To me, teaching is a vital part of being a musician.  I hope to continue learning about music for the rest of my life, and helping musicians who are at a different point in their musical journey is an important part of that.  In my time as a musician, I've come to believe that communities are a central part of all music-making.  Music is something that people do to communicate and connect with other people.  Every musician is building on the discoveries and creations of the musicians who have come before them, so it's essential that people share what they've learned with others. 

My teaching philosophy is that everyone who is motivated and passionate about music can learn to play music. Everyone has different learning styles.  Some people find that their natural learning style is well-suited to learning music.  These people are often termed “talented” (in my opinion, a loaded and misleading term that I’ll probably discuss at some point in a blog post).  Music teachers traditionally love these students, as they are easy to teach and learn quickly with minimal effort from the teacher, just guidance and perspective. 

Other people find that the learning style most native to them isn’t really well-suited to learning music.  Unfortunately, these people sometimes conclude that they are simply “unmusical” (a conclusion often encouraged by music teachers who don’t really know how to connect with different learning styles).  What is needed instead is to cultivate a learning style that creates a more direct relationship with music.   I work to identify the learning style of each student, and then work to expand their learning methods to be more music-friendly. 

Of course music is an extremely complex and multifaceted endeavor.  These things are not black-and-white.  Indeed, someone might find their learning style is very conducive to technique, but not improvisation.  Or is great for composing, but not performing.  In my own development, I’ve worked to develop effective methods for improving all of these areas, and I use that experience to help guide students and help them avoid common pitfalls. 

I am currently accepting oud, guitar and composition students of all levels for in-person lessons in Brooklyn, New York. 
I also teach worldwide via Skype/Facetime. 

SPECIAL OFFER: Introductory Lesson—For a limited time, I am offering one 30-minute online lesson  for free to new students.  Limited to three students per month, Skype/Facetime lessons only.
 
• Oud lessons (Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced)
• Guitar lessons, all levels
• Composition/arranging/orchestration lessons

I can help you with:
• Ear Training (Western/harmonic/jazz and/or Arabic/maqam/microtonal)  
• Technical development (oud or guitar—picking, sound production, articulation, speed, etc.)  
• Reading music (oud or guitar)  
• Strengthen rhythmic sense and expand rhythmic vocabulary  
• Jazz (jazz theory, harmony, repertoire, interpretation, improvisation)  
• Music Theory (keys, intervals, harmony, counterpoint)  
• Arranging (Arabic ensemble, jazz ensemble, chamber/orchestral music)  
• Arabic music (maqam theory, repertoire, ornamentation, improvisation)  
• Form and structure in music (for composers and improvisers)  
• General improvisation (chordal, non-chordal)  
• Melodic development for improvising and composing  
• Compositional techniques and concepts

Teaching Experience:
Adjunct Instructor (oud, music theory) — Arabic Music Retreat directed by Simon Shaheen
Adjunct Instructor (jazz guitar & Ensembles) — Loyola University New Orleans
Adjunct Instructor (guitar, jazz harmony, music theory) — Delgado Community College
Masterclass instructor — SUNY Buffalo, Towson University, University of New Orleans, McDaniel College, Loyola University, UL Lafayette, Hunter College
Educational Performances/Presentations — various primary schools, Brooklyn Library, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Arts Council, NY Arabic Orchestra
Instructor, Arabic Music Ensemble Workshops — NY Arabic Orchestra

Educational Background: 
Master of Music, Jazz Studies (Guitar) — University of New Orleans 
Bachelor of Music, Jazz Studies (Guitar) — Loyola University New Orleans 
Studied with Simon Shaheen, Charbel Rouhana, Kamil Shajrawi, Rima Khcheich, Dr. AJ Racy — Arabic Music Retreat 
Private oud study with Simon Shaheen, Najib Shaheen, Bassam Saba 
Orchestration, Composition for Film — Berklee College of Music 
Residency — Banff Creative Music Workshop with Dave Douglas 

 

Performance (selected):  
• Simon Shaheen & Qantara (guitar)  
• Matt Darriau/Paradox Trio (guitar, oud)  
• Wajde Ayub (oud)  
• Michael Bates/Outside Sources (oud)  
• Sami Abu Shumays/Zikrayat (oud)  
• Samer Ali (oud)  
• Gaida (oud, guitar)  
• Shelley Thomas (oud)  
• Nano Raies (oud, guitar)  
• Ravish Momin/Trio Tarana (oud)  
• Eric Pakula (guitar)  
• Bassam Saba/NY Arabic Orchestra (oud, buzuq)  
As leader/co-leader:  
• Michel Merhej Baklouk/Bil Afrah Project (oud, keyboard)  
• Nashaz (oud)  
• Sharq Attack (oud)  

As Composer:  
Moopim — modern dance/theater  
Taxi Casablanca — documentary  
Made in Islam — documentary  
Beirut on the Bayou — documentary  
Nashaz —  album  
Brian Prunka Quartet —  album  
Continuum (Prunka/Jenner) — album  
The Michael Jenner Group — album  
The Ocular Concern — EP