost everyday, because I knew what fun was waiting for me. His love for guitar, his teaching, and his warm personality was why whatever was going on in the outside world never mattered. The outside was outside, and inside the studio with Leo was fun, joy, excitement, and happiness.
They say you only have a sense of what something means to you when it is gone, and as a former student, I can say walking out of that room for the last time was one of the saddest moments I’ve had. Memories of “Hot Cross Buns” (my first song learned), practices, conversations, and recitals overwhelmed me on the car ride home. I was losing something I had had part of me for 7 years, since I was 8. The experience is one I will never forget, and the music and lessons learned along the way will always be apart of me.
Playing music was sometimes difficult, but Leo made every step of learning how, fun. It was like playing with the composer, and learning all the techniques and methods that made the songs easy, enjoyable, and most of all beautiful. Music has been apart of my life ever since that first lesson, and I cannot imagine living in a world without the guitar. Leo made the guitar fun and beautiful while being kind and patient. I aspire to have his warm personality and patience, and I know all those who know him are so incredibly lucky.
If there was anything else I could say to Leo, I would say that it pains me that I cannot continue, that he has made a profound impact on my life, I will miss him so much, and he has my thanks, because he has been my favorite teacher and one of the best friends I have ever had. My children will know his name.
-Tristan Wyeth Blackmore