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Redwood Estates, CA Songwriting Lessons

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About Paul W.

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Chicago, IL

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I tailor all my lessons to the individual students interests and wants.
Whatever your goals are, I'll help you get there.

About Paul
I have played the guitar for twenty years and have studied a wide variety of music including jazz, classical, folk, blues and rock. I’m skilled in acoustic, electric and classical styles of the guitar. I have an open mind about music and can appreciate any style or type. I have a firm background on music theory, so I am able to explain what I am teaching. I excelled in all my classes in college, music and Gen Eds, with a GPA over 3.75. I also have experience in teaching guitar or bass to students ranging from the ages of six to sixty six. I enjoy taking what I have learned and passing it on to someone else to experience. I believe this is one way you can leave your mark in music. I believe the experience I have playing in bands, and learning songs with my ability of having relative pitch will make my students improve quicker. I am a
lso a very skilled sight reader and can recognize key signatures and musical notation. I’ve also been playing electric bass guitar for 13 years now and have the same skill set as my guitar playing. In fact I am hired to perform more often as a bassist than a guitarist.
I went to Columbia College between 2000-2003 and I completed a Bachelor Arts in Music, Concentration: Instrument Performance.
I also went to Harper College between 1997-2000 and I completed an Associates in Fine Arts of Music.

*** Lesson Details ***
I tailor all my lessons to the individual students interests and wants.
Whatever your goals are, I'll help you get there.
If you just want to learn music theory or how to write a song, I can teach you all that and more.
I will teach you how to read music but if you don't wan't to do that, I will teach you how to read tablature.
I'll push you to learn your instrument and to practice but I won't force to practice anything that you are not interested in.
After about 3-6 months of lessons with me you will be able to play songs that you wanted to learn and you will also know all the essential fun basics of your instrument.
Learning the guitar or bass is fun! And as your teacher I will make you want to practice.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Lessons will be downstairs which has music stands, guitars, cords and books.

*** Travel Equipment ***
My guitar and music stand. They should have a guitar and an amp if needed.

*** Specialties ***
Anything from classic rock to blues, jazz, classical, modern rock, punk rock, music theory, improvising and songwriting.
...
Reviews
Silhouette-80
Chris M. October 20, 2017
· Guitar · In studio
Paul is a fun teacher! If you want to be a better guitar player, he's your guy. Easy to get in contact with and set up lessons too.
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Miguel October 4, 2017
· Acoustic Guitar · In studio
Paul is an excellent teacher. He is able to teach all the basics and make it fun at the same time.
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John July 14, 2017
· Bass Guitar · In studio
I've had 4 lessons with Paul and they've been very good. I've had 4 other teachers over the years but Paul had tailored the lessons to my goals as a student rather than feeding me random information. He's very knowledgeable and his ear training is excellent. He's easy to work with and helpful. Highly recommended.
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Paul W.

Paul W.

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(50)
starting at
$25 / 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
Silhouette-80
Kim L. April 26, 2014
· Guitar ·
Outstanding Performer

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

I've been taking lessons from Hristo for a couple of months now. He is friendly, affable, and extremely patient. I enjoy our lessons, and have learned quite a bit in the short time we have been working together.
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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.

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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Brian August 29, 2017
· Trumpet · In studio
This was my son's first lesson, and he is looking forward to playing his trumpet and coming back for more lessons. I was hoping to spark his interest in music and so far so good.
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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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Jesse M.

Jesse M.

Sunnyvale, CA 94086
(87)
starting at
$40 / 30-min

About Trevor H.

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El Cajon, CA
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Learn different tips and tricks for songwriting.

About Trevor
Every musician was first and foremost a fan of music. My love of
music began when my mother took me to a performance of Beethoven's
fifth symphony when, coincidentally, I was five. From that point, I
started fervently listening to my mother's records (those are the
huge, black monstrosities that people in the pre-historic used in
place of iPods), followed closely by my father's CD collection.
After a while, this ravenous desire of to know and feel music moved
me to play an instrument. After a couple of false starts with the
drums and violin, I found my true musical calling: the guitar.

On January 25th 1995, on a whim, I began playing the
guitar, and I have yet to put it down. Along the way I've picked up
a number of friends for my guitar, including the bass, the lute, the
sitar and, once again, the drums. After on
ly a few years of
practice, I started playing professionally, in bands and solo guitar.
Live playing experience, I believe, is the most important experience
that any musician can have, in that, the most important part of music
is how it sounds, and playing in front of people is the quickest way
to learn how to play effectively. And this is what I teach; how to
be a musician, not just a technician.

*** Lesson Details ***
A student can expect a curriculum tailor-made to their needs and personality. Every person learns differently and this is an important distinction in my teaching style. Some students need a strong hand to keep them working, others need to find many different ways to the same conclusion to keep them focused, while still others need a laid-back friend in order to accept knowledge.

I stress rhythmic literacy, for, as my jazz teacher always said, "rhythm is king." If composition is important to you, then we'll focus on music theory, but if you're just wanting to learn how to play some fun rock tunes with your friends on the weekends, we can do that as well. As I stated before, we'll get you playing in front of people in no time.

*** Travel Equipment ***
I provide an amplifier, a loner guitar (if needed), staff and/or tablature paper, metronome, pens and paper for the lessons.

*** Specialties ***
Music theory and composition, guitar, bass, lute, beginner to intermediate piano
Classical, shred, blues, and rock guitar; renaissance lute; blues, rock and slap bass; composition of many styles; world music.
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Reviews
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Mike M. March 9, 2017
· Guitar · In home
Trevor is great, he has patience for us beginners, explains things well and answers all my questions. The rest is up to me.
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Dan F. March 25, 2016
· Guitar · In home
had a great first lesson
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Cooper W. November 15, 2015
· Drum · In home
Looking forward to the next one!
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Trevor H.

Trevor H.

Online
(9)
starting at
$25 / 30-min

About Matthew I

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Santa Cruz, CA
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Advanced techniques of songwriting will be learned through studying pop/modern song structure. Learn the fundamentals of music theory to help you learn how to write a song from scratch, create melodies and add solos to original or cover songs.

About Matthew J
I have been playing guitar for 14 years and teaching guitar and bass for 7 years. I have worked as a private and group guitar instructor at several music education establishments in the Chicago, Los Angeles and in Eugene, Oregon as well. I have also worked as a band coach for youth groups, where I taught them cover songs, helped them write their own songs and prepared them for live performances.
I studied at Columbia College Chicago majoring in Classical Guitar.
I started taking private guitar lessons as a teenager for several years and played in my high school jazz band along with original rock bands. While in high school, I was able to study with popular Chicago rock virtuoso guitarist Kevin M. Buck, where I first learned music theory and was inspired to be more studious with the guitar.

I have performed in rock/modern ban
ds for 12 years as an electric guitarist and also for 4 years as a solo acoustic guitarist mixing Bossa Nova, Classical Guitar and original compositions into my performance repertoire.

*** Lesson Details ***
I'm a patient teacher that's passionate about guitar and helping students reach their musical goals whether they are casual players or serious musicians. For beginners, I use Hal Leonard instructional guitar books along with paper handouts and sheet music. I believe it's important for everyone to learn the fundamentals of music to create a strong base of skills in order to continue playing and learning music throughout one's life. For more experienced players, I like to teach various modern rock/pop songs, classical guitar songs, picking patterns, finger picking patters, improvisation, scales and music theory. I teach nylon string acoustic, steel string acoustic guitar and electric guitar and bass
I believe the most basic goal for a guitar student is to be able to play a song in it's entirety, whether it's by themselves or with other musicians/music students. I believe that some of the most important music skills are learned while actually playing with other musicians. It is crucial when learning an instrument to be able to play in 'real time'; playing music with a steady sense of rhythm.

*** Specialties ***
I teach Classical Guitar, Brazilian Jazz, bass guitar, rock, pop, blues, funk and folk guitar using method books, sheet music and guitar tablature.
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Reviews
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Fiona M. March 2, 2017
· Guitar · In home
Absolute joy to be taught by Matt, knowledgeable, encouraging and enthusiastic. (Timely as well if that's important to you!), i learnt an awful lot from Matt and felt fortunate to have chosen him as my teacher.
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Carlos P. March 6, 2014
· ·
2013 feedback

Matthew has been a wonderful instructor. I feel that i have learned a lot and also enjoyed the process. He has also been very accomodating about special teaching requests that have helped me develop my skills in genres I enjoy.
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Matthew I

Matthew I

Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(2)
starting at
$35 / 30-min
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About Melody H.

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West Palm Beach, FL

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Helping to arrange that song you are trying to write? I am the one. Having over 22 songs professionally published and played on TV commercials and TV shows and film. I can help you learn the pattern and little secret of what it takes to get their attention. Our music is also playing live on Pandora Radio. Remerge Band
www.remergeband.com
You want a publishing deal I can help co-write and submit for you.
Disclosure: co-writing requires an agreement between both parties (myself) and (you)
Prices are as note. Songwriting is a process and not for the light at heart you must be committed!!!!

About Melody
First I want to thank you for looking at my profile.
You can read about me below.
If you have any questions please email me through Take Lessons.

About me:

Even though it says my travel is 10 miles max I do make exceptions.

I started music at age 5. My parents were both professional musicians.My father was a professional jazz piano player and my mother a classical guitarist. So it is in the blood. I play a few instruments but my favorite guitar and piano. I went to Nassau Community College for Drama/Music.
I toured in theater groups and also was in a few bands while living in NY. I could not make up my mind so I did both. I love both So. Florida here I come in 1991. Since I was new to the area I starting performing regular basis and became well known in the music community.I also went on a song writing spree. I was also able to do
dinner theater in between the music. I met some people, music teachers from going to the open mics. They encouraged me to go out and start teaching and do what I was supposed to do. How it happened ? I placed one small ad, got a call and from there it grew into over 80 students.I just was referred to everyone it was a chain reaction.
In between teaching I was also in a duo and made time for the touring, local gigs, etc....released 3 CD's.
I was very busy that I decided to open up my own music school to handle the over flow of students. I had my business for 9 years.
I produced a lot of talent from there.songwriters with published songs, singers with contracts, bands the guitarist in the now defunct band Hey Monday with Cassidy Pope. Students that were in American Idol- featuring Emily Booke 2 years in a row top twenty then top ten..
America's Got Talent featuring Amy Profaci, Cassidy Pope.
Played for the Boss in RPB with Odd Man Out, Teen Punk Band since disbanded. Had them out and playing gigs at age 14 the youngest oldest 16 at CBGB's. In NYC. They were on the Regis and Kelly show. Students that started with me at age 5 and stayed for years. A lot are off to college or done with school grown up sort of. When they bump into me and say hey Ms. Mel I'll never forget you teaching me music lessons or do you remember that or I loved that band class you did. You changed my whole life.
I really appreciate it and I did make a difference in their lives.
I also write for TV and Film and have over 30 professionally published songs. Songs playing on commercials, TV and overseas in England. They seem to love it over there a lot of fan mail.

Ok this is as follows.
*** Lesson Details ***
Cancellations : 24 hour notice. Make up lessons are at my discretion.
61 key keyboard are ok for piano lessons.
You must have a piano for vocal lessons if I come to your home. You must have a guitar 🎸 for guitar lessons. I do not supply any instruments or lesson books. You are required to contact me once booked and find out what you will need.

How long will it take to learn depends on YOU!!!!

Practice is the answer not a question. You must be prepared to work to do the work. If you do not understand it we will do it until you get it.
My Adult students this goes for you too.
It is important that you practice. So I recommend cutting down on video games and TV.
I suggest no TV or Video games especially before the lessons are about to start. Very distracting for the kids.
I expect you to be practiced and ready to go when I get there. If you want to be a rock star that's what it takes, discipline.
Its great when a parent can sit in while I'm teaching your child. Remember I am teaching you as well.
You will be helping your child practice during the week until the next lesson.
For the guitar there will be complaints of hurting finger tips.
I cannot do anything about that it comes with guitar playing.
For the like piano, the fingers will not hurt.

After 3 to 6 months for the older student I expect all 6 strings to be complete and chords and strumming on guitar and learning songs of your choice.
Piano - Sight Reading and being able to play with 2 hands in the key of "C" with ease.
This will only happen with practice, And learning songs of your choice if you choose to.

Small ones as much time as they need depends upon how long it takes for them to learn it and how much time mom can help practice.

*** Studio Equipment **
Right up Piano,
Small 15 Watt Amp

**Supplies:
I do not supply instruments for any student. Parents you are
expected to purchase a 61 key keyboard of your choice and finances.Same goes for guitar. We will figure out the size you or your child needs. You must purchase your own books. I use Bastiens Primer A red book, Bastiens A Pink Book, along with these books they also have a theory book , performance book and technic book. Bk 1,2,3 also have a series of book 📚 to work with.

Guitar 🎸 I like to use Fast Track Bk 1 w/o CD. Then again they are becoming obsolete

*** Specialties ***
Song writing/Vocals
Beginner Piano/Intermediate
Beginner classical/intermediate guitar
Folk style guitar
Blues beginner/intermediate
Theory beginner/intermediate/advanced note reading
Piano beginner /intermediate young beginner young adult to the older adult this goes for piano.

*Please note those who need special songs for auditions while taking voice lessons let's discuss options. Vocals lessons are just as serious you must practice.
...
Reviews
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Joseph D. October 19, 2016
· Classical Guitar · In home
Very Experienced. Helps me overcome a variety of problems I have playing my guitar. She lets you learn at your own pace and gives helpful advice to correct my playing problems. I strongly recommend her as an excellent classical guitar teacher.
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Samantha P. July 11, 2016
· Singing · In home
great first lesson.
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John L. March 28, 2016
· Guitar · In studio
Very good instructor. Stays with a project and know her stuff! Highly recommended
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Melody H.

Melody H.

Online
(13)
starting at
$65 / 60-min

About Tony M.

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Seminole, FL

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Tony M. has worked with contestants and music industry professionals and producers from American Idol, America's Most Talented Kids, and America's Got Talent, as well as industry insiders, A&R reps, TV networks, and many venues across the U.S. Let him help you achieve your personal and/or professional goals.

Our music instruction program is spearheaded by music industry veteran, Tony M., who has a reputation for the ability to work with a wide range of students of all levels, and getting amazing results. Students frustrated with traditional teaching methods and slow results who come to Solfege are amazed at the progress and results they are able to obtain under Mr. M's direction. Enhanced breathing technique, expanded octave ranges and overall increased vocal ability are just some of what you can expect from the instruction you will receive. Mr. M. is able to get results where other instructors have failed. Client testimonials are available.

Mr. M. has worked with ...

About Tony
If you want to be the best, learn from the best. Talent, skill, confidence- priceless. Our expert instructor Tony M. has worked with contestants and music industry professionals and producers from American Idol, America's Most Talented Kids, and America's Got Talent, as well as industry insiders, AR reps, TV networks, and many venues across the U.S.

*** Specialties ***
Voice coach, all genre. beginners, intermediates, advanced and professionals.
Advanced Vocal Coaching, for professionals,
Pop, Rock, R&B, JAZZ, Classical, Broadway.

*** Lesson Details ***
Guitar: Learning to properly handle the guitar, left and right hand techniques. learn to tune the instrument. read notes, and lean all major, minor, and seven chords by the end of book 1

Piano: learning all 12 scales by heart, proper fingers technique for both hands, readi
ng both left and right hand notation by end of book 1.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Tascam D8000 40 Ch. Digital mixer
Alesus quad Reverb,
Yamaha EX5
Korg Sound module
Digitech Vocalist II Harmony...
Pro Tools 10
Sonar XL XIII
D Drums,
7 Pianos
5 Guitars,
Bass,
2 Saxophones

*** Travel Equipment ***
Guitar, Keyboard, Saxophone, Mic, Laptop, Amplifier, Karaoke hard drive, and software.

*** Specialties ***
Advanced Vocal Coaching, for professionals,
Pop, R&B, JAZZ, Classical, Broadway.

Composition for pro artists, 256 mix tracks, 48 khz,
Top of the line recording gear.

Classical guitar, Music Theory and Composition for writers.
...
Reviews
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Stephanie P. September 8, 2017
· Piano · In home
Great start. Learned how to read the base notes. And immediate hands on practice. 😃
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linda June 8, 2017
· Singing · In home
My first meeting with Tony, & I feel confident that Tony will help me in getting my voice back. I was impressed with his knowledge & his absorption into his music. Looking forward to more lessons & being able to sing the way I used to.
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Scotty December 9, 2016
· Guitar · In studio
After my first meeting with Tony I really believe I'm going to be able to learn to play the guitar after all of these years.
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Tony M.

Tony M.

Online
(19)
starting at
$60 / 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 when I was 3, and began writing music when I was 6. I've taught music and piano for over 12 years.
...
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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 Earl C.

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Greenbelt, MD
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Will learn the basics of songwriting.

About Earl
International guitarist Earl C. is now offering in-person and online coaching sessions. With more than thirty years of experience, he has performed with many well-known artists including grammy-nominated celebrities and others such as Freddie Jackson, Regina Belle, EU, Angela Bofill, Alyson Williams, Mya, Syleena Johnson, Nick Colionne, Mike Phillips, Michael Lington, Bobby Lyle, Marcus Johnson, Bob Baldwin, Pamela Williams, and more.
...
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Ken October 22, 2015
· Bass Guitar · In studio
Earl Carter is extremely knowledgeable, and very patience. You will find that each session is enjoyable yet challenging. I would recommend Him to anyone from the beginner all the way to the more advanced student. If you have the desire to learn the art of music then you will enjoy His instruction. I couldn't ask for a better instructor.
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Jocelyn S. September 18, 2015
· Acoustic Guitar · In home
Although I lacked the commitment to follow through with my lessons, Earl's teaching ability is STELLAR!!! In the short time I was taking lessons with him, I learned a lot, relatively quickly.
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John September 17, 2015
· Guitar · In studio
Aside from being a Master Guitarist himself, he is a Master Teacher! His teaching style is very unique and the little tips and tricks he has taught me has helped me advance as a guitarist by leaps and bounds. I highly recommend him!
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Earl C.

Earl C.

Online
(6)
starting at
$40 / 30-min

About Grant H.

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New Orleans, LA

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There are many ways to cultivate your writing skills whether it's visual, kinesthetic, or auditory. Let's find out which way works best for you!

Most schools do not offer the flexibility in learning styles necessary for you to find your ideal way of processing new information, whether it be visual, auditorial, kinesthetic, memetic, right brain/left brain, etc.

That's why I'm here! I pride myself on working with each individual student on the subtle ways that they learn and form healthy habits. If you have any questions about my teaching styles or methods please ask!

A little more about me:

I have over 10 years of guitar experience, studying under Jazz heavyweights Corey Christiansen, Oteil Burbridge, and Dan Miller. I pride myself in putting my students needs and wants above all else. I wish to impart a love for music onto my students that can only be cultivated by the bond a teacher and their student share, let us learn and grow together!

About Grant
Hello!

My name is Grant and I’ve been helping students grow for almost 10 years now! How time flies! I started playing music at the age of 9 and have been in love with it ever since, staying active in my local music scene as an instructor, performer, manager, and booking agent. I have also earned a degree in Creative Writing from Louisiana State University for all of the students wishing improve their writing skills!

In addition to freelance work, (weddings, jazz brunch gigs, etc.) I am the lead guitarist for the Funk/R&B band Water Seed and the soul project RetroFit. I attended Indiana University for jazz guitar and have studied under jazz greats Dan Miller, Corey Christiansen, and Oteil Burbridge.

I pride myself in taking a students learning needs and using that as my basis for their specific lesson plan, always on a case-by-c
ase basis, tailored to each individual student. Everyone is at a different waypoint on their path so why would I use a predetermined formula to try and help them, am I right? I am excited to meet and grow with every single one of you, let's learn to love the life we have and let our studies become radiant!

I teach all kinds of disciplines from guitar, mandolin, banjo, and clarinet, to creative writing, meditation, and even astrology. If you have any questions about my teaching methods, skill level in a certain discipline, or anything thing you can think of I would be more than happy to answer you!

Musically yours,
Grant
...
Reviews
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Jim F. October 5, 2017
· Mandolin · Online
Awesome lesson!
Grant is giving me the help I need to become a better mandolin player.
He all so gives me feedback from the the lesson to let me know my downfalls,progress,etc.
Thank you!
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Kari September 17, 2017
· Mandolin · Online
Patient and fantastic
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Jim F. September 14, 2017
· Mandolin · Online
2nd online mandolin lesson.
Another great,educational,informative lesson!
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Grant H.

Grant H.

Online
(46)
starting at
$28 / 30-min

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Recent Songwriting Articles from the Blog

Whether you're just starting out or a seasoned pro, check out the Songwriting articles on our blog.

6 Destructive Beliefs That Hold Beginner Musicians Back

6 Destructive Beliefs That Hold Beginner Musicians Back

Do you ever wonder how good your skills would be now if you started practicing a year ago? A question like this should motivate, not dishearten you. In this article, guest writer Elizabeth Kane will take you through six destructive beliefs you might face as you're learning how to become a musician, and how you can overcome them...   Mind Over Matter Your mind is a powerful tool. Your thoughts dictate just about every conscious decision you make. Whether you're a beginner guitari … Read More

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