Six-string schoolmaster: Wayne Riker’s teaching all age groups, from high schoolers to baby boomers.
  • Six-string schoolmaster: Wayne Riker’s teaching all age groups, from high schoolers to baby boomers.
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“The kids are playing everything from Sleeping with Sirens to Taylor Swift,” says guitarist Wayne Riker, who just launched a new guitar curriculum at Coleman Tech High School in Kearny Mesa. “I’m there five days a week all year-round [and] will be bringing in esteemed local guest artists each month for workshops and a concert series. Nothing makes me happier than seeing these kids on a daily basis, beaming with excitement, provided with the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, particularly in this age of vanishing music programs.”

The full-time paid position finds Riker teaching several 45-minute classes each day, made up equally of boys and girls. “The students, a dozen or so in each class, all have guitars, mostly acoustics, some donated, some acquired by the school, and some hand-me-downs from their households.”

Riker has been teaching guitar around town for over a decade, including a recent stint at Rick’s Guitar Shop. “My teaching philosophy has always been the same, whether in a group or one-on-one, which is to teach students songs and styles that they want to learn. Hence, I’m transcribing six to eight songs a week, from classic and alternative rock to metal, reggae, pop, country, rap, blues, and Mexican pop tunes.”

The school will soon move into a new building on Aero Court, with Riker performing at a ribbon-cutting ceremony slated for December 29. “The larger facility will give me the opportunity to bring in guest players once a month, in an assembly-like setting, exposing students to some of San Diego’s top-shelf pros from all different musical arenas.” Alternating male and female guitarists, guest players will include Robin Henkel, Steph Johnson, Jimmy Patton, Roni Lee, Fred Benedetti, and Veronica May.


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“Conveniently, my teaching studio is a few minutes away from the school, so I’m teaching the other end of the spectrum as well, with private lessons to a couple dozen baby boomers each week.”

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