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  1. #1

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    I have been playing guitar for many years but am now beginning to get into jazz. I'm finishing my associates and then going to get my BA in jazz guitar. I'm looking for a good jazz guitar teacher in the northern NJ area to help me along the way and lead me down the right path. Any suggestions are appreciated!

    EDIT: I am located in the Morris/Sussex county area of Northern NJ so it's a bit of a drive to the city. I'm willing to do it if I must - and I am grateful for those suggestions - but someone of that area of NJ would be great.
    Last edited by zboom19; 06-29-2016 at 08:02 PM.

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  3. #2

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    Roni Ben-Hur is in Teaneck. I believe that's northern New Jersey(?).

    Great player and teacher.




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  4. #3
    Montclair State has a music faculty - Web page even has their phone numbers. Give em a shout and i bet they'd be happy to point you to some good teachers.
    Strings-Harp-Guitar - Montclair State University

  5. #4

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    You didn't say where in Jersey you are located? If you are down near Weehauken you could try Josh Breakstone. When I was first getting into jazz I took about 6 months of lessons with him and he really fixed up my right hand. I know Ronnie from his ensemble classes but never took private lessons with him. I got the feeling that he really didn't appreciate my "blues background". Se la vie. Here is Josh's website.

    Joshua Breakstone

    Also, the NY Jazz workshop is having a 4 day "summer intensive" at the Mikado Studio on 43rd street starting July 28. Vic Juris and Ken Wessel will be teaching. I have already signed up myself.
    "if only the best singing bird was allowed to sing in the forest, think how silent the woods would be"?

  6. #5

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    Paul Meyers is a great jazz guitarist and teacher who meets with students in Jersey City. He also teaches at the jazz program at William Patterson University, which produces a lot of great young players in the area. Taking a few lessons with Paul would be a good way to get a feel for what it would be like to go to school for jazz guitar.

    Jazz guitarist/composer/educator Paul Meyers
    Last edited by jtr; 06-29-2016 at 09:36 AM.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by richb2 View Post
    You didn't say where in Jersey you are located? If you are down near Weehauken you could try Josh Breakstone. When I was first getting into jazz I took about 6 months of lessons with him and he really fixed up my right hand. I know Ronnie from his ensemble classes but never took private lessons with him. I got the feeling that he really didn't appreciate my "blues background". Se la vie. Here is Josh's website.

    Joshua Breakstone

    Also, the NY Jazz workshop is having a 4 day "summer intensive" at the Mikado Studio on 43rd street starting July 28. Vic Juris and Ken Wessel will be teaching. I have already signed up myself.

    Thanks a lot! I'm going to look into that class and that entire NY Jazz Workshop program. I didn't know about that.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by jtr View Post
    Paul Meyers is a great jazz guitarist and teacher who meets with students in Jersey City. He also teaches at the jazz program at William Patterson University, which produces a lot of great young players in the area. Taking a few lessons with Paul would be a good way to get a feel for what it would be like to go to school for jazz guitar.

    Jazz guitarist/composer/educator Paul Meyers

    Thanks! He was the only guy near my area that I could find and Jersey City isn't even that close to me. I'm in the Morris/Sussex County area so a little bit farther west in Northern NJ. He seemed like a great choice as he is a WPU faculty member but his style didn't seem too similar to mine (he plays on a nylon string guitar). Do you think I'm being too picky?

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by David B View Post
    Roni Ben-Hur is in Teaneck. I believe that's northern New Jersey(?).

    Great player and teacher.



    Could be a great option! Thanks! Have you studied with him before?

  10. #9

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    No, but I did take one of his jazz ensemble workshops in Maine and also played in one of his NYC based jazz classes. Seems like a nice enough guy. I personally have been taking lessons with Sheryl Bailey online at Truefire for years (and also occasional lessons with a bossa nova artist). Sheryl taught me everything I know mechanically, except how to play more melodically, which I learned from Romero. The problem with taking lessons with a touring musician is just that, they are touring all the time. Check out the NY Jazz Ensemble class. I know that Vic Juris is from NJ so maybe you could take lessons with him. I am not sure where Kenny lives. If you want to get lessons from Roni, you can contact Alice Schiller at alice.schiller@gmail.com . Tell her that i sent you.

    Rich Bernstein
    Last edited by richb2; 06-29-2016 at 08:23 PM.
    "if only the best singing bird was allowed to sing in the forest, think how silent the woods would be"?

  11. #10

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    Kevin Lutke is a very good instructor and player with a studio in Wyckoff. From the Parsippany area of Morris County it's only about 20 minutes via 287 and 208.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by richb2 View Post
    No, but I did take one of his jazz ensemble workshops in Maine and also played in one of his NYC based jazz classes. Seems like a nice enough guy. I personally have been taking lessons with Sheryl Bailey online at Truefire for years (and also occasional lessons with a bossa nova artist). Sheryl taught me everything I know mechanically, except how to play more melodically, which I learned from Romero. The problem with taking lessons with a touring musician is just that, they are touring all the time. Check out the NY Jazz Ensemble class. I know that Vic Juris is from NJ so maybe you could take lessons with him. I am not sure where Kenny lives. If you want to get lessons from Roni, you can contact Alice Schiller at alice.schiller@gmail.com . Tell her that i sent you.

    Rich Bernstein
    I got confused, did you take lessons with Joshua Breakstone or Roni? haha And thanks for all of the info! That New York Jazz Workshop is something I am very interested in and their site actually led me to some private teachers in the NYC area whose style seems to be exactly what I'm looking for!

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by snoskier63 View Post
    Kevin Lutke is a very good instructor and player with a studio in Wyckoff. From the Parsippany area of Morris County it's only about 20 minutes via 287 and 208.
    Wow, after being on his site I remember seeing it a while ago but I don't know why it didn't stick in my memory! He is definitely someone I will look into. Thanks! Have you taken any lessons with him?

  14. #13

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    I haven't. Unfortunately, I no longer live in New Jersey. I would definitely study with Kevin if I did.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by zboom19 View Post
    Thanks! He was the only guy near my area that I could find and Jersey City isn't even that close to me. I'm in the Morris/Sussex County area so a little bit farther west in Northern NJ. He seemed like a great choice as he is a WPU faculty member but his style didn't seem too similar to mine (he plays on a nylon string guitar). Do you think I'm being too picky?
    His personal style is fingerstyle on nylon string, but he's a very versatile teacher. He has the plectrum chops to teach picking techniques, and he is a great teacher of more straight-ahead styles of jazz too. I've been working with him on bebop, and he can play and teach bebop lines like nobody's business. I think he started out by transcribing Wes Montgomery records and then has branched out from there. I don't think he actually lives in Jersey City (though I'm not exactly sure where he does live) so he may be able to meet you somewhere further west; he just happens to have a practice space in Jersey City that's convenient for me to get to. He's a very nice guy, he won't mind if you give him a call and discuss how your goals would fit with his teaching style.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by jtr View Post
    His personal style is fingerstyle on nylon string, but he's a very versatile teacher. He has the plectrum chops to teach picking techniques, and he is a great teacher of more straight-ahead styles of jazz too. I've been working with him on bebop, and he can play and teach bebop lines like nobody's business. I think he started out by transcribing Wes Montgomery records and then has branched out from there. I don't think he actually lives in Jersey City (though I'm not exactly sure where he does live) so he may be able to meet you somewhere further west; he just happens to have a practice space in Jersey City that's convenient for me to get to. He's a very nice guy, he won't mind if you give him a call and discuss how your goals would fit with his teaching style.

    I'll probably give him a call! Have you ever taken Skype lessons? If so, are they just as good as one-on-one or would I be missing something?

  17. #16

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    Skype lessons can be good depending on the teacher and the quality of your connection. I have tried it before, and while the computer didn't seem limiting, the instructor wasn't the best for me. I have a message in to Kevin inquiring about Skype lessons with him. When I lived in Wyckoff I studied with Eddie Hazell who was an excellent player and teacher, and who influenced many guitarists from that area, including John Pizzarelli. Sadly, Eddie passed a few years ago.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by zboom19 View Post
    I'll probably give him a call! Have you ever taken Skype lessons? If so, are they just as good as one-on-one or would I be missing something?
    I haven't done Skype yet, might do it sometime if Paul is away. I've talked with him about it before, he said the only real limitation is that there's enough latency that you can't play together. I use a loop pedal to make backing tracks, so that would take care of the issue of being able to hear my playing against the chords during a skype lesson.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by zboom19 View Post
    I got confused, did you take lessons with Joshua Breakstone or Roni? haha And thanks for all of the info! That New York Jazz Workshop is something I am very interested in and their site actually led me to some private teachers in the NYC area whose style seems to be exactly what I'm looking for!
    Zboom, if you end up at the Summer Jazz Workshop with me, say hello. There is another path too (depending on what you mean by Exactly What I am Looking For) you could try. The NY Jazz Workshop has ensemble classes during the year. I was the guitar player in their bebop ensemble 2 or 3 years ago. They also have a hard bop class and a smooth jazz class (at least they use to). While these won't teach you how to solo, they will teach you how to comp and stay out of other people's space!
    "if only the best singing bird was allowed to sing in the forest, think how silent the woods would be"?