Maple Leaf Music Lessons

Creative Music Instruction in North Seattle

Jared Borkowski


I've been playing guitar and composing music for more than 23 years, and teaching professionally for more than 13 years under the business name North Seattle Guitar Lessons.

I grew up in the Seattle Music Scene learning from local teachers and starting my own band at twelve years old. My passion for teaching stems from my own experience and evolution through lessons and hard work, carrying me from a cigar box guitar that I made when I was eight years old to performing at the Paramount Theatre, writing, recording, teaching, dreaming, and breathing music.

As a teenager my main focus was on songwriting and leading my then rock band. In 2003 that band won The Experience Music Project's (renamed MoPop) annual battle of the bands competition called Sound Off! When the band broke up I turned to classical and jazz guitar and went to college to major in music.

Studying under the guidance of Cuong VuMichael Partington, and Steven Novacek, I earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies from the University of Washington School of Music where I also majored in classical guitar performance and studied composition. While at the UW I co-founded the Improvised Music Project (IMP), a student run organization dedicated to showcasing the beauty of improvised music to those who may not find it accessible upon first listen, and generating a community around it. Years later the IMP is still going strong and puts on the Improvised Music Project Festival (IMPfest) each year, which has featured some impressive headliners in the past such as Bill Frisell and Tim Berne.

After college I helped to co-found the weekly, and long-time-running, free improvisation jam session called the Racer Sessions (written about in the New York Times). I also was a co-founding member (and briefly president) of the Seattle based, new music record label, Table & Chairs.

I have performed professionally in a wide variety of settings and genres including classical guitar, straight ahead jazz, gypsy jazz, free jazz, bossa nova, solo guitar, classical chamber music, experimental improvisation, EDM, electro-pop, singer-songwriter, fingerpicking, funk, musical theater, avant-garde, rock, hip-hop, and more.

A couple of the many projects and groups that I've been a part of over the years include a hilariously wig ridden Queen tribute band, and a project named Operation ID, which The Stranger called "one of Seattle's most interesting prog groups . . . in which virtuosity serves a greater purpose than showing off one's academic training." I've also performed numerous times with the Seattle Rock Orchestra, playing alongside inspiring artists such as Stewart Copeland and Allen Stone.

In recent years I have transitioned from tons of performing to focusing on composing and producing custom music for media content and TV, as well as mix engineering and producing for other artists. Composing and recording original material has always been one of my greatest passions. You can hear samples of my composing work here (featuring a lot of guitar playing!). I also started a podcast called Song Chamber where I document the process of writing and recording my own songs while discussing the various challenges of facing artistic pursuits (the podcast is currently on hold while I work on laying the foundation for some other exciting projects, but there are twelve episodes up that I created over the span of a year).

Teaching is a special calling for me because I love practicing, learning, and creating so much that it naturally extends to helping others do the same. I've spent thousands of hours developing effective ways to go about practicing and acquiring skills on and off the guitar. I get very excited and enthusiastic about working on musicianship goals and passing on what I find to be important philosophical approaches for anyone aspiring to be an artist.

I also love to sing, play piano, dance, write, draw and design, tell jokes, read, and ride the unicycle.

To contact me, and for more information on my teaching practice, please go to