Music Education

To inquire by e-mail about music lessons with Michael Tobias, please select a link for:

        Guitar Lessons           Bass Lessons           Harmonica Lessons           Ukulele Lessons

Michael Tobias offers private music lessons in Acoustic, Electric, and Slide Guitar; Bass; Harmonica; and Ukulele. Tobias teaches at Watermelon Music in Davis & CB Music Studios in Roseville. His current students live in Sacramento, Davis, Roseville, Woodland, Dixon, Elk Grove, Granite Bay, and other surrounding areas.

To read testimonials about Tobias’s teaching,
please click the link to check out his students’ reviews on

Michael Tobias is originally from Georgia, where the region's native sound of wailing blues guitar called Tobias to pick up his first “six-string axe” and play.

In his formative years, Tobias was classically trained as a guitarist. He studied the great Spanish & European composers such as Francisco Tarrega, Fernando Sor and Johann Sebastian Bach. Through playing classical music, Tobias learned the nuances of finger-style guitar and gained a high level of technical proficiency with the instrument.

Later, at the University of Georgia in Athens, Tobias broadened his study of music and explored the great American Jazz composers such as Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Thelonius Monk, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker & Bill Evans.

Michael Tobias has over 20 years experience as a musician. He has taught students from age 6 to 60+ with beginning to advanced skill levels and a wide variety of musical tastes. Musical styles taught include: Jazz, Blues, Rock, Metal, Hip-Hop, Funk, Folk, County, Americana, Hawaiian, Pop, Classical and World music. 

In addition to teaching, he also performs regionally with his group:
Michael Tobias & the Acidic Swamp Band 




The above photo sequence shows Michael Tobias teaching and recording music with 4th graders at Hualalai Academy, a private independent day school. At Hualalai Academy, Tobias taught guitar and ukulele to 4th and 5th graders,  middle school,  &  high school.  His classes covered music theory, note reading, classical & modern guitar techniques, music appreciation, song writing, composition, and sound recording.


Teaching Philosophy

When Michael Tobias was in the 6th grade, one of his favorite T-shirts bore the bold slogan "Learn to play the guitar in 15 minutes!" This white T - Shirt was illustrated with a-black ink drawing of an individual playing the acoustic guitar whose face was whitened out. Underneath the non-descript guitarist was a caption proclaiming "This Could Be You!"

Upon seeing this T-shirt, Tobias's classmates would often challenge him: "You can't learn the guitar in 15 minutes!"
"Yes you can," replied Tobias, an aspiring guitarist.
"No you can't," came the predictable rebuttal.

Although the author of Tobias's T-shirt intended it to be a parody of marketing schemes that appeal to people's desire for instant gratification, Michael Tobias understood that the message on the T-shirt was actually true. He had begun playing the guitar very recently and was discovering Music Making to be a simple and basic process, not at all a complex one.

For more than 20 years, Michael Tobias has been building upon his early observation that playing music, if approached properly, is a fundamental ability, common to all of us. Over time, Tobias has developed teaching methods that facilitate the ease of learning and encourage the mastery of a student's instrument.  Mastery begins in the mind and we are only limited by what we cannot imagine possible.

Regardless of an individual’s age or experience level, Tobias firmly believes that the ability to play and learn music is accessible to us all. 




Michael Tobias's teaching philosophy is simple:
Learn Music by Playing Music!

Tobias teaches music directly from the song books that students choose.  Music theory is studied and learned by playing the student’s favorite songs.  Rhythm, time signature, syncopation, groove, melody, scales, modes, harmony, chords, composition, technique, note reading, and improvisation will be studied only as it applies directly to the song that the student has brought forward to learn. 

Tobias enjoys showing his students how their favorite music styles fit into a broader spectrum of music.  Students who are learning Jimi Hendrix, Metallica or Green Day will discover how modern Rock music connects with the Blues.  Jazz students will hear how the sophisticated harmonies in early Jazz music was popularized by artist such as Stevie Wonder. 

Students will be guided in the development of their creativity.  During lessons, Tobias will play accompaniment and coach students as they  improvise over chord changes.  Tobias teaches younger students how to honor and follow their creative spark.  He also helps adult students to reclaim their creativity and discover new possibilities from familiar song forms. Students learn how to speak the language of music with feeling, depth & emotion.

Learn Music by Playing Music! Although there are no short cuts, this philosophy offers a direct pathway to ever higher plateaus of musical ability. If one truly believes, beyond the shadow a doubt, then you can learn to play the guitar, bass, harmonica, ukulele, accordion, saxophone, turn-table, drums, spoons, or whatever instrument you desire in 15 minutes!