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Stephen is a graduate of Columbia University. A composer of more than fifty pieces, his music has been performed by both chamber groups and orchestras in the US and abroad. The most notable performers of his compositions include the Gregg Smith Singers, Stitching Combinatie van Utrechtse Muziekbelangen, New Calliope Singers, Group for Contemporary Music, and the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble. Stephen continues to work as a freelance guitarist and conductor, performing in various national venues with the Gregg Smith Singers, the Group for Contemporary Music, the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble, and the Composers Ensemble. He also co-founded the New York Qin Society, and has performed qin music and lectured on Chinese music internationally.
Nothing makes me happier than having the opportunity to share my love of music and guitar. Upon graduating from Skidmore College in 2000, I was accepted to Florida State University to the classical guitar program under the study of Bruce Holzman. I feel my decision to simultaneously work towards two masters degrees speaks clearly for my motivation and passion towards music. While I focused on music theory/composition for my PhD studies at Louisiana State University, I continued performing newly composed works by graduate composers for the instrument.
My teaching method is based on good old time tested traditional methods. This is combined with whatever new findings can help in easier understanding and progress of students. My students are partially participate in creating their own repertoire. This makes them feel as an active and important member in their own artistic and emotional development.
I've actually written and produced my own music theory book that was in all Borders stores before they closed down. I've learned a few methods and I try to incorporate them all unless the student or parents wants something specific. My method is a method where I can teach 1 thing countless ways. I love my students to learn theory because it is a very important backbone to music. Some people can play instruments without ever really kwoing what they are playing or understand the theory behind it, and I think it holds them back from truely being creative and understanding of music. With my methods students will be able to play from any genre, any book, and hopefully will be able to create their own music.
I have been teaching music since I was a young high school student. Over the years, I have crafted a unique and open method to teaching music that makes students feel engaged with their practice. I started my journey in middle school on the saxophone, taking my studies to the esteemed William Paterson University in New Jersey. Over my years of study there and in New York, I connected with other instruments I played such as the flute, piano, and guitar, and taught each of them along the way. I also developed methods for teaching vital ideas of music theory, and ear training. This has evolved into a holistic approach to instruction that focuses on each students individuality, while making sure they are receiving important lessons to make them a well rounded player. No matter what the age, I have something to offer each serious student of music.
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Students as young as 6 years old are welcome to start taking guitar lessons with the experienced guitar teachers in Musika's network. Students of this age should play on a half-sized classical guitar with nylon strings, and will learn simple songs and melodies on the top strings. By age 7-8, students will start to learn more complex and challenging songs using chords. Around about the age of 10-12, many students express an interest in learning to play rock music using an electric guitar. By this stage, students are old enough to use a full sized guitar.
Whether your goal is to learn to play your favorite tunes, learn to compose your own music, develop a new technique, or just to play for fun, the experienced teachers in our network can help you make those goals a reality! Musika recommends that adult students begin lessons with a clear goal or two in mind, which can greatly help a teacher create a customized lesson plan just for your own lessons. By sticking to the teacher's lesson plan during your weekly practice sessions, you'll see faster results and have more fun while playing the guitar.
Young students will benefit by starting off playing on a half size or three-quarter size acoustic guitar. If an older student finds it comfortable enough to do so, they may wish to begin playing on an electric guitar. There are many different student model guitars, which can be purchased for between $150-$200. Additional costs will be incurred for those wanting to play electric guitar, as amplification and cables will need to be bought. Consider that higher quality instruments are easier to play, and will increase the chances of the student liking it.
The most important thing students learn is how to have fun when they are playing the guitar! It can be a challenge to master the basics, and it can take a lot of practice but with the proper teacher, students can be playing their favorite songs without too much trouble. Topics covered during guitar lessons include: learning notes, open chords, barre chords, finger picking, sight reading techniques, music theory as well as how to strum and pluck with the fingers.
Musika offers one-on-one, in-home guitar lessons that are designed specifically for each individual student. Whether your lesson takes place in a teacher's studio or at home, students will get the exact same lesson content, with the only difference being the location. Parents will find home guitar lessons a much more convenient option for their child, as it saves the time and costs of transporting their children to and from a studio. Younger students will find that learning to play the guitar in the comfort of their own home greatly benefits their development as they are learning in a supportive, secure, and familiar environment.
Review by Andy Snyder
Giorgi has made learning cello even more fun. From the sympathetic, "It is hard" to the precise, "Be careful about the curve of the thumb" he has strengthened learning in every lesson, without being overwhelming. He started playing a little duet on only the 3rd lesson or so, which made me feel, even as a beginner, that I'm already starting to make (occasionally screachy) music. He has suggested a variety of drills and practice techniques which have also sped up the process a lot. And he has a good sense of humor and surprising amount of patience.
Review by Emily
Steve gets you started right away with songs but also goes into music theory and reading music which adds to understanding and appreciation of the music. He is very approachable and you can tell that he absolutely loves music and teaching. It is hard not to be excited about the process of learning with Steve. If you are considering lessons I highly recommend Steve for any level of student.
Review by Marcia Hecht
Karleen has really turned it around for me. My previous teacher (not from Musika) had me feeling anxious, upset, and incapable...NOT the desired result! Karleen's method is clear, appropriate for my beginning level, and (best of all) actually lets me achieve some progress! I'm actually looking forward to my lessons now!
Review by Kristin
Ted S. is teaching clarinet to one of my children, and piano to two others. He is extremely knowledgeable, and very encouraging. His teaching methods are keeping my children enthused about their lessons, and without that, you have nothing. Two of my children were taking piano lesson from another teacher for the past year, and not progressing. Ted has been able to evaluate their skills individually, determine what was missing in their music education, and begin again with some early basics they seem to have missed. I am convinced we are finally moving forward, and am very happy about that. I wish I would have made this change much earlier.
Review by Jacob Solomon
Ileen is a very attentive instuctor. she is patient and works hard to see her student succeed. if a concept is unclear she expains it in other ways to ensure understanding. I would highly recommend ileen to students of all levels who want to learn guitar and music theory to thoroughly enjoy the instrument and music
Review by Carol A
“Lynn is my music hero! She can listen to any song and write down the chords. She will adjust to make it easier or harder whatever your abilities. I have a busy schedule and often don't have time to practice between lessons and she is cool with that. She also will adjust lesson times when she is able which fits my hectic schedule. I'm glad my first guitar teacher "fired" me ....that allowed me to meet Lynn.” - Carol A., M.D., Aug 2015
Review by Vanessa
Eduard is an amazing teacher. (Coming from someone who previously knew the basics of playing and music.) He is not to harsh with his words and is extremely nice. Eduard has a great amout of experience and displays it through his teachings. Specifically by making it easy to follow along with his words to actions. As a person with a wondering mind whom is distracted easily, it is easy to pay attention.
Review by Thomas Pickens
"I've been taking lessons with Richard for just a little over six months now and all I can say is that he is an amazing instructor. He hasn't followed a set one size fits all script in his lessons but has instead worked with my musical interests and at my pace in a way that is truly valuable. He has also kept things fun, interesting, and engaging even at times when I've felt overwhelmed and discouraged. This is an instructor that is truly adaptable to his students and will make sure that they get the most out of their lessons. I would definitely recommend him to anybody that truly wants to unlock their musical potential."
Review by Yury
I would like to thank Polina for the series of classical piano lessons I've taken recently. Polina is a fantastic teacher and a high class performer, and I'm really happy I had a chance to meet her! I believe anyone can benefit from the teaching method Polina is practicing regardless of the student proficiency - from beginners to advanced performers. It was a pleasure for me to study classical piano courses under the guidance of such an intelligent & professional teacher! Without doubt, my playing technique has improved a lot and I have signed up for the new classes online already.
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