Click on any item in the 3 sections below to see a description page.

Everything is better when you're an SDML Member. More programs are available to you for a much lower cost. Click here to join up today!



Group Classes.jpg

The flagship program of the SDML Academy of Guitar, these fun, interactive and social group classes are where you want to start! Each course is divided into an 8-week session, with the first three introductory courses (G1 - G3) designed for folks who have never played guitar. In the G4 class, students learn new material each session, based on the eight core components of guitar. Much like karate, yoga, or spin class, students enjoy G4 group classes for years at a time, meeting other players, making friends, finding opportunities to play, and getting better and better with each session!

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Many guitarists have dreams and ambitions for their guitar playing. The SDML Mentorship Program brings expertise, focus, and guidance to take your playing to the next level, leveraging your personal strengths to go far beyond what you thought was possible. Weekly one-on-one sessions with your certified instructor, group guitar classes, Virtual Guitar Classes and more are all included in this one program, as well as automatic SDML Membership. Whether you have career aspirations, or just want to see how far you can go, this elite program offers a path to success.

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You would love to take lessons... if only you had the time! Trying to fit a class or meeting into your already hectic schedule is impossible for many folks who still would like to learn. We're helping with that by recording and broadcasting our Virtual Guitar Classes online. Enroll in VGC, and you can take our classes in your own home, on your own schedule.


"What's a mode?" "How can I improve my playing speed?" "Is this song I wrote any good?""Where should I go with my music?" Sometimes you just need a few answers, or someone knowledgeable to point you in the right direction. If you're not looking for mentorship, but still want some one-on-one expert help, then a Private Guitar Consultation with a certified instructor may be just what you need. Rather than a recurring schedule, these are set up one at a time for a nominal fee, time and place based on mutual availability.

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Students who also have an SDML Membership can access all the handouts from classes, as well as detailed videos illustrating each concept, technique, riff, song or whatever, so that you can be confident that you're doing it right when you're playing at home.

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As a student who reaches G4 or earns the SAGE Perfomer Award (see below under "Testing and Certification") your SDML Membership gives you access to hundreds of handouts, tablature, song charts, and videos with advanced drills, exercises and guidance on all the components of playing guitar. This robust resource continues growing and adding more information year after year.

Events and Services

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Clinics and workshops are exciting events that take place in various locations throughout the year, hosted by SDML and featuring instructors, performers, songwriters and professionals from various areas of the music industry. Some of them are free, some are quite expensive (discounted for members) but they are always valuable, enjoyable experiences!

Student Recitals.jpg

Chances are you've been to some form of recital in the past, and maybe even played in one. But you've probably never been to one like ours! Held in public venues, usually with food and drink in a relaxed environment, these are "raise your hand and get called on to play" events that are fun for the whole family. Bring your friends, mom, dad, uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters to watch everyone showcase all the awesome things they've worked so hard to learn and master.

Student Guest Star.jpg

"Rock Band" programs have soared in popularity over recent years. Programs that specialize in these events offer expensive multi-instrumental instruction and do amazing things for children. The SDML Student Rock Star program, however, is free for members of all ages who want to feel the thrill of playing with a full band on stage. We provide the live backing musicians while you get to take center stage and shine, doing what you do best!

Personal Guitarist Evaluation.jpg

At some point, guitarists almost always have the same question: "Where do I stand?" We all want to know how good we are, and now SDML has developed objective criteria and an evaluation process to give you solid numbers on your abilities. Schedule a session with an SDML Certified Instructor, and you'll sit down one-on-one to take the test. Afterward, your results will be fed into our database and you'll receive a personalized summary, showing how you scored against the scale, and also compared to all other guitarists participating nationally. 

Self Assessment.jpg

Just looking for some basic help trying to figure out what your best approach for learning guitar might be, or which class you or your child should enroll in? Complete this free online form and an SDML Certified Instructor will get in touch with you directly to provide an expert recommendation.

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Okay, so, full disclosure here: we don't actually have an awesome rock-n-roll tour bus like this one - at least not yet. (But how cool would that be!?) We really DO, however, take our students and SDML members on exclusive field trips to local area professional organizations and businesses to get hands-on experiences in live recording, performance, broadcasting and other areas of the industry. Get in touch with us for details on upcoming opportunities!

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A core SDML philosophy is that no one should ever be denied the opportunity to learn guitar just because they can't afford it. To make these programs, events and services a reality for those of us facing financial hardship in these difficult economic times, we provide funding through the needs-based SDML Scholarship Program, to make sure money is never a barrier between our struggling neighbors, friends and family and their passion for learning music.

Testing & certification

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The SAGE Awards program exists to give recognition to students as you achieve certain progressive benchmarks in the beginning stages of learning guitar. They are organized into three levels: the Principles of Guitar Award, Guitar Developmental Award, and Guitar Performer Award. Students in our group classes receive these awards at the end of each 8-week session in G1 - G3. Special access online is made available when you get your Performer Award, so stick with it!

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There is a very big gap in the guitar playing community separating players who are "known" to be "good," versus those who have music degrees from accredited universities and colleges of music. To help fill that gap, we have created the Synthesis Certification program and designed it to give formal, credible acknowledgement to accomplished, skilled players at the professional level, but without the enormous financial investment and time commitments involved in a traditional four-year degree. Not many students aspire to this level. Those who do will train hard and if they pass the rigorous exams, they will be awarded official certification and featured on our national public database of certified players.

ICAT Program.jpg

ICAT is the Instructor Certification And Training program. Guitarists who have the passion, professionalism, knowledgeability and skills required of every SDML Certified instructor must complete this program in order to receive authorization to teach our system and offer programs to their eligible students. The qualifications needed to enter the program are high, and include real-world experience, player certifications, completion of training classes and successful passing of a series of exams. The rewards are many and well worth the efforts. We hold our teaching staff to the highest of standards and require a strong commitment, so if you're up to the task, inquire with your instructor or contact us here.



Instructor Availability Varies

Typical Availability

10 - 9 M-F

10 - 6 Sat.




Lexington, KY

Louisville, KY

Shelbyville, KY

Chicago, IL Area

Tuscaloosa, AL

Frankfort, KY (Coming Soon!)

Versailles, KY (Coming Soon!)

Cincinnati, OH (Coming Soon!)


© 1999 SDML Academy of Guitar