Ben Performs Asturias

Ben Performs Receurdos de la Alhambra

Ben Performs Original Piece, "Hot Air Balloon"

January, 2014 - Ben McMullan - Live!

Ben's Students, Ethan and Noah Perform Rush!

Ben Performs Canon Rock in D Major - 2007

Ben Improvises a new song using a looper pedal

Owned and operated by Ben McMullan since 1994, CGL has provided students of all levels with unique lessons in acoustic, electric, classical and bass guitar.

Why Choose Calgary Guitar Lessons?

I was curious to learn why my students chose me and Calgary Guitar Lessons over other music schools in Calgary. I wanted to be certain that I was offering the best possible experience to my existing students and that I could properly describe my strengths for prospective students. When asked, my students responded with the following reasons for choosing Calgary Guitar Lessons:

  • My Diversity - I am knowledgeable in numerous styles of music and am therefore able to custom-tailor lessons to suit the musical interests of my students.
  • My Knowledge - I have a strong understanding of musical theory and can comfortably teach improvisation and composition techniques alongside standard curriculum.
  • My Capabilities - I have a good ear and can figure out virtually any music as well as creatively analyze it with my students.
  • My Similarities - I enjoy teaching songs and musical styles that my students are keen to listen to and learn.
  • My Dependability - I am dependable and reasonable when it comes to arranging/re-arranging lesson times to fit my students’ busy schedules, either via phone or email.
  • My Attitude - I am enthusiastic, fun, and easygoing !

Please contact me to discuss how I can help enhance your knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of music, and fast-track your guitar playing skills!

About Ben McMullan

To sum it up, music is my life. When I'm not teaching it, I'm usually composing it, recording it or listening to it.

As a child, I was exposed to a lot of classical music, including the greats, such as Mozart, Bach and Beethoven, the Beatles, Pink Floyd and Prince, so it's safe to say that my interest in music developed from a very young age. At seven years old, I took a year of piano lessons. During that year, I wrote my first two compositions, which I later performed at an elementary school assembly. But piano, as you may have guessed by the name of this website, did not stick, so neither did the lessons.

Later, at age 10, after hearing a school buddy play classical guitar, I decided that I too wanted to learn how to play. My mother signed me up for lessons. Unfortunately, due to my young age and particular fondness for computer games, the results of the lessons were marginal, so they only lasted a year.

It wasn't until age 15, after having attended a Cure concert and being impressed by the guitar playing, that I decided to take the guitar seriously. I convinced my parents to buy me an electric and sign me up for lessons again. This time, I learned all about playing the blues.

Shortly after that, I met another student at my high school who played classical guitar and was surprisingly good at it. Feeling once again enamored by the style, I decided to change my focus from electric back to classical. But this time with more focus than ever before, and by age 16, I had advanced to a grade seven playing level.

On my 16th year, during the summer holidays, I took up busking at the brand new (1993) Eau Claire Market, performing classical guitar music for shoppers, five days a week. Busking led me to invitations to perform regular, paid weekly gigs at private functions, restaurants, pubs and coffee shops between 1993 and 1995.

In a span of two years, I had advanced from grade one to grade nine classical guitar, and by this point, had even begun to acquire a few students of my own.

Between age 17 and 19, my tastes expanded to include flamenco and jazz guitar; and I partook in regular lessons with a variety of instructors of different genres, as well as classes in advanced jazz theory. I had developed a good understanding of music, and during my 19th year, I wrote my third full scale composition - 'Moonlight Inspiration' (this can be heard on the 'Samples' page).

By 1998, I had seven completed original compositions, but no recordings to show for them, so armed with the desire to start recording and perhaps eventually do a CD, I began purchasing equipment, such as microphones, synthesizers, mixers, guitars, computers and computer software. This time, I devoted most of my time to learning the process of digital recording, mixing and audio production. Eventually, I had enough equipment and technical knowledge to open my own recording studio - Recording Room Music. Over the following years, I received a lot of paid audio work, and by 2002, had produced two full scale albums and numerous demo projects, as well as a number of original compositions for a variety of clients. On most of these projects, I had performed guitar, bass or backing vocals and had added programmed synths or drums.

Between 2002 and 2004, I took a break from paid audio production and focused on developing an original CD album with Calgary singer/songwriter, Kristen Dempster (Lyrics and Vocals) - eli7: Dark Entries. Dark Entries is a full scale, 12-song, psychedelic opera, with lush sonic landscapes, often involving up to 60 tracks of audio.

I continue to write, record and teach music full time. Calgary Guitar Lessons is located at 207-72 Ave NE, Calgary, AB.

"Ben’s skills and knowledge continue to amaze me. Simply put, I think Ben is the best guitar educator in Calgary and have no hesitation to recommend him to anyone wishing to move their guitar playing into the next echelon. He helped me improve my understanding of music and my ability to play guitar far more than any previous instructor I have had. Ben helped me better understand and play classical, flamenco, rock, and country songs; and my friends and family have commented on how much my playing has improved.  Thanks Ben!"
- Jim Bowen, Calgary, AB

"I have had the pleasure of taking guitar lessons from Ben and have no hesitation endorsing his teaching skills to my friends. He is creative, patient, passionate about his subject and keenly interested in teaching his students the intricacies of the guitar. His theory lessons are very understandable, and I increased my understanding of music in the most satisfactory way owing to his instruction."
- Ross Mutton, Calgary, AB

"I started lessons with Ben after spending two years teaching myself guitar and reading sheet music from no prior experience. While I got myself to a point where I could read basic music and play basic chords or simple melodies, I found I wasn’t making much progress and didn’t know how to take it further. Ben was able to address various issues ranging from adjusting my guitar, proper picking and fretting for smoother playing, techniques for different musical genres, to music theory questions… with interesting historical info thrown in from time to time. I’d say I got a very well-rounded experience from my lessons with him, and appreciated his ability to explain (rather than just demonstrate) the techniques necessary to advance my guitar playing."
- Valerie Dier, Calgary, AB