Jonathan Finkelman Guitar Lessons

Jonathan Finkelman Guitar Lessons

5.0 (5)
1 hire on Lessons.com
39 years in business

About this pro

With over two decades of private teaching experience and 15 years teaching music theory, history and sight singing/ear training at Hunter College, I know how to tailor my approach to each individual’s unique needs and learning style. My goal as a teacher is to take the mystery out of making great, expressive music.

 In addition to embracing traditional methods of guitar teaching, I also incorporate powerful muscular and energetic awareness techniques that help beginning students quickly build a solid technique, and enable more advanced players to solve thorny technical problems and play with greater freedom and ease.

"Why is this part so hard? It should be easy!" I often hear students say.  My years of experience in observing and helping students allows me to spot the sometimes hidden technical obstacles that are holding them back from smoothly executing a transition. By identifying those specific moments, you will know exactly what to focus on so as to make the most efficient use of your practice time. In this way, even a few minutes of focused practice can yield tangible benefits.

Whether you are just starting out or have been playing for a while and are feeling stuck, my creative and mindful approach will help you to find a meaningful, fruitful relationship with your instrument!

Just for Beginners

​Over a lifetime of teaching students of all ages, levels and abilities, I have seen that adult beginners face unique challenges in incorporating music into their already busy lives. I have developed an array of approaches and strategies that will help you to successfully implement a regular practice routine and to stay motivated in the face of the demanding schedules most of us already contend with. I will guide you through a doable, step-by-step process that will have you playing the music you love faster than you might have imagined possible. Five minutes a day is all it takes to begin.

I travel to my students' homes in Brooklyn and Manhattan.  I play and teach full-time, so I am available for lessons daytimes and evenings, weekdays and weekends.  Regular weekly lessons work best for most people, but if your routine is less predictable, I will do my best to work with your schedule.

 

 

 

I enjoy seeing my students learn and grow as they gain a deeper understanding and experience of music. I especially enjoy helping students develop the ability to figure out songs and invent guitar arrangements on their own, independent of a teacher or printed music. I get real pleasure from seeing my students acquire the skills that take them where they want to go.

I didn’t begin playing seriously until later in life, so I remember what it’s like to be just starting out.  And I found my struggles as an adult student to be an advantage as a teacher because they helped me understand how to break down each advancing step into its component parts and present them to my students in a logical and methodical way that they can actually absorb.  Some teachers prefer to work with “advanced” students with whom they can work at a faster pace; I get pleasure from helping students break down the process and seeing them progress at their own pace, whether they are beginners or more experienced player. 

 

Read more about this pro


Credentials

Brooklyn, NY 11201
Email verified
Phone verified

5 Reviews

5.0

  • Dan Bloom

    I am 56 years old and had no previous experience with any musical instrument before starting guitar lessons a couple of years ago. I’ve been working with Jonathan for most of that time and I think he is excellent. He is calm and patient and explains things well to a non-musician. I don’t have much natural aptitude and he’s been great at helping me stay motivated despite my slow progress. I’d heartily recommend him to any adult learner.

  • Ricardo Reif

    Jon is a magnificent guitar teacher. Extremely knowledgeable about the guitar, about different types of guitars and different types of music genres. He taught me a lot about rock, blues, country, folk and even classical. Not only did he teach me how to play the instrument, he taught me music theory and many sessions were spent just jamming or talking about music books or about the latest news about our favorite rock icons. He is a kind, gentle, patient teacher. Not only a wonderful teacher but a wonderful human being. Even though I am no longer his student, we remain good friends and I shall always fondly remember the years when he guided me through the magical world of music.

  • Axel Lessep

    I started taking guitar lessons when I was about 16 years old with Mr. Jonathan. When I look back I really like the fact that learning chords and theory was always a breeze. Every lesson was fun because I would learn mostly with songs from my favorite artists. His talent and passion for the guitar can be very inspiring and he was always patient and explained things in a very clear manner. I am very glad I got to meet him and be his student.

  • Ellen Weiss Singer/Vocal Coach

    Jonathan is a great teacher. Even though I’ve been playing professionally for years as a singer/songwriter, my lessons with Jonathan have opened up exciting new possibilities for me on the guitar. His patient, clear approach makes it easy and fun to learn. I would highly recommend his teaching for anyone starting out or looking to improve their playing at any level.


Show all reviews

FAQs


What is your typical process for working with a new student?

Each student has their own unique goals and learning style.  In the first lesson, I work with the student to determine what it is they are most interested in learning -- be it a particular musical style, certain techniques, or just a better grasp of music fundamentals -- and develop a plan to help them achieve their goals most efficiently.

I then begin to get a feel for the student's learning style. Rather than imposing a preconceived regime, I tailor my approach to each individual's needs and pace, checking in on an ongoing basis to make sure the student is getting what they want.


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

B.F.A. in Guitar Performance from the City College of New York

M.A. in Music Composition from Hunter College.

I have taught guitar, electric bass and music theory lessons privately for over three decades and was a longtime member of the Music Faculty at Hunter College, where I  taught Music Theory, Sight Singing, and Ear Training courses.   


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

My rate is $60 for a 1-hour lesson.  For students who would like to purchase eight lessons in advance, I offer one free lesson.


How did you get started teaching?

I began teaching in my early 20s, when I was a music major at City College. I quickly discovered that teaching became an essential tool for my own musical development. As a well-known quote from Yogi Bhajan says,  "If you want to master something, teach it."

I didn’t begin playing seriously until later in life, so I remember what it’s like to be just starting out.  And I found my struggles as an adult student to be an advantage as a teacher because they helped me understand how to break down each advancing step into its component parts and present them to my students in a logical and methodical way that they can actually absorb.  Some teachers prefer to work with “advanced” students with whom they can work at a faster pace; I get satisfaction from helping students break down the process and seeing them progress at their own pace, whether they are beginners or more experienced players.

 


What types of students have you worked with?

My students have ranged from complete beginners to accomplished professionals, including symphony musicians and recording artists.  


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

There are many good teachers out there; it is important to find a teacher whose approach and personality is a good fit for you. It is my philosophy to treat each student with respect and consideration, recognizing that rather than employing a 'cookie cutter' approach to teaching, it is most important to recognize and follow the student's own unique needs and learning style.  

If possible, I would suggest trying out at least two or three teachers before deciding on one that would be best for you.


What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?

The clearer you can be in your own mind about what your goals are, the more you will get out of lessons.  If you are already playing, ask yourself what are the places where you feel stuck -- is it a specific technique (fingerpicking, barre chords, etc.)? Are there any particular aspects of playing that you've been struggling with, such as rhythm or speed? Or is there a style you've been wanting to play but haven't been able to find your way into? 

If you're a beginner, it helps to have some idea of the types of music you're most interested in learning.  What was it that inspired you to want to pick up the guitar?  Was it a particular style or artist?  What did you hear that made you think, "I want to do that!"?