Improve Your Banjo Skills!
Master the fretboard, learn songs by ear, improvise, learn to compose original songs, or simply jam with friends.
Play confidently, speak musician lingo, become musically literate, share your musical passion and creations with your audience.
I’m Chris Conly, and I’ve been teaching banjo for over 10 years, and I love sharing my passion for music and learning with students in person in New York City, and online all over the world.
Are you looking for a guide along the next phase of your musical journey?
I’d love to work together unlocking the musical mystery of the 5-string banjo!
What’s so special about my private teaching program?
I’m a real person, I’ve been down this road many times on my own, and I’ll hold you accountable to your ambitions.
Adaptable Lesson Format.
Don’t let anyone tell you that musical learning is a one-size-fits-all pursuit. Focus on songs, exercises and topics specific to your musical frustrations, motivations and goals.
Custom Built Resources.
Every time I write out a chart of a popular song for a student, I add it to my teaching library. I’ve been growing my organic, hand-made collection of charts for over a decade, so you can choose from my thousands of ready-made resources, or request your own. Resources are designed to meet you at your comfort zone, and stretch you just beyond it, and include: Standard Notation, Tablature, Chord + Scale Shapes, JamTrack MP3s, and the Master Guitar Pro 7 File.
2 Monthly Frequency Options.
Consistency is crucial to planting the seeds of any skill set, and following through to see it blossom to its full potential. I offer private lessons by the month. You can elect to meet every week, or twice monthly. This way you can really dig in if it suits your budget, scheduling and focus, or you can allow yourself the time you need between lessons to fully absorb the material.
But don’t just take my word for it – ask students what they have to say?
“You are a really stellar teacher who has been able to cater to exactly what I want to learn thus far.”Sid G.
“Chris has a great way of presenting the material in a manageable way, breaking down the steps and finding alternative chords to make it work for more of a beginner.
He has a vast knowledge of songs, he hears the chords and melodic changes easily and quickly makes charts for you to take home and study.
Chris has a great friendly way about him which makes him easy to talk to.
For blues, rock, folk and jazz, Chris Conly is a great banjo teacher!”Ledell M.
“Chris was able to explain music fundamentals to me in a way that’s easy to understand.
I left each session feeling extremely accomplished and more confident than the last.
Chris has a way of instilling his passion for banjo and love of music in his students, and making me excited to go home and practice.
Chris teaches everything – songs, music theory, music history, the anatomy of the banjo – he even taught me how to re-string my banjo today.
He always has such a positive attitude in every lesson, and I never feel overwhelmed.
The diversity of students he teaches is a testament to his patient, understanding of where each individual student is coming from.
I now have a repertoire of songs I’ll be performing in public.
Truly a top notch teacher in my book!”Rachel L.
“As of this week, I have officially been studying banjo with Chris for one year, and I’m thrilled with the progress I’ve made so far!
As a singer, I was brimming with thousands of disorganized ideas for songs I liked to sing.
Now, each time I walk into a lesson with Chris, all I have to do is sing a new song in a key that’s comfortable, and within a SECOND, Chris is writing a banjo arrangement from scratch, for me to learn THAT DAY during the lesson, and take home to practice.
Together, we have covered Bluegrass, Classic Rock, 70’s Folk, 80’s Pop & Broadway, all while incorporating fun and interesting banjo techniques into our original arrangements.
I am always motivated to practice because I get to play songs I actually like, on a wonderful, traditional, American instrument.
But, when life gets crazy and I can’t devote the time I want to my practice, Chris is never judgmental or impatient.
Chris has enriched my abilities as a not only a banjo player but also a singer.
My range of expression, appreciation, and comprehension of music have expanded greatly, and I could not be happier!”Amanda T.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What can I expect to learn in my first few months of lessons?
My song-based approach teaches songs of our choice, that fit your current skill level, from which you’ll learn proper technique, fretboard logic, scales, chords, ear training, music theory, composition and improvisation.
If you’re an absolute beginner, we’ll choose from my library of over 1,000 songs, for each of which I’ve created resources (like chord charts, lead sheets, strumming or finger picking patterns, or play-along MP3s) to help your practice time at home between our sessions together.
Can I try before I buy?
You wouldn’t buy a banjo without playing it first, right?
You want to try it out first so you can make a better informed decision.
Working with a private teacher puts a lot of trust in the hands of a professional, and you want to make sure it’s a solid student-teacher match before you commit to working together for months, possibly years.
I feel exactly the same about new students – I want to make sure you are focused, dedicated, curious and willing to follow through and put your time in practicing, before we begin working together.
This is why I offer all new students a FREE 30m Trial Lesson.
If we’re not a good fit, no hard feelings – it’s not personal.
I’ll even help you find the right teacher for your request.
If we understand each other’s expectations, let’s take it to the next level and schedule your first month of private lessons.
Do you offer Video Lessons, if I don’t live/work in NYC?
One of my favorite things about teaching private students in NYC is the amazing variety of players from all creative walks of life.
I get to teach an even wider array of students, all over the world with the aid of video conferencing apps like FaceTime and Zoom.
Do I have to bring my banjo?
The short answer is no, not always. The long answer is yes, you should want to bond with your own personal instrument over an unknown loaner.
That said, if you’re traveling from work, the weather is miserable, or yours is in the shop – I’ve got you covered. I always have a few different guitars for you to play at my studio.
Where is your studio located?
Chris Conly Guitar Studio is located at 234 6th Street, in Brooklyn, just a few blocks from the Subway.
The closest subway is the 4th Ave/9th St. station, where the F, G & R trains meet.
Also nearby is the Smith/9th St. station on the F & G lines, as well as the Carroll Street stop.
What’s so special about your studio, anyway?
Besides the courtyard, grill, basketball hoop, lawn chairs, restrooms, graffiti artwork and tons of musicians?
It’s close to the subway, The Bell House, Halyard’s Bar, Four & Twenty Blackbirds Cafe, Whole Foods Market and the Gowanus Canal.
How much do private lessons cost?
It takes more than being a great musician to be a great teacher, and I pride myself in my empathetic approach to each student’s needs.
As a professionally trained musician and educator in New York City, I offer my time as a teacher to private students in a focused, 1-to-1 environment for a very reasonable rate of $75/hr.
Private lessons are available in blocks of 2 or 4 sessions per month.
- $300/month = 4 Private Sessions (weekly)
- $150/month = 2 Private Sessions (every other week)
This includes my years of training at Berklee College of Music, on the road, and in the studio, and buys you a seat at the table on my calendar each month to focus on your goals.
Can you travel to me?
If you’re in the neighborhood, I can offer you my “Brooklyn” rate.
If I need to cross a bridge or tunnel, I can offer you my “Manhattan” rate.
You will need to sign up for an Intro Lesson, and travel to my studio for our initial meeting to discuss details.
- Brooklyn: $100/hr (north of Greenwood Cemetery)
- Manhattan: $125/hr (south of Central Park)
To ensure I can focus on each individual student, my teaching schedule is limited to 20 students each month. If my current roster is full, you can sign up for the waiting list and I’ll email you as soon as a seat opens up.