Students are raving about their Music instructors on TakeLessons.
Check out some of these recent reviews.
Review by Joseph
"John has helped me take my drumming to the next level. When I started lessons I was fairly new to the drum set and did not know how to read music. Over th
e past two years he has completely transformed me from a beginner to a gigging musician. John is patient, laid back and very knowledgeable and I would highly recommend him to drummers of all skill levels."
Minneapolis, MN teacher:
Review by Jeff
"Ken Wilcox guitar lessons
Ken is great. He is patient & professional; not to mention very knowledgable. Ken is right there to assist with the "Why's." I
have a hectic schedule, but I'm making time to treat myself to a really cool art; and Ken is right there. Even though I don't practice as much as I should or would like, Im still progressing - Ken provides clear and useful excercises and shows how the theory is applied to the art. I am seeing results. It's even helping with my job!""
San Francisco, CA teacher:
Review by Becky
Marty is very encouraging and has really pushed me to focus on improvising and I have seen a huge improvement in my chord structures and my
ability to transpose. It's very exciting to see the progress so quickly."
Phoenix, AZ teacher:
Review by Helene
"Mikhail is an incredible music teacher. Talk about patience - he has got it. Mikhail has a unique way of meeting his pupils where they are at. Sometimes
I am heading into my lesson feeling like I'm not playing well enough and within minutes , I get from him that I'm doing just fine. Music lessons are more fun with Mikhail than I have had in previous attempts with others. Music lessons are fun and I am actually learning. Thanks Mikhail for being awesome."
San Diego, CA teacher:
Review by Travis
"He is a great instuctor, he is professional, polite and patient. All around he is a fun guy to have as my teacher but also keeps focus on the task. I woul
d recommend him to anyone"
Chicago, IL teacher:
Review by Mengxi
"I am an adult who learns to play piano. Amber is my third teacher. I decided to settle with her as long as she won't move out of Seattle : ) She is very
skilled, experienced, well-educated, humorous. I had a lot of fun in class. She definitely made me more passionate about piano learning. And of course, my skilled improved a lot. I decide to study as possible
Amber holds DMA degree in piano performance, which most teacher doesn't have. This makes her extremely qualified to teach students at any level. She really knows how to teach effectively. There was a song I had practiced for two months for my wedding but it still sounded wrong to me. I couldn't figured out what's wrong. Then I knew I need a teacher. That's when I started my class with Amber. She went through each line with me. Corrected my figuring to make it easier for me to play each key evenly. She taught me which part to use finger and which part to use hand, and how to relax fast between two notes. Those skills are so helpful for me. None of other teachers taught me before. Without her I will never do it."
Seattle, WA teacher:
Review by Ariel
"Working with Breanna has been wonderful. She is flexible in terms of planning lessons and adjusting times when necessary. Lessons are always energetic and
encouraging even when I am struggling. She is creative with different exercises and definitely knows her stuff when it comes to reference material and choosing a piece to work on. Also, getting to hear her play in several concerts has been really cool. I came to her as a terribly rusty but fairly experienced player looking to pick my instrument back up and she has been a great help. I've learned a lot and I'd happily recommend her."
Boston, MA teacher:
Review by Andrew
"Kyle is a great instructor that notices my bad habits and fixes them. He is good at using excercises and warmups to build technique, and selecting pieces
of music to apply those techniques. He also gives advice on how to practice and cares about whether or not I am improving."
Chicago, IL teacher:
Review by Ashleigh
"Adam is truly gifted at not only helping students reach their greatest potential but also at making lasting personal connections as a mentor and role mode
l. He brings this personal care to his flute playing and exudes professionalism, ease and humor in his work. Adam is a true collaborator in the classroom, in rehearsal and on stage!"
Degree: Piano Performance, Eastman School of Music.
As a concert pianist, Viva grew up performing and teaching music. Viva graduated from the Eastman School of Music under world-renowned piano pedagogue Nelita True. Over the years, she has won numerous national piano competitions in the states and Canada and debuted with numerous professional orchestras including Eastman Symphony Orchestra and Parkdale Orchestra. Additionally, she held numerous solo and student recitals recognized by TV stations such WCTV, as well as several newspapers including the Boston Globe, Andover Townsman, and Wil
mington Advocate newspapers. In addition to performing, Viva's greatest passion is in teaching. Her beginner students grow an average of 2 years worth of study within the first year. Her former piano students' levels ranged from beginner to advanced, and their ages ranged from 4 to 30. Two of her previously held student recitals were recognized by the Boston Globe and as a result of its success, one of which was recorded by WCTV for broadcast. Viva also speak English, Spanish, and Chinese fluently and have taught in these languages.
Theory and Pedagogical Approach: "My students are not just masters of notes, but also masters of performance. My pedagogical approach centers on developing technique, theory, harmony, aural skills, but also artistry and showmanship. Apart from being taught the structural and aesthetic components of music, my students are taught the art of performance. Each of them is a showman and a stage performer. Two student recitals are held annually, and all friends and family are encouraged to join. I believe that any student who has a heart for music will be able to reach his/her greatest potential in music. I really look forward to becoming your child's step 1 towards scholarship and showmanship."
*** Lesson Details *** I'm a very enthusiastic and exciting teacher. My students are always engaged and inspired to play and perform. My students will learn to play popular songs and familiar pieces, but most importantly develop into well-rounded performers. Each lesson will focus on developing technique, aural skills and performance. Technique strengthens and develops students' fingers and provides the foundation. Aural skills includes ear training and singing, will develop the students' sense of pitch and tone. Performance will develop students' ability to master new songs and get ready to perform in front of others. For beginners and intermediate students, I use the Alfred Series, Bastien Series and Thompson Series. For advanced students, heavy repertoire by well-known composers will be assigned. Students can expect to excel individually but also collaboratively as there will be many opportunities to play duets with their peers.
*** Studio Equipment *** Upright piano, seating for parents, living room
*** Travel Equipment *** A piano
*** Specialties *** Levels: Beginner's, intermediate and advanced piano. While the focus is classical, there is also a lot of time for popular, jazz and ragtime. Lessons can be taught in English, Spanish, and Chinese. Students will have multiple opportunities to perform in public settings, in studio concerts or talent shows.
Maricela August 23, 2015
Classical Piano ·
Thanks to Viva, my daughter, age 13, absolutely loves playing in front of people- in her school, at church, talent shows, competitions etc. Viva's taught her the art of performance. I'm a very satisfied and appreciative mother.
Michael B. March 3, 2015
Enthusiastic, personable, and professional teacher! Really thankful for the opportunities to perform.
Cole R. March 1, 2015
Very fun, patient and loving teacher! My daughter loves piano lessons!
Can't recommend highly enough!
Music can inspire creativity and growth; it can evoke tranquility and joy. This was the case for Cindy W. who began playing the piano at the age of ten and within a couple of years studied composers such as Debussy, Liszt, Bach, and Chopin. While only in junior high, she started teaching piano, rapidly gaining teaching and business experience. She held annual recitals giving the students an opportunity to perform for their parents and peers in a public setting.
Cindy studied music with Rachel Perez-Hayes, a graduate from the Juilliard School of Music, New York, and was considered gifte
d and talented with perfect pitch recognition. Her background in music coupled with a Master's degree in Educational Psychology has enabled her to create unique lesson plans for each student focusing on individual strength and ability. Cindy has performed in concerts, weddings, parties, churches, and school functions. Her entire life has been enriched with music and it is her passion to promote the arts to young minds as well as adults.
*** Lesson Details *** Cindy teaches private 30 or 45-minute lessons from the beginning level to advanced. Students are taught using the Alfred all-in-one piano course because it is a step-by-step method that provides a solid foundation for playing and interpreting music while building self-confidence and an appreciation for the fine arts. Students typically learn how to read music and play pieces from their book while learning music theory, ear training, and rhythmic skills. Students have the option of performing in front of an audience or simply learning how to play for their own pleasure. Cindy coaches those desiring to play publicly in a non-threatening, relaxed manner.
*** Studio Equipment *** Living Room, grand piano, and keyboards available, room for parents to wait
*** Specialties *** I have taught using the John Thompson and the Alfred piano course methods. I prefer using the Alfred method because it gets the students comfortable playing on the black keys from the start.
Gizaw Y. November 21, 2014
In home Verified Student
We have been with Cindy for more than a year she is doing excellent job we have 7 years old daughter learning piano we recommend her she is the best!!
Gizaw Y. March 3, 2014
Piano Verified Student
We are happy with the class
Our 7 year old daughter have been taking piano lessons for 8 months Cindy Withers did a great job for our kid. She is very patient and put priority for accuracy as well as artistic expressions, so our daughter learning with a very good technique that made her very much interested in playing music and we see a change every week. We really like Cindy Withers and we highly recommend her. Cindy Withers is an excellent instructor for our daughter.
Araceli P. April 19, 2013
Piano Verified Student
I enjoy the class a lot. I am comfortable learning with Cindy because she is a polite and patient teacher. She is also very helpful and considerate when it comes to my learning.
Hristo is an impressionistic modern jazz guitarist and composer from Sofia, Bulgaria. Now residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, Hristo leads a variety of modern jazz formations, ranging from duets to quintets. Hristo has toured nationally and internationally, appearing at some of the most prestigious jazz clubs and festivals, and has also performed guitar clinics in Europe and Japan. He has written more than 270 original compositions, many articles on jazz improvisation, and a book on chordal theory and construction entitled Between the Voicings: A New Approach to Chord Building for Guitaris
ts. The Hristo Quartet’s 2009 debut album, Song for Messambria (First Orbit Sounds Music) quickly received outstanding reviews by the international jazz community and was selected as one of the six best jazz albums of 2009 by E-JAZZ NEWS. “His sophisticated and adventurous work is imbued with shimmering harmonies and lyrical improvisations.” – JAZZTIMES MAGAZINE “His multihued compositions are like impressionistic sound paintings.” – JAZZIZ “You just won’t find a jazz guitarist (on the planet) these days who has such essential communication skills through his fingers.” – Improvijazzation Nation Magazine “Hristo may be one of the best kept secrets in jazz today. He is the epitome of sonic gold.” – DIGITAL JAZZ NEWS “Hristo plays as the cultural end result of his life experiences. Simply put, he plays more so from the heart than he does the head.” – Critical Jazz “A richly textured album full of strong melodic and rhythmic ideas and with some superb playing throughout.” – THE JAZZ MANN (England) As jazz critic Edward Blanco describes: “Heis the newest guitarist to enter the national jazz scene and does so with a stunner of a recording in Song for Messambria, one of the finest debut albums I've had the pleasure of appraising this year.” The record presents a unique blend of ECM-style modern jazz, classical, and Brazilian tone textures, and showcases the completely unique and masterful interpretation of the jazz idiom by each one of its members. In late 2009, Hristo released his second studio album featuring Latin Grammy-nominated pianist Weber Iago. The Secrets of an Angel is an impressionistic landscape painted by the delightful and graceful conversation between the two instruments (guitar/piano). As jazz critic Brad Walseth describes: “On the heels of his impressive debut recording, Song for Messambria, guitarist Hristo returns along with pianist Weber Iago for a wonderful guitar/piano duet recording - The Secrets of an Angel...while the gentle title track shimmers like a glistening iceberg on a cold sea. The delightful two-part ‘The Last Pirate” is a highlight - brilliantly showcasing the exciting romantic bend inherent in his music, while the nostalgic lullaby “Leka Nosht (Good Night)” recalls a faraway youth and rounds out this fine release.” In 2010 Hristo wrote a large scale jazz work (The Perperikon Suite) especially to be premiered at the 53rd Monterey Jazz Festival. This 7 movements jazz suite is inspired by the ancient Thracian city of Perperikon (located on the territory of Bulgaria), and combines orchestral, classical, jazz, and fusion elements depicting the history and mystery of this enchanting place. The work marks Hristo third album and one of his most adventurous and sophisticated works up to date. For the recording of this project the Hristo Quartet was joined by virtuoso vibraphonist and multi-instrumentalist Christian Tamburr. As jazz critic Dan Bilawsky describes: “Shimmering harmonies resonate throughout these modern jazz marvels, and the soloists work their way around and through this accessible and exciting music with equal measures of taste, technique and spirit. His pieces are peppered with signpost sonorities and ideas that often reappear throughout a given song, creating a sense of continuity and thematic steadiness that develops around individual soloists. While this group ably establishes its own aural identity, which threads its way through the whole album, each movement of the suite has different strengths and a unique sonic footprint. Brought to life as a tale of two cities, The Perperikon Suite ultimately occupies its own wondrous world within the confines of its jazz borders.” As jazz critic Brent Black describes: “There is an incredible warmth to his playing, a fluidity of movement and direction held firmly in place by a stellar quintet that provides ample support for the lyrical imagery created on this release. Aside from the superior sound which almost smacks of a live in the studio recording, there is a true working band feel that he has been able to obtain. He displays an unparalleled versatility moving from the flash of “The Acropolis” to the more introspective “The Southern City” allowing for a wonderfully paced recording. The drumming of Joe DeRose creates a special dynamic tension on the tune “The Great Hall.” A release that ends far too soon. Wonderfully crafted, well paced and a sonic tapestry that stands up as well as any release for this past year.” As jazz critic Bruce Lindsay describes: “The music, performed by a terrific quintet, is beautiful: it captures images not of a city in ruins but of a city full of life, of vibrant activity. The Perperikon Suite is an impressive creation. Each individual tune is beautifully crafted, but so, too, is the Suite as a whole. His response to the ancient city is remarkable in both its conception and its performance.” As jazz critic Michael Bailey describes: “Many time motifs are used throughout this suite. Tick-tock ascending and descending figures pass as a thread through cloth, to hold this musical garment—a coat of many colors—together. He achieves this effect with no apparent effort or change in guitar tone or approach. Merely by affecting the time signatures, he makes his magic. The Perperikon Suite is soft-spoken and brainy music that exists out of the ordinary.”
As jazz critic Brad Walseth describes: “The new songs are the strongest he has written yet, and the addition of Tamburr serves to take the music to an even higher level. Hristo, meanwhile, continues to impress the listener with his addictive blend of jazz with touches of classical, Brazilian and Eastern European influences in both his playing and songwriting. In lieu of visiting the legendary site yourself, listeners are urged to take a musical journey to the ancient location as seen through the senses of Hristo and shared with you through his highly satisfying musical presentation.” As jazz critic Ed Blanco describes: “Hristo and his inspirational quintet provide an all-new experience on The Perperikon Suite, a concept album that is accessible, creative and a pleasure to spin often.” In 2012 Hristo embarked on yet another musical chapter of his life. Heartmony is the long awaited and highly anticipated follow up to the first duet recording by the guitarist and pianist Weber Iago (The Secrets of an Angel). As the title of the record will suggest, Heartmony explores a truly intimate, honest, and emotional conversation between the two instruments. The music, which transports you from impressionistic landscapes to folkloric tales and from melancholic memories to meditative trances, is simply the purest harmonious sounds he has put on tape up to date. Straight from the heart, healing energy that will embrace you long after you listen to it. “An absolutely wonderful recording.” – JAZZTIMES “If ever there were a marriage between classical music and jazz then this Heartmony is it. Hristo and Weber Iago have created a very special experience.” – Grady Harp (Amazon.com) “Both on and off the bandstand, he is an artist who wears his emotions on his sleeve. His new “Heartmony,” a duo session with his frequent collaborator, Brazilian pianist Weber Iago, provides a master class in the way a chord or harmonic progression can evoke a flood of sensations.” – Andrew Gilbert (San Jose Mercury News) “Guitarist Hristo and longtime collaborator, pianist Weber Iago, have created a work of sublime musicality with Heartmony. Exquisitely lyrical, although a bit too sweet, this opus brings together multiple musical influences into a coherent and cohesive, multilayered narrative, the momentum of which does not slack from the first few notes to the very last. He and Iago interweave long musical threads into a shimmering soundscape of serene beauty.” – Hrayr Attarian (All About Jazz) As jazz critic Brent Black describes: “Heartmony is a sonic mosaic pieced together from heartfelt feelings and emotions carried through time and communicated in an incredibly heartwarming and emotional presentation that exemplifies the zen concept of less is more perhaps as well as any recording of the last decade. The musical sound of one hand clapping. His and Weber's music transcends the more traditional jazz idiom in much the same fashion that their recorded work here is that of a more cohesive unified voice with subtle shadings, lyrical swells and the textured nuances that creates music that is to be experienced. An incredibly beautiful artistic statement of personal experience.” “Guitarist Hristo and pianist Weber Iago sounds like a perfect match in a musical heaven, if such things exist. What I’m saying here is that this is a duet album that sounds perfect, music made from the heart and soul. There’s warmth, there’s care, and there’s a human quality to this that no machine can replicate, and it is that Heartmony that makes this a powerful album worth listening to repeatedly.” – John Books As jazz critic Dan Bilawsky describes: “The eleven originals are all musical offerings from the heart and soul, but this isn't a one-dimensional recital. Some songs are full of life and positive energy, while others have a sense of regret and nostalgia sewn into their being, but they're all painted in sharp, vivid colors, thanks to the skills of both artistic practitioners at play.” “This set of guitar-piano duets is quietly emotional, always intriguing and quite original. His clear toned guitar blends in perfectly with Iago’s powerful piano and the two musicians often seem to think as one. Heartmony is quite thought provoking and well worthy of many close listens. Highly recommended.” – Scott Yanow “Hristo and Iago play together with the assurance born of long and fruitful collaboration. They know each other well, and it shows in the skillful way they complement each other. They take a beautiful melody and run with it. They wring every bit of emotion out of it. There are passages in a composition like “Memories in Black and White,” nocturnal moments in “The Last Leaves which Fell in Fall,” that sound like they could have been written by a nineteenth century Polish Romantic. Then there are moments in the same songs where there are glints of French Impressionists.” – Jack Goodstein (blogcritics.com) “Hristo is a gifted composer and master guitarist whose stylish approach to the music makes him a hidden wonder of the jazz world. Heartmony is an intelligent musical statement and gentle follow up to his previous works, a relaxing soulful musical experience sure to touch a piece of your heart.” – Ed Blanco (E-JAZZ NEWS) In January 2013, Hristo released “Familiar Fields” – his 5th record as a leader (and his 2nd quartet recording). The music presented in this session clearly displays the multidimensional tonal evolution of the band and each one of its individual members. The addition of drummer extraordinaire Mike Shannon to the quartet establishes a portal to new sonic landscapes and emotions to be explored in this collection of 9 original pieces by the guitarist. The music, which takes the listener through the realms of impressionistic, classical, jazz, experimental, and new age, always retains the unique sonic footprint that has brought critical acclaim to the quartet all over the world. “He paints a vivid pastoral landscape with epic sweep, often recalling the big-sky sound of Pat Metheny. Obviously, these musicians are more than comfortable with one another, as one delicate solo seamlessly segues into another.” – JAZZIZ
“Once again he has produced an immaculately crafted, often supremely beautiful album.” – The Jazz Mann (England)
“If Pat Metheny and Larry Carlton are considered the kings of impressionistic jazz guitar, then certainly Hristo is a crown prince and ready to lead a palace coup. In fact, “Familiar Fields” easily stands equal to even their greatest albums. Part of the reason for that has to be credited to Hristo’s choice of musicians in the quartet. The musical affinity and effortless grace shines forth on this album like few recordings I have ever heard. They share a single heart and mind that bursts forth in illumination on every track. There is no weak moment or weak player on this album.” – Travis Rogers (JAZZTIMES) “Over the past few years, Bulgarian-born, Bay Area-based guitarist and composer Hristo has consistently crafted music of great lyrical beauty. With his self-named quartet or quintet, or in duet with pianist and frequent collaborator Weber Iago, he has advanced a sound that manages to sound intimate and epic at the same time. He does so again on Familiar Fields (First Orbit Sounds), his latest recording with his quartet, which welcomes new member Mike Shannon on drums. As he has on previous recordings, He makes use of classical imagery and narratives in song titles such as “The Prophet’s Daughter,” “The Mask of Agamemnon” and “Wounded by a Poisoned Arrow,” the last of which is our selection. His instrumental voice bears echoes of the tonal warmth and big-sky sweep of Pat Metheny, as he and Iago, his beyond-simpatico musical compatriot, switch off on leads, riding the rolling hillocks of rhythm provided by Shannon and acoustic bassist Dan Robbins. Shannon proves an exceptional addition to the group, responding to and driving his companions in equal measure.” – JAZZIZ As jazz critic Hrayr Attarian describes: “Bulgaria-born and San Francisco-based Hristo has established himself as a modern day troubadour. His enchanting and fantastical tunes have the feel of medieval ballads abundantly peppered with futuristic sounds. His sixth release, Familiar Fields, presents nine impressionistic originals that showcase his maturing compositional skills as well as the superlative, improvisational talents of his working quartet. With each album he oeuvre ripens and becomes more sophisticated without losing its delightfully spirited edge. Familiar Fields not only stands on its own merit as sublime music but also whets the appetite for what is yet to come.”
“Familiar Fields is a highly intelligent, thought-provoking Impressionistic escapade.” – Nicholas Mondello (All About Jazz)
“This release is a clear statement from an artist comfortable with who he is and where he is going. There are no absolute truths in music but instead there are shades of gray which he and his quartet fill in with the precision of a surgeon and the soul of a true artist. Never caught up in the academics of his works, he instead conducts a sonic exploration with the end result being a release that gives up something new with each subsequent spin. An ebb and flow unmatched, or perhaps unlike him, an ebb and flow that other artists simply can not match. As close to perfect as it gets!” – Brent Black (CriticalJazz.com)
“The Hristo Quartet, ladies and gentlemen, is in peak form. They have no competition: no other music in the jazz idiom is quite as satisfying.” – Grady Harp (Amazon.com) “The musical bond between guitarist Hristo and pianist Weber Iago is as strong as that of Chick Corea and Gary Burton, with proof being their two sublime duet recordings, The Secrets of an Angel and Heartmony, as well as three small group sessions under his name. For the Familiar Fields quartet date with regular bassist Dan Robbins and new drummer Mike Shannon, chose nine gems to play from his vault of more than 270 original compositions. As usual, as one listens to his music, the words lyrical, impressionistic, spiritual, and passionate come to mind, and also his term "heartmony," which he defines as the simultaneous combination of feelings and emotions, especially when produced by experiences, memories, and stimulations pleasing to the heart, body, and soul." – Scott Albin (JAZZTIMES) “The emotional essence of any Hristo recording can be seen before it’s heard via the distinctive oil paintings the guitarist creates for his CD jackets. his artwork for Familiar Fields is impressionistic, haunting and autumnal, the same qualities that characterize his latest collection of tunes. The foursome’s interplay is highly intricate, resulting in emotive tunes that wax and wane in intensity. Whether you call it post-bop or post-fusion, his brand of jazz is passionate and ethereal. He has developed into a formidable guitarist and intelligent composer, and since he’s only 32 years old, his best work may be yet to come.” – Ed Kopp (Jazziz) “Within his tone and technique, it’s not difficult to hear the influences of Wes Montgomery, Pat Metheny and Lee Ritenour. He is adept at the full range of extended techniques but is most often described - justifiably - as an impressionist.” – Karl Ackermann (All About Jazz) “Of the many attributes that Bulgarian (San Francisco based) guitarist Hristo possesses - refined technical abilities, warm tonality, and expressive soulfulness - his gift to convey beautiful stories through intricate composition is always at the heart of his appeal.” – Mark F. Turner
In October 2013, Hristo released his 6th album as a leader. "Rhodopa" is a beautifully crafted sonic pairing of the extremely emotional and lyrical Bulgarian folklore and the multidimensional and deeply textured world of modern jazz harmony. On his new music journey, the guitarist is joined by virtuoso Bulgarian clarinetist Liubomir Krastev. As jazz critic Dan Bilawsky describes: “Hristo and Liubomir Krastev cover everything from the mystical to the mournful and the grim to the gleeful on this absorbing duo date.”
“Hristo takes improvisational music to a third dimension of texture you can feel. Rhodopa is my selection for album of the year for 2013. Critically acclaimed guitar virtuoso Hristo started the year with the release of the highly regarded Familiar Fields. With Rhodopa, has now assumed his rightful place as a global virtuoso of unrivaled talent and ability. As artistically gifted as he is technically proficient, Hristo moves to the head of the pack with this stellar outing.” – Brent Black (CriticalJazz.com)
“Hristo boldly departs from the group setting and gives the audience even more of what they crave - soulful arrangements and virtuosity with heart. There is a beauty and an elegance that comes through on each and every one of Hristo's recordings. The music he composes, the arrangements he crafts, the musicians that he assembles together and the dignity and reverence of his musicianship speak of the heart of the man and his love of life.” – Travis Rogers (JAZZTIMES)
As jazz critic Hrayr Attarian describes: “The warm, poetic tunes are like fairy tales in verse. They are imbued with nostalgia, and shimmer with a variety of muted colors and sentiments. Krastev's softly undulating tones waver against his vibrating strings in a spiritual celebration of abstract beauty. This thematically unified work is a genre bending, elegant and satisfying opus and a new high for he who continues to excel himself on each fresh release.”
“Modern jazz guitarist, pianist and composer Hristo always refreshes the ear and the soul with his inordinately sensitive, mesmerizing, and beautiful approach to music. He is unique - and artist who explores every avenue of approach to both folk music and jazz and the result is an experience that simply no one else can match.” – Grady Harp (Amazon.com)
“With Rhodopa, guitarist/composer Hristo and clarinetist Liubomir Krastev meld musical minds, dive exuberantly into an array of earthy Bulgarian folk material and come up with four hands of beauty. The result is a panoply of aural color, emotion, and technical artistry.” – Nicholas Mondello (All About Jazz)
As jazz critic Ed Blanco describes: "Rhodopa is an instrumental serenade of Bulgarian folklore music interpreted by a world-class guitarist and clarinetist. Hristo and Liubomir Krastev deliver an enchanting and relaxing escape from reality with a fifty-three minute encounter of soul-reaching music."
"You just won’t find a jazz guitarist (on the planet) these days who has such essential communication skills through his fingers. With Liubomir’s reeds, they form a cultural jazz experience that can’t be compared with anything else!" – Dick Metcalf (Improvijazzation Nation Magazine)
On top of leading his own quartet, quintet, duo projects, and co-leading the group SEVA, Hristo also co-writes and plays guitar with Joe De Rose and Amici - an energetic jazz/fusion formation lead by drummer Joe De Rose. Hristo has appeared on countless radio shows/programs all around the world.
Hristo has also performed in world-class jazz venues and festivals including Yoshi’s Jazz Club (Oakland, CA), Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society (Half Moon Bay, CA), Kuumbwa Jazz Center (Santa Cruz, CA), Anthology (San Diego, CA), Catalina Jazz Club (Hollywood, CA), The Jazz Corner (Hilton Head Island, SC), Heidi's Jazz Club (Cocoa Beach, FL), Alvas Showroom (San Pedro, CA), The Jazz Station (Eugene, OR), Egan's Ballard Jam House (Seattle, WA), Timucua White House (Orlando, FL), Ivories Jazz Club (Portland, OR), The Herbst Theater (San Francisco, CA), SOhO Jazz Club (Santa Barbara, CA), as well as major jazz festivals including the 53rd Monterey Jazz Festival (Monterey, CA), 2009/2010/2012/2013 AT&T San Jose Jazz Festival (San Jose, CA), 2010 and 2012 Redwood City “Jazz on Main” (Redwood City, CA), Okazaki Jazz Festival (Okazaki, Japan) and many more.
Hristo holds a B.A. in Music (Jazz Studies) from San Jose State University in San Jose, CA. He has also studied in the prestigious Roland Music Academy in Caracas, Venezuela.
Students can benefit from Hristo's completely amazing knowledge on the instrument as well as music/harmony theory. He will work and design unique and specific goals tailored to each student's individual interests. His dedication and passion for teaching are first class!!!
*** Lesson Details *** I design my lessons with the specific student goals in mind.
For Beginner students: we will start by exploring rhythm concepts and understanding how to read music. Learning the physics of the guitar and exploring the notes in the first few positions. Learning open position chords, and simple chords progressions, major and pentatonic scales,etc.
For Intermediate students: we will continue expanding our knowledge of the higher positions of the guitar, as well as develop better sight-reading skills. Bar cords and chord transposition, and music theory. Expanding our scalar vocabulary to modes, and minor scales. Learning arpeggios and classical etudes.
For Advance students: Close interval voicings, jazz improvisation, chord to scale relationships, and harmonic substitutions are some of the concepts we will cover. Learning solo guitar playing (chord melody), incorporating walking bass lines, transcription skill and arranging skills.
*** Studio Equipment *** A specific music room with a few guitars, a keyboard, amps, and recording equipment and music stands
*** Travel Equipment *** I provide my guitar and amp. Students should provide their guitars and amps (if needed)
*** Specialties *** I specialize in Jazz guitar, improvisation, harmonic studies and theory. Chord melodies, building lines, phrasing, voice-leading, chordal improvisation, and re-harmonization/substitution.
Kim L. April 26, 2014
Guitar Verified Student
Hristo is the most inspirational teacher I've every had the pleasure to learn from. He shares his talent in a way that I look forward to every lesson. His patience and positive reinforcement encourages me to keep practicing. He selects the appropriate music for my level and teaches all genres. Thank you for working with me every week. I hope I get to work with him for as long as I can until he becomes too famous to continue teaching us.
AllenH April 4, 2012
I've been taking lessons from Hristo for a couple of months now. He is friendly, affable, and extremely patient. I enjoy our lessons, and have learned quite a bit in the short time we have been working together.
JeanetteY March 7, 2012
wonderful instructor and very accomodating. We are appreciative of his talents!!
I recently completed my Master of Arts in Jazz Studies from San Jose State with an emphasis in drum set performance and jazz composition. I also completed my Bachelor of Music in Music Education from San Jose State where I mainly studied snare drum, timpani, and mallet percussion, but also studied the fundamentals in brass, woodwinds, strings, and voice. Additionally, I took private jazz drum set lessons to focus on becoming a versatile musician and teacher.
As an undergraduate student I had the opportunity to teach percussion courses at a music camp to students between the ages of 6 and
17 that had no prior music experience. I developed daily music lessons to help all the students understand musical concepts and performance techniques. This opportunity helped me understand the importance of teaching music to children and how every student has a different way of learning. I always strive to shape my teaching style to my students needs.
As a drummer, I love to perform many different styles such as Rock, Jazz, Latin, R&B, Funk, Blues, and Pop. I had the opportunity to play in the following ensembles while attending San Jose State University: Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble, directed by Three-time Grammy Nominee Wayne Wallace; Symphonic Band; Marching Band; Jazz Combos; and Percussion Ensemble. I have also played in various musicals throughout the Central Valley and Bay Area. Playing in all of these different ensembles has not only exposed me to variety of musical styles but also made me as comfortable playing in a group setting as in a solo context.
*** Lesson Details *** In my lessons I like to help students achieve their musical goals and also make it fun. Lessons will be tailored to the needs and interests of each individual student. I will teach students proper technique and warm-up exercises that will provide them the skills required for the instrument. We will also work on various musical exercises to help strengthen the student's music vocabulary. Students will learn drum grooves from different musical styles such as Rock, Funk, Blues, R&B, Latin, and Jazz according to their area of interest. I also like to have students play along with musical recordings to have them actively listening and exposed to different kinds of music. My goal is ensure that students enjoy every lesson but also that they take away a better understanding of playing the instrument and have fun.
*** Studio Equipment *** practice rooms w/ piano, drum set room, seating for parents. Parents are always welcome to sit in on the lessons.
*** Travel Equipment *** Drum students should have drum sticks, drum pad, and a binder to hold all music that is given during a lesson.
*** Specialties *** I specialize in drum set and orchestral percussion. Styles include: Rock, Jazz, Latin, R&B, Funk, Blues, and Pop.
I had the opportunity to play in the following ensembles while attending San Jose State University: Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble, directed by Three-time Grammy Nominee, Wayne Wallace, Symphonic Band, Marching Band, Jazz Combos, and Percussion Ensemble. I have also played in various musicals.
Mark D. February 25, 2013
Drum Verified Student
Best instructor I could have ever hoped for!
Matt is professional and courteous, friendly and patient.
He will tailor his instruction to your needs and level. He is not just an instructor to me anymore; he is now also a friend!
Tera N. November 27, 2012 Verified Student
Matt is very pacient with my son, and he has learned a lot in only 3 lessons. Having the lessons at SJSU has also got him talking about college. My son is loving learning from Matt.
Kat S., Soprano, has her Bachelor's of Music in Classical Voice, as well as teaching singing lessons in San Jose and Sacramento, CA. A member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, she strives to support her students in finding their voice, no matter what level they are at. A proponent of being able to use your voice healthily for all singing styles, she is versed in classical, jazz, musical theater, and pop styles. She also has experience teaching beginning theory.
Now a teacher for elementary school music in San Jose, CA, she is also a professional singer for Fremont Presbyte
rian in Sacramento. Previous jobs she's had are section leader for St. Mark's Methodist Church and director for music for young adult Masses at the Sacramento Newman Catholic Community. Her own private teacher is the renowned Dr. Robin Fisher, Soprano. Dr. Fisher is one of two classical voice instructors at CSU Sacramento, and has performed in both the United States and Europe.
Lesson Details: I teach from a comprehensive approach of taking into account mind and body: the science of voice as well as the artistic aspects.
Studio Equipment: - Piano - Multiple books of music for: classical or opera voice, jazz voice, musical theater, children's music
Travel Equipment: - Multiple books of music for: classical or opera voice, jazz voice, musical theater, children's music
Specialties: Opera - Jazz Voice - Pop - Folk - Classical
Valarie Watson July 21, 2015
In studio Verified Student
Personable, So skilled!
LauraAmy Marise P. June 14, 2015
In home Verified Student
Katherine not only is a very professional and thorough teacher, but she is a very lovely person as well. I felt comfortable right away, I would absolutely recommend her to other singers wanting to learn or brush up!!!
Michelle C. May 11, 2015
Online Verified Student
Katherine was a wonderful instructor for my 7 year old little girl. She is very patient and understanding. I appreciate how positive she is and the uplifting encouragement she provided my daughter. Once school starts back in the fall, we hope to see Katherine again for more lessons. I can't say enough about how great she is and I'm so glad we chose her. You will not be disappointed if you choose her!
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