'Street Level Guitar aims to help those with the sincere desire to learn the guitar to do so in the most direct and efficient way possible and to help those who already do play to elevate their skills to where they want them to be through the art of applied practice.' 

I have spent most of my life playing the guitar and teaching others to play. My experiences have led me to devlop a particular way of teaching that gets new students playing in record time and gets more advanced students closer to their musical goals than they ever thought possible. I call it Street Level Guitar because it is a very direct approach that emphasizes both skills and musicality without hard-to-digest theoretical concepts that only serve to confuse the student, especially at the beginning. All that advanced stuff is there to be learned and I can teach it to you, but it doesn't mean much if you can't stand up, be musical, and play songs. 

I work with all ages and stages of students and my methods have been successful with each of them. One of the biggest parts of what I do is building the students' confidence up through mastering skills and attaining knowledge so that they are ready and able when it becomes their time to take the stage. I want all my students to experience the thrill of being on stage, because it is the reward for all their hard work in the practice room. 

Once students have their basics, I teach a wide-ranging program covering topics like music reading and theory, ear training, song learning, songwriting, music production, and performance coaching. Styles I cover include rock, blues, country, funk, rockabilly, folk, surf, and pop and I do them all on electric and acoustic. I do my best to give students the benefit of a lifetime spent in music coupled with the enthusiasm of a new player on their first gig. The mental game of music matters to me and I want to make sure my students are prepared to play it. 

I teach in my own studio in South Elgin, IL, which is near Chicago. I am also available to students worldwide, thanks to the magic of Skype, and also do custom lessons via MP3 files. Please contact me at for rates and scheduling.  Thanks!!

Mike O'Cull





Another happy Street Level Guitar student!!

Mike, thank you for being the guitar guru that you are. Taking lessons from you is very valuable because you tell me and teach me things I could never pick up on my own. It's so helpful to have someone like you to provide tips and tricks that are so useful in my desire to be a better guitar player. You are my advisor and guru and teacher. Exactly what I need to improve my playing and knowledge. You are the master! I am the student willing to learn.

Doug M., current student.



As a long time guitar "hacker" and adult player, I was looking for an instructor that would teach me what I wanted to know - not only how but why. I have had other guitar teachers that only wanted me to learn what they thought I needed to know. You start here and hopefully end there....that was the lesson plan. Didn't matter what I wanted to study. In the year I have worked wth Mike I have learned more than any other teacher had taught me - ever!. Not just chord progressions or scale patterns but how to "hear" what is going on and why a player is doing what they are doing. Can't wait to see what happens in year two!



Greg S., Elgin, Il.



    If you ever wanted to learn how to play the guitar; then all you need to do is get one and strum away. But if you want to learn how to play the guitar right; then Mike is the teacher who can help you. As a teacher, he brings years of teaching experience as well as performing in bands, songwriting ability and general knowledge of all different types of music. He teaches at a pace where the student can learn and get the most out of the lesson. Unlike some teachers, he never rushes over things. You will appreciate the attention to detail. Rest assured that if Mike is your teacher he will make sure that you understand both the physical and the musical end of playing. He will set the foundation on which you, as a student can build. You will learn how to play; but more importantly you learn how to play right. I highly recommend him. Mike, you ROCK ! Thanks.



George (adult student), Bartlett IL.