Karl Leitzel music lessons banner

Karl teaches most of his music lessons at the Green Drake Gallery and Arts Center, in downtown Millheim, Pennsylvania, where he is the Managing Partner and a Resident Artist. See http://greendrakeart.com


Photo of Karl leitzel playing guitarI've played guitar and harmonica since I was sixteen years old, as well as singing vocals. I've helped others get a start through music lessons for nearly as long. While my career is in fine art and sign painting rather than music, music and songwriting have always been strong passions. In more recent years, I've added the saxophone, recorder, Native American flute, and hand drums to my musical reportoire. I regularly have the opportunity to sit in with musician friends on stage and help lead worship music at our church.

I firmly believe that learning to play some kind of musical instrument, or singing on a regular basis, should be a part of nearly everyone's life. Whether just for your own pleasure, to share with others around the campfire, at church worship, or during jams with other musicians, it is a freeing and exciting means of self-expression. Some will even go on to regular public performance and perhaps songwriting.

If you have been thinking about learning to play an instrument, or your child or grandchild has expressed an interest, or if you want to build on where current skills, I'd love to help. Most of my lessons are on the guitar, but I can also help get a start with the harmonica, or adding the harmonica and/or vocals to your guitar playing. I can also get you started with the ukelele, which is essentially like playing a small 4-string guitar, and learning on the uke transfers right over to the guitar. This can be especially helpful for a younger child with small hands.

Photo of Karl Leitzel playing guitar and harmonicaI play music mainly "by ear", and I don't teach playing through formal reading of music. I do teach the more important chords by name, how to instantly know the chord to play when it is written in above the lyrics on a song sheet, and proper timing and strumming techniques. Further along, some finger-picking styles can be explored, along with playing lead lines and adding harmonica and/or vocals. Lessons are usually 30 minutes and once a week at a regularly scheduled time. Occasionally skipping a week or finding a different time slot when there is a conflict can be accommodated. The cost is $18 per lesson. With special arrangements it is possible for two friends or siblings to share a lesson slot and split the cost. Guitar (or ukelele) lessons are typically done over a period of months or even longer, as there is a lot to learn and it takes time to build the skills and muscle memory. Getting a start on the harmonica can be done over a shorter number of lessons.

Another skill we start to work on as soon as the basics are mastered is playing together with others. This involves both timing and an awareness of what the other musician in doing as well as getting over the natural "stage fright" of being afraid of making a mistake.

In addition to these instruments, I am available for lessons on playing the sax, recorder, Native American flute, or hand drums by ear rather than through reading music. This can be important additional skill for those who may already play one of these instruments but has only ever done so by reading music.


Lessons are generally taught upstairs at the Green Drake Gallery and Arts Center in Millheim, Pennsylvania. Here are the basics of what I cover at different levels for the guitar, though it is a continuum with no firm separation between levels:

Beginning Basic:

  • Learn to play the most important chords by name
  • Learn to think in terms of music keys and the dominant chords in each
  • Tuning the guitar by ear or with an electronic tuner
  • Basic strumming patterns

Intermediate Basic:

  • Expanded number of chords
  • Recognizing what the other guitar player is playing and matching it
  • Adding fingerpicking to strumming, advanced strums and timing
  • Restringing your guitar yourself

Intermediate (dependent on the student's interests):

  • Combining vocals or harmonica with guitar
  • Complex picking patterns
  • Starting to write your own songs


Get in touch with any questions or to set up lessons at 814-422-8461 or at karlericleitzel@gmail.com. I would also be glad to help with advice on buying a first guitar, ukelele, or harmonica.


Photo of Karl Leitzel and Jeremy Tosten playing music together

Karl adding harmonica with the Poe Valley Troubadors at the Elk Creek Face and Aleworks in Millheim, Pa. (with Jeremy Tosten)



Contact karl at karlericleitzel@gmail.com

page last updated 10/5/2015