JONATHAN FINKELMAN

Jonathan F.

Brooklyn, NY
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Lesson Details

Acoustic Guitar

Levels Taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
With over two decades of private teaching experience and 15 years teaching music theory, history and sight singing/ear training at Hunter College, I know how to tailor my approach to each individual’s unique needs and learning style. My goal as a teacher is to take the mystery out of making great, expressive music.

In addition to embracing traditional methods of guitar teaching, I also incorporate powerful muscular and energetic awareness techniques that help beginning students quickly build a solid technique, and enable more advanced players to solve thorny technical problems and play with greater freedom and ease.

"Why is this part so hard? It should be easy!" I often hear students say. My years of experience in observing and helping students allows me to spot the sometimes hidden technical obstacles that are holding them back from smoothly executing a transition. By identifying those specific moments, you will know exactly what to focus on so as to make the most efficient use of your practice time. In this way, even a few minutes of focused practice can yield tangible benefits.

Whether you are just starting out or have been playing for a while and are feeling stuck, my creative and mindful approach will help you to find a meaningful, fruitful relationship with your instrument!
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JONATHAN teaches

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About

JONATHAN delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 18+ and special needs

Teaching since:
1980

​I didn’t begin playing seriously until later in life, so I remember what it’s like to be just starting out. And I found my struggles as an adult student to be an advantage as a teacher because they helped me understand how to break down each advancing step into its component parts and present them to my students in a logical and methodical way that they can actually absorb. Some teachers prefer to work with “advanced” students with whom they can work at a faster pace; I get satisfaction from helping students break down the process and seeing them progress at their own pace, whether they are beginners or more experienced players.

​"Why is this part so hard? It should be easy!" My years of experience in observing and helping students allows me to spot the sometimes hidden technical problems that are holding you back from smoothly executing a transition. By identifying those specific moments, you will know exactly what to focus on so as to make the most efficient use of your practice time. In this way, even a few minutes of focused practice can yield tangible benefits.


​My education and teaching experience

Although I began college as an English major, I found that the music courses I was taking “on the side” were my favorites by far. The courses I took piqued my natural curiosity about how music works and provided my largely self-taught guitar playing with a solid foundation in music theory. I eventually transferred to the jazz program headed by John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet at the City College of New York, where I gained valuable ensemble experience as well as a well-rounded musical education.

After graduating with my B.F.A. in Guitar Performance, I studied privately with guitarist Dan Carillo, who has played and recorded with Harry Belafonte, Dianne Reeves and Tania Maria among many others. Through studying with Dan, who holds a Master’s degree in music, I observed that his deep knowledge of the structures of music was critical to his proficiency as a player, and I was inspired to continue my formal studies as well. I ended up with a M.A. in Music Composition from Hunter College, where for many years I also taught Music Theory, Sight Singing, and Ear Training courses. The depth and range of my experiences over a lifetime of learning and teaching has given me the ability to meet each student at their own level and to find what works best for them in helping them to meet their goals most efficiently.

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Experience

Adjunct Professor
Sep 1992 - Jun 2009
Hunter College

Taught college courses in Music Theory, Sight Singing, Ear Training and Music History

Music Teacher
Sep 1987 - Jun 1989
Robert Louis Stevenson School

Taught Music Theory, Music History, led Rock Band for students in grades 7-12

Education

Ph. D. a/b/d, Music Composition
Sep 1992 - Jun 1996
CUNY Graduate Center
M.A., Music Composition
Sep 1988 - Jun 1991
Hunter College
B.F.A., Guitar Performance
Sep 1978 - Jun 1981
City College of New York

Photos & Videos

"Old Devil Moon" - with vocalist Ellen Weiss, The Metropolitan Room, NYC
"One on One" - with singer/songwriter John Michael Hersey, West End Lounge, NYC
"Yes I Love You" - with singer/songwriter John Michael Hersey, West End Lounge, NYC
"I Ain't Got Nothin' but the Blues" - with vocalist Ellen Weiss at the Metropolitan Room, Manhattan
"Share Your Love"

 - My arrangement of Bobby "Blue" Bland's 1964 R&B hit
"In My Life"

 - My arrangement of the Beatles'  classic
Performing with vocalist Ellen Weiss, Tohma's Place, Brooklyn

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Photo by Jonathan F.

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Photo by Jonathan F.

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