Lessons and Workshops

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Polish up your stylePick up a new instrumentMaster a new skill

Want to learn an instrument? Or maybe a second (or third) one… Brush up on your basics, or master a new style? Looking to make connections with other local musicians, or just get support from other people like you? Check out our lessons, workshops, and groups!

Our teachers are real, gigging musicians who have extensive performance and teaching experience.These women and men come from different backgrounds and approaches to teaching,so you have your pick of professionals to work with.

Private and Group Lessons

We offer private and group lessons for a range of instruments and styles, for young and old, novice and expert. You can work one-on-one with an instructor, or as part of a group.

Lessons are 30, 45, and 60 minutes in length.

Check out our teacher’s biographies below and give us a call or send us a message to schedule your first lesson. Don’t see the instrument you want to learn listed in our teacher bios? We have other teachers, too, so give us a call and we’ll match you up with the right person. We’ll also help you weigh the costs and benefits of private or group lessons.

Workshops and Events

Workshops are either a single event or short series to help you hone a skill or jump start a new technique. Some of the workshops we’ve got in the pipelines:

Finger style blues
Song writing
Intro to mandolin
Folk jam basics
Set up your own guitar
Hand drumming
Basic guitar repairs
Microphone technique

Want to see us put on a specific workshop? Contact us and we’ll make it happen. Over time we’ll also be offering other events, including small performances and music-related movie screenings.

Groups

We support our local music community by offering various groups to you. We’ll be growing over time, so let us know if there’s a group you’d like to see here!

Starting in the next few months, we’ll be offering guitar groups for women and girls (transgendered individuals welcome), with more groups to come in future.

Our Teachers

Meet our teaching staff

Lily Sexton

Mama’s Marmalade

Violin, Fiddle

Lily Sexton mama’s marmalade
Lily Sexton is an energetic young musician and teacher, with wisdom and experience well beyond her years. A fiddler at heart, she is an experienced teacher of both fiddle and violin-style playing and is well-versed in working with many levels of play and age of student.

“Coming from a Waldorf background, I learned as a child the importance of a holistic education in all things. Engaging the student’s mind, body, and spirit (for lack of less general terms) is essential to their comprehensive learning of music. When I was small and just learning to play, my Suzuki teachers engaged me through the heart of music, and through the physicality of music. I learned primarily from the ear, while learning more technical music theory through games, songs and play. This is how I strive to teach my young students, ages 3-6. When the children are young, I find it’s best to first engage the love of music; the sheer joy of hearing and playing, which ensures that it will never feel like a chore, even when it becomes challenging.As children get older, we work with more complex ideas in music (this is where I like to use a lot of humor- kids learn best when they’re laughing, I think!), and work on pieces they’re learning in school. Of course, some parents/students wish to stay within classical violin technique, but my personal love is traditional fiddle, which is an aural tradition passed down through generations, and I teach it as such. No sheet music is used for fiddle tunes, in order to preserve this tradition, and to keep the students’ ear keen. Learning fiddle tunes is an optional benefit of my lessons. The student, parent if present, and myself discuss the best format of lesson for the student.I teach adults, too! Adult beginners or adults picking up the instrument again after a few years are more than welcome to join me.”

Jeff Lewis

Sun Parade

Mandolin, Clawhammer Banjo, Electric and Acoustic Guitar, Bass

Jeff Lewis photo
Jeff is a young and very talented performer, songwriter, and music teacher for all ages and levels of play. A player of varied musical instruments since childhood, he has been on the staff of the Maine Fiddle Camp teaching mandolin, banjo, and guitar since 2007. With the addition of his education at Berklee College of Music, where he studied with John McGann. In addition, he has studied with Tim O’Brien, Sam Bush, Joe K Walsh, David Surette, and Denny Breau.In his teaching, Jeff places great emphasis on aural training and playing by ear. Jeff is also well-versed in band coaching, harmony singing, how to jam (!), and basic ensemble playing techniques (listening, writing and arranging together, tempo consistency, and more). In addition to his teaching, Jeff has been a (founding) member and co-lead songwriter/singer of the Northampton-based rock-and-roll group Sun Parade since 2010, who he tours nationally with as well as various bluegrass and traditional ensembles. Jeff is enthusiastic about several musical styles on several instruments with emphasis on:

Bluegrass mandolin, guitar, and singing.
Fiddle tune traditions (Celtic, Northern New England, Quebecois, Old Time, Scandinavian)
Traditional rock and roll via the music of The Beatles, Motown, and classic soul
Reggae
Modern songwriting
Home recording

John Caban

The Blackbird Effect

Electric and Acoustic Guitar

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John Cabán, an Amherst native, is a truly talented musician and great teacher. Guitarist, composer, producer and teacher, John’s unique playing has graced performances and/or recordings with such diverse artists as Galvanizer, JC3, KJ Denhert, Green Lotus Project, Richard Bona, Alana Davis, planet JABR, Art Neville, Eddie Kramer, Bo Diddley, Kenny Kirkland, Organic!, John Cruz, Gloria Gaynor, Neycha, Gianna Nannini, Dispatch, drum ‘n’ bass maverick’s Boomish and many others. With roots deep in blues, experimental, funk/R&B, ambient and world music, a rich tonal palette and lyrical rhythmic feel combine to make his distinctive atmospheric guitar style blend with a wide variety of musical genres.

“Starting with songs that you like, we’ll build technique and explore theory through playing. I enjoy working with students of all levels and ages teaching and supporting the creative process with the tools and techniques to develop students’ own songwriting and musical ideas. I can also help guitar players develop and refine their sound, consulting on gear – amps, effects and guitars.”

Wendy Eisenberg

Electric and Acoustic Guitar, Beginner Piano, BanjoSpecializes in Jazz and improvisation

guitar headshot
Wendy Eisenberg is a fun and talented guitarist, banjo player and keyboardist who has worked with the likes of Maria Schneider, John Zorn, Rubblebucket, Glenn Jones, and Joe Morris. Her work spans genres, from the freaky noise-pop of Birthing Hips to the varied collaborations in the jazz, freely improvised music, Brazillian choro, and game piece worlds. Her guitar playing can be found on the labels NNA, HEC tapes, and soon VDSQ. Wendy approaches teaching with flexibility, good humor, technical skill, and an open-hearted view towards what experimentation can accomplish.

A musician since the age of five, Wendy began performing early in her teenage years and teaching guitar at the age of 16. Wendy attended the Eastman School of Music to study Jazz Guitar performance, studying with the great guitarist Bob Sneider. While in school, her musical interests led her to develop relationships with classical music composers as well as rock and noise musicians in town. These relationships have led her to perform in genres as disparate as heavy metal, Brazilian choro, free improvisation and art song. After achieving her Master’s degree at the New England Conservatory where she studied with guitarist Joe Morris, vocalist Dominique Eade, and composer, violinist and singer Carla Kihlstedt. Throughout, Wendy has taught others and performs regularly in a variety of ensembles, including Thee Cavemyn, Birthing Hips, and her solo experimental art song project under her own name.

“As a teacher, I love to work with improvisers and composers to use instruments as tools for their creative voices. I am interested in applying technique to the creation of new and personal music, rather than just proficiency within the confines of what’s already been made. I use my conservatory background in classical and jazz harmony and theory to help develop the students’ ears so they learn to play anything they hear or imagine.”

Wendy focuses on helping students perform the music they enjoy the most, and to write the music they want to hear. Wendy believes that by learning how to play a musical instrument, the student is not just learning technique and repertoire – they’re experiencing the empowerment and joyfulness of accomplishing and expressing something personal. By helping students to master the fundamental techniques that allow them to play and write what they hear, she hopes to inspire students to create their own unique expressions.

Eli Catlin

Electric and Acoustic Guitar, Slide, BanjoSpecializing in Blues, Folk, and Americana

Eli Catlin
Melding Blues, Folk, Country and American Primitive styles, Eli Catlin plays and sings with an intensity and honesty that makes for a truly engaging performance. Another young and exceptionally talented artist, Eli’s mastery of these styles far outstrips many who have studied for 50 years.In 2010 the Boston Blues Society chose Eli to represent them in the Youth Showcase at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN. A featured headliner in the 2016 Guthrie Center Troubadour series “This young artist offered up both originals along with some classic blues in his own masterful arrangements for an outstanding performance!”-The Guthrie Center.

Eli is a home-grown local who frequently opens for acts at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton including Joe Lois Walker, Room Full of Blues and JD McPherson as well as headlining his own shows. He performs on local and regional radio and television stations.

For the past four years Eli has held a steady gig at the Alvah Stone restaurant in Montague MA, where he currently plays every Friday and Saturday night

Charlie Shew

Bass, Drumset, Hand Percussion

CharlieWoods2013
Charlie Drumset Salty Dog 40th
Charlie Bass Amp Grassroots

Charlie grew up in Ithaca NY and was heavily influenced by its fertile college town music scene in the late 60s and early 70s. Learning drums and bass at the age of 12 and starting in bands by 13, he quickly realized that he had found his calling. Charlie plays a wide variety, including drumset, percussion, bass, guitar, keyboards and some horns. He has studied African and Latin rhythms extensively and is well versed in many styles on both bass and guitar.

A teacher for years in

Charlie played with several name bands in the 1970s and 1980s, including 2 years with Orleans, a year with Mick Ronson and a year with Robbie Dupree. Charlie also worked on the soundtrack of the Michael Mann TV show “Crime Story” with Todd Rundgren in the 80s. He has been performing with Samite Of Uganda (www.samite.com) for over 16 years and continues to stay active in the live performing and composing/recording world.

Charlie has taught private lessons in Bass, Drumset and various hand percussion instruments over the years to a wide variety of students of all skill levels, from beginners to advanced players. He has also offered group lessons in hand drumming in both African and Afro-Cuban styles on Djembes and other African drums and percussion and also congas/bongos to groups throughout New York State while living there.

Charlie is looking to take on private students of all skill levels on Bass (fretted or fretless), Drumset and hand percussion (Djembe, Djun Djun, Congas, etc.) with focus on learning to play the instruments in group settings or performance. Transcribing of a students favorite songs to allow them to play along with them is also part of Charlie’s teaching style.

Charlie is also going to be offering group hand drumming lessons in the Northampton area that will focus on learning how to play parts in a drum ensemble or how to play and hold a part with one other or a few other drummers to create rhythms that are fun and healthful to play together.

 

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