Bill has been teaching private guitar, ukulele, and bass guitar lessons for ten years in professional studios, and has also taught group guitar courses, guitar sightreading courses, and coached ensembles. He has directed after school guitar programs at local high schools, and is a regular faculty member at the CCM summer guitar workshop, where he leads technique sessions, masterclasses and ensembles, and plays in faculty concerts.
Born and raised in West Michigan, Bill Willits moved to Cincinnati five years ago to attend the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, where he earned master’s degrees in both classical guitar performance and music history. Bill also earned a bachelor’s degree in guitar from Grand Valley State University. He has studied the guitar and other plucked string instruments for 20 years, and is truly passionate about teaching as well as performance.
As a young child, Bill was constantly exposed to the guitar by his father, who would strum and sing classic folk and rock tunes for the family. He was given a guitar at age 5, and though he promptly broke the instrument, he would still spend hours banging on the strings with enthusiasm. A few years later at age 9, he talked his parents into buying him a working instrument, and that is when his real studies began. Bill played in rock bands and as a folk singer/songwriter throughout his teen years, and eventually took up studies of classical guitar in college as an undergraduate.
Bill was nominated 2013’s ‘Teacher of the Year’ at one of his local studios, and truly loves sharing his diverse musical knowledge and experience with others. Bill designs lessons that are positive, informative, and fun, and he is committed to helping students love and succeed in whatever genre of music they choose to play. Each student is different, and Bill’s experience helps him develop lesson plans according to the student’s specific goals and needs.
As a performer, Bill maintains a busy schedule of engagements. He performs regularly on guitar, bass guitar, Renaissance lute, Baroque guitar, and theorbo, as a soloist, duo partner, and in groups such as The Noyse Merchants, Consort in the Egg, and the Allan Pray Ensemble. He has recently performed in local concert series such as the Midpoint Music Festival, MUSE, Something Different at the Cincinnati Art Museum, WYCE 88.1 radio, Saturday Sounds at the Taft, ChamberPalooza, Live at Lunch at Christ Church, Music for All Seasons at Peterloon, Twilight Concerts at the Dayton Art Institute, and Classical Revolution Cincinnati, among others. For more information about Bill as a performer, you can visit his website at www.WilliamWillits.com.
What Bill’s Students have to say…
“I have been working with Bill for 2 years, and have found him to be a very patient teacher who is quick with a reassuring word. He can make difficult passages seem manageable and always understands what my abilities are and how to work within my current capabilities. I appreciate the breadth of different works he brings to my attention and his knowledge of guitar history/theory.” -Larry, adult guitar student
“I’ve really noticed the difference between the quality of instruction I get from a professional like Bill Willits and other music teachers I’ve had in the past. The insight is greater, the lessons are more productive and I can take his advice home to apply in my practice. I’m always impressed with his enthusiasm and his positive approach.” – Curt, adult ukulele student
“A great, personable, easy teacher who knows what he is doing. Bill provides clear explanations and gives great advice to any aspiring player.” – Matt, teen guitar student