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Half Moon Bay, CA Songwriting Lessons

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About Mark B.

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213893_265082_29530
Castro Valley, CA
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I teach and help people how to write songs at all levels. Whether you are a beginner, or more advanced and need new ideas to draw from. There is an endless reservoir of ideas and concepts to help you to create any kind of music imaginable.

About Mark
I have played on tour with several professional bands, playing rock, pop, blues, African, metal, and country. I now perform live in various bands and record original music as often as possible. My music has gotten airplay in many countries.

I started playing guitar at age 9, and recorded 2 singles in the LA area by age 14. I was a music major throughout High School and College. I also learned a lot by educating myself at the Brand Library in the Los Angeles Area, which specializes in the arts. I specialized in advanced music theory and improvisational techniques.

I have enjoyed teaching music lessons since 1978.

I custom tailor a lesson plan to fit your individual needs and goals! I can teach you songs you'd like to learn instantly when I hear them on your iPod, mobile phone, cassette or CD that you bring in. I ca
n explain musical theory and concepts many different ways to make sure you understand them. I am very friendly and patient.

Sometimes I might inject humor into the learning process to make it an enjoyable learning experience, and to help you remember the important things.
I love the satisfaction of seeing my students grow musically proficient and and seeing the JOY that it brings them. Many of my students have gone on to become professional. I am well-versed and well-equipped to teach many styles: Rock (including all sub-genres...Tribal Ambient Doom neo Punk, etc), Pop, Blues, Jazz, Alternative, Country, R& B, New Age, Ambient, Electronic, Metal (and a few plastics and wood as well).

*** Lesson Details ***
I will develop a personal lesson plan for each individual student. During your lessons, I might cover topics ranging from learning how to play, starting from the basics (if you are a beginner), to choosing music that will inspire you on your level, to improving your technique, ear-training, music reading (if that's what you'd like), reading and understanding tabs (if that's what you'd like), knowing what it is that makes certain chords and notes sound good together for writing your own music, as well as guitar maintenance and adjustments, getting a good tone, amplifier settings, effect pedals (settings & placing them in the most effective order), recording tips, and where to get a decent pizza.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Living Room or Studio, both very comfortable. Amplifiers, guitars, effects pedals, bass, ukulele, balalaika, drum set, PA system and recording equipment.

*** Travel Equipment ***
I provide guitar, bass, or ukulele and amplifier when necessary, teaching tools. The student provides their guitar and paperwork I give them.

*** Specialties ***
Teach note reading using Alfred's New Guitar course. Ear Training, Genres: Rock, Pop, Blues, Jazz, Alternative, Punk, Metal, Folk, Country, Hip Hop, Funk, R& B, New Age, Ambient.

I currently have 5 albums out under my name. My music is on a major new age compilation, and has been played on the radio in several countries, and several internet radio programs. I have played on other people's albums...some of which get major radio airplay in Europe.
...
Reviews
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Paul M. October 16, 2016
· Bass Guitar · In studio
Hanging out like old times and had a Great lesson. Thanks Mark
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Michael P. July 6, 2016
· Guitar · In studio
Mark was an excellent teacher, made me very comfortable. We talk about music and set some goal,he keeps a chart to know what his teaching each student and he write it all out on paper and he writes that you can understand his writing .so very happy. Mike
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Scott June 8, 2016
· Acoustic Guitar · In home
First lesson. Mark really dialed in my skill level and completely exceeded my expectations in terms of material, lesson plan, genre etc. Even got to play one of his ridiculously sweet tele's.
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Mark B.

Mark B.

Castro Valley, CA 94546
(15)
starting at
$40 / 30-min

About Hristo V.

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201524_204597_1263591460
San Jose, CA
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I design my lessons with the specific student goals in mind.

For Beginner students: we will start by exploring rhythm concepts and understanding how to read music. Learning the physics of the guitar and exploring the notes in the first few positions. Learning open position chords, and simple chords progressions, major and pentatonic scales,etc.

For Intermediate students: we will continue expanding our knowledge of the higher positions of the guitar, as well as develop better sight-reading skills. Bar cords and chord transposition, and music theory. Expanding our scalar vocabulary to modes, and minor scales. Learning arpeggios and classical etudes.

For Advance students: Close interval voicings, jazz improvisation, chord to scale relationships, and harmonic substitutions are some of the concepts we will cover. Learning solo guitar playing (chord melody), incorporating walking bass lines, transcription skill and arranging skills.

I specialize in Jazz guitar, improvisation,

About Hristo
Hristo is an impressionistic modern jazz guitarist and composer from Sofia, Bulgaria. Now residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, Hristo leads a variety of modern jazz formations, ranging from duets to quintets. Hristo has toured nationally and internationally, appearing at some of the most prestigious jazz clubs and festivals, and has also performed guitar clinics in Europe and Japan. He has written more than 270 original compositions, many articles on jazz improvisation, and a book on chordal theory and construction entitled Between the Voicings: A New Approach to Chord Building for Guitarists. The Hristo Quartet’s 2009 debut album, Song for Messambria (First Orbit Sounds Music) quickly received outstanding reviews by the international jazz community and was selected as one of the six best jazz albums of 2009 by E-JAZZ NEWS.
“His sophi
sticated and adventurous work is imbued with shimmering harmonies and lyrical improvisations.” – JAZZTIMES MAGAZINE
“His multihued compositions are like impressionistic sound paintings.” – JAZZIZ
“You just won’t find a jazz guitarist (on the planet) these days who has such essential communication skills through his fingers.” – Improvijazzation Nation Magazine
“Hristo may be one of the best kept secrets in jazz today. He is the epitome of sonic gold.” – DIGITAL JAZZ NEWS
“Hristo plays as the cultural end result of his life experiences. Simply put, he plays more so from the heart than he does the head.” – Critical Jazz
“A richly textured album full of strong melodic and rhythmic ideas and with some superb playing throughout.” – THE JAZZ MANN (England)
As jazz critic Edward Blanco describes: “Heis the newest guitarist to enter the national jazz scene and does so with a stunner of a recording in Song for Messambria, one of the finest debut albums I've had the pleasure of appraising this year.”
The record presents a unique blend of ECM-style modern jazz, classical, and Brazilian tone textures, and showcases the completely unique and masterful interpretation of the jazz idiom by each one of its members. In late 2009, Hristo released his second studio album featuring Latin Grammy-nominated pianist Weber Iago. The Secrets of an Angel is an impressionistic landscape painted by the delightful and graceful conversation between the two instruments (guitar/piano).
As jazz critic Brad Walseth describes: “On the heels of his impressive debut recording, Song for Messambria, guitarist Hristo returns along with pianist Weber Iago for a wonderful guitar/piano duet recording - The Secrets of an Angel...while the gentle title track shimmers like a glistening iceberg on a cold sea. The delightful two-part ‘The Last Pirate” is a highlight - brilliantly showcasing the exciting romantic bend inherent in his music, while the nostalgic lullaby “Leka Nosht (Good Night)” recalls a faraway youth and rounds out this fine release.”
In 2010 Hristo wrote a large scale jazz work (The Perperikon Suite) especially to be premiered at the 53rd Monterey Jazz Festival. This 7 movements jazz suite is inspired by the ancient Thracian city of Perperikon (located on the territory of Bulgaria), and combines orchestral, classical, jazz, and fusion elements depicting the history and mystery of this enchanting place. The work marks Hristo third album and one of his most adventurous and sophisticated works up to date. For the recording of this project the Hristo Quartet was joined by virtuoso vibraphonist and multi-instrumentalist Christian Tamburr.
As jazz critic Dan Bilawsky describes: “Shimmering harmonies resonate throughout these modern jazz marvels, and the soloists work their way around and through this accessible and exciting music with equal measures of taste, technique and spirit. His pieces are peppered with signpost sonorities and ideas that often reappear throughout a given song, creating a sense of continuity and thematic steadiness that develops around individual soloists. While this group ably establishes its own aural identity, which threads its way through the whole album, each movement of the suite has different strengths and a unique sonic footprint. Brought to life as a tale of two cities, The Perperikon Suite ultimately occupies its own wondrous world within the confines of its jazz borders.”
As jazz critic Brent Black describes: “There is an incredible warmth to his playing, a fluidity of movement and direction held firmly in place by a stellar quintet that provides ample support for the lyrical imagery created on this release. Aside from the superior sound which almost smacks of a live in the studio recording, there is a true working band feel that he has been able to obtain. He displays an unparalleled versatility moving from the flash of “The Acropolis” to the more introspective “The Southern City” allowing for a wonderfully paced recording. The drumming of Joe DeRose creates a special dynamic tension on the tune “The Great Hall.” A release that ends far too soon. Wonderfully crafted, well paced and a sonic tapestry that stands up as well as any release for this past year.”
As jazz critic Bruce Lindsay describes: “The music, performed by a terrific quintet, is beautiful: it captures images not of a city in ruins but of a city full of life, of vibrant activity. The Perperikon Suite is an impressive creation. Each individual tune is beautifully crafted, but so, too, is the Suite as a whole. His response to the ancient city is remarkable in both its conception and its performance.”
As jazz critic Michael Bailey describes: “Many time motifs are used throughout this suite. Tick-tock ascending and descending figures pass as a thread through cloth, to hold this musical garment—a coat of many colors—together. He achieves this effect with no apparent effort or change in guitar tone or approach. Merely by affecting the time signatures, he makes his magic. The Perperikon Suite is soft-spoken and brainy music that exists out of the ordinary.”

As jazz critic Brad Walseth describes: “The new songs are the strongest he has written yet, and the addition of Tamburr serves to take the music to an even higher level. Hristo, meanwhile, continues to impress the listener with his addictive blend of jazz with touches of classical, Brazilian and Eastern European influences in both his playing and songwriting. In lieu of visiting the legendary site yourself, listeners are urged to take a musical journey to the ancient location as seen through the senses of Hristo and shared with you through his highly satisfying musical presentation.”
As jazz critic Ed Blanco describes: “Hristo and his inspirational quintet provide an all-new experience on The Perperikon Suite, a concept album that is accessible, creative and a pleasure to spin often.”
In 2012 Hristo embarked on yet another musical chapter of his life. Heartmony is the long awaited and highly anticipated follow up to the first duet recording by the guitarist and pianist Weber Iago (The Secrets of an Angel). As the title of the record will suggest, Heartmony explores a truly intimate, honest, and emotional conversation between the two instruments. The music, which transports you from impressionistic landscapes to folkloric tales and from melancholic memories to meditative trances, is simply the purest harmonious sounds he has put on tape up to date. Straight from the heart, healing energy that will embrace you long after you listen to it.
“An absolutely wonderful recording.” – JAZZTIMES
“If ever there were a marriage between classical music and jazz then this Heartmony is it. Hristo and Weber Iago have created a very special experience.” – Grady Harp (Amazon.com)
“Both on and off the bandstand, he is an artist who wears his emotions on his sleeve. His new “Heartmony,” a duo session with his frequent collaborator, Brazilian pianist Weber Iago, provides a master class in the way a chord or harmonic progression can evoke a flood of sensations.” – Andrew Gilbert (San Jose Mercury News)
“Guitarist Hristo and longtime collaborator, pianist Weber Iago, have created a work of sublime musicality with Heartmony. Exquisitely lyrical, although a bit too sweet, this opus brings together multiple musical influences into a coherent and cohesive, multilayered narrative, the momentum of which does not slack from the first few notes to the very last. He and Iago interweave long musical threads into a shimmering soundscape of serene beauty.” – Hrayr Attarian (All About Jazz)
As jazz critic Brent Black describes: “Heartmony is a sonic mosaic pieced together from heartfelt feelings and emotions carried through time and communicated in an incredibly heartwarming and emotional presentation that exemplifies the zen concept of less is more perhaps as well as any recording of the last decade. The musical sound of one hand clapping. His and Weber's music transcends the more traditional jazz idiom in much the same fashion that their recorded work here is that of a more cohesive unified voice with subtle shadings, lyrical swells and the textured nuances that creates music that is to be experienced. An incredibly beautiful artistic statement of personal experience.”
“Guitarist Hristo and pianist Weber Iago sounds like a perfect match in a musical heaven, if such things exist. What I’m saying here is that this is a duet album that sounds perfect, music made from the heart and soul. There’s warmth, there’s care, and there’s a human quality to this that no machine can replicate, and it is that Heartmony that makes this a powerful album worth listening to repeatedly.” – John Books
As jazz critic Dan Bilawsky describes: “The eleven originals are all musical offerings from the heart and soul, but this isn't a one-dimensional recital. Some songs are full of life and positive energy, while others have a sense of regret and nostalgia sewn into their being, but they're all painted in sharp, vivid colors, thanks to the skills of both artistic practitioners at play.”
“This set of guitar-piano duets is quietly emotional, always intriguing and quite original. His clear toned guitar blends in perfectly with Iago’s powerful piano and the two musicians often seem to think as one. Heartmony is quite thought provoking and well worthy of many close listens. Highly recommended.” – Scott Yanow
“Hristo and Iago play together with the assurance born of long and fruitful collaboration. They know each other well, and it shows in the skillful way they complement each other. They take a beautiful melody and run with it. They wring every bit of emotion out of it. There are passages in a composition like “Memories in Black and White,” nocturnal moments in “The Last Leaves which Fell in Fall,” that sound like they could have been written by a nineteenth century Polish Romantic. Then there are moments in the same songs where there are glints of French Impressionists.” – Jack Goodstein (blogcritics.com)
“Hristo is a gifted composer and master guitarist whose stylish approach to the music makes him a hidden wonder of the jazz world. Heartmony is an intelligent musical statement and gentle follow up to his previous works, a relaxing soulful musical experience sure to touch a piece of your heart.” – Ed Blanco (E-JAZZ NEWS)
In January 2013, Hristo released “Familiar Fields” – his 5th record as a leader (and his 2nd quartet recording). The music presented in this session clearly displays the multidimensional tonal evolution of the band and each one of its individual members. The addition of drummer extraordinaire Mike Shannon to the quartet establishes a portal to new sonic landscapes and emotions to be explored in this collection of 9 original pieces by the guitarist. The music, which takes the listener through the realms of impressionistic, classical, jazz, experimental, and new age, always retains the unique sonic footprint that has brought critical acclaim to the quartet all over the world.
“He  paints a vivid pastoral landscape with epic sweep, often recalling the big-sky sound of Pat Metheny. Obviously, these musicians are more than comfortable with one another, as one delicate solo seamlessly segues into another.” – JAZZIZ

“Once again he has produced an immaculately crafted, often supremely beautiful album.” –
The Jazz Mann (England)

“If Pat Metheny and Larry Carlton are considered the kings of impressionistic jazz guitar, then certainly Hristo is a crown prince and ready to lead a palace coup. In fact, “Familiar Fields” easily stands equal to even their greatest albums. Part of the reason for that has to be credited to Hristo’s choice of musicians in the quartet. The musical affinity and effortless grace shines forth on this album like few recordings I have ever heard. They share a single heart and mind that bursts forth in illumination on every track. There is no weak moment or weak player on this album.” – Travis Rogers (JAZZTIMES)
“Over the past few years, Bulgarian-born, Bay Area-based guitarist and composer Hristo has consistently crafted music of great lyrical beauty. With his self-named quartet or quintet, or in duet with pianist and frequent collaborator Weber Iago, he has advanced a sound that manages to sound intimate and epic at the same time. He does so again on Familiar Fields (First Orbit Sounds), his latest recording with his quartet, which welcomes new member Mike Shannon on drums. As he has on previous recordings, He makes use of classical imagery and narratives in song titles such as “The Prophet’s Daughter,” “The Mask of Agamemnon” and “Wounded by a Poisoned Arrow,” the last of which is our selection. His instrumental voice bears echoes of the tonal warmth and big-sky sweep of Pat Metheny, as he and Iago, his beyond-simpatico musical compatriot, switch off on leads, riding the rolling hillocks of rhythm provided by Shannon and acoustic bassist Dan Robbins. Shannon proves an exceptional addition to the group, responding to and driving his companions in equal measure.” – JAZZIZ
As jazz critic Hrayr Attarian describes: “Bulgaria-born and San Francisco-based Hristo has established himself as a modern day troubadour. His enchanting and fantastical tunes have the feel of medieval ballads abundantly peppered with futuristic sounds. His sixth release, Familiar Fields, presents nine impressionistic originals that showcase his maturing compositional skills as well as the superlative, improvisational talents of his working quartet. With each album he oeuvre ripens and becomes more sophisticated without losing its delightfully spirited edge. Familiar Fields not only stands on its own merit as sublime music but also whets the appetite for what is yet to come.”

“Familiar Fields is a highly intelligent, thought-provoking Impressionistic escapade.” – Nicholas Mondello (All About Jazz)

“This release is a clear statement from an artist comfortable with who he is and where he is going. There are no absolute truths in music but instead there are shades of gray which he and his quartet fill in with the precision of a surgeon and the soul of a true artist. Never caught up in the academics of his works, he instead conducts a sonic exploration with the end result being a release that gives up something new with each subsequent spin. An ebb and flow unmatched, or perhaps unlike him, an ebb and flow that other artists simply can not match. As close to perfect as it gets!” – Brent Black (CriticalJazz.com)

“The Hristo Quartet, ladies and gentlemen, is in peak form. They have no competition: no other music in the jazz idiom is quite as satisfying.” – Grady Harp (Amazon.com)
“The musical bond between guitarist Hristo and pianist Weber Iago is as strong as that of Chick Corea and Gary Burton, with proof being their two sublime duet recordings, The Secrets of an Angel and Heartmony, as well as three small group sessions under his name. For the Familiar Fields quartet date with regular bassist Dan Robbins and new drummer Mike Shannon, chose nine gems to play from his vault of more than 270 original compositions. As usual, as one listens to his music, the words lyrical, impressionistic, spiritual, and passionate come to mind, and also his term "heartmony," which he defines as the simultaneous combination of feelings and emotions, especially when produced by experiences, memories, and stimulations pleasing to the heart, body, and soul." – Scott Albin (JAZZTIMES)
“The emotional essence of any Hristo recording can be seen before it’s heard via the distinctive oil paintings the guitarist creates for his CD jackets. his artwork for Familiar Fields is impressionistic, haunting and autumnal, the same qualities that characterize his latest collection of tunes. The foursome’s interplay is highly intricate, resulting in emotive tunes that wax and wane in intensity. Whether you call it post-bop or post-fusion, his brand of jazz is passionate and ethereal. He has developed into a formidable guitarist and intelligent composer, and since he’s only 32 years old, his best work may be yet to come.” – Ed Kopp (Jazziz)
“Within his tone and technique, it’s not difficult to hear the influences of Wes Montgomery, Pat Metheny and Lee Ritenour. He is adept at the full range of extended techniques but is most often described - justifiably - as an impressionist.” – Karl Ackermann (All About Jazz)
“Of the many attributes that Bulgarian (San Francisco based) guitarist Hristo possesses - refined technical abilities, warm tonality, and expressive soulfulness - his gift to convey beautiful stories through intricate composition is always at the heart of his appeal.” – Mark F. Turner

In October 2013, Hristo released his 6th album as a leader. "Rhodopa" is a beautifully crafted sonic pairing of the extremely emotional and lyrical Bulgarian folklore and the multidimensional and deeply textured world of modern jazz harmony. On his new music journey, the guitarist is joined by virtuoso Bulgarian clarinetist Liubomir Krastev. As jazz critic Dan Bilawsky describes: “Hristo and Liubomir Krastev cover everything from the mystical to the mournful and the grim to the gleeful on this absorbing duo date.”

“Hristo takes improvisational music to a third dimension of texture you can feel. Rhodopa is my selection for album of the year for 2013. Critically acclaimed guitar virtuoso Hristo started the year with the release of the highly regarded Familiar Fields. With Rhodopa, has now assumed his rightful place as a global virtuoso of unrivaled talent and ability. As artistically gifted as he is technically proficient, Hristo moves to the head of the pack with this stellar outing.” – Brent Black (CriticalJazz.com)

“Hristo boldly departs from the group setting and gives the audience even more of what they crave - soulful arrangements and virtuosity with heart. There is a beauty and an elegance that comes through on each and every one of Hristo's recordings. The music he composes, the arrangements he crafts, the musicians that he assembles together and the dignity and reverence of his musicianship speak of the heart of the man and his love of life.” – Travis Rogers (JAZZTIMES)

As jazz critic Hrayr Attarian describes: “The warm, poetic tunes are like fairy tales in verse. They are imbued with nostalgia, and shimmer with a variety of muted colors and sentiments. Krastev's softly undulating tones waver against his vibrating strings in a spiritual celebration of abstract beauty. This thematically unified work is a genre bending, elegant and satisfying opus and a new high for he who continues to excel himself on each fresh release.”

“Modern jazz guitarist, pianist and composer Hristo always refreshes the ear and the soul with his inordinately sensitive, mesmerizing, and beautiful approach to music. He is unique - and artist who explores every avenue of approach to both folk music and jazz and the result is an experience that simply no one else can match.” – Grady Harp (Amazon.com)

“With Rhodopa, guitarist/composer Hristo and clarinetist Liubomir Krastev meld musical minds, dive exuberantly into an array of earthy Bulgarian folk material and come up with four hands of beauty. The result is a panoply of aural color, emotion, and technical artistry.” – Nicholas Mondello (All About Jazz)

As jazz critic Ed Blanco describes: "Rhodopa is an instrumental serenade of Bulgarian folklore music interpreted by a world-class guitarist and clarinetist. Hristo and Liubomir Krastev deliver an enchanting and relaxing escape from reality with a fifty-three minute encounter of soul-reaching music."

"You just won’t find a jazz guitarist (on the planet) these days who has such essential communication skills through his fingers. With Liubomir’s reeds, they form a cultural jazz experience that can’t be compared with anything else!" – Dick Metcalf (Improvijazzation Nation Magazine)

On top of leading his own quartet, quintet, duo projects, and co-leading the group SEVA, Hristo also co-writes and plays guitar with Joe De Rose and Amici - an energetic jazz/fusion formation lead by drummer Joe De Rose. Hristo has appeared on countless radio shows/programs all around the world.

Hristo has also performed in world-class jazz venues and festivals including Yoshi’s Jazz Club (Oakland, CA), Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society (Half Moon Bay, CA), Kuumbwa Jazz Center (Santa Cruz, CA), Anthology (San Diego, CA), Catalina Jazz Club (Hollywood, CA), The Jazz Corner (Hilton Head Island, SC), Heidi's Jazz Club (Cocoa Beach, FL), Alvas Showroom (San Pedro, CA), The Jazz Station (Eugene, OR), Egan's Ballard Jam House (Seattle, WA), Timucua White House (Orlando, FL), Ivories Jazz Club (Portland, OR), The Herbst Theater (San Francisco, CA), SOhO Jazz Club (Santa Barbara, CA), as well as major jazz festivals including the 53rd Monterey Jazz Festival (Monterey, CA), 2009/2010/2012/2013 AT&T San Jose Jazz Festival (San Jose, CA), 2010 and 2012 Redwood City “Jazz on Main” (Redwood City, CA), Okazaki Jazz Festival (Okazaki, Japan) and many more.

Hristo holds a B.A. in Music (Jazz Studies) from San Jose State University in San Jose, CA.
He has also studied in the prestigious Roland Music Academy in Caracas, Venezuela.

Students can benefit from Hristo's completely amazing knowledge on the instrument as well as music/harmony theory. He will work and design unique and specific goals tailored to each student's individual interests. His dedication and passion for teaching are first class!!!

*** Lesson Details ***
I design my lessons with the specific student goals in mind.

For Beginner students: we will start by exploring rhythm concepts and understanding how to read music. Learning the physics of the guitar and exploring the notes in the first few positions. Learning open position chords, and simple chords progressions, major and pentatonic scales,etc.

For Intermediate students: we will continue expanding our knowledge of the higher positions of the guitar, as well as develop better sight-reading skills. Bar cords and chord transposition, and music theory. Expanding our scalar vocabulary to modes, and minor scales. Learning arpeggios and classical etudes.

For Advance students: Close interval voicings, jazz improvisation, chord to scale relationships, and harmonic substitutions are some of the concepts we will cover. Learning solo guitar playing (chord melody), incorporating walking bass lines, transcription skill and arranging skills.

*** Studio Equipment ***
A specific music room with a few guitars, a keyboard, amps, and recording equipment and music stands

*** Travel Equipment ***
I provide my guitar and amp.
Students should provide their guitars and amps (if needed)

*** Specialties ***
I specialize in Jazz guitar, improvisation, harmonic studies and theory.
Chord melodies, building lines, phrasing, voice-leading, chordal improvisation, and re-harmonization/substitution.
...
Reviews
Silhouette-80
Kim L. April 26, 2014
· Guitar ·
Outstanding Performer

Hristo is the most inspirational teacher I've every had the pleasure to learn from. He shares his talent in a way that I look forward to every lesson. His patience and positive reinforcement encourages me to keep practicing. He selects the appropriate music for my level and teaches all genres. Thank you for working with me every week. I hope I get to work with him for as long as I can until he becomes too famous to continue teaching us.
Silhouette-80
AllenH April 4, 2012
· ·
Great Instructor

I've been taking lessons from Hristo for a couple of months now. He is friendly, affable, and extremely patient. I enjoy our lessons, and have learned quite a bit in the short time we have been working together.
Silhouette-80
JeanetteY March 7, 2012
· ·
wonderful instructor and very accomodating. We are appreciative of his talents!!
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Hristo V.

Hristo V.

San Jose, CA 95118
(9)
starting at
$65 / 30-min

About Jesse M.

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Sunnyvale, CA

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Learn about rhythm, melody, harmony, and dynamics and how they affect your songwriting. Break down songs that you like to learn about the elements that make you like them and make them compelling to others.

About Jesse
*Disclaimer*
I'm currently not taking beginner students on guitar, bass, drums, piano, or ukulele. I highly recommend my studio partners Andrew and Melissa though. Please check out their profiles for the following topics:

Guitar, Bass, Drums, Piano, and Ukulele
https://takelessons.com/profile/andrew-i5

Piano and Ukulele
https://takelessons.com/profile/melissa-m62

My Background

I've been playing with classical ensembles and rock bands since 2001. Even though I started on classical trombone and rock guitar, I have come to expand my repertoire to a variety of instruments and genres. During my time in college I performed with the University choir, orchestra, and band. I also have organized, wrote/arranged for, and performed with a variety of bands in my home state of New Mexico, as well as Japan, and the San Francisco Bay Are
a.

Since 2006 I have been an active teacher. This profession has taken me everywhere from working with classical guitar classes in New Mexico high schools to Elementary students in Japan to a variety of private students of various musical instruments and genres everywhere I've been. Since relocating to the Bay Area in 2010, I've had the pleasure of working with lots of great students from kids to adults with a wide range of ambitions. Since 2012 I've been running my own full time studio along.

Philosophy of Learning

Lessons are generally designed to work towards giving students the tools to accomplish their goals and become increasingly independent over time. While all students will study similar fundamentals regarding technique, theory, and performance, every lesson is as different as every person. What kind of music do you want to make? I'll tell you what you need to do to get there, and help you take the steps to achieve your aspirations.

I also love to help students put together a song, record, and produce it for them so that they can have a recording to share with their friends and family.

I also hold events for my students. (Check out our pictures and videos below!)
Younger students have the "Young Musicians Showcase" every few months where individual students and band classes have a chance to perform and celebrate their accomplishments with friends and family.
Adult students occasionally have events where they get a chance to get together and play music as well.

Aside from in-studio lessons, students also have the option to sign up for online lessons via Skype.
(*Online lessons offered during different times than in-studio lessons.)

*Unfortunately due to scheduling issues, I'm not currently accepting students for bi-weekly lessons. I can do regular weekly lessons, or occasional drop-in lessons, but bi-weekly appointments make it really hard for me to give the best scheduled times to my existing weekly students. I'm sorry for the inconvenience.

My studio is equipped with:

*Multiple Music Stands

*P.A. System

*Vocal and instrument microphones

*Guitars, Basses, and a Banjo

*Two guitar amps and a bass amp

*Various percussion including a fully equipped acoustic drum set

*A Roland V-Drums electronic drum set

*An electric piano console

*A MicroKorg Synthesizer

*A Tuba, Trombone, Cornet, and Flute

*An extensive physical and virtual music library

*A recording system that students are not only welcome to use but encouraged to

*HD Webcam and condenser microphone for high fidelity online lessons via Skype
...
Reviews
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Robert O. August 10, 2017
· Japanese · Online
Thumb_596ebb8e0d218_review_My%20Pic%20-%204-500px
Rajeev July 18, 2017
· Trumpet · In studio
After a break of more than a year I wanted to restart my Trumpet lessons. I chose Jesse based on the reviews and Jesse did not disappoint. He is very patient and focused teacher. I liked his structured method and tools he uses. I was able to get back in groove in no time.

Highly recommended.
Silhouette-80
BRIAN July 18, 2017
· Japanese · Online
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Jesse M.

Jesse M.

Sunnyvale, CA 94086
(86)
starting at
$35 / 30-min

About Arrica R.

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Oakland, CA

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I've been studying songwriting for over 20 years and I've professionally released several albums. I am grateful to have had my music licensed by Starbucks, NBC, The CW network, NikeWomen.com, and MTV. Whether you've never written a song before or are just in need of growth and guidance with your existing body of work, we'll work together to expand your songwriting skill set and repertoire.

About Arrica
I was born and raised in Los Angeles but I've just recently relocated to the Bay Area. I am a Professional Musician/Songwriter/Vocalist teaching songwriting, voice, and performance technique as well as a combination thereof. I began singing at a very young age for anyone who would listen (so my parents tell me) and began taking music lessons shortly thereafter. I am now a USC graduate and have also studied music privately for over 25 years as well as at the esteemed Vocal Power Institute. I've professionally released several albums and I am grateful to have had my music featured/licensed by Starbucks, NBC, The CW network, NikeWomen.com, and MTV. I've toured extensively playing to audiences across the country and have had the honor of sharing the stage with artists ranging from Conor Oberst, Inara George, Johnette Napolitano, Martha Wain
wright, to Jackson Browne. I have experience teaching both adults and children, and enjoy teaching beginning as well as intermediate to advanced students. In addition to teaching privately, I have experience teaching children through my volunteer work with The Girls Rock Alliance, a non-profit organization that aims to teach young girls about self-confidence and self-expression through music education.

*** Lesson Details ***
I am easy-going, friendly and I believe that developing a great student/teacher rapport is the key to making the most out of the time we spend together. The curriculum I utilize is specifically designed to meet the student's individual needs. Initially we'll spend time assessing where you are and where you'd like to be. Most importantly, we'll set goals and create a lesson plan that will allow you to attain them. We'll work on basic techniques (or intermediate to advanced depending on skill level), for example - breath support, vowel placement, posture, relaxation, the fundamentals of song structure and music theory. We'll also work on the psychology of performance and eliminating any unwanted tension that may arise. We'll choose songs to work on that you'll enjoy singing, or analyze the songs you love in order to discover and/or improve upon your own songwriting abilities.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Front music studio area w/ guitars, computer with protools, keyboard, microphone, pa system, and seating for parents

*** Travel Equipment ***
I can provide a small keyboard and/or guitar

*** Specialties ***
My main musical styles that I perform and teach are Pop, Rock, Folk, and Americana/Country. I specialize in creating a lesson plan that suits the needs of each individual student.
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Reviews
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Evelynne L. January 7, 2016
· Singing · In studio
Connected well with my 9 year old daughter. Strong musical and teaching skills and a pleasure to work with. Run don't walk to see Arrica!
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Richard M. October 1, 2015
· Singing · In studio
First lesson very comfortable, relaxed yet structured, getting to know each others personality, musical abilities.
Take home exercises.
Looking forward to the next lesson.
Thanks Arrica
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Julie B. September 10, 2015
· Music Performance · In home
Arrica has been such a wonderful teacher for my 11-year-old daughter. (She was 9 when she started with Arrica.) Our girl has a lot of raw talent but needed some good instruction that wasn't too formal. Africa is just the right blend of traditional singing technique and fun rock-n-roll, record your own music on Garage band. We love her!
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Arrica R.

Arrica R.

Oakland, CA 94611
(8)
starting at
$60 / 30-min

About Kristina B.

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San Francisco, CA

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The various songwriting formulas, hooks, harmony, arranging, how to craft a song well, melody, turning poetry into music, and how to find the "right" chords/music with what one hears in their head.

About Kristina
Kristina has been singing, acting, and performing since the age of 4. She studied under the well-known and respected vocal coach, Donna Prypin, on Cape Cod, Massachusetts for at least 11 years. Kristina then went on to study Opera with Don Wilkinson, of the Boston Symphony for 1 year, and with him gained excellent range and breathing techniques. Kristina was then accepted to Berklee College of Music, where she attended for two & a half years studying under some of the world's greatest teachers. She learned extensive Ear Training, Harmony, Jazz Improvisation, Counterpoint, Arranging, Performing, Music Business, Music Therapy, and intense vocal coaching. After college Kristina moved to California where she now has a thriving teaching practice, performance, and touring career.

In 2014 she earned her Sound, Voice, and Music Healing Cert
ificate from The California Institute of Integral Studies, under the mentoring of Grammy Nominated composer/performer, Silvia Nakkach, MA,MMT. She then travelled to India in January of 2014 with Silvia to study Classical India singing/music.

As of September 2016, Kristina recently returned from a two & half month music/bike tour through the United States Pacific Northwest & Canada.

She released her first solo album (September 2008) titled, Mermaid Tattoos and is currently in the process of creating her second album.

Kristina can teach ages 4 ~ 100 and is patient, creative, flexible, enthusiastic, and passionate. Her focus is on helping students attain their goals whether it's to be on stage winning Grammy awards, or just learning to sing and perform for fun. She can help students learn Pop, Country, Jazz, Indie Rock, Classic Rock, Musical Theater, and even their own musical genre. She also teaches beginner guitar, and proper vocal acting/public-speaking skills. In addition, she performs Sound Sessions for clients looking for relaxation & coping techniques, using crystal singing bowls, vocal toning exercises, shrupti box vocal work, and human tuning forks.

*** Lesson Details ***
Kristina is extremely creative, patient, kind, open-minded, passionate, laid-back, but sets excellent and attainable goals with the student, and absolutely loves music. Depending on each individual student, lessons will center around correct vocal breathing, exercises, music theory, songwriting, guitar, acting, and learning different techniques in order to meet personal goals. Each student is taught individually and with their own personal needs as the focus.

*** Studio Equipment ***
I have state of the art microphones, amps, guitars, a keyboard, IPod radio (students can bring them to share music), and of course a computer.

*** Specialties ***
Voice, Beginner Guitar, Vocal Technique, Performance, Range, Improvisation, Music Theory, Songwriting, Sound Sessions for relaxation & coping skills. I specialize in Pop/Rock/Jazz/Blues/Country/Indie Rock, Musical Theater, and New Age genres.
...
Reviews
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Steve June 9, 2017
· Speaking Voice · In studio
Kristina really listens to what you need and clearly takes a personal/individualized approach
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Jonathan W. March 1, 2017
· Singing · In home
Extremely organized, thoughtful, helpful, and really fast to get into exercises and make progress.
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Crystal S. November 3, 2016
· Speaking Voice · In home
Amazing, gifted, talented, and patient teacher!! I'm very happy I had the opportunity to learn and grow from Kristina! =)
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Kristina B.

Kristina B.

San Francisco, CA 94109
(47)
starting at
$31.50 / 30-min
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About Peter D.

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Oakland, CA
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I have coached hundreds of songs with a wide variety of students in pretty much any style of music, accelerating their understanding of the three basic elements of song craft: lyrics, melody, harmony.

Using techniques acquired through the Berklee School of Music system, I work closely with each person's temperament and personality, and help them in drawing out their own unique mode of expression into song.

About Peter
Whether piano, voice, songwriting/composition, music theory or music production, I bring all that I have learned and developed as a musician to the lesson in the interest of the student’s growth.

Whether we work in classical, jazz, or pop, We focus on what will directly fit your individual goals. We can cover the full spectrum of technique, theory, ear training, sight-reading, and performance. What emerges over time is tailor-made program suited to your needs and goals.

A little bit about my background: I have studied with over 12 music professors, both in the classroom and individually for 6 years at Saddleback Community College in Orange County. I’ve studied a number of styles while composing for and performing in various small ensembles, including:  world music, classical, pop, jazz, and musical theatre. I continue teach, produ
ce and compose music for myself and other artists as well.

I look forward to getting to know you!
...
Reviews
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Sam October 21, 2015
· Singing · Online
I have always known I have had some kind of voice. I started doing lessons with Peter for not only vocals but also guitar. He has helped me explore the different ranges my voice can actually hit and how to add more emotion into a song. In one lesson just today, he made a song that i perfomed which sounded okay in the beginning of the lesson sound 10x better and to the very best of my ability by the end of the lesson. Every lesson is alot of help! He is great at understanding how to work with people whether it is vocally or trying to learn to play guitar - he uses great techniques for understanding and will work at the perfect pace appropriate for the student. He makes learning guitar and singing very fun. Highly reccomended!
Thumb_562514ef67739_review_ProfileA-Charles%20DeWitt
Charles October 19, 2015
· Piano · Online
I am Peter's father, so obviously this review will be a little biased. And, I have never taken a lesson from Peter, as I am not a musician and do not play an instrument. BUT, I can say this: Peter is hard-working, conscientious, and devoted to his profession. He is passionate about music and about teaching, and genuinely cares about each student. AND, he knows how to make learning fun! (Evidently he inherited that trait from his mom, who teaches English and Spanish). So, hire Peter! He's the best!
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Louise Comfort September 29, 2015
· Piano · In home
I found Peter to be very intelligent and very knowledgeable. Peter was great in not only classical styles of playing but also jazz which really kept me engaged! I especially liked the way he taught music theory alongside some of the standard learning points like scales and such. Overall I had a delightful experience with this teacher. If Peter ever moves back to my area I would love to take lessons with him again!
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Peter D.

Peter D.

Oakland, CA 94609
(19)
starting at
$40 / 30-min

About David W.

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Berkeley, CA

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About David
Hi there, and thanks for viewing my TakeLessons profile! I am excited to be a part of the team in Berkeley, CA.

I started teaching lessons while in music school for Classical Guitar in 1996. From 1998 onwards, I played with a variety of musicians from Africa and Latin America, as well the as great American traditions of gospel, funk, jazz, and bluegrass. All the while, I continued to study music theory and composition, on my own and in private lessons with both well-known players and local professionals. Flamenco and Indian Classical music have also been great interests which I am still involved with.

Though guitar is generally my "go-to" instrument, I often use a MIDI keyboard for composition, and studied/performed on bass for 10 years. The last few years, I have begun to develop my voice as well.

Since 2006, I have been teachi
ng music theory and composition at Ex’pression College in Emeryville. This is a digital production environment for the arts, and my students come from a variety of backgrounds. Some are musicians/aspiring musicians, and some are primarily interested in working with technology; but all are audio enthusiasts and love music!

*** Lesson Details ***
Whether you are a complete beginner or have been playing gigs for years, are very young or old, I have something to offer you!

How we structure lessons depends in part on you and your goals, as well as your learning style. Having taught music for over 15 years, I have a large amount of resources at my disposal, and can either teach from a method book, or a variety of materials, some of which are my own creations.

I also like to use technology as a teaching aid, and can show you how to use your own computer, keyboard, or music production application (garageband, etc) to practice and create music at home. Another thing that I offer is to make recordings of key parts of the lesson, either as an audio or video file, or both. These can be shared with you through email, dropbox, or a flash drive if you bring one along to your lesson.

Please contact TakeLessons if you have any further questions! I look forward to meeting and working with you or your child.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Home studio: Front room with computer station, guitars, music stand. Waiting area with couches and table, and parents can sit in on lessons. Street parking available, no pets.

College: practice rooms and classrooms available with computers and MIDI controllers.

*** Specialties ***
On guitar and bass, I have experience in world music including Africa, Latin America, and Flamenco. I also love American traditional music, including funk, jazz, rock, and gospel. I specialize in teaching music theory and composition, no matter what instrument. Rhythmic concepts applied to any instrument are a favorite topic.
...
Reviews
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Kelley Martel March 24, 2016
· Guitar ·
It was a great first lesson with David . He is very kind and patient and helpful and I can see he is skilled as a musician. I am excited to work with him !
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Roy H. January 28, 2016
· Guitar · In studio
If I could give 4.5 stars I would, the only reason it's not 5 stars is because I think nobody is perfect, but David is very close to it. I really liked how patient David was with Eli and his deep knowledge of music was very impressive. David is able to prevent things in a number of different ways and he makes sure that you understand that material very well.
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Ian Merrill November 10, 2015
· Music Theory · In studio
David is awesome! I began lessons with him because i was not satisfied with the music theory classes at the school i am enrolled in, as well as the classes did not accommodate well to my learning differences. David not only has endless knowledge of music theory but also has shown me tools and helpful methods for studying music. I highly recommend taking lessons from David if you are either a beginner or you are at a higher level and would like to expand your knowledge of music theory.
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David W.

David W.

Berkeley, CA 94703
(12)
starting at
$30 / 30-min

About Larry T.

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Albany, CA
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Hello,

I began my Songwriting and Composing career in New York City's famous Tin Pan Alley working as a Staff Songwriter for Kama Sutra Records.

While there I was discovered by a Rock and Roll manager, who put me to work as a Songwriter/Composer/Pianist/Mime in an Art Rock band called “The Hello People”.
The band created five commercially released record albums, two of which were produced by Todd Rundgren.

The band appeared on the “Tonight Show”, Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, and the Fillmore's East and West while constantly touring the U.S

I toured with Todd Rundgren as a Pianist/Keyboardist and Vocalist on his “Back to The Bars” tour.

My true passion has always been Songwriting, Composing and Teaching.

I studied Piano, Songwriting, Composing Music & Jazz Theory privately.

Samples:
www.reverbnation.com/thehellopeople
www.reverbnation.com/largimusic
Thank you,
Larry Tasse

About Larry
Music is my passion. As a professional Songwriter, Composer and Pianist, I have toured the United States in Rock and Roll bands, and made my living working as a songwriter, composer and pianist accompanying singers and instrumentalists, as a soloist, and as a recording session keyboardist and composing music and writing songs for Film and Live Theatre.

I am an award winning songwriter and I am a member of The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers- A.S.C.A.P.
...
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Larry T.

Larry T.

Albany, CA 94706
starting at
$45 / 30-min

About Marissa K.

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South San Francisco, CA
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I'm currently teaching songwriting to help my students understand the basics of composition, song structure, and creating melodies and chords. I have studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston for songwriting and have been writing music for over 10 years.

About Marissa
I am a singer/songwriter/guitarist and I have been playing and singing for over 10 years. I have played many high-profile gigs including the St. Petersburg Pride Fest and Tampa Gasparilla Festival. I am very excited to teach and work with many different learning styles. If you want a dedicated guitar teacher with lessons that work with your style and pace of learning, hit me up!
...
Reviews
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Lore July 26, 2016
· ·
Marissa is an excellent music teacher!
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Lore E. June 22, 2016
· Guitar · In studio
The lesson witharissa was great!
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Brie April 29, 2016
· Guitar · In home
Very effective teacher, knowledgeable and patient. Highly recommend!
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Marissa K.

Marissa K.

South San Francisco, CA 94080
(4)
starting at
$40 / 30-min

About Spenser S.

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San Francisco, CA

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We'll look at what makes us like and feel connected to a song and how we can produce that same effect in a unique way!

About Spenser
Hello my name is Spenser! I am a performing guitarist, vocalist and songwriter in the bay area. I have been teaching for nearly 10 years and have taught all ages and experience levels. My main focus in teaching is to help my students fulfill their intentions with the chosen instrument. I studied jazz guitar at San Francisco State University (BA).

Thank you for your consideration!
...
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Spenser S.

Spenser S.

San Francisco, CA 94122
starting at
$20 / 30-min

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