Jeff is a seasoned instructor in guitar, songwriting, music performance and music business. He also offers lessons in public speaking, voice-over performance and ukulele. He welcomes students of all ages and experience and has successfully and happily taught beginners to pro-level musicians and recording artists. Jeff is pleased to announce that he is currently accepting Takelessons online students via Skype.
Jeff can teach guitar and songwriting in all styles and is an adept acoustic and electric guitarist. His knowledge of chords is extensive and his acoustic fingerpicking skills are formidable. Jeff structures all lessons around the individual goals and playing level of his students. Jeff's students tend to study with him for quite some time, as his wealth of knowledge, diversity of instruction and patience are extraordinary. Jeff prides himself on customizing every student's lessons based on their particular preferences, goals and skill level. "It's a very personalized kind of instruction, as I never take a cookie-cutter
approach to teaching…".
Jeff's 3 promises to all students is to give them personalized lessons, be attentive to their needs and goals. and to make them feel like every lesson is worth their investment of time and money. As long as students practice regularly, they can expect to dramatically increase their clarity of playing, their chord "inventory", their musical ear and awareness and play the songs they've always wanted to learn.
After honing his craft as a songwriter and performer, Jeff created and taught songwriting and music business classes at colleges,universities, and music schools throughout the country for many years. Some of the places he taught include UCLA Extension, Santa Monica College, Pasadena City College and The Harrison School Of Music.
When asked to summarize his views on teaching and music: "Teaching and playing music always puts a smile on my face; especially when I see that the student is having fun, learning what they want to learn and feeling the passion about music that motivated me to pursue my own musical career".
As a working singer/songwriter/guitarist, Jeff is known for his memorable melodies, intelligently crafted lyrics and heartfelt vocals. His compositions have earned him over 35 awards from various national and international songwriting contests and he's a former staff songwriter for the long-standing New York City-based publisher, Bourne Music. He has also won best music video awards at 3 international film festivals.
Some of the artists that Jeff has been compared to as a guitarist and vocalist include Keb' Mo', James Taylor, Kenny Loggins, Ry Cooder, John Mayer, Bill Withers, Jim Croce, and Don Henley.
Jeff is a NJ native, but lived and performed in Los Angeles for many years, where he worked in the studio or shared the stage with well-known artists such as Dave Koz, Norman Brown, John Daversa, Hiroshima, Little Richard and N'Dea Davenport.
Jeff catalog of over 450 songs and compositions spans virtually every genre, but many of his tunes are amalgams of pop, blues, jazz, R&B, country and rock. Quite a number of Jeff's songs
have appeared in film and TV. One that Jeff is particularly proud of, is the dynamic pop ballad, "Journey Of The Heart" (co-written by Jeanne Smith), which was licensed by the N.C.A.A. (National
Collegiate Athletic Association), who deemed it "the official anthem" of their NCAA Hall Of Champions facility in Indianapolis.
Jeff has commercially released 4 CD's of his original material: The most recent of these is his 2013 release, "Blujanova" (a merging of blues, jazz and bossa nova), which was praised by platinum selling and Grammy-nominated jazz star, Dave Koz: "Jeff's voice is so clean and pure...the production is lovely...warm and inviting...I love the interesting and surprising takes on some classics too, especially 'I Feel Good'…that brought a smile to my face!".
The other CD's stretch into other genres. "Truthteller" (bluesy pop/rock and singer/songwriter material) "Me, Myself, and I" (acoustic) and "The Spin" (pop, rock, and country-tinged singer/songwriter material). All of Jeff's albums are on his label, Relevant Records. The late great John Braheny, author of the best-selling "The Craft And Business Of Songwriting (Writer's Digest Books), gave high praise to Jeff's CD, "The Spin", calling it "honest, crafty, melodic and the songs are all exceptional". Patch.com called Jeff "a consummate songwriter".
*** Lesson Details ***
At the first lesson, I will ask you to tell me what songs you want to play and artists you want to play like and I will set the table for that by providing the chords you'll need, chord and scales and exercises to enable you to play them and guidelines and tricks on how to make it happen as quickly as possible. I know a wide variety of songs in all styles and styles, including current hit songs as well as pop, rock, blues, jazz, country songs. if you have a song or artist that I don't know already, I will learn it (often on the spot) and if not right then, at the next lesson. I have taught my students to play songs by artists as varied as Taylor Swift, U2, Jason Mraz, Adele, Eric Clapton, Django Reinhardt, Doc Watson. And that's just naming a few.
I always make it clear to my students at the first lesson: "There is no such thing as a stupid question". I want you to feel comfortable to stop me at any time to clarify what I am teaching you, ESPECIALLY if it is too difficult or vague. I pride myself on always being organized for your lesson and making sure that you grasp whatever it is I am teaching you. The goal is to get you to be able to play what you want as quickly as possible. This will take practice and dedication on your part, but I will do everything in my power to help you get there.
I never force anything on any of my students. but I feel it would be beneficial for you to learn to read music OR read tablature and chord diagrams. You tell me which one and we'll go in that direction. If you'd like to read music, then we can decide on a book for you. I have used Hal Leonard instructional books (with CD's! this way you can play with a backing track and get a sense of rhythm, which is very important), but I'm open to other method books you might have or like.
After 3 to 6 months, you will feel you are significantly more skilled on the guitar than you were before we started lessons. You will know more chords (and move from chord to chord), be able to do at least some basic fingerpicking and be able to read some music or tablature.
*** Specialties ***
Acoustic fingerstyle guitar (a la James Taylor, John Mayer, Eric Clapton, Keb' Mo', Jason Mraz, John Martyn, Jim Croce, etc.
Blues guitar a la Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Keb' Mo', Jorma Kaukonen, Ry Cooder, etc.
Bossa nova guitar
Songwriting (any aspect and any level; musically, lyrically, structurally, etc.)
the songs of Taylor Swift---quite a few of my younger students want to play her material, so I have about 15 songs ready to teach you and always learning more (by popular demand)
Adapting songs that are keyboard-based and creating arrangements of them for acoustic guitar. Examples include songs by Adele, songs by Elton John, Irina Menzel's huge hit song from "Frozen", John Legend's "All Of Me", Coldplay's "Viva La Vida", etc.
Recording on Garageband.
I became so skilled with Garageband that I was asked to give seminars at Apple Store locations, showcasing my recordings and how to use the program.
Voice-overs; performance, recording, etc.
For over 5 years now, I've been teaching guitar, songwriting, speaking voice, music performance and ukulele for Takelessons. Depending on a student's location and preference, I either go to them or they come to my location for their lessons. I also offer online lessons via Skype.
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a membership association of more than 480,000 US composers, songwriters, lyricists and music publishers. The ASCAP is committed to nurturing music makers throughout their careers.