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.
My musical journey started in high school when my algebra teacher saw me in the hallway, grabbed my hand and brought me to the choir room to sign up for The Sound of Music auditions. To this day I cannot believe my math teacher unknowingly sent me straight down a path that I would walk the rest of my life. After The Sound Of Music I never left music. I kept singing in high school by participating in the school musicals and different choir ensembles. When it came to college I started taking private lessons and music classes for fun until I realized this is my passion and I wanted to make a life of this. When you wake up everyday and the first thing you do is sing at that point there was no other way to live. There I started my journey with really learning the voice as an instrument and how it works. I found that I am a vocal scientist
at heart believing you will go a long way as long as you know how to grow. Being a vocal scientist, I find it so interesting to know what exactly needs to happen when we sing in order sing in a healthy and beautiful manner.
While I was at Moraine Valley after I firmly chose music I felt I needed more of a diverse program so I can answer any possible music based question. I then went on to get my degree at VanderCook College of Music where they teach nothing but music education. Their program intensely teaches all the band and orchestral instruments on top general education classes and your major, mine being voice. While I was there I also took the time to study privately with our percussion professor to learn rhythms and with our sight singing and ear training professor to further develop my ear and knowledge. All in all I have been studying the voice for 13 years and counting. I do all this so that I could pass that experience down to you.
▪Lesson Details▪ In my lessons I like to teach vocal techniques such as raising your soft palate, correct breathing techniques, and a forward placement. These are the tools to help a vocal musician grow for the rest of their lives.
Another part of being a vocal musician that I teach is ear training and or rhythm. These are things I wish I would have learned earlier on and are essential to being an independent musician.
Expression (including body movements, hand gestures, facial expression, and musical expression such as accents and dynamics) are a large part of performing as a vocalist and are definitely things we prepare as well.
I like to keep a more uplifting environment when teaching so although you should expect a push for success, you should always feel comfortable and not afraid to make mistakes.
▪Performance opportunities▪ Studio vocal recitals
▪Studio Equipment▪ Lessons in the studio room, electric piano
▪Travel Equipment▪ I can provide literature and a music stand while the students should have a full length keyboard and or piano.
▪Specialties▪ I teach rhythm, sight singing and ear training, general musical terms, expression, and specific vocal techniques.
Marissa is a wonderful teacher. I have never had singing lessons before. My first experience was remarkable. I love how comfortable she makes me feel when I go to practice. She has so much patience, which is another thing I love about her. I would refer the world to her if I could. I will definitely be referring my cousin.
April 18, 2018
I was surprised at how comfortable I was to sing in front of someone. She made it easy for me.
Elizabeth has taught violin and viola for twenty years. She has a Master of Music degree in Violin Performance from DePaul University School of Music. Her teachers have been among the best in the world. She has been a member of orchestras, chamber music ensembles, and has performed solos throughout the United States and abroad. Teaching is one of her greatest passions, and she welcomes the opportunity to work with all ages and levels of musical background.
*** Lesson Details *** I teach both Suzuki and traditional violin and viola methods. I am patient and encouraging. My students' success is my success! After 3-6 months of lessons, students will have a solid foundation on the instrument and will play some beginning level songs with the proper position and tuning. They will be having a rewarding experience as they learn all the funda
mentals. They will discover the joy of music!
*** Studio Equipment *** Home- small house with music stand, well lit, piano, seating for parents
*** Specialties *** Violin Viola Traditional Suzuki Classical Fiddling
Elizabeth is a phenomenal instructor! Both kind and patient, she is incredibly knowledgeable and takes the time to help me understand the nuances of technique or the background of a particular piece of music. I'm nowhere near a natural player, but her approach to structuring my lessons and practice activities fits my needs as a learner, especially considering that I am an adult student juggling a myriad of other responsibilities. Elizabeth is adept at tailoring her lessons and long-term approach to my growth as a player to my skills and challenges, so that I not only immensely enjoy the experience, but also feel the growth I am making each and every week. She's the best I've ever had!!
Andrew began playing cello in the public school system. He earned his Bachelor of Music summa cum laude from Arizona State University, where he studied with Thomas Landschoot, and his Master of Music with distinction from DePaul University with former assistant principal of the Chicago Symphony Stephen Balderston. He has performed in masterclasses for a diverse array of artists, including Andres Diaz, Bernard Greenhouse, Phillipe Muller, and Menahem Pressler, as well as the St. Lawrence, Orion, and Brentano String Quartets.
Andrew has played with the Illinois Symphony, Rockford Symphony, Southwest Michigan Symphony, and Chicago Chamber Orchestra, and maintains an active teaching and performing schedule in the Chicago area.
Andrew recently completed his Book 1 Suzuki Method teacher certification with Barbara Wampner at the Chicago S
uzuki Institute, where he had the privilege of observing and learning from a diverse group of students and teachers.
He is also a coffee enthusiast and enjoys visiting Chicago's many unique coffee shops. In warmer weather, he can be seen biking on the lakeshore path and exploring Chicago's many diverse neighborhoods.
Andrew is incredibly professional and patient. He's great at communicating with the parent and the student. He is very patient and even-keeled which worked wonders with my anxiety-prone son. Andrew has inspired him to achieve more than we ever thought possible and more importantly has instilled the gift of a life long passion in the cello. Highly recommend.
August 16, 2016
Andrew is calm and very patient teacher. I started the cello from a scratch with him and now I can play scales and some pieces. He plays beautifully and he knows what has to be done to improve my cello playing. I will recommend Andrew for anyone who wishes to play the cello!
I’ve had the chance to learn from some of the greatest, and I am STILL learning from ‘em!
I think anyone can and should sing. Why? Simple. Singing is FUN . Singing is FREEING. You’ve got a voice- why not use it, and as often as possible? Your voice is unique and capable of soooo many cool things- just let me show you! Anxious? Shy? You're in very good hands. I have anxiety myself, and know just how to put you at ease.
I’m different than most voice teachers. I don’t make you practice. If you’re happy, I’m happy! If that means you want a lesson of all vocal exercises, cool! If you want to work on Puccini one lesson and Judas Priest the next.....niice! Why not? The more genres you try the more you’ll love music- and yes, you CAN sing as many styles as you want no matter what you’ve been told. I will never have you sing anything
you are not 100% stoked to sing- promise!
Maybe you don’t like your speaking voice and want that to be stronger for either professional or personal reasons. I do that, too. I can help you with confidence in basic conversations and accent reduction. Maybe you want singing lessons just ‘cause, and don’t ever want to sing in public because that terrifies you. I totally get it. And I say do it!
Acting? Music theory? These are also things I love to teach, especially newbies. I love helping beginner performers get confident in selecting material that shows THEM off- comic and dramatic.
Online voice lessons are my jam. These are especially convenient for those that are pressed for time or maybe a little shy or anxious.
I am the teacher for those that don’t want someone too …well….teacher-y. I want you to laugh as you learn, and love love love the results you’ll get . I understand what what it's REALLY about- expression and fun, not judgement . Vocal exploration that's 100% customized . Join me!
More about me:
BMus Millikin University, further studies Boston Conservatory . Coachings with professionals from Rossini Opera Festival, Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera. Rock vocals with Melissa Cross. Musical theatre with Sheri Sanders of Rock the Audition!, Vocal Instrument 101 training with Dr Shannon Coates. Dalcroze Eurythmics. John Henny's Science of Singing course completion. Belting with Lisa Popeil. Teacher masterclass with Maestro David Jones. Proud member of NATS. One of only a few CoreSinging teachers in the USA!
In progress: Ultimate Music Theory Teacher certification.
Former students from ALL walks of life, including many beginners of all ages - an even an American Idol Top 12 Finalist!
*** Lesson Details *** I teach in person ( Schaumburg, Northwest Suburbs of Chicago) and online via Zoom, FaceTime or TakeLessons Classroom, of course!
*** Studio Equipment *** Sing and See Software. Additional materials I use: Funky n' Fun Vocal Exercises, Estelle Liebling Vocal Methods, Bona and Dannhauser for sight-reading, Full Voice workbooks for young and serious singers!
*** Specialties *** Beginner vocalists! Very shy singers. Very young singers. Lapsed singers, and seniors. Post-menopausal voices, adolescent voices. Experience in working with those with learning disabilities, anxiety, special needs, and victims of abuse. Have also worked with the LGBTQ community and studied with experts in transgender voice .I also love to give workshops!
My daughter learned so many tips in one lesson with Molly! She did not want the lesson to end! I loved her feedback and think a lot of the information will stick with my little girl during her upcoming audition!
October 14, 2019
From the very start I felt comfortable and at ease. I’m so excited to see where the next lesson will take me. Very happy working with Molly.
September 29, 2019
Molly was the absolute best and I would recommend her to everyone!! She was such a blast to work with and she gave me so many amazing tips and workouts to practice for my speaking! My coworkers noticed a big difference!
Hi, my name is Alessandro. I am a clarinet teacher and musician in the Chicago area. I have a Masters Degree in Music Performance from DePaul University School of Music and I have been teaching lessons since 2015. I can teach students at all levels of ability. As a freelance musician I have performed with the Chicago Clarinet Ensemble, The Chicago Composers Forum, Wheaton Municpal Band and other ensembles. I am also called upon to perform original works by young composers t composer forums.
I think there are two important parts of taking clarinet lessons: learning the fundamentals, and having lots of fun. I focus on basics like embouchure, air, and tone to help you develop good technique. I will also work with you to select music that you like and that you will be excited to play. I look forward to meeting you and working wit
A very good and thorough instructor. Very good for beginners to get them started correctly.
May 1, 2018
Great first lesson! Alessandro is very helpful and knowledgeable. I am a total beginner at clarinet playing, and he helps me develop and improve my sound production from the very first start! Looking forward to the next lessons with him.
October 7, 2017
Haven't played in years, reviewing the basics w/Alessandro are fun, as well as knowledgeable on technique and tone!
Kenny has been playing guitar since the age of 14, has received awards and grants from the Arts Council, and is an instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His approach to teaching guitar helps students learn quickly, have fun, and maximize musical potential. Kenny has played at Festivals and venues across North America and plays acoustic and electric guitar. Kenny has a flexible schedule and is available to teach all ages and experience levels. He plays folk, country, blues, jazz, and rock styles and enjoys teaching everything from Bob Dylan and Neil Young to Led Zeppelin and Johnny Winter.
Kenny really knows his stuff and assembled a comprehensive lesson specific to my goals. Looking forward to next week!
June 16, 2016
I studied guitar with Kenny for five years and his lessons undoubtedly made me not only a better guitarist but a better musician. Kenny is an incredibly patient teacher with well thought out lessons that follow a natural scope and sequence while always fitting the needs a likes of the student. He is an expert communicator and an inspiring performer. I highly recommend his teaching to any and all levels of aspiring guitarist whatever the style of music.
June 8, 2016
I took weekly lessons with Kenny back when he was in Montreal and it was a great learning experience. He was not only open to working on the songs that I wanted but also introduced me to new and exciting stuff that have really broadened my horizons. Kenny is not only super knowledgeable and talented but above all is a great communicator and teacher who makes you feel comfortable learning new techniques and material in a stimulating and exciting way. Highly recommended!
Hey there! My name is Hera and I am a patient and enthusiastic music teacher! I love employing fun games and tactics to the learning experience, and I am constantly looking for ways to make the learning process more exciting. When taking guitar, voice, or piano lessons with me, you will not only learn the fundamentals of each instrument but also how to head music, and tips and tricks on how to be the best performer you can be! Can't wait to get started working with you! :)
"I played in the Advent Band with Vandi as our worship leader for several years. Her energy and enthusiasm was contagious and she always provided positiv
e, constructive criticism. Vandi's knowledge of music theory was demonstrated in her ability to arrange our songs to suit the various skill levels of the band members and the congregation! This is not an easy task and she handled it with ease and grace. I would highly recommend her as an instructor."
"Very professional instructor! Extremely knowlegable! Mark is very patient and informative. This is my 2nd year taking violin lessons and I love it!"
"He is a bit loud in close quarters, but he is enthusiastic and fun.
I think that he will really teach me how to rock my piano socks off!"
"Kenneth is a very helpful and patient teacher. He taught my 7 yr old daughter piano and we always felt welcomed and loved the recitals they setup for thei
"My daughter loves it! He goes at a pace that keeps her engaged and challenges."
"He's a great teacher! He teaches around students knowledge and ability. It was an awesome lesson"
"My daughter has been taking lesson with Tony for about 6 months now and I can say we are both extremely happy with him. He is very patient and knows his s
tuff. He has helped my daughter so much already and has built up her confidence. I would highly recommend him"
"What an awesome teacher! My daughter is so excited to continue with Katie, she really connected with her and made her feel great about her ability and op
portunity to improve and strengthen her voice. She can't wait to go back! Her name is TaraLyn, not CaraLyn as posted."
"I am 85 years old and hired Fawn to teach me piano. It was my childhood dream. Within the 2 years, I've been taking, I have completely mastered a high con
certo level of playing. Under Fawn's guidance, I have moved quickly, thoroughly and efficiently. I even performed on stage 2 different years in her Talent Share's (audiences of over 100)! Fawn has taught me classical, pop, blues, jazz and ragtime. I love playing the blues and songs from my childhood. Fawn does a great job with understanding my goals and giving me tools that fit me and help me achieve them. She is beautiful and a very patient, gentle, loving and intuitive teacher. One day I was making an excuse for my mishap plain by telling her my arthritis had been acting up all week. She laughed and said jokingly, "Bernard, don't blame your arthritis for not practicing!" She's hilarious. I am blessed to have found Fawn. The hours of joy playing the piano has brought me and my wife is priceless. Thank you, Fawn! See you next Tuesday!"
Bored of the same routine when you sit down at the keys? Try out these piano practice tips from New York, NY teacher Nadia B...
Practicing piano can be challenging and sometimes laborious as you aim to improve, learn, and break down hard passages. While learning piano does require time and effort, it should also be fun and engaging. The following piano practice tips will ensure that your practice time is both productive and fun.
1. Pick music you enjoy
One of the best ways to make pia …