Colin Sapp

Colin Sapp

5.0 (16)

About this pro

I am an Associate Professor of Guitar at Berklee College of Music where I have taught since 2012. In 2020, I was given the Berklee Distinguished Faculty Award for outstanding teaching and leadership at the college. I was a faculty member at the Roland Hayes School of Music from 2008-2014 and the Guitar Coordinator at the Boston Arts Academy from 2000 to 2003. I have performed with many preeminent artists, including Blue Note recording artist Kurt Elling, Grammy award-winner Dave Samuels, pianist Aaron Goldberg, Backstreet Boys, Ally Brooke from 5th Harmony, NBC's The Voice contestant James Wolpert, and former United States Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky. I have over 100 recording credits as a guitarist, engineer, and/or producer.

My influences are (in no particular order): Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, John McLaughlin, Eddie Van Halen, Nuno Bettencourt, Joe Satriani, Randy Rhoads, Bill Evans, Charlie Hunter, Joe Pass, Pat Metheny, Pat Martino, Bill Frisell, John Scofield, Jimmy Page, Ben Monder, Wayne Krantz, Stevie Ray Vaughan, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Wayne Shorter, Sebastian Mueller, The Beatles, George Benson, Albert King, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Slash, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and so on...

I have a dedicated lesson space at my home in Natick, but also have availability in my Back Bay office at Berklee. Guitar lessons typically take place on Mondays and Tuesdays, but other days may have openings depending on the semester. I can travel to students' home for an additional fee.

Guitar Techniques: Lead guitar, Rhythm guitar, Fingerstyle, Performance, Improvisation, Jamming Skills, Reading Music, Music Theory, Ear Training, Scales and Exercises, Songwriting, Recording and Production, Guidance In Equipment Selection

Lessons are tailored to the individual's needs and goals. The first lesson involves a conversation about the student's self-assessment and goals. While hearing the student play, I assess what I feel their needs are and align them with what their stated needs and goals are. From there we discuss what course of action to take.

Lessons are tailored to the individual's needs and goals. The beginning of the lesson involves a short conversation about successes and challenges of the previous lesson's content. From there, the student will demonstrate their ability level with the material and I will make suggestions to help resolve any issues. The next part of the lesson involves introducing and working on new material. The final part of the lesson is to recapitulate to make sure the student understands the new material and what the expectations are for the next lesson.

The qualities I look for in an ideal guitar student might include the following: I fundamentally believe that students are teachers themselves when it comes to music learning. The most valuable type of music learning occurs when students explore, experiment, and create on their own using the information a teacher gave them. Therefore, the time that is most critical is in between lessons. There must be a significant commitment on the student's part to pick up the instrument as often as possible. A music teacher's role then, is to give musical and technical information, suggest refinements in a student's playing, and propose multiple approaches to concepts.

I'm fascinated by the creative process, so I love working on improvisation and composition concepts with students. I also enjoy all different genres of music, and I'm always learning more by listening to things that might seem out of character for me. One thing I've learned over the years is that flexibility is a great asset in the business. Therefore, the style of guitar playing a student is really into isn't a major factor to me; it's whether or not the music they make is truly communicating something meaningful to the listener in the best possible way

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Natick, MA 01760
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16 Reviews


  • Gray Trainer

    Colin is an incredible instructor at Berklee, perhaps even one of the best. He pushes his students to achieve great heights in their playing no matter the genre. I noticed drastic improvement in my playing within the semester I studied with him. I highly recommend Colin for any Lab, Ensemble, or even for your private teacher!

  • Alex Katz

    Colin is great at breaking down an overall approach to guitar into silos, and honing in on the core of each. He had a way with conveying topics like chords and improvisation that were very rewarding. Often I’d find myself sitting in a lesson with him thinking “Whoa, this is so simple and obvious in hindsight. How didn’t I think of it this way from the start?” That’s a great feeling. He’s always passionate in explaining different angles of improvisation, and the enthusiasm he had while breaking down areas of music theory and technique got me feeling more enthusiastic about those areas myself!

  • Aaron Wheeler

    I had Colin Sapp for 8 semesters of private instruction, a jazz styles lab and the Fusion Guitars Ensemble. He is a phenomenal musician and educator. He completely changed the way I play guitar and the way I look at music. He helped me develop every facet of my playing with his incredibly organized and concise packets. He is an excellent mentor and a wonderful friend. Also, he leads by example with the incredible music he composes. I feel like it is even more inspiring when your teacher is a successful and highly skilled composer and performer, too. I highly recommend his classes.

  • Andy Cahill

    Colin Sapp is one of the best private instructors I have ever had. He is a 'musicians musician,' he knows music theory and the guitar inside and out, and he loves helping people succeed. Highly motivating, TONS of knowledge, and he will always push you to your limits. A+++

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What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

I graduated Summa Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in Guitar Performance. I earned my master's in music education degree from Boston University in 2012 where I was given the department award for excellence.

I authored articles that were published in Visions of Research in Music Education, Massachusetts Music News, and POP!. Over the past 6 years, I recorded five full-length album releases with artists James Wolpert, Glenn White, Choose to Find, Hickory Strings, Venkata Kutada, and released a solo album, The Art of Wondering. As a clinician, I have given jazz guitar master classes at Boston University, the Brandon Jazz Festival in Manitoba, Canada, Pritzker College Prep in Chicago and Lincoln Park Center For The Arts in Pittsburgh. Finally, I am a contributor to the guitar instructional videos on Berklee's PULSE online curriculum.

Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.

I offer 25-minute lessons for $70 and 50-minute lessons for $125. I can also make house calls for an additional fee. Lessons are weekly and are paid in advance for the month.

What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

I would look for five things in a teacher: 1) Are they both a great player and a great teacher, or only one of the two? 2) Do they strike a good balance of working on materials that they bring and things you to want to focus on? 3) Are they able to help address things in your playing that will help you achieve your goals? 4) Are they organized and reliable? 5) Do they demonstrate a genuine interest in your success?

Lessons offered