Ellen Whitaker began teaching herself to play guitar in 1966 at nine years of age. With the help of various teachers, she narrowed her focus to the study of classical guitar by the age of 12.
Ellen began her formal study of music theory at City College of San Francisco, going on to earn a B.A. degree in Music from Mills College and an M.A. degree in Music Theory from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
In addition to teaching guitar and music theory independently since 1981, Ellen taught undergraduate classes in music fundamentals, advanced music theory and composition while at UCSB.
Ellen maintains her own guitar studio and teaches individual lessons also at the Durham Arts Council. She conducts in-school guitar classes at Voyager Academy.