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Don Covel is a graduate of the University of Redlands and has also studied composition and arranging at the Grove School of Music in Studio City CA. He is a former instructor for various music schools including Virtuoso Music School.

​He is also a professional musician and performs locally at music festivals, corporate events, and private parties.
In addition to teaching music Don also helps students learn how to enhance their live performance by using effects, sound systems, and playing with backing tracks.


This combination of  formal education,  experience as a professional musician, and an ability to listen & communicate clealy makes Don uniquely qualified. "For me the first step is make students feel comfortable and confident."  "I can help my students gain confidence to perform for live audiences by drawing on the things I have learned performing over the years. This can range from playing at home for their family to learning how to use backing tracks, like I do, to play at public venues."

"I have a basic, proven system I use that can be adapted to anyone no matter where they are in their experience. We focus on learning songs and augment the lessons with a foundational understanding of the logic of music. This gives  students the power and inspiraton to eventually teach themselves and go in any direction they are called to includingrock, folk, country, classical, and worship."


Learned chord secrets

"I had played the guitar, actually for many years but could not seem to get past basic chords. Don broke things down into concepts I could understand. Now I can listen to a song and, in many cases, figure it out myself because I  now know how to use the right chords."

- Steven, Mission Viejo

Progress for her daughter

"I wanted my daughter to learn the guitar. Within two months she was playing songs that our family recognized. She made progress quickly. Now she is hooked."

- Mary Ann, Irvine

Ukulele was easy

"I really wanted to learn to play songs on the ukulele. I tried getting some books and learning on my own but just got frustrated. Don showed how to play four cool songs in just one month... don't spin your wheels. Get Don to help you.
- Alan, Aliso Viejo

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Background screened

As a former Administrator for Grace Community Church and Grace Christian Schools, Don has undergone a comprehensive background check and screening (available by request). He is also an approved instructor for Inspire Charter Schools

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Approved instructor

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 Frequently asked Questions

​What kind of guitar should I get?

The 3 main choices are acoustic steel string, classical nylon string, or electric guitar. Any will do. However, I suggest starting with a good steel string guitar.

I have a guitar... but it doesn't sound right.

Part of my instruction includes suggestions and guidance to getting a good sound from your guitar. This can range from referring you to a guitar technician, making adjustments myself, or helping you choose a better guitar. I always look for the lowest cost option for students.

How do I choose the right guitar?

Briefly, there are 3 basic aspects (although there are many nuances) to look for: the sound quality, the playability (also called action), and the intonation. If you do not yet have a guitar, I can help you choose one.

How much does a beginning guitar cost?

A usable beginning guitar can start at less than $200. Also you can find good used guitars for $100 to $300. Additional costs would be a strap, strings, metronome, tuner, case, and supplemental lesson books.

How much does a ukulele cost?

A usable Ukulele starts under $100 including a attractive carrying bag. Professional ukes can range from $2000 to $3000.

What will I learn?

Our first lesson is an assessment of the student's current experience and comfort level (absolute beginner through advanced player). I have a progressive training program that allows a student to start at whatever point they are at ease with. We then agree on 3 songs as a staring goal that they would like to learn. I will also make suggestions on a learning path to foundational knowledge of the guitar. This can range from very basic to a comprehensive understanding of chords, picking techniques, ear-training, soloing, singing, and practice routines. 

What makes your approach different?

I offer students alternative learning paths and opportunities to learn ancillary skills (e.g. playing with backing tracks). This can include basic voice techniques to complement their playing. For example: some student prefer to focus on primarily learning songs. Then, if they so choose, we supplement their lessons with scales, chords, and exercises. This can include (but not require) learning to read music. For kids I provide very basic note reading as a foundation to build on-going knowledge. For adults who have some prior experience we can just focus on learning the right chords to their favorite songs, and/or learning lead solo concepts ranging from Chuck Berry to Santana. I also include video and audio examples of the songs being played at normal speed and at a very slow speed so that they can practice slowly to gain confidence. Additionally, I offer backing tracks for students to play along and even perform with (like I do.)

Is there a secret to learning?
To be fair (and forthcoming) the more one is willing to learn the fundamentals of music the more one is able to play the songs the they love correctly and experience the confidence and joy of playing for yourself and others. There is no shortcut to success but I can help you make progress quickly by showing you, at your pace, how to play your songs and how to go about learning them and improving your playing.

Is it best to start with a ukulele first then move to the guitar?

It depends on your goals. The good news is that everything you learn on the uke relates directly to the guitar.

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