MARCUS teaches Classical Guitar and Latin American Guitar (all levels).
Each lesson is 55 minutes.

Marcus completed his BM Classical Guitar Performance at Chicago College of the Performing Arts studying guitar under Paul Henry and Denis Azabagic. He’s participated the master classes of Oscar Ghiglia, Sharon Isbin, and William Kanengiser and, for many years, was a private student of Sergio Assad. In Cordoba, Spain, Dunleavy has studied with Larry Coryell, Manual Barrueco, David Russell, Pepe Romero, Odair Assad and Leo Brouwer.

Marcus has performed professionally as a soloist and in ensembles for the past 20 years. He’s been featured in the Chicago Latino Music Festival, at many venues throughout Chicago and has given concerts in Spain, Central America and Japan.

Marcus has crossed boundaries with a wide array of collaborators. In 2006, he released his third CD Emerge, which was broadcast on WFMT and has drawn praise from legendary Jazz Fusion pioneer Larry Coryell: “With beautiful technique and a deep and spiritual heart, Marcus shows us the way of the new generation of classical guitarists…” His guitar is featured on the debut pop album of 2010’s American Idol winner Lee Dewyze.

In 2008 he released his fourth CD Two To Tango with Cuban violinist Cristian Blanco performing the music of Astor Piazzolla. Marcus has played with Grammy winning Bandoneonista Raul Juarena in Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires. Other notable Latin collaborators include Latin Grammy winning flutist Nestor Torres, Cuban composer Leo Brouwer, Chicago Latin Jazz violinist James Sanders. International Committee of Artist’s for Peace credits include performing with Larry Coryell on his guitar quartet arrangement of Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring”, a Citizen Musicians festival with cellist Yo Yo Ma and as an accompanist for Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre and The Chicago Human Rhythm Project.

While maintaining a private teaching studio, Marcus also remains active as a composer. His piece Gassire’s Lute was broadcast on the internationally syndicated radio program “Fiesta!” and choreographed by Cuba’s National School of Ballet for the 2016 Chicago Latino Music Festival. His multimedia setting of Gwendolyn Brooks’ poetry was presented Collaboraction Theater’s 2018 Encounter festival. Currently, Marcus is involved in the study and propagation of Brazilian Choro and Samba, as a regular performer with the Chicago Choro Club.

Ask MARCUS a question



June 2024
Choose a date within the two upcoming weeks to see available times.
Not finding the right time slot for you? Please contact us!

  1. gmhollenbeck - July 27, 2023

    Marcus is an AMAZING teacher!!!!

  2. KateD. - Sept. 9, 2020

    As an adult learner wanting to improve my technical skills, broaden my repertoire, and become a stronger musician, I went searching for a guitar teacher who was both a fine musician and excelled in teaching. In Marcus, I found these qualities and more. Marcus has a gift for meeting students where they are and moving them forward. His teaching methods involves building upon one’s strengths and interests, isolating and systematically addressing areas in need of improvement, and presenting practice strategies aimed at mastering difficulties…. It is as if he has an endless supply of “technique tools“ at his disposal, and knows exactly when to hand you the one that would be most helpful in any given situation. My goals for resuming lessons are all being met. Moreover, I have a renewed love for the guitar, and I’m playing solos and duets I was not sure would ever be within my grasp.

  3. MoniqueH. - Sept. 18, 2020

    Even before my son had him as an instructor, I knew Marcus was incredible guitarist. In fact, knowing how good Marcus is, I was actually nervous for my shy son to take lessons with him. I didn’t want him to be intimidated. Come to find out, Marcus is an even better instructor then guitarist. In the few months since my son began taking classes, he can already play 2 songs of his choosing. That has made all the difference. He loves it! He practices often and on his own. All because he enjoys it so much.

  4. JoyceG. - Sept. 18, 2020

    I’ve studied classical guitar with Marcus for ten years, with an emphasis on Latin repertoire. Marcus focuses equally on technique—he is great at pinpointing difficulties and suggesting solutions and practice strategies—and on musicality. Lessons are often challenging, but always rewarding!

  5. Dr.GregoryC. - Sept. 18, 2020

    I have studied with Marcus Dunleavy for 3 years now and only my highest praise can describe my experience. He is an extraordinary teacher who always has the perfect musical and/or technical solution to each difficulty. Though he expects progress, the lessons are always low stress and the instruction clear and structured. Since Marcus is an active performer and able to play with great beauty and sensitivity, I am always confident that, if I put in the time and follow his advice, I will surely make solid progress. I do look forward to my lessons with Marcus.

  6. JonathanD. - Sept. 18, 2020

    Over the 10 years I’ve been learning guitar, Marcus has been an excellent teacher the whole way. He has patience, and if I have a problem with part of the song he breaks it down bit by bit until I get it. He possesses great skill and knowledge on the classical guitar, and I’d recommend if I could.

  7. philippegorisse - Nov. 10, 2020

    I have been playing classical guitar for more than 45 years and I have had many great instructors. Marcus is exceptional: after the 1st lesson, I already saw improvement in my playing skills. He is always adapting to my level and my wishes. Marcus is attentive and extremely nice. I am impatiently waiting for the next lesson… I am simply impressed by his technical skills in finding points of improvement and how he perfectly fits with my expectations. Despite my strong French accent, he carefully listens to me and understands exactly how to move on to the next steps of my learning path. Thank you so much Marcus !

  8. mggibbs95 - Dec. 28, 2020

    I’m an adult learner that had played electric guitar for years and was completely new to the classical guitar. Marcus is an incredibly understanding and patient teacher. From my lack of ambition and classical repertoire knowledge, to my years of poor technique coming to a head; Marcus has been able to accommodate and address it all. A brilliant musician and an educator with a passion for the craft. I will continue my lessons with Marcus for as long as possible and I recommend anyone else do the same.

  9. Jimroundtree - Jan. 21, 2021

    Marcus is a great instructor! I’ve been playing electric guitar for 20 plus years, with no formal training. I became interested in developing my right hand for fingerpicking, and I bought a classical guitar. One thing led to another and I became interested in learning classical guitar. I found Marcus at Arpeggiato through Brandon’s video promotion about three months ago. Marcus has helped me improve so much, from how to hold the guitar, hand positions and many other fundamental skills. Having played using tab, I was very apprehensive about comitting to learn standard notation. When I was struggling with timing issues using tab on a Latin piece of music, Marcus was able to mark-up the tab with the timing count (he actually used a stylus on his iPad and emailed it to me during the lesson!). I could immediately see what I was missing by reading tab only. I’m now learning standard notation, and I’ve found that my knowledge of the guitar is helping this to be a relatively quick process, with some practice. Marcus is improving so many things related to my playing that I can’t properly summarize it here, but I must say his ability to watch my hands and fingering on the fly over the Zoom camera is really impressive. He sees things immediately and provides helpful instruction. He’s especially good at breaking down issues I’m having and finding solutions. I really enjoy learning from Marcus and I look forward to our weekly classes.

  10. ryskinmd - Oct. 2, 2021

    I taught myself classical guitar and played it for nearly 40 years (although calling that “playing” is a stretch). I was rather mixing a few beats and arpeggios based on a very poor technique. 15 years ago, I decided to improve and bought self-study books. I would progress through the first quarter, realize that I am on the wrong path, return to the beginning, only to repeat the cycle months later. I managed to progress to some degree but grew increasingly frustrated. Brandon’s video lead me to Arpeggiato and found Marcus who was available. I signed up with him for no particular reason. We have taken 6 weekly lessons so far. I feel that I’ve made more progress in those 6 weeks than I made in the last 15 years. Marcus quickly figured me out and assigned me a musical piece I never thought I could play (never mind the quality). I wouldn’t dream of playing it. Marcus diagnosed me with an array of technical deficiencies and is helping me to address them. My homework became focused. For the first time in my life, I understand what I am trying to achieve. Marcus is not only an accomplished guitarist. He is a talented educator and a patient and kind pedagog. I look forward to every upcoming lesson as they are productive and enjoyable. Thank you, Marcus! And thank you, Brandon!

  11. ClaraK. - Feb. 9, 2022

    Coming from a musical background, I fell in love with classical guitar in college and began teaching myself for a few years. As much as I enjoyed that, my progress plateaued and from today’s perspective, that was a blessing in disguise as it prompted me to start looking for a teacher to continue studying with. Being not only an accomplished musician himself, but in addition to that highly regarded for his teaching skills, Marcus proved to be the perfect choice for me. He really cares about his students, and it’s evident he enjoys helping us do well. A year in, my lessons are still a highlight of the week, and I have yet to walk out of one not having learned something new. He sets the bar high, but not in a demanding or pressurizing way; on the contrary, he makes it very obvious he’s on your side, giving you all the tools and support you need to become the best musician you can be, making working towards your goals a collaborative effort to realize your musical potential. I’m truly impressed by his ability to – on a video call – pick up on the slightest issues in my playing and make suggestions on how to play more comfortably and sound better. If the initial approach does not resolve the situation, he has what feels like an infinite supply of troubleshooting tools he doesn’t hesitate to draw from to make the learning process efficient and rewarding. If I had to sum up my experience learning form Marcus over this past year in one word, it would be: Outstanding. I’m so grateful for Brandon and everyone at Arpeggiato for creating this awesome online learning space!

  12. MarkP. - Sept. 4, 2022

    When I approached Marcus for lessons, I’d already been playing for about a year. My interest is to play popular music and blues with an emphasis on acoustic guitar. I read Marcus’s bio a few times in the weeks preceding signing up with him, and frankly I was a bit intimidated by his resume. Nonetheless, I sent him a message asking if he could help with my fundamentals and technique, making it clear that classical guitar was not my first interest. Marcus cheerfully replied and stated that he could most certainly help me. Fast forward to today, I have taken weekly lessons with Marcus for about three months. He has most certainly helped me with my hands, hand and arm control, finger style, reading music, and how to play to the beat of a metronome. On top of all that Marcus is incredibly patient and has an excellent personal manner, which matters tremendously to new players. And because of all these things I trust him. I can be my imperfect-player self with Marcus and be confident that he will not judge and will simply stick with me until I get whatever we are working on right. If you are looking for a teacher who will have that patient, honest, and humane dialogue with you, look no further. Marcus can do that.

Add a review
You must be logged in to post a review.

Empty review can't be submitted