I am a guitarist, composer and teacher specializing in classical guitar and Latin American music. I have loved music for all of my life and my primary expression of that love is playing guitar. I currently teach private guitar lessons, lecture at San Bernardino Valley College and work as a freelance performer in the Inland Empire and greater Los Angeles area.
I began my study of music at the age of thirteen when I taught myself how to play folk, rock and blues guitar. Though, to be honest, I didn't just teach myself. I had many friends who played guitar who would show me songs or correct mistakes in the songs I had learned from the internet. I remember thinking that music had a special ability to bring people together, and I became determined to understand what exactly it was that gave music that power. I began my formal study of music at Foothill College in Los Altos, California where I studied guitar, music appreciation and music theory. In 2002 I transferred to the University of California at Santa Cruz to pursue a Bachelors of Arts in Music.
I majored in classical guitar at the UC Santa Cruz, but I also pursued a variety of other musical interests including Balinese Gamelan, jazz improvisation and North Indian classical music. It was fascinating to learn how different cultures thought of music and how participating in music is so often linked with the formation of community. I also learned a lot about the history of Western music. I studied the lute and performed the works of Scarlatti, Bach and Handel with the UC Santa Cruz Early Music Consort. I also was a member of the UC Santa Cruz Contemporary Music Ensemble, a group which performed experimental contemporary music. I loved performing with all the different ensembles and becoming familiar with music from different times in history and different places in the world. In 2004, during my last year of college, I began working as a freelance guitar instructor in Santa Cruz.
In April of 2005 I graduated from UC Santa Cruz and moved to Los Angeles where I worked as a freelance performer and guitar teacher. I studied guitar with Dr. Emre Sabuncuoglu at the Los Angeles Guitar Academy and eventually became an associate instructor there. At that time, I was also teaching guitar, piano and songwriting at a studio called All Access Musician located in the San Fernando Valley.
In Fall of 2007 I began working towards my Masters of Music in Composition at the University of California at Riverside. While at Riverside, I studied and performed the music of the Peruvian Andes, early lute music and Brazilian choro. I had always loved Latin American music, but this was the first time I had been regularly performing it with large ensembles. The rhythm, the dance and the singing of Andean music captivated me in a way I never thought it could. I also began to recognize the rhythmic complexity of all Brazilian music at this time and became very interested in choro, samba and bossa nova.
During my time at UC Riverside I was awarded three fellowships from the Gluck Fellows Program, which allowed me to give free public concerts and lectures in schools, libraries and assisted living homes. It gave me great joy to see children in the community fascinated with the music I performed for them and actually being interested in hearing about 16th century Germany or the Peruvian Andes. After two wonderful and painstaking years, I received my Masters of Music in December of 2009.
Currently I work as a freelance classical guitarist for weddings, receptions and festivals. My classical guitar repertoire includes the works of J.S. Bach, Dionisio Aguado, Isaac Albéniz and Agustín Barrios Mangoré. I am a founding member of Kusisqa: The Riverside Andean Music Ensemble. We performed for hundreds of people at the San Bernardino Latin Music Festival. I also collaborate with many local musicians performing nueva cancion, jazz, classical music and original compositions.
*** Lesson Details ***
I believe that playing an instrument should be a source of joy in one's life. Playing music is one of the most enriching experiences life has to offer. Every single person on this Earth has the inherent skills necessary to play music, but learning how to express yourself with an instrument is no simple task. It requires a great deal of discipline, focus and intent to realize the music that you want to play. But fear not: YOU CAN DO IT!!!
Too often people think of music as something genetic, that you are either predisposed to be a good musician or you aren't. I know from personal experience that this is simply not true. All great musicians became great because they have the discipline, focus and intent to realize the music they want to play. My lessons are designed to give you the skills necessary to make the music YOU want to.
I recognize that every musician is an individual and I want to help you express your individuality through music. Everyone has their own style and tastes, especially when it comes to the music they like and want to make. Whether you're a little bit country or a little bit rock-and-roll (or classical, or emo, or metal, or grunge...) I can help you make the music you want to. I will help you establish your musical goals and set you on a path towards achieving them.
You also must realize that in order to achieve your musical goals, there are some important fundamentals you need to know. For instance, it is vital that a musician be able to physically manipulate their instrument efficiently and effortlessly. Other skills like knowing how to tune and care for your instrument, how to count rhythms and how to practice music are absolutely crucial for you to be successful in reaching your personal musical goals. My first goal as your teacher is to help you master these fundamentals so you have the skills to learn the music YOU want to.
I have taught literally hundreds of students of all ages over the past six years and my students have a very high success rate. Most of my students play in a recital within the first three months of lessons. All of my students who have been studying with me for more than six months have learned dozens of songs and many have begun performing at open mics, concerts and festivals.
Within the first month of lessons you will be able to play simple songs like Skip to My Lou, Amazing Grace or You Are My Sunshine. You will learn to read music notation, which will give you the ability to look-up and learn songs from the internet. By the second month of lessons you will have mastered the basics and progress to more advanced songs! By the third month you will have solid technique, strong music reading skills and you will start choose the songs you want to learn!
My advanced students, usually those who have been studying with me for six months or more, will choose songs they would like to work on. At this stage I often begin to cover special topics with my students depending on their particular musical interests. Some examples of special topics I've worked on with my students are music theory, ear training, harmony singing, composition, songwriting and preparation for the collegiate study of music.
*** Studio Equipment ***
Acoustic and electric guitars, amplifiers, 88-key weighted and graded keyboard, guitar tuner, metronome, music stands, various percussion and wind instruments
*** Travel Equipment ***
Guitar, guitar tuner, metronome, music stand
*** Specialties ***
classical guitar, Latin American music, composition, music theory
Teaching guitar, music history, and music theory classes.
Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) is the America's leading classical guitar organization founded in 1973 at the National Guitar Convention sponsored by the American String Teachers Association (ASTA).