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About Me

I'm a professional musician with over 25 years experience in performing, songwriting and teaching. I've been teaching guitar and bass lessons at a music store that services the East Valley (Chandler, Tempe, Gilbert and Mesa) for over 15 years now. Over the years, I've had hundreds of students, from age 5 through 75, walk through my door - some of them have went on to have successful musical careers (Jimmy Eat World), others have recorded their own solo albums, joined bands or played their favorite songs for family & friends.

I grew up in Chicago and moved to Arizona in the late 80s. I've played in bands since my teenage years, hit the musical stage back in 1991 and signed my first recording contract at the end of 1999. Since then I've appeared on over 50 albums, played hundreds of shows while touring all over the United States & Europe (with bands like AFI, Peter Murphy, Concrete Blonde, The Mission UK, New Model Army, etc), published around 50 original songs and even have had some of my own music played on MTV. I also studied Music Theory & Composition and received my Bachelor of Arts Degree from Arizona State University in 2000.

 

Some of my favorite bands/musicians: David Bowie, The Cure, U2, Joy Division, The Smiths, Frank Sinatra, Depeche Mode, Jane's Addiction, The Doors, James, Lou Reed, Love & Rockets, Bauhaus, Nick Cave, R.E.M., Gram Parsons - to name a few. My appreciation & knowledge in music spans all genres. 
 

 

Testimonials
  • "I’ve been privileged to call Bret my guitar and bass guitar teacher for more than 10 years. He’s a great teacher, and I think I should know – I’m a professor at ASU. Bret is a professional musician, but that’s only part of what makes him an expert teacher. He knows how to teach. He tailors his teaching method to each individual student and what he or she wants out of the experience. That can range from a deep, technical knowledge of music theory to simply learning to play your favorite songs, and everything between. He’s very understanding with beginners and has a great sense of just when you’re ready for something more challenging. Lastly, I’m continually amazed not only with Bret’s musicianship, but his incredible knowledge of the music industry and its history. With his guidance, I’ve grown not only as a musician, but also in my appreciation for music and its various styles. My time with Bret has been nothing short of a wonderful and rewarding experience." - Joe Russomanno

  • "I’ve taken guitar lessons from Bret for almost 4 years. During that time, my skill level has increased markedly!! Bret is organized, thorough, and both knowledgeable as well as personable. He has a solid background in music theory, so even the most technically challenging pieces are achievable with him. In addition to being a great teacher, Bret is also an awesome guitar player, and performs live in various venues. His performance is not only a testament to his abilities, but also an inspiration. If you are serious about learning to play, I highly recommend Bret!!" - Scott Tanabe

  • "I moved back to the U.S. about 8 years ago and my guitar teacher in Germany recommended Bret Helm to me because he is from AZ originally. I was really looking for someone to take me to that next level of guitar playing. As a beginner acoustic rhythm guitar player I felt like I was really hitting a wall and not capable of really playing songs much less accompanying others. Bret got me to that next level where I could not only play the songs and accompany others but also play and sing the songs myself. Bret is one of the best guitar teachers in the valley and definitely money well spent." - Mark Hudson

  • "Bret taught me acoustic and electric guitar for nearly 4 years and is still teaching me to this day. Best 4 years of my life and I hope for many more years. Thank you for being such an amazing teacher!" - Vivian T.

  • "I took lessons with Bret from the moment I got my first guitar at age 10, until I left for college. He taught me everything I know from my first chord to my first original song. Bret gives his students the opportunity to learn what they want to learn. Each week he had something new for me to take home, whether it was a new song, a new technique, or even just a new band or artist to check out. Bret's musical knowledge and ability widens over multiple genres. He introduced me to a lot of the music I listen to today and I am extremely thankful he expanded my music taste so much, as well as my guitar playing. As I started writing my own songs, Bret even offered to give me a couple vocal lessons to give me the confidence I needed to be able to perform them for others. I am now in a band, and we recently went on our first tour this summer and continue to play shows all over Arizona. If it wasn't for Bret and my excitement to see him every week for 8 years, I wouldn't have half the love and knowledge of music and playing skills I have today. Everything I know about guitar is because of Bret." - Ryan Orr

  • "I started guitar lessons with Bret a month or two ago and I am so amazed with how much I've learned in such a short amount of time. Bret was very accommodating for my constantly changing schedule and he was able to tailor the lesson to exactly what I wanted to learn. He also taught at the perfect speed for me, never lingering on one technique, scale or song for too long. He had a lot of different things for me to work on and let me pick songs to learn that I liked. I had a lot of fun at my lessons and always had plenty of exciting things to work on before the next lesson. Bret was easy to get along with and his enthusiasm for guitar and music was inspiring." - Meredith A.