I played on a toy piano when I was very young, learning a bit of sight reading from my Mother, while listening to classical, jazz, and rock music. When I was 12, I learned guitar and later took private piano lessons from a prominent Philadelphia instructor. After playing in a rock band in high school, I went to college and received my degree in Physics. During this time, I joined a choir, and sang and played guitar in a contemporary vocal group where I became the lead guitarist and vocal arranger, and later became the director. I also played guitar in my church, as well as in a small folk group, performing music of the Beatles, Bacharach, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and many others. I also played or sung in a number of weddings during my college days.
Upon graduation, I moved to the DC area to work in the engineering field, while simultaneously pursuing my music ambition. I studied classical guitar at American University with a student of the great Andres Segovia, and also studied jazz guitar with a former student of a prominent jazz guitarist, Pat Martino. Additionally, I sang in choirs and studied composition privately with a prominent Washington area composer and performer from Catholic University, I also began to teach at an area performing arts academy.
My most long-term experiences in music have been serving in my local church for over 30 years, either playing guitar (acoustic, electric, bass), piano, or arranging vocals in a contemporary worship band. I also started the churchâs first choir, and led both choir and small orchestra in a number of special performances. Additionally, I led congregational worship in different scenarios. During this time I also taught students of all ages guitar, piano, and music theory, and have continued to today in helping students to find their musical potential and pursue their musical ambitions.
I have recently retired from my engineering career so I can use my musical gifts in my local church and teach music as a second career. I am continuing studies in music at George Mason University, where I have made the Deanâs list. More importantly, I continue to learn how to better teach others of all ages how to grow in all aspects of music-making.
*** Lesson Details ***
Having taught for many years, my approach is flexible and I can adjust my teaching style and/or curriculum to maximize the student's potential for learning at any age. I encourage disciplined practice while working to make learning music an enjoyable experience. Although I specialize in guitar styles, I also teach piano, and can include music theory, sight reading, composition, and how to improvise on any instrument. I have taught improvisation on a number of different instruments such as violin, cello, flute, and clarinet.
Here are some testimonials from present or former students/parents:
"Mr. S. is very earnest; when he gives you a compliment, you can tell he really means it. He's very patient and experienced and skilled and he is willing to take what he's teaching down to my level to help me understand it." â Gregory K., age 10
âGeoff is a patient and encouraging instructor. He tailored my lessons towards the skills that I neededâ¦ he provides the necessary encouragement when the long hours of practice seem impossible to sustainâ¦ I could write a book about Geoff's credentialsâ¦highly qualified is an understatement.â -- Neal B.
âMr. S. is awesome at playing and teaching guitar, and he is nice and helps you.â -- Michael B., age 12
âI'm sure I could learn to âPlay Guitar Todayâ using books and videos, but I think I'm on the right track with private one-on-one instruction.â â Linda H.
âThe guitar lessons are fun, interactive, and instructive. A great way to make learning a delight!â â Gina R., parent
*** Studio Equipment ***
Office at home w/ keyboard and guitars, white board, seating for parents
*** Travel Equipment ***
I provide self-produced instructional material.
Students provide their own instrument and a folder to store instructional material.
*** Specialties ***
I teach any style of guitar, including classical and jazz. I also teach improvisation or "playing by ear" on any instrument; my experience includes piano, violin, cello, clarinet, and flute.
I'm very familiar with 60's music (e.g., Beatles)
I've performed a lot of folk music, rock music, and classical music
I've played classical guitar and in classical and jazz ensembles at weddings and other special events.