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Avenel, NJ Songwriting Lessons

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About Erica S.

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Belleville, NJ
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Learn how to discover the creative potential you already have in you and channel it to create your own personal music with a well-rounded teacher who specializes in composing and arranging.

The process of composition is a very individual and tailored path, and there isn't a set way of approaching composition. It is tailored to the student's strengths and weaknesses, musical interests, and the way a student approaches music (intuitive vs. analytical). But things I often cover are analysis of music the student enjoys, figuring out pieces by ear (having a strong ear is very important to the composition process), creating pieces based on moods or images, working on forming a piece and telling a story, and orchestration.

If composing is your interest I often have you keep a journal and ask you to listen to some music you like, and write down some things you like about what you hear, and then try to figure out what they're doing. These things help you discover what you love about ...

About Erica
Hi! My name is Erica, and I am a private lesson teacher, composer, arranger, and pianist currently living, writing, performing, and teaching in North Jersey. I believe that by having such a versatile musical background, I will be able to understand different needs and interests you may have and help you begin or continue your musical journey and reach your goals.

I currently teach 30 private piano and composition students in North New Jersey, and I am consistently inspired by all the progress all my students have made! My students have played classical pieces in recitals, played in jazz combos with other student musicians, written music that was performed by professional ensembles, learned how to play ragtime, and more. No two students have gone down the same path, because the curriculum was developed around the individual.

As a com
poser, I've penned over 15 charts for Jazz Ensemble, in addition to several charts for Studio Orchestra, Jazz Combos, Chamber Groups, Vocal Groups, and Film, and I've won a few awards, including 1st Place in the International Zurich Jazz Orchestra Composition Competition, a 2011 ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award, and a 2012 ASCAP Plus Award. I co-lead a jazz orchestra that has performed in several NYC clubs. My pieces have also been performed by her own chamber group "Community of the Spirit," Kurt Elling and the Metropole Orchestra the Zurich Jazz Orchestra, Todd Coolman's Quintet, the Eastman Jazz Ensemble and Studio Orchestra, Bernie Williams and the William Paterson Jazz Orchestra, Weapons of Jazz Destruction, and others.

I've also been inspired by many teachers along the way. I have a BM in Jazz Writing (Composition) with high distinction from the Eastman School of Music, and an MM in Jazz Arranging from William Paterson University. My composition and piano teachers have included Jim McNeely, Bill Dobbins, Rich DeRosa, Harold Danko, Raymond Torres-Santos, Tony Caramia, and Adrien Cohen, and I am a current member of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop in NYC.

I'm a very passionate teacher and I'm excited to begin your musical journey!

*** Lesson Details ***
In addition to a customized lesson plan (dependent on your goals, strengths, weaknesses, and interests) you get introduced to a wide variety of styles and concepts. Some of the things you will do in your musical adventure with me include:

1) Learn classical pieces ranging from short Bach Minuets if you're a beginner, to Chopin Nocturnes and Bach Preludes and Fugues if you're advanced.
2) Learn the "why" behind music... Why does this sound quirky? Where does the musical statement end? What harmony is the composer using?
3) Write your own music. We might take a new concept you learned, and you may compose a song based on it. Or you may have your own ideas, and I'll help you take them to the next level.
4) Learn to improvise and learn how to play some jazz. You will play over blues and learn jazz standards. You will also learn how to play by ear.
5) Learn basic conducting.

*** Studio Equipment ***
home: fully-weighted keyboard, seating for parents, music stands, sheet music, printer (for printing custom handouts), free wi-fi
music studio : fully-weighted keyboard, seating for parents, music stands, sheet music, printer (for printing custom handouts), free wi-fi

*** Specialties ***
I teach classical and jazz, and usually like to incorporate both into lessons at some point, even if the student may have a greater interest in one of these (so you don't have the classical pianist that has never played one note not written in the music or doesn't know how to spell a simple major triad, and you don't have a jazz pianist whose reading skills is not up to par, and has no regard for tone/touch). Typically students not only read classical repertoire (Bach, Beethoven, Bartok, Kabelevsky, etc.) but also learn how to improvise over a blues, read a lead sheet, and figure music out by ear. I'm also comfortable with rock styles.

I also have a lot of experience accompanying (musical theatre, instrumental, vocal...) and I like teaching the student how to follow a soloist. I teach students how to read lead sheets so they can read whatever they may get from a vocalist, and I teach chord theory so that they can easier recognize patterns in music when playing with an instrumentalist or vocalist.

I incorporate composition and theory into lessons, usually in conjunction with whatever piece they are learning (explain what type of chords are in their piece, or explain how they move, or why something may sound discordant or may go somewhere expected, or I may teach them phrases in music just like sentences work in English.) I definitely, however, work with students who are more serious in composition as well and talk about how to develop their pieces, how to create ideas, how to get out of a "writers block," orchestration techniques, encourage them to expand their instrumentation, etc.
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Reviews
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Angela L. August 25, 2017
· Piano · In studio
Erika is the best. She has great sense of music, she made you thinking more than just playing the music on piece of paper! I highly recommend her.
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Angela L. May 20, 2017
· Piano · In home
Erika is pretty nice and professional piano teacher. As a beginner, I have great confidence in growing my piano skill with her.
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Doris U. September 25, 2015
· Piano · In studio
She is excelent.I enjoyed her classes
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Erica S.

Erica S.

Belleville, NJ 07109
(6)
starting at
$35 / 30-min

About Christina A.

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Plainfield, NJ

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Students will learn how to use their vocabulary as well as musical sequences and themes to create songs.

About Christina
My studio is based on the belief that our customers' needs are of the utmost importance. We are committed to meeting those needs. We would welcome the opportunity to earn your trust and deliver you the best service in the industry! With over 14 years of teaching experience in both the classroom and privately, my lessons are comprehensive, diverse and individually tailored to each student.

Ms. Tina was born and raised in North Plainfield, NJ and attended college at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ where she received a BM in Musical Theater. Music is not just a job for Ms. Tina...it's a passion.

I continually strive to encourage and motivate my students to explore their individual talents and abilities to their fullest and to have fun! I look forward to work with you and
your family to achieve your music education goals!
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Nicholas C. February 21, 2017
· Flute · In home
Excellent, great with 4 year old!!!
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Peter W. February 15, 2017
· Saxophone · In home
We became friends, Then as a student I learned a lot and I have a lot to look forward to as I progress with my practicing I cant wait to practice on my own, The teacher was filled with knowledge on the sax I am glad I found Christina and look forward to my next lesson because Christina was easy to work with and no pressure.
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Zsofia December 9, 2016
· Violin · In home
Christina was excellent. She was on prompt nice and interacted nicely with my daughter. I would definitely recommend her.
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Christina A.

Christina A.

Plainfield, NJ 07063
(5)
starting at
$35 / 30-min

About Juan C.

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New York, NY

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About Juan
New York city composer and guitarist Juan Calderon is a native of Ecuador raised in Colombia. He immigrated to Miami at age 20 to escape the political climate of the late 90’s, and resides in Manhattan since 2008.

Juan’s music blends elements from his unique life experiences, having been raised as an only child by a single mother in a bohemian environment. He was a recording and touring rock guitarist in Colombia, and he has studied East Asian music extensively, inspired by interaction with musicians and artists in China, Japan, and Indonesia.

His latest accomplishments include a performance of his composition “Reino Incierto” at Carnegie Hall (2015) and Sounds of the City, as well as a performance of his guitar quartet composition “Rising” by the UK guitar quartet.

Juan Calderon currently studies classical guitar with Mark D
elPriora, chair of the Guitar Department at the Manhattan School of Music, where he earned a master degree in composition. His mentors include composers Susan Botti, Reiko Fueting, and electronic music pioneer Joel Chadabe. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Florida, where he studied jazz guitar with Tom Lippincott, and composition with Susan Epstein-Garcia.

Juan is also an avid cartoonist, collector of rare books and little cars, food adventurer and runner.

*** Lesson Details ***
Guitar teaching encompasses many disciplines. One has to be a bit of a psychologist in order to gauge a potential student needs and musical sensibilities. The mathematical aspect of musical notation and rhythm makes us part mathematicians. In the end, there is also a self-actualizing aspect to guitar teaching in the sense that we are always witness to those moments that made us decide a career on music.
During my years of guitar teaching I have encountered many types of students, and I have learned from them as much as they have learned from me as they make me question aspects of music that I would have never thought about. I have learned to not take for granted the definition of concepts such as rhythm and harmony, and to look at guitar technique from different perspectives as I find ways to accommodate to a student’s capabilities. Ultimately, it is also a job that requires a lot of planning and structure. My first step, generally, is to assess the student’s ability and interest to find material suitable for them. Then, I proceed to familiarize with the student’s musical tastes and sensibilities to assign practice material accordingly. For example, if the student is interested in rock or pop music, we will work on a particular song that fits his level and also solves a particular technical problem. During that process I will answer any of the student’s questions, and provide insight into musical terminology. We will also work on basic concepts of rhythm, melody, and harmony. My training as a composer and jazz guitarists also enables me to tap into the student’s creative side. In that case, we would start with a basic blues progression and blues scales, and work on the basics of improvisation or songwriting.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Basement studio w/ small keyboard, amp, acoustic guitar, 3 electric guitars, music books w/ seating for parents and lots of magazines!

*** Travel Equipment ***
I provide music sheets, students should have an instrument, tuner, paper, pencil, and a metronome.

*** Specialties ***
I teach fundamentals of music theory, principles of jazz improvisation, classical guitar technique and repertoire, song writing, pop songs, sight reading, and overall musicianship, as well as Jazz, Rock, Blues, Bossa Nova, and other Latin Styles.
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Reviews
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Dawn G. July 13, 2016
· Guitar · In studio
Juan is wonderful and very knowledgeable in music. He is very patient and makes you feel comfortable. I leave a lesson feeling like I am accomplished and relaxed. It nice to see progress in such a little time. I go home with enthusiasm to learn more and want practice to do so.
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Chrystine R. February 14, 2016
· Classical Guitar · In studio
With a patient and intuitive approach, Juan tailors each lesson to fit not only the student’s skill level, but also desire for depth of understanding. When I first began taking lessons, I was only able to plunk a few chords and play along with a few basic songs. However, over the course of a year and a half with Juan, I gained a foundational knowledge of the classical guitar, as well as the confidence to site read and play a range of other styles of guitar music. He seamlessly integrated music theory concepts into song studies, helping me learn major/minor scales and chord shapes, and then apply this knowledge to better understand song structures and composition. It has been such a great experience learning from Juan, especially because he is both an exemplary teacher and guitar player!
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Dionne T. May 4, 2015
· Guitar · In studio
Juan is awesome. He makes learning guitar easy and never complicates it .. and makes it fun. He's a great teacher.
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Juan C.

Juan C.

New York, NY 10027
(9)
starting at
$40 / 30-min

About Martin N.

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Brooklyn, NY
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About Martin
Hello students and parents!

I have been teaching bass, guitar, and piano for over 10 years and have been playing all those instruments for over 12 years. I have experience teaching kids as young as five as well as adults. I enjoy having a variety of students.

I received a Bachelors in Music from Manhattan School of Music where my major was Jazz Bass Performance. I also studied a wide range of other subjects including piano, composition, and arranging. I am currently in my second year of a Masters in Music Education at Teachers College (Columbia University).

I am very passionate about music as well as teaching and I want to inspire my students.

I play with a variety of artists in New York City and have toured extensively both nationally and internationally.

I have performed with artists including Ethan Iverson, Albert "Tooti
e" Heath, Billy Hart, Greg Osby, Jason Moran, Dave Liebman, Steve Wilson, Ambrose Akinmusire and Aaron Parks and have studied with teachers including Jay Anderson, David Grossman, Larry Grenadier and Ben Street.

I look forward to helping you grow as a musician and learning from you as well!

All the best,
Martin

*** Lesson Details ***
My primary mission is to help you accomplish the goals you have set for yourself. Within the first lesson I want to learn what you hope to achieve. I always ask my students what music they love and want to learn more about.

I want to use the music that you connect with to help you grow on your instrument. I will also teach you the techniques needed to play the instrument and expose you to the different styles possible on the instrument.

I tailor my teaching to each student's needs, concerns, strengths and weaknesses. I use a variety of teaching tools, including books and recordings, based on what I think will help you.

I am very patient, fun, and engaging. I guarantee that within 1 lesson you will feel inspired and ready to embark on an exciting musical journey.

*** Studio Equipment ***
The studio lessons take place in the living room with a piano, upright bass, and guitar. Seating is available.

*** Travel Equipment ***
I use public transportation. I expect the student to provide an instrument and if possible, the book we are working through. Otherwise I will provide the book.

*** Specialties ***
I specialize in jazz, but can teach classical, rock, pop, funk, r and b,
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Martin N.

Martin N.

Brooklyn, NY 11225
starting at
$40 / 30-min

About Karl K.

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New York, NY

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Learn how to dress your (or others) words in music.

About Karl
Professional internationally touring musician for 20+ years, Classical, Broadway, Experimental, Early music. Bachelor of Music; Norwegian State Academy, Master's of Music; Mannes College of Music, Doctor of Musical Arts; Stony Brook University (expected completion Spring 2015). Faculty positions held at Rowan University, NJ, University of Tennessee, TN, University of Akron, OH, International Festival Institute, TX, Siena Summer Music, Siena, Italy
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Denise November 3, 2017
· Bridge · Online
Karl was explained things in a way I completely understood. He patiently and thoroughly addressed all my questions; and, didn't mind my interruptions or requests to repeat himself.
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Ed October 6, 2017
· Bridge · In studio
Full of information
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Michael August 23, 2017
· Bridge · Online
A very helpful session!
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Karl K.

Karl K.

New York, NY 10034
(11)
starting at
$40 / 30-min
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About James R.

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North Brunswick, NJ

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You don't need to be a musician to be a Songwriter, But it does Help if you are an artist and want to maintain control of how your Songs are Played. You achieve what you want in some cases buy just having a Basic understand of Music, Chords, & Chord Progressions.

About James
PLEASE READ : Thank you.

I'm a trained Musician (Private Lessons) and have been Studying & Teaching for over 37 years. I've taught, Recorded & Played everywhere from small to Large venues from NJ, NY to CA and back. So you don"t just get the Lesson, You also get all that culture and experience along with it in every Lesson you take. All Lessons are done at my Music School, located in North Brunswick, NJ which I am the Owner and Head Teacher at the School. I do offer Lessons through Skype as well if for some reason it's more convenient for you. I Guarantee you"ll learn more studying with me in one year, then with anyone else around. I Pride myself in giving my student 100% my undivided attention in every Lesson. The School is equipped with a Class A Recording Studio (which I incorporate into the Lessons) so you not only get a Great Less
ons but you'll also get the experience of working and being recorded in a Professional Recording Studio. You will learn a lot in a very short period of time, but you will also have a lot fun doing it as well. For The person interested in learning Guitar I'll teach you to Understand that you'll Develop Correctly, and Much Faster By always practicing on the Acoustic Guitar, and then if you'd like to go and play or perform on the Electric Guitar, you'll be 100% Better as a Musician then if you just played only on the Electric Guitar. That is a Key element to what all the Professionals Musicians like myself do.
I Look forward to working with you to Help you attain the goals you set out to achieve.
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Rob December 9, 2017
· Guitar · In studio
When my 7-year-old son asked for guitar lesson's, my wife and I were at a loss. As we are not musically inclined at all. We found Jimmy from a friends recommendation and could not be happier. Our son, loves his lesson's with Jimmy, he is learning music theory , how to read music and how to make his guitar sing (for a 7-year-old, at least). Jimmy is very patient and attentive to the needs of such a small learner. We would highly recommend him to anyone looking to play.
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Walter November 18, 2017
· Mandolin · In studio
Jim is a very good instructor for me. He has great patience with me and proceeds in an orderly professional manner.
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Ace October 21, 2017
· Ukulele · In studio
Very professional and knowledgeable in the field. Highly recommend.
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James R.

James R.

North Brunswick, NJ 08902
(86)
starting at
$45 / 30-min

About Matthew G.

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Ridgewood, NY
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Learn how to write a song, whether starting from a catchy chord progressions or a melody you can't get out of your head. Once your song is complete, we will record a track for you to share with friends and family.

About Matthew
Hello! My name is Matthew and I am offering piano and voice lessons in your home or my studio. All lessons focused on student's goals and interests. Learn to sight read, play the blues, sing a show tune! I have been working professionally in the performing arts and have 20 years of experience working with all ages, from children to adults, and all levels, from beginners to professionals. I am always thrilled to help a young person uncover their musical ability, guide the experienced musician to further their proficiency, or provide the hobbyist with a fun, creative environment to explore the music they've always loved.
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Peri L. October 19, 2017
· Logic Pro Software · Online
Matthew wasreally nice and kind.
Very patient too
Knowledgeable as well🙏🙏🙏🙏
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Kayla September 30, 2017
· Piano · In studio
My 7 year old daughter loved her lesson!
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Crystal C. September 25, 2017
· Singing · In home
I LOVE LOVE Matthew. Im so lucky to have him as a teacher. If you're looking for the best teacher for singing or piano lessons I highly recommend him.
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Matthew G.

Matthew G.

Ridgewood, NY 11385
(30)
starting at
$40 / 30-min

About Dan S.

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Montclair, NJ
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Dan S holds a diploma in Modern Guitar Performance from La Musique Academy International and a Bachelors of Music in Guitar Performance and Jazz from Montclair State University. Dan Has been teaching since 2008 and brings both structure and a fully customizable approach to teaching, making sure you learn what you want and what you need to know to accomplish any musical dream. Dan has extensive experience working with children and teens as well as adults.

About Dan
Dan S. holds a diploma in Modern Guitar Performance from La Musique Academy International and a Bachelors of Music in Guitar Performance and Jazz from Montclair State University. Dan Has been teaching since 2008 and brings both structure and a fully customizable approach to teaching, making sure you learn what you want and what you need to know to accomplish any musical dream. He has extensive experience working with children.

At age 9 Dan began studying such instruments as the viola, saxophone, piano and guitar. By the age 12 he identified more with the guitar and chose it as his primary instrument of musical expression. Dan is currently playing venues in and around NYC and the metropolitan area, jamming with some of the best live musicians around. He has also performed in France and looks forward to tour more of Europe.

His musica
l influences range from The Blues, Pop, RnB, Rock and EDM. This range of music continues to influence his writing and vocal styling developing a sound that is truly unique.
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Reviews
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Patrick F. August 9, 2016
· Guitar · In home
I've taken guitar lessons from a few teachers and Dan is the best fit I've ever had. He is very patient and does a fantastic job of tailoring lessons to individual needs. He clearly loves to play music and is very thoughtful about how he shares this knowledge in his lessons. He never fails to encourage me as a guitar player and reinforces a 'can do' attitude. His positive and calm demeanor also make for a fantastic instructor. Thank you, Dan.
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Patrick F. July 13, 2016
· Guitar · In home
Dan is a patient instructor who is always encouraging. He also makes the lessons fun. I appreciate how he customizes each lesson for my needs.
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Maria B. May 3, 2016
· Guitar · In home
First lesson was a great experience for my kids. They are practicing on their own!!! I could tell they couldn't wait for their next lesson. Thank you Dan!!!
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Dan S.

Dan S.

Montclair, NJ 07042
(13)
starting at
$40 / 30-min

About Gerald Edward B.

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Brooklyn, NY
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I am a graduate of Berklee College of Music and have been teaching guitar for 15 years. I like introducing students to a wide variety of music to play: jazz, folk, rock, blues, classical, and more. I take pride in shaping young beginners, as well as guiding more experienced musicians to becoming better guitarists.

In songwriting lessons, we'll develop the skills to creatively use melody, harmony, and form. Arranging and ensemble techniques will also be explored.

About Gerald Edward
Gerald earned his Bachelor's Degree from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, where he graduated magna cum laude. In 2005, he returned to the New York area to perform professionally. He released two solo album and has toured throughout the U.S. For the past 10 years, he's been the lead guitarist and singer for the Platinum Soul Band, performing classical, jazz, and pop music for weddings. He also works steadily as a "fill-in" for many of the Hank Lane bands performing at events throughout the Tri-State Area.

Since 2006, Gerald has been on the guitar faculty at Westerhoff School of Music and Art in Metuchen, NJ as a private instructor. He's also taught general music classes, grades K through 6, at St. Paul's School in Princeton, NJ . Gerald moved to Ditmas Park, Brooklyn in 2012, drawn by its thriving music and arts community. He fou
nded Ditmas Park Guitar in 2014 and aims to inspire students to grow, not only as guitarists, but also as well-rounded musicians.
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Kym October 19, 2015
· Acoustic Guitar ·
My 11 year-old son really loves his guitar lessons with Gerald. Gerald is understanding and patient, and he makes learning guitar interesting and fun for kids, with a thoughtful combination of classical and rock & roll material. He's serious with his students when warranted, and playful and funny when it makes sense to be. When I told my son that I was writing this review, he got excited and asked me to write, "Gerald's the best!" I do believe he's right:)
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Gerald Edward B.

Gerald Edward B.

Brooklyn, NY 11226
(1)
starting at
$40 / 30-min

About Christiaan S.

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New York, NY

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I've co-written songs with Chris Eaton (Janet Jackson, Keith Urban, Amy Grant) and Jay Stolar. I can help you make the track and write the lyric.

About Christiaan
Christiaan Smith, former Gaston in the Broadway tour of Beauty and the Beast, was kicked out of opera school for singing jazz with Miles Davis' bassist but still went on to sing opera in Pavarotti's home town in Italy and work with opera legend Marilyn Horne and composer Jake Heggie. Now he's in New York studying with Lady Gaga's teacher and singing his own arrangements of Ed Sheeran, Maroon 5, and John Mayer at Carnegie Hall while writing and recording pop songs in Nashville and the U.K.
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Gian December 8, 2017
· Ableton · In studio
Christiaan was so helpful and knowledgeable about Ableton software. He helped me navigate and load new sounds, as well as work on some original music with such ease. He has an amazing grasp of music composition that strengthens the what one can do with this software. i really gained a lot from my lesson.
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Jan December 6, 2017
· Vocal Training · Online
I have always enjoyed singing and never had formal training. Christiaan is a patient and encouraging instructor. I learned so much about control and breathing in a short time. He has such extensive knowledge to share.
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Jessica December 6, 2017
· Singing · In home
Christiaan is an awesome instructor. He guides me through the most informative and productive lessons! Highly recommend him to anyone looking to improve at any level!
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Christiaan S.

Christiaan S.

New York, NY 10005
(5)
starting at
$125 / 30-min

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Writing songs is hard enough work without having to deal with songwriters' block! To help you find inspiration for your next song, we created this easy personality quiz. Take the quiz and find out what your next hit single will be about... For more songwriting tips and songwriting prompts, check out our infographic guide 25 Ways to Break Free from Songwriters' Block! Share your songwriting ideas, struggles, triumphs, and questions in the comments below.   Interested in
How To Write a Song Today: 4 Easy Steps
Learning how to write a song is easier than you think! Greeley, CO teacher Andy W. outlines the steps here...  Don’t you wish you could write a song that tells your own story - whether it’s about love, hardships, or finding humor in life? There’s no reason that you can’t do that today! To help get you started, here are four easy steps to writing your own song: 1. Play chords or a riff. 2. Sing or hum over the harmony. 3. Repeat steps 1-2 to form a chorus and then a bridge. 4. Place
5 Reasons Why Songwriters Should Collaborate
This article was originally published on Soundfly and is being shared as part of Songwriting Week! Join the conversation on social media (#SongwritingWeek) for even more tips, articles, and resources.   So many musicians and songwriters stress the importance of collaboration. But without knowing how collaboration could benefit your work, why would you share an idea you’ve spent countless hours thinking about, only to open yourself up to criticism? As it turns out, all those advice

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