Dave Milliken guitar  bass  piano  vocals
Performer • Teacher • Songwriter
Dave Milliken playing his Yamaha acoustic guitar

guitar, bass & piano lessons

Based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Dave teaches acoustic, electric and bass guitar, and piano in a variety of styles including rock, alternative, folk, blues, funk, reggae, classical and jazz. Dave accepts students who range in age from thirteen to adult and in ability from beginner to advanced. He has been a teacher since 1990, both at his home studio and until 2005 at the Ottawa Folklore Centre School of Music. He has a Bachelor of Music from the University of Ottawa and currently teaches more than thirty students a week. Students can learn in the way(s) that work best for them - using tablature, staff notation, learning by ear and/or recording audio or video of portions of the lessons on their devices. Guitar lessons can include songs, technique, scales, arpeggios, exercises, ear training and techniques for applying theory to rhythm, improvisation and soloing in any style. The same goes for piano lessons and bass lessons. Dave's approach is to shape the lessons according to each student's level and interests. He can also prepare students for RCM exams.

New students are always welcome. Contact Dave at dave@davemilliken.com to find out more or to book lessons.

For information about Dave's education and background, refer to the bio page. To see Dave perform live, come to one of the upcoming shows listed on the home page. Dave plays in several groups which are described on the bands page.


Lessons are available Monday to Thursday between 9:00 am and 9:00 pm and Friday between 9:00 am and 2:00 pm. Most students reserve a time slot and come for a private lesson lasting either a half-hour or an hour once a week. Lessons are also available by appointment for students who do shift work or who can't commit to a regular weekly time for scheduling or financial reasons.


Dave teaches in his home studio located at 13 Abingdon Drive.

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Dave's studio is located within 5 km of the following neighbourhoods:
Abeatha Park, Arlington Woods, Bayshore, Bel Air Park, Bells Corners, Bells Corners East, Bells Corners West, Bells Junction, Bellwood, Briar Green, Briargreen, Britannia, Britannia Heights, Britannia Village, Bruce Farm, Centrepointe, City View, Craig Henry, Crestview, Crystal Bay, Crystal Beach, Fairfield Heights, Graham Park, Iris, Kenson Park, Lakeview Park, Leslie Park, Lincoln Heights, Lynwood Village, Manordale, Meadowlands, Merivale Gardens, Nepean, Parkway Park, Qualicum, Queensway Terrace North, Redwood Park, Ridgeview, Rocky Point, Ryan Farm, Saint Claire Gardens, Sheahan Estates, Tanglewood, Trend Village, Westcliffe Estates, Whitehaven, Woodvale.

Dave's studio is located within 3 km of the following high schools:
Bell, Sir Robert Borden, St. Paul, Woodroffe.

And within 6 km of these high schools:
Merivale, Nepean, Notre Dame, Omer Deslauriers.

Dave's studio is located within 5 km of the following streets:
Baseline Rd, Bayshore Dr, Carling Ave, Cedarview Rd, Centrepointe Dr, Corkstown Rd, Craig Henry Dr, Richmond Rd, Greenbank Rd, Holly Acres Rd, Iris St, Maitland Ave, Meadowlands Dr, Merivale Rd, Moodie Dr, Navaho Dr, Pinecrest Rd, Robertson Rd, Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway, Slack Rd, Viewmount Dr, W Hunt Club Rd, 416, 417.


Private lessons on piano, guitar and bass at Dave's home studio cost $27 per half hour ($54 per hour). There is no tax, no registration fee and no minimum number of lessons required. Payment is preferred in cash, but cheques and Interac email money transfers are accepted if payment is being made for several lessons at a time. For students coming regularly, pre-payment of at least 4 lessons at a time is requested.

Group lessons cost $20 per half hour ($40 per hour) per person. Groups work best when they are small and each student is at about the same level. Groups need to be organized by the student i.e. find a friend or 2 who would like to take lessons with you.

Band coaching is also offered. Contact Dave for details.

Student Testimonials

I came to Dave’s studio after a rather long stint of studying (my beloved) classical piano repertoire. I wanted to explore jazz and learn how to improvise. I wanted to know what it was like to make music without my customary reliance on a musical score.Dave was able to draw on his own excellent musicianship and thorough knowledge of the language of music to lead me into this what was for me uncharted territory. He is an intuitive teacher who was able to effectively identify the areas in my musical education that were weak, and provide me with the necessary tools and framework to begin to address these gaps.And he made it fun! I have experienced a much greater sense of ease and joy in making music than in my strictly classical past. At 54 I think that my experience studying with Dave Milliken has proven the old adage: "you're never too old to learn!”
- Kate Macdonald, February 25, 2013
Hi Dave,
I just want to say thanks for a GREAT lesson yesterday!! Your help on how to slide from one chord to the next easily has really, really helped me in my Jeff Buckley playing. The variations you showed me with the "F" for the Mojave 3 song are really useful too! You're a great teacher! Thanks Dave & see ya next Monday! Cheers,
Sylvie Hill
Hey Dave! Meant to tell you this last week via email - Dylan is really enjoying his lessons. He wanted to go for one every night last week! And he can't wait for Sunday to roll around. Thanks again for working so well with him.
Bernie Schroeder
Dear Dave, I want to thank you so much for being such a terrific mentor and teacher to Keith. You've given him a real positive creative direction - no lesson fee could ever repay that. So thanks.
Barbara Sibbald
Dave, Every lesson, I am struck by your ability to decipher songs, your huge repertoire, and your guitar-playing. When I turn 40, if I am half as good of a guitarist as you are now, I will be ecstatic. I've enjoyed the recording, your performances, all the lessons, and the snippets of conversation and laughter. Thank you.
Ania Jakubek
Hi Dave What you have done with Patrick is wonderful, great...he is soooo happy taking lessons with you. In the evening you always hear Pat trying out a new song or he is on the computer downloading some kind of sheet music and then trying to learn how to play it. Thanks for everything!!!
Nancy Malo
Dave, Thanks for another year of inspiration. The pleasure I have experienced from learning and playing guitar would simply not have been possible without your enthusiastic coaching (not to mention your sense of humour).
Marcella Patenaude
Just wanted to let you know I think you are doing a terrific job in helping Kyle learn in a friendly and enjoyable atmosphere ­ your enthusiasm also gets to me!
Gerry Wall

Gift Certificates

Gift certificates are available and can be emailed to you on receipt of a cheque or Interac email money transfer (or picked up in person if you prefer). When ordering a gift certificate, please provide your name, the name of the student (who must be at least 13 years old), and the number of half-hour lessons you wish to purchase.

Cancellation Policy

If you are unable to attend a lesson, you are expected to provide at least 72 hours (3 days) notice. With less notice, there is not enough time for Dave to schedule someone else into the spot, so you will be charged for the time that you have booked.

Recommended Books, Websites & Apps

Here are some great books to improve your playing:


Fast Track Guitar 1 – Blake Neely & Jeff Schroedl (Hal Leonard)
Progressive Guitar Method Book 1: Beginner – Gary Turner & Brenton White (LTP Publishing)
Classic Guitar Technique Volume 1 – Aaron Shearer (Franco Colombo/Warner Brothers)
Mel Bay’s Easiest Guitar Theory Book – Rob Goldsmith (Mel Bay)
Music Theory for Guitar: An Introduction to the Essentials – Michael P. Wolfson (Hal Leonard)
A Guide to Chords, Scales, & Arpeggios – Al Di Meola & Bob Aslanian (Hal Leonard)
Practical Theory for Guitar – Don Latarski (CPP/Belwin)
The Advancing Guitarist – Mick Goodrick (Hal Leonard)
Beginning Blues Guitar – Arlen Roth (Music Sales Limited)
A Modern Method for Guitar – William G. Leavitt (Berklee Press/Hal Leonard)
Repertoire and Studies Albums (Guitar Series) – Royal Conservatory of Music (Frederick Harris Music)
Guitar Music from the Student Repertoire – John Mills (Musical New Services/Wise Publications/Music Sales Limited)


Basses Loaded series – Rod Goelz (Santorella Publications Limited)


Jazz Piano From Scratch – Charles Beale (Hal Leonard/ABRSM)
Jazz Piano series – edited by Charles Beale (ABRSM)
Celebration Series Perspectives: Repertoire and Studies – Royal Conservatory of Music (Frederick Harris Music)
Alfred's Basic Adult Piano Course – Willard A. Palmer, Morton Manus & Amanda Vick Lethco (Alfred)

Here are some great websites & apps to check out:

  • www.good-ear.com – free online ear training
  • www.emusictheory.com – free online music theory drills
  • www.metronomeonline.com – free online metronome
  • Amazing Slow Downer – app for Mac, Windows, iOs & Android that allows you to change the speed of a recording without changing the pitch, or vice versa. Helpful for beginners to be able to play along at a slower speed, for moving downtuned guitars to standard tuning, for slowing down difficult passages in order to figure them out, for creating loops to play along with, etc.
  • Anytune – similar app for Mac & iOs
  • MetroTimer – metronome app for iOs
  • Cleartune – tuner app for iOs & Android
  • Better Ears – ear training app for Mac, iOs & Android


A good way to become a better musician is to transcribe the music that you are trying to learn. Spend some time listening to a song and experimenting with your guitar in order to figure out as best you can the chords, the melody, the rhythm of the strum, the nuances of the solo, etc. Write down whatever you can. This will improve your ear and your knowledge of theory.

You'll need blank sheets of notation paper for your transcriptions. Here are some PDFs that you can download and print:

The photo at the top of this page is by Matthew Kellett.

Dave Milliken