I am a graduate of the Univeristy of Southern California Thornton School of Music (1998). My primary instruments are guitar and cello. I have been working as a professional musician for the past twenty years, recording and performing across the United States and internationally. I got my start in music at the age of 8 when my school music teacher came to my classroom looking for a cellist. I picked up electric bass and guitar at age 16 and fell in love with the acoustic guitar a year later when my older sister started to teach me worship songs. I have released several original albums under the names "Ken Oak Band" and "Oak and Gorski". My background as a performing artist allows me to help students not only learn to play but also develop as songwriters and performers if they feel compelled to pursue those paths as well. As a hired musician I have performed at festivals including Coachella, Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits as well as Conan on TBS.
As a recording musician I love creating parts that contribute to the overall vision of a song or piece. As a performing musician I am drawn to the energy that occurs between a live audience and the performers on stage. As a teacher I find joy in helping students gain confidence in their playing and seeing the progress that inevitably comes with practice. I enjoy working with students of all ages and personalities.
Ken is a talented musician who is well rounded in various genres including folk, rock, and gospel. Already in my first two lessons with him, I have learned several chords, how to smoothly transition between the chords, and strum patterns to create basic melodies using the chords. He ties in each part of the lesson well so I can develop my own sense of style as I learn guitar.
When working with a new student I like to first get to know them, what they enjoy listening to, what they would like to learn to play. I then assess where they are at in their journey as a musician and determine if I am the right fit for them as a teacher. If so, I will work with the student to set realistic, achievable goals and then get started!
I studied music formally at the University of Southern California, graduating in 1998. Prior to that I took cello lessons consistently from age 11 to 17 and guitar lessons from 17 to 21. Most of my training has come from performing live for audiences of all sizes in all sorts of venues as well as recording for artists from a wide range of musical genres. I would estimate that I have spent approximately ten thousand hours as a performing musician.
I taught guitar to my roommates in college who were interested in learning. I later taught friends at church who approached me for lessons. I am also a substitute teacher in the public school system so I enjoy working with students of all ages.
I have worked with a musically gifted seventh grader, an ocarina maker, and Katy Perry's bass player, to name a few.
I recently got engaged!
I would say to make sure you are comfortable with the teacher, so an initial meeting/introductory lesson is a must. Also, make sure that they will be able to help you with what you want to learn. For example, a cello teacher with no experience outside of classical music may not be able to teach you how to improvise.
How serious am I about learning this instrument? How much time am I willing to spend practicing? What kind of music do I hope to play?