Guitar Lessons

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Gianni Aiello (he/him) - West Seattle
Bass - Guitar - Piano - Drums - Ukulele

Gianni Aiello is a Burien born multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and performer. He is driven by a strong musical curiosity which has taken him from learning Beatles tunes on the piano as a child to touring across the country in his rock band Naked Giants. In addition to his bass work with Naked Giants, he has played guitar and piano with Car Seat Headrest on such stages as Madison Square Garden, the Tonight Show, and Primavera Sound in Barcelona, and he also plays drums in the Seattle-based band Pablo’s Legs.

The desire to be a lifelong student of music keeps Gianni reaching for the next steps, and he believes that same desire can be found in anyone. His lessons focus on exploring what excites each student about music - whether it’s personal expression through songwriting, intellectual development through theory and analysis, or just the sheer fun of jamming! While basic techniques are fundamental to any field, Gianni seeks to create a low-pressure learning environment where a student’s progress is determined not by their technical skill but by their enthusiasm for music.

Eliot Jones
Piano - Guitar - Ukulele - Voice
Eliot has played piano for over 20 years and has done a bit of everything in the music scene. In college, he studied songwriting under Sue Ennis, a nationally recognized writer known for working with Seattle rock band Heart. As a solo pianist, he’s shared the stage and recorded with talented artists like The Lashes, Al Rowe, and Bottlenose Koffins. He also founded local indie-rock group On Grounds, where he was the guitarist and singer.  
 
Above all else, Eliot is a dedicated music teacher. He has a real passion to help students, always going the extra mile to make lessons fun and engaging. This year in response to Covid, he developed his own unique whiteboard set-up that is perfect for musical games, visual, and online learning! As a teacher, he understands the sensitivity that many musicians have, and has worked with neurodiverse students and people of all ages. 
 
Eliot would be a great fit for someone who wants to explore different instruments, writing music, and learning how to record their own songs at home. He teaches Piano, Guitar, Ukulele, Voice, and Songwriting on Tuesdays. 

VENMO: @EliotJonesMusic

PAYPAL: PayPal.me/EliotJonesMusic

ZELLE: Eliotjonesed@yahoo.com

Blake Madden (he/him) - West Seattle
Electric Bass - Upright Bass - Guitar - Music Theory - Songwriting - Ukulele

Blake Madden has twenty years of experience composing, recording, and  performing music in New York and Seattle. He is the bass player and musical director for the Prince tribute band Purple Mane, and the bassist, lead singer, and principal composer for his own noir pop group, Hotels. Blake has performed live on KEXP, studied music theory and composition through the Pacific Northwest Film scoring program, and studied electric bass with Todd Kovell at Seattle School of Strings.

Brandon Bermudez (he/him) - West Seattle
Drums - Music Production - Bass Guitar - Ukulele - Piano - Guitar

Brandon has been a working musician, producer, and engineer in the Seattle/Tacoma area for the past decade. He regularly plays in and around the Seattle area and sometimes tours in other countries. Brandon frequently collaborates with many professional musicians in the area. Recently, he's played bass with prog-rock band Bone Cave Ballet and alt-rock band Starry-Eyed Samurai, and drums with both new-wavers Trick Candles and pop-fusion band Nitrogen Lion Society.

Brandon believes that consistency, versatility, and attitude are the traits that make great musicians. With his interactive-guidance teaching approach, the student controls the pacing of each lesson, which alleviates classroom anxiety and helps the lesson material become more comprehensible. With a heavy emphasis on creativity and technique, Brandon will improve the understanding of rhythm and the ability to perform in many styles of music by sharing from his 20+ years of composition and performance experience.

Mike Dumovich
Guitar - Songwriting

Born and raised on Vashon Island, Mike Dumovich is a songwriter/composer who has been writing and performing in the Northwest for 25 years. He has recorded 4 records with notable producers like Tucker Martine, Karl Blau and Martin Faveyear. Musicians credited on his albums include Bill Frisell, Eyvind Kang, Laura Veirs, Shana Cleveland, Karl Blau, Phil Elverum and many others from the Seattle area and Vashon Island. He approaches music from an intuitive base and believes songwriting methods should change with each song, utilizing writing exercises, improvisation, and focused rehearsal to create space in the process and outcome. He focuses on techniques and autodidactic methods of letting the song or composition emerge as though it was something already there the writer is simply there to remove the clutter until it reveals its proper tonal structures, cadences and lyrics.

Nate Rogers (he/him) - West Seattle
Piano - Guitar - Ukulele

Nate Rogers has a diverse background in the arts, having worked on professional film sets and for literary journals, but music has been the constant throughout his life; his musical endeavors (and teaching) are informed by that multitalent background. His first and primary instrument is the piano, which he studied classically starting in the first grade and continued to do so actively through college. He also began playing in jazz combos and rock bands starting in middle school, the age at which he also picked up guitar and saxophone.

An occasional DJ, Nate listens widely and loves drawing connections between diverse styles of music across the world, in his own playing and his teaching. He has played in numerous bands in Seattle, including Friends and Family, Pampa, ANDY, and The Quiet Ones, and they have played alongside such notable groups as The Polyphonic Spree, The Moondoggies, and Blitzen Trapper, both in the Northwest and on tour. He loves to instill the same diversity of interest in students that his own teachers gave to him.

Ricky Claudon (he/him) - West Seattle
Piano - Guitar - Ukulele - Bass Guitar

Ricky brings together his background as a tutor and paraeducator with his lifetime experience in music for an individualized approach to music education that focuses on memory, fluency, and music appreciation. As a working musician he has spent time developing his skill by adapting and learning a variety of styles on piano and guitar.

In piano, he specializes in theory, memorization, performance, and improvisation, has a deep knowledge of classical style and teaches popular Baroque and Romantic repertoire. Ricky also teaches Blues, R&B, and Rock & Roll styles, and in general encourages his students to explore a diverse range of music.

In guitar/uke/bass, Ricky enjoys teaching finger picking style, improvisation, and basic theory. He also teaches students who want to learn to sing+play, and write their own music. He specializes in combining rhythmic and lyrical styles and teaches techniques on how to effectively memorize lyrics and changes in songs.

Bess Hepner
Guitar - Bass - Voice - Ukulele - Songwriting

Bess Hepner is a multi-genre musician who has collaborated with hip hop artists, circus performers, and folk singer-songwriters. From ages 15-20, Bess played in a multi-genre dance band Who’da Funk It? and studied classical guitar 2012-2016. In 2016 Bess moved to Seattle and began pursuing her solo project. In addition, she has played bass/lead guitar for a number of Seattle artists and guitar for A Frayed Knot’s circus production “The Vivarium.”

Bess has a lot of experience working with all ages (from 4 year olds, to teens to adults). In addition to music making, she teaches basic history of instruments, genres, songs, and musical styles.

Guitar: (beginner-advanced) open chords and barre chords, scales, music theory basics, soloing and improv, finger picking, reading tablature and sheet music, and the following genres based on your interest: classical, folk/fingerstyle/blues fingerpicking, rock, jazz, punk, funk, rhythm, songwriting and more. 

Ukulele: (beginner-intermediate)

open chords and barre chords, scales, music theory basics, soloing and improv, fingerstyle, reading tablature and sheet music. For younger players (ages 4-9) creative games and activities.

Voice: (beginner) warm ups, breathing exercises, vowels, head voice and chest voice, rhythm, and ear training. Lessons are tailored to songs and genres students want to learn (not including opera or musical theater). 

Songwriting: This is very open ended and based on students’ individual creative process.

VENMO: Bess-Hepner

PAYPAL: besshepner@gmail.com

Jeff Tapia (they/them) - West Seattle
Voice

Jeff Tapia has been a working musician for 15 years, the majority of which were spent in Southern California where they attended The Culver City Academy of the Performing Arts. Starting with choral music in their youth, they later moved to musical theater and ultimately, into rock and roll where Jeff really found their voice. As a vocalist and guitarist for several projects in Seattle, they consistently perform around town, have appeared on several recording projects, and tour the United States.

Jeff’s classes are taught in a low pressure and positive atmosphere with an emphasis on improvisation, finding one’s own voice, and highlighting strengths. They firmly believe that no voice is a bad voice, and that no style is a bad style. This teaching experience stems from their volunteer work with Rain City Rock Camp for Girls, where creative self-expression is the key to self empowerment. Connecting with kids has always come easily to Jeff, and their outgoing personality and enthusiasm for the subject matter invokes excitement and attentiveness in their students.

Craig Suede (he/him) - West Seattle
Guitar - Voice - Ukulele - Piano

Craig is transplant from San Diego where he played music for a living in casinos, bars and restaurants between tours, travel, and shows. He got his musical start singing in various audition choirs, competing in vocal competitions, and performing in musical theater. He started playing guitar in 8th grade and that began shaping his future path of songwriting and singing/playing guitar in a variety of bands. He currently fronts and tours with the indie rock band Happy Heartbreak, sings harmonies and plays lead guitar for local pop-soul/ R&B singer Young-Chhaylee, and plays lead guitar and performs harmonies/alt-voicings for emo-revival/post-hardcore band, Dearheart.

After several years of running education programs for students and teachers around the World, Craig has decided to settle in Seattle and re-focus his efforts on music and its local educational impact. He bases his teaching strategies in brain-based learning and finding simple connections between music theory and the joy of playing music. The ability to connect and express through music increases confidence and critical thinking. Strengthening these skills can also increase retention of information in other areas and improve quality of living. Music and learning should both be joyful experiences that encourage us to continue moving forward to connect, create and share.

Jordan Brawner (she/her) - West Seattle
Guitar - Ukulele - Bass Guitar - Drums - Piano

Jordan Brawner has been playing guitar for 15 years and has been a professional working musician for over six years, completely steeping her life in guitar and music theory. She has worked in the Grammy-award winning studio Orbit Audio as an assistant engineer and session musician. Jordan has also toured and recorded with her own bands Meanderthals and Hurry Up Snufkin.

Jordan attended Shoreline Community College's music program, and has worked with artists of every genre and skill level. Possessing a background in childcare, Jordan has had many opportunities to work with young children and has experience working with musical students of all ages. She has been devoted to developing her guitar chops through years of practice. Jordan has a personal fondness for jazz fusion and punk rock. She currently lives in Bothell with her cat Paul. She teaches guitar, ukulele, bass, drums, piano, theory, composition, and music technology.

Tylo Gardner (she/her) - West Seattle
Voice - Guitar

Music has always held a special place in Tylo’s heart. Some of her earliest memories are singing all the wrong lyrics to classic rock songs that her dad would play in the car. She has been singing since she was able to speak, but only started performing and seriously considered music to be her long-term career since graduating high school. The moment she played a show with her first band was the moment being a musician was solidified in both her head and her heart. She now attends Cornish College of the Arts, where she studies music with a focus on composition, and is set to graduate in the spring of 2021. Cornish is also where Tylo honed her love for playing guitar. She has been in several bands since high school, but now considers her Seattle heavy rock band “Dogpatch” to be her main focus of interest. They bring a heavy, dark, and energetic vibe to every venue they play. She also has a solo project by her own first name that is more experimental and calm than the music that she writes for her rock band. Tylo’s favorite type of music is most genres of rock, but she listens to just about anything! She plays guitar, sings, and would consider writing music to be her strongest point of interest, with lyrics being the most fun to work on.

Tylo likes to have fun creating, listening to, and playing any type of music, with any type of person! She believes if you’re not having fun making music, you’re doing something wrong. Musicians should support and lift each other up, and Tylo hopes to do just that for any person she teaches, performs with or encounters during her musical journey.

Natasha Lumba (she/her) - West Seattle
Piano

Natasha started playing piano at age 4, before getting a scholarship at age 8 to the French-American Conservatory of Music. There she studied classical piano for 10 years, performing at many prestigious venues across New York such as Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall, Weill Recital Hall, The Colony Club & The Ukrainian Institute of America, to name a few. Her classical training was very structured, but she was always a rock & punk musician at heart. While attending college in LA, she picked up guitar, and started playing in bands.

Functioning primarily as a lead vocalist & keyboardist, she has performed in bands in Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Seattle. Currently, Natasha plays keyboard and synth for local Seattle band, Razor Clam ‒ a 5 piece femme band, described as "goth glam" and "mermaid dream punk" whose ethos strives to increase inclusion and representation for women and marginalized communities in a male-dominated music industry.

Natasha uses both her childhood background in a rigorous musical setting, and her experiences in adulthood as a performer to inform her teaching style. She aims to marry the necessary musical skills and knowledge with the freedom of expression that is not always present in classical schooling. Most importantly, she wants to foster a love of music in her students, and empower them to create. But she also wants them to practice. A lot.

Celeste Felsheim (she/her), (they/them) - West Seattle
Voice - Songwriting - Guitar - Piano

With experience in both professional orchestras and rock bands, Celeste is a lover and appreciator of many different musical genres. Celeste is a Seattle native who got her musical start at the youth summer program, Rain City Rock Camp as well as the global year long program School of Rock. (yes, it’s just like the movie!)

Celeste currently attends Cornish College of the Arts, pursuing a Bachelor's of Music in composition and songwriting, and she also plays all around Washington under the stage name King Sheim with a band of rotating Seattle musicians. She loves to teach the passionate beginner and the weekend musical-lover alike!

Brian Spenser (he/him) - West Seattle
Guitar - Ukulele - Drums

Brian is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter who grew up in Seattle. He has been playing drums since he was 8, and learned from legends including Michael Shrieve and Jerry Garcia. He has been touring for a dozen years with bands including Isenordal, Impulse Noise, Endorphins Lost, Wilt, and Asymmetric Warfare, among others. Brian volunteers at local all-ages DIY venues, and loves encouraging and empowering young people to build their own joy, freedom, and culture through the egalitarian DIY approach that has always been so important to him. He is fun-loving, non-judgmental, and has worked with students from the ages of 4 to 64.

A lesson with Brian usually focuses on a song (or some parts of it) that the student has identified or expressed interest in. Brian loves the opportunity to help students connect not only with what an artist played, but also the music theory and culture that informs how and why they played it that way. During lessons, he often makes quick observations about the theoretical structure or cultural tradition of the song so his students are able to naturally pick up important music theory concepts from multiple different examples without feeling lectured. Brian has great success relating to and working with students who have attention disorders or learning disabilities.

Brian has a broad taste in music ‒ he likes everything from Brutal Deathgrind to Funeral Doom. Sometimes he even listens to music that isn't some obscure subgenre of heavy metal! Actually, Brian loves all kinds of music and is happy and able to dive into any style students are interested in. Some of his favorite styles include post-punk, black metal, '70s jazz fusion/prog, and modern opera.

Kevin Murphy (he/him) - West Seattle
Guitar - Ukulele - Songwriting

Kevin Murphy picked up the guitar when he was 10 years old. At the age of 14, he formed his first band and performed around Seattle opening for established local bands, including Mudhoney. In 2006, Kevin formed the rock/folk band The Moondoggies which led to 4 full length albums on Sub Pop subsidiary Hardly Art. The Moondoggies have toured and performed alongside bands such as The Lumineers, The Cave Singers, The Head and The Heart, Blitzen Trapper and Dawes. Kevin has also shared the stage with legendary artists Robbie Robertson, CSNY, Brandi Carlile, Dave Mathews, and more.

Kevin’s teaching philosophy is based on learning the instrument in a fun, creative and personalized way connecting to each individual student and their own mode of expression. He believes there are songs to be learned and songs to be written. Kevin’s goal is to ignite a fire in one’s self expression and a confidence in playing that will remain with them during their whole life, whether it’s onstage or in their living room. He feels music is incredibly valuable to communicate the feelings we can’t always put into words and that it has the ability to rewire our brains for the better, especially in the minds of young students. Kevin is the father to two wonderful young girls, Sonnie and Zuma.