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OUR TEACHERS AND TEAM

Aki    Ishiguro

Aki Ishiguro has been playing and practicing for more than 11 years. He still remembers the first lesson he received when he learned to play a Nirvana song.
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Alec Goldfarb

Alec Goldfarb is a Brooklyn based composer, guitarist, and Hindustani classical musician. He performs in diverse settings across the East Coast, and as a teacher coaches fundamentals that translate to novel musical situations. A graduate of the University of Illinois with degrees in Music Composition/Theory and Philosophy, Alec is currently pursuing his Masters at Brooklyn College. Accepting stude
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Anthony Hollock

Anthony has performed on Broadway, Off-Broadway, London’s West End, as well as various theaters around the US. He has received a BA in Musical Theatre from Point Park University. Throughout his training, he has shaped his voice with almost a dozen voice teachers combining all of their best methods into a succinct vocal strengthening exercise. Anthony specializes in various styles from Pop, Rock to
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Austin   Mendenhall

We are excited to welcome Austin to the teaching staff of New York City Guitar School! Austin plays, writes, records, sings, and teaches with incredible enthusiasm. 

Is he on fire? Yes he is!
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Ben Fitts

Ben grew up with New York City Guitar School. After studying with NYCGS in camps and lessons, Ben began gigging as a professional musician at 17 and started teaching lessons soon thereafter. Ben has a B.A. from Hampshire College where he studied music composition, guitar performance, and music production. At Hampshire, Ben explored jazz, avant-garde and classical guitar and spent his free time pla
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Caroline Contillo

Originally from New Jersey, Caroline Contillo moved to New York 17 years ago to explore all the city has to offer, especially the live music! Since then she has been involved in indie musicals, comedy, and most recently sound meditation. She is stoked to join the NYC Guitar School team and looks forward to supporting people who are interested in taking concrete steps towards their wildest dreams.
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Clayton Hopkins

Clayton Hopkins is a NYC/NJ based guitarist, songwriter, and singer. He studied Music Engineering, Production, Contemporary Guitar, and Composition/Songwriting at Frost School of Music before moving to NYC to pursue his original music full-time. Clayton’s contemporary rock n roll group, Clayton-Ellis, has toured the UK 3 times and Clayton co-wrote and co-produced all the material on the band
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Curtis Brewer

American guitarist Curtis Brewer educates in diverse styles ranging from riff-heavy grunge to twang-tinged rock while simultaneously honoring every shade of America music. He’s gained a reputation as a first-call studio guitarist, charming vocalist, and trusted educator, teaching music at Southern Illinois University, McKendree University, and Principia College. His original music has led him acro
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Daisy Press

What makes you want to sing? That’s the first thing that Daisy wants to find out, because she knows that it points to something awesome in you. Lessons with her are lively, relaxed, informative, occasionally deep, and frequently hilarious. She is passionate about guiding you to a clear understanding of your voice, always returning to the ways in which you, yourself, hold the keys to singing well.
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Dalton McLaughlin

Dalton found his niche as a guitarist during his high school years, where he was inspired by flamenco legends such as Paco de Lucía and Vicente Amigo. He was also introduced to the revolutionary guitarist Andrés Segovia, which gave him further interest in Spanish music and the classical guitar. Originally from California, Dalton earned his BM from San Francisco State University, where he studied u
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Dan   Emery

Dan Emery is dedicated to bringing the thrill and pride of guitar playing to all who desire it. He is the founder of NYC’s friendliest and fastest growing guitar schools, New York City Guitar School, Brooklyn Guitar School and Queens Guitar School.
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David   Gonzalez

David Gonzalez has been performing and teaching classical guitar for over 30 years. He has two degrees in music and received his Suzuki training from Paul Landefeld and Frank Lontay.
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David Kuhn

David was born in Nashville, TN and began playing guitar at age 12. He holds a BFA in Jazz Guitar Performance from the New School and also has a strong background in hospitality. David joins NYC Guitar Schools as a Student Experience Coordinator where he will be a friendly face behind the front desk at the Midtown location (or a friendly voice over the phone). He is excited to meet and to build re
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Dontay Downer

After three years of teaching lessons and coaching rock bands in our summer camp, we are so excited that Dontay has completed his Music Degree at Wesleyan University and is ready to join our team! It is here at NYC Guitar School that he gained valuable insight and experience in teaching players at a variety of levels, with key emphasis on pushing players far beyond their expected playing ability a
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Dorothy Griffin

Dorothy Griffin is currently studying with Frederic Hand at Mannes School of Music where she is pursuing her Bachelor of Music degree in Classical Guitar Performance. Before moving to New York City she had her own private guitar studio in the Washington D.C. area, teaching students of all ages a wide variety of music. Currently she performs around the city as a solo guitarist, in guitar ensembles
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Doug Bostick

Doug Bostick has been playing guitar for 13 years. In that time he earned a degree in Music Education from Western Connecticut State University where he studied jazz music in depth as well as composition and music theory. Doug has used his facility on the guitar to travel the world as a guitarist for Royal Caribbean but now turns his focus to New York. His love for soul, R n B, rock, and indie mus
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Eddy Marshall

Eddy Marshall was born and raised in Falls Church, Virginia. He received a guitar for Christmas sixteen years ago and has been playing ever since. After high school he attended University of Vermont where he studied elementary education before transferring to Berklee College of Music. Later, he graduated with a degree in Music Education and moved to New York. Eddy’s musical tastes are eclectic, bu
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Elaine Chu

Before she found NYC Guitar School, Elaine graduated with a degree in psychology from NYU and held a position as a Compliance Officer in options trading surveillance on Wall Street.  Through her daughters’ desire to learn the guitar, she joined us through our work study program and later transitioned to becoming our bookkeeper.  Her interests including beading (animal shapes), yoga, energeti
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Eliane   Delage

Eliane Delage has been playing the guitar since the early 80's when she started learning the guitar in São Paulo, Brasil. She's been in several bands ranging in style from Funk, Brazilian Music, Hard Rock, Blues, and even Metal!
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Emilio Tostado

A Chicago native, Emilio picked up a guitar at the age of 12 with his dad at a local music store. Fueled by the excitement and energy he got from classic rock, Motown and 90s alternative, guitar went from being a hobby to an all out obsession. Since then, he recorded and shared the stage with with the Four Tops, Glen Hansard, Melvin Davis, Dennis Coffey, and many others. He has recorded, performed
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Emily Kay Shrader

Born and raised in Northern California, Emily discovered her love for music when she began to sing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” at the top of her lungs on a family bike ride. Her parents took her to her first voice lesson and she instantly fell in love. Emily received her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts from Marymount Manhattan College and has studied voice with diverse and acclaimed te
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Eric Thachuk

Eric is joining us from Hamilton, Canada. This is his second stint making America “home”. The first was as a scholarship student at Berklee College of Music in Boston studying bass and guitar performance. His professional experience includes everything from bar gigs co-starring the weekly hockey game to cross-country indie tours stuffed in a cramped van to backing up Grammy and Juno (Canadian Gram
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Erin Christina

Erin is a South Carolina native who has been a lover of music and the performing arts since childhood and received a bachelors degree in theatre directing from the South Carolina School of the Arts. After a year at our Midtown location as a Student Experience Coordinator, Erin was excited to make the transition to location director at our Queens location! A passionate arts activist, when she’
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Gaby Pilagonia

Gaby is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from the Bronx. She started as a summer camper and intern at NYCGS about 8 years ago, and blew us away with her awesome vocals and sparkling personality! After a few months on our customer service side, Gaby discovered she had a passion for spreading the gift of musical craft. Gaby studied Vocal Performance at Hunter College where she focused o
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George Allan

My name is George Allan, a first generation United States Citizen from New Jersey. I began my musical career in the 3rd grade with piano lessons, began to experiment with guitar in middle school, and taught myself electric bass in high school to play in a band with my friends. While our band was recording some demos at our local studio, I realized music was the career for me. I began taking formal
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George England

A native of Northern California, George is a performing classical guitarist, lutenist, and music teacher living in New York. He performs as a soloist, in his trio Third Person Narrative, and in the newly formed, Duo Raccontare with soprano, Kathleen O’Rourke. He also performs as a continuo player on historical instruments with Ensemble Musica Humana in New York City and Sinfonia Spirituosa b
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Gilad Barakan

Gilad grew up in Jerusalem, Israel and moved to Los Angeles in 2008. He graduated Musicians Institute in one year and won the prestigious ‘outstanding player’ award; a few months earlier he won 2nd place at the Stanley Clarke competition (presented by Stanley Clarke and members of Earth, Wind and Fire). During his time in LA he was fortunate enough to teach hundreds of students from many different
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Greg Sardella

Born and raised in the outskirts of New York City, Greg began studying music at an early age into his college years. Starting with the saxophone in grade school and later moving on to guitar, it became clear that music would be a lifelong passion. Greg moved to the city in 2010 to intern at a recording studio and focus on his musical path. He has played guitar and bass in various NYC bands for ove
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Hector   Marin

Hector Marin joins the NYCGS team of amazing teachers from Costa Rica, has been playing the guitar for over ten years, and has been been teaching guitar for many years as well.
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Issac Hernandez

“Music is not what I do, it’s who I am.” Issac Hernandez first picked up the guitar at age 12 and began with traditional Mexican ballads that he heard his grandfather play on the Spanish Guitar. However, it wasn’t until the day he heard the screaming sounds of the blues and rock that his musical world expanded! Inspired by a diverse collection of musical influences such as Howling Wolf, Jack White
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Jaime Garamella

Jaime teaches guitar, voice, bass, banjo, mandolin, ukulele and harmonica. He has been teaching since 2001, and especially loves working with beginners. He also likes to incorporate singing into lessons.
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James Wellington

James holds a Masters of Music in Classical Guitar Performance from SUNY Purchase where he has studied with João Luiz and Frederic Hand AND a Masters in Education–when he isn’t teaching guitar, he teaches math to middle school students. He is even certified in the Suzuki Guitar method for teaching young children, with experience in helping children as young as 2 years old begin to fall
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James Wengrow

James Wengrow began performing at the age of 14 in his hometown (Gold Coast, Australia) with the city’s established jazz musicians before relocating to the neighboring city of Brisbane in 2008, and then to Melbourne in late 2011. During this time, James played with some of the country’s leading jazz and improvised music practitioners. Since June 2013, James has been performing, teaching and
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Jason Balish

Jason has been described as an extremely versatile educator and performer. Aside from being a classically trained guitarist and Suzuki certified teacher working with young children ages 2 and up, he specializes in Jazz, Classical/Fingerstyle guitar, lead/rock/pop guitar, song writing/arranging and Music Theory. Jason received his formal training from the Manhattan School of Music and holds a Maste
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Jeff   McLaughlin

Guitarist Jeff McLaughlin is a composer/performer who loves teaching his students. He started playing guitar at age 13 and fell in love with the instrument immediately. Soon after he began learning the solos of Steve Vai, John Petrucci, and Buckethead.
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Jen   Elliott

Jen started out as a singer and songwriter before she found the guitar. Releasing two albums on indie label, City Canyon Records, her band toured the east coast.
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Joel Knopf

Joel started playing guitar at age 7 when he could be found rocking a red plastic Burt and Ernie guitar on the roof of his Mom’s car. Since then, his instrument may have changed, but his enthusiasm has not! Joel plays flamenco, jazz, smart kids’ songs, acoustic pop, and loves to arrange the latest hits for for his students to play. Unique among NYCGS teachers, Joel’s degree is not in music&#
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Josh Torvi

Josh Torvi is a Brooklyn based guitarist, composer, and instructor. He spends his time leading his own Jazz groups, preforming with the funk/soul band “The Haveners”, and teaching students of all ages. Josh received his BA in Music from Bard College where he studied with Erica Lindsay, Thurman Barker, and John Esposito. He has received awards such as the Larry McLeod jazz scholarship, the Nesuhi E
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Julia Weldon

Julia Weldon is a Brooklyn based teacher, songwriter and nationally touring indie-folk pop artist. She picked up the guitar at age 13 and never put it back down! Julia has 20 years of guitar experience and nearly that many years composing original songs. After receiving a Masters in Music and Music Education from Teachers College, Weldon continues to hone her skills as an instructor of guitar, son
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Kareem Devlin

Kareem “Jesus” Devlin is a professional guitarist, artist, and producer who was born and raised in New York City. He was given the nickname “Jesus” by Lady Gaga while playing lead guitar on her Monster Ball Tour and while working on the Born This Way album. He has toured around the world and performed on TV shows including SNL, The Today Show, Ellen, American Idol, Jimmy Ki
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Ti - one of our Suzuki early childhood certified teachers

Katty Mayorga

Katty Anna Mayorga began her guitar studies in Guatemala at the age of 6, concentrating in Latin American pop music on acoustic guitar. She also studied electric bass, mandolin, ukulele and banjo, but fell in love with the classical guitar. At the age of 18 she decided to concentrate solely on classical guitar and in New York, she began her studies with Peter Press (accomplished classical guitaris
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Koby  Williamson

A graduate of Mannes College’s classical guitar program, Koby has been studying the guitar for 16 years, thanks to some amazing teachers! He has performed at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall and Neue Galerie...
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Kyle   Tigges

We are so pleased that we convinced the amazing Kyle Tigges to join our staff! Hundreds of students of all ages and levels have become proficient guitar players and intelligent musicians with Kyle's patient and expert coaching.
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Lance Piebenga

A native of Vancouver, Canada, Lance made his way to Los Angeles as a studio musician before moving to New York, where he currently studies classical guitar performance at Hunter College. Over the years Lance has performed as a guitarist, bassist, and keyboardist in number of different groups, ranging in style from indie-rock to shoegaze to punk. He currently performs around the city with his solo
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Landry Levine

Originally from Arlington, Texas, Landry has been happy to build community in New York and at NYC Guitar School since the summer of ’17. As a Student Experience Coordinator at our Midtown and Brooklyn locations, Landry is eager to get to know you and help you find the perfect class or teacher. And as a fellow student of the guitar since the age of thirteen, Landry feels right at home at the
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Lenny   Molotov

Lenny is an accomplished finger picker and applies this technique to both folk and blues. You could say he wrote the book on finger picking–literally, since he is the author of the book “Finger Style Basics for Guitar”, which is published by the Guitar School.
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Madeline Johnson

Madeline is a classically trained soprano who is excited to take on the role of Student Experience Coordinator for NYC Guitar School East. She graduated from Western Carolina University and taught Chorus and Orchestra in the mountains of North Carolina before relocating to NYC. As a former teacher herself, she strives to assist the amazing teachers of NYC Guitar School in any way possible. In addi
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Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson first moved to America from his hometown of London, UK in 2005 as a scholarship student studying guitar and composition at Berklee College of Music. He has since taken up residence in NYC, where he has worked for Interscope records, Atlantic Records, Sony Music, The Oscars, Google, YouTube and Conde Naste. Mark’s professional experience includes everything ranging from local NYC bar g
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Martin Jacobs

Martin is returning to NYC Guitar School after spending a few years back in his home state of Oklahoma. 3 things brought him back to New York City — the people, Shake Shack and Brooklyn. His love for music, passion for building meaningful connections and eagerness to continue to become a better guitarist bring him back to NYC Guitar School and he is excited to be a part of the coolest guitar
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Martina Liviero

Teacher, multi-instrumentalist and composer Martina Liviero comes to New York City from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she studied violin performance in the National Conservatory and harmony and arranging in the Escuela de Música Contemporánea and performed extensively with diverse ensembles and musicians all across South America. She is a recent graduate of Berklee College of Music where she rece
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Michael   “Suke”   Cerulo

We are so excited that Michael “Suke” Cerulo is teaching for NYC Guitar School. Suke’s band Schleigo charted in the top 20 on CMJ and college jazz radio charts, and played with not only The Allman Brothers, but Bela Fleck, John Scofield, G. Love and Special Sauce, Galactic, Moe and many more top acts.
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Michelangelo Quirinale

An expert in all things rock, Michelangelo brings over 15 years of teaching experience to the Brooklyn Guitar School. A childhood learning the music of rock greats such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Guns N’ Roses brought him to Berklee College of Music, where he received his BM in Guitar Performance. He loves teaching all styles and levels, specializing in classic rock, pop, heavy metal,
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Miguel Alonso

Miguel is a guitarist, bassist and composer from New York City. He recently finished his Masters degree in music at Goldsmiths, University of London and he is back in the city working as a session musician, recording music, and teaching students. While in London, he helped found The Composer Platform– a non-profit organization that works with composers from many musical backgrounds to have their w
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Mike Fracentese

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Mike Fracentese is glad to be back after spending his college years in the scenic Hudson Valley. He got his start with guitar at an NYC Guitar School teen class ten years ago and has since pivoted to other forms of performance, namely theatre and poetry. Mike specializes in people-centered administrative work and is excited to help you achieve your goals as a Student E
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Nick Pierok

Originally from Cincinnati, Nick is an active guitarist, composer, and teacher, and hopes to use those skills to share as much music as possible. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music with a degree in Music Education with a Jazz Specialization. Not wanting to pin himself into one genre of music, Nick has performed in a wide variety of scenarios, from blues ba
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Olin Clark

Olin Clark is a Michigan native and current resident of Brooklyn, NY. As a composer and arranger, Olin’s music has been performed by many ensembles around the United States and abroad. Olin has has played with bands/artists like Etienne Charles’ Creole Soul, Ray Parker, Marcus Elliot, Randy Napoleon, HUSH, and MSU Jazz Orchestra I. He also leads his own group, the Olin Clark trio (or sometim
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Pete   Matthiessen

Pete began playing the guitar when he was 11 years old. He soon began working on his calluses learning songs by Megadeth, Metallica, The Beatles, and Yes. He also made sure to attend the National Guitar Workshop every summer.
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Rob   Adler

Rob has come to us in New York City from Minneapolis, Minnesota. As a young teenager Rob became captivated by blues greats Stevie Ray Vaughan and B.B. King and decided guitar was the thing for him.
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Sam  Allen

Sam Allen first picked up his first guitar to play all his favorite Clash and Ramones songs at the age of 10 and has been playing and writing music ever since! Sam graduated Magna Cum Laude...
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Sean McCann

As a native New Yorker, Sean is a performing musician in multiple bands across the tri-state area. He plays bass in the Avant-Pop act, Diana Lopez, as well as the Rock group, Damn Jackals. Sean’s musical identity has always been defined by his curiosity for different styles. Although his first love is electric bass, Sean has also been playing guitar and drums for over a decade, in diverse genres.
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Shane Chapman

Shane Chapman is the lead singer and guitarist for Brooklyn Americana band anacortes who has just released their second album. When he’s not doing that, he is the guitarist and arranger for NYC’s premiere Dolly Parton cover band Doll Parts. Also as a performer, he was featured on the steam punk album Tempus Fugitive by The Peter Ulrich (of Dead Can Dance) Collaboration. As a composer,
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Shirley Williams

A gigging musician with a strong background in educational theory, Shirley’s natural ability to simplify and teach complex skills to students of all ages and levels has earned her a longstanding place at NYC Guitar School. Since taking guitar in 2004, she has shared her mastery of pop, rock, R&B, metal, and fingerpicking styles with audiences and students throughout New York. Shirley’s
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Subrina Torres

Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Subrina Torres moved up north to become a part of the amazing music and art community in NYC!  Whether its playing over-the-top characters in musicals or rocking out with her band The Good Good, she loves to entertain and have fun onstage. She also enjoys checking out jazz and chamber music performances in the Lincoln Center area. Subrina is absolutely elated
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Tia   Vincent-Clark

Tia Vincent-Clark grew up in a family of professional musicians and began her teaching career in 1999. Her patience, enthusiasm and committment to teaching are all reasons that we are thrilled to have Tia as an integral part of NYC Guitar School!
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Tom   Burda

Mesmerized by the powerful guitar sounds of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn, Tom first picked up the guitar at the age of 14. He spent his free time studying jazz, classical, and flamenco guitar at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music.
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Tony   Calabro

Tony has been playing guitar since he was a young child and teaching for over 15 years. He simply loves what he does and it shows.

A graduate of Berklee College of Music, where he studied guitar performance and music production.
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Vinnie   DeMasi

Vincent has been a full-time musician and teacher since 1995, and is especially patient with adult beginners. He's performed on Broadway as an understudy lead guitarist in the Billy Joel/Twyla Tharp collaborative Moving Out, is currently a regular sub in the pit orchestra of Mamma Mia.
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Vinny Arbona

Queen’s native Vinny fell in love with music when he began singing in church at the age of 8, and he fell in love with the guitar at the moment he first heard “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix being played on the radio. Vinny studied voice, theory, and the performing arts at Queens College. He was one of the original teachers at Queens Guitar School, first starting with us in 2009. His joy and focus i
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