LEARN TO PLAY GUITAR LIKE A ROCK GOD
Our guitar instructors are all classically trained with a minimum of a Master’s Degree level of education and have graduated from highly reputable music schools and conservatories from all around the world including the Manhattan School of Music and New York University (NYU). Each teacher brings their own unique style of teaching and experience to the lesson to help ensure that our students get the best possible guitar instruction whilst realizing their full music potential. At Guitar Lessons NYC our guitar instructors all have the same goal in mind and that is to provide the highest quality education in a fun, energetic and welcoming environment.
Kenji Herbert is an internationally active guitarist, composer and educator. An alumnus of Berklee College of Music (summa cum laude, 2011), where he studied under Mick Goodrick and David Tronzo, he was an inaugural member of its honor program, the Berklee Global Jazz Institute. In the past, Kenji has held workshops at such institutions as the Conservatorio Puerto Rico, Koyo Conservatories in Kobe & Nagoya and the National Taiwan University of Arts. He has over 10 years teaching experience as a private instructor on electric and acoustic guitar, as well as in the areas of improvisation and music theory.
Guitarist Keisuke Matsuno was born and raised in Berlin, Germany and started playing the electric guitar at age 12. He has numerous teaching years under his belt and specializes in electric and acoustic guitar along with electric bass. He also teaches improvisation for all instrumentalists / vocalists with a focus on improving students’ musicianship. He is adept at teaching one-on-one as well as working with a whole band or even big band. He is on the faculty at various music schools and was previously employed by New York University as a private guitar instructor.
Hansel Gonzalez showed his vocation for music at an early age, obtaining numerous awards throughout Cuba. At age 14 he began studying classical guitar and graduated at 22 from the Center of Music Excellence Felix Varela in Havana. He performed for several years as a guitarist and singer in numerous groups of Cuban music, pop, classical music and jazz, with which he got endorsed as a professional musician by the Cuban Institute of Music. At 24 he traveled to Ecuador and began to work in the field of education at different music academies including the Franz Liszt Conservatory where he was in charge of the classical guitar ensemble.
Music theory is the study of the structure of music. Or more simply put, it’s the language used to talk about the music we hear and play. Learning music theory is one of the most important things a musician can do as it helps them to not only become better performers, but also have a better understanding of the music they are playing and hearing. It also makes musical activities such as performing, composing, improvising, arranging, teaching, or getting a music degree much easier once one gains a basic understanding of music theory.
During our guitar lessons students will learn a range of different music theory subjects. The first thing we teach is notation which covers the staff, clefs, note names, rhythms, rests, intervals, meter and time signatures, key signatures, and dynamics – all seamlessly connected to the actual music the student is working on. Students will also be taught about scales and chords (harmony), melodies, phrases, and musical forms. Whether you are an absolute beginner or already know a lot about music theory our guitar lessons are individually tailored to cover everything from the most basic scales to the most advanced melodic, harmonic, and rhythmical understanding.
Whether it’s today’s radio hit songs (Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry), other pop/rock songs (The Beatles, Stevie Wonder), singer/songwriters (Ed Sheeran, Bon Iver), blues (Robert Johnson, B.B. King), jazz (Wes Montgomery, John Scofield), bossa nova (Carlos Jobim), funk & soul (James Brown, Aretha Franklin), reggae (Bob Marley),… you name it, we’ll teach you how to play it!
The musical genres with which you can learn are endless and the student is more than welcome to bring his or her favorite music to the lesson. After the student has become accustomed to playing their own music and as their musical and technical skills develop, the teacher will introduce other similar and different music pieces that will expand the student’s musical horizon. This will essentially lead to defining one’s own musical taste and style, ultimately leading to the student becoming their own unique musician.
Learning to play the first open chords on the guitar is quite easy – but to play bar chords or fast single notes is a very difficult task. However, it becomes much easier and more rewarding quickly, if the student develops good guitar technique. Having good technical facility at any age or level is very important. This means being able to have a relaxed but yet focused stance, knowing smart fingerings, having a good right hand technique whether with a pick or with finger picking, and exercising and gaining muscle memory.
During our guitar lessons, proper guitar technique will be taught and constantly reinforced. Having good technique from the beginning ensures progress, success, and allows students to reach their musical and creative goals on the instrument more rapidly. Different methods for both left and right hand will be used to ensure that the student understands technical issues on the instrument and can approach new discoveries or problems from several different angles.
Musical improvisation is the creative activity of immediate “in the moment” composition. Improvisation combines performance with communication of emotions to express new musical ideas that have not been written down by another composer. Learning to improvise involves knowledge of music theory, listening skills, and confidence in expressing one’s ideas on the spot. It is a fun and essential way to play an instrument.
The modern day guitar especially with its roots in blues music has a tradition for improvisation from its beginning on. Whether it’s Eric Clapton on “Layla”, Jimi Hendrix on “All Along the Watchtower”, Eddie Van Halen on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”, “ or Jimmy Page on Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” – all those are improvised moments that have written modern day music history.
Since there are no boundaries in improvisation it is also a great way to branch out into other musical genres, such as pop, jazz, and folk music. In our guitar lessons, students will learn how to improvise over chords and learn how to develop their own musical ideas and be able to articulate them on the guitar. Further studies will not only include tonal studies but also how to use effect pedals, other devises such as a bottle neck or an e-bow, and other extended techniques to experiment with and discover new grounds on the guitar.
Whilst music theory, sight-reading, and solfège are all used to train a musician’s ears to recognize intervals and chord qualities, learn how to perform melodies and rhythms accurately at sight, and practice writing down musical examples upon hearing them, Musicianship is about training the student not just to be a player of guitar, but to be a true musician.
Many guitarists are great technically, but they lack that something special which usually separates the great from the average. Good musicianship involves not only understanding how to use the guitar but how to convey your story or message to the audience using emotion, passion and flair, allowing you to play a piece of music in an original and inventive way while still remaining true to the written material. During each guitar lesson students are encouraged to feel the music they are playing and to improvise rather than to simply follow what the teacher is reciting, helping them to develop their confidence.
Combining the student’s developed musicianship, theoretical knowledge, and his or her curiosity to improvise and experiment, creating and writing one’s own musical ideas and songs will become a natural part of the musical journey and will be encouraged from the teacher. This will lead the student to find his or her own unique identity as a musician.
Mr. Matsuno is a wonderful teacher. The dedication that he puts into making my child excited about playing the guitar is endless. He’s not too strict with his approach, enabling a fun learning environment for my child. I especially enjoy that he teaches songs that my child enjoys to listen to on the radio. Mr. Matsuno is definitely a great match as a teacher if you’re looking for a fun and educational extra curricular for your child.Cindy Zwicker, Brooklyn, NY
Keisuke has been a joy to work with and my child definitely looks forward to lessons with him. His easy-going presence makes my child comfortable during lessons but instills enough of a structure that things don’t get out of hand. His flexibility as a teacher helps to continue my child’s interest in music. Any student will benefit from a guitar teacher like Keisuke.Rosalyn Faulk, New York, NY
*Please note that fees vary depending on which location you would like to have your guitar lessons. For a full breakdown of fees per location please visit our detailed rates page here.
As our schedule is constantly changing we recommend you get in touch via the contact form below with your preferred day and time and we will get back to you.
IMPORTANT: To inquire about guitar lessons in NYC please use the contact form below. If you do not receive a response within 24 hours please try again using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org as we occasionally experience problems receiving email despite it saying the message was sent successfully.
National Opera Center
330 7th Ave
New York, NY 10001
Phone: +1 (347) 302-1342