Matt's love for guitar and music began like many guitarists, when he first heard the sound of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and many other classic rock guitarists. He immediately picked up the guitar and began learning as many songs by these icons as possible. Eventually he heard the likes of jazz guitar greats Joe Pass and Wes Montgomery and his love of music changed forever. Since then, Matt has combined his love of jazz and classic rock into a passion for all music throughout his career as a performer and educator.
As a teacher, Matt began as a tutor of guitar, jazz improvisation, music theory, and ear-training at Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona. Upon moving to New York City in 2004, Matt continued to teach privately while pursuing his BFA in Jazz Performance and Music Education at The City College of New York. In conjunction with completing his Education degree, Matt had the opportunity of teaching music to all levels of students in the public schools throughout New York City, including the famed Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for Music & Art and Performing Arts in midtown Manhattan. These various experiences have allowed him to hone his skills as a private one-on-one teacher as well as broaden the scope of his abilities through teaching music in the classroom.
In addition to his many hands-on teaching experiences, Matt has worked closely with Jazz at Lincoln Center for several years on educational based music programs for students of all ages. This close relationship with JALC has allowed Matt to garnish a remarkable resource for enhancing his ability of reaching students and engaging them through meaningful and progressive teaching methods. Matt believes that understanding the history of all music is vital when incorporating new concepts and methods into teaching. This notion led him to work with the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in order to progress his understanding of jazz history and performance within the Smithsonian's renowned Jazz Division.
As a performer, Matt has been fortunate enough to share the stage with many renowned musicians, including; Wynton Marsalis, Larry Coryell, Wycliffe Gordon, Joshua Redman, Freddy Cole, Mulgrew Miller, Clark Terry, Jimmy Heath, Brice Winston, and many others. In addition to performing at several jazz festivals around the country, Matt has been featured in many New York theatres and jazz clubs, including the Jazz Standard and Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center. As a way of bringing performance and education together, Matt has produced a jazz festival every year since 2005 in his hometown of Prescott, Arizona featuring many internationally acclaimed jazz artists in a four-day event of performances and free workshops.
Matt's diverse experiences through education, performance, and research of teaching methods of diverse styles of music have led him to be a powerful and effective teacher to all ages of students. As a musician, Matt's ability of adapting to various performance situations has transferred into his ability of catering to every students' specific musical interests and goals.
*** Lesson Details ***
Matt approaches his lessons with an open mind and willingness to adapt to the students needs and interests. Depending on the current level of the student, Matt will direct lessons with a well-rounded approach to general music practices while incorporating the student's desired musical goals. This means that whichever style (e.g. Rock 'n' Roll, Blues, Jazz, Classical, Folk, etc) the student is most interested in and wherever their current level of ability stands, Matt will supplement the lessons with appropriate music theory. This allows the student to have a complete grasp of the concepts in order to continue to learning on their own. From Rock 'n' Roll to Jazz and Classical repertoire, Matt has found this approach to be extremely productive and beneficial for the student learning any style of music. Most importantly, students find their lessons with Matt to be always fun and rewarding. Music, and especially learning music, should be an enjoyable experience; Matt maintains that underlying theme when teaching any student.
*** Studio Equipment ***
guitars (acoustic & electric), bass guitars, classical guitar, amps
*** Travel Equipment ***
For the first few lessons, I have provided the student with an instrument until they were able to get one of their own. This allowed for the student to see what kind of instrument they wanted as well as decide if they did in fact want to continue learning music. I continually provide manuscript paper, beginner books to work from, and occassionally a music stand to use during the lesson.
*** Specialties ***
Stylistically, I am generally more focused in jazz styles. However, as a teacher and guitar player, I am well versed in several styles commonly associated with the instrument, including; rock & roll, classical, folk, jazz, bluegrass, country, etc. Within each style that I teach, depending on the desired goal of the student, I couple the lessons with at very least a foundational approach to music theory as it relates to the style being taught.
I was working on a show where I had to perform in a band and I was a novice at best. Matt worked on all the songs with me and gave great suggestions and methods to help make the songs work for me and play confidently with the rest of the band. And all this in just one lesson! I've continued to take lessons with him and he's truly a gifted teacher and performer. I would recommend him to anyone and everyone.
Matt is great! He's extremely patient and makes learning the bass something i really look forward to. The take-home practice exercises are extremely helpful. Matt's a natural at what he does and it shows. Glad to have him as an instructor.