Hi, I'm a lifelong musician and educator with 20+ years of experience writing, recording, performing and improvising across multiple instruments and genres. After years of teaching music on the side, I left my day job as a college history professor in 2018 to devote myself full time to building a community-based music education business and couldn't be happier. I love teaching both kids and adults, and am always especially excited to work with beginners. Here are a few things I have come to believe in. 1) Individualized Approach Music is a path with many branches. Often they will intersect in ways the student never imagined. My own musical journey has taken me from classical music to punk rock, and from Appalachian folk to jazz. There are many places from which to start, and many threads to follow. I believe strongly in following a student’s own interests wherever they lead. Music is about exploration, and I don’t believe that any genre of music prepares one for that journey any better or worse than any other. So, the student might as well play the music they love. If it’s a style I’m not familiar with, I’ll learn it with you, and then we both become richer. 2) Music is a Holistic Skill You are not learning an instrument. You are learning music, and the instrument you play is your tool the same way that pen and paper are tools for writing. Technical skills and instrument mastery are important because they give you the ability to express yourself musically. But they are a means to an end, not the end itself. The end is making music. Every student of an instrument should understand how her/his instrument fits into that process, what its job is in an ensemble, how other instruments function, how to read standard notation in both treble and bass clef, how to read chord notation/lead sheets, and be familiar enough with the keyboard to visualize musical relationships on it. 3) Skills Not Songs I’m not opposed to teaching songs that a student wants to learn. In fact, I think that is often the best way to approach learning an instrument. I want you to be able to use music to do what you want to do with it. Unfortunately, many private music instructors take the approach that they are there to teach you how to play specific songs for their own sake. I don’t think that is a good use of your time or money. My goal is to get students the skills to teach themselves the pieces they want to learn. Often the route to that goal runs through learning songs together in lessons. But every musical selection should teach a skill that makes the student more self-sufficient, and we will approach every song we learn with an eye to understanding it and drawing some kind of lesson or skill from it. 4) Music Theory: You Need It Theory is the foundation of all musical expression, and part of taking lessons with me will be understanding those foundations and how they function in the construction of musical art. What theoretical concepts we learn, and how much emphasis we put on them will be dependent on the student’s interests and goals. Classical, rock, folk, and jazz traditions all use musical concepts differently, and theoretical ideas specific to one may not be relevant to another. Students interested in writing, composing, or improvisation will need more theoretical background than students who simply want to be excellent technicians of their instrument. However, even in the latter case, understanding the keys, scales, and chords from which music is built is essential to fully realizing one’s musical potential. If you think my approach would be a good fit for you, send me a message and let's get started.
Teaches all skill levels
Teaching since 2012
Teaches ages 3+
Speaks English, Spanish
Has background check
I've had 3 bass guitar lessons with Ben so far in his studio and I enjoyed all of them! This is the first time I've played a string instrument and Ben has been super helpful in giving me tips and encouragement along the way. Would definitely recommend booking lessons with him!
A great present for my wife to learn the ukelele. She annoyingly (jk) brings it out at all gatherings now. Thanks Ben!
I'm a new learner in guitar, I barely read notes. Ben is very patient on me. The learning process is dense but smooth. Ben let me feel I can achieve my goal in near future. Thanks!