Ken Taft

Assistant Professor

"Having been at Berklee for 34 years, I now feel more like a mentor to my students. But I'm not the kind of mentor that says, 'You should do this.' I understand the frustrations of failure, because I've had those things in my life. So I just listen, acknowledge their feelings, and tell them to think about how to make themselves feel better so they can continue on."

"While I have a lot of demands, I'm a relaxed kind of person. Students tell me they appreciate that I don't make them feel bad if something's not correct or if they don't accomplish a requirement for the lesson for that week. With my private students, I'm the only person they spend 30 dedicated minutes alone with—and that's a responsibility I take seriously."

"My approach is to teach the way real people play, not through rules and attitudes. It's not like a math or chemistry class, where you put this and this together and get that. The rules for playing are: if it works, it works. Younger students, of course, need to know theory. But as you become more proficient you can actually change the theory. To paraphrase Charlie Parker, 'Learn all that stuff, then forget about it.'"

"I want my students to take a professional attitude and be able to meet all of the guitar skills required of them. I tell my students that the reason I'm successful is because I can read, I can play a lot of different styles, and I'm professional on stage."

"I try to give students the feeling that it's okay to be wrong. What's really important is knowing when you're wrong. And once you know that you're wrong . . . [laughs] just don't do it again!"

Career Highlights

 

  • Alumnus, Berklee College of Music
  • Teacher specializing in funk and jazz/blues styles
  • Guitarist in commercial studio work, television, and theater
  • Numerous concert performances throughout the United States
  • Numerous performances and clinics in South America