Love of guitar is at the foundation of my teaching. -Ed


My music education began at home with the influence of my parents, brothers and sisters, all of whom played an instrument and/or sang.  I started playing guitar around age 13 and first performed publicly, singing and playing, as a freshman in high school. At the consistent prodding of a good friend, I enrolled in Mixed Chorus in high school.  It turned out to be a good thing as I was exposed to some great music by a great teacher.

I continued with the music education experience at Cal State Fullerton, earning a Bachelor's degree in Music Education, with an emphasis in voice and conducting.  During this time I continued playing guitar to the acoustic pop/folk styles of James Taylor, The Eagles and America, to name a few.  I also frequently played/sang in the church with my wife, Roxanne.

After 'careers' in restaurants, real estate, and retirement/financial operations, I decided, in 2003, to wholeheartedly pursue this sole passion - to make music, teaching and playing guitar.

Since then I've worked with hundreds of students.  Teaching is my primary focus, and Roxanne and I still love performing together.  I love to teach, and I love to play even more!

- Ed Nilsen


I encourage public performance and provide concert opportunities in local venues 3-4 times per year. For some students, I play and sing along to ensure a positive experience and encourage future performance. As students gain confidence, they begin to perform by themselves or with other students and friends. Student concerts are typically in the spring, August, and December.

Past venues include The Kaleidoscope, It's a Grind, and The Shops at Mission Viejo.

My Method

I teach guitar as an accompaniment instrument to the voice, all for the purpose of playing songs and equipping students to be 'band friendly' or to gain and build confidence to play in a contemporary setting with their peers.

Emphasis is given to chord forms and voicings, strumming and picking patterns, scales and theory.

Often, students bring songs they want to learn and I will teach those particular songs to them. The premise is that if they are playing songs they like, they will play more guitar (not thinking of it as "practice") and improve.

As students progress, it's common for them to begin writing (and recording) their own songs, which I help with as well.  Additionally, I encourage singing and provide vocal instruction if desired.

Charter Schools

    I am an approved vendor with:
  • Excel Academy
  • iLEAD
  • National University Academy
  • Sky Mountain
  • Springs Charter

I also teach guitar and vocal performance at the Crown Homeschool Community in Rancho Santa Margarita and guitar and band electives for Stoneybrooke Christian Schools in Ladera Ranch.  


Lessons are provided in my home studio near the intersection of Estanciero and Marguerite in Mission Viejo.