• "I have been playing violin, piano, and guitar since I was 10-11 years old. As a professional musician/music therapist, I have the great opportunity and joy to play music everyday in some capacity (area orchestras,a songwriter's group, a Celtic trio, in music therapy sessions and in churches). I feel fairly proficient on violin and piano but sought out Brian Rivers to deepen my understanding of the guitar with the goal of becoming a better rhythm player and a better songwriter.
To date, I have taken 20 lessons with Brian Rivers. I am hooked. I thought with my experience and background, that my approach to music/ music theory was adequate, confident and secure. I know my scales, keys, chord voicings,etc and use them regularly... or so I thought, until I met Brian.
It has been an honor to study with Brian Rivers, a brilliant soul. Brian's teaching approach is masterful. He is helping me unlock the secrets of the guitar with his unique methods, handouts, and demonstrations. Moreover, his teaching style is kind, patient, serious, humorous, and he shows genuine interest in my abilities to learn.
Brian is excellent at teaching and helping me expand upon a single concept, and at showing me how to use it in multiple ways (scale patterns and chord shapes to be specific).
I have always loved playing music, but now I find myself especially craving the guitar. Needless to say, not much housework has gotten done since I started guitar lessons, as my guitar calls to me. Got to practice. Got a lesson."
Jude Jones: female guitar student, age 54, professional musician/music therapist, Cincinnati, OH
• "Brian Rivers is my first music teacher. I have learned so much from him and always love going to my lessons. Sometimes when we get tired of working in the workbook I get to pick out a song or two that I like which makes my lessons more fun and interesting. My lessons are so much fun that when they are over, it feels like I just started and I don't want them to be over. Brian Rivers may be one of the best teachers I have ever had.
Zanna, age 10, Cincinnati, OH
• "We found out about Mr. Rivers by sheer luck and I am still thanking the Internet for coming up with his name by googling "guitar lesson Cincinnati". Our son had been struggling with language arts and a friend recommended to start the guitar for a fun way for the brain to learn another "language". It's been more then a year and simply great. Mr. Rivers has a wonderful demeanor that puts even nervous children at ease and he never fails to get them smiling when they struggle through a piece. He teaches the children to take pride in their achievements but also that achievements need to be worked for. When he asks the kids "What do you do after you practice?" they love to yell back "Practice some more, Sir!" Mr. Rivers is truly a world class teacher and we feel lucky that his path brought him to Cincinnati. Thank you, Mr. Rivers!!
Mirja Zeilstra, Mother of Justin (10), Cincinnati, OH
• "Brian Rivers establishes great rapport with his students through his humor and warm relational skills. He truly INSPIRES them to love music and to work hard to develop their skills. My son (Elias, age 11) asked for guitar lessons from Brian as his birthday present after hearing Brian play and hearing testimonies from other students. Elias and I both still feel that those lessons from Brian were the best gift he's received. Brian gave him skills that built his self-esteem and inspired him to practice lots and to LOVE playing guitar. I am deeply grateful to Brian for the contribution that he made to my son's personal development and to his development as a musician. We recommend him most enthusiastically!"
Lonna Hampton, mother in Davis, California, where many of us are mourning the loss of the best music teacher ever!
Elias, age 11, former student of Brian Rivers
• “Brian Rivers was the greatest influence on the early development of my son’s love for music. Through Brian, he was encouraged, supported and pushed beyond the limits of simply learning to play the acoustic bass – to explore and discover what makes music so special. As an 11 year old Aleczander was composing and performing his own music especially which for me was absolutely amazing especially given the short time that he had been playing. Brian was able to draw out from others the same passion that he possess – that is the true test of a great artist! We very much miss working with Brian but know that his interest in my son’s continued growth still remains”
Dr. James Young, Davis, California
• I had the privilege of having Brian Rivers as a teacher for three years during middle school and high school. Let me just say, Rivers knew just about anything. You name it, he taught it. He was my orchestra conductor, songwriting and guitar instructor, CD project producer and everything musically in between. But most of all, Rivers showed great interest in every one of his students and worked with them specifically so that they could find ways to apply music to life. He taught me the importance of putting my heart into the music I played, and the importance of making it relatable to others, so that it could inspire and motivate. He put so much time and energy even to see just a small step towards improvement. I have truly learned to use music to make a difference everyday.
Stefanie, age 17
• "I originally began taking Music Theory right out of high school and found it daunting and uninspiring, so I discontinued. Much later on in life, I came upon a listing for a class in Music Theory in the community college extension catalog taught by Brian Rivers. Having known Brian from his involvement in Mumbo Gumbo as well as throughout the local community, I felt encouraged to take another crack at this long-time desire. From the moment I stepped into his studio for each lesson, I felt inspired and encouraged, and had regained my confidence that I could learn this very complex system. He's everything you would want in a music teacher and more."
Robin Walton, Davis, California
• " I worked with Brian Rivers for more than ten years at Natomas Charter School Performing and Fine Arts Academy in Sacramento, California. We worked in adjoining classrooms for most of that time. I feel I have an in-depth knowledge of Brian’s musical and pedagogical abilities in the classroom working with students of all ages. He has an incredible depth of knowledge concerning such diverse kinds of music as jazz, world, folk, blues, country and pop. He knows the ins and outs of these genres including their performance techniques, history, and theory. He also has a vast knowledge concerning digital recording. His passion for music and learning transfers to his students, many of whom continue to pursue music after they take his classes. Brian’s commitment to students and student learning makes him an inspiration for educators. His ability to connect with students and meet them where they are is a critical part of his—and his students—success.
Matt Spiva, Percussionist, Composer and Music Educator – Sacramento, California – M.A. Music Composition, Sacramento State University
• "Brian Rivers is an amazing musician and an even more amazing music teacher. I happily shared a stage with Brian Rivers for 10 years in the funky, California roots band Mumbo Gumbo. I enjoyed his playing, his versatility, his energy, and his fun factor so much on every gig. Brian has deep music knowledge. He is such a patient guy, he can make you glad you asked even the stupidest questions! His kindness and amp-side manner are wrapped around years of accumulated knowledge and skill. He is one of the teachers I modeled my own teaching practice after. I flat-out love him.
Tracy Walton, Vocalist/guitarist - Mumbo Gumbo, Songwriter, Music Educator - Sacramento, California
• "The recordings Brian made of my string trio were the best of those we own. His generosity and expertise and skills should be apparent to those who work with him. His professionalism as a teacher, and his patience as a director were wonderful to see in an age where we need a pied piper to lead our children with joy and positive direction. I would recommend Brian Rivers as an instructor, director, performer or organizer in aspects relating to quality music activities."
Chuck Kenney, Retired music teacher, 38 years, San Juan Unified School District - Sacramento, California - B.A. Music, Sacramento State University, - M.Ed with emphasis in Music, LaVerne University
• " Mr. Rivers was an inspiration to many students who learned from him while teaching at Natomas Charter School, myself included. His obvious facility to play the guitar was the first thing that made me aspire to learn to play the guitar. Beyond that, he showed such an immense passion for playing that influenced my own love for playing. Mr. Rivers showed me how to be a true musician: both in technique, and in playing from the soul. I am immensely thankful that I had the opportunity of taking a class from such an amazing guitar teacher."
Samantha, age 15