photo“(Zak) lays out the path to musical self-realization so clearly you wonder how you couldn’t see it in the first place. Suffice it to say, I played seven notes in our first lesson and walked out a better player.”-Joel Morrissette, 35

Welcome!  I’ve been a passionate musician and educator for nearly 20 years.  I deeply enjoy teaching.  I work with all ability levels, ages and interests.  It is my strong belief that you don’t need to be an expert to play something masterfully.  If you can be present with a very simple melody and play with relaxed confidence then you are being masterful!  So whether you’re a rank beginner or a seasoned pro who’s hit a slump, the rules are the same.  My basic approach goes like this: It isn’t enough to slow down and be patient – the way your childhood piano teacher may have forced you to do with the whack of a ruler – you have to be willing to LOVE slowing down.  Do this, and you can achieve anything.

“This is soooo much fun!! I’m going to do this WAY more than watch T.V.!”
–Gabe Bemus on learning guitar, 8 years old, North Carolina

After 2 years of lessons, Gabe took 1st place at a flatpicking competition.

In the end, I believe it’s not my experience so much as my love of learning and keeping a “beginners mind” that makes me a good teacher.

“From one thing 10,000 things are learned” – Zen proverb

Drop me a line and lets get started!  instruction@zakborden.com

  • I also teach via SKYPE!!  Perfect for those who don’t have access to instructors in their area or prefer not to brave the traffic.


“(Zak’s) superb musicianship and original, charming, and personable teaching skills were a highlight for many of the campers that weekend.” -Brian Oberlin, Director River of the West Mandolin Camp

Zak’s workshops and seminars are a playful blend of humor, eastern philosophy and lessons learned from a life of music making. He utilizes fun, hands-on exercises and games that aim to do one thing: lessen one’s physical and mental obstacles to the process of playing music. Zak’s true passion is to treat the whole student, regardless of instrument or style, and help them to fall in love with the process of practicing and performing.

Some examples of possible workshops:

Tone: The Tao of Flatpicking
Intro to Bluegrass and Old Time
Beyond Bluegrass and Old Time
Songwriting: Simple Truth
Exploring Brazilian Music for Mandolin
Lilt: Exploring Traditional Irish Music
Falling in Love with Practice
Demystifying Chord Theory
Rhythm Games for all Musicians
Define YOUR Music:  Avoiding Comparison and Finding Your Own Voice