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I'm knocking on 40's door so have had my share of teachers in that time through school, music lessons, band, athletics, etc. Allen Barlow ranks in the top three of best teachers in my lifetime. I've been around many musicians who play very well and are quite skilled but very few who can teach. Allen surpasses any expectation you have, teaches in a way that each particular student will understand, is patient and an all-around great person. I wish him and the Homewood School of Music many years of success.

-Jennifer Tidmore

Really enjoyed learning from Allen. Aside from being incredibly talented, he is also very patient with his students, not to mention hilariously funny. I always enjoyed my lessons with him and took away a wealth of knowledge each time. You can also tell he is good with all ages, which is a quality I think is really rare in instructors. Thanks for everything!

- Carly Jayne Rullman

Rob Gannon Is Fantastic! I recently picked up guitar as an adult with Rob as my instructor. He is a great guy and a great teacher. His style pushes you sometimes and lets you guide the pace when you need. I highly recommend Rob!

-Brian Herron

My son, Cole, has absolutely loved every minute of guitar lessons with Allen Barlow over the last 10 years. As a freshman at Bama now, Cole terribly misses his weekly sessions with Alan, and embraces what a great mentor Alan has been in his life! Truly such a positive experience - one we highly recommend!!

- Tricia Preston

They’re the best. I've taken lessons from Allen and Taylor, both are knowledgeable and patient teachers. Even with us old guys.

- Tyrone Aaron

After thirty years of being "self taught" I went to Allen Barlow to "fill in the gaps". What I expected to be maybe a year of lessons turned in to ten years--Allen never ran out of ways to improve my playing. I actually learned all the songs I thought I knew--but the right way. What impressed me most about Allen though was when I was waiting for my lesson I would see him work with young children who were just learning their first chords. Allen's patience and concern for these budding shredders was beyond belief. I would have lasted about ten minutes--but Allen would take the time to make sure they were learning right and having fun--great guy--great teacher!!

-Steve Griffis


I've known Rob for ten years and had never met him before my first lesson. I was impressed with him and his teaching style then and can only say positive things now. As an adult student, I wasn't starting from scratch with learning the basic chords and such. Rob has helped me reach many different goals for myself. When my son expressed a desire to learn guitar, there was absolutely no question who his instructor would be. I say that to show that I have experienced Rob's instruction at two different levels. We are very fortunate to have someone with his musical talent, background, and training to share that with us through instruction.

Although I have not known Allen as long and have never taken a lesson from him, I do know that he is a great guy and an extremely talented guitarist. I would definitely expect the same quality of instruction from Allen that I receive from Rob.

In my opinion, these guys are good enough to play with anybody, anytime, anywhere and they choose to be here in Birmingham teaching guitar to multiple generations. Whatever your level of accomplishment, I am confident that these guys can help you reach the next level. Choose the one that works for you and play on!

-Doug Barton

I attended Fiddle School taught by Susie Shortt. It was a valuable experience for me. Being in the company of gifted musicians is where I like to be. She was well prepared and covered a good amount of material in a short time. Time well spent as I continue my violin studies.
I have been a student of Ms. Shortt for 6years. She goes out of her way to encourage me and I am so very glad I have her as my instructor!!!

- Johanna Rosheck

I was introduced to Allen Barlow by a friend after I mentioned that I wish I could take a guitar lesson. That was something I just never got around to when growing up. I enjoyed it so much and learned a great deal. My only previous background with music was playing handbells, but now I know how to play most of the popular chords with good technique, how to read guitar music, how to count it, etc... Allen does a very good job of keeping it fun, but also informative so you are always learning. I'd bring in a new song that I liked or thought was interesting, and he could always break it down for me into sections I could practice and learn on. If you are thinking about taking lessons, don't put it off and I would highly recommend Allen.

-Tripp Durant

I began taking guitar lessons earlier this year with Allen Barlow after diddling around on daughter's guitar for a couple of years and having put down my trombone from the high school band a long time ago. My session with Allen is the highlight of my week and something I refuse to let get pushed aside by the demands of my business! He is a gifted teacher, has the patience of Job to instruct old guys like myself that want to learn how to play guitar, and always cracks me up.

-John Poole

I am 69 years old. Played various band and orchestra instruments growing up. After college, I quit playing, much to my later regret. Four or five years ago, I started driving my daughter to her guitar lesson with Rob. Both of us grew to like Rob very much personally and respect him as a musician and a teacher. When my daughter went to college this year, Rob graciously suggested I take her spot. I had no idea how much fun it would be. Rob's enthusiasm and love of music is infectious. His style is marked by patience and encouragement. He gets as big a kick when I catch on to something new as I do. He knows both theory and technique and makes learning fun. In my playing days, I had a number of accomplished music teachers and mentors; Rob is clearly among the best.

-Ed Ashton

We have two kids who were both taught by Allen Barlow - our son started taking in elementary school and continued through graduation; our daughter started in jr high and also continued through her h.s. graduation. Both have a deep interest in music that was fostered by Allen. Our son continues to write music and our daughter is taking classical guitar lessons in college....all due in part to the solid foundation they both got from Allen. We would highly recommend him to anyone!!

-Julie and Kent Stewart

Regarding Allen & Rob, I really dont think you can find musicians that play guitar and teach the craft(guitar) anywhere in this state thats more equipped in their respective fields. in other words THEY ROCK!!!

-Joe Berlin

My daughter is a former violin student of Ms. Shortt. She goes above and beyond for all of her students to make sure they reach their goals. She has gone out of her way to help my daughter perform violin solos at school by working with her school band director. She has prepared my daughter to perform at weddings and funerals. She has provided endless support and encouragement so that my daughter can excel in performing. She recently assisted us in the purchase of a professional violin. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share. I am so thankful we met Ms. Shortt!


I am 45. I've been playing for 30 years. 3 years ago I asked Allen Barlow to try to make me into a musician, trying to be a jazz player, instead of just a guy who plays songs. It has been fantastic, learning theory, scales, modes, old standards, and on and on. He inserts classic rock solos, full fretboard recognition, groove, etc. 

The only limitation to my learning is my old brain. Allen is an accomplished player who fully understands the academics behind all of it. As I've told Allen, I'd love to sit there all day in my lesson.

-Dr. Ben Fulmer

I knew Allen Barlow for a couple of years before I found out he taught guitar. I was very happy to be taken on as a student and enjoyed every lesson. He's very patient, talented and a natural teacher and I only knocked his guitar over once! Thanks Allen for the lessons and for always listening to a student. Especially when I had no idea what I was talking about...

-John E. Hawkins

I hope I'm actually helping Rob by sharing this. :) He has a gift for working with kids. My son has been taking lessons from him for 10 months, and he loves Rob and his guitar lessons. My son deals with a few cognitive processing issues that affect his focus and coordination, and Rob has maintained a balance of insistence and understanding that has worked well for him. I imagine our progress hasn't been as speedy as some of his other students, but he always comes home enthusiastic about his guitar, and I really appreciate this. I am now dangling the carrot of an electric guitar if the practicing becomes more focused and regular - I hope this is a good thing!

-Tina Simonton

Susie Shortt is a fantastic teacher! She makes you feel so confident in learning and fun. She is an exceptional violin and piano teacher. I highly recommend her ! The violin workshop she did was also amazing. My 7 year old daughter has been taking piano with her and always looks forward to class!

-Annette Priola

25 years. One day a kid picks up a guitar and it somehow turns into 25 years. Years filled with guitar magazines, books, instructional dvds, garage bands, calloused fingers and ringing ears, and plenty of "lessons" from a variety of fantastic players-all better players than i am now. Allen offers more than that. More than "guitar lessons". More than chords or scales or songs. He's a thorough, effective, and inspiring instructor. A TEACHER in the truest sense of the word. And one who makes me want to be a better student. I can't ask for more than that.

-Jeff Tidmore

My daughter started taking lessons from Ms. Susie a short time ago in order to expand her genres of music. Little did we know at the time how much professional experience she could also offer my daughter. She has taught my daughter so many "fiddling" skills, but was also able to give my daughter a leg up on technique advice that carried her through a recent orchestra performance. Most importantly, Ms. Susie is fun and positive and has given my daughter a renewed love for her chosen instrument. Thank you Susie for all you have done for us.

-S. Angell

A phenomenal teacher. Great friend. All around awesome person. Without his instruction, I wouldn't be where I am today. He has prepared me to take on most any musical challenge that has come my way and I don't plan on stopping growing as a player with he as my teacher.

-Ryan Kinder / Nashville recording artist