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I’m Bill, and these are some of my guitars…

Bill Dickson with his acoustic and electric guitars.

Many years ago I realized that teaching is really the responsibility to pass on what you have learned to the next generation of musicians.

It would indeed be selfish not to contribute one’s own knowledge to the ongoing story of music. As I get older, I find that this is the most important part of my being a guitar player.

I was born and raised on a small island just off the east coast of the United States called Manhattan. Now a borough of the City of New York, Manhattan was originally settled by Dutch immigrants after its purchase from the Canarsie Indians. I am not, however, of Dutch ancestry.

When I was 11, my father’s work as an economist in the oil business took us abroad. First we moved to London, England, then to Tehran, Iran before returning back again to London where I finished school.

My greatest interest lies in music. Any kind. I was given my first guitar when we first moved to London. Prior to that, I played flute and French horn in the ensembles and orchestras of the United Nations International School in New York.

Well, I have been playing guitar for 45 years now and teaching the instrument since 1980.

Over many years, I have also composed music ranging across many fields of music. Chamber opera, award winning work for orchestra, popular songs, guitar pieces and music for theater and dance productions are all part of my resume.

My performances have taken me to venues as far-flung as CBGB in New York City, Herbst Theater in San Francisco and even the Portland Zoo on a drizzly summer afternoon in 1981 (a gig I still have on tape!). Conducting a performance of my chamber opera, “Speer in Spandau” remains a career highlight.

On the other side of the tracks, and in a rare collaboration, I was lucky enough to play the role of guitarist, contributing songwriter and co-founder with Spud Danger of the seminal post-punk band “The Mental Minority.”

My goals in life are to have tea with the Queen and host “Name That Tune” with the Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood. The tea first.

Pleased to meet you.

bill teaches guitar


  • Guitar Teacher; SF Bay Area, 2003—2016
  • Head Librarian / Archivist; Sterling Sound, NY, 2001—2003
  • Head Audio & Video Librarian; Sony Music Studios, NY, 1999—2001
  • Independent Sound Engineer / Guitar Teacher; SF Bay Area,
  • Sales Associate; Guitar Center San Francisco, 1995–1996
  • Head Recording Engineer / Studio Manager; San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 1991—1995
  • Printer / Binder / Copyist; King Brand, NY, 1990—1991
  • Music Theory Tutor; Manhattan School of Music, NY, 1989—1990
  • Teacher / Composer; Berkshire Ensemble for the Theatre Arts, Williams College, Mass., Summer 1989
  • Audio / Video Engineer; San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 1983—1988
  • Guitar Teacher; Portland, OR, 1979–1983


  • Master of Music, Composition; Manhattan School of Music, NY, 1990. Studies with Elias Tanenbaum.
  • Bachelor of Music, Composition; San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 1988. Studies with Elinor Armer and Alden Jenks.
  • H.S. Diploma; American School in London, England, 1978;

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