Mario Bakuna

Guitar Teacher and Performer

Mario’s Music Story

Mario grew up in Brazil and started playing guitar about 8 years old. His whole family played music including piano and guitar and this influenced him from an early age. He took up private guitar lessons at school and from about the age of 14 was playing on the weekends in a band which he loved.

From school he went to the Free University of Music in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he studied with musicians such as Olmir Stocker, Roberto Sion, and Roberto Bomilcar (pianist who played with Frank Sinatra during his visit to Brazil!). His studies focused on Afro-Brazilian Music, Samba, Jazz and Bossa Nova.

After a time of performing in Brazil, he travelled to Europe to expand his knowledge and skills. Since settling in London he has performed alongside musicians such as Jean Toussaint, Liam Noble, Ricardo dos Santos, Edmundo Carneiro, Cacau Queiroz, Alain Jean Marie, Dudu Penz, and Filó Machado.

He loves teaching around his performing and recording schedule and has a variety of music students he teaches privately online or at his home in West London.

"It is important for the child or adult to be really interested in playing, and that is my only requirement!"

What was the Free University of Music like?

Free University of Music is a music school linked to Centro Tom Jobim, located in Sao Paulo. It offers regular courses and free courses, and concerts, workshops and masterclasses. It is a free school and aims at training professionals in the music business. The coexistence of musical scholars and professionals bodied integrated to Centro Tom Jobim provides students with a differentiated experience, preparing for its entrance into artistic life. There I had the chance to study musicians such as Olmir Stocker, Roberto Sion and Roberto Bomilcar (pianist who played with Frank Sinatra during his visit to Brazil), just to name a few.

Where would you suggest people buy a guitar from?

I would recommend a German website ( The best handmade guitars though can be found at a fantastic shop at 62 Duke St., Mayfair, London, W1K 6JT, London Guitar Studio, or head down Denmark Street where there are lots of great guitar shops. For students and beginners I also recommend the shop Camden Guitars at 23 Chalk Farm Rd, Camden Town, London, NW1 8AG.

What age do you recommend starting to play the guitar?

Seven years-old is a good age for children to start. But it’s always time to begin!

So, what are you like as a teacher?

It is important for the child or adult to be really interested in playing, and that is my only requirement! My friends would describe me as a workaholic which no doubts spread to my dedication to my pupils.
I love to teach because I believe that knowledge should be passed from person to person and because encouraging someone to learn music is a way of not letting people’s interest in music disappear. Music can change people’s lives, especially children’s lives.
My best moments teaching has been when my teaching enriches someone’s life and when students begin to ask questions and really become involved in the music.
Music, as well as being an artistic language is also a way of understanding the history of the world and mankind in a more poetic way. I believe if I can manage to share this perspective with students, peers, and my audiences, this will make me incredibly happy.

What has been your career highlight to date?

The best moment of my career so far was when I recorded my last Album ‘Where Rio de Janeiro Meets Bahia’ and that took me on a trip all over Europe and Africa, sharing my music.

What guitar pieces would you recommend people listen to, to inspire them to play?

Antonio Carlos Jobim – my favourite artist
I also started listening to Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and some other bands and musicians that I still love today. The musical work of João Gilberto, Baden Powell, Wes Montgomery, and George Benson have also really inspired me.
My best tip is to listen to music and find out what really moves you, and it will become your inspiration!

Let’s meet Mario Bakuna

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