Stephen Rochinski

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617 747-8335

"I keep it always grounded in the sound. Sound comes first, and notation is secondary. There are people who teach music for whom it's really very much a head trip and not something that is grounded in the empirical, experiential world. A lot of students come in here with some prior formal training, but with a disconnect between the sound and the notation. Quite often they will analyze something based on a visual construct, and the actual sound of the music turns out very different from what their analysis tends to be."

"I try to emphasize the importance of three things: Everything that they learn from me will be synthesized through their writing, whether it's composition or arrangement; through performance and improvisation; and through their understanding of the responsibility of all musicians to teach what it is that they know. Some of the best teachers that I have ever come across were people who were solidly established in their field as players and/or writers, and they never saw teaching as something that was a distraction to that; it's the Howard Roberts model. It's a triad of responsibilities: playing, writing, and instructing others. It's an obligation to the maintenance of the continued viability of this art form. Who else is going to do it?"

"There are so many people in the world who would love to be here, but can't. So the online school fills that vacuum. I teach a couple sections of the Harmony class online. The students are generally older, quite bright and experienced, but it runs the entire spectrum of beginners who don't know a quarter note from a 25-cent piece to people who are working professional musicians but who never had a lot of the basic foundations of harmony as they were coming up. The online school helps to bridge that gap."

Career Highlights


  • Diploma, Berklee College of Music
  • Guitarist, arranger, and music director for The Anthony Tillman Show
  • Guitarist with Pete and Conte Candoli, Tim Hagans, Bob Dogan, and Pat Harbison
  • Concert appearances with Gary Foster, Tal Farlow, Attila Zoller, and Jimmy Raney
  • Clinician with Tal Farlow
  • Author of The Jazz Style of Tal Farlow, published by Hal Leonard
  • Recipient of NEA Fellowship
  • Jardis Records recording artist
  • Internationally active performer/ clinician