GUITAR LESSONS AT OCTOPUS

Guitar 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.

JACQUELINE

Jacqueline received her BM in Music Education from Ithaca College and her MA in Music & Music Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is a full-time elementary music teacher and also greatly enjoys teaching private music lessons. Jacqueline has performed as a soloist as well as in a variety of ensembles throughout her life including choirs, vocal ensembles, concert bands, wind ensembles, orchestras, jazz bands, and pit orchestras. She is an active participant of Carnegie Hall’s Music Educator’s Workshop. Jacqueline’s specialty is early childhood music, but she has had experience teaching students of all ages, including students with special needs. Her goal is to make music learning joyful and frustration free.

JOSH

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.

MATTHEW

Matt received his BM in Music Education from Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts and went on to earn his MM in Orchestral Performance from Mannes School of Music. Throughout his education, Matt has played principal trumpet with both the Mannes Orchestra and the Rutgers Symphony Orchestra performing at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall. He has studied trumpet with musicians from The Philadelphia Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera and New York Philharmonic including Robert Earley, Vincent Penzarella, and Tom Smith. Matt has ten years of experience working with children and adults teaching brass, woodwinds, guitar, and piano in private, small-group, and classroom settings.

MICHAEL

A true multi-instrumentalist, Michael holds a BM in Classical Performance from Utah State University and a MA in Jazz Studies from Rutgers University. Studying and teaching classical and jazz on a variety of instruments (woodwinds, guitar, piano, etc) gives Michael a unique perspective beneficial to those learning multiple instruments. He also performs up and down the east coast playing everything from jazz clubs, Oktoberfest polkas, and rock shows/festivals.

MORT

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.

ROBERT

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.

RODNEY

Rodney holds a Bachelor’s of Music in Classical Piano Performance. He studied jazz piano with Blue Note recording artist Harold Mabern and classical piano with Solomon Mikowsky at the Manhattan School of Music, where he received the Eubie Blake scholarship for ragtime piano. From 2008 to 2011, Rodney was musical director for the famed Second City improv theatricals boat co. out of Chicago and now regularly performs improvised musicals at The People’s Improv Theatre, The Magnet Theatre, and Upright Citizen’s Brigade in New York.

STEPHEN

Stephen is an experienced guitarist, bassist, and private instructor who is keen on creating an inclusive, laid-back, and enjoyable teaching environment. Currently he is working towards towards a Bachelors of the Arts in Music Education. Stephen’s knowledge and ear for blues, soul, rock, pop, and country have allowed him to play in a diverse range of bands, performing in countless venues from New York City to Asbury Park. Stephen continues to play live in band settings as well as compose his own original music as a singer/songwriter, giving him unique insight on song composition. Students of Stephen will quickly discover and share in his joy of making music, regardless of what form it might take.