Meet Gordon Tibbits – Owner/Instructor of Kenmore Guitar Lessons

Hello, My name is Gordon Tibbits.  I’ve been teaching private guitar and bass lessons to students of all ages for over 30 years.  My teaching approach combines years of professional experience alongside patience, empathy, and understanding for each student I work with.  Being a father of four children has also provided me helpful insights as to how I can best serve the interests and needs of my students.  Most of my students are learning guitar for the first time. Many of my students start guitar between ages 7 – 18.  I also have taught many adults who have always wanted to take up guitar.

Here are several facets of the lesson content that I focus on when working with each of my students:

  • Technique:  I help student’s establish proper right and left-hand technique.  I have also helped intermediate students by assessing and modifying their technique.
  • Music Literacy:  I help students learn how to read guitar tablature and standard music notation.
  • Learning songs that compliment student interests:  I collaborate with students on find music that will keep them engaged with lessons.
  • Expanding musical boundaries:  It’s my intention to expand the musical universe of each of my students.
  • Understanding how music works (AKA – Music Theory):  I help students broaden their understanding of chords, rhythm, melody,  and music forms.

My Early Days:

I became interested in guitar at age 13 when wanting to start a band with my friends.  Starting on the acoustic guitar, I was able to learn some beginning chords and songs when taking group classes at a local school. Group lessons didn’t work so well for me so I settled on teaching myself.  So, for three years I made nominal progress through self-study efforts from information gleaned from books, magazines, and friends.  Eventually it became evident that I needed more direction so I started taking private lessons with local teacher David O’ Suna.

Taking private lessons really advanced my progress on guitar and expanded my musical world.  I was initially interested in rock guitar but soon cultivated an interest in classical, jazz, blues, and finger style guitar.  The weekly routine of practice and showing up prepared for my lesson pushed me further than what I would have accomplished on my own.  Through my lessons I developed fairly proficient reading skills so I could participate in the jazz band at my college.  Studies in music theory really have me a good head start for the classes I took at Shoreline Community College and the University of Washington.

Transition to Teaching:

In the Fall of 1987 I began teaching private guitar lessons out of my Shoreline home while still studying music through lessons and at the University of Washington. Eventually I was asked to teach guitar at a local Shoreline music store.  Following this I taught lessons at music stores in the East Coast, Trinity Lutheran College, Kings Elementary, and schools within the Seattle and Edmonds School districts.  I have also directed student band programs at Experience Music Project (now known as MOPOP). I also have taught electric bass and ukulele.

In June of 2013 I relocated to Kenmore. Since then, I have been teaching students out of my home studio located minutes away from Lake Forest Park, Brier, and Bothell. I also continue to perform in several area bands, theater productions, and local churches (for more info visit Teaching guitar, bass, and ukulele never ceases to get old for me – even after 30 years!  I learn so much from the musical interests, perspectives, and stories of each and everyone of my students.

Thank you for listening to my story.  Please contact me for more information on private lessons!

Gordon Tibbits

Professional Experience:

  • 30 years experience as a music educator and performer.
  • Compassion, patience, and flexibility with student learning styles.
  • Awareness of developmental facets surrounding different student age groups.
  • Applied creativity and insights directed to each student’s individual needs/challenges.
  • Diverse music background with many electric and acoustic guitar styles.
  • I can quickly figure out, notate, and teach student selected songs.
  • Applying music theory concepts to real-world situations.
  • Defining collaborative goals with students and helping them reach those goals.
  • Developing teaching handouts that are relevant to student’s needs.
  • Providing students and families with clearly defined weekly practice objectives.
  • Organizing all lesson materials for quick retrieval and use for students on Google Drive.

Stores/Schools I’ve worked at:

  • Kings Schools, Shoreline, WA
  • Edmonds Heights, Edmonds, WA
  • Experience Music Project – Science Fiction Museum
  • Cascade Parent Partnership/Seattle School District
  • Trinity Lutheran College
  • Seattle Rotary Boys and Girls Club
  • Saratoga Guitar, Saratoga Springs, NY
  • Only Guitar Shop, Clifton Park, NY
  • Aurora Music Center, Shoreline, WA


  • Puget Sound Christian College – B.A. in Social Science. Summa Cum Laude
  • University of Washington – 1 year of Jazz Studies and Guitar Performance
  • Shoreline Community College – Associate Degree in Art, emphasis on music theory

Additional Information: