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James P.

Wheaton, IL

About James

Early Guitar Studies & Pit Orchestra Performances (1995-2002)

I began taking guitar lessons at the age of 11 with blues/jazz guitarist Tom Castonzo, a frequent performer, bandleader and teacher in and around the Chicago area. My studies with Tom lasted for many years and covered various musical and technical aspects of many different styles ranging from jazz to classical and everything in between. In 2002, I began performing in pit orchestras for various musicals including Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Miserable, The Wiz, Little Shop of Horrors, and Seussical the Musical.

Original
Music Projects (2003-Present)

From 2003-2008, I wrote and performed music for 2 different progressive rock bands: Dream Haven and The Unit Theory. Dream Haven released the EP entitled “Nostalgia is Five Frame” and The Unit Theory released a full-length album entitled “Seed.” Both bands performed all over the greater Chicago-land area and helped me hone my skills as an electric guitarist. Throughout this time, we shared the stage with national touring & recording acts Fear Factory, Mastodon, Enuff Z’nuff, and Algernon, to name a few. I now play lead guitar in the Chicago-based alternative rock band Davenport Ed and am having started an all-instrumental acoustic/rock trio with two percussionists.

Undergraduate Studies (College of Dupage and Northern Illinois University: 2002-2008)

After high school, I attended the College of Dupage (COD) and began studying jazz guitar with Dr. Zvonimir Tot. Towards the end of my studies at COD, I developed an interest in classical guitar and took lessons from Steve Ramsdell. After I received my Associate’s Degree in Music from COD I started teaching private guitar lessons at various suburban Chicagoland locations. I graduated from COD in 2004 with an Associate in Music degree. In the fall of 2005, I started my Bachelor’s studies in Classical Guitar Performance at Northern Illinois University (NIU) with Fareed Haque (Winner of “Best World Guitarist” in Guitar Magazine). While at NIU, I continued to teach & perform up until I graduated in May 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in Classical Guitar Performance.

Graduate Studies (New England Conservatory of Music: 2008-2010)

I started my graduate studies in August 2008 at the New England Conservatory of Music (NEC) in Boston, under the tutelage of world-renowned guitarist Eliot Fisk. As an active performer in the greater Boston area, I made it a goal to bring the classical guitar to unorthodox venues such as senior centers, local TV, hospitals, dialysis treatment centers, and even juvenile halls! While at NEC, I started to take an interest in transcription, which is the art of adapting a composition for a voice or instrument other than the original. Eliot Fisk is a master at this, and his guidance was profound. In June 2010, I graduated from NEC with a Master’s in Music (with Academic Honors) for Classical Guitar Performance. My master's recital was a tour-de-force of virtuosic classical, acoustic, and electric guitar pieces with music ranging from J.S. Bach to Joaquin Rodrigo to Steve Vai.

Flamenco Guitar & Ritmo Flamenco (2009-Present)

During my time at NEC, I was fortunate enough to meet Grisha Goryachev, a master flamenco guitarist. Grisha introduced me to the basic principals of flamenco guitar and proved to be a wonderful resource. I continue my flamenco guitar studies by learning historical flamenco recordings entirely by ear. Short of living in Spain for extended periods of time, I have found this to be the purest way of learning. I am now the flamenco guitarist for Ritmo Flamenco, an ensemble that features dancer Diane Campbell.

Professional Musician & Awards (2010 – Present)

I moved back to Chicago in July 2010 and have since had hundreds of performances that include weddings, corporate events, restaurants, recitals, and more. My reputation as a premiere performing guitarist has grown rapidly in the past 2 years, and I earned 2 awards at the end of 2012: “Top Solo Guitarist” on the world’s largest entertainment site which is Gig Master and “Best of Wedding” (the world’s largest wedding-planning site). I am a regular featured performing artist at premiere restaurants in the Chicago suburbs including The Cellar Bistro in Wheaton, Eddie Merlot’s in Warrenville, and Wildwood Steakhouse in Geneva.

*** Lesson Details ***
***Teaching students ages 10+***

My first goal as an instructor is to get an idea of what the student's goals are as a guitarist, and then we start working towards that goal. This means that while the basic concepts are covered (chords, some sight-reading in most cases, scales, etc), no student curriculum is exactly the same. After a few months of studying with me, no matter what style of music, we will have learned notes, chords, and songs that are of interest to the student. Then, we will discuss how all of those elements tie together and map out a practice routine. A goal I have for every student is to create a realistic, efficient, and enjoyable practice routine that produces results.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Music stands, guitars (acoustic, electric, classical), cable/amp, appropriate paper materials & books for learning music.

*** Travel Equipment ***
I do not travel to lessons.

*** Specialties ***
I specialize in classical, rock, pop, & music theory.
...

Reviews

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Mike McCullough April 5, 2016
Guitar · In home
Verified Student
Jim is a great instructor, and a great guy. I feel like I am making good progress after only 5 weeks.
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Lisa G. March 12, 2014
Guitar
Verified Student
Talented Teacher and Guitarist

Jim teaches my daughter guitar. He is her fourth guitar teacher and by far the best one of all. She has had lessons from him for the past two years. Besides talent, he has the schooling to back him up. She has learned a lot from Jim, and he truly listens to her input. It's amazing how good he is and how good my daughter has become. Jim is also very patient, positive and motivating.
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Julian V. January 20, 2014
Guitar
Verified Student
Jim is a top-notch professional

I contacted Jim through TakeLessons because I saw that he had the best reviews on the site and he is not far from where I live. I came to him as a beginner guitarist, with my only experience being teaching myself some basic stuff with the aid of YouTube.

Jim started out by first figuring out what my goals were in playing guitar so that he could take the most suitable approach in teaching me. At our first lesson, he had me play what I could and he gave me advice on all the fundamentals that are really important. He even noticed that I had an unorthodox way of making a G chord and gave me tips on the proper way to position my fretting hand so that, decades down the road, I do not run into trouble with pain and that sort of thing. Whheeeeeewwwww. Good save there.

Jim is very good at seeing the big picture in context with your goals as a student and delivering the lesson accordingly. He takes notes and emails them to you after the lesson, which is very nice to have. He makes videos during the lesson and then sends you a link to the video so that you can watch it a million times if you need. He does his best to accommodate your schedule if anything comes up and you have to reschedule, which I have done several times.

Jim is easy-going and has a good sense of humor, which makes the lesson more enjoyable.

In addition, Jim also performs very often in the local area and one time I was fortunate enough to see him perform in his band. His guitar solo gave me chills in my spine. This might seem off-topic, but it's not, because the reason I bring it up is because I was inspired to want to play more often and learn more because I see my guitar teacher rocking the stage and who doesn't want to do that, and also if you're going to pay for something, don't you want to make sure you're getting the best product out there? Jim is a true professional and boy can he play. Please excuse the run-on sentence.

I'm leaving this review because I'm moving and I just had my last lesson with Jim and the money I invested was money well spent.
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James P.

James P.

Wheaton, IL 60187
(9)
starting at
$30 / 30-min
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Veronica K.

River Grove, IL

About Veronica

I began my own piano studies at age 10 and voice studies at age 15. I have been teaching private piano and voice lessons for 10 years to students of many ages, backgrounds, and skill levels. I received my BA with a focus in music performance (piano and voice) from Columbia College Chicago.  I also received my MA in Community Counseling from Northeastern Illinois University.  With that combination of skills, I know how to teach music, pass on an appreciation for music, and develop a rapport with students and families alike. I can teach many styles of piano and voice, and I teach my students pro
per music theory and vocabulary in order to make their education well-rounded and transferable to multiple musical settings and instruments. My own music experience includes solo performance, ensemble/band performance, theater performance, and songwriting. I am currently in two bands, and I am developing a jazz and songwriting repertoire to perform as a solo vocalist/pianist.

*** Lesson Details ***
I am somewhere between strict and laid back. I definitely want my students to master the skills I teach them, but I don't have a time line for mastery as I believe everyone learns at their own pace and in their own way. I encourage regular practicing, but I also encourage practicing in moderation in order to avoid burn-out. I use a variety of curriculum depending on the student's musical ability, age, instrument (piano or voice), and musical goals. Generally, a young student will have learned the most fundamental aspects of their instrument and be ready to start performing after about one year of lessons (I offer a yearly recital every June). If the student is older, this process may be faster. I do not recommend that students under 10 years of age take voice lessons without also studying piano, as piano will give students a more thorough music awareness/education.

*** Studio Equipment ***
I have a microphone, sound system, baby grand piano, and electric piano in my home studio. I also have many, many music books.

*** Specialties ***
I can teach all styles of piano and all contemporary styles of voice, beginner to intermediate/advanced. I am trained in classical piano and jazz/blues piano, and with that background, I am able to teach many other styles, including accompaniment skills. I am trained in jazz/blues voice and musical theater voice, and I have been trained extensively in classical techniques, although I do not sing opera. My personal favorite, however, is the jazz/blues sound.

When I teach any beginners in piano, I always use method books. I also reference some books to help my voice students understand the mechanisms going on in their body. With more advanced students, I tend to pick challenging pieces out of the variety of books I have in my studio (too many to list), or I help them work on the pieces they bring to me.
...

Reviews

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scott meyer January 15, 2016
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
Wonderful teaching pro.
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Zerrin B. October 4, 2013
Piano
Outstanding Piano instruction!

My son has taken piano lessons from Ms. Kott for over 3 years now, and we cannot say enough about her. She is that rare combination of encouraging, enthusiastic, yet serious teacher that you hope to find for your child. Not only has our son learned the basics, he has also learned theory along the way. She is reliable, relatable, and a great gauge of their personalities. I would, and do recommend her to everyone. In fact, this year my younger son has started lessons too! If you'd like a teacher who will help your child learn in a supportive, encouraging, yet professional environment, Ms. Kott is the perfect teacher for you.
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Veronica K.

Veronica K.

River Grove, IL 60171
(2)
starting at
$33.50 / 30-min
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Steven B.

Elk Grove Village, IL

About Steven

I have been studying and performing music for 20+ years. After majoring in music at College of Dupage in Glen Ellyn IL, I went to step up my level of study at the Percussion Institute of Technology (P.I.T.) at Musician's Institute in Hollywood, CA in 2001 attaining a Performance Certificate from my time studying there.

Moving back to Chicago after L.A. in 2002 proved to be the right move as this is when I began my teaching career. With 13+ years of private and group music instruction experience, I have worked with Hix Brothers Music, Naperville Music, Roselle Music, Streamwood Park Distri
ct, Roselle Park District, Schaumburg Park District, After School Enrichment Solution's Guitar Stars, Band For Today, Guitar Fundamentals, Chicago Guitar Instruction, Schaumburg Music Academy, Music Makers of Western Springs, Clarendon Hills Music Academy, and also maintain a private clientele. Well into a thousand lessons taught, students have stayed with me for up to 7 years. You, the student, will gain all the experience I have gained from my 20 years of study, performance, and instruction.

Performing with various bands in the 2000's, I pinpointed my style and mastered my technique that gave me many performance opportunities regionally and nationally, noting most current act U2 tribute Vertigo USA.

I am co-founder of the music licensing production company Blue Shade Music, co-writing with astute musicians in the Chicago area for music libraries in Florida and California currently.

With national and international touring experience, I was featured in an exclusive interview for Online Drummer in August of 2011 sharing my knowledge and experience of music and drums.

Thank you for reading, and I hope to have a fun and educational time with you!

*** Lesson Details ***
Practicing everyday with an occasional day off is very important in the student's progress. I always say 10 minutes is better than 0 minutes.

For DRUM lessons, the student can expect to learn:
*to read music notation and music charts
*to read drum notation
*songs by real bands
*timekeeping via a metronome
*hand technique and foot technique
*rudiments
*all styles of music
*double bass
*drum grooves and drum fills
*marching band/concert band material (if involved in school)

For PIANO lessons, the student can expect to learn:
*to read music notation
*to read music charts/lead sheets
*music theory
*intervals
*chords and inversions
*chord progressions
*scales
*fingering
*styles of blues, jazz, pop, rock, and traditional
*songs you wish to learn

For GUITAR + BASS lessons, the student can expect to learn:
*to learn to read music notation
*to learn to read a music chart
*music theory
*scales
*chords
*chord progressions
*fingering
*styles of pop, rock, and blues
*songs you wish to learn

*** Travel Equipment ***
I provide no equipment. The student must have an acoustic or electric drum set, a practice pad, a music stand, a metronome, sticks, curriculum book(s), headphones, an acoustic or electric guitar, and an acoustic or electric piano.

*** Specialties ***
Rock, Funk, Blues, RnB, Soul, Country, Jazz, Latin, Pop, Metal

**Travel available for in home lessons up to 15 miles pending location, scheduling, and availability. 2 weeks or more notice is required for discontinuation of lessons.**
...

Reviews

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Melanee J. October 9, 2016
Guitar · In home
Verified Student
I'm a true challenge since I am very green with little music capability. Great introduction with plenty to work on.
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Dui S. December 7, 2015
Guitar · In home
Verified Student
My son is enjoying playing the guitar cause of Steve. He is a great instructor. I would recommend him to anyone.
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Meg D. April 15, 2015
Guitar · In home
Verified Student
Steven is a great teacher! He's flexible, and works well with all ages! He's teaching my 3 kids, drums, guitar and bass. He's very receptive and adjusts his lessons according to what my kids are interested in. For example one of my kids was learning notes, but then the other wanted to learn a specific song and he easily adjusted to focus on what each of them wanted to do to. My kids love him!
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Steven B.

Steven B.

Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
(17)
starting at
$35 / 30-min
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Dan P.

Des Plaines, IL

About Dan

I am a member of the Chichago Northwest Symphony Orchestra. I have been instructing students from kindergarten to high-school all over Chicago area for the past thirteen years. My highest accomplishment is having a high-school sophomore student playing first chair first violin on Chamber Orchestra and third chair first violin in Symphonic Orchestra at Maine Township High School, Park Ridge, Illinois. Other accomplishments are having students prepared for Granquist Memorial Music Competition, Geneva Illinois.

My lessons are always focused on adapting the violin practice to fit the character
of the individual student. Besides learning good violin performance practices, the student will shape up character by developing specific neural pathways that will help in child development as well as overall cognitive activity.

Learning to play violin not only opens the mind for greater understanding of artistic expressions but also adds to the quality of experiencing life more complex otherwise not possible in absence of music.

*** Lesson Details ***
Lessons are based on the Suzuki school but adapted for the preferences and/or necessities of the student.

- Warm up exercises
- Quizzing student about difficulties met during practicing in the period between the lessons.
- Assessing the approach of addressing the difficulties while preforming the musical piece under study.
- Explaining how to fix problems and how to approach daily violin practice.
- Musical notions, musical theory.
- Musical notation reading/ Ear development exercises.
- Recap and assignments for next lesson.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Violin, computer, microphones, keyboard, audio interface, speakers.

*** Travel Equipment ***
Car

*** Specialties ***
Violin teaching.
Audio recording and editing.
...

Reviews

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Zachary S. January 22, 2017
Violin · In home
Verified Student
Good experience for Zachary. Thanks!
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Louanne C. July 18, 2016
Violin · In home
Verified Student
Dan is fantastic. He is approachable, reliable, and speaks to my daughter (mature age 9) as an adult which encourages her to take responsibility for her instrument and practice habits. She is just beginning, but has already made great strides with the violin. I have no doubt she will be able to play with the orchestra in the next school year; and I think this will be a long successful teaching relationship.
Silhouette-80
Chris R. March 31, 2016
Violin · In studio
I never had a tutor before, so it was difficult for me to choose from the wide arrange of tutors there are. But I think Dan was the right choice. He's very professional and goes far and beyond to help his students understand how certain things are when playing the violin. I would definitely recommend Dan to anyone looking for a violin tutor.
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Dan P.

Dan P.

Des Plaines, IL 60016
(12)
starting at
$20 / 30-min
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Cameron R.

Glen Ellyn, IL

About Cameron

I'm a 21 year old guitarist and composer, with an education from Berklee College of Music. I am an active session guitarist and songwriter for myself and others. I can teach you how to reach your goals as a musician or songwriter. I have extensive recording and studio experience. I will teach you what is necessary for you to reach your goals. If you are interested in just learning songs, I will not focus on theory or songwriting. If you want to learn how to compose music, I will teach you about harmony and what makes the difference between a good song and a hit song. I can also help you get ac
cepted to any music school in the country. The truth is, most popular songs only require a small amount of chord knowledge to be played on guitar, and I would love to make that happen for you.

My guitar lessons do not have a set curriculum, because the curriculum is made individually for each student, depending on their goals, strengths, and interests. I have always strived for my guitar lessons and teaching style to bring the student to the point that they truly want to be at. Many other teachers and music schools will teach you strands of information that may have been interesting to them, but the same might not be true for the student. We are all individuals and have different tastes, and the lesson plans must take that into account. I am here to help students achieve their goals and desires on the instrument, and that is why my lessons stand out.

My studio is located in Glen Ellyn, IL and has all the equipment to help making guitar has easy as it can be.

Studio Includes:
-Recording Capability
-Music Stands
-Amps, Cords, Strings etc.
-Books and Sheet Music
-Logic/Pro Tools/Finale and other music software

I have played guitar in professionally produced musicals such as "Godspell" and "Once Upon A Mattress." I have also been a pit guitarist for high school and middle school show choirs, requiring excellent reading skills and on the spot adaptation to changes.
...

Reviews

Silhouette-80
Nick January 30, 2016
Guitar · In studio
Great knowledge of guitar, music theory and composition. Cameron will keep you on track and focused on what you want to learn.
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Tessa January 23, 2016
Guitar · In studio
Cameron was one of the best teachers i have ever come into contact with. What struck me most was his patience, understanding and independent thinking. He was very observant of what worked best for me and he made the teaching program fit my speed and comfortability,while at the same time pushing me out of my comfort zone. Cameron is very thorough and fills his lessons with personal experiences of his own,new ways of thinking, good starting points and things to remember. Feel free to ask him questions about whatever is on your mind when it comes to guitar playing. With Cameron's knowledge, he will leave you with new ways of thinking about guitar, questions answered, and a new understanding. I would strongly suggest sharing the knowledge given to you by Cameron with everyone you know. His lessons are accurate, thorough, and factual. I would recommend him to anyone, especially people who want the best for their money and for their time.
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Marcus Shalamo October 25, 2015
Guitar · Online
Cameron helped me improve my guitar playing a lot. I came to him as a complete beginner, and after 1 week, I was already able to play some of my favorite songs.
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Cameron R.

Cameron R.

Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
(3)
starting at
$25 / 30-min

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