I started playing guitar at age 11, taking lessons at the local music studio in Hackensack, NJ. I became heavily influenced by The Beatles after hearing their music and as a teenager played in local rock groups, having some success being in the bands Jona's Ark and The Yorkshire Pudding, opening for artists Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, John Mayall and backing up Gary U.S. Bonds. I started playing piano at 19 when I took a group piano class in college. I attended Berklee College of Music and studied guitar with Bill Leavitt and Pat Metheny. That's where I started learning about all the great jazz artists from Duke Ellington to Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Wes Montgomery to name a few. While at Berklee I also developed a love of the classical guitar and it's repertoire. After Berklee, I became a freelance musician and played guitar for The Drifters, Del Shannon, The Shirelles, The Marvelettes, The Crystals, Chuck Berry, Leslie Gore and believe it or not Tiny Tim. I played guitar, harmonica, mandolin and banjo in productions of: Hair, Tommy, Big River, Fiddler On The Roof and Grease. I composed my own music and performed and co-wrote with others who also wrote their own music. I have always taught private guitar lessons as far back as I can remember. One notable student was Stevie Wonder's son Keita who I taught for 2 years at Stevie's home in northern New Jersey as well as CBS News Anchor Charles Osgood's daughter Annie. Currently I teach 20 private guitar students a week.. From 1994 to 2000, I was the guitarist for The Royal Scam (a Steely Dan Tribute) and during that period I was hired by Hal Leonard Music Corp. to write a guitar transcription book called "The Best of Steely Dan". I was also hired by Brother International Corp. to compose and record a national radio jingle called "P-Touch", with Corey Glover from the rock band Living Colour doing the vocal tracks.
In 1996 I went to William Paterson University to obtain my teacher certification in music education. After the 9/11 attacks, I co-wrote and arranged "America Home Of The Free". The song was used to raise thousands of dollars for the victims of The World Trade Center attacks. Presently I divide my time between teaching, which I enjoy as much as performing and playing guitar with a jazz quartet called ....and All That Jazz, whose 2005 CD "Reflections" was recorded, mixed and mastered in my home based 24 track recording studio in northern NJ. I am also involved in a mandolin / classical guitar project called Music Of The Ages and perform with a 10 piece band called Epic Soul.
As a teacher I am very patient with students and enjoy helping them reach their own musical goals. I emphasize knowing the basics and encourage students to study music theory and basic reading of standard notation. I always ask my students to bring in songs they want to learn as a way to motivate them to practice more.
*** Lesson Details ***
GUITAR: I expect my students to practice at least 5 days a week for at least a 1/2 hour per day. I use the Suzuki method for young students ages 8 to10. We continue learning basic folk songs by ear and then start reading standard notation and basic theory within 6 to 8 months along with classical guitar duets. For older students I use the Hal Leonard guitar method. After 3 months of lessons students can expect to know the basic open position chords and strum patterns to some basic songs as well as some famous guitar riffs and also be able to read some basic melodies in standard notation. After 6 months students will be able to play a 12 bar blues and improvise with the pentatonic and blues scales as well as learn moveable scales and chords and apply these to songs.
PIANO: I also start young piano students with the Suzuki method so they can play some five finger familiar melodies in a short time period. Then we progress to reading notation and eventually adding chord accompaniment to melodies. I use the Faber piano method for reading standard notation.
MANDOLIN: I start students with proper finger position through scales and learning basic folk and bluegrass melodies, also open position chords, so we can play duets within 2 or 3 lessons. I use Hal Leonard's Mandolin Book and also the National Guitar Summer Workshop Mandolin Method.
*** Studio Equipment ***
24 track recording studio, room for parents to sit 14' x 21'...completely furnished studio with guitars, amps, piano, drum machine, synthesizer, microphones...the works.
*** Travel Equipment ***
Students need a good quality and proper size guitar (for very young students) a music stand (for their home use) a foot stool, a metronome and books I assign along with an 8 1/2" X 11" blank manuscript book and a folder with side pockets to hold handout sheets. Piano and mandolin students need their own instrument and the above materials minus the foot stool.
*** Specialties ***
Suzuki classical guitar, classic rock, blues, jazz , popular, funk, country, folk, finger picking and pick style. Piano and bluegrass mandolin.