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Music Lessons & Instrument Instruction

Where Knoxville's music lovers become musicians.

Open Chord School of Music offers music lessons to educate children and adults of all ages in the Art of Music.  Through offering instruction and  lessons on guitar, drums, bass guitar, ukulele, mandolin, banjo we aim to build and support the local music community here in Knoxville.  We are proud to have a growing network of Knoxville’s finest music instructors.
We also carry a full complement of instructions and songs books next door in our Music Store.   Even if you’re looking for lessons on an instrument that we don’t currently teach, just stop by and we’d be happy to recommend a local musician that offers instruction for your instrument.

Guitar Lessons


Our guitar lesson plans are tailored to the individual student.  Whether its  your first open chord strum or you’re advancing though your modal riffs, each guitar instructor teaches with the aim of maximizing the results, and minimizing the effort that the student invests in their instrument. With a few minutes of practice each day our students can be playing their favorite songs or writing their own! Our experienced instructors know how to teach music in a way that makes it fun and simple.  

"If you can say your alphabet from A to G, and you can count to four.....  you can learn to play music at Open Chord School of Music."

Drum Lessons

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Have you always wanted to be a drummer?   We offer drum lessons for beginning to advanced players. Learning to play the drums can be a lot of fun if you have the right teacher.  With our drum lessons, even if you have never spent any time behind a drumset, you still get started learning beats and grooves, rhythms and rudiments that professional drummers use worldwide.  Our drumming instruction will teach you the right techniques from how to hold the drumsticks to the correct speed and accents when playing your first paradiddle.  Contact us to find out how drum lessons at Open Chord School of Music can get you playing the drums. 

Why We Teach Music

Music is an essential building block in a child's ability to learn. For adults, it offers a wonderful, creative outlet.  We believe that learning and playing music should be fun, first and foremost.  For all ages, music is a joy, a creative outlet and a healing force.

Unfortunately, music is being taught less and less in our school systems, but that does not make it any less important.   Multiple studies have consistently shown that learning music at a young age helps with other subjects, especially math.

Relax During Your Student’s Lesson

Open Chord Music School also offers a wonderful waiting area next door in our Cafe.  Parents and friends are invited to relax with a coffee or something from our menu  while your student completes their lesson.  With comfortable seating, a reasonable menu and always free Wi-Fi, The Open Chord Music Cafe can be a nice break from your hectic schedule.

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Meet The School of Music Teachers

Guitar Lessons

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Chris Newman was born and raised in the Knoxville area. He picked up his first guitar at age 16 and hasn't put it down since. Chris offers music lessons for guitar, bass, ukulele, and beginning banjo. He is a frequent face in the Knoxville music scene with his rock band Yak Strangler.
Chris has multiple years of experience in making music lessons enjoyable for young children just getting started to retirees looking for a new hobby. Chris can be reached through the school at 865.281.5874, directly at 865.274.8352, or

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Robert Higginbotham

Robert Higginbotham has been teaching guitar in Knoxville since 2004. Robert spent his early years as a working musician in the 1970s. After that, he spent decades in the private sector as a business owner and information systems engineer where he also spent a good deal of time teaching. A local
musician who has been part of the Knoxville music scene for over 15 years, Robert took “early retirement” from his “real job” in 2004 to devote himself to music full time. Robert had run the Wednesday Night Blues Jam at Brackins for most of the last ten years. He runs the Thursday Night Jam at the Open Chord Music.
The father of three grown children, Robert is very patient. He has taught students from the age of seven to seventy. His specialties are blues, rock, and acoustic folk style. He teaches all styles except classical music. He also teaches beginning bass. Robert can be reached through the school at
865.281.5874, directly at 865.300.3648, or


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Josh Hobbs

Josh Hobbs is currently in his tenth year of music education in Knoxville.  Josh began his performance career in 1998, which has led him to many great gigs, such as Bonnaroo 2010.  After receiving his Bachelor of Music in Jazz from UTK, Josh has been a staple of the music community, from leading the Brackin's Blues Jam, to "Sundown in the City" performances.  

A true student of music, Josh has an intuitive understanding of the educational process and teaches all levels and styles of guitar.  He also offers electric bass, mandolin, banjo, and ukulele lessons.  Josh can be reached through the school at 865.281.5874, directly at 423.4368.8109, or

Matt Reynolds

Matt Reynolds has been teaching guitar and bass for nearly a decade. He is a veteran of the live music scene, including touring the country with rock band Down From Up, and competing in the International Blues Competition in Memphis.

He can teach most styles of guitar or bass, and specializes in slide guitar. Matt can be reached through the school at 865.281.5874, directly at 865.776.9585, or

Drum Lessons

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Tony has been playing drums for twenty-seven years and has taught lessons for just over ten. He studied Studio Music Performance and Jazz at the University of Tennessee for three years under Keith Brown before changing majors and earning his Bachelor’s in English and Creative Writing. He currently works as a Network Technician at SAIC in Oak Ridge, but has stayed involved in music through playing with such groups as the Akashic Mysteries, Same as it Ever Was, The Heroes Down Below, the Doug Harris Band, and the Analog Kids. In addition to these groups, Tony has been a member of the now-defunct groups Vinyl iPod, the Paranoid Androids, Cheating Spoon, and the Wicked Cow People.  Tony has played all over the Southeastern United States.

A father of two young children, Tony knows how to work with children and keep them motivated. He believes that playing an instrument should be fun before all else and strives to reflect that in his lessons while instilling the skills and knowledge that can lead to a lifetime of musical enjoyment. From beginners to advanced players, Tony is experienced with all levels and ages. He is comfortable teaching any style of music, but is most adept at blues, funk, and rock.  Tony can be reached through the school at 865.281.5874, directly at 865.254.1187, or

School of Music Inquiry

Cost of lessons is $80.00 per month for a one-on-one 30 minute weekly session.  We offer 25%  off the first full month of lessons to make getting started just a little easier.   Lesson times are available from 2 p.m. daily Monday through Saturday.  Closed on Sunday. Call today at 865.281.5874 or stop by at 8502 Kingston Pike in Knoxville and check us out!

Please call today at 865.281.5874 or complete the contact information below to get connected.

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