Tired of hearing your kid practice Mary Had A Little Lamb? Want to pull out your hair when they shriek along to Justin Bieber? Fear not: let me teach them how to write and play original songs, using applied music theory and their own intuition. Soon you too will never hear Twinkle Twinkle Little Star again!


Songwriting 101

Young Engineers

Private Lessons (S.S.A.G.)

My Philosophy

Learning shouldn’t be limited to outdated ideas of what equals “good” and “bad” music. I always loved Jimi Hendrix as much as I dug Kanye West; what’s lacking in today’s musical curriculum is an emphasis on helping children find their own musical voice (we will not be discussing the morality of Mr. West).

Applied Theory

Playing music should be fun. Learning should too. While I encourage and use theory books, I think the best way for children to connect with music theory is to show how it’s used to create the “sounds” they’re already familiar with. Music breathes — books do not.

Pay It Forward

Since one of the biggest moments in my life was entering the studio and seeing how music is made, my natural next step was to pass along what I’ve learned to the next generation.

Zen Anton will bring a passion for learning, creativity, and an integrity of curriculum to your child’s music lessons. His warmth, humor, and proficiency on the instrument and in studio make him an excellent choice for music education. – Scott Anderson, music teacher, studio owner, and father

Zen has a real gift for tapping into kids’ creativity, getting them to dig into their individual strengths and really shine. He is also fun, using inventive games to challenge children to reach beyond their perceived limits without making it seem like hard work. He has been working and playing with my kids for over five years now; his contributions have been invaluable. — Aubrey, mother of Lucy Jane and Hendrix

Zen Anton is not only an amazingly creative artist, but a great collaborator.  Zen and I have worked together on many youth projects at Downtown Art, and he has always become a trusted ally, mentor, and friend to younger creative folks, supporting them, providing thoughtful feedback, and bringing a lively sense of fun to every project.  I recommend Zen for young musicians and their families without hesitation! – Ryan Gilliam, Artistic Director, Downtown Art

Zen Anton teaches like he makes music: inventively, generously, and patiently. He approaches students as fellow musicians and quickly and effortlessly engages them in enthusiastic, self-driven music-making, the best way to learn the concepts and techniques of musicianship. — Nick Jaffe, musician, educator, co-author of the Teaching Artist Handbook (University of Chicago Press), and noted YouTube guitar teacher (youtube.com/JustNickMusic).

The first time I met Zen at Downtown Art he had a guitar in his lap and he was playing music for the other members of the company in an impromptu concert. That’s always been my experience of him: talented, generous, present, accessible. Since then I’ve worked with Zen on dozens of projects and productions at Downtown Art, and he’s one of our go-to people on everything from laying down some tasty grooves to hauling gear. We could all use a little more Zen in our lives. – Mike Hickey, Composer in Residence, Downtown Art