Hi, I’m offering guitar lessons in-person, at my Catford teaching studio in SE6 (less than 10 mins walk from Catford station) or on Zoom. Lessons for children, teenagers & adults of all ages (please scroll down for kids’ lessons info).
Beginners, intermediate, advanced & pro students all welcome. Tuition is offered Monday to Thursday, daytimes & evenings, & on Saturday & Sunday mornings, in rock, pop, jazz, indie, blues, funk, classical, flatpicking, fingerpicking, reggae, soul & many other styles. Help with accompanying yourself while singing is a specialism too. Lessons usually happen on a weekly or fortnightly basis. Learn on electric, acoustic or classical guitars. A highly experienced guitar teacher & guitarist, I offer tailor-made courses or Rockschool, Trinity College & RGT grades 1-8 can be covered. Right & left handers welcome. I’ve a clear DBS check for you to view. Please scroll down for kids’ lessons info.
My teaching studio is in especially easy reach from Bellingham, Brockley, Catford, Crofton Park, Forest Hill, Hither Green, Honor Oak, Ladywell, Lewisham & Lower Sydenham.
For all ages, levels, styles and guitars. Lessons have a relaxed but focused approach giving you the confidence to progress steadily with materials tailor-made to your own tastes. All lessons are followed up with materials in Google Drive & an email or voicemail providing the lesson summary & practice recommendations.
Beginners the earliest stages of the guitar can be challenging, so clear information & inspiring lessons will help you through. Many of the study areas below are covered at a beginner’s level. Lessons are very useful at this stage to help you get the basics of good technique down. If you can commit to around 30 mins daily practice you’ll be really chuffed with your progress.
For intermediate, advanced & professional students according to your tastes, chose from over 200 songs/pieces that I’ve transcribed. When these are songs they’re complete with strumming or fingerpicking rather than just chords & lyrics. Progress using personally written materials on improvising, song-writing, scales & harmony, lead & rhythm guitar & great ways of applying theory. Study areas include:
- all the lovely detail on strumming, fingerpicking & flatpicking
- help with preparation for open mics, blues & jazz jams. auditions & gigs, giving you the essential experience of performing live
- specialised help on accompanying yourself while singing
- work on rhythms with notation & counting to develop rhythmic confidence & to aid communication with other musicians
- connecting what you’re actually hearing & imagining to your writing & improvising
- chord theory, allowing you to play, understand & memorise a large range of chords & songs
- using scale & chord theory to open up your soloing &/or melodic writing
- many ways to practice without a guitar in your hands (for busy people!)
- how to transpose songs into keys which suit your or your singer’s voice
- learning to improvise simultaneous rhythm & lead playing without the crutch of backing tracks (think Hendrix & John Scofield live in trios)
- getting the most from your equipment & effects
- suggestions to help you connect & collaborate with other musicians, singers & producers
You may have a friend you want to study with? Learning with fellow students allows you to get into playing live with other people & can be a great motivating factor. It can also help to spread the cost.
Please call 07962 401 017 for further details or contact
Individual, pairs or small group lessons from age 6 upwards. The lessons are focused & fun & will stimulate your child’s natural musicality. Kids experience a real sense of achievement & heightened confidence through learning guitar. I’ve a clear DBS check for you to view.
Children can take grade exams from 1 to 8, all exam boards & styles covered. Or they can study with custom-designed materials without the exam framework being present. With over 10 years experience of teaching children I’ve transcribed much child-centred music. Think Harry Potter, The Simpsons & many more. Learning guitar will also more generally improve your children’s concentration levels, patience & physical dexterity. Some kids even start teaching their siblings & charging them!
Nico’s a thoughtful and experienced teacher who’s methods have really helped me to get over some difficulty humps in my playing that I’ve been struggling with for years. He’s got broad tastes and a deep knowedge of music, and he’s friendly and accommodating to boot. Highly recommended!
Ben Welch, December 2023
I’ve had lessons with Nico for about a year now & as a largely self taught guitarist of about 15 years, I can comfortably say I haven’t seen so much progress in my playing & writing vocabulary in all that time as while under the tutelage of Nico. A great teacher that moulds really well to all interests & styles and has a lot to teach even to more experienced students. We have covered a lot of ground, whether it be dexterity, tightening up playing or using Nico’s jazz knowledge to open up creative possibilities (in jazz or, in my case more genre bending fusions). Would highly recommend if you want to carve out a distinctive style in contrast to more pentatonic bluesy players – although he can deffo teach this, too!
Sam Wood, November 2023
Nico is a thoughtful and talented teacher, who tailors his lessons to each students needs. I’ve found the topics we cover around musical theory and rhythm incredibly eye-opening and useful. They have helped me develop my understanding of music as well as improve my songwriting and all aspects of guitar playing technique.
Tom Genower, September 2022
Nico’s gentle teaching manner, and positive encouragement was exactly what our daughter needed to inspire her to pick up and starting playing and enjoying guitar playing. Always flexible with diary changes and really took an interest in our daughters development as a guitarist. The lessons stretched her without at all her feeling pushed or under pressure, an amazing and very natural teacher – thank you Nico.
Sonia Kumar, August 2021
I have been having jazz lessons with Nico for a year & a half now. In that time I’m pleased to say that I‘ve progressed much further than I would’ve expected, & much more efficiently than if I’d been working from books/youtube etc. Nico’s an excellent teacher as he’ll tailor & pace the lessons to your individual needs, giving back as much effort as you put in. Additionally, Nico’s musicianship is evident & reflected in the lessons which are well balanced between all the aspects of guitar playing. At the start of each lesson, the previous lesson is recapped & you discuss your practice to have some useful feedback on your progress & areas for improvement. Then he’ll introduce and explore one or two new concepts to work on, or build on a previous topic to take it to a new level. After this time with Nico, I feel confident comping & improvising over a number of jazz standards. I‘m really enjoying this new freedom on the guitar and generally in writing & creating music.
Danny Ramasawmy, June 2020
Started working with Nico about a year ago as an absolute beginner. Am very pleased with the progress I’ve been making and look forward to every session. Nico lets me work at my own speed while continuously setting out new challenges and focusing on the music I like – which makes it fun and rewarding. Highly recommended!
Jan Hinnerk-Richter, February 2020
Nico is a great guitar teacher, very patient and understanding. His teaching style and techniques are very helpful in understanding what you are doing and also in doing it. He has a great disposition as a teacher and musician and I recommend him for guitar/music teaching
Jeremy O’Sullivan, January 2020
I’ve been having lessons with Nico for over a year now and I have to say he’s the best teacher I’ve had by far. I think he really tries to understand what it is his students want from playing the guitar and tailors his approach accordingly. I feel like I’m finally learning the ‘right’ way. It’s not necessarily easy, it requires some hard work and thinking, but it’s what I need to do to get to where I want to be, which is getting comfortable playing blues and jazz in jam settings and genuinely improvising rather than playing rote learnt pieces and licks.
David Hughes, October 2019
Nico has been teaching my children for just over two years. They have made great progress & always enjoy and look forward to their weekly lesson. He is passionate about music and not only is he excellent at teaching the technical aspects of playing the guitar, but he is also very good at encouraging the children to be creative and write their own songs. He is also very reliable & flexible in fitting round our busy schedules. I would highly recommend him.
Alexandra Roberts, September 2019
Nico is great. There’s not judgement on how good you are when you first start. He’s really good at taking things at a pace that suits you and not making you feel rushed. I feel like my playing has improved more over the past year or so than it did for 5 before that. Best teacher I’ve had. Gutted I had to stop due to moving house. Definitely worth a go!
George Jardine, September 2019
If you really want to learn to play the guitar, do it with Nico!! Having grown up playing music (violin and trombone) I’ve been lucky enough to learn with some great teachers – and I think Nico is one of the best. If you’re learning as an adult, or feel self-conscious, or worried about progress – he takes exactly the right student-centred approach to help you on your way to feeling great – and inspired – about the music you’re making. His passion for music, making music, and helping others make music is particularly evident and powerful – and I hope even one person reading this review takes the leap to getting lessons from him, to create their music-filled future.
Sasha Fuller, February 2018
I am learning the guitar at a later age than many but have really enjoyed it and have made steady progress. Nico has a relaxed approach and is good at spotting adjustments I can make to really improve. He offers great and wide music selections to suit me
Catherine Hawkins, October 2017
Nico has deep pedagogical skills, our daughter loves the lessons; we have known Nico for two years now, he is a great musician and a very pleasant person.
Artur Ference, January 2017
After just clocking a year being taught by Nico, I can safely say he is one of the best music teachers I’ve ever had. Not only does he keep lessons & the learning itself interesting but he is willing to tailor your experience based on your own musical interests. Over the last year I have felt myself become more competent as a player and get passed a wall I thought I’d hit a long time ago – all thanks to Nico.
David Mosuro, September 2016
Nico teaches my teenage daughter – as well as being very knowledgable, he is always positive & supportive & has encouraged her to try new things like singing & different styles of music. She enjoys the lessons and he is great at sending through ‘homeplay’ suggestions for her to try out in her own time.
Yvonne Lewis, November 2016
It is a real pleasure to be taught by Nico – over the past couple of years he has developed my chords & singing confidence, kept up the classical pieces & persuaded me to play in public. He is patient & flexible. His wide, varied and eclectic taste, and his own gigging experience means that whatever you are in to, he can help you achieve. I can’t recommend him highly enough!
Portia Ungley, August 2015
Nico has been teaching my son for the past two years, I can only say he’s awesome teacher. My son started for a scratch and made such a rapid progress to joining the schoolband to playing out the school. He really knows how to relate to young people, no matter what moods the child might be in Nico has a strategic ways of making him enjoy the lesson. This cannot be taught! Thanks Nico
Maria Oware, August 2015
Nico is a superb teacher – he’s patient and clearly very well experienced. I went from not knowing how to make a single note on the guitar to performing 3 full songs in the space of just over a year with a lesson on average of about every 3 weeks. Nico tailors the experience to each of his students depending on their ability and believes in teaching more than just being able to produce notes; for example, I am now pursuing a course with Nico to develop my ability to sing with the guitar. In this respect, Nico is a true music teacher, rather than ‘just’ a guitar teacher. I will definitely be continuing my tuition with Nico for a long time!
Mike Haynes, August 2015
My wife bought me a guitar (never having played) for my 45th. It sat gathering dust until she bought me lessons with Nico for my 46th, and I’ve been going regularly (weekly) ever since. In the two years I’ve been going, Nico has not only been a great teacher, but also helped encourage me when I was feeling stuck or frustrated. We’ve always been able to find pieces to play & sing along to that I like with various techniques which has kept it interesting & motivated me to do the necessary practice all the more (something I positively look forward to). I can now hold together a reasonably complex & recognisable tune on the guitar and am confident enough to have played to family & friends (and even work colleagues) a few times. I hope they’ve enjoyed it, but I know I have. I’ve greatly enjoyed my lessons with Nico & am delighted to recommend him to anyone who wants to learn how to play the guitar.
Guy Ingram, August 2015
Since having lessons with Nico I have really learnt how to appreciate music! The lessons have been really well balanced & have incorporated a varety of songs/techiniques & theory on developing a ‘musical ear’, something which I thought you were only born with & couldn’t learn. I can’t stess enough how important this has been for me for developing as a muscian & it has given me the confidence to perform in public. The problem I have now is that I can’t find the time to play as much as I want! Cheers from a motivated student
Stefan Jade, July 2015
After years of dabbling in guitar, picking up bits & pieces randomly, I decided to get some lessons to make sense of it all. The fog started to lift from the first lesson with Nico thanks to his ability to convey his in-depth knowledge of both theory & playing in a practical & easy to understand manner. His calm & relaxed demeanour immediately puts you at ease which facilitates the learning process immensely & along with his warm encouragement gives you the confidence to stretch yourself beyond what you thought you could do. Nico draws the best out of you in such a casual way that it often takes you by surprise, but one thing is for sure – every lesson is thoroughly enjoyable. I can’t recommend him highly enough.
Dion Pidgeon, May 2012
I’ve over 18 years experience as a guitar teacher & a professional musician.
Listen here https://www.soundcloud.com/nico-tomkins
Watch here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NmNfqh5L3o
Amongst others I’ve worked with Parsley Sound, Eska (Mercury prize nominee ’15) Marcela Puppini (The Puppini Sisters) & the session musicians Dan Lipman (ex Bjork) Nick Ramm (ex-Cinematic Orchestra, Norman Distance) Tom Herbert (Beck, The Invisible) Oroh Angiama & Jonathan Shorten (songwriter with Joss Stone). I’m currently writing & recording an album of my own compositions & also studying keyboards & production.
Qualifications I’ve Grade 8 in Plectrum Guitar (Trinity-Guildhall), an A grade in ‘Advanced Jazz Guitar Improvisation’ (Berklee College of Music Online), Music A Level, Grade 5 classical guitar & I’ve a first class honours degree in English Literature from the University of Glasgow.
1-1 in-person at my Catford teaching studio, London SE6 on or Zoom
One hour – £42
One hour – £54 (£27 each)
Please give at least 24 hours notice, then no fee will be charged. If this is not received then you will need to please pay the full lesson’s charge