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James P.

Wheaton, IL

About James

Early Guitar Studies & Pit Orchestra Performances (1995-2002)

I began taking guitar lessons at the age of 11 with blues/jazz guitarist Tom Castonzo, a frequent performer, bandleader and teacher in and around the Chicago area. My studies with Tom lasted for many years and covered various musical and technical aspects of many different styles ranging from jazz to classical and everything in between. In 2002, I began performing in pit orchestras for various musicals including Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Miserable, The Wiz, Little Shop of Horrors, and Seussical the Musical.

Original
Music Projects (2003-Present)

From 2003-2008, I wrote and performed music for 2 different progressive rock bands: Dream Haven and The Unit Theory. Dream Haven released the EP entitled “Nostalgia is Five Frame” and The Unit Theory released a full-length album entitled “Seed.” Both bands performed all over the greater Chicago-land area and helped me hone my skills as an electric guitarist. Throughout this time, we shared the stage with national touring & recording acts Fear Factory, Mastodon, Enuff Z’nuff, and Algernon, to name a few. I now play lead guitar in the Chicago-based alternative rock band Davenport Ed and am having started an all-instrumental acoustic/rock trio with two percussionists.

Undergraduate Studies (College of Dupage and Northern Illinois University: 2002-2008)

After high school, I attended the College of Dupage (COD) and began studying jazz guitar with Dr. Zvonimir Tot. Towards the end of my studies at COD, I developed an interest in classical guitar and took lessons from Steve Ramsdell. After I received my Associate’s Degree in Music from COD I started teaching private guitar lessons at various suburban Chicagoland locations. I graduated from COD in 2004 with an Associate in Music degree. In the fall of 2005, I started my Bachelor’s studies in Classical Guitar Performance at Northern Illinois University (NIU) with Fareed Haque (Winner of “Best World Guitarist” in Guitar Magazine). While at NIU, I continued to teach & perform up until I graduated in May 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in Classical Guitar Performance.

Graduate Studies (New England Conservatory of Music: 2008-2010)

I started my graduate studies in August 2008 at the New England Conservatory of Music (NEC) in Boston, under the tutelage of world-renowned guitarist Eliot Fisk. As an active performer in the greater Boston area, I made it a goal to bring the classical guitar to unorthodox venues such as senior centers, local TV, hospitals, dialysis treatment centers, and even juvenile halls! While at NEC, I started to take an interest in transcription, which is the art of adapting a composition for a voice or instrument other than the original. Eliot Fisk is a master at this, and his guidance was profound. In June 2010, I graduated from NEC with a Master’s in Music (with Academic Honors) for Classical Guitar Performance. My master's recital was a tour-de-force of virtuosic classical, acoustic, and electric guitar pieces with music ranging from J.S. Bach to Joaquin Rodrigo to Steve Vai.

Flamenco Guitar & Ritmo Flamenco (2009-Present)

During my time at NEC, I was fortunate enough to meet Grisha Goryachev, a master flamenco guitarist. Grisha introduced me to the basic principals of flamenco guitar and proved to be a wonderful resource. I continue my flamenco guitar studies by learning historical flamenco recordings entirely by ear. Short of living in Spain for extended periods of time, I have found this to be the purest way of learning. I am now the flamenco guitarist for Ritmo Flamenco, an ensemble that features dancer Diane Campbell.

Professional Musician & Awards (2010 – Present)

I moved back to Chicago in July 2010 and have since had hundreds of performances that include weddings, corporate events, restaurants, recitals, and more. My reputation as a premiere performing guitarist has grown rapidly in the past 2 years, and I earned 2 awards at the end of 2012: “Top Solo Guitarist” on the world’s largest entertainment site which is Gig Master and “Best of Wedding” (the world’s largest wedding-planning site). I am a regular featured performing artist at premiere restaurants in the Chicago suburbs including The Cellar Bistro in Wheaton, Eddie Merlot’s in Warrenville, and Wildwood Steakhouse in Geneva.

*** Lesson Details ***
***Teaching students ages 10+***

My first goal as an instructor is to get an idea of what the student's goals are as a guitarist, and then we start working towards that goal. This means that while the basic concepts are covered (chords, some sight-reading in most cases, scales, etc), no student curriculum is exactly the same. After a few months of studying with me, no matter what style of music, we will have learned notes, chords, and songs that are of interest to the student. Then, we will discuss how all of those elements tie together and map out a practice routine. A goal I have for every student is to create a realistic, efficient, and enjoyable practice routine that produces results.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Music stands, guitars (acoustic, electric, classical), cable/amp, appropriate paper materials & books for learning music.

*** Travel Equipment ***
I do not travel to lessons.

*** Specialties ***
I specialize in classical, rock, pop, & music theory.
...

Reviews

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Mike McCullough April 5, 2016
Guitar · In home
Verified Student
Jim is a great instructor, and a great guy. I feel like I am making good progress after only 5 weeks.
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Lisa G. March 12, 2014
Guitar
Verified Student
Talented Teacher and Guitarist

Jim teaches my daughter guitar. He is her fourth guitar teacher and by far the best one of all. She has had lessons from him for the past two years. Besides talent, he has the schooling to back him up. She has learned a lot from Jim, and he truly listens to her input. It's amazing how good he is and how good my daughter has become. Jim is also very patient, positive and motivating.
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Julian V. January 20, 2014
Guitar
Verified Student
Jim is a top-notch professional

I contacted Jim through TakeLessons because I saw that he had the best reviews on the site and he is not far from where I live. I came to him as a beginner guitarist, with my only experience being teaching myself some basic stuff with the aid of YouTube.

Jim started out by first figuring out what my goals were in playing guitar so that he could take the most suitable approach in teaching me. At our first lesson, he had me play what I could and he gave me advice on all the fundamentals that are really important. He even noticed that I had an unorthodox way of making a G chord and gave me tips on the proper way to position my fretting hand so that, decades down the road, I do not run into trouble with pain and that sort of thing. Whheeeeeewwwww. Good save there.

Jim is very good at seeing the big picture in context with your goals as a student and delivering the lesson accordingly. He takes notes and emails them to you after the lesson, which is very nice to have. He makes videos during the lesson and then sends you a link to the video so that you can watch it a million times if you need. He does his best to accommodate your schedule if anything comes up and you have to reschedule, which I have done several times.

Jim is easy-going and has a good sense of humor, which makes the lesson more enjoyable.

In addition, Jim also performs very often in the local area and one time I was fortunate enough to see him perform in his band. His guitar solo gave me chills in my spine. This might seem off-topic, but it's not, because the reason I bring it up is because I was inspired to want to play more often and learn more because I see my guitar teacher rocking the stage and who doesn't want to do that, and also if you're going to pay for something, don't you want to make sure you're getting the best product out there? Jim is a true professional and boy can he play. Please excuse the run-on sentence.

I'm leaving this review because I'm moving and I just had my last lesson with Jim and the money I invested was money well spent.
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James P.

James P.

Wheaton, IL 60187
(9)
starting at
$30 / 30-min
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Steven B.

Hanover Park, IL

About Steven

I have been studying and performing music for 20+ years. After majoring in music at College of Dupage in Glen Ellyn IL, I went to step up my level of study at the Percussion Institute of Technology (P.I.T.) at Musician's Institute in Hollywood, CA in 2001 attaining a Performance Certificate from my time studying there.

Moving back to Chicago after L.A. in 2002 proved to be the right move as this is when I began my teaching career. With 12+ years of private and group music instruction experience, I have worked with Hix Brothers Music, Naperville Music, Roselle Music, Streamwood Park Distri
ct, After School Enrichment Solution's Guitar Stars, Band For Today, Guitar Fundamentals, Chicago Guitar Instruction, Schaumburg Music Academy, Music Makers of Western Springs, and also maintain a private clientele. Well into a thousand lessons taught, students have stayed with me for up to 7 years. You, the student, will gain all the experience I have gained from my 20 years of study, performance, and instruction.

Performing with various bands in the 2000's, I pinpointed my style and mastered my technique that gave me many performance opportunities regionally and nationally, noting most current act U2 tribute Vertigo USA and country rock cover act soon to be announced featuring members of Trash Martini.

I am co-founder of the music licensing production company Blue Shade Music, co-writing with astute musicians in the Chicago area for music libraries in Florida and California currently.

With national and international touring experience, I was featured in an exclusive interview for Online Drummer in August of 2011 sharing my knowledge and experience of music and drums.

Thank you for reading, and I hope to have a fun and educational time with you!

*** Lesson Details ***
Practicing everyday with an occasional day off is very important in the student's progress. I always say 10 minutes is better than 0 minutes.

For DRUM lessons, the student can expect to learn:
*to read music notation and music charts
*to read drum notation
*songs by real bands
*timekeeping via a metronome
*hand technique and foot technique
*rudiments
*all styles of music
*double bass
*drum grooves and drum fills
*marching band/concert band material (if involved in school)

For PIANO lessons, the student can expect to learn:
*to read music notation
*to read music charts/lead sheets
*music theory
*intervals
*chords and inversions
*chord progressions
*scales
*fingering
*styles of blues, jazz, pop, rock, and traditional
*songs you wish to learn

For GUITAR + BASS lessons, the student can expect to learn:
*to learn to read music notation
*to learn to read a music chart
*music theory
*scales
*chords
*chord progressions
*fingering
*styles of pop, rock, and blues
*songs you wish to learn

*** Travel Equipment ***
I provide no equipment. The student must have an acoustic or electric drum set, a practice pad, a music stand, a metronome, sticks, curriculum book(s), headphones, an acoustic or electric guitar, and an acoustic or electric piano.

*** Specialties ***
Rock, Funk, Blues, RnB, Soul, Country, Jazz, Latin, Pop, Metal
...

Reviews

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Dui S. December 7, 2015
Guitar · In home
Verified Student
My son is enjoying playing the guitar cause of Steve. He is a great instructor. I would recommend him to anyone.
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Meg D. April 15, 2015
Guitar · In home
Verified Student
Steven is a great teacher! He's flexible, and works well with all ages! He's teaching my 3 kids, drums, guitar and bass. He's very receptive and adjusts his lessons according to what my kids are interested in. For example one of my kids was learning notes, but then the other wanted to learn a specific song and he easily adjusted to focus on what each of them wanted to do to. My kids love him!
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S G. March 7, 2015
Drum
I took 5 in-home guitar lessons from Steve and loved every minute! I had never played guitar before so we were starting from scratch. We covered a lot of information, tailored to what I wanted to learn, and I felt like I made a lot of progress in a short amount of time. Steve was always on time, well-prepared for lessons, and was very encouraging. I would recommend Steve to anyone interested in taking guitar lessons.
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Steven B.

Steven B.

Hanover Park, IL 60133
(16)
starting at
$35 / 30-min
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Dan P.

Des Plaines, IL

About Dan

I am a member of the Chichago Northwest Symphony Orchestra. I have been instructing students from kindergarten to high-school all over Chicago area for the past thirteen years. My highest accomplishment is having a high-school sophomore student playing first chair first violin on Chamber Orchestra and third chair first violin in Symphonic Orchestra at Maine Township High School, Park Ridge, Illinois. Other accomplishments are having students prepared for Granquist Memorial Music Competition, Geneva Illinois.

My lessons are always focused on adapting the violin practice to fit the character
of the individual student. Besides learning good violin performance practices, the student will shape up character by developing specific neural pathways that will help in child development as well as overall cognitive activity.

Learning to play violin not only opens the mind for greater understanding of artistic expressions but also adds to the quality of experiencing life more complex otherwise not possible in absence of music.

*** Lesson Details ***
Lessons are based on the Suzuki school but adapted for the preferences and/or necessities of the student.

- Warm up exercises
- Quizzing student about difficulties met during practicing in the period between the lessons.
- Assessing the approach of addressing the difficulties while preforming the musical piece under study.
- Explaining how to fix problems and how to approach daily violin practice.
- Musical notions, musical theory.
- Musical notation reading/ Ear development exercises.
- Recap and assignments for next lesson.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Violin, computer, microphones, keyboard, audio interface, speakers.

*** Travel Equipment ***
Car

*** Specialties ***
Violin teaching.
Audio recording and editing.
...

Reviews

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Louanne C. July 18, 2016
Violin · In home
Verified Student
Dan is fantastic. He is approachable, reliable, and speaks to my daughter (mature age 9) as an adult which encourages her to take responsibility for her instrument and practice habits. She is just beginning, but has already made great strides with the violin. I have no doubt she will be able to play with the orchestra in the next school year; and I think this will be a long successful teaching relationship.
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Chris R. March 31, 2016
Violin · In studio
I never had a tutor before, so it was difficult for me to choose from the wide arrange of tutors there are. But I think Dan was the right choice. He's very professional and goes far and beyond to help his students understand how certain things are when playing the violin. I would definitely recommend Dan to anyone looking for a violin tutor.
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Deborah L Lovett February 13, 2016
Violin · In home
Verified Student
Dan worked wonderfully with our 9 year old son who has trouble focusing. The structure of the lessons was well suited to his needs. Dan was understanding of our son's difficulties. I would highly recommend Dan in terms of patience, expertise, and being able to adapt to the needs of each student.
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Dan P.

Dan P.

Des Plaines, IL 60016
(11)
starting at
$20 / 30-min
Profile_44631_pi_Voytek2014

Voytek F.

Rolling Meadows, IL

About Voytek

Hi, my name is Voytek and I love music! I currently do over 200 shows a year and in addition to performing as a soloist, I play in 2 gigging ensembles. Thanks to music, I've been able to meet many incredible people and travel all over the world to Germany, New York, Switzerland, Washington DC and the Dominican Republic. My goal is to inspire my students and share with them my passion for music so they can also experience how wonderful and rewarding it really is. Let's rock some jams!

*** Lesson Details ***
While teaching lessons, I like to keep the atmosphere relaxed but productive. I
utilize many proven traditional teaching techniques (for example: scales, theory, exercises, drills and prepared pieces) however, I also try to keep things fresh with fun backing tracks and music theory games to keep students engaged. I am also very flexible and open to suggestions, so I encourage students to ask questions and let me know if they want to learn a specific song or musical concept.

*** Studio Equipment ***
The studio is equipped with a 76-key keyboard, drum set, music stands, recording equipment and a PA system. Plenty of parking available, either in the driveway or on the street.

*** Travel Equipment ***
In order to teach at a student's home I will need a quiet room/area where we can concentrate on our studies. If the student is taking drum or piano lessons, they will need a drum kit or piano/keyboard. Also, a boombox/CD player may be necessary if we need to play with some backing tracks.

*** Specialties ***
Trumpet - Jazz & Classical

Drums - Everything from Jazz to Rock, Waltz, Cha-Cha, Metal etc.

Singing - All Pop music, old (Frank Sinatra era) and new (The Temptations) and newest (artists of today).

Audio Recording & Production - All styles, such as Rock, Pop,
Cinematic, Hip-Hop, Country etc.

Piano - Beginning piano, building a solid foundation.

Music Theory - I can answer questions and teach the concepts.

Having trouble with your band/choir part? Preparing for an audition and want to get first chair? I can help!
...

Reviews

Silhouette-80
Tracy Z. July 23, 2016
Singing · In studio
Verified Student
The first lesson went nicely with my 7 year old son. Voytek is very personable and inspires confidence!
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Gerry C. June 21, 2016
Singing · In home
Verified Student
Voytek does a great job and really understands an old guy (62) like me!! I always look forward to my next lesson.
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Jeremy X. April 5, 2016
Singing · Online
Verified Student
My son is only 6 years old, so during the online class, he could not fully focus all the time. But Voytek was very patient and try to encourage him and attract his attentions.
Yesterday was the first class, we will continue to finish the 5 classes and see the progression.
But so far, Jeremy said he enjoyed the lesson, it was awesome.
Thanks,Voytek.
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Voytek F.

Voytek F.

Rolling Meadows, IL 60008
(25)
starting at
$25 / 30-min
Profile_43367_pi_MKIStatue

Michelle Kei I.

Arlington Heights, IL

About Michelle Kei

Michelle Kei I., a soprano of Japanese and American heritage, "uses her strong dramatic soprano to slice through the orchestra" in a varied repertoire that encompasses Verismo to Broadway. Possessing a captivating stage presence and praised as "superb," "gifted," and a "constant breakaway from the rest of the vocal pack," she has entertained audiences on stages around the world.

Those are the first two sentences of my professional biography. I thought I'd use them to get the ball rolling.

Ever since I can remember, I've always been a performer. I come from a very musical family. I was al
ways singing! I sang at home, in church, in show-choir and musicals at school - basically anywhere I could find an audience!

When I decided to go to college to study music, I chose the prestigious School of Music at Indiana University. I wanted to sing Broadway, but my father encouraged me to study classical singing first, so I'd have the foundations for a bulletproof technique that could endure a long and demanding career. I'm so glad that he did!

Who would have thought that I would learn to LOVE opera?!? It had everything that Broadway did, and so much more! Plus, I learned to fill a theater with the sound of my voice and soar over the orchestra WITHOUT A MICROPHONE!!!

Would you like to learn how to do that? I can show you how.

Let me help you find your REAL VOICE!!!

What you can expect from me:

- I will provide a supportive and effective work environment.

- I will make recommendations on repertoire based upon your goals

- I will provide you with an individualized regimen of study based upon your strengths and development, not a standardized format of study.

What I expect from you:

- Learn the musical selections we choose. Your lesson time should be used for improving your technique, not learning your music.

- Leave your outside life at the door. It will be waiting for you when you leave.

- Enjoy the process. Experiment. If it doesn't work, try something else. Take constructive criticism as an opportunity for improvement, not as a personal attack.

- Commit yourself fully! Be engaged. The benefit you receive is equal to the work you put into the process.
...

Reviews

Silhouette-80
Jeannette W. August 6, 2016
Musical Theater · In studio
Verified Student
My daughter started working with Michelle and Robert when she started preparing for a role in a musical. As a result of Michelle and Robert's wonderful encouragement and specialized work with my daughter, she landed the lead title role and was absolutely FANTASTIC! They have really helped my daughter develop her voice which has really helped her in confidence. As my daughter is about the enter high school, I feel Michelle and Robert are doing a great job preparing her for whatever auditions might come her way. I really do appreciate their meticulous work with my daughter. I would fully recommend Michelle and Robert to anyone. They really do work with any starting point.
Silhouette-80
Jeannette W. August 4, 2016
Musical Theater · In studio
Verified Student
Michelle and Robert are fabulous teachers! My daughter first met Michelle to help her with her with an audition where she landed the leading title roll. They have been very supportive and nurturing in her quest in becoming a confident singer and I have full confidence that they will prepare her well for future auditions. Great job, Michelle and Robert!!!
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Tina M. June 23, 2016
Opera Voice · In studio
Verified Student
I started working with Michelle and Robert in mid-March. I clicked with them right away. Knowing that we only had about a month and a half before my audition date, we worked very diligently. They did a great job customizing my lessons to really prepare me for my audition. I had a couple of songs picked out and we began ironing out the details right away. Michelle and Robert knew exactly how to challenge me more and more each lesson. They quickly helped me to find my own unique and healthy sound that felt very comfortable. We not only focused on the music and the voice, but also stage presence, interview preparation, and acting out the pieces. I went into the audition feeling positively over-prepared. I was not only accepted into the program, but also offered a generous scholarship. Quickly after my audition we began working on new, more challenging pieces. I am very happy to have the opportunity to work with Michelle and Robert. I cannot thank them enough for all the hard work they put in for their students. I would definitely recommend studying with them for any serious vocalist looking to fine-tune their craft.
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Michelle Kei I.

Michelle Kei I.

Arlington Heights, IL 60005
(19)
starting at
$35 / 30-min

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