Guitar Faculty

Abigail Aronson

Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8269

"A lot of times I work with students at identifying scales, chords, and improvisation approaches by ear while we're learning the fingerings and theory. Many people find it refreshing to increase their confidence about what things sound like, as opposed to being sure of having them under their hands or recognizing them on a page. In my own playing, I often sing and play in unison or octaves when I improvise on guitar or bass."

John Baboian

Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8106

"We get the misconception that you've got to be John Scofield or Pat Metheny. But that's such a small percentage of the population of musicians. For most musicians who are not quite up to that level, you're accompanying, you're part of band. The music wouldn't be the same without you, but it's not your name drawing the crowd. And that's okay. There's something to be said for being the side person and doing your job well. You get to be a part of making the music sound great and not have to worry about all the logistics. Go play the gig, do the music, do your job well, take the check, and don't worry about all the rest. That's the job of the versatile side musician. And that's, at least, what I am trying to prepare my students to be."

Sheryl Bailey

Associate Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8407

"The ideals of being professional—being prepared, being on time, having a good attitude, being someone who's friendly and easy to work with—sometimes is as important about getting the gig as anything. Because there are so many great players, the more that you're prepared and the more that you're a good person to work with, you're going to move to the top of the list of people to call.

Larry Baione

Chair, Guitar
Also affiliated with:: Berklee Online (available courses) | 617 747-2294

"In teaching private lessons, I help students find repertoire to work on and to study the essentials of phrasing, soloing, chords, and technique. The goal is for the student to be able to sound the way he or she would like to sound—for them to take their instrument in whatever direction they would like. I also teach a recital prep lab. In that case, the object is to gain experience playing in front of people and to discover what a good performance means to each individual student."

Bruce Bartlett

Associate Professor, Guitar
Also affiliated with:: Berklee Online (available courses) | 617 747-8424

"The best thing about teaching or learning how to play music is the balance between technical information and whatever your heart and soul feels. Hopefully the technical information is only the vehicle for what you're really trying to do. I want my students to stay focused through the ups and downs, and to trust in what they believe in. I try to reinforce that they should learn as much as they can and be as versatile as possible, because the competition is very high. I also tell them to respect and learn from the past as they're trying to go forward."

Kevin Belz

Assistant Professor, Guitar
Also affiliated with:: Berklee Online (available courses) | 617 747-2738

"I try to teach the way I learned how to play. I use more ear-type training than music and hand-out sheets. In the real world, on gigs, 90 percent of the time you just get a CD to learn tunes. I have the students transcribe songs, not necessarily writing them down, but a lot of learning by ear, a lot of call and response stuff, transcriptions off records and CDs."

Dan Bowden

Professor, Guitar
Also affiliated with:: Berklee Online (available courses) | 617 747-8124

"What draws students to my private lesson studio are the instrumental labs that I develop, which deal with acoustic blues, slide guitar, and bottleneck guitar. An important goal of mine has been to expand on what would be the typical blues education—trying to round out the blues students we have playing modern electric blues style by imparting some historical perspective along with traditional blues skills that are still viable in today's music, when you look at Eric Clapton, Derek Trucks, Taj Mahal, or people like Keb' Mo'."


Freddie Bryant

Associate Professor, Guitar | 617 747-6248

"I always have students make a blank book, because they're going to discover hundreds of things. You need to write them down, because at the end of the year, it could all be like mush. What do they put in the books? Sometimes people will write a great lick or a melody. They may not write the rest of the song, but they could do so in the future. It's the same thing with me. In my books there are different kinds of scales and different rhythms, chord voicings, and inversions; a Latin tune, a more Middle-Eastern kind of a jam vibe; harmonized diminished scales; and even poetry. I experiment with all these different possibilities, and then two or three things may develop into a tune or an arrangement that I'm writing, or later, with time and practice they'll be able to fall under my fingers easier for soloing or melodic improvisational ideas."

Jon Damian

Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8152

"During my years as a performer and teacher of improvisation, I have noticed that the more advanced we become as improvisers, the less we tend to respond to the basic musical events that happen around us. To make my students aware of this, I started an advanced performance lab class 15 years ago called the Creative Workshop, or Cre.W., to help players learn to really listen as they improvise. Although Cre.W. is a guitar lab, the techniques we use work well with any instrumental combination."

Sal DiFusco

Associate Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8224

"I'm very tough, and have high expectations in the classroom. But while my students think my classes are challenging, I don't really expect them to perfect what I give them. You can be introduced to a lot of things and not master them until many years later. I just whet their appetites with a lot of concepts so they can develop them on their own."

Jon Finn

Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8173

"You know the perception people have of rock guitarists—gunslingers and drug addicts. If there's one issue I get evangelical about, it's when I hear a lot of words from well-known rock players who say, 'Don't practice, be a rebel. Studying the instrument is bad for your creativity.' The mentality is that if you're too technically proficient, you're not rock 'n' roll; I'm not sure if I agree. My feeling is that it's possible to be a studied musician and maintain that primal energy—it's just not easy. I personally love players like Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, Steve Morse, and Eddie Van Halen, the ones who can speak to my soul and challenge my intellect at the same time."

David Fiuczynski

Professor, Guitar

"I'm interested in students finding their own voice. I start with teaching chord scale theory in the style that the student is interested in playing. It doesn't matter to me if it's death metal, jazz, or electronica. I want players to be able to analyze a composition, figure out what modes they can use to solo over or generate parts with, and learn how to comp with chords, riffs, or counterlines. I find this really stimulates creativity and helps students approach the music from a fresh perspective."

Tomo Fujita

Associate Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8410

"In my private lessons and blues/funk labs, I teach fundamental techniques for playing good music—getting a good tone from the guitar and keeping a good rhythm. But I try to teach something more valuable for the future, so I really emphasize feeling. Especially in blues playing, I emphasize expression, tone, and time. Sometimes these simple things are really difficult to achieve with quality and detail. So I teach a lot of grooves and rhythm."

David Gilmore

Associate Professor, Guitar | 617 747-3125

"Berklee has been a mecca for guitar players over the years. My first guitar teacher ever, John Baboian, still teaches here. I was fortunate in high school to have him as a private teacher. He came from the Berklee method—the William G. Leavitt method—which was really comprehensive. Later on, when I looked at other guitar books, I saw how unusable they were in a certain way. They dealt with tablature, not with notes. Piano players, horn players—most musicians—deal with notes on a staff. But a lot of recent guitar books are devoid of that. I've seen a lot of guitar players who can't even read music. They read tablature and they read other symbols, but not actual written note music. In a typical studio situation you're not going to find your part written in tablature."

Mick Goodrick

Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8454

"I got started because of Elvis Presley. I was maybe 9 or 10 years old. I put a belt on a tennis racquet and would mime the records in front of a mirror. I told my parents I wanted a guitar because the tennis racquet didn't look so cool. They got me a ukulele, which looked even worse in the mirror than the tennis racquet. When they started offering music lessons at my school, my mother asked me if I wanted to learn music, and I said I wanted to learn guitar. So I started guitar when I was 11."

Charles Hansen

Instructor, Guitar | 617 747-8313

"Playing the guitar is like anything that's difficult: It gives you a lot of satisfaction, and it also makes you learn about discipline. It's challenging, it's difficult, it's arduous sometimes, but the reward is that you develop certain skills. You're not just learning how to play guitar, you're also learning what dedication is and what discipline is."

Richie Hart

Associate Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8422

"In the Wes Montgomery Ensemble, I stress the importance of listening and communicating. I want them to play as a cohesive band—to play with individuality, but not as individuals. And that involves the ability to listen, react, and respond to each other spontaneously on a very high level. The first week starts out with everybody playing their own stuff. I can always hear when they're not listening, so I'll stop them and ask, did you hear what that drummer just did? They stop and they listen, and start paying more attention. It's not something that happens overnight, but by the end of the semester they become one with each other: they start hearing what each other does, they know each other's strengths and weaknesses, and they work together as a team."

Craig Hlady

Associate Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8217

"I try to be a problem solver with students when they are having difficulty with something. I introduce playing approaches that they may not have thought of before. My goal is to help them eventually find their own unique voice on the guitar, which is no easy task."

Thaddeus Hogarth

Associate Professor, Guitar
Also affiliated with:: Berklee Online (available courses) | 617 747-2830

"As a thriving independent recording artist, I think of my job as not only to disseminate information but to give a strong basis of context for this information and a method for incorporating it into the student's own identity as a musician, whether as a performer, a composer, or both."

Mike Ihde

Professor, Guitar | 617 747-2241

"My mission is to open up people's ears to the players and styles they've never heard, and hopefully they think, 'Wow—I really need to check that out.' My goal has always been to prepare people to be able to play anything, anytime, anywhere. In order to survive in this business, you need to know a ton of tunes in a lot of styles and be able to play them all convincingly."

Scotty Johnson

Associate Professor, Guitar
Also affiliated with:: Berklee Online (available courses) | 617 747-8494

"My main message is that there's work out there for musicians—gigs and paychecks. I've brought students into the pit with me and they are glad to see that there are many attainable avenues for music other than being a rock star. There are other ways to do things creatively and work as a professional musician with a guitar in your lap. I tell students, 'Here's what you have to know, here's what you'll get paid, here's the person who will hire you, etc.' It's not always about music theory; it's experience. In my theater lab, they're seeing the actual chart that I read in the pit from shows like The Lion King or Spamalot, for example."

Julien Kasper

Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8464

"I think that the biggest inspiration I can be to the students is to be an active, performing, recording artist. They want to know that you're out there, making your own music, being your own musician. My professional background contributes enormously to my teaching because I have such a wide range of experience playing so many styles of gigs—from lowdown, disgusting dives in the middle of Alabama to great jazz festivals in Sweden and all points in between. I'm also in the studio, recording CDs as a side man and as a leader. All of those things factor into giving them some understanding of what's required of them in the real world."

Jim Kelly

Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8244

"There are certain requirements that, whoever your teacher is, we need to make sure you complete as a player on your instrument. Certain scales, chords, pieces, or whatever. Those are the basics. Other than that, I kind of loosely base it on this old r&b song 'Long As I'm Movin'.' As long as we find topics that keep the student learning, we can expand what they feel they can do."

Donald P. Lappin Jr.

Assistant Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8587

"When I was a first-semester student going to all those different classes, I was studying hard and getting As on tests, but I wasn't sure why I was learning a lot of what I was learning. In my second and third semester, all of a sudden things started to click. So when I'm working with my students, I've learned to anticipate when they're wondering, 'Why are you making me do this?' and try to connect the dots for them."

Jeffrey Lockhart

Associate Professor, Guitar
  • Guitarist
  • Member of Wally's Tuesday Funk Band
  • Performances with Meshell Ndegeocello, Mike Clark, Bill Summers, Sam Kininger Band, Al Evans of Soulive and Play on Brother Band, Lettuce, and Richie Goods of Nuclear Fusion
  • Recordings wtih Beyoncé and Dido
  • Former musical director for Brian McKnight