Jeff S.

Jeff S.

7 Reviews
Perth Amboy, NJ

About Jeff S.

Background check: Last verified 06/16/2014
Jeff passed a background check on 06/16/2014 that included the following:
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Jeff teaches: Males 1 and up
Females 1 and up
Last sign in: Today
Average response time: 4 hours


Jeff is a seasoned instructor in guitar, songwriting, music performance and music business. He also offers lessons in public speaking, voice-over performance and beginning ukulele.. He welcomes students of all ages and experience and has successfully and happily taught beginners to pro-level musicians and recording artists. Jeff is pleased to announce that he is currently accepting Takelessons online students via Skype.

Jeff can teach guitar and songwriting in all styles and is an adept acoustic and electric guitarist. His knowledge of chords is extensive and his acoustic fingerpicking skills are formidable. Jeff structures all lessons around the individual goals and playing level of his students. Jeff's students tend to study with him for quite some time, as his wealth of knowledge, diversity of instruction and patience are extraordinary. And Jeff prides himself on customizing every student's lessons based on their particular preferences, goals and skill level. "It's a very personalized kind of instruction, as I never take a cookie-cutter
approach to teaching...".
Jeff created and taught songwriting and music business classes at colleges,universities, and music schools throughout the country for many years. Some of the places he taught include UCLA Extension, Santa Monica College, Pasadena City College and The Harrison School Of Music.
When asked to summarize his views on teaching and music: "Teaching and playing music always puts a smile on my face; especially when I see that the student is having fun, learning what they want to learn and feeling the passion about music that motivated me to pursue my own musical career".

As a working singer/songwriter/guitarist, Jeff is known for his memorable melodies, intelligently crafted lyrics and heartfelt vocals. His compositions have earned him over 35 awards from various national and international songwriting contests and he is a former staff songwriter for the long-standing New York City-based publisher, Bourne Music. He has also won best music video awards at two international film festivals.

Some of the artists that Jeff has been compared to as a guitarist and vocalist include Keb' Mo', James Taylor, Kenny Loggins, John Mayer, Bill Withers, Jim Croce, and Don Henley.

Jeff is a NJ native, but lived and performed in Los Angeles for many years, where he worked in the studio or shared the stage with well-known artists such as Dave Koz, Norman Brown, John Daversa, Hiroshima, Little Richard and N'Dea Davenport.

Jeff catalog of over 450 songs and compositions spans virtually every genre, but many of his tunes are amalgams of pop, blues, jazz, R&B, country and rock. Quite a number of Jeff's songs
have appeared in film and TV. One that Jeff is particularly proud of, is the dynamic pop ballad, "Journey Of The Heart" (co-written by Jeanne Smith), which was licensed by the N.C.A.A. (National
Collegiate Athletic Association), who deemed it "the official anthem" of their NCAA Hall Of Champions facility in Indianapolis.

Jeff has commercially released 4 CD's of his original material: The most recent of these is his 2013 release, "Blujanova" (a merging of blues, jazz and bossa nova), which was praised by platinum selling and Grammy-nominated jazz star, Dave Koz: "Jeff's voice is so clean and pure...the production is lovely...warm and inviting...I love the interesting and surprising takes on some classics too, especially 'I Feel Good'…that brought a smile to my face!".
The other CD's stretch into other genres. "Truthteller" (bluesy pop/rock and singer/songwriter material) "Me, Myself, and I" (acoustic) and "The Spin" (pop, rock, and country-tinged singer/songwriter material). All of Jeff's albums are on his label, Relevant Records. John Braheny, author of the best-selling "The Craft And Business Of Songwriting (Writer's Digest Books), gave high praise to Jeff's CD, "The Spin", calling it "honest, crafty, melodic and the songs are all exceptional". called Jeff "a consummate songwriter".

*** Lesson Details ***
At the first lesson, I will ask you to tell me what songs you want to play and artists you want to play like and I will set the table for that by providing the chords you'll need, chord and scales and exercises to enable you to play them and guidelines and tricks on how to make it happen as quickly as possible. I know a wide variety of songs in all styles and styles, including current hit songs as well as pop, rock, blues, jazz, country songs. if you have a song or artist that I don't know already, I will learn it (often on the spot) and if not right then, at the next lesson. I have taught my students to play songs by artists as varied as Taylor Swift, U2, Jason Mraz, Adele, Eric Clapton, Django Reinhardt, Doc Watson. And that's just naming a few.

I always make it clear to my students at the first lesson: "There is no such thing as a stupid question". I want you to feel comfortable to stop me at any time to clarify what I am teaching you, ESPECIALLY if it is too difficult or vague. I pride myself on always being organized for your lesson and making sure that you grasp whatever it is I am teaching you. The goal is to get you to be able to play what you want as quickly as possible. This will take practice and dedication on your part, but I will do everything in my power to help you get there.

I never force anything on any of my students. but I feel it would be beneficial for you to learn to read music OR read tablature and chord diagrams. You tell me which one and we'll go in that direction. If you'd like to read music, then we can decide on a book for you. I have used Hal Leonard instructional books (with CD's! this way you can play with a backing track and get a sense of rhythm, which is very important), but I'm open to other method books you might have or like.

After 3 to 6 months, you will feel you are significantly more skilled on the guitar than you were before we started lessons. You will know more chords (and move from chord to chord), be able to do at least some basic fingerpicking and be able to read some music or tablature.

*** Specialties ***
Acoustic fingerstyle guitar (a la James Taylor, John Mayer, Eric Clapton, Keb' Mo', Jason Mraz, John Martyn, Jim Croce, etc.

Blues guitar a la Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Keb' Mo', Jorma Kaukonen, Ry Cooder, etc.

Bossa nova guitar

Songwriting (any aspect and any level; musically, lyrically, structurally, etc.)

the songs of Taylor Swift---quite a few of my younger students want to play her material, so I have about 15 songs ready to teach you and always learning more (by popular demand)

Adapting songs that are not guitar-oriented and creating arrangements of them for acoustic guitar. Examples include songs by Adele, songs by Elton John, Coldplay's "Viva La Vida", etc.

Recording on Garageband

Voice-overs; performance, recording, etc.

Photos and Videos

An overview of the guitar instruction available from Takelessons instructor, Jeff S. and some examples of what he could teach you.


Guitar, songwriting, speaking voice, music performance and ukulele instructor Jan 2009 - Present

For over 5 years now, I've been teaching guitar, songwriting, speaking voice, music performance and ukulele for Takelessons. Depending on a student's location and preference, I either go to them or they come to my location for their lessons. I also offer online lessons via Skype.


B.A. Sep 1973 - Jun 1977
American University


Best Rock Music Video Aug 2012
World Music & Independent Film Festival


American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Jan 2003

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a membership association of more than 480,000 US composers, songwriters, lyricists and music publishers. The ASCAP is committed to nurturing music makers throughout their careers.

Write a Review

7 Reviews on Jeff S.

Keith R. May 17, 2014
Guitar · In home
Verified Student
Excellent teacher, very willing to teach and listens to what you have to say, very relaxed and just an all round perfect experience, I've learned more in three weeks than I ever thought I would learn, loads of fun and I hope to use him as a teacher for as long as I can afford it, A+++++ in every aspect of teaching and a great person.
Eddie R. March 6, 2014
Verified Student
Best Guitar Instructor I've Ever Hada

If you are looking for the best guitar instructor, you need to study with Jeff. I have been taking lessons with Jeff now for almost a year, actually this coming February will be exactly one year. The best decision I ever made was hooking up with Jeff. I am studying fingerstyle acoustic guitar with Jeff. Let me tell you that he has helped me improve my guitar playing 100 fold. He has me playing James Taylor songs, which I thought I could never accomplish at my age, which is 60 this January. So it’s never too late make your dream come true when you take lessons with Jeff.
ANULA A. November 26, 2013
Verified Student
Great Teacher

I'm a beginner and Jeff has great patience with me. He let me catch up lessons at my speed and makes sure I'm playing well.
I'm also learning to read music from him.
He is very encouraging and patiently clears any doubts I have while playing. He points out mistakes and makes sure I clear it before going to the next lesson. I look forward to my lessons with him every week as it makes me happy and more confident while I play guitar.
Peter H. November 12, 2013
Verified Student
A great teacher who help me start to write song

I wrote my first song after I started to have lessons with Jeff. Jeff encouraged me follow through my motives, offered effective guidance and advices that helped shaping my first song. I am very happy with what I learnt from Jeff and am looking forward to have Jeff's teaching along my future songwriting journey!
Roger M. November 6, 2013
Verified Student
teacher with skills and patience

I'm practicing Guitar about a year now , I'm older student 50+ and did not know any music back ground at all when I started with Jeff,
it is my great honer to start my guitar lesson with him , with his patient and my practice ,I learned great amount ,I wish I could have more time for guitar practice lesson with him .
EddieR February 24, 2012
Feed Back

I have had 3 lessons with Jeff, and they have been a great experience. Jeff keeps the lessons very interest and fun. I have learned so much in these last 3 weeks from Jeff, and have gain a lot of knowledge in the Finger-Picking style of music. You have an outstanding instructor in Jeff.
JohnS4 November 26, 2011
Great patient instructor

I can't say enough about Jeff. He is very patient,listens to my concerns,doesn't rush to finish the lesson and leave. If you are an absolute beginner or experienced musician,he is the instructor for you.