NINJA TRAINING FOR MUSICIANS AND ARTISTS

I teach a two hour private lesson for $150.00

Here is some insight into my approach, background and philosophy:

  • There is nothing in the world as rewarding, satisfying, gratifying, joyful, sexy, spiritual, engaging, interesting and entertaining as playing music (especially true when it’s done well).
  • Music provides the most bang for your buck in terms of fun fulfillment, personal satisfaction, emotional rewards, creative options.
  • Learning to do anything well takes guidance, direction, support.
  • The fastest, deepest, most efficient way to learn is to study with an experienced Ninja master.
  • I believe in slow, graceful, methodical, loving, organized musical growth, refining and polishing a stone into a gem.
  • I believe in variation, adaptation, improvisation and patience in the learning and teaching process.
  • You are never too old to learn!

MY BACKGROUND

I’ve been taking private music lessons since I was 14 years old. I am STILL taking private lessons after 25 years of being a professional musician and enjoying it more than ever. I’ve been teaching music for the last 10 years and over the course of the last decade I’ve developed an approach and methodology I call THE BLACK TREE SCHOOL.

When I was in my early 20’s I went to great music conservatory for college and got through 4 years of intense education to get a Music Degree in Jazz from the New England Conservatory of Music. While studying Jazz at NEC, I became obsessed with folk, ethnic, world, and classical music and began taking private lessons from all great teachers in the Boston and NYC areas. Along the way I’ve taken private lessons from every conceivable type of teacher out there. Some were great, some were ok, some were terrible, but I learned and was inspired from them all.

My own personal teaching style is based on a combination of all the things I’ve gathered and learned from all my teachers, professors, mentors and heroes, the workshops I’ve attended, clinics and research and readings I’ve sought out and books I’ve read. I’ve taken the best of Classical, Jazz, Folk and Ethnic teaching traditions and approaches and integrated ideas from Western Philosophy, Zen Buddhism, Tai Chi, Boxing, The Artist’s Way, The Suzuki Method, Yoga, Martial Arts, Surfing and Visualization practices. In addition to building a strong technique and solid musical foundation for all my students, I put a special emphasis on developing the creative spirit, teaching people how to open up creatively (in all aspects of their lives), improvise, compose their own music, develop an artistic identity and become artists.

THE TRICK

Learning to play an instrument is complicated, no doubt. It involves an intricate series of neurological and motor syntax muscle memory, intellectual understanding and cerebral sensory processing. The secret to learning anything complicated is to break it down into smaller concepts and experiences that you can put all together later. This is the basis of my approach to teaching someone music. Working on identifying and developing ones rhythmic skills, getting a sense of relative pitch, having a basic understanding of music theory concepts, learning how to count measures and beat, learning how to breathe and be relaxed… all add up to a better chance of learning an instrument successfully, efficiently and gracefully.

I’M A PERSONAL TRAINER OF MUSIC

Part of my role as a teacher is to function like a personal trainer would, training and coaching you to get in the best possible shape you can to become a more musical and creative person. I begin with diagnosis of your different skill sets, natural and unnatural strengths, rhythmic sensitivity, ear training, cognitive and neurological skills, creative intuition, motor coordination. These are the small tools that make up the larger and more complicated act of actually playing an instrument, playing with others, and successfully communicating something with music.

Then I develop a personal and comprehensive training program designed to strengthen and empower all the skills you need to work on to become a better musician, to play an instrument, become musically strong, to play music with other people and compose and perform your own songs. In reality, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING I DO is make sure you DO these things. By having a two hour lesson I can cover three different topics with you and MAKE SURE you are growing.

MUSIC TEACHER/THERAPIST/COUNSELOR

  • “Am I too old to learn an instrument?”
  • “Do I have talent?”
  • “Aren’t some people just born with it?”
  • “I think I’m amazing, why doesn’t the world see it?”
  • “Why should I study with a teacher?”
  • “I could NEVER learn to sing…”
  • “I love music, but I have a lot of anxiety about it.”
  • “I’m practicing but I’m not getting better.”
  • “I don’t like my music.”
  • “I am afraid of performing.”
  • “My band fights all the time.”

WHY THE 2 HOUR LESSON?

I teach a two hour private music lesson in my studio in Santa Monica. I developed this over the last 10 years for lots of different reasons, here are some of them:

  • I hate rushing through anything AND I have A LOT of information to get across at any given juncture.
  • I work with my students doing the most difficult and important exercises side by side, like a boxing coach.
  • A two hour block of time allows you to get into 3 different topics for a 30 to 35 minute interval each and have time to really dig into it as well as discuss and explore the emotional and psychological side of it.
  • All the really effective teachers I had in my life took their time giving a lesson and really made sure I did the important and difficult stuff AT my lessons as well as share personal stories, listen to music together, jam with me, etc… All stuff I found as valuable and important as what scales go over what chords or the proper way to phrase something. My private lessons at New England Conservatory of Music with jazz and classical and ethnic masters would frequently run 2 to 4 hours.
  • If you are going to drive anywhere in LA you might as well stay there for a while.

These are some of the thousands of questions that come up with ANYONE who seriously loves music and is trying to wrap their head around it. It reflects a rational and healthy sensitivity, respect and humility. DEALING with these questions in a therapeutic and productive way is a skill one has to learn, and certainly a case of the sooner the better. I believe the journey of learning music is an emotional as well as a physical and mental one. There are so many complicated and stressful things that come up as a music student and as a performer or composer that need to be talked about, talked through, talked out of. I create a safe, open, healthy workshop type environment that is designed to discuss, explore, figure and resolve.