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New Almaden, CA Songwriting Lessons

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Popular Songwriting Teachers near New Almaden, CA

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About Matt B.

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Los Angeles, CA
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Want to write songs with interesting melodies and chord changes?

About Matt
I have been teaching guitar to students on the East and West Coasts of the United States for over 20 years. I was always interested in music and made my first “recording” at the age of 2 and a half. I got serious about playing the guitar when I was 10 years old after hearing the legendary Randy Rhoads for the first time.
I begged my parents for a guitar, which I received at Christmas, along with a parental demand that I take classical guitar lessons, and a warning that if I did not practice, my parents would sell the guitar. Six months later, I still had the guitar, and a brand new electric guitar. I never stopped practicing, and spent summers at the National Guitar Summer Workshop, where I even built a guitar at age 15.
By the time I was in high school, I was regularly playing in bands, recording in professional studios, and studying M
usic Theory. I credit my early development to my teachers, Ron Bluen, and Steve Famiglietti. I aspire to offer my students the same positive influence I received during my formative years.
After high school, I attended the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California, where I honed my chops. From there, I played with various bands, including Hollywood Rose (the precursor to Guns N’ Roses) and with Bruce Bouillet (Racer X, The Scream, Epidemic) and Tommy Chong.
In 2006, I released my solo record, Contributions For An Atom Bomb. The Album has garnered a cult following and the respect of some of my all-time heroes.
Today, I continue to play live shows, teach, study, write, record and jam. Nothing makes me prouder than jamming with my students and watching them grow as musicians.

*** Lesson Details ***
I like to focus on three things every lesson.
1. Technical Exercises- to get your fingers moving and build strength and coordination
2. Music Theory - the fingerboard and the way music works seem complicated, but I have a great methodical and simple way to break it down so it all makes sense.
3. Tunes - I like to work with the music you like. We take songs and break them down to understand the techniques and theory behind them. You won't just play the song like the recording, you'll understand the chords and scales and why your favorite artist chose them.

*** Studio Equipment ***
I have guitars, a bass, pedals, cables, metronome, practice amps, etc. All you need to bring is your guitar.

*** Travel Equipment ***
I provide my own equipment and materials, students must provide their own guitar, amp, etc.

*** Specialties ***
I teach students to understand theory and the fingerboard. All styles and genres are acceptable but I specialize in rock.
...
Reviews
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Marilyn F. March 6, 2014
· ·
Great teacher!

Matt has been friendly and encouraging, has considerable knowledge of his instrument, and has even inspired us to practice every day! He's a great teacher for younger children, has a passion for music, and is a source of inspiration.
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Peter S. March 26, 2013
· Guitar ·
An excellent teacher

I started taking lessons with Matt when I was 16 and when we started up again this year (I'm now 31) we were able to pick right back up where we left off. That should tell you all you need to know about how much he cares about his students.

He's an especially excellent teacher because he's so passionate about music and his instrument. You'll never run out of new things to learn because he's always learning new things himself.

Nobody will teach you to love the guitar like this dude!
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Tyler M. March 13, 2013
· Guitar ·
Incredible Guitar Teacher

The most inspiring, challenging, caring and charismatic guitar teacher you will ever have. He will take your playing to the next level and beyond. Matt's playing ceases to amaze and he is constantly producing pearls of guitar wisdom, along with some killer licks.
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Matt B.

Matt B.

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starting at
$29.99 / 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 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.
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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 Frixos P.

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Miami, FL

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We will learn the basics of composition by listening to music extensively and by studying the principles of music theory. We will explore popular styles, chord progressions, and techniques most commonly used in songwriting.

About Frixos
Frixos states that his love for music probably started before he was born. “I’m pretty sure the Motown sounds my mother loved to listen and move to permeated to me through her.” Add to that his exposure to different ethnic sounds like Greek (his origins) folklore and contemporary music, Portuguese Fado (his birthplace and early childhood), Italian Bel Canto and modern pop, American Jazz, Afro, etc. and it’s easy to see how music helped shape Frixos’ passion. Each had an influence on him, “as they were incessantly played by my parents,” Frixos adds. “In fact it would be safe to say that music was the predominant form of entertainment at home."

By the age of seven, Frixos started to frequent a music school where he was introduced to percussion instruments. Soon after, he took on classical guitar based on the UK Royal Academy of Music cu
rriculum. A couple of years later in 1998, Frixos found his true calling … music composition, Jazz and the Saxophone. Frixos’ purple tenor sax goes everywhere he goes!

“Part of my love for the Saxophone is rooted in this instrument’s versatility for improvisation.” Moving into music composition seemed a natural course for Frixos to follow, culminating in his graduation in 2013 with a University of Florida Music Composition BA from The New World School of the Arts in Miami.

“I was fortunate to be selected to play in various collegiate and other Jazz bands and be mentored by great jazz performers and educators.” Among them was Ed Calle, twice nominated for the Latin Grammy Award; Joe Donato, one of the most active and innovative musicians working in the field of jazz who has performed with many of the greats including Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Carmen McRae, Nina Simone, Jack Jones, and Arturo Sandoval; Rafael Valencia where “I was honored to play for his Latin Jazz Big Band” says Frixos; the wonderful pianist Jim Gasior who has played with Ed Calle, Wendy Pedersen, Fernando Ulibarri and Aaron Lebos; the published and well decorated guitarist Dr. Mike Di Liddo, to name a few.

Of course there were lesser known people that had a profound influence on Frixos for which he makes it a point to say that he is “eternally grateful”. He adds, “My passion for composing was further affirmed thanks to Dr. Susan Epstein Garcia who showed me that there’s no limit to musical expression.” Dr. Ferdinando De Sena brought Frixos another dimension through his teachings of electronic music.

Frixos seeks to create variety in his compositions, by using worldly rhythms and sounds expressed through a multitude of instrumental expressions to create his own unique contemporary sound. “I look for connections between different music genres, from classical, rock, pop, funk, reggae, fusion, jazz etc. These connections are what I bring to my music” continues Frixos.

In October 2007 Frixos released his first CD titled “Cause Frixion” which was dedicated to fund-raising for The Epilepsy Foundation of Florida. This album included a tune he wrote earlier that year called “Freedom”. Other works have been published more recently on the internet, namely cdbaby, iTunes etc. and are played on internet radio stations.

Frixos continues to perform gigs with different musicians and bands in venues around the Miami and Ft. Lauderdale area, including recording sessions for Fourth Dimension and others. He plays multiple instruments including alto, soprano and tenor sax, flute and keyboards. His performances comprise events at the renowned Van Dyke Café on Lincoln Road; Avenue D; Crescendo Jazz and Blues Lounge; Churchill’s Pub, a bastion for local musicians; Tobacco Road, the oldest music bar in Miami; Blue Jean Blues in Ft. Lauderdale where Al Kanovsky for The South Florida Jazz Scene wrote on October 15 2012, “They continued, raucously on, with everybody, musicians and audience having fun. A young man walked in, sax case in hand. Joe (Donato) invited him up to jam. What can I say. His name is Frixos, (yes it's right) and this kid can blow.”
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Reviews
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Evan T. May 22, 2017
· Piano · Online
My first lesson today was explained clearly and detailed.
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vanessa March 9, 2017
· Saxophone · Online
My lessons are going very well! Great instructor!
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Vanessa February 8, 2017
· Saxophone · Online
Frixos is a great teacher. He makes sure you understand music theory before getting into to anything else which will make you a better player in the long run. Very patient and flexible.
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Frixos P.

Frixos P.

Online
(13)
starting at
$20 / 45-min

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
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About Mark F.

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El Paso, TX
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Do you have an idea, but aren't sure how to make it a hit song?

So do I! However, will be able to help shape your idea, and assist you with the structure of your song! Whatever you write, I can help you make it better!

About Mark
I am a lifelong lover of music and education. I will use my 41years of performance experience to show students how to play guitar, bass, or sing, but more importantly, how to enjoy those things!

I believe music is, first and foremost a source of joy, and my lessons are designed to bring that about. Whether you desire to be a full-time rock star, or just a hobbyist, playing in your church praise band, I can show you how to do it, and have a great time doing it!

*** Lesson Details ***
My lessons are individualized, based on the needs of the student. I teach all ages, all styles. For guitar, I prefer beginning, or intermediate students, although I think I can help the advanced player as well.

Bass- I teach all ages and skill levels.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Pro Tools, Reason, cakewalk pro, Garage Band, and many other software p
rograms, Samsung laptop and two Dell PCs,

*** Specialties ***
Jazz improvisation, funk, pop/rock, recording techniques, rhythm section,
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Reviews
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Emily F. May 29, 2016
· Guitar · In studio
Unfortunately, yesterday was my last lesson with Mark, as I am moving to Guam. I would definitely not be giving up my weekly lesson with him if that weren't the case! I've learned so much in the short couple months taking lessons from him. I would recommend him to anyone of any skill level. Very helpful and kind. :)
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Mark F.

Mark F.

Online
(1)
starting at
$20 / 30-min

About Keira K.

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Beverly Hills, CA
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A great song tells a story, communicates a feeling and evokes a feeling in your listener. Learn how to use the perfect combination of craft and technique without sacrificing creativity and inspiration.

Classes are geared towards musicians and songwriters with goals on working in the industry, obtaining a publishing deal and writing for established artists. Experience with an instrument and basic understanding of music theory is required.

About Keira
Miss Keira is an artist development coach, residing in Los Angeles, California. She specializes in voice, piano and songwriting and focuses on helping students bridge the gap between technique and creativity, discipline and inspiration.

She began her classical piano studies at the age of four and gained over twenty years of experience in the performing arts before finishing her vocal training at Musicians Institute, the leading contemporary music school in Hollywood.

She went on to perform at some of the most prestigious and upscale venues in Los Angeles, such as The Microsoft Theater, The Beverly Hills Hotel and The Montage, Beverly Hills. Traveling across Southern California and Nevada, she performed in Las Vegas casinos and resorts with various cover bands as the lead singer and keyboardist.

She discovered her passion for
teaching when she realized how impactful music education could be. She found it easy to explain something she was so passionate about and found her own ways of teaching by relating through her lifelong experiences of private instruction. Miss Keira aims for her students to be able to express themselves freely, so she focuses on blending classical technique with improvisational skills, while building confidence.

Miss Keira works with select artist development students, who have a serious passion and drive to work in the industry. She aims to connect these students with resources such as GRAMMY U, MusiCares, Steinway and Sons, etc.

Miss Keira has worked at some of the largest entertainment companies in the world, such as Universal Music Group, Interscope Records, The Recording Academy, The GRAMMY Foundation and Roland, which help her provide a unique perspective to her clientele of young, aspiring artists and musicians.
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Elizabeth B. April 26, 2016
· Singing · In studio
Keira is really great! She knows how to make people comfortable and give encouragement, while focusing on the individual needs of her students. Highly recommended!
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Elizabeth B. April 26, 2016
· Singing · In studio
Kiera is really great! She knows how to make people comfortable and give encouragement, while focusing on the individual needs of her students. Highly recommended!
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Walter R. September 22, 2014
· Language ·
Keira is terrific! Both my daughter and I think she's the best, and are looking forward to enjoying years of playing the piano!
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Keira K.

Keira K.

Online
(4)
starting at
$75 / 60-min

About Christopher S.

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West Columbia, SC
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I have produced and recorded over 100 of my own original compositions and I am very fluent and experienced in the art of song writing.

About Christopher
Hello! Hola! Benvenuto! My name is Christopher S. and I am a classical guitarist, composer, polyglot, and experienced language and music teacher.

I am a recent graduate with a Masters of Music degree from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA. There I studied with the world-renowned guitarist Eliot Fisk who is a direct student of the legendary guitarist Andres Segovia.

Currently I work part time teaching 12 students guitar at the University of South Carolina, in Columbia. I also I teach ukulele, Spanish, Italian, and English to a variety of students online. At the same time I am pursuing a Doctoral degree from the university to strengthen my skills as a guitarist and expand my knowledge as a teacher for higher education. I have also just completed my debut album titled, "Anima - The Music of Spain and Italy for the Gu
itar."

This album is a tribute and memorial to an amazing journey I had traveling and living in Europe for 3 years.

After I graduated from my undergraduate degree, I realized that in order to better my skills as a musician and become the guitar teacher I wanted to be I had to travel abroad. I moved to Seville, Spain where for three years I studied the art of classical and flamenco guitar.

I studied with a international known Spanish guitarist named Francisco Bernier at the Conservatory in Seville. During this time I was also teaching English as a second language to high school and middle school students. From traveling and spending so much time in Europe, I also developed and studied my love of languages and I became fluent in Spanish and Italian.

The experienced was an experience of a lifetime and I made many friends working and living abroad that to this day, I still keep in contact with.

If you are interested in having lessons with me, please contact me and we can begin learning the art of making beautiful music or learning the beautiful languages of the Mediterranean! "Hasta pronto!" "A presto!" and "Speak to you soon!"
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Reviews
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Ernie M. August 1, 2016
· Ukulele · In studio
Christopher helped me pick up the ukulele and get me from a beginner to an intermediate level and was learning how to pluck by the end of my 5 lessons!
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Rachel June 2, 2016
· Ukulele · In studio
Christopher was very friendly, organized and patient. He made playing the ukulele really easy to understand! Would highly recommend.
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Joyce M. May 25, 2016
· Italian · Online
Good explanations.friendly, good humor. Helpful with pronunciation
And mysterious Sentence structures
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Christopher S.

Christopher S.

Online
(14)
starting at
$20 / 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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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 Lauren P.

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Pacific Grove, CA
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Songwriting students will learn about the bones of what makes a great song. We study poetry as well as music composition theory to find the sweet spot where a song becomes a story. Elements like meter, rhyme scheme, song layout, story perspective, key selection, chordal theory, observational writing, and daily writing practice will hone your ability to craft significant and beautiful songs.

About Lauren
I am a professional electric violinist and rock vocalist. I have been playing in touring bands for 8 years and have released over 5 albums. I play multiple crazy violins from traditional 4-string all the way up to a fretted 7-string! I am one of the few violinists in the world who sings and plays at the same time! I also am known for my highly complex live looping techniques which allow me to be a one woman band.

I teach contemporary violin, voice, and production. I can help with everything from songwriting all the way up to guiding you through producing and recording your music. I have a bachelors degree from Stanford University and a Masters Degree in Communication from the University of Washington.
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Lauren P.

Lauren P.

Online
starting at
$25 / 30-min

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