Review left by Nicola Eldridge
My daughter has been taught by Darren for 3 years and she has made fantastic progress.
Darren has been patient and encouraging and the songs that he has given her to learn have been varied and challenging as she has improved.
She now has the confidence to continue to learn by herself - I thoroughly recommend Darren as a teacher.
We initially engaged with Darren to instruct our 9 year old son in guitar as he showed an interest in learning. Our son really enjoyed the lessons with Darren and achieved grade 1 acoustic very quickly. While our son didn't want to progress with the grade system, Darren has progressed him on to bar chords, scales, starting with the caged system and general music theory After being impressed with Darren I also took up lessons. I had had a long break from acoustic guitar, previously being mainly a rhythm "cow boy" chord player with a bit of finger style, Darren taught me a lot of music theory, the caged system, scales and modes and greatly improved my lead playing. I feel a lot more comfortable jamming a lead on the fly now :).
Both my son and I really enjoyed our lessons with Darren and had a lot of laughs while learning, I would whole heartedly recommend Darren as a teacher for any level of guitar.
DARREN IS SO PATIENT, AN AMAZING TEACHER, WE LAUGHED A LOT AND HE’S THE COOLEST DUDE IN WANTAGE When I broke my back and had to spend a year lyIng down at home, I wanted to use the time to surround myself with positive things. So I read a lot, watched a lot of great films and listenedto inspiring music. But, as a wannabe songwriter who played keys, I needed to learn an instrument that I could play in bed and wasn’t a weight on my healing spine. So I gave Darren a call and I’m so glad I did! He structured the lessons around stuff I was interested in and taught me how to play from the ground up. We covered so much: chords, inversions, open tuning, progressions, jamming, diatonic and the caged system. Not only is he a double-denim-wearing legend and the coolest dude in Wantage, he’s so patient, an amazing teacher and we laughed a lot. Those lessons were the start of my career in music - I have Darren to thank for inspiring so many of my songs.
Harry (Waiting for Smith)
QUALITY GUITAR TEACHING My son has been going to lessons for over 6 years and I can strongly recommend this teacher who is able to vary his teaching to maintain interest and enthusiasm, whilst still getting his students great marks in exams.
STARTING AS A BEGINNER I had tried to teach myself the basics of guitar myself but lost a lot of motivation with it. I started having lessons with Darren and he has completely restored my motivation and helped me to make massive steps to improving, helping me get out of the stage where it seems impossible to ever learn! A brilliant teacher, giving me exactly what I wanted out of my lessons; learning so many new songs, theory behind guitar and so much more. Very grateful for all the help he’s given.
Darren has taught me after a long stint away from guitar and helped rekindle a passion for it. He brought me up to speed with my theory needed to pass the RockSchool Grade 4 exam. Professional and flexible, with great guitar knowledge and he makes learning a pleasure! Would recommend.
Mattew Chambers 2017-07-13 14:30
My son Matthew has been learning guitar with Darren for a few years. He's made great progress in that time and been successful with his grade exams. The great thing about Darren is that he manages to teach while making it fun - there's a good mix of technical challenge and learning cool tunes. Matthew really enjoys the lessons. I always appreciate Darren's friendly and professional approach and his flexibility when we've needed to make alternative arrangements. Highly recommended.
Brennan Reeves 2016-09-29 19:05
I have had guitar lessons with Darren for almost year and within about 10 months he had taught me everything I needed to successfully take a grade 5 rock school exam, despite the fact I didn't have much knowledge of music theory prior to starting lessons with Darren. I would highly recommend him to anyone looking for guitar lessons.
Julian Tait 2016-09-29 06:09
Darren has taught me for 3 years and has given me all the skills I need to continue playing for myself. I have enjoyed every lesson with great tuition and variety in the songs that I would play, from songs that I wanted to play as well as the grade pieces and great other suggestions by him. I would definitely recommend him to anyone looking for a guitar teacher of any ability!
Again, thanks for the many many lessons Darren!
Jessie Dipper 2015.7.10 12:13
Darren is awesome. He's helped me so much to progress in doing something I love and want to do for the rest of my life. Thanks to his help and teachings I got a merit in my grade 5 electric guitar exam after what seemed to be a pretty short time doing the course. Now I'm grade 6 standard and ready to go off to study singer songwriting at The Academy of Music and Sound in Birmingham this September. Darren's made me look at lots of different things within guitar playing- not just the usual 'shredding-of-the-axe' type, but also some classical pieces and looks at acoustic chords and shaping’s, with very weird inversions and such like that have taken me right out of my comfort zone- for which I'm extremely thankful for :) If anyone was to say that guitar is an easy instrument, they're wrong. The guitar is a tool of grace and gentleness, but it can also be something of power and perplexity, and it's no surprise that it has very much become part of my anatomy over many years of learning and fiddling. I haven't mastered it by any means, but because of Darren's fantastic teaching methods, I've been able to explore my guitar and develop my own playing style- which may one day (in many many many many many years to come) result in me being almost as good as Darren. So thank you, for everything :)
and no, he didn't pay me to say this.
Martin 2014.12.9 12:02
Darren has been teaching my son guitar for the past two years (ish) and has done a great job in inspiring the boy to practice and progress. He's now nearly 14 and has just formed his first band. He passed his last grading (2) with a merit. He loves playing and is well on the way to become a talented player. He has always spoken fondly of Darren and says he enjoys the lessons ("He's a legend"). I'd recommend Darren to anyone wanting to get their child interested in guitar or to anyone of any age just wanting to develop their skills and knowledge.
Chris Walters 2014.11.2 22:36
Having been playing for a number of years sometime emerged in my busy diary to improve my playing. Darren has helped me make the best of that time and has rekindled my passion for playing. His teaching style is easy-going yet motivational, and he clearly knows his stuff. Above all else, he listens to what you want to learn and then guides you in the right direction, rather than force-feeding you with pre-canned lessons. A fantastic experience from a thoroughly nice guy and a great musician and teacher.
Dom Banham 2013.11.9 19:40
I've had guitar lessons from Darren since i was only 10 years old. During the 7 years I have been taught by him, the amount of things I have learn from him are uncountable. I always wanted to become a professional guitarist since i was a child, but Darren gave me the skills to turn that into a reality. The range of styles he showed me made it almost impossible for me not to become a lead guitar. He began by just showing me how to play my favorite songs if just liked to listen to on the radio, it would be a case where I would tell him the song i wanted to learn and Darren would learn it himself and teach it to me in one hour session, sometimes just half an hour! Darren has been a constant encouragement in my guitar career by pushing me as far as i can go and telling me i can get the places i want to be. Lessons weren't all learning my favorite songs, i personally struggle significantly with the theory side of guitar playing, however, Darren always found ways to make it seem easy. Constant exercises at the beginning of sessions really hammered the scales etc. into my brain.
I tend to mostly playing metal and alternative rock when i play live music; however, Darren has always given me the required tools to adapt to playing other genres, which has become more than helpful in my college course I am currently undertaking.
As well as being taught the required skills to play the guitar at grade 8 standard, he also made sure i had as many techniques as possible when I took my playing to the stage (what sounds good, rhythms that crowds appreciate). Which demonstrates how Darren makes a significant effort to make you an all-round musician to give the best possible chance of making it into a very difficult industry.
I'd recommend anyone to take lessons here as there is no one better (that I have found) with making the effort to make you the best possible musician you can be.
Summer 2006 - Autumn 2013
Ollie Base 2013.9.7 16:14
Darren has been my guitar teacher since I was 12 and has also taught my brother for many years. His informal yet encouraging style of teaching helped me progress from a complete beginner to an advanced player very quickly. A key factor of this progress is the independence you are granted as a student; since the beginning, I've selected the songs, genres and techniques I wish to learn and have learnt them at my own pace. Within this process, his wealth of experience and knowledge have helped guide me away from bad habits and towards a very versatile playing ability. Because of this, I have developed my own style of guitar-playing, allowing me in turn to realise my musical ambition of songwriting. I am now a singer/songwriter under the name Reuben's Rocket, about to release a second EP of original songs.
I highly recommend Darren as a guitar tutor, regardless of your ability.
Eloise Rees 2012.11.6 16:10
I started guitar lessons with Darren when I was just 13 years old and he taught me for several years. I started my lessons learning the very basics and found that with-in a year I had vastly improved, so much so, that I was able to join my very first band as rhythm guitarist. Through my years of tuition I was encouraged to develop my own style, explore different guitar techniques and was given the opportunity to gain a deep understanding in how to construct songs. I am now 21 years old and have been fortunate enough to have be signed to London’s Downtown Artists as a singer songwriter, I wholeheartedly believe that this wouldn‘t have been possible without my early tuition. I strongly recommend Darren, he is extremely patient, encouraging and most importantly makes every lesson thoroughly enjoyable. I can guarantee that you will walk away from every lesson feeling like you have achieved something new...
Rosie Abi Aoun 2012.9.25 18:32
I have really enjoyed all my lessons with Darren. Not only have I mastered scales and graded pieces, but he has also helped me learn pop and rock songs at my own pace. He has taught me to become an independent guitarist, showing me chord families along the guitar neck so developing my own style. All lessons have been really relaxed and incredibly enjoyable. Thanks Darren!
Euan Motion 2012.9.11 14:07
I went to Darren for lessons for about 6 years before I left for university. I vastly improved from a beginner level of stringing together groups of chords to playing intricate and interesting riffs to more complex time signatures. Darren has a great teaching style that is very relaxed and encouraging and is at a pace you can comfortably keep up with, whilst providing enough challenge to keep you constantly improving. He has a wide variety and in depth of knowledge of different techniques, theory, music genres and guitar styles. With teaching you this variety of knowledge he equips you and then encourages you to try and put your own style and musical influences into songs you learn and to create your own, allowing you to progress from covering songs to writing your own music. The best music teacher I have ever had, definitely would recommend him and well worth the time and money.
Jordan Grey 2012.8.30 21:10
I have been with Darren for about 7 years now and have learnt a colossal amount about the guitar in that time. Darren is a great guitar player with tons of style and also tons of patience. He has helped guide me through 6 Rockschool gradings where I was successful in all of them first time around, I know for a fact that this would not have been possible without his tuition. Darren has also helped me to develop my own style over the years which some tutors are not able to do so well. The atmosphere in lessons is chilled and relaxed, helping you to feel comfortable to play the guitar at the best of your ability, definately worth the money and a highly recommended teacher.
Harry T 2012.8.25 13:15
Been learning guitar from Darren for around 5 years and have improved vastly since my beginner status. I would strongly recommend him because of his experience, his patience, his ability to improve your technique and theory week by week and his awesome taste in music. He can teach you all your favourite songs in a friendly environment and also official Rockschool grading for those people who want an academic achievement in music.
Well worth the money and time!
Mark Moorby 2012.8.23 10:28
I've been learning to play the guitar with Darren. I'd definitely recommend him. He's friendly, easy to talk to and a great teacher. It's easy enough to sit at home and learn a few songs and chords but Darren pointed me in the right direction with the systems, techniques and theory to find my way around the fret board, making me an individual guitarist, able to make my own music and join a band if I want to. I have progressed a lot since I started coming to Darren.