Private Guitar Lesson Instructors

Guitar degree majors get the exclusive benefit of Private Guitar Lessons with renowned Berklee faculty who will share their practical knowledge, demonstrate exemplary playing, and coach students through lesson material at a pace individually tailored for each student.

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Larry Baione

Chair, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar


Chair of the Guitar Department since 1990, Larry has performed at the White House with the Army Blues and in South America for the state department as one of the inaugural Jazz Ambassadors representing the unique American art form.

Subjects of Expertise
  • Recital Preparations
Styles Jazz
Major Influences

Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall, Freddie Green, Pat Martino, Pat Metheny

Larry Baione

Chair, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar

"I try to help each individual student starting from where they are at, and working with them with improving both their weaknesses and strengths. Teaching both instrumental craft and style is important. I want my students to know their instrument and the style that interests them."

Chair of the Berklee College of Music Guitar department since 1990, Larry Baione has been a Berklee faculty member since 1974. He has studied from Lenzy Wallace, Mick Goodrick, Bill Harris, William Leavitt, Bucky Pizzarelli, and Jim Hall. He received his bachelor's from Berklee and his master's from New England Conservatory. When attending Berklee. After graduating Berklee, Baione was principal guitarist in the Army Band, stationed in Washington DC. He performed in the White House and throughout the United States with the Army Blues. In 1996, Baione toured South America for the state department as one of the inaugural Jazz Ambassadors representing the unique American art form. He is the author of the Berklee Practice Method for Guitar. He performs in numerous jazz, concert, and recording ensembles, settings that range from solo guitar to big band. He continues to perform and give clinics throughout the world. His recent recording, Playing Time, consists of original compositions and standards in a trio setting.

"I try to help each individual student starting from where they are at, and working with them with improving both their weaknesses and strengths. Teaching both instrumental craft and style is important. I want my students to know their instrument and the style that interests them."

Bruce Bartlett

Associate Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar


Bruce began his career as a recording session guitarist at the age of 19, working for producer Arthur Baker in New York City. He has performed consistently for more than 30 years and has recorded seven albums under his name.

Subjects of Expertise
  • Recital Preparations
Styles Rock, Jazz, Acoustic Blues, Electric Blues, Funk, R&B
Major Influences

B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, Wes Montgomery, Charlie Parker, Joe Pass, Allan Holdsworth, John Coltrane, James Brown, T-Bone Walker, etc.

Bruce Bartlett

Associate Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar

I stress learning to practice, technique, stylistic vocabulary, improvisation, ear training, rhythmic skills, and reading.

Bruce Bartlett began his career as a recording session guitarist at the age of 19, working for producer Arthur Baker in New York City. He played rhythm guitar for several underground recordings for R&B artists in the early 1980s. Bartlett has taught at Berklee for 23 years, including 10 years as an author and instructor for Berklee Online. He has taught groove ensembles in Italy, Argentina, Los Angeles, and on campus. He has performed consistently for more than 30 years, and has recorded seven albums under his name, in addition to the extensive work he has done as a side-person.




I stress learning to practice, technique, stylistic vocabulary, improvisation, ear training, rhythmic skills, and reading.

Kevin Belz

Assistant Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar


Kevin has shared the stage with artists such as Susan Tedeschi, Buddy Guy, Ray Charles, B.B. King, Commander Cody, Jimmy Vaughan, and Robert Cray. Belz describes his musical taste as “the blues and everything with a blues/soul flavor in it.”

Subjects of Expertise
  • Blues, Pop, and Rock for Guitar
Styles Rock, Jazz, Country, Acoustic Blues, Electric Blues, Americana
Major Influences

Eric Clapton, George Benson, Freddy King, Albert King, Mick Taylor, Albert Lee, James Burton, Peter Green, Kenny Burell

Kevin Belz

Assistant Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar

"My teaching philosophy is to use your natural instincts and develop your ear, as not to rely as much on theory or reading, but to focus more on feel and the subtleties in one's playing. The most important pursuits are developing your personal sound, working on your tone, and using dynamics to help give your playing more of a personal voice."

Kevin Belz has had extensive touring, recording, and performing experience internationally and nationally. He has performed and/or shared the stage with artists such as Susan Tedeschi, Buddy Guy, Ray Charles, B.B. King, Commander Cody, Jimmy Vaughan, Robert Cray, and more. Belz describes his musical taste as “the blues and everything with a blues/soul flavor in it,” also citing a love for American roots music, country jazz, and R&B.

"My teaching philosophy is to use your natural instincts and develop your ear, as not to rely as much on theory or reading, but to focus more on feel and the subtleties in one's playing. The most important pursuits are developing your personal sound, working on your tone, and using dynamics to help give your playing more of a personal voice."

Freddie Bryant

Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar


Freddie is an active player in the New York jazz and Brazilian scenes, where he has worked with Elaine Elias, Tom Harrell, The Mingus Orchestra, Ben Riley's Thelonious Monk Legacy Septet, Chris Potter, Brad Mehldau, Joshua Redman, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and Max Roach.

Subjects of Expertise
  • Jazz
  • Classical
  • Brazilian/Latin
  • World Styles
Styles Jazz, Classical, Acoustic Blues, Electric Blues, Fingerstyle Acoustic, Funk, Latin, Gospel, World
Major Influences

Wes Montgomery, Andres Segovia, B.B. King, Joao Gilberto

Freddie Bryant

Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar

"My main focus (besides getting down the fundamentals of technique and theory) is connecting the ear and one's creativity to each musical situation. One should not play by rote, simply going through exercises one after another. At all stages, the inner musician and creator has to delve into his or her inspiration and challenge themselves to learn the subtleties of each genre. Each musical style has distinctive rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic aspects, so all of my students listen and transcribe as well as keep a musical notebook that documents their own progress. Each semester we balance between weekly work and a larger semester project." 

Freddie Bryant received a master’s degree in Classical Guitar from the Yale School of Music and in addition to being on the faculty at Berklee, he is also a visiting faculty member at the Prins Claus Conservatory in Groningen, Holland. Before coming to Berklee he was a professor in the Africana Studies and Music departments at Williams College. Bryant is an active player in the New York jazz and Brazilian scenes, where he has worked with Elaine Elias, Tom Harrell, The Mingus Orchestra, Ben Riley's Thelonious Monk Legacy Septet, Chris Potter, Brad Mehldau, Joshua Redman, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and Max Roach. He leads his own groups and has released eight albums as a leader. 

"My main focus (besides getting down the fundamentals of technique and theory) is connecting the ear and one's creativity to each musical situation. One should not play by rote, simply going through exercises one after another. At all stages, the inner musician and creator has to delve into his or her inspiration and challenge themselves to learn the subtleties of each genre. Each musical style has distinctive rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic aspects, so all of my students listen and transcribe as well as keep a musical notebook that documents their own progress. Each semester we balance between weekly work and a larger semester project." 

Sal DiFusco

Professor

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar


Sal has taught guitar at Berklee College of Music since 1998 and has extensive experience writing, recording, producing, and performing with a number of world class artists. He is known by his students as an inspirational teacher with excellent technique and command of a very diverse list of styles, including rock, jazz, blues, funk, and latin. Sal's style and sound is often described as "Jazz-Rock Fusion."

Subjects of Expertise
  • Recital Preparation
  • Application and Theory
Styles Rock, Jazz, Acoustic Blues, Electric Blues, Funk
Major Influences

Mike Stern, Chick Corea, Wayne Kranz, Scott Henderson

Sal DiFusco

Professor

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar

"Artistic development is important to me; I get a great amount of joy in developing people musically. Music is such a hard business, but I don't want my students to be deflated. I want to inspire them that there's a place for them in this music business."

My teaching philosophy can be described in two phrases: stylistic versatility and artist development. Many students study with me because of my ability to get them ready for the real world of the music business, gigging and being able to hang with any musical situation that is presented them.

"Artistic development is important to me; I get a great amount of joy in developing people musically. Music is such a hard business, but I don't want my students to be deflated. I want to inspire them that there's a place for them in this music business."

David Gilmore

Professor, Guitar department; Berklee Global Jazz Institute Faculty member

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar


David has performed and recorded with Wayne Shorter, Steve Coleman, Christian McBride, Dave Douglas, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Randy Brecker, and many others. Gilmore’s first album, Ritualism, was nominated for the 2001 Debut CD of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association.

Subjects of Expertise
  • Advanced Rhythmic Concepts
Styles Funk, Jazz, World
Major Influences

George Benson, Allan Holdsworth, Sonny Rollins, Thelonius Monk, P-Funk, and Earth, Wind & Fire

David Gilmore

Professor, Guitar department; Berklee Global Jazz Institute Faculty member

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar

“To me, jazz music is a way of life and a way of thinking. It's about exploration, trying something new, discovering more about yourself, about music, about life in general. So I hope that when I teach it opens people's minds up to exploring different alternatives, not just trying to sound like someone else. That's good to study at first, but you have to find your own individuality and not be afraid to express that.”

David Gilmore has performed and recorded with many of today’s most influential artists, including Wayne Shorter, Steve Coleman, Christian McBride, Dave Douglas, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Randy Brecker, Lenny White, Stanley Clarke, Sam Rivers, and many others. Gilmore’s first album, Ritualism, was nominated for the 2001 Debut CD of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association. He has been voted a rising star by DownBeat magazine and his playing has been compared to guitarists as diverse as George Benson and Jimi Hendrix. Gilmore has been the recipient of numerous grants, including two New Jazz Works Composer Grants from Chamber Music of America. Committed to an improvisational approach that reflects a global awareness, he conducts master classes around the world. His latest recording, Energies of Change, received four and a half stars in DownBeat, and he was recently featured in their Artist Spotlight column.

“To me, jazz music is a way of life and a way of thinking. It's about exploration, trying something new, discovering more about yourself, about music, about life in general. So I hope that when I teach it opens people's minds up to exploring different alternatives, not just trying to sound like someone else. That's good to study at first, but you have to find your own individuality and not be afraid to express that.”

Scotty Johnson

Associate Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar


Scotty Johnson has recorded and toured with guitarist Paul Gilbert, the Ford Blues Band (featuring Robben Ford), and The Blindside Blues Band. As an active pit musician, Johnson has more than 40 theater credits, including The Lion King, Matilda, Finding Neverland, and Motown.

Subjects of Expertise
  • Guitar Styles in Rock
  • Show/Theatre Guitar
Styles Rock, Jazz, Theatre, Acoustic Blues, Electric Blues
Major Influences

Eddie Van Halen, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robben Ford, Albert King

Scotty Johnson

Associate Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar

"Positive energy creates positive momentum which then creates more positive energy, etc."

A graduate of the Frost School of Music, Scotty Johnson has recorded and toured with guitarist Paul Gilbert, the Ford Blues Band (featuring Robben Ford), and The Blindside Blues Band. As an active pit musician, Johnson has more than 40 theatre credits, including The Lion King, Beautiful, If/ Then, Matilda, Finding Neverland, Motown, and many others.

"Positive energy creates positive momentum which then creates more positive energy, etc."

Julien Kasper

Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar


Julien’s style can best be described as an organic amalgam of rock, jazz, blues, and funk. He has released three critically acclaimed albums of original music and has performed extensively in the United States and abroad as a leader and side-person.

Subjects of Expertise
  • Creative Apps for Proficiency
  • Guitar Styles - Jeff Beck
  • Guitar Styles - Jimi Hendrix
Styles Rock, Jazz, Electric Blues, Funk
Major Influences

Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Wes Montgomery, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Bill Evans

Julien Kasper

Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar

“I take every private student as individuals, and—other than seeing to it that they master the requirements for the semester—I set no agenda until we both understand their actual short- and long-term goals for the lesson and beyond into their musical future. Of course there are always musical priorities to work on, such as having strong groove, great tone, and efficient technique, but I frame these elements within the students' goals. I also consider it my job to foster recognition of nuance, beauty, and contrast; the fine details present in music and great musicians. I draw attention to these elements and, by doing so, I hope to help create musicians who will, ultimately, make powerful, nuanced music of their own that will move and inspire me. The biggest inspiration I can be for my students is to be an active performing, recording artist. I have found that it is important to them that I am out there, making my own music. My professional background contributes enormously to my teaching because I have such a wide range of experience playing so many styles of gigs and music; from clubs to major international festivals, from deep blues and heavy blues/rock to modern jazz and all points between. I'm also writing music and in the studio, recording albums as a sideman and as a leader. These experiences factor strongly into giving aspiring musicians a richer understanding of what will be required of them in the real world.”

Julien Kasper is now in his 20th year on the Berklee Guitar department faculty. His style can best be described as an organic amalgam of rock, jazz, blues, and funk. He has released three critically acclaimed albums of original music and has performed extensively in the United States and abroad as a leader and sideman. He has been featured and reviewed in Guitar Player, Guitar World, Vintage Guitar, Jazz Times, and numerous other publications. Kasper holds a master's degree in jazz studies from the University of North Texas and a bachelor's degree in jazz and studio performance from the University of Miami. 

“I take every private student as individuals, and—other than seeing to it that they master the requirements for the semester—I set no agenda until we both understand their actual short- and long-term goals for the lesson and beyond into their musical future. Of course there are always musical priorities to work on, such as having strong groove, great tone, and efficient technique, but I frame these elements within the students' goals. I also consider it my job to foster recognition of nuance, beauty, and contrast; the fine details present in music and great musicians. I draw attention to these elements and, by doing so, I hope to help create musicians who will, ultimately, make powerful, nuanced music of their own that will move and inspire me. The biggest inspiration I can be for my students is to be an active performing, recording artist. I have found that it is important to them that I am out there, making my own music. My professional background contributes enormously to my teaching because I have such a wide range of experience playing so many styles of gigs and music; from clubs to major international festivals, from deep blues and heavy blues/rock to modern jazz and all points between. I'm also writing music and in the studio, recording albums as a sideman and as a leader. These experiences factor strongly into giving aspiring musicians a richer understanding of what will be required of them in the real world.”

Don Lappin

Assistant Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar


Don Lappin is a Rock Guitarist and Ernie Ball/Music Man Artist. Don has performed with Michael Sweet, Jonathan Mover, Steve Hunt, Chad Wackerman, Guthrie Govan, and others.

Subjects of Expertise
  • Two-Hand Technique
  • Fretboard Organization
Styles Rock, Metal, Progressive
Major Influences

Jeff Beck, Eddie Van Halen, Allan Holdsworth, Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, David Gilmour

Don Lappin

Assistant Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar

"I specialize in rock techniques for guitar. Students know me for the two-hand tapping technique: I use both hands together on the fret board, and have reorganized the fret board to accommodate that. It's the same tuning; it's just that I don't use some of the traditional scale patterns. Everything is based around four notes per string. Students come to me for technique, but I want them to understand that technique is a means to an end, and that end should always be something musical."

Don is well known for his unique "Two-Hand" technique which he has been teaching at Berklee for over 20 years. Don specializes in rock guitar techniques and improvisation.

"I specialize in rock techniques for guitar. Students know me for the two-hand tapping technique: I use both hands together on the fret board, and have reorganized the fret board to accommodate that. It's the same tuning; it's just that I don't use some of the traditional scale patterns. Everything is based around four notes per string. Students come to me for technique, but I want them to understand that technique is a means to an end, and that end should always be something musical."

Anthony Marvuglio

Assistant Vice President for Academic Technology, Retired

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar


Author of the Berklee Online course "Music Technology for Guitarists," Tony incorporates current guitar technologies into his playing and teaching.

Subjects of Expertise
  • Private Guitar Lessons, Level 1-2
  • Music Technology for Guitarists
Styles Rock, Jazz, Electric Blues, R&B
Major Influences

Kenny Burrell, Jim Hall, Pat Martino, Mike Stern, Robben Ford, Page, Eric Clapton, John Coltrane, Michael Brecker, Charles Lloyd, Joe Farrell, and Cannonball Adderley.

Anthony Marvuglio

Assistant Vice President for Academic Technology, Retired

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar

Every student has a unique personality. My goal is to help them to succeed in the genre they choose but to offer opportunities they may not have considered.

Tony is a professional guitarist and recording engineer, recently serving as mix engineer for legendary bassist, Eddie Gomez on his CD Per Sempre. Tony was an early user of computer and music technologies, and has presented on the use of technology in music education at MacWorld, the Technology Institute for Music Educators (TI:ME), the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) conferences. He continues to perform professionally as a guitarist in a variety of venues, almost always incorporating the use of available technologies.

Every student has a unique personality. My goal is to help them to succeed in the genre they choose but to offer opportunities they may not have considered.

Shaun Michaud

Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar


Shaun’s music has appeared on The History Channel, and in films such as Movie 43, and November Criminals. He has written, recorded, and produced five albums, two of which were released on the Inside Out label.

Subjects of Expertise
  • Guitar Styles in Contemporary Rock
Styles Rock, Theatre, Metal
Major Influences

Dream Theater, Steve Vai, Guthrie Govan, as well as artists in the current pop market such as Pink, Katy Perry, Maroon 5, etc.

Shaun Michaud

Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar

“I believe in dissecting every concept into small simple forms. Once mastered, these forms can be stitched together in an infinite number of ways to develop playing styles unique to each student.”

Shaun Michaud is a Berklee grad who has been teaching at the school for more than 16 years. The music he has written has appeared on TV on The History Channel, and in films such as Movie 43, and November Criminals. He has written, recorded, and produced five albums, two of which were released on the Inside Out label. Working as a recording engineer for more than a decade, he has hundreds of recording and mastering credits in the classical music genre for Parma Recordings.

“I believe in dissecting every concept into small simple forms. Once mastered, these forms can be stitched together in an infinite number of ways to develop playing styles unique to each student.”

Tim Miller

Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar


Tim has performed and recorded with Dweezil Zappa, Paul Motian, Mike Stern, Mick Goodrick, Randy Brecker, Gary Burton, Terri Lyne Carrington, among many others.

Subjects of Expertise
  • Guitar Styles in Contemporary Jazz
Styles Rock, Jazz, Classical, Country, Bluegrass, Folk, Acoustic Blues, Electric Blues, Fingerstyle Acoustic, Metal, Funk, R&B, Progressive

Tim Miller

Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar

"My teaching philosophy is to find personal strategies to help students develop as musicians."  


Tim Miller is a full-time faculty member in the guitar department at Berklee College of Music. He has a bachelor's degree in jazz performance from the University of North Texas and a master's degree in jazz performance from the New England Conservatory.  Miller's most notable recordings as a leader are Trio and Trio Volume 2.  He has performed/recorded with Dweezil Zappa, Paul Motian, Mike Stern, Mick Goodrick, Randy Brecker, Gary Burton, Terri Lyne Carrington, George Duke, George Garzone, among many others. In private guitar lessons, Miller focuses on a wide variety of subjects, specializing in jazz/rock/fusion improvisation.  


"My teaching philosophy is to find personal strategies to help students develop as musicians."  


Jane Miller

Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar


Jane is a contributing editor to Acoustic Guitar magazine, and is a former monthly columnist for Premier Guitar magazine. She has presented master classes in Argentina, Chile, and around the United States.

Subjects of Expertise
  • Guitar Chart Reading/Performance
  • Guitar for Music Therapy
Styles Jazz, Folk, Acoustic Blues, Electric Blues, Fingerstyle Acoustic
Major Influences

Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Pat Metheny, Emily Remler, Janis Ian, Kenny Rankin, Bruce Cockburn, Steely Dan

Jane Miller

Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar

"I work with students to bring out their authentic selves through discovering their authentic music. Fundamentals are vital to the process; applying those foundational techniques to a student’s own creative ideas allows their best work to come to light. The main tenets of this process: Leading by example, listening carefully, and giving each student the space to realize the right questions and answers for themselves through discussion and playing music together pays big dividends. "

Berklee alumna Jane Miller is a guitarist, composer, arranger, and the author of Introduction To Jazz Guitar (Berklee Press/Hal Leonard, 2015). She is a Contributing Editor to Acoustic Guitar magazine, and is a former monthly columnist for Premier Guitar magazine. Miller has presented master classes in Argentina, Chile, and around the United States. She has taught at Berklee for more than 20 years. The Jane Miller Group has released three albums. Her fourth, Three Sides to a Story—which is her first solo guitar recording—was released in June of 2013. Her next group recording, Boats, is scheduled for release in 2016 and features Tim Ray, Lincoln Goines, and Mark Walker.



"I work with students to bring out their authentic selves through discovering their authentic music. Fundamentals are vital to the process; applying those foundational techniques to a student’s own creative ideas allows their best work to come to light. The main tenets of this process: Leading by example, listening carefully, and giving each student the space to realize the right questions and answers for themselves through discussion and playing music together pays big dividends. "

Amanda Monaco

Assistant Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar


Amanda is a Grammy-nominated guitarist and composer who has been described by the New York City Jazz Record as "utterly unique, a breath of fresh air in the cookie-cutter climes of both mainstream and free jazz."

Subjects of Expertise
  • Chords and Reading
  • Guitar Styles - Charles Mingus
  • Guitar Styles in Jazz Basics
  • Guitar Performance Styles
Styles Jazz
Major Influences

Jim Hall, Wes Montgomery, Motown, John McLaughlin

Amanda Monaco

Assistant Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar

"Simplicity and thorough knowledge of the basics are what will enable you to learn advanced musical concepts."

Grammy-nominated guitarist/composer Amanda Monaco has performed at venues such as Jazz at Lincoln Center, Birdland, Jazz Standard, and Flushing Town Hall. She has released five albums to date and her playing has been described by The New York City Jazz Record as “utterly unique, a breath of fresh air in the cookie-cutter climes of both mainstream and free jazz.” Before she began teaching at Berklee in 2011, she was a member of the faculty at New School University and the National Guitar Workshop. Monaco is the author of Jazz Guitar for the Absolute Beginner.

"Simplicity and thorough knowledge of the basics are what will enable you to learn advanced musical concepts."

David Newsam

Associate Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar


David has performed in concerts and clinics with many noted musicians, including guitarists Jim Hall, Bucky Pizzarelli, and Howard Alden. Recent concert appearances include performances at The House of Blues and the Boston Hatch Shell.

Subjects of Expertise
  • Classical Guitar Chamber Music
  • Flamenco Guitar
Styles Jazz, Classical, Fingerstyle Acoustic
Major Influences

Wes Montgomery, Tom Jobim, Paco De Lucia, Miles Davis, Jim Hall, Marco Pereira, Mike Stern, Gene Bertoncini

David Newsam

Associate Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar

"To walk out of school and have professional opportunities—that's what I want for my students. If I can recommend any of my students for performances I can't accept, then I've succeeded. The students who go above and beyond what is asked of them are the students I end up performing with or who have successful teaching businesses. They're the ones who possess that inspiration to go well beyond what I gave them. ... One of the things I always tell them as they head into spring break or summer vacation is to get back to why they are doing this in the first place. I think it's easy for students to lose that passion for music as they're struggling to get this project done or practice that scale. I really hope they maintain that passion for what brought them to Berklee in the first place. To be able to spend my whole life just doing music is really rewarding."

David Newsam is the author of the book, Making Money Teaching Music, published by Writer's Digest Books. In addition to offering private lessons, he designed and teaches the course, Fundamentals of Classical Guitar for Berklee Online. Newsam has performed in concerts and clinics with many noted musicians, including guitarists Jim Hall, Bucky Pizzarelli, and Howard Alden; pianists Dave McKenna and James Williams; drummers Ed Shaughnessy, Louie Bellson, Bob Moses, and Alan Dawson; and jazz legends Clark Terry, Phil Wilson, Joe Williams, and Milt Jackson. Recent concert appearances include performances at Berklee College of Music, Longy School of Music, Dartmouth, and St. Anselm Colleges, The House of Blues, and the Boston Hatch Shell. 

"To walk out of school and have professional opportunities—that's what I want for my students. If I can recommend any of my students for performances I can't accept, then I've succeeded. The students who go above and beyond what is asked of them are the students I end up performing with or who have successful teaching businesses. They're the ones who possess that inspiration to go well beyond what I gave them. ... One of the things I always tell them as they head into spring break or summer vacation is to get back to why they are doing this in the first place. I think it's easy for students to lose that passion for music as they're struggling to get this project done or practice that scale. I really hope they maintain that passion for what brought them to Berklee in the first place. To be able to spend my whole life just doing music is really rewarding."

Lauren Passarelli

Professor

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar


Lauren is a performing songwriter, multi instrumentalist, and recording engineer. She toured for twelve years in a Beatles tribute band and a solo Beatles’ tribute band for four years. She is the author of the Guitar Insights Series and was named one of the top ten most inspiring woman music professors in the USA.

Subjects of Expertise
  • The Music of the Beatles Ensemble
  • Guitar Styles Skills Labs
  • Guitar Styles of the Beatles
Styles Rock, Folk, Fingerstyle Acoustic
Major Influences

Lou Sabini, Johnny Smith, Howard Roberts, Buddy Fite, Barney Kessel, Kenny Burrell, George Harrison, James Taylor, George Benson, Pat Metheny, Lindsey Buckingham.

Lauren Passarelli

Professor

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar

"I don’t believe in writer’s block. Creativity, the muse is always on and flowing for everyone. I teach how to plug in any time you wish. It’s always with you."

Lauren's music has been featured on NPR, international syndicated music networks, and television shows. As an artist in residence at Berklee she has mentored over 10,000 students to find their voice and grow past their limitations as musicians. Angie Swan, St Vincent, Will Knox, Panos Panay, Derek Sivers, David Rawlings, Kyle Patrick, Claudio Raino, and Jesse Rubin studied with Lauren at Berklee. Lauren teaches all levels of guitar, songwriting, guitar, arranging, production, and everything Beatles.

"I don’t believe in writer’s block. Creativity, the muse is always on and flowing for everyone. I teach how to plug in any time you wish. It’s always with you."

Rick Peckham

Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar


Rick specializes in a unique blend of styles, including jazz, rock, blues, fusion, and country fingerstyle performance. His internationally released album Left End, with drummer Jim Black and bassist Tony Scherr, was named one of the best releases of 2005 by DownBeat Magazine.

Subjects of Expertise
  • Contemporary Jazz
  • Transcription Techniques
  • Guitar Artists: Atkins & Reed
Styles Rock, Jazz, Country, Acoustic Blues, Electric Blues
Major Influences

Grant Green, John Abercrombie, John Scofield, Jeff Beck, Billy Gibbons, Wes Montgomery, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk

Rick Peckham

Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar

"I want to help every student I teach to get closer to their musical goals by encouraging the best elements that are already in place. My best teaching has helped students to realize their own musical vision and help their collaborators do the same."

Some of Rick Peckham's published works include the DVD Modal Voicing Techniques, the Hal Leonard books Berklee Jazz Guitar Dictionary, and Berklee Rock Chord Dictionary. He is the course author/facilitator of two 12-week online Berklee Online courses: Berklee Guitar Chords 101 (winner of the 2007 UCEA award for best online class) and Berklee Guitar Chords 201. Peckham has presented performances and clinics on six continents. He specializes in a unique blend of styles, including jazz, rock, blues, fusion, and country fingerstyle performance. Peckham has been a faculty member at Berklee for 30 years, and served as Assistant Chair of the Guitar Department, with 1,100 guitar students and 60 guitar faculty, from 1992–2013. His internationally released album Left End, with drummer Jim Black and bassist Tony Scherr was named one of the best releases of 2005 by DownBeat magazine. 

"I want to help every student I teach to get closer to their musical goals by encouraging the best elements that are already in place. My best teaching has helped students to realize their own musical vision and help their collaborators do the same."

Randy Roos

Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar


Randy is a founding member of the critically acclaimed Orchestra Luna, who released their eponymous debut on Epic/CBS in 1974. Roos has composed numerous TV scores including all of the Scientific American Frontiers series and several in the PBS NOVA series.

Subjects of Expertise
  • Electronic Effects for Guitar
  • Midi Guitar
  • Recording Techniques for Performing Guitar
Styles Rock, Jazz, Acoustic Blues, Electric Blues
Major Influences

Eric Clapton, John Coltrane, Joe Zawinul, Squarepusher, Bon Iver

Randy Roos

Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar

"I think the important thing is not to approach a student with a set list of things that you feel that they need: I think it's more important to try to figure out where the student is heading. If they've got something already started, I feel it's my responsibility to enhance that, not to pull them away from it with material that might have been important to me, but might not be important to them. I like to work with improvisational elements, and keep technical elements subservient to them. If there is a specific technical need, we'll address that, but it should derive from a creative need. I'm fascinated with harmony, and I have numerous voicing and voice-leading concepts that have proven very useful to my students. While there have been many advancements in contemporary music rhythmically, sonically, and conceptually, I feel that not to be the case harmonically. Therefore, I offer my students an array of tools to enable them to push their harmonic boundaries, in their writing as well as their playing. Due to my experience as a recording engineer and producer, I also work with my students on recording and production concepts. Topics include orchestrating with the guitar, textures and creative sonic treatments, designing parts, and approaches to mixing."

Randy Roos is a founding member of the critically acclaimed Orchestra Luna, who released their eponymous debut on Epic/CBS in 1974. He has also released albums on the Narada and JVC labels. Roos has composed numerous TV scores including all of the Scientific American Frontiers series (PBS, hosted by Alan Alda) and several in the PBS NOVA series. He regularly performs with Club d'Elf, Donkilo Afrofunk Orkestra, Urethane, and the Marc Rossi Group. He has also performed with Steve Swallow, Mick Goodrick, Bill Bruford, John Medeski, and Victor Bailey. In addition, Roos owns and operates a commercial recording studio where he produces, engineers, and plays on a steady stream of projects. On the Berklee campus, Roos teaches Recording Techniques for Guitarists, Electronic Effects, MIDI Guitar Lab, and Intro to Music Technology.


"I think the important thing is not to approach a student with a set list of things that you feel that they need: I think it's more important to try to figure out where the student is heading. If they've got something already started, I feel it's my responsibility to enhance that, not to pull them away from it with material that might have been important to me, but might not be important to them. I like to work with improvisational elements, and keep technical elements subservient to them. If there is a specific technical need, we'll address that, but it should derive from a creative need. I'm fascinated with harmony, and I have numerous voicing and voice-leading concepts that have proven very useful to my students. While there have been many advancements in contemporary music rhythmically, sonically, and conceptually, I feel that not to be the case harmonically. Therefore, I offer my students an array of tools to enable them to push their harmonic boundaries, in their writing as well as their playing. Due to my experience as a recording engineer and producer, I also work with my students on recording and production concepts. Topics include orchestrating with the guitar, textures and creative sonic treatments, designing parts, and approaches to mixing."

Bruce Saunders

Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar


Bruce has recorded, performed, and toured with Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, Bill Stewart and many others. Referred to as a "guitar master" by the Boston Globe, he has released six albums as a band leader and has been on numerous other recordings.

Subjects of Expertise
  • Guitar Composition - Soloing Odd Meters
  • Guitar Styles - Contemporary Jazz
  • Improvisation for Guitar
Styles Jazz, Classical
Major Influences

Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall, Grant Green, John Coltrane, Joe Henderson, Peter Bernstein

Bruce Saunders

Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar

"My job is to make each student the best player he or she can be, keep them inspired, and ensure that they stay as passionate about music and learning as I am. Using a combination of positive reinforcement, critical feedback, and practical advice, we work together to find each student’s artistic voice. I have a large library of books, exercises, etudes, recordings, and solo transcriptions, and I strive to stay current in regards to both music and technology. I have a large discography and high-profile playing and recording credits, and I’m still very active, musically, playing gigs, composing, and recording. This type of real-world experience translates incredibly well to the teaching studio."

Guitarist, composer, and educator Bruce Saunders has taught at Berklee since 1993. He also teaches at Berklee Online, the University of Texas in Austin, and Austin Community College, and previously taught at NYU and the New School. After receiving his master's degree in jazz/classical guitar from the University of North Texas in 1986, he moved to New York City and has since performed at many renowned venues there, including Birdland, The Blue Note, Smalls, Fat Cat, The Jazz Standard, The Knitting Factory, Barbes, Detour, Smoke, Tonic, and many others. Saunders has recorded, performed, and toured with Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, Bill Stewart, Peter Erskine, Kenny Werner, Ben Monder, Donny McCaslin, Scott Colley, and many others. Referred to as a "guitar master" by the Boston Globe, he has released six albums as a band leader and has been a sideman on numerous other recordings. Saunders is also the author of six guitar method books published by Mel Bay Publications. In addition to developing two popular courses for Berklee Online—Jazz Guitar 101 and Jazz Guitar 201—he has conducted clinics and concerts in countries such as Colombia, Portugal, Mexico, Spain, and Japan, as well as throughout the United States.

"My job is to make each student the best player he or she can be, keep them inspired, and ensure that they stay as passionate about music and learning as I am. Using a combination of positive reinforcement, critical feedback, and practical advice, we work together to find each student’s artistic voice. I have a large library of books, exercises, etudes, recordings, and solo transcriptions, and I strive to stay current in regards to both music and technology. I have a large discography and high-profile playing and recording credits, and I’m still very active, musically, playing gigs, composing, and recording. This type of real-world experience translates incredibly well to the teaching studio."

Bobby Stanton

Associate Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar


Bobby’s musical path has been diverse, including appearances on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion and Dave Brubeck’s A Welcome Home Christmas. He has played with James Taylor, Bo Diddley, Hal Blaine, The Temptations, The Drifters, and many others.

Subjects of Expertise
  • Country Guitar
  • Western Swing
  • Surf Guitar
  • Guitar Styles - Lenny Breau
Styles Rock, Jazz, Classical, Country, Bluegrass, Folk, Theatre, Acoustic Blues, Electric Blues
Major Influences

Chet Atkins, Lenny Breau, Jimi Hendrix

Bobby Stanton

Associate Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar

“My job is to figure out how to make a person better at their instrument, and then provide them with the shortest path to their goal.”

Bobby Stanton moved to Nashville before moving to Boston to go to Berklee College of Music, where he graduated with honors and became the first student to receive the prestigious “Ovation” award. Some of the artists he has played with include James Taylor, Bo Diddley, Gillian Welch, Run DMC, and Noel Redding. His areas of expertise are fingerstyle jazz and country music, although he has played extensively with many rock and blues artists. 

“My job is to figure out how to make a person better at their instrument, and then provide them with the shortest path to their goal.”

Robin Stone

Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar


With more than 35 years of gigging experience, playing covers and originals in bands, Robin is currently in three bands, two of which are rock-based, and the third of which is a jazz trio. She has been the managing editor of the Berklee guitar department's online newsletter since 2008.

Subjects of Expertise
  • Classic Rock Guitar Players
  • The Music of the Allman Brothers
Styles Rock, Jazz, Acoustic Blues, Electric Blues
Major Influences

The Allman Brothers Band, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Allan Holdsworth, most classic rock

Robin Stone

Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar

"My teaching philosophy revolves around the notion that studying harmony is the most important part of one’s thinking and playing on the guitar, and I try to stress the importance of knowing what you are doing. Studying theory and harmony are the keys to unlocking all of the wonderful mysteries of improvisation and composition, and a good foundation in both is a necessity to becoming an accomplished musician. I have spent my entire life surrounded by music and it’s been a wonderful journey thus far. Studying music is a life-enriching pursuit and I hope that I impart that to all of my students. I also strive to serve as a role model for women students of the guitar, in particular."

Robin Stone graduated from Berklee in 1983 with a degree in Professional Music and received her master's from the New England Conservatory in 1988. She began teaching in the guitar department in 1990. With more than 35 years of gigging experience, playing covers and originals in bands, Stone is currently in three bands, two of which are rock-based, and the third of which is a jazz trio. Among the classes she teaches at Berklee is an Allman Brothers lab—in which the students play tunes from the Allmans' catalog and work on improvising over them—and The History of Classic Rock Guitarists, which details the greatest artists from the ’60s, ’70s, and beyond. She has been the Managing Editor of the Guitar department's online newsletter since 2008.

"My teaching philosophy revolves around the notion that studying harmony is the most important part of one’s thinking and playing on the guitar, and I try to stress the importance of knowing what you are doing. Studying theory and harmony are the keys to unlocking all of the wonderful mysteries of improvisation and composition, and a good foundation in both is a necessity to becoming an accomplished musician. I have spent my entire life surrounded by music and it’s been a wonderful journey thus far. Studying music is a life-enriching pursuit and I hope that I impart that to all of my students. I also strive to serve as a role model for women students of the guitar, in particular."

Joe Stump

Associate Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar


Joe Stump was named by Guitar One magazine as one of the top 10 fastest shredders of all time, by Guitar World as one of the 50 fastest players of all time, and by Guitarist magazine as one of the top 20 shredders of all time.

Subjects of Expertise
  • Hard Rock/Metal
Styles Rock, Metal
Major Influences

Yngwie Malmsteen, Ritchie Blackmore, Gary Moore, Uli Jon Roth, Michael Schenker, Jimi Hendrix , J.S. Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, Beethoven, Paganini, Tchaikovsky

Joe Stump

Associate Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar

"I have a vast amount of experience teaching metal and hard rock players on all levels. Every student is an individual and all of them understand and comprehend things differently."

Joe Stump was named by Guitar One magazine as one of the top 10 fastest shredders of all time, by Guitar World as one of the 50 fastest players of all time, and by Guitarist magazine as one of the top 20 shredders of all time. He has appeared in countless guitar and metal-based publications, fanzines, and webzines worldwide. Referring to his specialty as "full throttle neo-classical shred/speed metal," Stump has toured the world both as a solo artist and with metal bands Joe Stump's Reign Of Terror, HolyHell, RavenLord, and Exorcism. The Dark Lord Rises marks his 10th solo album. Stump has been the metal/shred guitar specialist at Berklee for the last 22 years.


"I have a vast amount of experience teaching metal and hard rock players on all levels. Every student is an individual and all of them understand and comprehend things differently."

Scott Tarulli

Assistant Professor

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar


Aside from spending time as a busy Boston local sideman and touring artist, Scott performs live and records with players like Jerry Marotta, Tony Levin, Mark Egan, Ira Coleman, Nile Rodgers, Steve Gadd, Abe Laboriel, The Temptations, Bernard Purdie, Chuck Rainey, Peter Eldridge, and Guthrie Govan, to name a few.

Subjects of Expertise
  • Recital Preparation
  • Guitar Styles in Rock
Styles Rock, Jazz, Acoustic Blues, Electric Blues, Progressive
Major Influences

David Gilmour, Steve Lukather, Cornell Dupree, Albert King, Bill Frisell, Herbie Hancock, John Coltrane, Bill Evans

Scott Tarulli

Assistant Professor

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar

"I teach a styles lab for the working guitarist. We study different styles of comping and improvisation to make students well-rounded players. This will help them tremendously when they go out and gig. Even if their focus is heavy metal, if a singer-songwriter calls them up, they will able to go into that situation and play musically."

Teaching fundamentals (scales, chords, theory, time, etc) is important. It's more important that I teach the student how to make sense of these 'building blocks'. To find practical uses of the fundamentals so they can perform and create. Even more is to teach them how to think, so they can rely on themselves to create new ways of musical approach. My focus is to help student’s find their voice, while understanding the process.

"I teach a styles lab for the working guitarist. We study different styles of comping and improvisation to make students well-rounded players. This will help them tremendously when they go out and gig. Even if their focus is heavy metal, if a singer-songwriter calls them up, they will able to go into that situation and play musically."

Jonathan Wheatley

Associate Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar


Jon Wheatley has been a musical performer in the Boston area for thirty years. He has recorded with Gordon Brisker, Ruby Braff, Herb Pomeroy, and Donna Byrne.

Subjects of Expertise
  • Jazz Guitar Trio
  • Guitar Styles Skills Lab
  • Walking Bass Line and Chords for Guitar
Styles Jazz
Major Influences

Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Jimmy Raney, George Van Eps, Django Reinhardt, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Claude Debussy, J. S. Bach, Art Tatum

Jonathan Wheatley

Associate Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar

"My goal is to help the student have real success playing songs, and playing them with solid musical qualities: good time, tone, intonation, rhythm, harmony, and improvising that is melodic. This takes practice, listening. When you succeed at this, you really know that you've done something!"

Jon Wheatley has been a musical performer in the Boston area for thirty years. He has recorded with Gordon Brisker, Ruby Braff, Herb Pomeroy, and Donna Byrne. Jon’s work on Daryl Sherman’s “Guess Who’s in Town” was noted by Steve Futterman (New Yorker Magazine, Best of 2006): “Among the excellent sidemen, Jon Wheatley’s work stands out.” 

On Dick Johnson’s “Tribute To Artie Shaw” Jon was noted by Jazz Times Magazine for “excellent solos.” 

Jon’s album Guitar On The Loose in London was included in renowned critic Dan Morgenstern’s “Best of 2005” radio program.

"My goal is to help the student have real success playing songs, and playing them with solid musical qualities: good time, tone, intonation, rhythm, harmony, and improvising that is melodic. This takes practice, listening. When you succeed at this, you really know that you've done something!"

Michael Williams

Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar


Michael has recorded and performed extensively with the Grammy-winning James Cotton Blues Band. He also performed on Bruce Katz’s 2004 release, A Deeper Blue, and his playing, songwriting, and arranging are featured on Michelle Willson’s So Emotional.

Subjects of Expertise
  • Classic Soul Guitar
  • Blues
Styles Jazz, Electric Blues
Major Influences

B.B. King, Freddy King, Albert King, Magic Sam, Otis Rush, T-Bone Walker, Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, John Coltrane

Michael Williams

Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar

"My job as a teacher is to help students achieve what they're after. I ask them what they're hoping to do, and then work with them in their areas of interest. I also find areas that need extra strengthening, above and beyond the required curriculum that everyone needs to master. My goal is to help students take it to the next level. I see a lot of people who are interested in blues and jazz, and those are the main areas that I love to work in. Students come in who are already blues players, wanting to work on elements of jazz, and students come in who are jazz or rock players, wanting to work more blues into their playing. I try to make students as complete as possible, on rhythm guitar playing, soloing, and overall playing skills. If they're interested in soloing over changes, we work on that; if they want to get more into real, straight-ahead blues, I'm happy to go in that direction, as well. We dedicate a good amount of lesson time each week toward strengthening skills in the style (or styles) that students are interested in."

Michael Williams is the author of the Berklee Blues Guitar Songbook (2010), and Blues Guitar Technique (2014), published by Berklee Press and Hal Leonard. He has recorded and performed extensively with the Grammy-winning James Cotton Blues Band (for which he received a W.C. Handy Award, and a Grammy nomination in 2003). He also performed on Bruce Katz’s 2004 release, entitled A Deeper Blue, and his playing, songwriting, and arranging are featured on Michelle Willson’s So Emotional album, which earned a four-star review in DownBeat magazine. He also released an album under his own name, Late Night Walk on Blue Tempo Records, featuring 10 original compositions with guest artists David “Fathead” Newman on tenor sax, Sugar Ray Norcia on vocals, and Bruce Katz on Hammond B3 organ and piano. 

"My job as a teacher is to help students achieve what they're after. I ask them what they're hoping to do, and then work with them in their areas of interest. I also find areas that need extra strengthening, above and beyond the required curriculum that everyone needs to master. My goal is to help students take it to the next level. I see a lot of people who are interested in blues and jazz, and those are the main areas that I love to work in. Students come in who are already blues players, wanting to work on elements of jazz, and students come in who are jazz or rock players, wanting to work more blues into their playing. I try to make students as complete as possible, on rhythm guitar playing, soloing, and overall playing skills. If they're interested in soloing over changes, we work on that; if they want to get more into real, straight-ahead blues, I'm happy to go in that direction, as well. We dedicate a good amount of lesson time each week toward strengthening skills in the style (or styles) that students are interested in."

Norm Zocher

Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar


Norman has performed and recorded with a broad range of artists including Esperanza Spalding, Maria Schneider, John Medeski, Muhal Richard Abrams, Steve Lacy, Bob Brookmeyer, and Paul Bley. He has been described by the Boston Globe as a “fast-rising star of pedal steel.”

Subjects of Expertise
  • Steel Guitar
  • Contemporary Jazz
Styles Rock, Jazz, Classical, Country, Bluegrass, Folk, Acoustic Blues, Electric Blues, Funk
Major Influences

Jimi Hendrix, John McLaughlin, George Benson, Allan Holdsworth, John Scofield, Wes Montgomery, Danny Gatton

Norm Zocher

Professor, Guitar department

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar

"Ask not what the music can do for you; ask what you can do for the music. You'll have four soloists on stage, and there's always one whose solo has the most energy, the high point of the song. You might think it's the soloist creating all that fire. It became clear to me that it was, in fact, the player who got the band most excited whose solo burned the hardest. In a way, the best soloist 'tricked' the band into playing a large part of their solo for them. This is done by playing ideas that elicit a response from the rhythm section, playing rhythmic and melodic motifs that dictate what the 'right answer' should be from the accompanying musicians, essentially conducting the band with the solo. The beauty of it is, the 'solo' is now a 'we' thing, rather than a 'me' thing. Also, it's the way a player with far less knowledge and technique can outplay someone who knows everything and, playing alone, has more chops. You can't sound good if you don't sound good. Sound is probably the most fundamental musical element. It's the thing that non-musicians, even newborn babies, know instantly if it's good or not. There are so many facets to what makes a good sound, but I think what captures it best—the basic definition of technique—is touch. It's also that your sound must be coming from your ear internally first, then you shape it on the instrument. The answer is not in the equipment. The answer is in your own hands."

Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Norman Zocher is a long-time faculty member of Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory. He has performed and recorded a broad range of artists including Esperanza Spalding, Maria Schneider, John Medeski, Muhal Richard Abrams, Steve Lacy, Bob Brookmeyer, and Paul Bley. Described by The Boston Globe as a “fast-rising star of pedal steel,” Zocher has recorded critically acclaimed albums with numerous musicians, including his wife, fellow Berklee guitar professor Abigail Aronson Zocher, as the Abby and Norm Group. Educated in jazz performance and classical composition, Zocher has experience in all forms of rock, shred, blues, free jazz, film music, classical guitar, funk, and even bluegrass. "I'm often called a fusion guitarist," he says. "I'm known for my stylistic diversity and that's reflected by the stylistic diversity of my students."


"Ask not what the music can do for you; ask what you can do for the music. You'll have four soloists on stage, and there's always one whose solo has the most energy, the high point of the song. You might think it's the soloist creating all that fire. It became clear to me that it was, in fact, the player who got the band most excited whose solo burned the hardest. In a way, the best soloist 'tricked' the band into playing a large part of their solo for them. This is done by playing ideas that elicit a response from the rhythm section, playing rhythmic and melodic motifs that dictate what the 'right answer' should be from the accompanying musicians, essentially conducting the band with the solo. The beauty of it is, the 'solo' is now a 'we' thing, rather than a 'me' thing. Also, it's the way a player with far less knowledge and technique can outplay someone who knows everything and, playing alone, has more chops. You can't sound good if you don't sound good. Sound is probably the most fundamental musical element. It's the thing that non-musicians, even newborn babies, know instantly if it's good or not. There are so many facets to what makes a good sound, but I think what captures it best—the basic definition of technique—is touch. It's also that your sound must be coming from your ear internally first, then you shape it on the instrument. The answer is not in the equipment. The answer is in your own hands."