I teach from my studio located in Los Altos, California. Remote lessons using video conference are also available.
In addition to weekly lessons students meet on a monthly basis for a ‘guitar Seminar’ at my studio. Seminars are mini masterclasses. They are great for practicing performing in front of an audience, share ideas and receive constructive criticism.
My schedule does not allow me to take on new beginner students. At this point I can only take intermediate and advanced students.
For beginner students, I highly recommend lessons with my assistant Gerardo Olvera who is a fantastic teacher and shares the same philosophy and principles of teaching (see below) as I do. The location of lessons for Gerardo and I is the same. Students studying with Gerardo have an opportunity to take one lesson per month with me to check on their progress.
I’ve been studying guitar and music professionally for over 30 years. As a concert artist, I have worked with all of my passion and dedication on the refinement of my own playing. As long as I can remember, I have always sought out information and inspiration that would help improve my playing. I was extremely fortunate to have studied at some of the top music schools in the country, and specifically from my beloved teachers, who are some of the very top guitarists in the world: Manuel Barrueco, Benjamin Verdery and Yaron Hasson.
Playing the guitar at a high level has always fascinated and inspired me to my core. I remember sitting at the edge of my chair, smiling and celebrating many new discoveries learned during master classes led by my teacher Manuel Barrueco at the Peabody Conservatory. I discovered many techniques and strategies for improving my own playing.
In addition to playing and performing, teaching has been my passion for the last 20 years. While being a student myself, I learned that guitar is a controversial instrument when it comes to technique, mechanics, musical choices, and taste. I have observed that without consistent and gradual practice, as well as proper practice strategies, one will reach a plateau — or even worse, get repetitive stress injury due to improper habits. This is why I cannot stress enough the importance of quality instruction from a reputable teacher, regardless of student’s age or experience.
In my teaching I use methods such as Aaron Shearer and Suzuki (primarily for beginners and younger students). I go after specific areas that need further development by either creating or using existing technical exercises, scales, arpeggios, etudes and repertoire. Having studied extensive guitar repertoire, I have found numerous pieces that are not only beautiful, but can be used to build particular technical skills and develop musicality. I keep abreast of new ideas in guitar pedagogy and use innovative tools that help with skill development, daily practice, and ergonomics.
I teach students of various ages and levels: from children to adults, and from beginners to professional musicians. At my discretion, I often encourage talented and dedicated students by providing scholarships if needed.
My students have won numerous awards at the United States International Music Competition, Sierra Nevada Classical Guitar Youth Competition, South Bay Guitar Society Adjudication, ABRSM, and the Royal Conservatory examinations. Some were accepted and continued their studies at various music schools including San Francisco Conservatory and Juilliard Pre-College. I often give master classes at music institutions around the country.
In my teaching I particularly focus on the following aspects of playing:
Music reading skills, knowledge of fingerboard and sight-reading skills
Creating practice regimens
Formation of good habits
Awareness and reduction of muscular tension
Fullness, roundness and power of tone
Development of speed and accuracy including scales and arpeggios
Musicality including phrasing and expression using all available expression tools like vibrato, rubato, color and articulation
How to deal with performance anxiety
Choosing and developing thematic or varied repertoire for concert programs
I love sharing my knowledge with my students and helping them progress to mastery. I emphasize development of technique because I believe it is inseparable from musical expression. One needs to have good technique to be able to execute musical ideas. Yet, just because someone has the ability to say something, that does not mean that they have something to say. In addition to technical proficiency, it is my goal to help guide my students towards a strong and convincing interpretation of music that they are working on.