Testimonials

My daughter (7 years) has been taking guitar lessons from Rick for 3 months from scratch. After an initial consultation, Rick recommended taking acoustic guitar lessons first before transitioning into classical guitar. I'm glad that we followed his advice - it has been a gratifying experience. She can now play & sing a few songs - while building a solid musical & technical foundation. More importantly, she has developed an enthusiasm for guitar and has been motivated to practice a lot daily. Rick is a gifted musician and a great instructor. He is very patient with young students; the new challenges assigned are perfect for her practice routine. My daughter feels very accomplished every week and couldn't wait for the next lesson. I would heartily recommend Rick's lessons. We look forward to a long & exciting musical journey ahead.

Steven Avis
*****

Very knowledgeable teacher, very experienced and professional.

Johanna Torres
*****

My son (Gr.3) has been learning with Rick for about a year, and he learned a ton! Rick chooses music that keeps my son interested and is just hard enough to keep him feeling accomplished and excited as he gains skills. Rick has passed on a real live of music and my son is now preparing for his first short performance with friends and family!

Dan Abramson
*****

Richard Summers is a great instructor!!

Umut Karaca
*****

I've been taking beginner classical guitar lessons with Richard Summers for the past 6 months and he's fantastic. Really friendly and a great teacher. The beginner books are so well thought out, that just as we realized I have no real control over my left pinky finger, the studies came up in the book for this exact issue. He's a genius! :)

Amy Boyle
*****

Rob is an amazing teacher and has helped me learn and grow as a guitarist through theory and practical knowledge.

Jeff Z
*****

I've gotten further in a year with Richard than the whole previous decade of playing casually. My sense of rhythm has improved exponentially and I'm able to attempt things I never thought I'd be capable of.
With his teaching, there's a clear and steady progression so that you get a sense of accomplishment when overcoming obstacles, and are never overwhelmed by material that is too advanced for your level. All the while you get a thorough grounding in the fundamentals of guitar; the technique, and the production of tone and all the other nuances that take your playing from good to great! I even find it easier to learn the songs I love by ear, and beyond this, I can now appreciate the musicianship in them on a whole other level.
Whether you're a serious musician or a beginner, I would highly recommend lessons with Richard. He has something to offer to every style of musician and you'll find yourself improving by leaps and bounds!

Andreas Papaelias
*****

Rick is a very experienced teacher and gifted musician with a highly professional approach. My 9 year old is learning classic guitar with him and he has had great progress in only a one year period. Highly recommended for children and adults.

Sophie Galper
*****

As a long time guitar player, I've worked with many different instructors over the years.  I must say that Toronto Guitar Institute’s Robert Bulger has to be my favorite thus far.  His ability to really go beyond teaching theory and technique strongly fuels your passion to practice and get better.  His student-focused approach really shows as he delves deeply into the history and origins of what you are learning.  I highly recommend TGI to all guitar players no matter what skill level you are.

Justin Hwang
*****

Several years ago when I started looking for a classical guitar teacher I found Rick’s website and saw he was a Royal Conservatory of Music examiner. I thought where else to be taught with high expectations, a robustness to the material, and a deep love for the classical guitar. That is exactly what I found at the Toronto Guitar institute. Lessons are carefully scaffolded to move from current levels of competence to ever increasing technical and musical complexity. In addition to the lessons themselves Rick makes available videos of the pieces for homework review and where necessary custom videos were offered to focus specifically on my technical challenges. Having an examiner as a teacher provides that analytical and appraising eye. While this can be daunting at times going through a mock exam one week prior to my actual RCM exam provided experiential learning not easily found. Needless to say Rick’s score was identical to my final RCM exam score! He brings many years of classical guitar teaching, examining and performance to his lessons all of which contribute to his uniqueness as a classical guitar teacher. Look no further.

Mark Zaborowski
*****

I've been going to Rick for guitar lessons for the past few months and it's been a rewarding experience. Rick is an excellent teacher, whose patience and knowledgeable approach has been really helpful to my development. In addition to one-on-one lessons, Rick provides great instructional videos for practicing at home. My stepson also attends the Guitar Institute and enjoys his lessons. Highly recommended.

Sean Kennedy
*****

I've been taking classical guitar lessons from Rick for 10 months and it's been a good experience. Rick's books used in the lessons have exercise pieces that introduce various styles of music while progressing technically at a reasonable yet challenging pace for the learner. The exercise pieces are fun to play, which is important in keeping the learning experience interesting and rewarding, especially for an instrument with a rather steep learning curve in the beginning like classical guitar. Rick also seems to be knowledgeable about music theory and history, which he is glad to discuss during the lessons. I'd recommend for anyone looking for classical guitar lessons in Toronto.

Aaron Luo
*****

Rick is an excellent teacher. He taught me to play acoustic guitar from scratch in a way that is fast, easy and fun.

Sabrina Conrad
*****

I am a jazz guitar enthusiast, and after many years of trying to develop some facility at playing jazz guitar with frustratingly limited success, I had the good fortune of meeting up with Rob Bulger.  Rob is an amazing musician and a truly gifted teacher.   He has the ability to explain and demystify the most complex concepts, and always offers systematic and effective strategies for breaking things down into manageable chunks, drawing on years of experience as a practitioner and instructor.  To me, Rob's approach is the perfect blend of theory and practice, with the goal always to make music that sounds good.  Above all, Rob is just a fabulous person - enthusiastic, engaging, patient, and with a great sense of humour. My lessons are something I look forward to, and are an oasis in an often very busy professional life. 

Chris Swartz
*****

I've been taking lessons from Rick for a little over a year and I've had a fantastic experience learning classical and acoustic guitar with him. He is not only patient, methodical, and encouraging but also humorous and fun. One of the best teachers in town. Highly recommended.

Kejia Hu
*****

Rick just knows where you have a problem and helps you refine it effectively. If you are a serious guitarist, give it a shot; what you learn here will be part of your music for a lifetime!

Parsa Noroozian
*****

I am currently taking classical guitar lessons under Richard Summers, who is truly a master at both the playing of the classical guitar, as well as the technical language that is inherently involved. I had come to him through apprehension, as I had never before considered learning from a teacher, but I am being honest when I say that my musical endeavours would grow to be incredibly fruitless if I had never decided to approach him. He is very good at making you feel proud of your musical progress, while also showing enough reserve for you to be humbled too. His musical knowledge is extremely diverse, and it is astounding to see the many books of famous works of past and present musicians that he has accumulated over the years, who's songs he has written in exact replication by the use of his ear. His methods begin with three instructional books that he has created himself, with mostly songs that he has written originally, all of them being extremely fun to play. They are not compositions of basic and tedious nursery rhymes, or songs that one might find it difficult to have enthusiasm toward, but rather, his books entail original pieces that one can really appreciate and admire. I have learned so much from this man, so much through the use of this institute’s services, and would recommend them to anyone looking not merely to play guitar, but to play guitar well, whether truly beginner, (like myself), or advanced.

Thomas Sinaguglia
*****

If you want to take guitar lessons, look no further, this is the place!

William Kim
*****

Being a guitar instructor takes more than just being good at guitar, it also takes knowing how to teach. Knowing when and where your student is lacking and focusing on those points to help them improve, as well as complimenting them on areas where they have showed marked improvement so they know they're going in the right direction. These are things I learned being taught by Rick, as I observed not just a great musician, but a great teacher as well. Highly recommended if you're looking for someone to teach you guitar.

srkibble
*****

Two of my children have been taking lessons with Rick for a year. His teaching method is a perfect balance of challenging and engaging. He encourages them to push themselves technically without making them feel overwhelmed. The success they have seen over the past year has turned their lesson into a weekly highlight.

Signe Orgil
*****

Amazing teacher!!! He knows how to teach well and how to get the most from his students. I have been one of his students for nine years and due to his teaching method I have gotten good marks on RCM exams and I've done well in competitions. Richard Summers has taught me to love playing guitar, to develop my musical skills and to strive for excellence.

Naomi Kafantaris
*****

Great Lessons! I've learned so much over the past nine years!

Ryan Cheng

2015 OMFA First Place Winner, Grade 10 Guitar

2014 OMFA First Place Winner, Grade 9 Guitar
*****

I can't live without music. It sustains me as much as food and drink, air, and even love. And while playing music is great fun, it should be approached with seriousness because it has the power to enrich your life. I played pop and rock guitar for 30 years, but without any real direction. I had the impression that classical guitar was too difficult to study. Then, on a magical trip to Andalusia I was treated to classical guitar played daily in the sunny streets, and my heart was opened to the beauty of the sacred rhythms; until one day in Seville I lifted my sangria to the heavens and vowed to learn this music! Soon after that fate brought me to Rick, and the sun hasn't yet stopped shining. With effortless grace Rick brought me into his world a step at a time, providing me with the tools to achieve modest building blocks towards success. He is a gifted teacher with an uncanny ability to quickly focus on what needs to be addressed with my playing, and then demonstrates the technical adjustments required, all the while providing encouragement and the motivation to continue. He is a virtuoso player with an impeccable taste and vast knowledge of music, which he is happy to share. My heart thanks Rick for enriching my life!

Ivan Petkovsky
*****

Rick is an excellent teacher. Although I have only recently started studying classical guitar I have a strong musical background and play a few other instruments so I've had quite a number of different music teachers before. One thing that really stands out for me is that Rick is able to explain and break down the process on how to perform technical skills very clearly and to suggest exercises to develop the skill. There are many teachers – while they may be able to perform very well - cannot explain how they do it because they either only understand what they are doing in an intuitive way or they don’t know how to teach the skill effectively because they aren’t able to devise or suggest useful exercises that help. Rick can do that, and more. As a teacher myself, there is another attribute that is generally overlooked but is the hallmark of a great teacher, and that is his expert ability to assess a student’s learning - which is no doubt due to his background as an adjudicator and RCM examiner - and to effortlessly suggest how to improve precisely where it is needed. As a result he is able to scaffold a student’s learning and progress at a comfortable and appropriately challenging pace. Rick is a fantastic teacher and provides a strong foundation; I highly recommend him.

Chris Seto
*****

I have been learning how to play classical guitar with Rick for a year now and I am confident to say that I will be continuing to do so for many years to come. I had been trying to teach myself how to play guitar for about 2 years prior to this and have never progressed at such a quick rate before. This is largely because of Rick’s thorough and engaging teaching method that motivates me to improve my skills. He is very patient, recognizes the smallest details on how to improve, and provides me with useful techniques that make guitar playing much more easy and fun. He also strategically adjusts weekly exercises to a suitable difficulty which helps motivate me to learn more music and improve at a satisfying pace. I still can’t believe how much I have learned in such a short amount of time, and I am much more motivated to learn and improve than ever, thanks to Rick.

Leonard Pamulaklakin
*****

Rick brings his wealth of education & experience to the lesson in a down to earth approach in his passion for music, understanding & respecting the learning style of all individual students. He imparts musicianship and instills quality sound, rhythm, dynamics and colour. In addition to teaching more advanced level players, he also enjoys teaching beginners, as it provides an opportunity to lay a foundation of proper technique and prevents them from developing poor practice habits. I have benefited greatly from this approach and consequently am a better musician. Rick inspires respect and recognition of beauty in any piece of music and makes it come to life and enables the student to make that music their own something that resonates with his/her spirit. Every aspiring guitar player will love his pedagogy to create your own voice, I can’t stress enough how many benefits you will receive from him.

Sam Touma
*****

Rick is a fantastic guitar teacher. I have studied with him since high school and right through my university degree. He has always adapted our lessons to my goals year by year, and always pushed for the highest standard of performance. Thanks to his expertise, I have been able achieve many first place awards and scholarships from Peel Music Festival, three RCM Gold Medals, and high marks on several RCM exams. There is truly no one better to learn from!

Emily Johnson

2011 OMFA First Place winner, Grade 7 Guitar
*****

I have been playing classical guitar for many years and have developed poor technique.  Richard identified my issues and we are working on improving them.  I am delighted with my progress in only 4 weeks.  Richard is the REAL DEAL!

Norm B.
*****

I've been studying with Richard Summers at the Toronto Guitar Institute for 11 years, and it has been an incredibly enriching experience. Rick is both an engaged teacher and a fantastic guitar player. I've become a much better musician that I ever would have imagined!

Liz Kain
*****

I am 41 years old and have never played a musical instrument before. I tried a few times to learn guitar on my own from books or online but always put it down again in frustration. I was concerned that an instructor would not know where to begin teaching me at my age with no musical experience. Rick was able to create lessons that had me learning chords as I played recognizable songs right from the start. After 3 months of lessons I am able to do chord changes well enough to actually enjoy playing music. Rick has transcribed some of my favorite songs and has me playing them by the next week, and will tailor his lesson plans to your specific needs and musical tastes. If you are looking to start learning to play guitar I highly recommend Rick Summers.

Marco B
*****

Richard is an amazing guitar teacher. He is highly experienced and very professional. My son started guitar lessons about 10 months ago and has learned so much about music. Richard is kind and very patient with him and makes every class a learning experience and lots of fun. I strongly recommend Richard for anyone thinking of taking guitar lessons.

L. Santos
*****

I started taking lessons with Richard Summers three years ago, to prepare for my Royal Conservatory of Music Grade 9 Exam. His thorough approach to guiding me through the Pieces, Technical Requirements, Ear Tests and Sight Reading has made me the recipient of the Gold Medal for that discipline. My favorite aspect of working with Rick is his openness to engage in discussion - he is interested in solving technical difficulties and shows mutual respect for my opinions/ideas.

Alexandra Papouchina

2012 OMFA First Place winner, Grade 9 Guitar

2013 OMFA Second Place winner, Grade 10 Guitar
*****

My son Sebastian has been learning to play classical guitar with Rick Summers since he was seven years old. Rick is reliable, experienced and very professional, and his lessons are engaging and productive. He can communicate any concept in a method that a student can easily comprehend. Rick’s patience, personality and vast knowledge of music make him a great choice for a guitar teacher!

Chantal Qi
*****

I studied classical guitar with Rick Summers in the 70's, and went on to study in two other provinces with other guitar teachers. Although they were good teachers, Rick is by far the best. When I decided to study guitar again in Ontario, Rick was the obvious choice as he is talented, musically astute and attentive to the finer details of what makes a good student into a top student. Lessons are challenging but not hard, and are fun and enjoyable. Highly recommended!

Tanya Clark
*****

I've been taking classical guitar lessons from Rick Summers at the Toronto Guitar Institute for about 7 years, and enjoy it thoroughly. I've played guitar for almost 25 years. In that time I've met a lot of really talented players, but I've met very few who could teach well. Rick is an excellent guitar teacher, with a wealth of resources and pedagogical experience. If I am struggling with a piece of music, he is able to produce a technical exercise that helps me through the difficulty. Taking lessons from him has opened me up to new artists and musical styles, and it has really helped me to focus on how I play. It's been a great ride so far, and one I plan on continuing!

Dave McKee
*****

I've been a student at the Toronto Guitar Institute for close to two years, studying classical guitar with Rick Summers, and it's been a fabulous musical journey thus far.....obvious concerns for any skeptic stepping into the search for a guitar teacher can be mitigated only through self-experience, and I am surely lucky to have hit the bull's-eye right at the get-go! Rick's long and enriched musical career is clearly reflected in his dedication and love for music, marvelous guitar playing capabilities, melodious compositions and, most importantly, (from my viewpoint) patience and perseverance in extracting the best out of any sincere guitar student.

Subh Ghosh
*****

My son had been playing classical guitar for several years when we approached Rick Summers, who then unlocked a door into a totally new horizon in the world of learning and playing music. Rick's love for the instrument and teaching is palpable and he has been very successful in transferring it to his students. My son has developed a huge respect for his teacher and stays motivated to practice and show his improvements with each new lesson. The progress he has made since he started working with Rick two years ago is significant and reflected in his results in exams, competitions and the continuous joy he finds in playing and learning new guitar skills.

Z. Grujic, Father of Vid Grujic

2016 OMFA First Place winner, Grade 7 Guitar
2017 OMFA Second Place winner, Grade 8 Guitar

*****

Richard Summers rocks! Both my son (13 years-old) and I started taking guitar lessons separately six years ago. We’ve gone from being able to read and play a few notes to being able to play a broad range of songs on acoustic and electric guitar. My son was able to perform in his own kid band at age 9. Rick is not only an accomplished guitar player but is a very skilled and creative teacher who is able to demonstrate proper techniques, tailoring his lessons to best suit the level and skill of his students. He has an uncanny ability to transcribe music and to find creative ways to play songs that make it easier for his students to learn. With the help of “take-home” videos, we’ve been able to review complicated techniques on the iPad and computer. His taste in music is first-rate and he’s introduced the entire family to great tunes that we’ve all added to our playlists.

Eileen Morin
*****

I’ve known Rick Summers since the 80s, back when I first started playing guitar. He was and remains an excellent teacher and I really advanced in my playing. When my son Theo started showing an interest in guitar, I knew to look Rick up first. That was about 6 years ago and Theo looks forward to his lesson every week. Rick is a great teacher, very patient, knowledgeable, and highly methodical in leading students to improve their skills while still making it a fun experience. It’s just what you’d expect from an expert player and teacher. I often hang around for Theo’s lesson, and I’m amazed at how Rick can lift a song by ear – usually right on the spot – and then take Theo through it bit by bit until he can play and sing along too.  Rick, it’s been a lot of years, yet I’m still amazed at how effortless you make it all seem!

Gerry De Iuliis
*****

I first heard about Rick from a friend back in 2010 when I was looking for a teacher. Learning to play the guitar had long been on top of my to-do list, but I held off because I felt intimidated taking it up as an adult. I had only ever been for one lesson and the teacher left me totally uninspired, so I decided to take my friend’s advice and call Rick. What a difference! Rick was very confident in his opinions (for instance that as a lefty I ought to play left-handed guitar – the right decision, for sure) and immediately put me at ease. I knew right away that as long as I was committed to learning, Rick would be an excellent teacher, and so he has been. With incredible skill, extensive musical knowledge, and excellent and diverse teaching methods, Rick makes each lesson a rich learning experience. I really appreciate his classical training because I know that even though I play folk guitar, his teaching is always technically sound. And, as a teacher myself, I have a lot of respect for his flexible teaching style; when he teaches me something one way and I don’t get it, he always has another tactic up his sleeve to make sure that I do. This is one of the hallmarks of a great teacher. I am amazed at what I have been able to accomplish in the few years that I have been studying with him. Now, after nearly four years of learning folk guitar and finger style, I look forward to studying classical guitar with Rick. He is such a wealth of knowledge, and a kind person, and always manages to crack a joke or two. I look forward to my lesson every week.

Tonya Stanislawska
*****

My kids have been taking from him for 8 years now. Rick is a good teacher.
My kids do acoustic and classical guitar with him and attend the Peel Music
Festival. Because of this my daughter plays the guitar at her school choir
and my son loves to play the guitar thanks to Rick.

Bayani Madrigal
*****

I look forward to my lessons each week with Rick. The studio is relaxed and
welcoming and Rick's knowledge and experience make him an excellent
instructor and teacher. I had never picked up a guitar before meeting Rick
and now I can play along with many of my favorite tunes.

Marco De Iuliis
*****