Have you always wanted to play the guitar or banjo?

Maybe you’ve tried learning on your own without much success. What if you had the right tools to become a better player? What if you had the guidance you needed to make real improvements? 

With the right kind of help, you can make real progress. Who knows, you might even surprise yourself as well as your friends.

Hi, I’m Norman

I have over 15 years of experience teaching , banjo, and ukulele. Since 2003, I’ve taught at several music schools in Portland, Oregon. Today I have my own studio where I focus on teaching beginning adults and kids ages 5 and up.

Before I taught music lessons, I was an elementary and high school teacher. My college degree is in education. I specialized in helping students who were struggling to keep up in their studies. With personalized instruction, I helped them become more successful in the classroom. This often involved finding out what was holding them back.  And then, developing a plan on how they could best achieve success. In a way, it’s not unlike what I do today.

Music growing up

My introduction to music came from my parents. Dad taught classical guitar at a university.  Mom was an excellent pianist and organist. I took part in my dad’s classes for younger students. He was an excellent teacher and I have many fond memories. 

I’ve also had excellent teachers as an adult. Rene Berblinger has been a mentor of mine for many years.  Through him, I learned a lot about classical guitar, clawhammer banjo and music in general.

Teaching Kids

When I first started teaching music lessons, it was natural for me to focus on teaching children. I was surprised, though, by the lack of quality teaching materials for young learners. I did quite a bit of research and ended up putting my own materials together. That process has been refined over the years and the result is a step-by-step method that’s a favourite for both kids and parents.


Today, I have my own studio where I teach guitar and banjo as well as kids ukulele. The space is in a  convenient location on Hawthorne Blvd in Portland, Oregon. It’s close to lots of shops and eateries. And we are right across the street from New Seasons Grocery Store. Our location makes it easy to take care of a few errands or grab a bite to eat when you drop in for a lesson.

Beginning in 2020, I started offering lessons online. Many students enjoy the convenience of not having to leave their homes for lessons. I have had students from all over the US take lessons online.


Aimee Sisco

Norman has been our daughter’s classical guitar teacher for three years, since she was six. We started her with lessons thinking we’d explore it for a few months, but Norman’s kind, teacherly approach and his easy-to-follow lesson plans made continuing a good investment of our time and money. He’s attentive to the pace (and ramblings) of children while helping them to approach the instrument from multiple, integrated perspectives. In addition to learning to play, read music, and listen for and identify notes, our daughter has fun, gains a feeling of accomplishment, and is learning some great songs from the American archives.

Nick and Stephanie Dazer

We are very pleased with the progress our son has made in the past year with Norman.  He is learning  fundamentals of guitar and how to read music. Norman has a very patient and calm way about him that has helped our son become confident in playing and comfortable working with his teacher. We are delighted that our son enjoys his lessons and look forward to his continued success under Norman’s tutelage.

Katy Powell

My 8 year old son has been taking ukulele lessons with Norman Hamilton for one and one-half years and will soon be transitioning to guitar.  Norman has been an excellent teacher while patiently offering clear instruction and motivation.  It has been delightful to watch my son gain skill in handling an instrument and learning to read music.  My son has also developed increased confidence through music.  He went from fearing speaking or performing in front of others to volunteering to play music for his class and making up songs with his friends. I would highly recommend Norman as an instructor and I hope we get to have many more years with him. 


For older adults interested in playing  music for the first time ever, and for those who are new to guitar, banjo or ukelele, Norman is great!  He was patient and generous with coaching me with a step by step approach for ukele and baritone ukelele, and soon had me strumming chords and playing melodies on my own.  He uses a songbook with a wonderful variety of tunes, some old, some new, which I enjoyed playing and singing along with