Helen Avakian

Music Instruction from Helen

Helen concert at Camp Mariah with music counselor Tim.
"I believe anyone who wants to can learn to play guitar if they put in the practice time and attention. I feel proud of all of my students. I love to see seen them get excited about making music, and I do my best to help them work with passion and dedication."
I have taught guitar and done vocal and performance coaching for over 25 years privately, and at a number of colleges and schools. I have worked with students from ages 5 to 85, from beginners to college music majors and working professionals. Some of my students have gone on to record CDs, appear on radio, go on tour, and successfully complete music degrees at schools such as Berklee College of Music, Purchase College, Crane School of Music, New Paltz, Dutchess Community College (all State University of New York), Hunter College (City University of New York), and Bard College. Some are now music instructors as well. Students are also performing in area churches, open mics, festivals, the Hudson Valley Folk Guild and other venues. Others prefer to play music for their own private enjoyment.

I can teach any guitar style at a beginning to intermediate level. At more advanced levels my specialties are classical guitar, popular and folk acoustic guitar styles, fingerstyle and songwriting.

Testimonials from Student Evaluations

"As usual, the class is fantastic and the highlight of the week. Helen is awesome!"
Guitar Performance Ensemble Student, Dutchess Community College (DCC)

"The instructor, Helen, made the class very enjoyable. I wanted to come back after each class which says a lot when I have a full time job. She got us working as a team and at the same time you did not feel left out if you did not pick up on things the first time through."
Introduction to Guitar Class Student, DCC

"Helen is a wonderful instructor whose knowledge of music and the guitar is endless. I cannot express how much I enjoy her classes and learning from her. I hope to continue to learn from Helen Avakian as long as these courses are offered."
Pop Styles Student, DCC

"Had a great time learning something new and challenging."
Classical Guitar Class Student, DCC

"I loved the class. Instructor is very helpful, friendly and well prepared. I learned much more than I expected to!"
Guitar Student, Marist College

"You brought me into the world of music and that would not have happened without your teaching and support.
"You had a personal impact upon me as I challenged myself to confront my fears of performing in front of an audience. I did confront them and my life changed, forever, for the better."
Jim, Private Student

"Although it's been a couple of years since I've studied with you I would just like to say that it was one of the best experiences of my life. You are a great teacher and person. I enjoyed learning to play guitar both in class and lessons. You always made it a friendly supportive atmosphere for everyone.
"I retired last year and am currently playing in a garage band mostly for my own enjoyment. Occasionally we play out and the experience from your "guitar parties" made this possible for me."
Tom, Private and Guitar Performance Ensemble Student

My Most Recent Teaching Jobs

Helen concert at Camp Mariah.

Dutchess Community College SUNY 2009-2014 Adjunct Instructor

Directed Guitar Consort, taught Music Theory 1, Aural Skills 1 and Introduction to Music Theory. Taught individual students guitar of all styles specializing in classical and popular, vocals, songwriting, and arranging.

Dutchess Community College SUNY 1998-2014 Credit Free Instructor

Created a guitar program with private instruction and the following classes:
  • Introduction to Guitar, ages 6-8, ages 9-12 and ages 13-adult
  • Popular Guitar Styles
  • Classical Guitar Class
  • Guitar Performance Ensemble- the GPE played classical and popular ensemble music and played for one another every class to gain performance experience and get over stage fright.
  • Twice a year all of my students were invited to participate in a student recital called "The Guitar Party." Many chose to perform in group classes or on their own. Students who wished also ran sound, and helped set up and break down the equipment and performance space.

Marist College 2004-2014

Taught group guitar classes, Introduction to Guitar, Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2

Millbrook Preparatory High School 2006-2014

Taught individual guitar lessons

Camp Mariah Cary and other Fresh Air Fund Camps 2005-2014

Taught music and guitar to children from New York City under the auspices of the ASCAP Foundation.


Helen directing Dutchess County Community Collage guitar consort.

Helen and 2014 spring guitar party.

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