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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.

Arlington Heights, 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.

Arlington Heights, IL 60004
(16)
starting at
$35 / 30-min
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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

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Gavin September 2, 2016
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
Voytek is great. He always gives 110 percent with every lesson he gives my 7 year old son. It's difficult to keep children on task and Voytek has a unique gift for both relating to my son on his level and keeping engaged. He is fun, knowledgeable about his craft and talented in the art of teaching. Clearly, music is his passion. I highly recommend him!
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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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Voytek F.

Voytek F.

Rolling Meadows, IL 60008
(26)
starting at
$25 / 30-min
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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

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Julie Boggess August 29, 2016
Classical Voice · In studio
Michelle is an amazing teacher! I have had 8 lessons and am so happy with my progress. I am 53 years old, and have been singing since high school. But, I have never taken voice lessons, and therefore, have not been singing correctly all these years. She and her husband Robert are teaching me a whole new way of singing. It is like teaching an old dog new tricks, but they are so good at explaining things and are so supportive, encouraging and fun! It is my one hour of therapy a week. They are helping me find my new voice, and I am loving it. Highly recommend.
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.
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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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Michelle Kei I.

Michelle Kei I.

Arlington Heights, IL 60005
(20)
starting at
$35 / 30-min
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Eric J.

Elgin, IL

About Eric

Hi.
I'm Eric and I own a Music Lesson Studio in Elgin, IL.

I specialize in working with beginners of any age as well as advanced students who are interested in taking their playing to the next level. Here are some of the things I like to focus on.

Child beginners: Learning to read music. Building confidence and self esteem through learning to play guitar. General music education. Teaching children songs they enjoy to listen to.

Adult Beginners: Learning to play popular rock songs. Chord strumming. Having a nice, relaxing, no pressure lesson.

Advanced students: Learning to read mu
sic at a professional level. Lead guitar. Jazz improvisation.

I'm a professional, full time musician and educator and my guitar has been paying my bills my entire adult life. I have real world, professional experience playing and teaching guitar as well as bass guitar, drums, piano, mandolin and more on countless gigs here in Northern, IL. I teach between 30-50 private students per week. I have taught hundreds of students in the past 12 years how to reach their musical goals. I've played tons of theater. I played guitar, mandolin, and drums as a swing musician for the Chicago Production of Jersey Boys at the Bank of America Theater in 2008. In 2014 I played a lot theater gigs for local productions such as Little Shop of Horrors (bass), Hands on a Hardbody (Guitar, Steel/Slide) and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat (guitar). I grew up as a gigging rock n roll/blues guitar player, but my heart is in jazz. I am confident and fluent in, and have gigged most styles of guitar playing.
...

Reviews

Silhouette-80
Josh August 4, 2016
Guitar · In studio
Verified Student
My son is thrilled. Eric was friendly, funny and patient. Josh is so excited for his next lesson.
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J.R. M. June 29, 2016
Guitar · In studio
I met with Eric at his studio in Elgin, and he was extremely friendly and welcoming. He gave me a very good and informational lesson on some specific musical questions I had about progressing in my saxophone career. He gave me specific instructions on places to visit, useful websites, and names of people. This information may seem trivial, but I was at a personal stopping point on some issues, and Eric provided the tools for me to continue. I highly recommend Eric to anyone looking to learn what it means to be a professional.
Silhouette-80
James D. February 8, 2016
Guitar · In studio
Verified Student
Great teacher. He is knowledgeable and patient with kids.
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Eric J.

Eric J.

Elgin, IL 60120
(11)
starting at
$22 / 30-min

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