I am available for guitar (all styles with a focus on improvisation), theory, composition and ensemble workshops for student and amateur project bands. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested. Skype or video lessons available outside the Boston area!!!
The study of jazz music is a study of language, of history and culture, and perhaps most importantly, a study of the self. It is my goal to ensure that each of my students have the necessary tools to communicate with their instruments, understand the music’s traditions, and discover their own unique stylistic voices within the art form. I have developed an empathetic teaching style, which is tailored to each individual student, especially in the private instrument or composition lesson setting and in ensembles. I believe it is the teacher’s responsibility to adapt to each student’s learning style and interests to create ways of imparting the fundamental elements of jazz while encouraging the students’ own self discovery and creativity.
The jazz language can be broken down to elemental parts, all of which are at the nexus of my teaching priorities. Technique, scales, ear training, and reading are central to understanding jazz. I also believe a thorough study of what I call the ‘vocabularies of jazz’ is crucial to the success of students practicing in the 21st century. I focus my instruction around the three major vocabularies of the jazz language: swing, bebop and free (post-bop). These vocabularies were the building blocks of the majority of jazz styles in the 20th century and are the keys to synthesizing personal style and individuality in the post-modern jazz world of today. In my ensemble or private instruction, I encourage a deep understanding of these traditional vocabularies as a way to self-discovery. I share concepts, but I do not give away the answers by making students practice licks or patterns or only work with limited interpretations of the jazz tradition. Conceptual understanding of each vocabulary through transcription, analysis, and repertoire study can illuminate the path towards fluency while stimulating an individual approach to all jazz styles.
Keeping students inspired and passionate is at the heart of my adaptive teaching philosophy. I always encourage questions and dialogue. I also pose questions to my students at length to help me develop a deep understanding of their abilities and influences to create an individualized path of study for them. With this method, I can express the same concepts through several different and personalized ways. For example, one student may discover how to use over-the-barline phrasing by learning Charlie Parker melodies as etudes, while another may acquire that skill through transcribing, then comparing and contrasting, the solos of Miles Davis and John Coltrane on the album Cookin‘. Regardless of the method, the important outcome is that, through my guidance, the students are focused and passionate about the elements of jazz and discover them in their own way.
Individuality and personal style are the building blocks of jazz and can be heard in the innovations of all the great past and current players and composers. If my students can be grounded in the fundamentals of the history and language of jazz while developing their own style and voice, then I have succeeded in not only feeding the tributary of jazz, but I have helped a young artist to know themselves.
‘”Fitting In” – Defining A Role For The Guitarist In The School Jazz Ensemble’ Massachusetts Music News, Summer 2013 Edition
The Diamond – Tonal Organization For Chromatic Improvisation (Draft Phase)
By Eric Hofbauer
A modern and challenging collection of 30 pieces for guitar duo. These études cover all 24 major and minor keys, mixed meter, polyrhythm, advanced extended techniques and more. Perfect for college, grad level, and professional players looking to expand their own guitar mastery or use as a great teaching tool.
The traditional goal of an étude is to help a musician develop mastery through the exploration and execution of a particular set of challenging technical, harmonic, or rhythmic concepts. This collection of thirty guitar duets, at its heart, keeps with that tradition. In every duet there are several challenging concepts working in concert to push the players toward mastery. Each étude has a harmonic, rhythmic/temporal, articulation/timbral, and technical challenge to work on. Twenty-four études focus on key centers (one for each major and minor key), while the last six deal with modern harmonic topics of polytonality and twelve-tone melody. The rhythmic/temporal concepts range from the expected (syncopation extremes, various tuplets, and odd meters) to the unorthodox (mixed meters, polyrhythms, and polypulse).
Often overlooked by guitarists is the vast and diverse ways of playing pitch on the instrument. These collected études cover a full range of articulation and timbral choices available on the instrument, including hammer-on and pull-off combinations, scoops, slides, harmonics, muted pitch, vibrato, and other percussive effects. Technical concerns are predominantly the focal point of any étude collection and this one keeps to that maxim. The demands are very guitar specific. In addition to speed and accuracy, there are études that involve extreme range, unfamiliar chord voicings, block chord melodies, double stops, independent counterpoint melody for one guitar, nonadjacent string melodic leaps, and extended techniques.
Beyond the traditional purposes of études there are two significant functions of these thirty that make them unique tools for the modern guitarist. The first is that they are guitar duos! This means not only do you, as the player, have to master the tasks set forth by the particular étude, but you must also interact and engage. Most importantly, listen to the other player to make sure the parts are accurate and the blend is artistically tasteful. A mastered skill set can’t exist in the vacuum of a solo instrument because music is a community-based craft. These études are to be played, practiced, and enjoyed with another guitarist. Learn both parts of the duets separately, then come together to practice and perform. By working together, both players will develop deeper musicianship through communication, problem solving, and listening. Since each étude is relatively short, it can be repeated two to four times, oscillating between parts upon each repeat as an extra test of mastery.
Although several of these thirty études truly are “nearly impossible,” they are all indeed playable. While some require a great deal of practice, others can be learned relatively quickly. My intent in writing this collection is to introduce thought-provoking musical ideas and challenge players of all styles and skill levels to master the études and keep searching for new ideas. While this collection is in no way complete in terms of technique or available sounds on the instrument, it does provide a thorough starting point in modern musicianship for the advancing guitarist.