He’s fantastic with kids.
I met Joe shortly after he’d started his teaching business, Deft Digits Guitar Lessons, in Seattle in 2011. I quickly discovered we saw eye-to-eye, and this has been confirmed as we’ve become both collaborators and friends over the last few years.
He has a strong background in jazz, blues, classic rock, music theory, and improvisation, he loves working with beginners as well as advanced players, and he’s fantastic with kids.
With his structured but flexible approach, Joe addresses each student differently, customizing his curriculum for your own musical ambitions, whether you’re eager to play your favorite songs around a campfire, ready to master the fretboard after many years on the guitar, or just intent on becoming the next guitar god. Be sure to check out all the free articles and videos on his website.
All I can say is “wow!”
I wasn’t sure how I would take to an actual lesson. In fact I’m probably a music teacher’s nightmare. I’m self-taught from an old Mel Bay Intro to Guitar book and have no academic musical background at all. Phrases like pentatonic scales, harmonic minor, diminished resolutions have no impact on me whatsoever. I cannot read music, I’ve only played “by ear” and along the way managed to get from strumming to an arpeggio or two and a reasonable facsimile of Travis picking. I should mention I’m 50ish with a very liberal “ish.” You know how set in our ways we are. So, it was with some trepidation that I contacted Joe and said I needed help getting back to my guitar after a 20 year lull. All I can say is “wow!” It was an hour well spent. Not being able to read music didn’t slow him down in the slightest. He worked with what I could do, changed my positions is some cases and gave me a good overall strategy for getting back into the game. He started me on Barre chords so I am now on my way to knowing all the notes on the guitar, in (not quite) nine days. Once these indentations turn into callouses…
Joe has a very easy going teaching style and can obviously relate to all manner of students. It seems that whatever style you play he can buff up the glow or get you to where you want to go. Do not let your lack of music theory hold you back. He could really help you!
Very organized and hard working
Joe is a great teacher, very organized and hard working.
Deft Digits is a real local Seattle treasure.
Joe is a really fun and engaging instructor. As someone fairly new to music lessons in general, I appreciated that his enthusiasm and love of music are practically infectious. You can’t help but leave feeling excited to work on something after a lesson with him. I often struggle with anxiety around living up to certain expectations or finding the right ways to schedule in practice. He had a lot of real and practical advice for me and was never judgemental, he just met me where I was at. I definitely look forward to working with Joe in the future to reach my goals for various stringed instruments (uke, electric guitar, …). Deft Digits (Joe!) is a real local Seattle treasure.
Joe is wonderfully talented at working with kids of all age levels.
My daughter, age 13, has taken guitar lessons from Joe for the past 3+ years and loves it! Joe is wonderfully talented at working with kids of all age levels. He’s able to mix the right amount of musical education, inspiration and goal setting to make lessons and practice fun and fulfilling. His bi-annual Coffee Shop Jam collaborative performances have been incredibly fun for her. Not only have the events inspired her to start writing her own songs, but she has gained so much confidence performing on stage with her teachers and peers. I know this experience will help her in other areas of her life. If you are looking for an experienced musician who is also an amazing teacher for kids and adults of all ages, Joe is the right fit for you!
Joe is super patient.
Student here! I started learning guitar pretty late (junior in high school) and Joe is super patient. I’ve had so much fun and I have learned so much. 10/10
I highly recommend him!
Joe is a great musician with the patience to give lessons! (Hard to find that combo!!) :) Joe really helped us all improve. After working with my daughter on guitar for several years, my son and I had to step up our game too! He took Ukulele and I took bass guitar, and I can say that Joe is talented on all instruments and was great to work with. I highly recommend him!
He is patient and careful in how he challenges my son.
My son (age 7) and I (age 45) have been taking lessons with Joe and have both had a fantastic experience. He has had a deep education in in jazz guitar, and a lot of experience performing blues-based rock. He is able to break down a riff into its components and use songs to expand our understanding of chords and scales, while keeping it fun. He is patient and careful in how he challenges my son but also keeps him engaged. The Deft Digits web site is a great resource.
You will love this guy!
Joe is the real deal. I am a kindergarten teacher taking ukulele lessons with Joe. He really knows music theory, but most importantly for me, he knows how to teach in a way that is fun and supportive. He is especially good at meeting me where I am at as a musician and taking me to the next level. You will love this guy!
Joe has the perfect balance of patience and encouragement.
My two kids, age 7 and 10, take lessons from Joe (my 7 year old started when she was 5 1/2). Joe has the perfect balance of patience and encouragement. The kids learn the songs they like, and are also taught to read music and understand musical theory. Taking lessons from Joe has been an invaluable experience for my kids and they look forward to seeing him and demonstrating what they have practiced over the week. We plan to learn from Joe in the years to come and to enjoy a lifetime of guitar playing!
Clear, meaningful instruction.
Decided to challenge myself and take guitar lessons again. If you are looking for a top-notch teacher, check out Deft Digits Lessons, run by my friend Joe Walker. He provides clear, meaningful instruction, and he does it all by Skype and email!
Joe is very professional and encouraging.
Joe is very professional and encouraging. He’s a guitar teacher who displays patience and calmness while still making it fun for our son. Joe took the time to find out what kind of music our 11 year-old is interested in learning and then tailored the teaching to his interests.
My favorite aspect of lessons is learning the ‘why’ behind the music.
Anyone with a Master’s degree in Jazz must know a thing or two about music theory! My favorite aspect of lessons is learning the ‘why’ behind the music. Joe is also very good at assessing confidence and skill level and giving weekly ‘homework’ that is challenging.
I am looking forward to the lesson every week.
I have played guitar for most of my life but without much ambition or great skill. A few years ago, after watching my son Peter turn into a very proficient drummer who loves to perform and to play loud and hard, I decided I needed to step up my game in the hopes of being able to join Peter at one of the coffee shop jams. Joe got me there very quickly and I am having great fun getting comfortable on stage and even singing some in addition to getting better at guitar. My son also decided to pick up bass (with Joe teaching him) to broaden his musical repertoire.
Joe is a very motivating, logical, and structured teacher. He is also a pretty great guitarist. I am looking forward to the lesson every week.
I felt well taken care of.
Taking lessons with Joe @ Deft Digits was one of the best choices I ever made.
I was a bit anxious as I’d never taken guitar before, and I was juggling other extra curricular activities (demanding and extreme voice lessons, master’s school, a swamped workload).. but despite all that, Joe was such a great teacher.
Not only does he answer every question with great thought and consideration, but he cares to customize your guitar education in more ways than one. He knew I wasn’t trying to become a master guitarist, but more to learn enough to accompany myself while I sing. Knowing the kind of music I liked, he’d give out custom guitar exercises that were tailored towards my personal guitar goals as well as listen to the newest songs I was liking and would draft up chords for the song by the next lesson..
One of the details I always appreciated as a student of Joe’s is that he took notes of each lesson documenting our progress and noting what my homework was, that way on the next lesson we picked up right where we left off. This sounds small, but coming from other 1:1 instructors who hardly knew names MUCH LESS your progress – this was incredibly appreciated. I felt well taken care of as his student and felt like he genuinely cared about my goals and my progress.
In short, Joe is a phenomenal teacher – he’s the best choice you’ll ever make when it comes to your music education :)
I give two thumbs way up.
Joe is a terrific guitar teacher. He’s patient and encouraging. He intuits my confidence and nervousness well and then adapts his teaching approach readily. He has a very fluid teaching style and he makes learning fun. I give two thumbs way up.
We are extremely pleased with Joe’s guitar instruction.
If you are looking for a guitar teacher and you are lucky enough to find an open slot in Joe’s schedule, do NOT hesitate – jump on it immediately. Joe is a gifted teacher who is able to use his deep guitar knowledge and interpersonal skills in concert to bring out the very best in his students. Our son (10) has been a student for 4+ years and we are extremely pleased with Joe’s guitar instruction and we recommend him very highly.
I strongly recommend giving him a try.
Joe is an excellent musician and teacher. He is passionate about his work and has developed a very effective teaching method, for younger students as well as older students, like me. It also feels great to support a local person who has started his own business to pursue his dream. I strongly recommend giving him a try.
A patient teacher who believes in his students
Joe is an incredible guitarist and a patient teacher who believes in his students. He supports students in their individual interests and goals. The coffee house jams he hosts are a testament to his ability to advance students of all ages.
Of all guitarists/guitar teachers I’ve worked with, Joe is my favorite.
5 STARS! Joe is a natural at both teaching and playing guitar, and his command of music theory, musical genres and a myriad of instruments is impressive. He has a knack for breaking down difficult techniques and/or concepts to become manageable, and literally his every interaction with students is positive. Joe is a motivator — exactly what you want in a teacher. My 9 y.o. son and I are students of his and we always look forward to our time with him. Also, a quick qualifier: I’ve played guitar since I was 14, and I’ve taken lessons from over a dozen world-class guitarists because I was a student at Musicians’ Institute’s Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT) in Hollywood, CA. Of all guitarists/guitar teachers I’ve worked with, Joe is my favorite.
I highly recommend Joe as an instructor.
I have been a client for several years and I highly recommend Joe as an instructor. His knowledge of guitar — and music in general — is deep and diverse. He is also a patient teacher and able to adapt his instruction to the student’s learning style and skill level. A great experience.
Our family feels so lucky to have him!
Joe has been my teenage son’s guitar teacher for the past two years and our family feels so lucky to have him! He’s thoughtful, fun, keeps kids engaged, patient and makes the experience so positive. I really appreciate that he allows his students to make choices about what they want to learn and it exponentially helps in their learning curve! Additionally, as a busy mom of four, having the online scheduling and ability to change and make appointments is fantastic. I can’t say enough about how great Joe is!
In just a few weeks I’ve seen an amazing improvement.
Joe is an amazing teacher no matter where you want to go with the guitar. He tailors his lessons to each student’s goals and needs very well — he can help you do anything, from strumming 4-chord camping songs to advanced jazz improvisation. I was looking to get more serious about my playing, and in just a few weeks I’ve seen an amazing improvement.
He has a professional attitude, but is able to keep things fun and always has the joy of making music in mind. He takes notes on each student and is well-prepared for each lesson. Fantastic!
I wish I’d known to tell my parents that I needed lessons back when I was 15!
I’m 50 years old and I’ve been taking lessons from Joe for 18 months or so. I’ve been playing for about 35 years but have no formal training. He’s been very helpful. Each lesson is a mix of theory instruction, reading and practical application. His location is great, his scheduling tools are excellent, and his makeup policy is good. My primary interest is rock, but he’s also great with jazz instruction. Most students at Deft Digits are younger than me; I’m always impressed with the quality of their performance. I wish I’d known to tell my parents that I needed lessons back when I was 15!
Every lesson is well planned.
Joe is fantastic! He’s an incredible musician, an excellent teacher, and a top notch human. My son and I have been taking lessons from Joe for nearly four years and our only regret is that we did not start sooner. Joe is equally effective with a young, nimble, and proficient student (not me) as he is with a middle aged, tone deaf beginner (me). Every lesson is well planned, organized and specifically tailored to the abilities and interests of the particular student. If you are interested in guitar and there is an opening in Joe’s schedule, I highly recommend that you take it.
I like how Joe pursues our interests in the lessons.
My 11 yr old son and I are taking lessons together and we are having a great time. I like how Joe pursues our interests in the lessons and challenges us while making it fun. In just the first month we learned several songs, shapes, and improvisation on both acoustic and electric. We will definitely continue!
Kind, patient, goal-oriented, and gets great results from his students.
Joe Walker is great for beginners to advanced/pro students of all ages. Joe is a teacher’s teacher… he really knows what he’s doing. He is kind, patient, goal-oriented, and gets great results from his students. Joe teaches great technique and theory using a curriculum of music that students enjoy. Joe is also a big advocate for getting students on the stage. He and Rob Hampton join forces for their Coffeeshop Jams. He’s been working hard on an in-depth online course for soloing. He teaches in the Ravenna district and also teaches uke, banjo, voice, drums, & bass.
I’m thrilled to finally have found a guitar teacher who understands my needs.
Joe Walker is the most thorough, responsible, and knowledgeable guitar teacher I’ve ever had. He covers all topics and genuinely cares about his students. He holds a masters degree in music, but also has a priceless amount of real-life, gigging experience, which makes him the most well-rounded guitar guy around. I’m thrilled to finally have found a guitar teacher who understands my needs.
TAKE LESSONS WITH JOE!
My son’s experience with Joe through his online course, “Solo Like You Mean It” and via private lessons has been amazing!!
We started off with the online course and I watched my son begin to grasp concepts that were confusing or simply seemed too complicated to get on his own. Joe speaks so patiently and presents the material with such clarity that my teenager was actually excited to do the course work on his own.
As far as lessons go–I cannot tell you how happy and pleased I am!!! In just four months, my son has NOTICEABLY improved. In this short amount of time, he plays with more intelligence, speed and skill. He seems more confident and the look he has on his face when he plays well is just priceless. If you don’t live in Seattle, do yourself a favor and buy his online program and watch his YouTube videos. And, if you happen to be lucky enough to live in the area, TAKE LESSONS WITH JOE! You will improve and you won’t be sorry. Thank you so much!!!! : )
I would highly recommend him for anyone who wants to improve their skills at any level.
Joe did a great job getting to know me and made me feel very comfortable during the lesson. I would highly recommend him for anyone who wants to improve their skills at any level.
I really liked the way he brought technology into our lessons.
Great guy. Really understands music and technology. I really liked the way he brought technology into our lessons–breaking down songs, ear training. Joe helped me with some things I was working on, but also opened my mind up to other subjects – more theory and the blues. This has really helped me become a better player.
You will accomplish more than what you could ever imagine!
Joe is an excellent teacher. I came to him as a beginner and I immediately connected with his way of teaching and made quick improvement. He is very organized, calm and patient and makes his lesson fun. At the end of each lesson, I feel enthusiastic and I want to practice. He always encourages you and listens to what you would like to play and helps you to be a better musician. He puts a lot of effort to help his students and he also organized very cool Jam sessions, twice a year in a cafe downtown. I highly recommend Joe. You will accomplish more than what you could ever imagine!
His patience and sense of humor infused every lesson.
My daughter has been working with Joe for two years and continues to make amazing progress. His approach that lets her take the lead and explore different things that she is interested in has been key to keeping her engaged. That said, he also pushes her outside her comfort zone from time to time by teaching her new things she wouldn’t have pursued. She really enjoys working with him and the myriad opportunities he finds for her to play with other students and perform in public. Joe is willing to take on new challenges for himself as well, which is really inspiring to his students. I took banjo lessons with him for several months and was amazed at how his patience and sense of humor infused every lesson.
Joe is simply amazing as an instructor.
Joe is simply amazing as an instructor. My son started with Joe when he was 6 and going into 1st. Joe was patient and immediately had him playing tunes that my son liked. He never lost interest and Joe was great at engaging him throughout the lesson even at a young age. Joe makes music fun while teaching technique and music theory. Joe figures out what you like from a music standpoint and builds on that so that you learn. Now I just can’t wait to take lessons from Joe. But my younger son is next.
He listens, is organized, and gives good feedback.
Joe is a great teacher – friendly and knowledgeable. Taking lessons with him taught me a lot about so many subjects – guitar specific things like fretboard knowledge, and more general subjects like theory, arpeggios, or learning tunes. Also Joe gave me good practical advice for playing in jam sessions.
As a teacher he listens, is organized, and gives good feedback. In my case I had plenty of homework outside of the lessons to help me reach my goals.
Joe worked with the situation beautifully.
My son enjoyed ukulele lessons from Joe for several months – he learned so much from him: reading notes, parts of the instrument, chords, various strumming techniques and playing the songs that my son wanted to learn (“Stitches” and “Safe and Sound”). My son has dyslexia, which never came up as an issue, and in fact Joe worked with the situation beautifully as he works with every child as an individual. Joe brings more to the table than your average music teacher – he organizes a concert for students in a local restaurant, allowing them the opportunity to perform for friends and family. Such a fun experience! I recommend Joe wholeheartedly.
I cannot recommend him highly enough!
Joe is an exceptional teacher. My daughter (9 yrs) has been taking lessons from him for nearly three years and we both appreciate his blend of expert instruction, humor, appreciation for a wide range of music, and high expectations. He’s also just a kind and thoughtful human being. Yes, getting her to practice is not easy but Joe makes the practice manageable (blend of “note races”, mystery songs, and song chosen by the student) with the baseline expectation that the guitar is “in your lap” at least once a day. He also creates low-key, optional performance experiences which add a level of fun and opportunity for students. I cannot recommend him highly enough!
Joe has made learning the ukulele fun for my son, and my son is proud of his accomplishments.
I highly recommend Deft Digits and Joe Walker! My 10 year old son has taken ukulele lessons from Joe for 15 months, and during that time:
• Joe is very well organized; both in lesson structure and communication
• Joe caters lessons to the individual, keeping their interest with content they enjoy while still teaching basics like chords
• During lessons, Joe has shown to be patient and kind, while still being firm in terms of staying on point
Joe’s online scheduling is easy to use and always up to date, and his lessons consistently start and end on time. During lessons, Joe is composed and professional. The lessons are structured in a way that is predictable for students and flexible so that if a student comes to the lesson with a new interest, they work on that.
My son began his lessons with Joe with the goal of learning how to play a Star Wars theme on the ukulele, and not only has he mastered several of those, he has also learned to play his favorites from Fall Out Boy and Weezer. In addition, my son has learned chords, how to manage his time practicing, and how to read music. Joe has made learning the ukulele fun for my son, and my son is proud of his accomplishments.
Joe is helpful and encouraging.
My daughter has been taking lessons with Joe for almost three years. She started out learning guitar and just recently changed to the ukulele because she loves its happy sound. Joe is helpful and encouraging–making the learning process fun. He also encourages live performances and “jam” sessions with his students giving them the opportunity to share what they’ve learned.
He quickly dialed in topics that I was interested in learning even when I couldn’t properly voice my goals.
I took lessons weekly with Joe for the length of just a couple months as a complete beginner, and I feel my time was very well spent. Joe has a wide musical repertoire and a fount of knowledge, he quickly dialed in topics that I was interested in learning even when I couldn’t properly voice my goals. He’s given me the resources and ideas to continue learning on my own for a long time to come, and I hope to take more lessons with him in the future.