Guitar & Uke Lessons With Curtis
I have been playing and teaching guitar for over 25 years, specializing in rock, funk, soul as well as hip hop, country and other popular styles. I also teach songwriting and recording/engineering lessons, as these are my greatest passions (along with guitar)! I know how to patiently and effectively translate my knowledge and experience to all ages and levels in order to gain proficiency.
I currently play lead guitar with the Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra, covering songs from bands like Queen, Led Zeppelin and the Beatles to sold out theaters, and I write and perform with my orginal rock band Killian Whall. I also serve as a preschool music specialist and lead baby music classes, so I'm great with young beginners as well. My main passions are guitar, songwriting and recording, and I love to share these with other learners!
I take a holistic approach to teaching fundamentals of theory and technique. I thrive on helping others, and it is a joy sharing what I know and have learned over the years. I have been playing guitar since the age of 12, so I understand what is needed for beginners to feel comfortable to excel. Music is also my greatest passion (especially classic rock, funk, soul, and modern alternative rock and hip hop) and I love geeking out with my students on anything and everything concering music and guitar!
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Frequently asked questions
What is your typical process for working with a new student?
I love spending time finding out why my student is interested in learning an instrument, what styles they want to learn and I have many lesson plans and a wealth of knowlege and passion for music to share. Whether it be learning your favorite song or learning how to read music, I always meet my students where they are at and first and foremost make sure the entry point into becoming a musician is not intimidating!
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I have been a professional guitarist since I was a teenager, performing hundreds of gigs across various styles, with a focus on lead guitar in the rock / pop / country styles. I have studied music and guitar in depth on my own as well as at UMass, Amherst, including jazz improvisation, and I also performed in the UMass Marching Band drumline on both guitar (first show was playing lead guitar for The Who's Tommy in 2001) as well as vibraphone and percussion.
Since then, I have continued a multi-disciplined career, first as a multimedia journalist including at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, and as a professional guitarist, recording engineer, producer and as a guitar teacher and preschool music teacher.
Currently, I serve as the lead guitarist for the Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra, which plays sold-out theater shows faithfully reproducing the music of the Beatles, Queen, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, the Who, Heart, Boston, etc... and I have learned all of that material inside and out as my greatest passion is for classic rock as well as my own songwriting in the rock vein.
I also run my own recording studio in Boston in both digital and analog formats, including recording songs that have collectively amassed millions of streams on Spotify, and I have led my own independent rock bands, including Killian Whall, which recently has performed at the JP Music Festival as well as garnered local praise for our songwriting and performances.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.
My rates depend on a number of factors, including the cost of living in Boston-- in Boston, in-person rates are $40 per half hour, but I have offered greatly discounted rates for online lessons during COVID-19 and I always work around family's budgets simply for the joy I experience in teaching. Please feel free to reach out to me for a quote or a free introduction via Zoom / online video!
How did you get started teaching?
I started playing guitar when I was 12, instantly fell in love and became obsessed with learning the music of my favorites-- Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd as well as musicals like Cats and even playing along with commercials and TV themes... by the time I was 14 I was playing weekly gigs in local clubs with my local rockin' teenage combo to packed crowds (this was the roarin '90s) and by high school I started teaching a neighborhood kid. I was very encouraged to continue teaching as I brought his mom immeasurable joy when I successfully taught her son, who had severe autism, his favorite song (Radar Love!) as well as the Simpsons theme (even then I was very good at picking up songs by ear).
What types of students have you worked with?
I have worked with every type of student, from ages 0 to 90, and since I began teaching my neighbor with autism when I was in high school I've learned that I am very good not only with young kids and absolute beginners but also teaching people of all ages with neurodiversity, as I am very patient, intuitive, and love connecting with individuals on their own level from a shared place of empathy and joy of music.
Describe a recent event you are fond of.
I played lead guitar for several sold-out theatre Queen tribute shows in February 2020 with the Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra, learning lead guitar for over 30 Queen songs which was a joy (and a lot of work!) as Brian May is one of my major inspirations. (Sadly these were my last major shows before Covid). This is when I get to let loose my inner rock star, front and center stage for audiences of 500+ cheering fans with a wonderful huge band of extremely talented musicians, including an American Idol finalist!
What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?
Don't be afraid to ask questions and don't let any teacher intimidate you... music is for everyone to learn and enjoy!
What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?
Think about YOUR passions... why do you want to learn an instrument? What draws you to music? What is your favorite music to listen to? Listening and enjoying music is a major part of learning! I always try to make learning as fun as it can be, but love to incorporate more advanced theory and concepts depending on each students' level.