Want Lessons? Contact Derek
“ Derek loves teaching, and he really loves people. Before our lessons, I played music using my head and my hands. Derek taught me to play from my heart. „
“ Derek Ferwerda bucks every trend and teaching philosophy in music that I have seen and I could not be more thankful for that. I have experience working under nearly a dozen music instructors on various instruments and was initially shocked by Derek's unconventional approach to musicianship. I walked into his studio expecting to become a technically better guitar player. I had my favorite records ready and wanted to copy the riffs, tone, and technique found on them. Derek took that ambition and instead turned it in a different direction. My first lesson with Derek, we barely even touched a guitar and yet I think, I learned more about what it means to play music in that hour than the 12 years previous of taking guitar and classical piano instruction. Understand, Derek showed me what it meant to be a musician, not just a guitar player. Derek taught me music as a language - as a way to communicate meaning, emotion, and attitude. The guitar was simply an extension of that. Even while the time I spent under the tutelage of this artist came to an end, his methodology and approach to music have continued to influence my playing as I continually understand more of what he taught me. His philosophy towards has implications for musicians of all levels and will continue to inform my playing as I use and hone my skill. I am thankful for the teacher, mentor, and friend that I have in Derek Ferwerda and wholeheartedly believe that his instruction has potential to revolutionize anybody's musicianship, whether they are just beginning or are seasoned professionals. Derek has seen, played, and taught it all and I credit him with my musicianship to this day. „
“ The most important thing Derek taught me was about the notes between the notes. That's where the magic is. Derek's all about phrasing from the guts, not to mention his killer execution and technique. Derek has what all the greats have; something you just can't fake. He's all heart. „
Derek Ferwerda is hands down one of the best guitarists I've ever heard play. He has an amazing connection with his instrument, both from a technical level, and on an emotional one. Derek has an uncanny ability to identify how his students learn and the level of expertise to cater his teaching specifically to that student. I can't tell you how many times I've learned something new simply by watching Derek teach a brand new guitarist a 3 song chord. That doesn't mean that he makes it easy. Every student of Derek's will have a lesson that is frustrating, where they feel like they're not capable of playing a challenging song or riff, but Derek keeps pushing. In the end, there is almost always a breakthrough where students walk out having unlocked a new level of ability that they didn't know they possessed. It's happened to me, and I've seen it happen with other students.
As a current professional singer/songwriter and session/live guitarist in Nashville, the most valuable thing Derek taught me was how to connect with whatever music I am playing, that the guitar is not something that plays notes or chords, but something that breathes, and even sings; that playing the right notes at the right time with the right feel is far more important than playing a lot of notes. Mastering guitar is more often about submitting to whatever the music necessitates, rather than forcing a technique upon a song. Derek helped teach me that, and I am forever grateful.„
“ There aren't many people in life that you can truly say believe in you or your talents. Derek has been nothing short of a loving mentor and force of strength in my life. Ever since I can remember, Derek was the first person who guided me in trusting my talent and to understanding why I was given this gift. In his eyes, music was never about the notes or how high I could go, but how I was growing as an artist and how I was touching others with it. I can never repay Derek for the invaluable lessons he has taught me and love he has shown me. All I can do is share with everyone I know and anyone reading this that he will change your life, your person, and your connection to music, forever. „
“ My name is Chad Russell, and I started taking guitar lessons from Derek when I was 7. Guitar was something that I loved, but I only envisioned it being a hobby. Little did I know at age 7 that Derek would help me turn that passion into a profession. I am currently 20 and touring with Dove award winning artist Aaron Shust, and I owe this amazing opportunity to Derek's unique approach of teaching guitar. Even though his technical knowledge of guitar is fantastic, he puts a lot of focus on the emotion of playing. This is something that I believe most people don't teach at all, but from my experience, it has been the most beneficial part of being with Derek for several years. I love Derek like a father, and I strongly encourage any musician (beginner or professional) to spend some time with him! „
“ There are many things you could hope to find in a mentor or a teacher. And, in most cases we have all found our checklist is far from being complete. I think you'll come to realize you were selling yourself short with Derek and what he offers as a mentor, teacher, and as a friend to his students. I wouldn't be half the player or person I am today if it wasn't for his coaching and patience not just on my instrument but in life. His methods are far from orthodox, but there are plenty of teachers like that around so why would we need more? If you simply wanted the norm you could get a book or watch youtube and very easily teach yourself how to play chords or songs on guitar. But if you want to be a musician and know how to shape tone and be able to play with other people and engage through your instrument the only thing better than Derek would be getting taught by another one of his students. His impact in my life both musically and as a man is immeasurable. So... what are you waiting for?! „
“ When I took lessons from Derek, he did such a great job teaching me not only guitar skills but also how to feel what I was playing and how to create an atmosphere with the music. He explained everything in such detail to help me really understand what I was learning and why it's important. „
“ Derek Ferwerda taught me many things when I studied guitar under him. The most important thing I learned from Derek, which to me separates him from other music instructors, was to listen. I learned to hear music and then to play it with feel. I learned to listen before I learned to play. I learned to play before I learned to read. Derek took me through guitar the same way people learn to communicate. Listen then speak. Speak then read. Derek's method not only kept an easily bored teenager interested through the frustrating stages of gaining the physical coordination to play the guitar, it also laid a foundation for me to grow in every aspect of life: starting small and building on previous success. Derek's seemingly unorthodox approaches to learning are at their core the most orthodox and successful ways of learning there are. Learning guitar from Derek was not only fun, but he taught me to work hard in order to achieve a goal. I am grateful to have him as an instructor and friend. „
“ Derek is an incredible teacher, role model, and friend to all he encounters. I was just in middle school when he saw my heart trying to find my place in this world, and he taught me how to express it through music. Now, ten years later, music is my creative expression and my heart, and I give all of the credit to Derek showing me how. He is more than a guitar teacher, he is an inspiration. „
“ Derek is one of the tastiest, most seasoned, stylistically well-rounded and melodically gifted guitarists that I have ever worked with. His musical sensibilities on every level, guitar-wise and beyond, escalate from impressive to invaluable in the working environment. I am thankful for the opportunities I've had to work with Derek and without fail his addition to the roster has proved essential in the quality of my recordings. „
Derek Ferwerda began to teach me guitar at age 14. I'm 43 now and still find myself referring to those lessons as I continue to grow my skillset on the guitar! Derek has unmeasured passion not only the instrument, but for his students. I've been in touch with Derek over the years and he has not only been a great guide for the guitar, but he's been a mentor. More importantly, He's a great friend! He treats all his students this way.
In my first phase of growth on the guitar, Derek saw my passion for the instrument and decided to take it a step further. He brought be along to a recording session where he was tracking solos for an album slated for a major label release. I came as his "tech" and I had the pleasure of watching him track his parts in one or two takes! After the session, we went into NYC to celebrate over dinner where he pointed out Electric Lady Studios and other historic music sites. This provided even more inspiration to practice, pushing my playing to new heights!
Derek has this magic where he instills a desire to play! As a teen, this kept me out of trouble and occupied with trying to excel at the guitar! Derek also taught me how to interact with other musicians both in music as well social or business settings. Derek gets involved in not only your playing, but he mentors you and pushes you to be your best even in settings that don't involve the guitar.
Derek Ferwerda is a one of a kind Guitar player. He's a guitar hero to all who have had the good fortune of some of his time both as a musician, a teacher, a session player, or just the privilege to simply watch him play! There's nothing quite like it!„