SDML Academy of Guitar

Lexington, KY

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About this pro

How does your service stand out?

The system I teach, developed by David M. McLean and an integral part of the Skinny Devil Music Labs (SDML) goes far beyond standard once-a-week lessons, and I take an active role in the development of the students who have put their trust in me. My approach is uniquely catered toward the needs of the individual, and though housed in a standard curriculum, flexible for students who have a specific focus on aspects of the music industry. Expect to experience guitar lessons far different from those normally found in this and other areas. I teach it this way because it works. My student base is large, and I keep students for a very long time, for very good reason.

What do you enjoy about the work you do?

As I said before, teaching guitar is my passion. Frankly, when I chose music as a career, I didn't expect teaching to become a path for me. Through David's guidance, however, I almost instantly fell in love with it. Nothing makes me feel more satisfied than when I see my students reach, and normally exceed their personal goals. The look on their faces when they light up after nailing a lick that's been troubling them, or suddenly grasping an elusive concept that opens up a world of possibilities, makes me feel like I am offering a valuable service and making a difference in their lives. And I know how they feel, because I've felt that myself under David's instruction, and it's the best feeling in the world.
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Lexington, KY 40503

Years in business


Number of employees


Times hired on Thumbtack



12 Reviews
  • Robyn B. Jul 3, 2014
    My son, Dakota, started lessons with Paul when he was 7. He progressed so fast!! We are fortunate to have found Paul.
  • Albert O. Jul 3, 2014
    I started with Paul about two years ago. I can honestly say without him my music career would not exist. He helped produce my first single, and he's just the best of the best!
  • Rich H. Jul 3, 2014
    I was a student of Paul's for two years, starting in 2010. He is a truly inspired teacher, patient and enthusiastic, with a lively sense of humor that makes lessons fun as well as informative. As someone who started guitar at a pretty advanced age, Paul made me feel very comfortable and welcome in a class where I was the oldest member by several decades. I highly recommend him to anyone starting out or polishing up skills already learned.
  • Amy A. Jul 3, 2014
    Only knew Paul for a short time but loved going to see him play!! So passionate about his work!!! Kentucky will miss you!! Visit soon!!!
  • Kay F. Jul 3, 2014
    Paul is an awesome guitar instructor and what he does best is bring out the very best in his students. He is among the best at what he does and Chicago is lucky to have him.
  • Liz D. Jul 3, 2014
    Paul is the guitar instructor you hope to get when fearfully searching for someone with oodles of patience and knowledge and expertise and the heart of teacher and talent and....did I mention patience? He is nothing short of phenomenal. Made me look forward to each lesson and get excited at my improvements...which were quick and steady due entirely to his skill and ability to impart the knowledge he has into his students. I would drive to Chicago for a lesson each week if I could.
  • Billy T. Jul 3, 2014
    Paul is an insanely awesome musician. Nice guy, good teacher and is able to explain theory in ways a child could understand. I would highly recommend using this guy for lessons and any other music needs.
  • Laura H. Jul 3, 2014
    Thorough, patient, and knows many different styles!
  • James L. Jul 3, 2014
    Paul Felice is a first rate guitarist and performer. I've worked with him on several occasions and he is a professional through and through. His demeanor is friendly and he is highly intelligent and patient. I'm sure you'll agree he is an excellent teacher!
  • Harold B. Jul 3, 2014
    I have never worked with Paul but have seen him perform and have gotten to know him as a friend. I have been playing guitar for almost 50 years and have never had formal lessons. That said, I would take lessons from Paul in a heartbeat given the opportunity. He is a super guy, great musician, and I am quite confident an outstanding teacher. I was a school administrator for over 20 years, I know a great teacher when I see one.
  • Cheryl M. May 13, 2012
    Guitar Lessons
    Verified Review
  • David M. Apr 5, 2011
    Verified Review
    Paul is as dedicated an instructor as I've ever met, who has a passion for music, learning, and sharing knowledge that is unparalleled. An equally gifted musician, guitarist, and performer with an ability to inspire music lovers, fellow music peers, and students alike. In addition, his background as solo performer, band member, and sideman, as well as studio player, means he is bringing thousands of hours of experience to the job - whether that job is teaching, recording, or performing. Paul always goes way beyond the call of duty. A true professional in every sense of the word. It just doesn't get much better than that....and you can take that to the bank.


What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
In addition to being a teacher, I am and always will be a student of David McLean. Despite my large base of knowledge on the instrument, each week he manages to find new ways to hone my skills and introduce new (and sometimes mind-boggling!) concepts in analyzing and/or creating different pathways to music. At the moment, I'm involved in developing a new, comprehensive training program for guitar instructors as part of the SDML expansion project in 2011. It's a ton of work, but I find myself being auto-re-educated (if that's a word) and even seeing areas I can improve on in my own teaching and playing. It's a continually evolving process, and I expect it always will be.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
After several months of intensive training, my teacher suggested that I give teaching a try, by acting as a substitute for him one day. The lessons went incredibly well, and the feedback from the students was extremely positive. I continued to substitute teach for a few months, then slowly began building my own student base in my off time from work. Eventually, classes grew to the size that, when I got laid off from work, I was able to move into teaching full time and business exploded. I still have a significant waiting list to this day. Teaching isn't for everyone, but it's definitely become an integral part of who I am both personally as well as professionally.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Shop around, and don't settle. You're paying your hard-earned money for a service, so be as sure as you can be that you're going to get what you're looking for. Talk to a handful of teachers and compare their offerings, knowledgeability, references and testimonials to each other. Most teachers' motivation is directly proportional to their quality of service. If a teacher seems apathetic to gaining your business, she's most likely going to have the same apathy toward your lessons. Be most interested in teachers who take the time to answer your questions, provide background on their qualifications and experience, and respond to you in a timely manner.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
Guitar teachers are often pigeon-holed as washed-up musicians, or struggling musicians trying to make a few extra bucks to make ends meet. This is a difficult badge to overcome, and is the reason I take great pains to brush it aside. Unfortunately, the stereotype isn't without good historical basis. The SDML system, however, is different. Teachers in our network are required to pass rigorous testing and training before they're permitted to acquire students under the system's name and criteria. Many guitarists also assume that lessons are either for those who suck at guitar, or that they'll be forced to learn whatever style of music this instructor is familiar with. Neither of these things are true in my lessons. Many experienced guitarists have jumped their abilities, and I teach whatever style the student is interested in.