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Music Lessons

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With rates among the lowest in the area, a monthly fee of $140 (or $35 per lesson) covers 4 private weekly 1/2 hour lessons. One hour (common for vocal lessons and adults) and longer lessons and alternate frequency of scheduling (monthly, semi-monthly, one-off/as-needed) are available options, depending on the instructor. 

There are always opportunities at and because of M.E. to connect and play with others of comparable skill and interests, and we feature student showcase performances periodically, both here at the shop, and sometimes at WiseGirl, the music venue and restaurant next door. 

Get to know us and see if what we offer is a good fit for you. We’re confident it will be (please check out both our visible reviews on Yelp!, as well as those hidden by Yelp). 

Take advantage of our special offers of first month of lessons at half-off the regular price and/or one free half-hour lesson with any store purchase of $400 or more.


Meet The Teachers

Randy Verarde


Randall Verarde is the head guitar instructor and co-owner of Music Encounter with his wife Christie. Randy has taught hundreds of students how to play over many years, and emphasizes fundamental skills, theory, acoustic styles, and electric blues and rock. A former middle and high school teacher and long time performing musician, Randy guides students with great patience and skill. 

Christie Verarde


 Christie Verarde teaches voice and is co-owner at M.E. She has sung the lead in numerous musicals, including ‘Sandy’ in Grease, ‘Laurie’ in Oklahoma, along with parts in Smile, The Pirates of Penzance, and Meet Me In St. Louis, among others. Besides musical theater, Christie has sung both lead and backing vocals on several recordings and in the band Deja Blues for many years, and currently fronts the duet Reminisce (with husband Randy on guitar). Christie brings a breadth of knowledge and over 30 years of professional teaching and mentoring experience to her lessons.

Cliff Shaw


Cliff Shaw (guitar) has over 35 years experience as a performing musician and teacher. He studied classical with San Francisco Conservatory professor Lawrence Ferrara, Jazz with Skyline College professor Frank Markovich and Latin with Cuban virtuoso Tito Gonzalez. Cliff also brings to his teaching over two decades of professional experience as a public school teacher.

John Gill

John Gill

The first outside instructor ever hired by M.E., John Gill teaches both guitar and bass, and brings a rare combination of skills, experience, and personality to his role as instructor. Performing regularly in several bands, his expertise is in legato styles, hard rock, and bluegrass. John’s easy-going nature insures that the challenge of learning occurs in a supportive environment.


Singer, bassist and guitarist for local classic pop band The Dawdlers; former “Paul” (McCartney role) in Beatles tribute band The Sun Kings, and still currently that in the Lennon & McCartney tribute duo, Two of Us, and a former songwriter for Virgin Music, Jim is a clear tenor singer and teacher of voice, guitar, bass guitar & general music instruction, with a number of the VOENA Children’s Choir among his former students. 

Professional, experienced staff.  With decades of professional experience, we’ve taught hundreds to play and excel.

Our monthly fee ($150) is among the lowest in the area. Why pay more?

Individualized programs for all levels and styles.   

All ages welcome.  From 8 to 88, it’s never too late!

Focus on usable skills. Learn to play, think, and communicate musically.

Jams and ensembles. Experience the thrill of collaborating and playing with others, and performing at showcases.

Reading and non-reading programs available.

Flexible scheduling.