Steve Gray Teaches Guitar, Bass, Piano, Voice, And Pro Tools
I've been playing guitar since 1966. I havea Master's Degree in classical guitar from San Jose State University, but I have been playing rock and roll, some jazz, and country for years.
I taught Jazz and Pop Voice and Music Appreciation at West Valley College in Saratoga. I have a unique approach of teaching popular vocal singing technique that is informed by workshops that I took with famed vocal clinician Joseph Klein. I have been a nightclub singer for years, and you can see some of my recent demos for the Gray Diamond Show on YouTube.
I recorded an early karaoke product: "The Legacy of a King," which featured 24 Elvis Presley songs, including 5 recorded with orchestra. This set, sold in the days of cassette tapes, was distributed through the United States and Canada with some acclaim. This was recorded in the days of 8-track, 16-track, and 24-track open reel tape.
I studied flamenco guitar with Guillermo Rios and can help you learn fundamentals of rasgueado (flamenco guitar strumming) and the compas (rhythmic structure) of the various flamenco toques (dance and song forms like Soleares, Bulerias, Alegrias, etc.)
I can help you learn the basics of bass guitar and how it relates to the drums and rhythm instruments to support the ensemble sound in popular music, rock and roll, and country.
The same is true for piano. I teach how to play popular music, reading skills, soloing, rhythmic patterns, classical music as it relates to popular styles, right and left hand independence and interdepence. This can also be applied to playing the manuals for organ and synthesizers.
For all instruments, I will teach you how to listen to recorded music and write down what you hear for your instrument so you can learn to play it. This will lead you to learn how to put together your own accompaniments and solos for original songs. In the course of this process, we will apply principles of music theory to see how an ensemble sound works.
I am a Certified Pro Tools Operator and can teach you how that software works for recording and editing, as well as fundamentals of sound design and recording for video. I can give you guidance on finding inexpensive microphones that give professional results. Pro Tools has been the primary software for recording in the industry for over 15 years.
While "in-person" lessons are advised in the early stages, more advanced lessons can be given via Skype.
Able to read music
Frequently asked questions
What is your typical process for working with a new student?
At the initial lesson, we see where the student is at that time with their capability of playing the instrument and their understanding of music and "how it works". What kind of music do they want to play? Are there particular artists that they like? How much time are they willing to devote to the instrument? Then we determine a path that they will need to follow to achieve their goals. I took a workshop with Howard Roberts that helps a student learn in a concentrated manner relatively quickly, after they have the fundamentals down.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
Masters Degree in Classical Guitar from San Jose State University.
Certified Pro Tools Operator
Extensive recording experience, playing all the instruments in the recording.
Joseph Klein Vocal Clinic series
Studied flamenco guitar with Guillermo Rios and accompanied flamenco dance classes for Ambiente Espanol for 1 1/2 years.
What types of students have you worked with?
As a teacher at West Valley College, I worked with everyone from beginners to those with experience in Musical Theater. Several of my students went on to careers in Cabaret, recording, church service leading, and concert performances.
What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?
Do they listen to what you want to learn, or do they insist on following their set course of instruction? Do they show you how their course of instruction will lead you to your musical goals?
What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?
What direction do they want to go in musically? Do they want to pursue a classical path with competitions? Do they want to be able to play in a band? Do they want to eventually make their own recordings? Do they want to sing in musical theater? Do they want to be able to play in an ensemble for church or in a pit band accompanying musical theater? Would they like to be able to produce a music track for video? These all have different demands of a teacher.