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.
Crystal Rose Speros is a vocalist, songwriter, and music teacher with a keen ear for intricate sounds and movement in melodies. Her style reflects music from R&B, Folk, Pop, Jazz, and Brazilian music genres. She is currently in her last year of studies at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and has been performing in variety of musical settings (large cover bands, solo shows, jazz trios) for the past 9 years. She is very grateful to have been able to study with a variety of vocalists, musicians, and artists, where she has focused on aspects of vocal technique/freedom, the Alexander Technique, Pandeiro (Brazilian Percussion), guitar, and piano.
The voice is a direct connection to who the singer is and what they feel. It is Crystal’s goal to help students tell their own personal stories by developing creative and deep connections to the songs that they may sing. By focusing on developing a healthy vocal technique and constructive habits, the singer becomes free and flexible to interpret songs in the manner they wish.
Crystal enjoys singing a wide variety of music, but her specialties include Jazz, R&B/Soul, and Pop. Crystal loves to teach songwriting/guitar, and to help songwriters strengthen their own unique voice.
Pat Brennan began playing guitar at the age of 10. With the encouragement of his father, who is also a guitarist, Pat began to listen to and practice jazz. While in High School Pat was chosen to be the guitarist in the 2008 Connecticut All State Jazz band. After High School Pat attended the New School and then the City College of New York, receiving his undergraduate degree in 2014.
In 2015 Pat was selected as a semifinalist in Wes Montgomery International Jazz Competition. Recently, Pat finished graduate school and received his Masters in Jazz Performance from the City College of New York. Currently he is busy playing around the city and teaching undergraduate students guitar lessons through the City College of New York.
Prawit “Wit” Siriwat
Brooklyn based guitarist and composer, Prawit “Wit” Siriwat, is endlessly dedicated to creating soundscapes that reflect the emotional momentum of our times. Whether it's through the simple yet natural beauty of acoustic strings or the bloopy-bloop filled electro-sonic worlds, Wit has a meditative approach to creating his musical pallet.
Siriwat’s new compositions and songs can be heard live at venues throughout New York as he leads groups of incredible musicians that help him to actualize his progressive jazz-rock creations.
The guitarist/composer is currently working on a duo record with his long-time musical partner, bassist and composer, Daniel Durst. The album will reflect their musical collaboration over many years of playing together through completely improvised explorations based on their collective experience of music making.
Wit’s unique approach to guitar has given him the opportunity to work with many songwriters and bands. He is currently a sideman for singer/songwriter Bianca Muniz and guitarist in the indie-alternative band, RVBY MY DEAR. His guitar playing and textural contributions can also be heard on Emanu’s debut indie/rock/soul EP, Sing Me a Song.
Dustin Beardsley is a freelance trumpet player in New York City. Earning his Bachelor of Music at New York University, Dustin graduated magna cum laude and was the recipient of the Outstanding Jazz Student Award for his graduating class. He has studied trumpet and improvisation with many renowned performers and teachers: Chris Jaudes, Laurie Frink, Ralph Alessi, Michael Rodriguez, Rich Perry, and Scott Mullett.
A frequent call for musical theater, Dustin held the chair as trumpet player for the New London Barn Playhouse’s summer season for three years (2013-15). Dustin has performed across the country and internationally with several Broadway tours: A Chorus Line (2018) The Producers (2015–16) and Guys and Dolls (2014–15). In New York City, Dustin can be found playing in a number of settings, including: musical theater pits, singer-songwriter horn sections, studio sessions, big bands, jazz combos, and classical ensembles. In addition to performing, Dustin also works as an arranger, composer, and songwriter for original projects and his own groups.
Dustin has given lessons to students of all ages and abilities, from those just beginning their studies to professionals seeking to refine specific techniques. He has also led masterclasses with elementary and high school level ensembles. Adept at finding methods that suit each student’s abilities, Dustin is eager to share the different approaches and techniques assimilated throughout his playing career!
Colin Leeds is a trained multi-instrumentalist, performer and music teacher. Originally form New Jersey, Colin discovered his passion for music at a very early age and has been pursuing his love for the art ever since. After graduating from Berklee College of Music in 2014, Colin began teaching private lessons for students of all ages as well as teaching and performing at local pre-schools. As a seasoned educator, Colin has turned absolute beginners into gigging musicians. When not on playing music, Colin loves to play basketball, bike, swim, read, write and laugh!
Colin is thrilled to be a part of Henderson Academy of Music and beyond excited inspire his students. Whether you want to become a rockstar, pop-star, or just want to have fun, Colin is a firm believer that everyone has the ability to learn an instrument. Let's get together and play some music!
A Native of New Hampshire, Thayer began studying guitar at age 7 and continued for the next 20 years. His passion and love is behind the instrument. Graduating from Berklee College Of Music in Boston, Thayer has been around excellent musicians playing all genres of music and studying from some of the top individuals in the business.
Teaching for over 10 years, Thayer says "I have enjoyed being tasked with teaching virtually any style to students and showing them many different styles of technique on the guitar. I like to tap into the student's creative zone. Whatever style of music the student is passionate for is the one to dive into." "I enjoy watching my students grow musically." "We are in this together achieving whatever your musical goals are- one note, one lesson at a time.