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Master Degree: Duquesne University
Professional Certificate: Berklee College of Music
Course Work: Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
I've been a professor of guitar for more than two dozen years at four nearby universities, teaching through the Master's level in Jazz and Classical Guitar Performance. Many of my former students have been or are currently professors of guitar at colleges and universities (WVU, West Virginia Wesleyan, Kenyan, Fairmont State, McHenry, Bethany, Frostburg), have been admitted to prestigous musical conservatories or universities, placed as finalists in statewide musical competitions, or have established themselves as performers or teachers in the field.
As a performer, I've been "1st call" guitarist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Pittsburgh Musical Theatre for many years. I've also toured the eastern half if the USA and Canada with country-rock and "top 40" circuit bands, and recently appeared locally with a Journey / Foreigner / Styx tribute band, "Any Way You Want It" and a popular Casino / club date band, "Metro." I'm currently very active as a solo guitarist for weddings, corporate events, and resorts.
As for my educational pedigree, I was graduated cum laude from Boston's Berklee College of Music (1979); earned a Master's Degree in Music Theory from Duquesne University (1987); and was engaged in post-graduate studies in Music Theory at the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music (1987-90).
I know have much to offer any interested student. I very much enjoy taking beginning level students, ensuring they "learn it right the first time." I recently had a high school student who placed 3rd in the Philadelphia Classical Guitar Society Competition with less than 4 years of study with me. An article was published about this student in a local magazine.
I maintain a beautiful, comfortable and quiet studio space in my home, located in safe, easy to find neighborhood with free on-street parking. Hope to see you there soon!
Although I began performing and teaching while still a teenager, I consider the beginning of my full time career to begin upon my graduation from Berklee (1979). I had taught on and off through C.A. House Music in Wheeling, WV, and also as a teaching assistant during my years of graduate study. In 1994, I developed WVU's first program in Guitar Performance, where I taught until 2018. During this period I also taught at Frostburg University, Washington & Jefferson University, and West Liberty University, where I continue as an adjunct Professor of Guitar. I have a long and consistent record of excellent reviews from students and peers.
Each student is unique, and my teaching style changes to accommodate differences in age, musical background, musical interests, and goals.
For younger students, I recommend a shorter 30 minute session, often broken into segments to retain focus with a child's attention span Each lesson begins with review of assigned material and explanation of the next assignment. When a student has enough background to apply to songs / styles they'd like to learn, we move in that direction, usually with some back and forth with the text. I most often use "the Guitar, Phase 1," by Wm. Leavitt, published by Berklee Press.
For this interested in Classical guitar, I use the Christopher Parkening Guitar Method, Vols, 1 & 2, and Segovia Scale Patterns.
For those interested in Rock, Jazz or Blues styles, I generally use "A Modern Method for Guitar, Vols. 1, 2, 3" by Wm. Leavitt, published by Berklee Press.
For adult beginners or intermediate / advanced students, an hour lesson is recommended. My approach will vary depending upon the goals and background of the student. Some of the topics that may be covered include horizontal / intervalic studies, two-line improvisation, position studies, drop-2 / drop 3 voicings, solo repertoire, sweep technique, , etc.
Considering my background, most students who want to study with me expect and want a serious, structured approach. In most cases, especially with beginning level students, I recommend using a method book with clearly defined progressive assignments, eventually supplementing by applying learned skills to whatever musical styles the student is interested in. More advanced students might need an explanation of theoretical concepts and applications, or technical studies. If they plan to be long term students, we might also aim to patch up educational gaps , such as reading skill, or technical problems such as proper hand positions along the way.
There are many students who just want to play a few songs. My approach is to give the student a skill set that would allow them to eventually learn a song without having to go to a teacher. I'm not the sort of teacher who just shows a student where to place their fingers to play a song without understanding what they're doing. I try to instill a deeper understanding of the workings of instrument, until the student becomes self-sufficient.
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