I've played guitar since I was eight years old and various other stringed instruments for several years. I love the banjo sound and played a bit on my original album Heliotropism. I'd love to help novice players get their feet wet with the instrument, strumming and plucking away at their favorite songs.
I studied music at UCF (Orlando), focusing on classical and jazz guitar, but I also have years of experience playing rock, blues, folk, hip-hop, and musical theater on both guitar and drums.
I have been teaching guitar, drums, and piano for about eight years to students of all ages. Music is what I'm passionate about and it's what I enjoy. I want to inspire that same passion into the hearts and minds of others.
*** Lesson Details *** I am a laid-back teacher, fun, and I focus on the needs, abilities, and ambitions of the student. In turn, students must realize that learning an instrument takes a lot of work and dedication. One can't expect to learn very much if s/he only practices or thinks about the instrument during the lesson. If the student is willing to put some time into practicing, then I will help them go far!
o Equipment *** I have several guitars, a drum kit, djembe, mandolin, clarinet and full-size keyboard.
*** Specialties *** Guitar: Classical, jazz, American or Irish folk, rock and pop; lead or rhythm. Drums & Percussion: All genres Piano: Classical (includes sight reading)
-5 string Bluegrass (Earl Scruggs technique) -Tenor banjo (plectrum techniques) -Plectrum banjo (plectrum techniques) -Bluegrass, Country, Blues and Folk -Gullah Geechee, North Indian classical music and other world music rhythms
Professor Nick R. (guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, dobro/resonator/slide, lap steel, tenor guitar, baritone resonator, bass, drums, composition) is currently the adjunct professor at Essex College, Jazz clinician for over 19 years via Kupferberg Center (Queens College) and has been on the staff at Great Neck Music Conservatory. Nick has given lectures at Manhattanville College, at Queens College and at schools, nationally.
Nick has been a sideman with Antonique Smith, Jon Batiste, Rob Morrow, John Lithgow, Russell Hall, Vince Giordano & The Nighthawks, Marcus Miller (a new film), Moroccan vocalist/composer, Malika Zarra, Bill Charlap, Frank Vignola, Victor Jones and Cultur-versy, Jim Nolet (Jazz Passengers), Jennifer Jade Ledesna, the late greats Jimmy McGriff, Teddy Charles, Sonny Dallas, Joe Ascione and continues to play for Th
e Hot Sardines, Andrew Nemr (tap dancer), Miles Griffith's New Ting, Terry Waldo, Dandy Wellington, New Orleans’ Aurora Nealand, Gordon Au's Grand St Stompers, Mona's Hot Four, Dr. David Pleasant, Jon Weber, John Colianni, Kim Clarke, Raphael McGregor, Anastasia Rene, Indian/pop singer, Meetu Chilana, & many others.
Nick has played extensively with Malika Zarra, including her Ebony Road CD release with Harvey Wirht, Mamadou Ba, Brahim Frigane and other great world musicians. As a pupil of Pandit Samir Chatterjee, Nick continues to study Indian music, plays harmonium, box tanpura (soon sitar and oud!) and jams with grammy nominated producer/composer/Indian percussionist, Deep Singh (tabla player with Sting) and grammy nominated producer/trumpet player/composer, Frank London on a regular basis.
Nick has also played extensively with ELEW years before, when he was jazz pianist, Eric Lewis and trombonist, Clark Gayton as sideman in various bands, including the James Brown tribute band with the late great, Black Velvet (Charles Bradley) led by Victor Jones.
Nick currently leads/MC's 3 bands: Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches, Hot Jazz Jumpers and NickR+11
Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches (with Betina Hershey) album, Get Us Out Of Fearland: #2 album, #2 artist, #5 song with 6 of our songs in top 20 on April 2018 International Folk Music DJs Radio chart!
Over the past two year, Banjo Nickaru Western Scooches has built a solid following in the Eastern U.S. with a half dozen tours while also playing such prestigious events such as NBC affiliate Kansas City TV, Falcon Ridge Fest, Kansas City Folk Fest (main stage), Folk Alliance International, NERFA, WFUV Sunday Supper, Jon Platt's On Your Radar, Blue Plate Special, WMOT Finally Friday, WNCW Studio B Sessions, WoodSongs, Isis Music Hall, the Mid-Winter Folk Fest at Club Passim and recent January 2019 APAP showcase in NYC.
“Nick has worked with artists all over the jazz spectrum. His latest release brings a decidedly unorthodox approach.” DOWNBEAT ⋆⋆⋆⋆
"....the inimitable Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches"
— John Platt (WFUV)
“A heart as big as the sky…full of high energy and higher spirits.” -Elmore Magazine
“A band that has to be seen to be believed.” — John Platt (WFUV)
"They go back to basics with songs that bask in a genuine roots regimen and a sense of timeless tradition." Elmore Magazine
"Americana music at its purest and most impressive." No Depression
“Unfailingly high-spirited." LONDON TIMES
"...Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches are ridiculously fun." Rambles.
-Down Beat magazine 2006 Ro review plus [Jan/Feb 2016] Hot Jazz Jumpers' "The Very Next Thing" DVD/CD review
-Jazz Insider magazine current issue [Dec 2015] 2.5 page interview
-Just Jazz Guitar magazine interview [February 2015 issue]
-Vanity Fair magazine (August 2013) interview
"Summer of 2013, Nick R. performed at Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin's home. It was an honor to meet Paul McCartney and jam with him while he played toy harmonica. Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Iridium, Bluenote, Birdland, U.N., IAJE, Cape Cod Jazz Festival, NJPAC, Sweet Rhythm, Smalls, Zinc Bar, Smoke Jazz Club, internationally: Japan, Spain, Russia, Brasil, St. Kitts, Canada, France, Bermuda, Sweden, Israel
-Toured/recorded and/or worked as sideman with Antonique Smith, Jon Batiste (from the Colbert show), Jimmy McGriff, Teddy Charles, Bill Charlap, Sonny Dallas, Victor Jones and Cultur-versy, Vince Giordano & The Night Hawks, Frank Vignola/Joe Ascione, Miles Griffith, David Pleasant, Jim Nolet (former violinist for the Jazz Passengers), Dandy Wellington, Jon Weber, Aurora Nealand (from New Orleans), Anastasia Rene, Mona's Hot Four, Gordon Au's Grand Street Stompers, Michael Arenella's Dreamland Orchestra, with Jesse Gelber, Raphael McGregor, Emily Asher's Garden Party, and many other groups.
-Appears in Sam Mendes Film "Away We Go"
-Movie Soundtrack: King George.
-Guitar/banjo: "Jew Grows in Brooklyn," "Take Me Along," "The Big Apple Circus" + others.
-Banjo/Guitar Chair: "New Girl In Town" (Irish Rep Theatre)
M.A. from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College (partial scholarship)
B.S. from S.U.N.Y. Stony Brook, graduated magna cum laude. Dean's list all semesters
-Published interview (book): A New Face of Jazz (Cicily Janus)
-Playing guitar/banjo on first episode of new PBS cartoon "Peg and Cat"
- Current adjunct professor at Essex College
-Guest lecturing professor at Manhattanville College
-Substitute adjunct professor at Queens College
-Winning participant: I.A.J.E. with Miles Griffith's New Ting 2007. Performance and educational certificate granted.
-Winning participant; part-scholarship award: 2004 International Jazz Workshop at BANFF Centre, Canada (dir, Dave Douglas)
-Winning participant; full-scholarship award of the 2001 JAS academy in Aspen Colorado (dir, Christian McBride (Down Beat Dec. 2001)
-Studying Bol (Indian rhythmic system) with tabla player, Pandit Samir Chatterjee 2006-2007; 2013-current
-Studied with Pat Martino, Billy Bauer, Ben Monder, Tony Purrone, Pete Bernstein, Dr. Stephen Salerno, Dr. David Belser
-Studying African Rhythms with drummer, Harvey Wirht
*** Lesson Details *** With over 20 years teaching experience, Nick is patient with children & adults. He has a creative, unique pedagogy emphasizing hearing through singing, ear-training & natural, organic listening. Nick instills healthy absorption of music while students have fun learning their music, sight reading, internalizing with focus on rhythm and time. As a student, you will get to work on music that you, the student select as well as work on sight-reading, technique, ear-training. We will also work out of method books and use other sources of information.
*** Studio Equipment *** Chairs, music stands, instrument stands, classical foot pedals, classical guitar pillows, guitar amps, guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, drum set. Students usually provide their own instruments but it's possible to borrow an instrument during the lesson at the studio on the first lesson. (free street parking right in front!)
*** Specialties *** Nick's pedagogy emphasizes ear-training, singing, reading and truly hearing the music we are working on. Rather than rote teaching and guitar tablature, he instills natural listening, transcribing, sight-reading and proper technique. Lessons are always enjoyable as Nick observes each student's unique needs and listen's to their song preferences and musical goals. Students have the opportunity to learn pieces and genres they select and they are trained to figure out tunes by ear (ear-training) and transcribe.
-classical guitar and Brazilian guitar (nylon 6 string and nylon 7 string guitar) -acoustic steel string guitar, electric 6 string and electric 7 string guitar - jazz guitar + an eclectic mix of styles: blues, Brazilian music, Latin Jazz, Afro-Peruvian, Indian music, rock, heavy metal, funk, R & B, Motown, reggae + other genres. - tenor banjo (traditional jazz, jazz from New Orleans, Dixieland and world music) -5 string banjo (Earl Scruggs finger picking [bluegrass and country]) -tenor guitar -ukulele -mandolin -resonator slide/dobro. -lap steel -baritone resonator (slide)
This was my first lesson with Nick. He is a very nice guy. He created a calm, relaxed atmosphere in his studio, and he was clear when he gave me particular instructions. His knowledge of music theory in general, and of the five-string banjo in particular, was quite impressive. I would recommend him highly to both a beginner and to anyone (like myself) who is in need of a refresher course. I am very much looking forward to my next lesson.
April 2, 2019
Nick Russo is a fantastic tutor for kids and adults who would like to learn Ukulele, guitar, banjo or other instruments. He makes ‘learning fun’ he's friendly and cheerful. I don’t have any background in music but, Nick made it easy for me to understand the notes and how it works. I always look forward to every lesson. I Highly recommended Nick to everyone.
March 22, 2019
I’ve been taking guitar lessons with Nick now for a few months and it’s been a terrific experience — cannot say enough good things. Each lesson builds on the last and Nick tailors them to my ability and musical interests mixing in enough music theory, which makes learning both productive and enjoyable. Most importantly I feel like I’m beginning to understand how music works and not just blindly memorizing patterns or scales. I considered online courses before choosing Nick, but there’s no substitution for one-to-one instruction. Nick’s feedback and instruction are invaluable.
I was a little concerned about trying to pick up guitar in my early 40s, but its been a rewarding experience so far and I’m looking forward to more lessons with Nick.
I have been playing bluegrass banjo for over 20 years, and have performed for events such as Thanksgiving dinners at hotels, folk clubs, bluegrass festivals, and fundraisers. In addition to playing and teaching banjo, I play and teach guitar and piano, with guitar being my main instrument. I am no Earl Scruggs, but I am a great teacher for beginners and intermediate players. As a teacher, I am patient, intuitive, and always tailor the lessons to fit the interests and learning styles of each individual student.
*** Travel Equipment *** I do not typically provide any equipment - but I am willing to select and purchase books for the students to learn from (cost of books to be reimbursed by the student/parent) when requested to do so.
I am also willing to provide stick-on note-names for the keyboard, for young children.
The students must have their own instruments, and provide a folder for sheet music and notes/instructions.
*** Specialties *** Guitar, I specialize in the following styles: jazz, rock, blues, folk, bluegrass, and children's songs. Piano: I prefer electronic keyboard to acoustic piano, but am happy to teach beginning students on a regular piano as well. I teach note-reading, playing by ear, and theory, with en emphasis on rock, pop, and folk music. I include arranging, chord theory, and use of the many features of an elec
tronic keyboard, in the lessons. Bass Guitar: I teach rock, pop, funk, and country music on bass. Banjo: I teach bluegrass, country, and some blues and rock music. I also play and teach old-timey frailing/clawhammer style. Ukulele: I play and teach all styles of ukulele. English and Reading: I am highly qualified to tutor/teach English (spoken, written, and reading comprehension) to both native English speakers and to those learning it as a second language. *** I am particularly good at working with children who have a.d.h.d. and other learning disabilities!
Learn basics about rhythm, harmony, and melody, and how they apply to the banjo.
*Disclaimer* I'm currently not taking beginner students on voice/singing, guitar, bass, drums, piano, and ukulele. I highly recommend my studio partners Melissa though. Please check out her profile:
I've been playing with classical ensembles and rock bands since 2001. Even though I started on classical trombone and rock guitar, I have come to expand my repertoire to a variety of instruments and genres. During my time in college I performed with the University choir, orchestra, and band. I also have organized, wrote/arranged for, and performed with a variety of bands in my home state of New Mexico, as well as Japan, and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Since 2006 I have been an active teacher. This profession has taken me everywhere from working with classical guitar cla
sses in New Mexico high schools to Elementary students in Japan to a variety of private students of various musical instruments and genres everywhere I've been. Since relocating to the Bay Area in 2010, I've had the pleasure of working with lots of great students from kids to adults with a wide range of ambitions. Since 2012 I've been running my own full time studio.
Philosophy of Learning
Lessons are generally designed to work towards giving students the tools to accomplish their goals and become increasingly independent over time. While all students will study similar fundamentals regarding technique, theory, and performance, every lesson is as different as every person. What kind of music do you want to make? I'll tell you what you need to do to get there, and help you take the steps to achieve your aspirations. It's really important to know though that everyone makes their own experience. The process of learning music involves you learning as much about your own mind and body as it does any external concepts, so please keep in mind only you can move yourself forward.
I also love to help students put together a song, record, and produce it for them so that they can have a recording to share with their friends and family.
I also hold events for my students. (Check out our pictures and videos below!) Younger students have opportunities to perform for friends and family at my studio every few months. Adult students also occasionally have events where they get a chance to get together and play music as well.
Aside from in-studio lessons, students also have the option to sign up for online lessons via Skype. (*Online lessons offered during different times than in-studio lessons.)
*Unfortunately due to scheduling issues, I'm not currently accepting students for bi-weekly lessons. I can do regular weekly lessons, or occasional drop-in lessons, but bi-weekly appointments make it really hard for me to give the best scheduled times to my existing weekly students. I'm sorry for the inconvenience.
My studio is equipped with:
*A P.A. System
*Vocal and instrument microphones
*Guitars, Basses, Ukulele, Banjos, etc
*Two guitar amps and a bass amp
*Various percussion including a fully equipped acoustic drum set
*A Roland V-Drums electronic drum set
*An electric piano console and Yamaha organ
*A MicroKorg Synthesizer
*A Tuba, Trombone, Cornet, Saxophone, and Flute
*An extensive physical and virtual music library
*A recording system that students are not only welcome to use but encouraged to
*HD Webcam and condenser microphone for high fidelity online lessons via Skype
Jesse has given directions on how to successfully become a better musician. His approach and explanation on musical theories was much more understandable than what I was previously reading. Overall, I found the lessons to be very usefull.
June 28, 2019
Super kind, patient and teaches a lot in each session!
March 25, 2019
Jesse is very friendly and a fun teacher to be around.
Both Scruggs 3 finger Bluegrass & Frailing/Clawhammer styles are fun & challenging! No experience necessary!
Whether you are 5, 25, or perhaps 85 years old when you make the decision to enter the world of music, you will be changing your life for the positive.
Your relationship with music & your chosen instrument is unique & will be lifelong. I look forward to sharing your excitement as we pursue the path to comfort, confidence & the eventual, inevitable joy you will achieve with your new friend.
*** Lesson Details *** In a calm, easy going atmosphere you can expect to laugh a bit, as it is called 'playing music', as well as become focused & disciplined to succeed.
You will learn to have an understanding of how to read & play a minimum of 3 songs each month, & will be picking up enough music theory as it applies to your instrument each week to feel confident & inspired to continue on as far as you desire.
We will learn how to
'play well with others' in informal as well as more structured gatherings every few months, with no pressure, only compassion & encouragement.
For those wishing to join in the fun of playing bluegrass music, we will start out with technique exercises, scales, basic melodies & accompaniment patterns to prepare you to learn this unique & exciting style of American music. There are many gatherings in the area called 'Pickin' Parties' that I want to get you ready to participate in as soon as is humanly possible.
If you are one of those brave souls undertaking the lovely but challenging fretless instrument, the violin, my main focus is to get you started with the all the necessary basic techniques - holding the instrument & bow correctly, getting the best possible tone & pitch using efficiency & accuracy, mixed with a great deal of ear training & heart.
Specific songs you'd like to learn? Your reward for accomplishing what I deem necessary on whichever instrument you've chosen will be for us to then listen to & analyze your desired piece, & I will then write it out in either tablature or standard notation.
*** Studio Equipment *** Lesson studio contains music stand, tuner, metronome, & there is easy parking in the well-lit front lot.
*** Travel Equipment *** The student must have own instrument & be willing to purchase necessary tools as recommended at their first lesson for their instrument & playing level, such as music stand, tuner, pick, book, strap, etc. at a local music store or online.
*** Specialties *** Bluegrass, Country, Country Rock, Contemporary Christian, Americana, Ragtime Blues Guitar, Fingerstyle, Flatpick, Accompaniment, Ear Training, Theory, Harmony
Zachary is a multi-talented teacher and performer. He teaches violin, piano, guitar, voice, mandolin, banjo and more. As a singer/ songwriter, he has released 3 cds, tours nationally with over 100 dates per year and has shared the stage with multiple multi-Grammy award winners. He is an inspirational and motivational based teacher; he will make you or your child LOVE making music rather than dreading their weekly lesson. He has a BA in music performance and has taught for 10 years. He is an exceptionally talented and in-demand teacher and performer.
*** Lesson Details *** Zach is very motivating and inspiring. He will not yell or discourage you or your child. He will have reasonable and attainable weekly goals. He will seek the best from you but will maintain professionalism and makes learning enjoyable and fun. Works well with all ag
es, from beginners to advanced; from young children to adults.
*** Studio Equipment *** Music studio, f/w keyboard, and all other instruments he teachers, seating for parents
*** Travel Equipment *** Student should provide instrument, stand. I will provide my own instrument (except piano).
*** Specialties *** Suzuki for violin (I'm comfortable with other methods, too)
I have my degree from The Eastman School of Music and have played rock and roll for decades. My joy is bringing people to music and music playing. As Music is an infinite language it has always been an eternal joy to teach and relate to my beloved students what music can say to them and what they can convey to others.
*** Lesson Details *** "If music is not fun it is useless" I urge my students to play their instruments not practice! I will teach music theory as I teach you any style or all styles. Patience is the key and I am constantly filled with it. You will progress as you learn the ins and outs of your instrument and music.
*** Studio Equipment *** Room setup for lessons, with small keyboard and instruments. Ample parking available, parents can sit in on lessons and waiting area available.
*** Travel Equipment *** The student is
expected to provide the instrument including full keyboard or piano.
Cameron didn’t like his lesson, he LOVED it. It was his first lesson and Phil was extremely patient. He’s looking forward to future lessons and promises to practice! Thank you, Phil, we think we have a winner that will hopefully take time away from video games.
I can teach 5 string banjo basics to beginners. Emphasis on music fundamentals, popular banjo standards, and improvisation.
Ben Z. has been helping people achieve their goals in guitar and music since 2001, and is passionate about teaching students of all ages and skill levels. As an instructor, Ben combines traditional teaching methods with ear training and improvisation to create well rounded experience for the student. Proficiency and creativity are both emphasized in lessons that are designed to be both fun and rewarding. Ben is an avid performer, regularly playing a wide variety of genres. Blues, Oldies, Soul/R&B, Funk, World Music, Classic Rock, Country, Musicals, Ragtime, Gospel, Acoustic fingerstyle, Travis picking, Chicken pickin', Slide guitar, Chord melody/solo arrangements, Lead/rhythm techniques, Music theory, and reading music are all topics that can be covered in lessons. Ben welcomes children and beginners with the same enthusiasm as adults and
experienced players. Ben also offers Lap Steel, Pedal Steel, and Banjo lessons for beginners.
*** Studio Equipment *** Breedlove AC25/SR Plus Acoustic Guitar Gibson Les Paul Fender Telecaster Goldtone Dojo (Banjo/Dobro) Emmons Pedal Steel Gretsch Lap Steel VOX AC-30 amp Fender Bassman amp Fender GDEC amp
"Although it is but one lesson I have had with Mike, I know he has the ability to help me get to the "next level."I could not be happier with my selection
of Mike as my instructor."
"Ben was on time on Skype. In fact he called me earlier to make sure I was able to connect to his site. First time with on line class, so far would recom
mend Ben highly"
"Great instructor. Explains things clearly. A pleasure taking the lessons each week."
"good teacher very relaxed and good attitude"
"Grant has been an amazing, patient teacher, even for an old bird like me. I wanted to play as a bucket list thing. Grant is obviously talented himself,
but more than that, he is able to share that knowledge in a calm manner, yet be able to push you to do better each lesson. I would highly recommend him if you're just starting out or need help getting better. He is an incredible teacher."
"Thorough, patient, and encouraging. Exceeds expectations."
"I have only completed one lesson, but overall I am really impressed and excited for the next lesson. Ryan took the time to talk through the basics, and he
is a great teacher."
"Aaron is a great instructor who is patient and does not talk over your head. His suggestions make an immediate impact. I look forward to developing my B
anjo playing skills under his instruction."
"You are in good hands. He rapidly figures out where you are musically and then teaches a ton of good info."
Loud, jangly, and twangy, the banjo is an instrument with a distinctive voice that immediately evokes the spirit of the American South. Long a mainstay of bluegrass music, banjos have recently been incorporated into pop music as well by bands like Mumford and Sons.
And, if YouTube trends are any indication, it looks like the banjo is making another genre shift!
A pack of viral videos featuring banjo covers of hard rock classics are making the rounds and proving that banjos can shred just a …