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Nick Russo

Forest Hills, NY 11375 (map)


Lessons Offered

Banjo, Bass, Guitar, Mandolin, Music, Music Theory, UkuleleBanjo, Bass, Guitar, Mandolin, Music, Music Theory, Ukulele

Where are Lessons Offered

In Teacher Studio

Online via Webcam


About Me

Professor Nick Russo (guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, dobro/resonator/slide, tenor guitar, baritone resonator, bass, drums, composition) is currently the adjunct music professor at Essex College, Jazz clinician for over 19 years via Kupferberg Center (Queens College) and has been on the staff at Great Neck Music Conservatory. Nick has given lectures at Manhattanville College, at Queens College and at schools, nationally. 
 
-Down Beat magazine 2006 Ro review plus [Jan/Feb 2016] Hot Jazz Jumpers' "The Very Next Thing" DVD/CD review 
 
-Jazz Insider magazine current issue [Dec 2015]
 2.5 page interview 
 
-Just Jazz Guitar magazine interview [February 2015 issue]
 
-Vanity Fair magazine (August 2013) interview
 
 "Summer of 2013, Nick R. performed at Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin's home. It was an honor to meet Paul McCartney and jam with him while he played toy harmonica. Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Iridium, Bluenote, Birdland, U.N., IAJE, Cape Cod Jazz Festival, NJPAC, Sweet Rhythm, Smalls, Zinc Bar, Smoke Jazz Club, internationally: Japan, Spain, Russia, Brasil, St. Kitts, Canada, France, Bermuda, Sweden, Israel
 
-Toured/recorded and/or worked as sideman with Antonique Smith, Jon Batiste (from the Colbert show), Jimmy McGriff, Teddy Charles, Bill Charlap, Sonny Dallas, Victor Jones and Cultur-versy, Vince Giordano & The Night Hawks, Frank Vignola/Joe Ascione, Miles Griffith, David Pleasant, Jim Nolet (former violinist for the Jazz Passengers),  Dandy Wellington, Jon Weber, Aurora Nealand (from New Orleans), Anastasia Rene, Mona's Hot Four, Gordon Au's Grand Street Stompers, Michael Arenella's Dreamland Orchestra,  with Jesse Gelber, Raphael McGregor, Emily Asher's Garden Party, and many other groups. 
 
-Appears in Sam Mendes Film "Away We Go"
 
-Movie Soundtrack: King George.
 
-Guitar/banjo: "Jew Grows in Brooklyn," "Take Me Along," "The Big Apple Circus" + others.
 
-Banjo/Guitar Chair: "New Girl In Town" (Irish Rep Theatre)
 
-Author: Metallica Legendary Licks series,volume 1 & 2)
-Editor GRP chords (both Cherry Lane Music/Hal Leonard).
 
M.A. from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College
(partial scholarship)
 
B.S. from S.U.N.Y. Stony Brook, graduated magna cum laude. Dean's list all semesters
 
-Published interview (book): A New Face of Jazz (Cicily Janus)
 
-Playing guitar/banjo on first episode of new PBS cartoon "Peg and Cat"
 
- Current adjunct professor at Essex College
 
-Guest lecturing professor at Manhattanville College
 
-Substitute adjunct professor at Queens College
 
-Winning participant: I.A.J.E. with Miles Griffith's New Ting 2007. Performance and educational certificate granted.
 
-Winning participant; part-scholarship award: 2004 International Jazz Workshop at BANFF Centre, Canada (dir, Dave Douglas)
 
-Winning participant; full-scholarship award of the 2001 JAS academy in Aspen Colorado (dir, Christian McBride (Down Beat Dec. 2001)
 
-Studying Bol (Indian rhythmic system) with tabla player, Pandit Samir Chatterjee 2006-2007; 2013-current
 
-Studied with Pat Martino, Billy Bauer, Ben Monder, Tony Purrone, Pete Bernstein, Dr. Stephen Salerno, Dr. David Belser
 
-Studying African Rhythms  with drummer, Harvey Wirht
 
*** Lesson Details ***
With over 20 years teaching experience, Nick is patient with children & adults. He has a creative, unique pedagogy emphasizing hearing through singing, ear-training & natural, organic listening. Nick instills healthy absorption of music while students have fun learning their music, sight reading, internalizing with focus on rhythm and time.
    As a student, you will get to work on music that you, the student select as well as work on sight-reading, technique, ear-training. We will also work out of method books and use other sources of information.
 
*** Studio Equipment ***
Chairs, music stands, instrument stands, classical foot pedals, classical guitar pillows, guitar amps, guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, drum set. Students usually provide their own instruments but it's possible to borrow an instrument during the lesson at the studio on the first lesson. (free street parking right in front!)
 
*** Specialties ***
Nick's pedagogy emphasizes ear-training, singing, reading and truly hearing the music we are working on. Rather than rote teaching and guitar tablature, he instills natural listening, transcribing, sight-reading and proper technique. Lessons are always enjoyable as Nick observes each student's unique needs and listen's to their song preferences and musical goals. Students have the opportunity to learn pieces and genres they select and they are trained to figure out tunes by ear (ear-training) and transcribe. 
 
     Nick teaches:
 
-classical guitar and Brazilian guitar (nylon 6 string and nylon 7 string guitar)
-acoustic steel string guitar, electric 6 string and electric 7 string guitar
- jazz guitar + an eclectic mix of styles: blues, Brazilian music, Latin Jazz, Afro-Peruvian, Indian music, rock, heavy metal, funk, R & B, Motown, reggae + other genres. 
- tenor banjo (traditional jazz, jazz from New Orleans, Dixieland and world music)
-5 string banjo (Earl Scruggs finger picking [bluegrass and country])
-tenor guitar
-ukulele
-mandolin
-resonator slide/Dobro.
-baritone resonator (slide)

My Musical Education Background

M.A. in performance from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College
(partial scholarship)
 
B.S. from S.U.N.Y. Stony Brook, graduated magna cum laude. Dean's list all semesters
 
-Published interview (book): A New Face of Jazz (Cicily Janus)
 
-Playing guitar/banjo on new PBS cartoon "Peg and Cat"
 
Peg & Cat. Current adjunct professor at Essex College
 
-Guest lecturing professor at Manhattanville College
 
-Substitute adjunct professor at Queens College
 
-Winning participant: I.A.J.E. with Miles Griffith's New Ting 2007. Performance and educational certificate granted.
 
-Winning participant; part-scholarship award: 2004 International Jazz Workshop at BANFF Centre, Canada (dir, Dave Douglas)
 
-Winning participant; full-scholarship award of the 2001 JAS academy in Aspen Colorado (dir, Christian McBride (Down Beat Dec. 2001)
 
-Studying Bol (Indian rhythmic system) with tabla player, Pandit Samir Chatterjee 2006-2007; 2013-current
 
-Studied with Pat Martino, Billy Bauer, Ben Monder, Tony Purrone, Pete Bernstein, Dr. Stephen Salerno, Dr. David Belser
 
-Studying African Rhythms with drummer, Harvey Wirht

Genres and Subjects Taught

Nick's pedagogy emphasizes ear-training, singing, reading and truly hearing the music we are working on. Rather than rote teaching and guitar tablature, he instills natural listening, transcribing, sight-reading and proper technique. Lessons are always enjoyable as Nick observes each student's unique needs and listen's to their music genre and repertoire preferences and musical goals. Students have the opportunity to learn pieces and genres they select and they are trained to figure out tunes by ear (ear-training) and transcribe. 

Nick teaches:

-classical guitar and Brazilian guitar (nylon 6 string and nylon 7 string guitar)
-acoustic steel string guitar, electric 6 string and electric 7 string guitar
- jazz guitar + an eclectic mix of styles: blues, Brazilian music, Latin Jazz, Afro-Peruvian, Indian music, rock, heavy metal, funk, R & B, Motown, reggae + other genres. 
- tenor banjo (traditional jazz, jazz from New Orleans, Dixieland and world music)
-5 string banjo (Earl Scruggs finger picking [bluegrass and country])
-tenor guitar
-ukulele
-mandolin
-resonator slide/Dobro.
-baritone resonator (slide)
-electric bass
-drums
-piano/keyboards
-harmonium
-composition 
-song writing
-ear-training
-rhythm training
 
ALL Genres of music 

Lesson Rates

$40 half hour

$60 forty five minutes

$80 an hour

Ages / Skill Levels Taught

All Ages (4 years old and older) and All levels: beginner, intermediate, advanced and professional. 

My Certifications and Awards

-Winning participant: I.A.J.E. with Miles Griffith's New Ting 2007. Performance and educational certificate granted.

 

-Winning participant: I.A.J.E. with Miles Griffith's New Ting 2007. Performance and educational certificate granted.
 
-Winning participant; part-scholarship award: 2004 International Jazz Workshop at BANFF Centre, Canada (dir, Dave Douglas)
 
-Winning participant; full-scholarship award of the 2001 JAS academy in Aspen Colorado (dir, Christian McBride (Down Beat Dec. 2001)
 
Press Quotes:
 
Unfailingly high-spirited." LONDON TIMES
 
"...it's unlike anything most listeners will find elsewhere."
San Diego Troubadour
 
"Fresh and vital" Classical Arts 
 
"Americana music at its purest and most impressive" No Depression 
“Nick Russo has worked with artists all over the jazz spectrum. His latest release brings a decidedly unorthodox approach.”DOWNBEAT  ⋆⋆⋆⋆
 
"It underscores, too, how sounds from another time can be renewed and re-imagined, by creative minds and right hands, in the present moment. Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches are ridiculously fun." Rambles. 

 

REVIEWS: 

Sarah M 12/14/2018

  •  
  • Nick has been teaching my son (started at 6 year, just  turned 7) for exactly one year.  His endless patience is matched with his enthusiasm.  He teaches both technique, rhythm and musicality while cultivating a real love of music and playing guitar.   Not an easy task with a fidgety boy! 

I highly recommend Nick as a teacher for all ages and levels of experience.
Also, he is an amazing musician himself who plays regularly on the scene, so a great source of inspiration as well!

Marissa K.

Banjo Lessons

Nick is so nice and welcoming. He is so knowledgeable, he can teach people by several different methods and styles to fit any student. Even if you can't read music, he can teach you to play an instrument!

Feb 8, 2017 Verified


-Ann 
Oct 12, 2013
Guitar
Exceptional, musically rich learning

Nick is a terrific, terrific teacher whose main goal is to nurture my son's love of music and instill the idea that learning to play guitar or drums is not hard, it's unfamiliar and my son has been learning from Nick since he was 7 years old. I love watching Nick balance solid technique with fun. Like taking a contemporary song that my son loves and teaching him to play a portion of it. Or inviting another student (or sometimes even a professional musician) to sit in on a lesson and jam with my son. Nick is teaching the whole person, not just their fingers on the guitar. He really cares and I would recommend him to anyone!

-James B.
Jan 2, 2015
Guitar 
Exceptional musician. Skilled and patient teacher.

I have been taking weekly guitar lessons with Nick for nearly four months now and it has been all I hoped for and more. As a recent retiree and amateur musician one of my goals is to rapidly improve my novice guitar skills. I was looking for a teacher who would push me hard but was willing to work with the particular songs and musical questions that I might bring to him each week. I could not be more pleased. Nick is able to immediately bring his knowledge and experience to any material that I bring to a lesson and he uses it as the basis for a wide range of teaching moments - whether it be technique, harmony, or improvisational approach. What I didn't anticipate was the extent to which his holistic, listening (and singing) based approach to playing an instrument has challenged me. Nick is making me a better musician not just a better guitar player. (And it is very helpful that he types out notes on all that we discuss and sends an email following each lesson.)

-Koji Y.
Dec 24, 2014
Jazz Guitar 
Mr. Nick R. is an absolutely great guitar player and music instructor. I'm a young professional jazz guitarist and instructor and have been taking jazz guitar lessons with Nick R. weekly since September of 2014. Every lesson, I receive a lot of information that I didn't know before and Nick always give me proper quantity and quality of task 

Many ideas, information from his suggestions, including how to practice myself and instruction that goes beyond musical and guitar technique, also including psychological and philosophical concepts from Nick's experience and knowledge. His explanations are incredibly clear and easily to follow.

I've been playing guitar over 15 years. In my experience, it's very, very difficult to find a mentor like Nick Russo.

I truly appreciate meeting him and have tremendous respect for Professor Russo.

Thanks as always Nick!!

Koji Yoneyama (professional jazz guitarist and instructor), Dec. 23, 2014

-Shimun (Sam) A.
Nov 23, 2014
Acoustic Guitar 
You can say that I'm a rookie when it comes to playing guitar. So, I decided to do something about it. I'm taking 45 minutes sessions with Nick and I have to say that he is a really talented a teacher as well as he is a musician. While having fun during the lessons, I rake in so many new tricks up my sleeve. I love his individual approach, flexibility, and creativity just to outline a couple. For the short while that I've known Nick, he's been all, a patient teacher, a talented musician, but most of all he's been an inspiration to me. My goal was to learn to read music and learn how to play the instrument more fluently. But now, the whole world of new and fascinating opportunities opened up to me because of his mentoring and support. Thank you Nick! I wish I could take longer sessions with you on a more regular basis.

-Tom N.
Feb 8, 2014
Guitar
Highly Recommended

I've taken classes with Nick in a group setting (at Jalopy) and privately, and while I studied guitar as a kid and trombone in school, and I've never had a better music teacher. And I do mean music teacher, not just guitar teacher - Nick's approach is to start with the MUSIC you want to play, not just the guitar as a collection of strings and frets or a series of fingerings to memorize. He's realistic about where people are starting and how much time and energy they have to devote to the instrument with all else happening in their lives (school, work, family, whatever), but he really wants all his students to get better, to learn and progress and love the music like he does, and leads by example of his own musicianship and dedication to the art form. Highly recommended for all levels, all styles.

-Jerry F.
Aug 11, 2014
Jazz Guitar 
Finally found a guitar teacher who provides individualized instruction based on what I know and don't know. I previously depended on my guitar to make music. Nick showed me how to make the music yourself in your head and then find it on the guitar. He has great patience and also answers every question . And, most important for me, he writes out the lesson notes at the end and sends them. Every previous teacher told me 20 things in a lesson and I remembered two. Nick makes sure that every minute of my lesson is given proper attention.

-Ramsey
Jan 21, 2016
Banjo 
Nick took me on as a banjo student and did an amazing job of quickly finding out how much I already knew and then ran with it, pushing me further while letting me direct us into areas that I wanted to pursue. He's very patient and insanely knowledgable. Every lesson has been packed with a ton of information, practice, instruction and music theory. (He's also a very nice guy to have a conversation with.) I couldn't recommend Nick highly enough as an instructor.

-Donna Q.
Dec 26, 2015
Acoustic Guitar 
I've been taking lessons with Nick for a few months now and it's been a really positive experience! I have no guitar experience at all so I'm coming in as a true guitar novice. Nick takes time to explain techniques and encourages you to "listen" to the notes and to hear how the music comes together. He's very patient and definitely has a wealth of guitar knowledge. If you're looking to learn guitar, then I'd definitely recommend Nick!

-Sabrina S.
Jan 21, 2015
Acoustic Guitar 
I started my lessons with Nick just one month. I know I am inquisitive, intense, overly involved and very detail oriented with my interests in general and I treat guitar the same way. I enjoy and immerse myself into it. I think Nick has a very broad knowledge of guitar playing and comes across as a very conscientious instructor in the way he handles my overachieving demands. I would surely recommend him.

-Bryan
Oct 8, 2016
Guitar 
At just my 1st lesson with Mr. Russo -- HE'S THE MAN!!! Very concerned with getting the most out teaching/reaching the student!!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

-Taylor
Feb 3, 2016
Ukulele 
Nick was a terrific teacher -- very enthusiastic and encouraging. He knows what he's talking about as well. He definitely breaks things down so even beginners like me can follow along and understand.

-Sara G.
Oct 3, 2016
Ukulele 
Great musician, great instructor. Learned more than I ever thought I would be able to at this age. Very patient.

-Robert
May 24, 2016
Banjo 
Nick was quick to assess my ability and direction and we made immediate progress 
at a comfortable pace.

-Eric Falconer
Jan 30, 2016
Guitar 
Nick has been a great teacher so far. He's patient and takes the time to adapt to my current strengths and weaknesses in order to tailor the lesson to fit my needs. Highly recommended.

-Matthew H.
Jan 18, 2017
Guitar 
He does a great job cater the lessons to your needs

-Kevin
Jan 4, 2016
Banjo 
Nick is very talented, knowledgeable and patient. He communicates material extremely well and is a pleasure to work with.

My Musical Influences

I have so many musical influences from an eclectic mix of genres, including world musics such as North Indian Classical Music, African music, Gullah-Geechee, classical, jazz, blues, roots, R & B, country, global folk and many others. 

 

I love everything from Bach to Stravinsky to John Coltrane to The Beatles to Jimi Hendrix and endless other great artists. 


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