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 ful
l-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.
Have been teaching myself guitar for two years; Jim has shown me I'm ready to move up a level. His lessons (I've had three so far) are fun and he tailors them to what I want to play. Jim provides written notes summarizing the lesson and guiding my practice for the next week. And he plays guitar beautifully. Makes me hope to be good myself someday.
July 9, 2018
James is knowledgable and gives positive feedback to students
June 29, 2017
James is a great teacher able to break down complex music and communicate how to play it.
I can teach classical guitar from beginner to a college level. My teaching is based on the Lopez-Ramos model which is world class in its results. I also work with students to play the music they desire. I have had students in the past learn bossa nova, south American styles. I also teach theory and sight reading with the lessons.
As a guitarist in my early years I spent much time reworking my technique and gaining insight in how guitar playing really works. My early struggles gave way to a solid knowledge of the guitar and music.
This was gained through no small part through my High School music teacher, through master classes of Manuel Lopez Ramos and Abel Carlevaro and others.
These master classes helped me in a big way to develop teaching systems and principles that can help anyone to learn guitar easier and more effectively.
You will gain from the knowledge of these world class guitarists and teachers which will help you to play better and more musical.
And from my musical background-of playing hundreds of songs and compositions of many styles and understanding o
f musical structure.
I will give you simple technical training to help the hands work together and develop a musical sound. As I teach I look for your gifts (in creativity, musical playing etc) and actively look to enhance that gift.
When problems come along in your studies, I help you to solve them in a way you can apply them for yourselves. Teach and show students how music works and how to play artistically.
How to Start
Will work with you to find a convenient time/day to schedule lessons at your home or our studio
There is a money back guarantee on the 1st lesson so you can try and see how lessons can help you to reach your goals. Selecting the "get started now" button will put you in contact with our student counselors.
P.S. Take the first step in learning music by contacting us.
*** Lesson Details *** Teaching for over 13 years in all major styles. Helping beginning or returning students of all ages (kids and adults). and backgrounds to learn music.Have taught all ages from 5 to 60 years old.
Will work to develop a personalized plan specifically for you and/or your child or family member.
Studied at Roosevelt University as a classic guitar major with music education and jazz studies.
Give students a well rounded education in all the major styles-techniques, teaching them finger picking as well as pick technique, chords and improvisation.
I specialize in building a strong foundation both musically and technically for people that have not played guitar or even music before and helping them to reach the musical goals they desire.
For the pick guitar I use the Mel Bay method along with handouts for chords/exercises and finger picking patterns This gives you flexibility to explore many musical styles.
For classic guitar I use the Sagreras or Parkening methods plus the same handouts as for pick guitar.
For electric bass I use the Hall Leonard Method, plus handouts.
I teach children how to practice and to keep a practice schedule.
I operate with a patient approach, a comfortable learning process. This helps you to learn properly and builds a solid foundation for your playing.
In general after 3 months you will know all the basic chords and how to change them. How to play the blues scale, read music /tab plus some songs with basic chords.
For the electric bass you will play blues patterns, read music and tab.
After 6 months you will be in general able to play bar chords, and more complex songs (with full chords).
For the electric bass more complex songs, movable major scales.
Keep in mind as you move through these studies you will be enjoying playing music and be moving towards the goal you had in mind in taking up music including learning the music, the styles you wanted to play.
*** Studio Equipment *** I can provide a music stand and a foot stool. I can get them or show them where to get a method book They would just need a guitar.
*** Travel Equipment *** I can teach lessons at the students home in Des Plaines, Park Ridge, Morton Grove, Skokie, Wilmette and adjoining communities.
*** Specialties *** Be encouraged that you and/or your family member can learn to play and it's not as hard as you think.
What I have found is it takes no special talent to play the guitar, just the desire to practice and learn. Lessons with a teacher helps you to learn quicker and more problem free, unlike other approaches. A teacher can help you personally when you have problems and questions. The investment you make will help you or a family member to play music for many years...
Teach most major styles folk, rock, blues, classical, finger picking, Jazz (Bossa Nova) Also gospel, praise and worship guitar.
From baroque to flamenco, learn fingerstyle and rhythm techniques to help take you to that classical level!
I started playing guitar originally in 1991. I picked up bass and ukulele (and then gradually a plethora of other instruments) over the ensuing years. I started teaching in 2001 throughout the Chicagoland area. First in music stores, then schools, then people's homes (including mine) and then online (live via Zoom).
Besides teaching and performing, I also ran an all ages music venue and recording studio from 2006-2015.
Teaching is my biggest love and I love seeing students learn. There isn’t a style I will not teach. All music to me is fascinating
*** Lesson Details *** All lessons start with the basics (assuming the student doesn’t already know them). This includes: reading music and chord diagrams, understanding rhythm, basic music theory, etc. Meanwhile, we will apply this knowledge to songs of the student’s choice- this wa
y they’re learning songs they like, and more about the instrument and music at the same time. As time goes on we’ll get into playing lead, advanced theory, songwriting and more.
Above is the plan, but I am always open to suggestions from the students as well. As long as they are learning, I am happy. In all reality, we can spend years on just one of the many paths you can go down with music- so I am always continually re-checking on the student’s current and up-to-date goals.
*** Specialties *** Patience. I feel like it is necessary to be a good teacher. Other than that, I am very confident in my teaching skills. I love so many genres of music that its hard to say where my best talents lie. But no matter what the style, I will say one thing that I have always been strict about is proper technique and rhythm. I feel like timing is something that a lot of musicians take for granted and often have to learn the hard way later on. I try to incorporate it soon after a beginner's first lessons.
Ian is an incredible teacher. Very patient and professional. The way he teaches is very straight forward and easy to understand. I can’t wait to learn more & more... less than a week has passed since my lesson. I already feel so comfortable with my ukulele,
All the utube lessons were useless for me. I realized this after 1 lesson with Ian. The frustration factor on utube was a waste of time for me. I am so happy I chose ian & this company.
Thank you so much, jen
March 3, 2014
My son loves learning guitar from Ian! He is so patient with children. His love for music is infectious. He makes my son look forward to learning each week. If you want to learn guitar... Pick Ian!
February 27, 2014
great teacher for popular acoustic guitar
Ian is a no nonsense well organized guy. He taught me using exercises he wrote out on paper mostly in tabulature form. He used a metronome from the first lesson and always introduced a music theory concept such as rhythm, pentatonic scales, and chord transposition. He will not move past any exercise until you can demonstrate proficiency so there is no choice but to draw your own conclusion that you need to practice more if you want to progress. He teaches out of his local all ages music venue, or will travel to your home.
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 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.
Paul was great. Easy to talk to and understand. Looks like a good fit for me. Looking forward to my next practice.
August 14, 2019
Paul's great. He's been amazing about listen to me and what I want to learn. I'm actually more interested in music theory, and learning about bass than I am interest in becoming proficient at playing. It's obv that not only does Paul play both Bass and Guitar, but he understands theory and he can talk intelligently about different styles.
Overall a really nice upbeat guy too. I was hesitant b/c I didn't want a guitar teacher who also played bass. I wanted a bass teacher, Paul definitely is serious about Bass, and does NOT approach it the same way he does guitar
August 12, 2019
Paul is really patient, encouraging, and accommodating to my work schedule. At the same time, he is easy to talk to, and I have a lot of fun at all of my lessons! He’s clearly very knowledgeable about guitar and a wide variety of music styles. He listens to my goals and tries to relate his lessons to my interests to keep me engaged. Since I started a couple months ago, I’ve definitely noticed improvement, and he’s given a lot of structure and meaning to my practice sessions. Also, I had been developing some bad habits during my brief time trying to learn guitar myself, so I really appreciate that he points them out and helps set me on the right track. Overall, totally worth it and would recommend him to anybody!
I have been teaching guitar for 18 years and have taught hundreds of satisfied students. When you sign up for classical guitar lessons with me, you will begin by learning the basics of the instrument including proper holding and playing position, tone production, rhythm, first position notes,basic chords and notation. Once you get the basics down, you will learn how to play a variety of classical guitar pieces appropriate for your level and interests. All of this can happen within the first 4-6 months of playing.
Dave K. began playing guitar at the age of 10. His influences include Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, Guthrie Govan, Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Pat Martino, Pat Metheny and Scott Henderson. At the age of 17 he began teaching private guitar and bass lessons to classmates from his neighborhood high school. It was through this initial experience with teaching that he realized he wanted to make music education his career. Since then he has taught private guitar and bass lessons at Naperville Music, Rossi Music, Horizon Music, and the Plainfield School of Music. In addition, he has taught orchestra, guitar, and jazz band at Rolling Meadows High School. In 2000 Dave graduated from the University of Northern Illinois with a degree in jazz and classical guitar where he studied with world-renowned fusion guitarist Fare
ed Haque. In addition, Dave has studied guitar with some of the best guitar players in the world including Dave Uhrich and Andy Timmons.
In 2003-2009, he produced and played guitar in the Chicago based hard rock group Disonic. In 2007, Disonic singed to Darkstar Records and released the E.P. The Value of Truth. The Value of Truth was distributed in the USA and Japan. In addition, it was distributed digitally world wide on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby. In 2009 he attended VanderCook College of Music and earned a Master’s Degree in Music Education. Currently, Dave is playing bass in the Chicago rock group I Decline and guitar in the Dave K. Group. This year, Dave is releasing his first solo instrumental guitar album under his own name. In addition, he continues to teach rock, jazz and classical guitar and bass in the Chicago area.
*** Lesson Details *** As a private music instructor for the past 15 years, I personally have been granted the opportunity to teach a wide variety of music students. I have taught students ranging in age from 6 to 65. I have taught students from various ethnic and economic backgrounds. I have taught students with various physical, emotional, and learning disabilities. Regardless of the situation, I have always approached each lesson with the idea that every student deserves my best efforts as a teacher. This is because I believe that everyone, regardless of age, cultural heritage, ability, or financial circumstance deserve the opportunity to participate in the best music experiences possible.
I believe that everyone has the ability to learn to play a musical instrument and achieve success on it if they possess the desire to do so. This is because music is a vital part of the human experience. Music has the ability to turn ordinary life experiences into extraordinary ones. Think of everyday events such as: waking up in the morning, commuting to and from work or school, going through the work or school day, going to dinner with a friend or loved one, going to a sporting event,watching a movie or television show, or working out at the gym. Now, picture what these everyday events would be like without the presence of music. Without music, these experiences would be extremely dull and we as human beings would not be able to full appreciate the wonderful moments in our lives.
As a music educator, my promise is to guide my students through the journey of learning to play music so they can experience the joy that it brings into their lives and the lives of others. I promise to help my students realize their full musical potential. I will always treat each student equally with fairness and respect, provide the best possible atmosphere for their growth, and recognize that each student is unique in how they learn and grow.
Lesson Topics Include Music reading (Tablature, rhythmic notation, and standard notation) Technical mastery of the instrument (Proper left and right hand technique, chords, scales, arpeggios, etc...) Rhythm and counting Repertoire (chosen by the individual student with the aid of the teacher) Songwriting/Composition Improvisation Music business Recording techniques
*** Studio Equipment *** Fender 2012 Jeff Beck Stratocaster Fender 1992 Standard Stratocaster 1980 Gibson Flying V 1994 Washburn N4 2005 Washburn X50PROF 1996 Washburn HB 35 Fender 1965 Twin Reverb Amp MacBook Pro loaded with Pro Tools, Finale, Garageband, Live, Guitar Pro 6, Band in a Box
*** Travel Equipment *** Guitar and materials. Student should also have guitar and materials
*** Specialties *** I am able to teach all styles of music but specialize in all forms of Rock, Jazz, Blues, and Classical
Excellent lesson. Does a wonderful job at taking older students and gently holding their feet to the fire to bring out the best- even under the most challenging of circumstances. Kudos to being such a uniquely great teacher!
January 10, 2018
I realize it was the first lesson but I was a little disappointed that we spend nearly the entire time on housekeeping items, like canceling and re-scheduling appointments. I think that could have been covered with an e-mail or handout. I also thought we spent too much time going over the differences between acoustic and electric guitars - considering my age and background. Would have liked to see him demonstrate what I was asked to practice before the next lesson instead of just being told to refer to the workbook.
November 17, 2017
Dave had a relaxed informative approach, a knowledgeable teacher who took his time with me, a real novice.
TESTIMONIALS "Jonathan's experience as a musician and teacher helped me advance tremendously in my ability to play guitar and understand music on a more advanced level. He's great at relating to his students and takes a genuine interest in their progress. " -Victoria L.
Classical music is a major passion of mine. I personally love playing Baroque music, but my studies have lead me to cover music from renaissance, classical, romantic and modern eras. My favorite classical composers to play on guitar are J.S. Bach, Leo Brouwer, Antonio Lauro and Mauro Giuliani. Each lesson we will work on developing our right and left hand technique so as to have better control over dynamics (volume), articulation (staccato, legato, and specific technical demands for hitting notes), tone (the depth and timbre our notes have) as well as exercises to help your hands feel less pain and gain the dexterity/strength to accomplish the demands of the piece you are working on. I’ll also teach you different performance practices for different styles (i.e., the difference between playing in the style of Baroque music versus 18th century or 20th century music).
I perform and teach guitar professionally. Music is my passion and I love to learn new music and help others learn it as well. I currently specialize in teaching classical guitar with a focus on building strong technique, ear training, and practical applications for using formal and contemporary music analysis skills.
I also love playing jazz and various styles of pop music. I try to bring a similar approach to teaching these as I do in my classical teaching. I want to work on answering questions the music asks of the performer; like how would you play a Country Swing song versus a Jazz Swing song, how would you approach a contemporary Spanish Guitar Suite versus a Baroque Guitar Suite, or how would you play a Taylor Swift song versus a John Mayer song.
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 student 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 le
arn 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.
"Remi is an excellent teacher. He is patient, kind, and encouraging. I also enjoy using the books he developed. The more challenging the lessons become, th
e more I appreciate his patience. Thank you, Remin!"
"Great instructor! Moving at a logical and achievable pace. Very enjoyable, I can see the improvement."
"I couldn't have asked for a better teacher!
Blake Clifford goes beyond the 'call of duty' & really takes the time to make sure that his students receive
exactly what they need. The teaching environment is comfortable & relaxed with all of the professional resources you would expect & more.
With Blake Clifford you get real professional training - he knows what he's talking about, & he gets straight to the point. In just the little time that I've been taking classical guitar with Blake, I've learned so much. He teaches skills that you can actually apply - it's not just a bunch of theory, and that helps me out a lot by getting to the real 'meat' of the training fast.
I highly recommend Blake Clifford to anyone who is absolutely serious about improving their musicianship & getting over stubborn plateaus."
"I really appreciated the very detailed start to my lessons. I call tell Mr. Christian is a quality teacher.
"Excellent teacher! He is helping me with tempo and have taught me new ways of playing the guitar. He cares about hands position in the guitar in order to
play the guitar in a comfortable and efficient way. Also, he tells you what you are doing wrong in a very subtle way. You can tell he really enjoys teaching people how to play guitar remembering the basics and showing anyone can play guitar with practice, dedication and passion."
"I enjoy the lessons with Jesse very much!!! He is professional, patient and with a pleasant personality. I never touched guitar before. It's amazing how J
esse taught me from the very begining and helped me to reach the goals each time. Looking forward to the upcoming lessons!"
"Absolutely terrific. I really enjoy lessons and the way we work through technique together. He has a really clear way of explaining things. I am really
pleased with the progress that I'm making with his instruction. Very enthusiastically recommended!"
"Been learning Classical guitar with Jeff a couple years now and cant believe how much fun its been. His background as a successful performer, as well as h
is formal music education, give him a really good approach to teaching. He puts a lot of thoughtfulness into our lessons. Never boring. Best rates. Highly recommend."
Earlier, we took a look at how to develop your right hand for classical guitar. In this article, guitar teacher Raymond L. will add to the balance by teaching you exercises for the left hand...
The classical guitar repertoire covers more scales and arpeggios than any other technical skill. Therefore, I consider it important for you, as a classical guitar player or student, to focus on these following exercises.
They're based on scales and arpeggios for the purpose of developing …