Jane Miller

Associate Professor

"One of my favorite things to do in private guitar lessons is to play a tune or read a little bit of music together and improvise to see what that brings up. After we play, I'll talk about what I liked about it and what I noticed that could use some work. I like to take the required material and plug it right away into a real-life context so students can hear what it's used for. So if we're working on a particular scale, I'll show them how it works in the tune we just played."

"I love to tell stories and make them apply to what we are working on. I'm still gigging a fair amount, which gives me stories to tell about things to beware of. For example, if I'm doing jazz brunches, I talk about how careful I have to be with my hands so I don't get muscle strain from playing so early in the morning."

"In the labs I teach, the class chemistry feels to me very much like leading a gig or running a show. In this case it's the students rather than the audience giving me the energy exchange; there's a definite back and forth going on."

"In the performance skills lab, I ask my students to pair up to work on their midterm project as a duo performance. They have to interpret the music, work out an arrangement, and rehearse together, and then perform it for the class. The final is a similar format except that I'm everybody's duo partner. There are no rehearsals; they talk me through it for a minute or two in class, and then we play together. They know it's on them to be able to tell me what they need from me and have an arrangement prepared."

"I want my students to take away a sense of confidence after studying with me—trusting themselves as players. Knowing what's going to work; knowing how to think on the fly, especially as improvisers; and trusting their own sense of taste and style. I also want them to develop a sense of discipline—to put the time in to make music work for them and get things happening."

Career Highlights

 

  • Alumna, Berklee College of Music
  • Guitarist, composer, and arranger
  • Leader of the Jane Miller Group, with three CDs on Pink Bubble Records, all with national radio play and press
  • Guitarist with the Miller-Clark-Miller Trio, a chamber jazz trio featuring saxophonist Cercie Miller and bassist David Clark, for which she contributes many compositions
  • Performances in clubs, concerts, and festivals regionally and nationally with singer/songwriter SONiA of disappear fear
  • Contributing writer for Acoustic Guitar Magazine, Premier Guitar Magazine, and Mel Bay's online magazine Guitar Sessions
  • Awarded Massachusetts Arts Lottery Grant for performance of original compositions
  • Many regional radio and television appearances
  • Private study with Mick Goodrick, Emily Remler, Rich Falco, and Mark Marquis