News & Politics

Have More Fun: Guitar

Time to graduate from air guitar to real guitar?

Admit it—you’ve fantasized about playing a guitar solo in front of thousands of fans. The guitar is cool, it’s sexy, and there’s an endless number of songs and musical styles that lend themselves to it—from folk to rock to blues to classical.

Aliah Rosenthal, artistic director of Music Lesson Central, says many of that school’s students are adults who have never played before. “It’s definitely the rock-star appeal,” Rosenthal says. “People want to play for their friends or at weddings—they want to impress people.”

You can get the hang of basic guitar chords fairly quickly, and it won’t be too long before you can play some of your favorite songs.

Want to learn at home? Music Lesson Central (202-536-4824 for DC and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties; 703-842-9424 for Northern Virginia; sends instructors to give half-hour, 45-minute, and hourlong private lessons.

The Washington Conservatory of Music (1 Westmoreland Cir., Bethesda; 301-320-2770; offers 17 weekly private lessons at $969 (45 minutes) or $1,241 (60 minutes).

The Levine School of Music (202-686-8000; offers classes for all ages and abilities. With campuses in Northwest and Southeast DC, Arlington, and North Bethesda, the school provides hourlong adult group guitar classes (around $350 for a semester; $705 for a year). Private lessons are also available.

Guitar stores such as the Guitar Shop (1216 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-331-7333; , Middle C Music (4530 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-244-7326; , and the Guitar Center (12401 Twinbrook Pkwy., Rockville; 301-231-6100; have instructors who teach in the store as well as books and other resources.

If you want to try teaching yourself, look for the Play Guitar Today! book-and-CD series from Hal Leonard Corporation (hall­ . Mel Bay Publications’ Web site ( sells instructional books, CDs, and DVDs—including the First Lessons and You Can Teach Yourself series in various musical styles—as well as downloadable sheet music.

—Caitlin Carroll