"We loved the sitar music during our wedding ceremony, it added a very special touch. Joanna was a pleasant person to have as part of our special day. She was also very professional and reliable. I would hire her again!"Christine Maybaum
"A year learning in India was a good introduction to the playing the sitar, but my brief time under Joanna's instruction has made me believe that I can make it a lifelong practice. She understands how to teach those who weren't immersed in Indian Classical Music, and can relate to the humor of navigating/stumbling through this complex art form. Moreover, she clearly believes in her students and their ability to meet her challenges. There have been sessions in which I didn't think I would be able to play a certain line or piece, only to surprise myself by following her encouragement and advice. I am thoroughly satisfied with my progress since taking lessons with her. Her teachings do not inspire hobbyist musicianship, but recognition of the student's own role in carrying on a vast and vibrant tradition-- one that she urges be kept alive."Adam Brooks (Oakland, CA)
"Meeting with Joanna is one of the greatest gifts I ever had in my stay in San Francisco. What I have been learning from her is not only about Sitar but also Indian Classic Music and philosophy of living Art. I still remember the first class when I had a lesson with Joanna and how she was intuitive and able to quickly understand my unique and subtle understanding of the subtle sounds that make music.
The experience of learning Indian Classic music with Joanna has been very conductive to my focus in my masters program in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis on Expressive Art Therapy. This living art of playing the Sitar and attuning to the source of music is my heart song. Joanna creates a wonderful sense of community around her Sitar lessons and I feel so supported, welcomed and encouraged by all her students as well."Maki Mitsuya MA, MFTI
"I have had an overwhelming positive experience with Joanna as a teacher. She is very skilled, knowledgeable, and very warm and supportive. I enthusiastically recommend anyone interested in learning both the theory and practical elements of the sitar work with Joanna."Joshua Kagan
"I studied sitar with Joanna for one year when I lived in the Bay Area. I was in my late twenties and had no prior experience playing any musical instrument. Joanna put me at ease when I first met her and explained that music could be learnt at any age if one practiced diligently. I had a wonderful time learning with Joanna. She is an excellent teacher and she makes sure that students maintain a pace they feel comfortable with."Chinmay
"I have been studying Sitar for almost ten years. In that time I have studied with many teachers, both in India and in the U.S. But of them all Joanna Mack is the best!!! She has taught me the fundamentals of Sitar technique and theory. She has also taught me about Rag and Improvisation. Her lessons have included valuable information about Sitar maintenance as well. She is an extremely accommodating teacher - often traveling very far to give lessons. What I think is the best thing about studying Sitar with Joanna is how open she is.
She is open to answering any question I can think of and she is open to approaching any Sitar related topics or issues. She has a wealth of information and experience to draw from. Of all the Sitar teachers I have worker with Joanna Mack is honestly the best. I would recommend her to students at any level.
Thank You so much Joanna!!"Matt Walker
"I started learning the sitar from Joanna after having some background in Carnatic veena, but none in Hindustani music. She is an amazing teacher. Very patient, she adapts her pace to my abilities (and temperament) on each day. On my good day, she gently pushes me to learn more, and on a bad day, she slows down so that I can still learn something. The variety of her exercises is incredible - covering speed, finger movement, learning the raga, and getting a sense of rhythm. She mixes these up with compositions, so I'm constantly learning something new.
Joanna was also really helpful in getting a sitar. She tried out various sitars at the music store, and selected one out for me. She really made sure I was satisfied with the sitar. I am very fortunate to begin my sitar journey under Joanna, and I hope to learn much from her as my instruction continues."Seshadhri Comandur (Fremont, CA)
"We are very lucky to have found Joanna. She is very talented, is a great teacher and has a wonderful personality. She understands our boys very well and knows how to keep them motivated and challenged. They enjoy their lessons and have developed a stronger appreciation of sitar and of Indian music in general."Chitra
"Joanna is a talented musician in her own right and a thoughtful, patient teacher. She adapts both her methodology and pace to suit my particular strengths which has helped me pick up sitar much faster than I had expected."Vince
"Joanna is a great 'Sitar Guru.' She teaches her student at their level regardless of their experience with Sitar and I might add with great patience."Onkar