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Los Gatos, CA Songwriting Lessons

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Popular Songwriting Teachers near Los Gatos, CA

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About Brian S.

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Los Angeles, CA

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In addition to being a guitar player, I am also a songwriter. This gives me a broader perspective in teaching musicians to play guitar. I tailor the lessons to give the student knowledge of playing the guitar and music theory that can be applied to guitar playing, soloing and songwriting.

About Brian
I have been playing guitar for over 30 years and teaching for 25 years.
I've been featured in Guitar Player magazine (see attached pic). and my live experience includes concerts and tours with various bands (Champagne Francis, Scout), theater (Jersey Boys, Movin' Out, Josh Gad (Book of Mormon) and TV performances (Jay Leno, The Today Show).
I enjoy teaching both children and adults. I recommend children under 10 start on a fender squire mini electric guitar ($99)
For adults,
I am able to bring beginner and intermediate guitarists to an advanced level of playing and understanding songwriting, soloing and playing songs with good technique.

I look forward to hearing from you and helping you along your path of learning music and guitar.
Thanks!

*** Lesson Details ***
Each lessons builds upon the previous. The first half of the
lesson is a review of material the student has covered; a "warm up"
The second half of the lesson is for learning a new song or guitar solo as well as chord theory (learning and understanding new songs / songwriting) and scale theory (learning and understanding how melodies and solos fit over chord progressions).
I recommend setting a baseline intention of practicing 15 minutes a day. If you stick to that every day you will improve on the guitar and be playing music very soon!

*** Studio Equipment ***
Fender guitar mini for ages 5-9.
Fender guitar (standard) 9-adult.
Fender Pro Reverb amp.
Chairs, Music Stand, Blank Sheet music, Books
Cables, picks etc.
No need to bring an instrument to the lesson!

*** Specialties ***
Electric and Acoustic guitar
Rock / Pop / Alternative / Blues / Folk / Heavy Metal / Jazz / Fusion / R&B

Learn anything on request!
...
Reviews
Thumb_97269_pi_Beach%20Dan
Daniel October 30, 2016
· Guitar · In studio
Brian is both a great guitar player and an awesome instructor! Since starting with him my playing abilities and understanding of music theory have grown dramatically. In addition, he's a really cool guy that's truly interested in your growth as a guitar player. I recommend him without reservation.
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Melanie February 21, 2016
· Guitar · In studio
Brian is a great teacher. He's very knowledgable and I'm learning a lot with each lesson.
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IRIS September 28, 2015
· Acoustic Guitar · In studio
Brian is professional, considerate and kind, could get you play any songs you pick super fast and complement lessons with necessary basic trainings. Has a variety of gears in his studio so no need for you to bring your own all the way there. Yes the charge is higher than many other tutors but for a smooth & enjoyable learning process it's always worth it. P.S. Brian could write down the music for guitar part accurately just by listening to the songs and immediately teach it to you! Highly recommend.
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Brian S.

Brian S.

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(18)
starting at
$40 / 30-min

About Hristo V.

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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
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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.
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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.
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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 Jaxon W.

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Glendale, CA

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Here's how I help teach songwriters:

-Chords/Progressions: I help instrumentalists get out of ruts they're stuck in and find new chord progressions. OR if you're new, I'll show you what's out there. I will also show you commonly used progressions so you know what's used. We will analyze successful songs to see what the writer did and then attempt to emulate those ideas in writing exercises
-Melodies: We'll learn what makes a good melody, and we'll write melodies that are good hooks.
-Lyrics: We'll talk about what makes good lyrics and learn to write good lyrics by modeling lyrics after other songs and writing and rewriting your own lyrics.
-Music Business: If you're interested as well we can learn how the music business works for songwriters.

About Jaxon
*See further below for lesson details!*
Jaxon the Guitarist: I am a Doctoral Guitar Major at USC studying classical guitar. I have been playing the guitar for 19 years and teaching for 10. My main style is classical, and due to the technical training I have had since I was very young, it has been very easy for me to learn and master other styles such as Rock, Jazz, Blues, Pop, Country, and other styles of guitar. I have a passion for performing and have played hundreds of solo and ensemble concerts. As a classical performer I was the Oregon State champion in their guitar competition for both 2005 and 2006 and won 4th prize at the Sierra Nevada International Classical Guitar Competition 2014. I have played concerts all over the United States as well as in Spain and Mexico. As a performer of other styles I have played in many bands an
d have won high school battle of the bands competitions and recently placed 2nd in BYU's battle of the bands 2011. I was a regional finalist in Guitar Center's "King of the Blues" competition as well.

Jaxon the Teacher: I really love spreading the knowledge I've learned over the years about the guitar, bass guitar, songwriting, music theory, and everything music related to my students. I find a huge sense of fulfillment in seeing my students understand and enjoy learning and making beautiful music. I have a high level of knowledge and skills that I am very willing to use to teach students from the most beginner to the most advanced. Former students of mine have achieved lofty goals ranging from making it into a music program at the college level to winning their school's talent show to being accepted into their school's jazz band.

*** Lesson Details ***
My curriculum is based around YOU. I push my students hard, but I make sure they're always having fun and enjoying playing. I like to get my students playing real songs as fast as possible so they can see results immediately and get excited!

Note: I am trained and specialized in teaching children fingerstyle guitar. I have taught hundreds of kids in schools, privately, and in groups over the last two years. The method I use is proven to give kids the best possible start to music and maximize their potential. If you have children and you want them to learn good technique and music principles through guitar, you don't want to look any further, I promise.

*** Studio Equipment ***
I have stools, music stands, and an amp here so all you need to bring is your guitar!

*** Travel Equipment ***
I do not provide any equipment.
Student must have their own guitar and amp if they play electric.
I do have guitars available for rental.

*** Specialties ***
-Children's fingerstyle guitar
-Proficient in Suzuki method
-Specialist in classical guitar, though proficient up to highly advanced in any guitar style (blues, rock, country, jazz, pop, etc)
-Also very experienced teaching songwriting and music performance
...
Reviews
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Phillip S. August 6, 2017
· Flamenco Guitar · Online
Very great teacher! Extremely knowledgable on traditional and nouveau flamenco techniques. Appears very committed to the student and willing to spend time out of the sessions to make instructional videos on the material for the student to practice with. Very friendly as well!
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Alan P. April 25, 2017
· Classical Guitar · In home
Very good instructor. Excellent communication skills and very talented. My first lesson he did a very good job of refreshing my memory as someone who has been out of the music world for 13 years. Look forward to more sessions with JW.
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Charles R. April 2, 2017
· Guitar · Online
Excellent instruction. Great fundamentals. Happy that the instruction platform works so well.
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Jaxon W.

Jaxon W.

Online
(18)
starting at
$40 / 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
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Reviews
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Robert O. August 10, 2017
· Japanese · Online
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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.
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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.
...
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.

Online
(8)
starting at
$60 / 30-min
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About Lars R.

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Petaluma, CA
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What is a song to you? My historical knowledge of the musical medium known as song is well developed, and it would be a pleasure to share it with you. Let's explore different forms, linguistic effects, accompaniments . . . the song is a small form, but very potent!

About Lars
I began to teach guitar at 16 years of age. I have taught students from 7 to 60 years old in a wide variety of styles. From age 12 to 21 I took private guitar lessons regularly. Now I have a lesson every once in a while. I studied jazz guitar primarily with Randy Vincent, one of the San Francisco Bay Area's greatest guitar players. Aside from teaching lessons as a job, I have played guitar in many concerts and continue to do so. Before moving to San Francisco, I gained a lot of experience and valuable education with guitar. I played in the jazz bands in Junior High and High School. I went to four years of a week long summer jazz camp called jazz camp west where I took classes, played open mics and had fun with many musicians, making some good friends. I hold BA degrees in Music (Jazz Guitar) and Spanish, as well as an MA in Musi
c, from San Francisco State University. By now, I am confident in working with whatever musical material students offer! Thank you.

*** Lesson Details ***
I am a laid back teacher, but I definitely expect students to practice what I suggest they practice. I advise that students use method books or sheet music of some sort, and I will certainly make notes for them and create materials they can learn from. I always teach based on the goals of the student and what type of music they enjoy, but I also like to guide the student in a direction I think would benefit them. I usually introduce music to play right away, conforming of course to the skill level and interest of the student. I now play seven-string guitar, which is just a six-string guitar (same tuning and technique) with an extra low string. It will be practical to aide students by accompanying with a bass range instrument.

*** Specialties ***
Guitar
I consider myself a Jazz musician, but I am happy to consider a very wide range of styles. I am focusing now on music of the Spanish Golden Age, 1500-1700.
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Reviews
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Jackson July 29, 2017
· Guitar · In home
Lars came to the session on time, and was very patient with my son. He took the time to listen and gave helpful tips on becoming a better player. I would recommend him!
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Ava April 18, 2017
· Acoustic Guitar · In home
Wonderful guy who gives a well rounded lesson!
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Peter M. March 30, 2017
· Guitar · In studio
Excellent class and a good teacher.
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Lars R.

Lars R.

Online
(4)
starting at
$20 / 30-min

About Cody W.

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Diamond Bar, CA

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I am a songwriter and composer by partial trade and I could help students write songs and original compositions that will blow their audience away. I have experience writing for videos and video games. I have also published a short book on songwriting in 30 minutes or less out on Amazon. One could expect a complete break down of melody and chords and how the words fit, or if an instrumental, how to choose what instruments to write for, what their ranges are, etc.

About Cody
With my two Bachelor's degrees in Music Composition and Technology, I began tutoring students in piano, voice, and composition as it was part of my training. I also have experience writing and editing essays, books, and more for several independent clients. I have experience writing my own books as well. I have written two so far, but am getting ready to write a third. I am a copious editor and can catch grammatical and other errors with ease. This is why tutoring in English would be great for me.
I thought I would add basic math for those school-aged children that are having a little trouble with it in their classes.
Usually, I teach lessons in my home in Diamond Bar or online, but if the need arises, I could surely work out coming to the students' homes for one-on-one tutoring help. With me, most students click after a few lessons and
understand what they couldn't in the classroom. I help the students by teaching in innovative ways that will catch their attention more than standard teaching methods. Students should consider me for I can make learning fun and never a chore!

*** Lesson Details ***
I use a wide variety of techniques to sing, play piano and other instruments. Techniques include straight vowel singing (no words) to test how long to hold notes, using color to help people sight read, using improvisational techniques in order to play jazz, rock, classical and many other styles of music.
I use what they student has under his or her belt as a starting point to see what lessons we could start them on.
I also assist with online lessons to make transportation a thing of the past. If you've got a webcam or Skype, I can do long-distance lessons with you! So, I am here to help!

*** Studio Equipment ***
Alesis Recital Keyboard
Music sheets
Web cam
Mac computer (MacBook Pro)
Finale music notation software to help in composition and theory lessons.

*** Travel Equipment ***
Music paper for away lessons.
Finale for composition and music theory lessons.
Can use macbook for more elaborate teaching or demonstration if need be.

*** Specialties ***
I do teach classical composition with specialties in ensemble and chamber music. I also specialize in songwriting for pop and other media.
I teach voice and vocal techniques of sacred choral and vocal music.
I teach classical and jazz piano and improvisation. I also have the distinction in being able to teach students with special needs or learning disabilities as I have a mild form of cerebral palsy and understand what students with special needs go through.
...
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Cody W.

Cody W.

Online
starting at
$25 / 30-min

About Marwan S.

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Mountain View, CA

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I like to call it music theory in reverse. Having a strong foundation in the fundamentals of music and music theory makes the songwriting process much easier.

About Marwan
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, I started playing piano at the age of 3, and started writing music at the age of 6.
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Reviews
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Cherie June 30, 2017
· Piano · In home
We had a great first lesson. Very relaxed and unassuming. Looking forward to upcoming lessons.
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Ava March 6, 2017
· Piano · In home
Terrific with our small kids. Extremely patient and easy to laugh
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Caleb A. October 20, 2016
· Piano · In home
My boys took to him right away! He has a fantastic balance of high expectations/standards mixed with positive reinforcement. He also differentiated expertly with the 2 boys' ages/capacities. We look forward to continuing our lessons with him!
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Marwan S.

Marwan S.

Mountain View, CA 94043
(8)
starting at
$50 / 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!
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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 Arturo B.

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Chicago, IL
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I'll show you some great techniques to start writting your own songs and make it qork in the real world. From country, pop, rock, hard rock to metal music, from old schold to super modern techniques to make it sound as it is in your head. How to approach vocal melodies, hiw to harmonize and create everything around to make the song work.

About Arturo
I've been a guitar player for the past 20 years, also a sound engineer and music producer for the past 10-11 years. Most of the experience I have adquired in my career it's been in the studio, playing with professional bands and recording albums, but I've been teaching guitar and music production through the years because I love to inspire people. We'll have a lot of fun, you'll learn what you want to learn! I'm going to teach you how to play lead and rhythm guitar, also about guitar pedals, amps, how to sound profesional and also we'll record your improvement each week.
For those who are interested I'll teach you about songwriting and performance if you're interested too. Check me on youtube performing with Blacklist Regulars.
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Arturo B.

Arturo B.

Online
starting at
$30 / 60-min

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