Guitar Faculty

G. Andrew Maness

Assistant Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8268

"I'm trying to instill professionalism in my students. That means doing their homework ahead of time on whatever situation they find themselves in, and then being as well prepared as possible. Don't give your word unless you intend to keep it. Show up on time. You need to maximize whatever it is that gives you the edge. Playing well is not enough; there are a lot of good players out there. What gives you the edge? Professionalism. A pleasant personality. Intelligence. Maximize it all. Being able to play is the icing on the cake, it's not the cake. The cake is all the other stuff."

John Marasco

Associate Professor, Guitar | 617 747-2644

"The guitar is one of the most popular instruments in the world. From its beginnings in classical music to today's popular music, the guitar is heard in a wide spectrum of styles. I've always liked to play in many different styles, which has served me well over the years. Being able to play in various styles has helped me to work in many different situations, playing everything from classical to jazz to blues to rock. The guitar is versatile, but it's also very hard to master."

Shaun Michaud

Assistant Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8271

"Teaching has made me a better guitar player; it's taught me a lot of things about how people learn and how I learn. And it helps me learn things faster. Anytime I need to learn something quickly, I think, 'How would I teach this to somebody?' And all of a sudden it clicks for me. I try to approach it that way with my students, as well. I ask them, 'If you had to show this to your roommate, how would you go about explaining it?'"

Tim Miller

Professor, Guitar
Also affiliated with:: Berklee Online (available courses) | 617 747-8332

"I've learned so much playing with musicians that I admire; just having the experience of playing with them opened my eyes. I think that's an important component of a lesson, so in private lessons we often play duets together. A lot of my students come in wanting to learn contemporary improvisational styles, but I try to enable them to find their own approach instead of trying to force my approach. I want to try to expose the player's own voice if at all possible."

Jane Miller

Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8466

"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."


Amanda Monaco

Assistant Professor, Guitar | 617 747-6245

"Berklee is so comprehensive and up to date with what's really going on in the music business. They tap into that in a way that I think other schools don't. And they're very realistic about what a musician needs to have to be a complete musician as opposed to just a player. The resources are vast, and students are getting a whole music experience, even before declaring a major. They have a foundation."

Joe Musella

Assistant Professor, Guitar
Also affiliated with:: Berklee Online (available courses) | 617 747-8325

"I specialize in contemporary guitar playing. I played in bands from the time I was in eighth grade, and learned a lot just through real-world experience. I was a performance major at Berklee, and when I graduated, I played relentlessly four or five nights a week. It was tough at times, but I was in my early twenties and totally loving life at that point. I never felt I was particularly naturally talented or gifted; I just kind of stuck with it and worked hard. So I think it's not necessarily about natural talent, it's about working hard and having your basics together. If you have a strong foundation, you can pretty much go anywhere from there."

David Newsam

Assistant Professor, Guitar
Also affiliated with:: Berklee Online (available courses) | 617 747-8295

"To walk out of school and have professional opportunities—that's what I want for my students. If I can recommend any of my students for performances I can't accept, then I've succeeded. The students who go above and beyond what is asked of them are the students I end up performing with or who have successful teaching businesses. They're the ones who possess that inspiration to go well beyond what I gave them. In a concert I just did, two of the four other performers were former students of mine, and both of them are successful performers and teachers."

Lauren Passarelli

Professor, Guitar

"I like to find what inspired my students to come to Berklee, where they want to go with their playing and musicianship, and how I can help them make choices to reach their musical goals with a sense of humor while staying healthy and sane."

Rick Peckham

Professor, Guitar
Also affiliated with:: Berklee Online (available courses) | 617 747-2511

"To me the musician's responsibility is not only to get the sound out of your head and to the instrument, but actually into the mind of the listener—and there are a lot of things between your mind and the listener's. You need to know about sound production on your instrument, getting your sound recorded, and making that sound the best it can be."

Kimberley Perlak

Assistant Chair, Guitar | 617 747-6429

"My teaching style is focused on the student. At Berklee, students come inspired and they already have something to say musically. I see my job as helping them develop the tools to say that more effectively."

Jim Peterson

Associate Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8426

"It's really important to be versatile. When you get 'that phone call,' the more prepared you are, the less time you have to waste getting prepared for the gig. Regardless of what style you're learning, it is important to be versatile, because at some point you have to deal with other people in a recording studio who are going to say, 'I don't want you to play that part the way you play it, I want you to play it like it's written on the paper, because this is how the producer wants it.' If you don't do that, then you're not going to get paid, and you probably won't get called back."

Jack Pezanelli

Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8317

"Berklee students come to me for my harmonic approach to jazz guitar. Even as a kid, I was dissatisfied with the way harmony was broached on the guitar. So I started to learn more from piano players than guitar players, which has given me a comprehensive, pianistic approach to melody and harmony on the guitar. Guitarists generally are not taught harmony on the fretboard in a comprehensive way. Pianists learn harmony through systems of inversion; if you do that with the guitar, what you end up with is a deeper understanding of applied harmony on the fretboard."

Joe Rogers

Assistant Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8336

"I hope my students will learn wholeness, in the sense that the guitar, for instance, and the music itself, are just vehicles for expressing the creative potential within. If people don't have clear access to what is within them, what they express might stay with them as lifelong pain. You hear of musicians and artists who are extremely creative, but who have led tortured lives. What good is that? If I can help a person clear away the blocks, the wholeness of their life expression is cleared as well. Then the instrument can become the vehicle for that expression."

Randy Roos

Associate Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8387

"My classroom teaching is more in the production range. The Recording Techniques for Guitarists class centers on giving students the basic skills to record themselves and small ensembles, and then to be able to work with those recordings production-wise to flush them out; orchestrate them; and mix them really nicely, with effects and coloration, to get them to sound polished and really well produced. A lot of students really need the basics in terms of the technical things, and we try to cover that as completely as possible, but always with the goal to making a recording that is moving to listen to in some way."

Colin Sapp

Assistant Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8419

"Students sometimes forget to nurture their artistry while they’re in school. It’s easy to get caught up in becoming proficient at specific skills like ear training, playing at quick tempi, improvising over difficult changes, etc. I think it’s critical to use learned music concepts to inform one’s individuality. The learning process is a creative process, so students should compose and/or improvise new ideas as soon as they are struck with that inspiration."

Bruce Saunders

Professor, Guitar
Also affiliated with:: Berklee Online (available courses) | 617 747-8429

"In my classes and private lessons I always try to point out the importance of playing with other people, as opposed to (or in addition to) locking yourself away in the practice room. There are psychological aspects of playing music with other people that one can only develop through personal musical interaction. For this reason, I try to play with students as much as I can in all my classes and especially in private lessons. There is so much we can learn about ourselves and others by playing together."

Benjamin Sher

Associate Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8597

"The guitar is a bit of a matrix; because it has so many strings, the same note appears in different regions, so it's hard to figure out where to play notes. To help students find their way around the guitar, I use a streamlined version of Bill Leavitt's 'old-school' approach that I learned from. Brazilian music is also helpful in teaching students to read, because the subdivision is in two instead of in four, so I feel students are able to see wider rhythmic phrases and see the bigger picture of what's going on from measure to measure."

Curtis Shumate

Associate Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8352

"In my Survey of Guitar Styles class, I try to give students insights into some historical players, respecting the tradition of the guitar. I acknowledge the present, but want to raise students' awareness of the more traditional players, not just in jazz but in blues. I'll play the blues great Albert King, and students will inevitably say he sounds a lot like Stevie Ray and Hendrix. And without disrespect, I'll say, 'Well, it's kind of the other way around.'  Then, after class, a lot of students will come up and ask, 'What's a good Albert King recording I should check out?'"

Robin Stone

Associate Professor, Guitar
Also affiliated with:: Berklee Online (available courses) | 617 747-8368

"I would like my students to really know the guitar theoretically and to understand how the fretboard works. I firmly believe that students should have a thorough understanding of harmony and how it works on the guitar. Because of the way the guitar is tuned, learning the fretboard can be confusing and frustrating. Most students learn by patterns and fingerings. While this method is a wonderful way to learn how to play the guitar, it leads to a situation later in one’s playing of not knowing what they are playing. I would like to be able to say that my students come away with a better understanding of how those patterns and fingerings translate into a real working knowledge on the guitar."

Joe Stump

Associate Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8418

"Since I'm kind of the high-tech metal specialist, I spend a lot of time demonstrating these techniques. It's really a player's approach. Rather than holding the student's hand and saying, 'Do it like this,' I'm showing them how it's done and fielding questions, making it clear how to execute certain things. Then they come back after they've worked on it a bit."

Ken Taft

Assistant Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8374

"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.'"

Scott Tarulli

Assistant Professor, Guitar | 617 747-8457

"My teaching style comes directly from being someone who struggled a lot with learning—in particular, with learning jazz and how to budget my time. Absolutely nothing came easy to me in music. As a result, I base my teaching around my students and help them to become problem-solvers. When they leave Berklee, my hope is that they're able to do things on their own and not be paint-by-number players."

David Tronzo

Associate Professor, Guitar | 617 747-2858

"I started playing gigs even before I felt I was ready. But that's the beauty of the music business—there's so much on-the-job development. The constant discomfort from taking on things before you're ready can be corrosive, though—you need to be able to manage it. The balancing factor is when the task itself is exciting and inspiring, and you know it's right. Then it just becomes a question of how much approval you need, and in what form."

Guy Van Duser

Professor, Guitar | 617 747-6052

"I'm kind of the oddball. I'm here because a lot of people are curious about this technique, fingerstyle. I show them how to take melodies on the guitar-solo line melodies-and play those melodies while playing the chords at the same time. You're trying to get two layers going. You're using mostly your thumb just to play the lower notes of the chord while the fingers pick out the melody notes on the upper strings. The fingerpickers do that in such a way that the thumb is alternating back and forth on the string, being the rhythm as well. So I'm not just playing the chord under the note, I'm recreating a beat: boom-chick, boom-chick, boom-chick."