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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 a church 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 Deans 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." Gregory K., age 10
Geoff is a patient and encouraging instructor. He tailored my lessons towards the skills that I needed. He provides the necessary encouragement when the long hours of practice seem impossible to sustain. I could write a book about Geoff's credentials: highly qualified is an understatement. -- Neal B.
Mr. S. is awesome at playing and teaching guitar, and he is nice and helps you. -- Michael B., age 12
I'm sure I could learn to Play Guitar Today using books and videos, but I think I'm on the right track with private one-on-one instruction. Linda H.
The guitar lessons are fun, interactive, and instructive. A great way to make learning a delight! 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.
I currently lead the music development for the worship ministry at my church. This includes leading congregational worship, leading seminars, teaching music workshops, and arranging special music for small ensembles, choirs, and contemporary worship bands. I also participated in a number of studio recordings, including:
- Adoption Project, 2010-2011
- PDI Classics, 2001
- Chosen Treasure, Hosanna! Integrity Music, 1991
- The Nations Are Waiting, People of Destiny, 1987
- Arise, People of Destiny, 1986
- The Praise Album, Saturday Night Alive Ministry, 1980
I have taught guitar for over 30 years, specializing in classical guitar, but also proficient in rock, jazz, and other contemporary styles. I have also taught piano, music theory, music appreciation, and basic musicianship in various venues. I also have experience in teaching classically trained musicians how to play by ear (piano, violin, flute, cello, clarinet, etc.)
I have played at hundreds of weddings and special events for over 30 years, including solo as well as in small ensembles. I have written and/or arranged music for many of these events. My repertoire includes a variety of hymn arrangements as well as standard classical pieces.