Music instruction: Mark Jenssen

Last updated: April 30, 2012

Mark Jenssen | Madison | Near-East

  • Guitar-Acoustic

Beginning Guitar Instruction

Genres: Blues, Classical, Folk, Indie Rock

I started playing acoustic guitar in 1980 when I had my sister's Harmony given to me. It sounded terrible and the strings were miles above the fingerboard but it got me started. In college I fell in love with a wide variety of 60's folk music, practiced a lot, and became good enough to sing and play at coffee houses and bars with a friend as a duo. In 1991 I fell in love with the guitar all over again when I realized that the fingerstyle instrumental music of Leo Kottke and John Fahey was within my reach. While living in St. Louis I studied with a classical guitar teacher, Larry Bolles, who shared my interest in fingerstyle folk music. It was his guidance that provided me with a strong technical foundation.

My wife and I started a family in 1999 and as our kids grew, developed their own musical interests, and eventually chose instruments, I have been their home coach - supporting their music teachers and urging them to develop good practice habits. It was this experience of attending lessons and sitting through practice sessions over the last several years that, more than anything, has motivated me to teach.

I believe -

-  live music makes a home a better place

-  learning an instrument teaches valuable lessons about deferred gratification and how to work through challenges

-  how you practice is as important as what you practice

-  students quit their instruments most often because they either fail to find music they connect with or never learn to practice in a way that supports satisfying progress.

-  music can be a resource for families seeking balance in an ever more digital world

I offer instruction in beginning guitar for children and adults. I can emphasize "family music" for those who would like to introduce more live music into their home. I cover both flatpicking and fingerstyle techniques and can tailor a curriculum either around a series of books, or around songs selected by the student. If a student is particularly interested in fingerstyle techniques I can support them beyond the beginner level. I teach out of our home or a nearby studio depending on the student's schedule.

Please call or email to set up a free trial lesson, and I can provide some additional information and answer any questions you may have.

Contact Information

Neighborhood: Near-East
Madison, WI 53703

Phone: 608-234-0901


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