- Teaches students:
- Ages 13+
- Teaching since:
Musician and composer Nathaniel tours internationally and performs an array of different musical styles in venues as disparate as underground arts spaces and Lincoln Center. Based for years in Chicago, Nathaniel relocated to Sydney, Australia, in 2014, but continues to perform and lecture in the States.
Nathaniel leads the acclaimed Central African soukous group the Occidental Brothers Dance Band International, a collaboration between American, Ghanaian, Zambian, and Congolese musicians including the great Samba Mapangala. Nathaniel has performed and recorded with a number of indie rock bands, including Jenny Gillespie, Tobin Summerfield’s gigantic band “Never Enough Hope”, The Zincs (Thrill Jockey), Ancientgreeks (Flameshovel), and others. He also played for years in the Butcher Shop Quartet, performing electric guitar arrangements of Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and other 20th centurty classical works. Nathaniel leads an eight-piece electric guitar ensemble that plays his original compositions. He has twice been featured in Guitar Player Magazine.
Nathaniel teaches privately, at the Old Town School of Folk Music, and was head of the Chicago Waldorf School’s guitar program from 2005-12. OTS classes include African Guitar Styles, Fingerpicking Around The World, Fingerboard Theory, and British Folk Revival. He periodically offers more specialized fingerstyle guitar classes such as The Songs Of Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake, Iron & Wine, Sufjan Stevens, Davy Graham, John Fahey and Bert Jansch. His ensembles include Reggae, Afropop, Instrumental Rock, and “Kill Yr Idols”–a survey of influential punk and underground rock. Nathaniel also teaches fingerstyle, theory, songwriting, jazz, classical, and rock guitar privately. Nathaniel also offers workshops and masterclasses in Europe and N. America on African popular guitar styles and is a guest lecturer at Northwestern University. Nathanielhas co-presented workshops with Ghanaian Palm Wine guitarist Koo Nimo, and Tinariwen guitarist Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, and Malian sensation Sidi Toure.
Great guitar teacher.
Nathaniel has a preternatural insight into how to help musicians reach a new level of playing and interpretation. His breadth of knowledge of music styles, theory, and history is impressive. He is one of the best music teachers I've had.
Over the last ten years, I’ve taken a variety of classes at Old Town taught by Nathaniel, as well as private lessons, and I can tell you that you will not find a better teacher. He has a remarkable ability to make challenging guitar music attainable by breaking things down into digestible parts. He will teach to your skill level, learning style, and interests (whether fingerstyle folk, African soukous, 80’s punk, jazz, and God knows what else) If you want to learn the songs and styles of idiosyncratic masters like Nick Drake, John Fahey, or Franco Luambo Makiadi, he’s your guy. Plus, he’s really funny. Cannot recommend him enough.+ Read More
I have taken many classes with Nathaniel in guitar, band ensemble, and songwriting over the last five years. These were mostly at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, including work shops on modal playing and West African music, and more recently over Skype. It is impossible to overstate how well rounded he is musically (others have already expounded on this) AND how adept he is at teaching. He can somehow intuit exactly where you are in the learning process, and he knows how to explain tricky concepts in very understandable terms and with great clarity. He has a wonderful, measured approach to music theory that will not overwhelm but instead gives you just enough challenge to keep you striving and growing as a musician. It feels like an amazing, ongoing, evolving musical conversation with a kind, smart, and funny guy. He's the TOPS!!+ Read More
Here's the deal: Regardless of your level, if you're looking for an excellent guitar teacher, you've just found him. Nathaniel is great. He has the patience to work with true beginners and the knowledge and ability to help even well-seasoned players drastically improve. Also, the breadth of his knowledge is quite impressive. While he has a particular love of African music, he's an expert in basically any genre--indie rock, surf rock, fingerpicking, classical, jazz, Balinese gamelan on guitar. The list probably goes on and on. On top of all that, sometimes his jokes are funny, too! You're getting a really special teacher here. Nathaniel is a good, humble person with a genuine interest in facilitating the improvement of his students.+ Read More
Nathaniel is a fantastic teacher. Not only is he a talented and knowledgeable musician, he has a knack for breaking complex things down into manageable parts. He also shows great interest in his students' progress, something that I found encouraging and motivating during the years that I took lessons with him. I cannot recommend him highly enough.+ Read More
Nathaniel is a truly gifted musician and teacher, with a rare ability to distill complicated concepts in simple ways. As a student, it's always important to me to be inspired by the musician I'm learning from and Nathaniel has provided plenty of inspiration to me over the years. His services as a teacher are highly recommended.+ Read More
Remarkably student-centered, with the rare ability of a teacher to carry a student through from the very mechanical basics of playing the instrument to much more advanced work across a multitude of styles. Nathaniel is an incredibly patient, witty, and talented teacher, and Boston has stolen in him a true talent as a musician and a teacher from Chicago.+ Read More