Hi, I’m Zach!

Growing up I was obsessed with rock music. I started playing guitar at age 8 and quickly began writing my own songs and improvising solos. Soon I began playing in local bands where I was able to begin performing publicly. In high school, I became interested in jazz, and I eventually decided that’s what I wanted to focus on in college. I attended Towson University for jazz guitar performance, but I also studied classical guitar and music composition. I wanted to dive deeper into writing so in 2022 I moved to New Jersey to peruse a masters in jazz composition and arranging at William Paterson University. Recently, I have been writing lots of big band music, practicing afro-Latin rhythms, and transcribing solos by my favorite guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkle.

My approach to a typical lesson

My biggest goal as a teacher is to get my students to be as excited about music as I am. I’m much more concerned with fostering my student’s creativity than I am about having them play assignments perfectly. Typically, I start each lesson with focusing on a specific aspect of playing and then by the end I apply what we’ve covered to something that the student is interested in or has been working on.

My advice for students

Be patient with yourself and do not compare your progress to others. It is easy to think of learning as a linear process when more realistically it is a cyclical process. Unlearning, relearning, getting stuck and burning out are all integral parts of your musical journey and should not be viewed as unproductive. Lastly, do not judge your musical ideas since judgment is the death of creativity. If you see value in something, others will too.

My favorite local places

“The Shed”, The Village Vanguard, High Mountain Park Preserve.

Three Tips for success

  1. Rhythm is the most important element in music, followed by melody then harmony.
  2. If you can sing it, you can play it. Your sense of melody does not come from your instrument or your hands but always from within.
  3. Growth is the result of balancing disciplined study and practice with exploration of your own creative ideas. Each does not exist without the other, like the two sides of a coin. The rules exist to be broken, but the most effective way to break a rule is to first master it.