“Playful, reverent, joyous, Maria Olaya’s exquisite guitar music was perfect for our relaxed, yet reverent outdoor wedding.  When an unexpected tractor passed nearby, her concentration remained focussed on her music, which was captivating and enlivening.  So glad we chose Maria to play for our special occasion!  Months later, we are still getting compliments on her playing from our friends.”

– Carmen Brummet

“I find that when I listen to someone perform on one of my handmade instruments, I inadvertently concentrate on analyzing the technical sound qualities of the instrument. This is not the case when Maria plays on one of the guitars that I have built for her. My experience has been that her performance takes me on an incredible musical journey filled with emotion and beauty. The music that she creates on the guitar is the best result I could hope for as a builder. Thank you, Maria.”

– John Michael Blanchard, Luthier

“Working with Maria, is an incredible joy.  She helps me to express my heart in a beautiful way even with my beginner guitar skills.  I know that with her support I will one day play and sing in the way I have always dreamed of.” 

– LaShelle Lowe-Charde

“Maria is a consummate guitarist who is able to convey through her crystal clear technique a mastery and depth of feeling that one rarely finds. Her open heartedness shines through her playing, and one is instantly put at ease in her presence. And as wonderful as it is to hear her perform, it is even more of a joy to play with her and to connect in real time with her superb musicianship.”

– David Eby

“Maria is one-of-a-kind. Her gentle soul and calm aura work so well to teach a multitude of personalities. She can make a guitar sing. Maria brings experience and talent to the room and anyone would be lucky to have her as their teacher. You just feel at peace and happy when Maria is around. I feel blessed to know her and to hear her play.”

– Laura Garrison

“At the age of 60, I finally committed to taking guitar lessons after years of plunking away with fervor but little skill or musical knowledge. For the past several months, Maria has tailored our lessons to my particular needs, building on my strengths and passions, and slowly and knowledgeably guiding me through my impasses. Maria’s infectious gift is one of passion for the music and excitement to teach. Rather than a predetermined curriculum and one-size-fit-all lesson plan, Maria works intuitively to meet me where I am, help me discover my talents, and open me to possibilities that I never knew existed. I am delighted to work with Maria, and recommend her highly as a gifted guitarist and teacher.”

– Guy Burstein, Student & Cantor

“I love my lessons with Maria. She is incredibly knowledgeable and flexible, and capable of creating just the right lesson for you no matter what your level of commitment, interest or background. She has helped me create a true flamenco sound, while I’ve seen her work with other students who wanted to learn how to accompany their own singing, and yet others who she helps getting ready to apply for music college. I love it that she’s enjoys playing a challenging Bach (put any composer here) Suite as much as playing native Andean music, as classical Spanish guitar, as rocking on her steel string guitar, as composing Birimbao sounds on her guitar. Her sense of rhythm is phenomenal. Ah, and the beauty of her own compositions!”

– Marion Van Namen

“My five years of training with Maria Olaya contributed greatly to my development as a guitarist. She completely changed the way I see guitar today. She is an expert in classical guitar technique and exposed me to several Latin styles. The skills I learned from her have complemented and improved my experience as a Flamenco guitarist. She is the best teacher I have ever encountered; I noticed vast improvements in the quality of my sound after even a few lessons. Thank you Maria!”

– Jeff Wong, Flamenco Guitarist

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