GUITAR, BASS, & UKULELE LESSONS AT OCTOPUS
Guitar, bass, and ukulele lessons at Octopus Music School are taught using our proprietary OPUS curriculum (Octopus Poly-Instrumental Units of Study). OPUS consists of ten grade levels, each with a requisite assessment and certification. Unlike many other schools, Octopus teaches guitar students to read notes and interpret sheet music the same as a student studying the violin or piano. Tablature and chord charts are not a substitute for reading notes on the staff and students taught purely using those methods will ultimately not understand the music they are playing.
With consistent practice at recommended intervals, our carefully designed curriculum prepares students to quickly advance from day one by equipping them with the necessary tools and scaffolding to build a comprehensive understanding of the guitar. In addition to learning note-reading, rhythm interpretation, and proper technique, students are exposed to theory, aural training, music appreciation, and collaborative courses with peers to help cultivate an immersive environment in which to thrive.
Lessons are still tailored to individuals' unique learning needs, and repertoire remains flexible so that students are able to learn music which interests them, however the core content and benchmarks have been standardized to ensure fast and steady progress for students of all ages and skill levels.
Albert graduated with honors from Fredonia University in 1986, earning a B.A. in Music Performance for Classical Guitar. His twenty year music performance career began as a classical guitarist giving solo recitals and live cabaret shows. He then transitioned into the rock arena and performed and recorded with several original bands, including NYC’s Rip Chord, in addition to doing studio work for several other recording artists. Albert has also been teaching private guitar, bass, drum and songwriting lessons for over thirty years sharing his love of music with students of all ages. Recently, he turned his attention from performing to recording and created a studio in his seaside home in Highlands, NJ where he writes and records music for film in a diverse range of styles.
Diana began studying music at an early age at the Escuela Superior de Artes (EPA), leaning towards the saxophone. Years later, she had the opportunity to travel to France for two years to study music theory and saxophone at the Conservatoire National de Région, Poitiers. Returning to Colombia to study at the Débora Arango School of Arts, she finished the Professional Technique in Production for Internships Musicals and Technology in Instrumental Management and Execution. After, she obtained her Bachelor's degree in Music Education at the University of Antioquia dedicating herself to teaching at different institutions in the city of Medellin, such as the Academia from the National Adventist University of Colombia (UNAC), Yamaha Musical, Comfama, Sinfonica de Antioquia, among others. Her ability to play a wide variety of musical instruments helped her as the director of the Atempo Music School. In addition to her musical training, she has also dabbled in dance as a part of the Flamenco and Arab Dance group "La Jarana”.
Gennaro began his musical journey at the age of 12, starting with a traditional Venezuelan instrument, the Cuatro. Three years later, he discovered his passion, the double bass. This led Gennaro to participate in El Sistema, studying with masters such as Felix Petit, Luis Guillermo Perez, Freddy Adrian. After several years conducting and performing in Symphony Orchestras across Venezuela, Gennaro looks forward to sharing his love of music theory, analysis, and performance with all levels of string students.
Jacob began his musical journey at the age of eight, after being inspired by listening to rock and roll and being surrounded by a family of musicians. He later went on to perform with cover bands in an array of musical academies across venues in New York and New Jersey; including The Cutting Room, McLoone’s Supper Club, The Stone Pony, and House of Independence. After years of study, he received a Bachelor of Arts in music industry technology from Rowan University. Jacob continues to teach music as well as produce music of his own and for himself and clients as an audio engineer. Stylistically, he is most interested in classic rock, singer/songwriter music, blues, and classical. As a teacher, he adapts to each student’s needs to ensure everyone is given the tools and knowledge they need in order to reach their full musical potential.
Jaime holds a Bachelors of Music in Cello Performance and Pedagogy from Kean University. He has performed in several local orchestras in New Jersey with the cello as well as being the bass guitarist for local post-hardcore band With Sails Ahead. In addition to his cello training, Jaime has played the guitar and bass for most of his life and is a collector of various stringed instruments (guitar, bass, cello, mandolin, ukulele). His students benefit from his wide variety of performance experience and eclectic taste in music.
James holds a BM in Music Theory/Composition from Westminster Choir College of Rider University. He has been playing guitar for over fifteen years, with experience playing multiple styles including: jazz, blues, rock, folk, pop, and classical. In addition to his experience as a guitar teacher, James also teaches piano and other fretted string instruments. James applies his knowledge of music theory to foster a unique foundation on which the student can comfortably grow as a musician and player. Outside of his career as an instrumentalist, James has been a member of several prestigious choral ensembles including The Westminster Symphonic Choir, The Westminster Williamson Voices, The Same Stream Choir, and St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish where he serves as the cantor/guitarist.
Jeff is best known as one half of the top 30 mainstream rock act, The Infinite Staircase. He has performed live with, written, recorded and/or co-produced songs with Zakk Wylde, John JD DeServio, Morgan Rose, Lajon Witherspoon, Clint Lowery, Kevin Martin, Adam Kury, Memphis Hennesy, Chris Caffery, Corey Glover, Blues Saraceno, Earl Slick, Troy Cromwell, Bob Pantella (Monster Magnet), and Augie Ciulla (Reparata and the Delrons).
Working behind the scenes as a manager, booking agent, stage manager, and merchandise manager, he's worked with Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone, Reba McEntire, Shirley Reeves & The Shirelles, Bill Haley's Comets, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, The Brooklyn Bridge, Jay and The Americans, The Drifters, Little Anthony & The Imperials, members of Candlebox, Sevendust & Black Label Society, Black Angel Down featuring Nokio of Dru Hill, The Verve Pipe, Bobby Dall of Poison, Cycle Of Pain, etc...
Jeff has been featured on Jim Breuer's Satellite Radio Show, Fuse TV, Metal Edge Magazine, Guitar World's Website, Eddie Trunk's Show, Chris Jericho's Old Show, NY1, Several Newspapers, and tons of Internet Radio Shows, FM Radio Shows, Sirius Shows and a variety of music related websites.
Josh began his teaching career while still a young student of the guitar. He went on to graduate cum laude with a degree in Studio Music and Jazz from the prestigious Frost School of Music at the University of Miami where he was the recipient of multiple awards and scholarships including the Dr. Duncan A. Nelson Memorial Scholarship as well as the UMFS Scholarship for Music and Academic Performance. In addition to his rich experience as an instructor, Josh has also enjoyed an accomplished career as an audio engineer and worked on albums with such world-renowned artists as Nora Jones and The Civil Wars. A consummate performer, he is currently the musical director and lead guitarist of NYC-based gospel group, The Bliss Jockeys. Students of Josh will benefit from his expansive knowledge of a multitude of styles including jazz, blues, funk, rock, and pop and his many experiences as a working musician on and off the stage.
Marco studied classical performance at William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ and the Mannes Conservatory in New York City. During his undergraduate studies, Marco studied with Richard Jacobowski, winner of the prestigious Andres Segovia Award for Outstanding Guitar and Michael Newman, founding member of the critically acclaimed Newman and Oltman duo. Marco also participated in master classes with renowned classical guitarists Elliot Fisk, Frederick Hand, Ben Verdery, Jason Vieux, and David Leisner. Marco went on to study Music Therapy and graduated from Montclair State University in 2012. Marco has performed in international competitions in Orvieto, Italy and Bratislava, Slovakia. Marco has over 17 years of extensive experience teaching guitar and piano throughout the New York metro area. In addition to teaching, Marco is also a regular performer at venues throughout the Jersey Shore area.
Mark is a New Jersey born and raised guitarist, bassist, keyboardist, and vocalist. He graduated from Monmouth University with a BA in Music with a concentration in Music Industry and a minor in Media Production. He taught himself guitar and keyboards at age 12, which inspired him to begin formal piano training in the eighth grade. In college, he trained one on one with private vocal and bass guitar instructors and participated in vocal and instrumental ensembles, gracing various stages with his talents. Beyond his formal education, Mark is a prolific composer/songwriter and an active member of local bands. His teaching repertoire is as diverse as his musical palette, encompassing a wide spectrum of playing and vocal styles, including rock, pop, jazz, hip hop, country, and classical. He is uniquely equipped to nurture and guide aspiring musicians, drawing from his eclectic and ongoing musical journey.
Students studying with Mort will benefit from his extensive (over 20 years) experience in teaching Classical/Fingerstyle Guitar and pedagogy. For his Masters in Guitar, he attended Webster University in St. Louis and studied under Jeff Noonan and John McClellan. Mort's wealth of performance experience includes a current engagement with the NYC Classical Guitar Orchestra, an elite group that performs and records commissioned works for classic guitar in an ensemble setting. He also has over 30 years’ experience in the discipline of Ki- Aikido, a martial art that teaches calmness and confidence. His teaching focuses on techniques that help students of all ages apply their skills to a wide variety of music styles, and together with his fun, socratic teaching style, helps students become lifelong learners.
Raymond is a multi-instrumentalist musician and audio engineer who has been teaching since 2012. Ray studied Communications/Media Theory and Music at Fordham University at Lincoln Center, where he concentrated his research in Popular Music Studies. As the keyboardist/songwriter of his funk & soul band Des and the Swagmatics, he has performed at venues across the east coast, including NYC's Bitter End and Bowery Electric, and Asbury Park's Convention Hall, Stone Pony and Asbury Lanes; recorded at Atlantic Records Studios NYC; shared the stage with Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes and legendary drummer Bernard Purdie; performed at Gov. Phil Murphy's election night victory party; and was named Best Keyboardist by newjerseystage.com's 2019 Makin' Waves Awards. Ray is also a Beatle encyclopedia, music history nerd, vinyl record enthusiast, and piano tuner at the ready!
Robert studied guitar with international performing artist Anna Maria Rosado and composition with American composer Annette Le Siege. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Classical Guitar Performance from New Jersey City University, and has performed extensively in small venues throughout Vermont. He was a house musician for several seasons at the Yosemite Theater in Yosemite National Park, California. A true pedagogue, Robert has been performing and teaching numerous instruments including guitar, piano, strings, ukulele, banjo, mandolin, mountain dulcimer, and brass & woodwinds for over 20 years. Notable performances include a guitar trio led by Dr. Rosado at the 2011 NJMEA conference in East Brunswick, and several trips to Carnegie Hall as a member of the NJCU Choir. His focus is on creating individualized lesson plans that address the students particular interests and needs.
Robert's passion for blues, rock, and metal emerged at a young age. He gained musical experience in local bands before studying under Tali Roth at The Juilliard School in 2012. This period led to prestigious performances at Carnegie Hall and The Narni Arts Festival. After earning an Associate of Arts in Music, he taught music in New Jersey before moving to Los Angeles in 2017. There, under jazz guitarist John Storie's mentorship, he further developed his skills. Returning to New Jersey in late 2020, he formed the gypsy jazz duo Fromage de Tête. Robert also performs with pit orchestras for musicals and holds a Suzuki Instructor certification, nurturing young musicians. He attained a Bachelor’s of Music degree from New Jersey City University's Jazz Studies program, guided by Prof. Mark Whitfield.
Timothy resides in Neptune NJ and began playing music as a young child in elementary school. While in high school, he performed at the NYC Saint Patrick's Day Parade and was a member of the All Shore Symphonic Band. Timothy continued his education at Lebanon Valley College where he studied Music Education and French Horn Performance. While at college, he performed in the marching and jazz bands along with touring with the concert choir and singing with his Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia brothers.
After graduating, Timothy spent five years teaching preschool and kindergarten music classes where he taught students about composers instruments, and created interactive activities for multiple age and ability levels. He prepared his students for yearly recitals as well as town events. In addition to being lead music teacher, he also held a roster of private lesson students ages five to thirteen. Timothy has experience teaching piano, trumpet, guitar, drums, and saxophone in private and group settings. In addition to teaching music, he has performed on the French Horn in the 2019- 2022 Edison Chinese Chorus/Philharmonic and relishes the opportunity to perform and share his love for music with all ages.