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.
This is an enriching curriculum that will utilize the student’s love of music and provide the valuable skills necessary to play guitar Students will learn the basics of rhythm and counting while exploring a variety of strum techniques and much more..
I am a highly organized, outcome-driven and motivated professional musician and educator with solid experience in the classroom. For the past 25 years, I have been employed with Amati music academy and seven years on the faculty of University of St Francis. I am very comfortable with all aspects of the current music syllabus, including teaching musical concepts (such as duration, pitch, dynamics, tone color, texture and structure) as well as performance, composition. I am fully qualified, with a Bachelor of Education in Music, Double Masters in music performance and education from University of Nottingham. I am proficient in classical, jazz and Celtic fiddle violin and possess solid skills in piano (grade 8-13) Royal conservatory system. Throughout my teaching career, I have been driven to help students achieve their very best. I str
ongly believe that music has the power to change lives – to enhance the social, cultural and spiritual lives of people, and serve as a profound medium of personal expression. Professional perform experience: The Chicago, Natalie Cole, Smokey Robinson, Three tours with Moody Blues, YoYo Ma etc.... The most important thing I look for in a student is communication skills, as well as talent. I like to nurture students and help identify their individual strengths, which is a key factor in shaping a musical persona that will make its mark both on and offstage. I do not advocate a uniform technique for all students. Physical differences and learning styles are always taken into consideration. Potential is as important to me as early achievements and experience. My goal is to help students become self-sufficient, discriminating artists. I discuss practice techniques often and develop individualized scale routines. I encourage initiative and expressive musicality as well as precision. Above all, music needs to bring obvious joy to the student, regardless of the difficulties.”
*** Lesson Details *** I use Suzuki and traditional method for my students... for Suzuki beginner they will play a song in four days....
*** Studio Equipment *** In-Studio- Lessons in separate music lesson room, piano and violin are available. Students and parents will enjoy comfortable and clean studio environment with recent remodeled new hard wood floor and studio patio window over looking at beautiful garden. Free WiFi available for parents while waiting during the lesson appointment. University of St Francis Joliet- can teach in rehearsal rooms at the university. Online class at world class teaching studio
*** Travel Equipment *** violin, viola, cello, piano and guitar
*** Specialties *** I specialize in Suzuki teaching method for beginners, traditional conservatory method for intermediate and Royal conservatory recital program for advanced level students..I also teach orchestration program to help students prepare their auditions for major symphonies through out the country including Chicago symphony orchestra etc...
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!
From topics such as reading sheet music to playing the guitar solo of your dreams, we can do it all! The desire and drive to learn is all you need!
Expressing yourself is the ultimate goal of music and my job is to help you get your point across!
Like any musician, music is my life. I love to soak it in any way I can! Whether it be listening to records, jamming with my friends or watching all the live concert footage of Stevie Ray Vaughan I can get my hands on.
I graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a Bachelor’s of Art in Music with a concentration on guitar performance. Throughout my undergraduate studies I performed in various ensembles within the college’s curriculum. Currently, my solo project gives me the opportunity to continue to grow through writing and performing my own original pieces. Throughout my career I have had the honor of performing with renowned songwriters Todd Rundgren and Charlie Sexton as well as being mentored by jazz drummer Frank Donaldson of
The Ramsey Lewis Quartet.
*** Lesson Details ***
Studying at the college level taught me a lot about what not to do as a teacher. The material is already difficult enough, so why would I be difficult with you?
I strive to be more of a mentor and friend rather than taskmaster. However, I do require structure and commitment to getting better. My curriculum will revolve around you and your needs with added material that I feel will help you succeed.
A typical lesson plan includes:
chord and scale knowledge,
and tying all of these ideas together by learning a song in a genre you love!
All of these concepts culminate in the discovery of your own personal voice!
*** Studio Equipment *** My teaching studio is just steps away from the Belmont Blue Line stop! Our lessons will be held in a private practice space in my home. The large room has multiple amps and guitars, so there is no need to bring an instrument for lessons if you don't want to! (But, you do need an instrument to practice with outside of our lessons!)
Extremely knowledgeable, has a strong background in music, accomplished guitarist, understands people learn different ways, always well prepared to teach and willing to help guide you through your musical journey.
September 5, 2019
Extremely knowledgeable, has a strong music background, accomplished guitarist, understands people learn in different ways, always well prepared to teach and willing to help guide you through your musical journey.
I have been playing guitar for 15 years. I make lesson plans based on each individual, so I don't teach every one the same boring songs or use the same regiment with everyone. I want to teach you what YOU want to learn.
I'm a self taught guitarist who has been playing for nearly 20 years. I have played professionally in numerous bands and ensembles ranging from jazz to folk to rock, and I've been writing music for the same length of time. I currently perform with one of my students from TakeLessons named Mackenzie O'Brien.
I graduated from Columbia College Chicago in May 2014 with a BA in Music Composition. I studied under composers: Drew Baker, Kenn Kumpf, Ilya Levinson, and Marcos Balter. I've performed and worked with members from the groups, Del Niente and Chicago's Composer's Collective.
I build my lesson plans around each of my students based on their interests. I'll try to incorporate music they enjoy into their music regime. I keep lessons pretty relaxed, but will challenge a student who is looking for something m
ore difficult. I go at the pace you learn best at!
Bass guitar, ukulele, song-writing, counterpoint, orchestrating, arranging, music theory, and composing are subjects I'm well versed in and love to teach to other people.
I'm experienced with all kinds of music software, such as: Pro Tools, Logic, Garage Band, Cubase, FL Studio, Finale, Sibelius. If you want to learn how to write, record, mix, and master your own music, there's never been a better time to learn.
~ Began my approximately nine years of guitar studies at the age of 10, taking a small, two-year break from my general music studies in my early teens. ~ Have experience with both acoustic guitar (approx. nine years) and electric guitar (approx. 5 years) ~ Repertoire consists of: Alternative Rock, Classical, Latin, Pop, and Spiritual ~ Knowledgeable with: scales, chords, picking styles, tuning, tablature (style of sheet music), and standard notation (style of sheet music)
My name is Paulette L., and I am a recent graduate of Elmhurst College, which is located in the nearby suburb of Elmhurst, Illinois. In May, I earned my Bachelor's in Music Business along with minors in Communications and Spanish.
Music has played a significant role in my life since I began studying piano at the age of 5, and it continued to play this significant role after I began taking guitar lessons at the age of 10. After about 7 years of piano studies and 2 years of guitar studies, I decided to take a small break from my overall music studies and instead place my focus on my academics and additional extracurricular activities. Shortly after beginning high school, however, I started up my guitar studies again through my involvement in my Parish's Young Adult Choir/Band. Shortly afterwards, during my sophomo
re year of high school to be precise, I was walking by the piano in the living room of my house and felt a small tug to sit down and try to plunk out a few measures of a slightly familiar song; ever since then, I have not been quite able to stop wanting to keep learning!
Throughout the four years I studied and enhanced my skills at Elmhurst College, I took private lessons for Piano, Classical Guitar, and Voice, and I have completed four levels of Music Theory. I am organized, hard~working, detail~oriented, accustomed to working with people of a variety of age groups and learning preferences, sociable, adaptable, easy to get along with, fair, creative, pro~active, and proficient in English and Spanish.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact TakeLessons and I wish you the best in your future music studies!
This is my primary instrument! Whatever you want to learn, I can teach it to you!
As is the goal for every student I teach, I want the student to have a good time while playing an instrument. You will learn, you will play, you will have FUN!
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.
I've been teaching guitar for 5 years helping students develop a love for the instrument and learn more about music along the way. There are many styles I'm comfortable teaching from folk (fingerpicking or flatpicking), rock, blues and funk and I would love working on developing a unique style of your own. Within the first few lessons you'll have a solid base of strumming, picking and chord changes and even a few simple songs under your belt. Moving on from there I will craft lessons to move you toward a "goal song," making sure to cater your progress to your needs while keeping a focus on good technique. I enjoy working with students of all ages and experiences and I can't wait to meet you!
Ryan is a musician from Jefferson Park who plays a plethora of different instruments. He specializes in guitar, banjo, mandolin and ukulele, but also dabbles in accordion, piano, drums, harmonica and several others. Learning to play instruments is one of the true pleasures in his life and he hopes he can make it one of yours, too.
As a teacher Ryan's goals are fairly simple. First and foremost he wants to make his lessons comfortable, interesting and fun. A close second is to build a strong foundation on the basics, so as we learn more advanced techniques we have a solid base of technique to build upon. And third, an understanding of the theory and history behind the music is a great way to engage in the music beyond just the rote learning of technique.
After a brief foray in physics, Ryan settle into a degree in music at the Univer
sity of Illinois, specializing in Ethnomusicology (the study of music of different cultures). This education gave him a strong background in music theory and history in the Western tradition, but also opened him up to a vast experience of a diverse cross section of music from around the world. His insatiable love for learning new instruments started here, where he studied music from West Africa to Bali.
Currently Ryan is a co-lead singer, songwriter and stringed instrument player for the local band Distant Brothers, a folk rock band based out of Chicago. They play venues throughout the Midwest, with some of the notable venues being House of Blues, Metro and Cubby Bear in Chicago. Another highlight of his time with the band has been a collaboration with Oistrakh Symphony Orchestra, where he not only was able to play in collaboration with the orchestra, but joined in the arranging and conceptualization of some of the pieces played.
"My son looks forward to lessons every week with Aaron. Thanks for sharing your talent."
"A charming young man. Always willing to work around my crazy schedule ( on more than one occasion). Clearly an excellent teacher. Does not become irritate
d no matter how many times he has to repeat an instruction and responds to after hours questions A beautiful soul"
"Been taking lessons with Wes for about 3 months now! He's a good choice for a teacher!"
"William is an awesome teacher. He is exactly what I was hoping for, very knowledgeable, low key, great personality. I am excited to be learning from him!"
"Based upon my experience with Bill teaching my son, I would definitely recommend him for guitar lessons. He was always upbeat, pleasant and ready to share
his knowledge, not to mention, he could listen to a song and then jot down the sheet music for it. In that regard, he could teach a person any song they would like to learn. I would say, my most convincing recommendation comes from the fact that my son was always ready and happy to attend a session with Bill, which as a mom, made my heart happy. Give Bill a try!"
"I have been taking lessons with Eric for a month, and already see great progress. Eric emphasizes a lot on building foundations, proper sequencing of mate
rials, and also makes sure the practice is fun. I feel more motivated than ever. Can't recommend him enough."
"We love Aaron! My 9-year-old daughter is taking beginner guitar lessons. He's very patient and teaches at a pace that she's comfortable with. He's helpfu
l in correcting her mistakes and is very encouraging. This has allowed her to grow an abundance of new skills. She also teaches them to me! Through this experience, she has taken a new interest in ukulele as well.
Aaron's very knowledgeable, talented and is accommodating to our busy schedule. Plus he's very funny! I've also learned a lot in this process as an observer. I'd definitely recommend him as a teacher to anyone who is a beginner or would like advance their skills."
"I'm totally new to music lessons/guitar and my first lesson was a success thanks to Raymond! Very helpful and keeps me motivated!"
I highly recommend Benjamin! I have had several instructors and I can honestly say that he is the best I've had so far. He doesn't s
tick to any rigid lesson plans. His teaching style is very dynamic, he will taylor the lesson to fit your interest and level of playing. He keeps things fun and interesting and is good at coming up with creative exercises to try and challenge you. He also knows a lot of different music styles from what I can tell. I highly recommend him."