Ken Florence

Ken F.

Brooklyn, NY
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Lesson Details

Songwriting

Levels Taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Brooklyn-based private music teacher operating in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Over a decade of experience teaching a broad range of styles to students of all ages and backgrounds. Strong focus on the individual student's personal interests and goals. Master's degree in music composition with years of experience touring globally and recording for both major and indie labels. Whether you're new to songwriting or need some help honing your skills, it's my passion to get people writing the kinds of songs they want to hear!
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Ken teaches

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About

Ken passed a background check that includes a SSN verification, national criminal record check, and sex offender registry search. Learn More
Ken delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 4+ and special needs

Teaching since:
2005

A recent transplant to the Park Slope area, I'm a composer and multi-instrumentalist originally from Raleigh, North Carolina. Prior to receiving my master's degree in composition from Mannes (The New School), I was the lead guitarist in the indie rock band Annuals. As part of this group I signed with two major record labels, appeared on national television programs such as Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and performed globally both on tour and at prominent festivals such as Bonnaroo, Coachella, Glastonbury (England), and Roskilde (Denmark).

I have been teaching private music lessons for twelve years, both freelance and as part of various organizations. My approach to teaching is highly dynamic—I don't use the same method with every student and I have no stylistic prejudices or an agenda to push. I approach each student as an individual, tailoring lesson plans to suit their personal goals and interests. I have experience playing and teaching an extensive range of styles including pop, rock, jazz, country, metal, and classical. One of my main goals is to foster a sense of musical understanding with every student so that they may learn to combine technical, theoretical, and aural skills into a unified whole.

Most students want to learn to play songs they know and love. To that end, I get students playing the music they want to play right from the beginning, often through personally crafted arrangements of songs/pieces of the student's choosing, specifically tailored to their current skill level. This way, technical and theoretical skills are learned through direct experience with actual music, and only very rarely through rote exercise.

For more advanced players, I offer an array of strategies designed to take your playing to the next level. I find that the most common shortcomings of advanced players are conceptual. The technical skills are there but the level of conceptual and theoretical understanding has hit a wall. Many players find themselves playing the same chord shapes, melodic patterns, and harmonic progressions over and over again. I've had much success over the years in getting advanced students out of this rut and helping open up new pathways for exploration in both improvisation and composition.

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Experience

Composer
May 2005 - Present
Self

-Work across a wide spectrum of genres and fields, from popular to classical, and from commercial to purely artistic.
-Compose for various media including film, video games, and advertising.
-Compositions and arrangements featured on both national and foreign television (and radio).
-Orchestral works performed by regional orchestras.

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Freelance Music Instructor: Guitar, Piano, Ukulele, Songwriting/Composition/Arranging
May 2005 - Present
own company

-Teach private lessons in all styles to students of all ages.
-Strong focus on development of aural skills and musical understanding in addition to technique.
-Develop strong interpersonal relationships with students and parents, tailoring lessons to suit students' individual interests and goals.

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Guitar and Piano Instructor
Jun 2014 - Jun 2015
Separk Music

-Taught private guitar and piano lessons to a small studio of 15 students in Lewisville (Winston-Salem), North Carolina.
-Same teaching practice and philosophy as above.
-Preferred instructor for special needs students.

Guitar, Piano and Theory Instructor
May 2005 - Jul 2011
Tone Zone Music

-Taught private guitar, piano, and theory lessons to a studio of about 40 students in Cary, North Carolina.
-Same teaching practice and philosophy as above.
-Preferred instructor for special needs students.

Education

Master of Music in Composition
Aug 2015 - May 2017
Mannes, The New School
Bachelor of Music in Composition
Aug 2011 - May 2015
University of North Carolina School of the Arts

Languages

French
Professional Proficiency

Photos & Videos

I regularly create special arrangements like this one, tailored to students' current skill levels.
An arrangement I made for an intermediate piano student.
Photo by Ken F.

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5 Reviews

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Christopher Cross Apr 8, 2017
Guitar ·

I've been playing off and on for 15 years and am mostly self taught. I knew what I wanted to learn but was having trouble figuring it out on my own. In the first lesson Ken was able to zero in on what I want to learn and the best way to go about it. In three lessons I feel that I understand the guitar so much more than I have in the past 15 years of playing. Not only from a technical standpoint, but also in a "feel" sense. On my own I could learn all the scales, chords, and songs I wanted, but Ken has helped me to make sense of everything and use these skills to become a better player all around.

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Brittany Pare Feb 8, 2017
Piano ·

Ken is an incredibly talented musician and teacher and I would recommend him to anyone. He tailors his lessons to meet the individual goals of his students. If I wasn't understanding something, he knew how to explain it in a different way until I understood. He also taught me some techniques for figuring out songs on my own which I really appreciate since I am about move out of NYC. However, if I wasn't leaving I would still be taking lessons with him!

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adam baker Mar 24, 2016
Guitar ·

Ken is an outstanding musician/composer who I have had the privilege of taking lessons from for years up until I moved to Los Angeles to pursue a music production career. My favorite part about Ken is his perceptiveness in teaching. He can always tell when i am not understanding something, and he will address it before I have to say "I don't get it." Which would keep my confidence level up during the lesson. He is also EXTREMELY versatile in his musical ability. I have come to him with everything from death metal, to impressionist classical, to electronica and he never skips a beat. He is very passionate about music, which transfers to his students easily due to his easy going nature, and natural skill for teaching. It is no exaggeration in my mind to say he is the best musician I have ever known personally. On top of all of this, Ken is an incredible song writer, and composer.... He does it all!

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Ross Olinger Mar 24, 2016
Guitar ·

Kenny is an insightful teacher who has an ability to inspire the abstract, esoteric about music/art and the real practical. He's well informed on classical theory, jazz theory and will inspire anything you'd like to do with music or the guitar. I highly recommend his sessions!

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Leah Korbin Mar 24, 2016
Guitar ·

I took from Kenny when I was in middle school/early high school and he truly is the one who made me want to start writing songs. He's beyond talented, inspirational, and has a great smile to boot!

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