New York City Guitar Teachers
Diana Benson is a classical guitarist and pianist originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico. In addition to guitar and piano, she teaches voice, ukulele and songwriting in New York City, where she now resides. She spent the better part of a decade studying closely with two mentors: celebrated classical guitarist Lynn McGrath, and revered pianist Stephen Montoya. As a high school student, Diana regularly performed in recitals and participated in competitions and festivals across the U.S., including the Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) and The Parkening Guitar Competition, where she received masterclass instruction from distinguished guitarists like David Russell, Ana Vidovic and Christopher Parkening. She went on to study classical guitar at the North Carolina School for the Arts as the youngest student admitted in her focus at the age of 17, and later completed her studies in music performance, composition, and foreign language at the University of New Mexico. In addition to her classical studies, Diana sang in a variety of traveling choral groups throughout high school and took small roles in the Broadway musicals ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ and ‘Rent’.
In the course of her studies, Diana was honored with awards of excellence from the National Honors Society of Guitar and recognized for her performances with the critically acclaimed woman’s guitar ensemble, ‘Presti Quartet.’ She was selected two years in a row to perform 1st chair in the New Mexico ALLSTATE Guitar Orchestra - the first-ever young woman to earn that position. The following year she was chosen as one of twelve guitarists to represent music in education in the United States.
In the time since her studies, she has called many places home. She lived in New Orleans for several years and in that time her musical interests broadened to embrace traditional American forms, such as jazz and the blues. During her time there, she ran a private music practice, teaching children and young adults to become proficient in these idioms. She continued her travels, her studies and her teachings during the summer of 2017 in Spain. She has been living, studying and teaching in New York City since the fall of 2017, always carrying with her the belief that music should never feel like a chore and that learning music should be curiosity-driven, active, enjoyable, and emphasize self-expression. Diana believes in building a strong foundation of musical knowledge with her students by providing the tools to create good habits from the beginning and encouraging effective, deliberate practice. It is her mission to inspire aspiring musicians as a music educator and bring a life-long love of music to her students.
Liz Hogg is a piano and guitar instructor from NYC. She has taught private and group piano lessons throughout NYC and in Long Island to various ages and skill levels. She has taught freelance and at Brooklyn Musical Arts, Treblemakers Music School, Poppenhusen Institute, Montessori Progressive Learning Center and Dr. Jun Fu Music Learning Program. She enjoys exposing students to music theory, improvisation and the various eras in music history, as well as teaching students how to play songs they already know and love.
Ms. Hogg is also an accomplished guitar instructor. She has taught at Sunset Park School of Music, Staccato Music Center, Hosh Kids and Melody Time Music Center. Performing as a soloist, she has toured nine countries, playing numerous festivals and concert halls. Awards include the Lanciano International Guitar Festival fellowship, Mannes School of Music’s Dean Award, the Maurice Kagan Memorial Scholarship Award for Excellence in an Orchestral Instrument and a Fulbright-García Robles Scholarship semi-finalist. In her hometown, Ms. Hogg has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Brookfield Place, Morgan Library, and the Italian Academy, and internationally at venues including Portugal’s Casa da Música and Mexico’s Tlaqná Concert Hall. She has also performed live at radio stations including WFMU, WNYC and WHFR and has been a featured artist at festivals Internacional Camerata 21, CMJ and New Sounds Live. As a composer and performer/singer of her own music and in various groups, Liz has recorded eight full-length albums and eight eps, self-released and released by Don Giovanni Records, Mouca and Acuarela.
Christopher Lee-Rodriguez is a musician and educator. He graduated summa cum laude from the prestigious Berklee College of Music with a B.A. degree in Music Education. Chris is the former teaching artist at ZUMIX, a nonprofit based in East Boston that advocates for music as a tool of social change. While at ZUMIX, Chris taught private music lessons and a small music ensemble at the Mario Umana Academy.
Prior to ZUMIX, he gained extensive teaching experience in schools and organizations throughout Eastern Massachusetts including Berklee City Music, Genuine Voices, and Salem Academy Charter School. He now works as a teaching artist for non profit organizations, such as Highbridge Voices, Urban Arts, Midori & Friends, and LEAPNYC. Chris has also toured the country and internationally performing with his band, Really From. His philosophy as a musician and an educator is that teaching music is the ultimate tool for social change and development because it gives students the opportunity to transform into the greatest version of themselves.
Steve Williams is an Upright Bassist, Guitarist, a Composer from Dallas, Texas. With a melodic and rhythmically intricate approach to the upright bass, he has been breaking barriers as a jazz musician since his arrival in New York City. Steve is vastly eclectic, merging the styles of his favorite bassists, Scott Lafaro, Paul McCartney, and Larry Grenadier, into one set of hands. Since he picked up the upright bass at age 16, Steve has worked diligently on fusing different styles into jazz to create a broader foundation meaningful to him. Steve moved to New York City to study Contemporary Improvised Music and Anthropology at the New School, and began studying bass privately with Harish Raghavan.
Steve has performed all over New York City and Dallas, in notable locations such as The Jazz Gallery, The Bar Next Door, Shapeshifter Lab, The House of Blues, and the Bern International Jazz Festival 2017 in Switzerland. He has performed with Vijay Iyer, Okkyung Lee, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Aaron Parks, Adam Rogers, Kendrick Scott, Tom Rainey, and many others. Steve was also commissioned to write a piece for the New York Public Library in honor of notable Jazz legend Charles Mingus that premiered in December 2017.
Kevin Hailey sas born in Canberra, Australia in 1975. During high school Kevin began playing the electric bass and in 1991 took up the double bass and commenced jazz studies at the Canberra School Of Music where he earned his diploma. While in Canberra Kevin received lessons from the likes of, Lee Konitz, Mark Murphy, Niels Henning Ørsted Pedersen and Mike Nock.
In 1998 Kevin moved to Sydney and began working, primarily in the jazz scene. Accompanying artists such as Dale Barlow, James Morrison, Galapagos Duck, Sydney all star Band, The Australian Girls Choir, The Hailey Bros, Matt Baker, Jane Irving, Bobby Gebbert, and singer Jeff Duff, with whom he has recorded two albums, as well as performing seasons at the Opera House and Adelaide cabaret festival.
Other projects have included hip-hop group Story, tracks on the 2000 gay&lesbian mardi gras CD, A trip to Banff, Canada as a participant in the Banff Centers International Jazz Workshop under pianist Kenny Werner (2000), a seven month stint with Princess Cruises across the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Tahitian islands (2007) Performances at Darling Harbour, Thredbo, Noosa, Manly and Launceston Jazz Festivals and numerous recording credits including Jimmy Somerville, Jimmy Little, Glen Skuthorpe, Craig Naughton and Rodric White.
In December of 2011 Kevin moved from Australia to New York City where he has been living in Brooklyn, making a niche for himself in the jazz scene, working with artists including Ron Affif, Carol Sudhalter, Marianne Solivan, Marion Cowings, Jason Yeager and Daniel Bennett.
In 2015 Kevin was the recipient of the Hot House Magazine Jazz Fan’s Decision award for Best Bass. Recording credits include albums for Danny Lipsitz, Ali Carter and Steven Blane.