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Michael Z.

Complete (Internet) Guitar Lessons: Improvise, Compose, & Shred

Forest Hills, NY (11375)

Travel radius
2 miles
Hourly fee
$50.00
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I teach private lessons straight from your computer. Are you near a computer screen? Do you have internet? Then you're just a click away from me!

I have 14 years of experience performing and studying the guitar. My expertise includes almost any subgenre of Rock n’ Roll, Jazz, Blues, Classical, Heavy Metal, and Show Tunes/Musical music. I also have 3 years of experience teaching players aged 11 to 47 years, from beginners to seasoned guitarists of 30 years.

This is in addition to my background in musical counterpoint, theory, composition, history, and production.

I place supreme importance on being able to approach music as a musician, rather than as an instrumentalist. This means that the guitar (and any other instrument) is merely a means to an end, that, when arrived at skillfully, grabs and affects the audience every single time. Any guitarist can, after some time, bang some notes out in the correct rhythm and arrangement. But only a musician will use those notes to emotionally touch the greatest amount of people in the audience.

Notes are not easy to learn, to be sure. That's where a good teacher comes in. But the best teachers keep your focus on what to do with the notes after you know how to play them well. After all, that's when the real work begins: the dynamics; the beginnings and the ends of notes and phrases; the facial expressions; the nod of the head; the words that are said before and after a song; the way that you sit/stand … These are the lifeblood of music.

These are also the secrets that separate the greatest performers from "those friends of yours."

And these are the things that give me -- and the best musicians I know -- the most fun when making music. Exploring what is beyond the notes is what sustains our discipline and allows us to keep improving.

I will teach you your favorite tunes, handy technology that will only improve your skill, and the nuts and bolts... all through the prism of creativity... in ANY style you choose!

Well? Go ahead. I'm just on the other side of your computer screen!

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Michael’s subjects

Composition (Music)

I have been composing for four years now. I regularly compose pop rock and early Romantic classical music, as well as the occasional jazz and the occasional non-pop rock.

I can teach you how to use technology to make your compositions come to life and save you months of agony figuring it out on your own.

General Music

I have 14 years of experience performing and studying the guitar. My expertise includes almost any subgenre of Rock n’ Roll, Jazz, Blues, Classical, Heavy Metal, and Show Tunes/Musical music. This is in addition to my background in musical counterpoint, theory, composition, history, and production. My graduated with a concentration in Music.

I can teach "general" music in my sleep, and I would relish the opportunity to introduce major concepts of music to a student.

Guitar

I have 14 years of experience performing and studying the guitar. My expertise includes almost any subgenre of Rock n’ Roll, Jazz, Blues, Classical, Heavy Metal, and Show Tunes/Musical music. I also have 3 years of experience teaching players aged 11 to 47 years, from beginners to seasoned guitarists of 30 years.

Remember... There once was a time when I played as well as you do, just as there once was a time when my guitar heroes played as well as I do. As I gradually traverse the path they laid, allow me to guide you forward in turn.

Music History

Music history was a great component of my undergraduate Music major. As such, I have always tried to study music history with an ear to exactly what composers and musicians were thinking and in what musical context they were innovating. A minor understanding of music theory is essential to understand the development of all genres of music. If this is the prism through which you might want to understand music history, do give me a try. Music theory is a difficult endeavor, but for the purpose of music history, I have always been able to summarize it in passing to students to make the greater historical point.

My music history expertise mainly encompasses the Western classical tradition from Vivaldi to Rachmaninoff, as well as the history of rock, particularly from the early 60s to the early 80s, but I have studied the full histories of all of Western classical music from the Renaissance to present day, as well as all of jazz and rock history.

The most potent idea, for me, is how specific musical developments tie into the greater concept of music as an artistic expression of the human condition. Among the most fascinating historical musical developments may be the following anecdotes:

Seattle, Summer 1965. John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders wailed painful and violent sounds, a far cry from their work just half a decade before. After dozens of minutes wailing and squeaking, they put their saxophones down in a show of defiance and began to yell guttural, anguished shrieks over the assault of the drums and bass. Why? Their frustration with civil rights was so great that they could find no better way to break down the traditions of the white man's Western music than to yell. To hear this for yourself, look for Coltrane's "Evolution" on Youtube. It is the third of four parts.

Why did Chopin write the first Ballade of the Romantic era? What is a ballade? Why did Wagner and Mendelssohn hate each other so much (other than because of the former's hatred of the latter's religion)? Where did the modern harmonic (chord) system come from? Why did atonality become a thing when it did? Why were the late '60s the glory years of rock and why was rock dying a slow death by the late 70s? What is the future of the music industry?

If you want to know the little things and their relevance to the big picture trends of music history, then just send me a message!

Songwriting

"Well it goes like this, the 4th, the 5th/The minor fall and the major lift..."

Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" features one of the most memorable instances of when the lyrics of a song reflect the music of the song. It works perfectly, because the chords beneath the numbers are, indeed, the 4th and 5th of the scale (F and G, in C), the minor fall goes to the lower and sadder A minor chord, while the major lift is a propelled jump to the relative major of A minor: F. It is, indeed, how "The baffled king composes Hallelujah."

This is surely an exaggeration, but it is more or less what you should be going for. Understand that, although the lyrics were written to describe the music, the purpose of a song's music is actually to describe the lyrics. (Take a look at my blog entry, "I'm Only Sleeping: A Beatles Fun Fact," to read a nugget of the Beatles achieving this very dynamic.)

The art of songwriting is knowing how to make music that supports and reflects the meaning of the lyrics. This involves composition, theory, rhythm, instrumentation, poetry, and arrangement. These are all skills that must be harnessed, yet in a subservient capacity to the all-important harmony of music and lyrics. In other words, the skills of songwriting must be learned and applied with the *art* always in mind.

I have been writing classical, jazz, and many genres of rock for half a decade now, and my collaborations with some great songwriters over the last three years have opened my eyes to the potential of everyone to write great songs. Take the plunge, and I promise your songs will improve markedly after just a few lessons.

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Education

Tufts University, Boston, MA

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $50.00

Cancellation: 24 hours notice required

Travel policy

Michael will travel within 2 miles of Forest Hills, NY 11375.

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