I tailor all my lessons to the individual students interests and wants. Whatever your goals are, I'll help you get there.
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 also 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.
Kevin C. January 6, 2017
In studio Verified Student
Paul is the man and this first lesson was amazing!
Anant October 21, 2016
Acoustic Guitar ·
I started with Paul about 6-8 weeks back and i am already starting to play some famous songs. which is great for motivation. He can mold the class as you desire based on your choice of music and style of learning. He is a wonderful teacher for all age groups. I would recommend taking lessons with him.
Alex September 18, 2016
I'm writing this because honestly, I would not be where i am today without the guidance and teachings of Paul. His ability to bridge the gap between technique and style is truly priceless & continues to reward me a decade after taking lessons with him. As a touring musician, I owe a lot of my understanding of music to him. Thank you Paul!
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.
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.
Mike McCullough April 5, 2016
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.
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.
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.
I earned a Bachelor's of Music in Classical Guitar Performance from Capital University in Columbus, OH.
I currently teach private guitar lessons, sing and play guitar in the Chicago rock band Dead Parade, and transcribe music professionally for a wide variety of clients. Occasionally, I write articles or do interviews that appear in magazines such as Guitar World. In the past, I worked for 8 years as a guitar teacher, transcriber, consultant, and free-lance writer for a popular subscription guitar site. I also served as a guitar instructor/lecturer at Capital University's Community Music Sc
hool under the direction of renowned music educator Dr. Rebecca Johnson. Over the duration of my 16 year teaching career, I have taught over a 200 students of all ages and levels of experience.
I developed a reputation of being a musical jack of all trades. I am proficient in teaching and performing any style of guitar. However, I am best known for my rock guitar playing, songwriting abilities, classical guitar performance skills, and my ability to teach these skill sets effectively.
Rob February 10, 2017
In my humble opinion, Matt is the best rock guitarist and teacher in Chicago. I took lessons with three other teachers in the city before working with Matt. All paled in comparison in both the playing and teaching departments. He truly makes playing and improving fun and easy! His playing speaks for itself. His teaching seems to be perfectly tailored to your goals, whatever they may be. He's literally an encyclopedia of musical knowledge.
Matt December 23, 2016
Blues Guitar ·
Can't say enough good things. I've always been more of a rhythm player. The whole subject of lead guitar is really intimidating. I never knew where to begin, so I never have. I started taking lessons with Matt to see if I could get a structured approach to learning to improvise, play memorized solos, etc. He's made something that was totally intimidating very easy to understand. It really helps to have a professional teach you a logical process since there is such an overwhelming amount of information to learn and apply.
Darren December 21, 2016
I take songwriting/composition lessons with Matt every once in awhile. Prior to lessons, I thought songwriting was just a talent that some people have and some people don't. Like Matt says though, it's all about learning as much theory as you can, and working as hard as you can.
Matt is excellent at explaining complicated theory in a very simple way. Then, he always explains how this information can be applied directly to writing music. He also has an encyclopedic knowledge of songs and pieces that use various compositional techniques. So, he's always able to reference specific songs in lessons on the fly. Not to mention, Matt is an absolutely killer guitar player!
I combine guitar pedagogy, music theory, and musicality to teaching all styles. I tailor my teaching to the students needs, desires, and interests and I strive to make every lesson a fun and educational experience.
I am a classically trained guitarist whose mission is to help my students reach their goals while inspiring a love and passion for music. Never picked up a guitar before? No problem! You’ll be playing your favorite songs in no time. Been playing for years but need a little help overcoming that next hurdle? Great! You’ll be playing better and with more confidence than ever before. In order to truly improve you need determination and dedication, and that’s why I try to keep things fun and inspired from the very first lesson.
Lauren July 25, 2016
Classical Guitar ·
Paul is a fantastic guitarist and an even better teacher. My child had a fantastic experience learning from him, and came home playing a whole song on day 1! Couldn't recommend him enough.
Kyle July 13, 2016
Classical Guitar ·
Paul is a phenomenal instructor with the personality and charisma it takes to teach such a distinguished instrument. Whether you are trying to learn 3 chords to impress a special someone or you have a nerve racking collegiate performance, Paul will be able to help. There is a list of qualities that come to mind when I think of the best instructors I've had and Paul checks off all those things. He is extremely helpful, he is mindful of your wants and needs in parallel to your skill level, he has a gift for attention to detail, he is passionate about the subtle art of the guitar, and he pushes you as a musician in discipline and skill. Highly recommended and easily works with your schedule.
Myron July 12, 2016
Classical Guitar ·
Before meeting paul, I felt like I had really hit a plateau in my progression as a musician. After my lessons with him, I had seen extreme improvement in myunderstand of the fretboard, playing technique, and sight reading skills in less than a month. He challenged me to play harder pieces and to push my self as a musician which I am extremely grateful for.
Classical guitar is hard for some because of the detail within the music. The left hand requires strength, flexibility, and accuracy which is all aspects we will work on. I will show you how to sit, hold, and play guitar in this genre. I will also give you drills that will help both your right and left hand improve to play beautiful classical pieces.
Playing and learning an instrument is beneficial to ones being because it is a great way to express ones self and it's an excellent stress reliever. It's also an amazing feeling playing an instrument you love to listen to.
Learning any instrument could be daunting at first because there is so much to learn and without any help, could feel overwhelming and hopeless. Do not fret because I am here to assist you! I have studied many music genres all across the board and have a professional knowledge and comprehension of the theory encompassed behind them. Every lesson is crafted for each stu
dent in specific areas they have interest in while being done at the students own pace.
My background history:
I immersed myself in music at a very young age, studying classical piano and theory. In my teenage years I took the initiative to learn guitar and began by purchasing my own guitar and books and taught myself to play electrical and classical guitar. I followed my passion and continued my studies at Columbia College and graduated with a bachelors degree in Instrumental Performance.
Post-graduation, I have experienced playing in multiple bands, performing in concerts, teaching piano and guitar ranging in all levels at a music center and private home and enjoying some traveling.
Everything I have learned will be reflected in my lesson methodology and will help you learn to play proficiently in a timely manner. I look forward to meeting new prospective students while having fun teaching them music.
Domink S. February 19, 2017
In home Verified Student
Very nice, patient teacher! I m so happy we started lessons with Sebastian.
Hugo January 31, 2017
In home Verified Student
Mr. Sebastian is sweet and patient with our 5-year-old. Great teacher for little ones!
Steve O. January 10, 2017
In home Verified Student