"My teaching style is focused on the student. Especially at a place like Berklee, you have students who come and they're inspired, and they already almost have something to say, musically, or they think they do, or they have something they want to stay. And I see my job as helping them develop the tools to say that more effectively. So I'm able to look at a student and say, ' I can help you with this set of tools that I've worked on my career and in my playing to help you develop your tone, to help you develop your facility, to help you play a melodic line, almost like a vocal line, and then accompany yourself and play a bass line and play chords behind that and make that sing, so that whatever you want to say comes out in a fluid way, in a musical way, and it allows you to express what you're hearing inside, and I think that's really my job."
"And so I like to sit with them and as we're working on things I want to get a sense of what they want to sound like, and what they want to do, and then I think it makes it easier for them to learn because it's hard work to develop the tools that you need for your technique and for your interpretation and even when you say things like 'I'm going to work on being more expressive,' that's lot of hard work, and it's a lot of tedious work, and it's a lot of repetition. It's difficult, especially as a young person who's inspired, to focus on that, to make themselves sit down and work on that. Can you have that kind of control, can you hear, I want a loud sound and I want it to have this kind of attack and this kind of color and can you practice that and get it and then repeat it a thousand times so that the next time you hear that in your head you can play it on demand? That's hard to do in a practice room."
"At other schools, you have one track and there’s some room within the one track. At Berklee, you‘re seeing representations of all the different ways in the world to play this instrument. It allows you to really think about what inspires you from the very beginning. I think a lot of students don’t have the chance to think: 'This is what I love' but there’s so much music out there and at Berklee you have a chance to be exposed to all of that in the beginning."
- Doctorate of musical arts with dissertation from University of Texas at Austin
- Dissertation: "Finding a Voice in the American Classical Guitar Vernacular"
- Master of music degree from Yale University School of Music
- Editor-in-chief of Soundboard Magazine: The Journal of the Guitar Foundation of America
- Founder of Ben & I Play for Peace: Concerts and Classes to Benefit American Veterans, honored by the U.S. House of Representatives
- Recordings: Common Ground: New American Music for Solo Guitar and Yong, Kim, & Cathy at Yale: American Music for Flute, Guitar, and Cello