RICK STACK - Owner of St. Paul Guitar Studio. Rock, Blues, Fusion Instructor

Available: Mon, Tue, Wed, Thurs

Born in Boston Massachusetts and also having lived in Atlanta, GA, Los Angeles, CA and New York City, Rick currently lives in St. Paul, Mn. Rick began playing the guitar at age 11 and was playing professionally by age 15, and teaching professionally at age 16. Rick has played over 3000 Rock, Blues, Jazz and Funk gigs throughout parts of the US, Mexico, Caribbean and Cuba over the last 30 years for crowds up to 10,000 people.

A graduate of Musicians Institute, Hollywood, CA Rick has studied with Paul Gilbert (Racer X, Mr. Big, solo), Jennifer Batten (Michael Jackson, Jeff Beck), Mike Ward (The Wallflowers, Ben Harper, John Hiatt, School of Fish), Scott Henderson (Tribal Tech, solo), Nick Nolan, Norman Brown, Paul Hanson, Russ Parish (Fight), Bruce Bouilett (Racer X), Gary Hoey, Steve Trovato and Keith Wyatt. Outside of Musicians Institute Rick has continued his studying with Iconoclastic guitarist David "FuZe" Fiuczynski (Screaming Headless Torsos, Kif, Hiromi, solo).

Rick Stack's music is a distinctive and exciting blend of Jazz, Rock and Funk, with influences from Indian, Middle Eastern and Latin music. Rick's debut solo album Reconstruction features 12 songs written, arranged and produced by Stack. He is currently writing songs for his second album and can be seen playing around the Twin Cities with his Trio and Quartet.

Rick is author of the book “Secrets of the Electric Guitarist.“ Available summer 2015 on Amazon.com, at the studio, and from rickstack.com.

Rick Stack is the owner of St. Paul Guitar Studio. Rick is one of the instructors and has taught over 75,000 private lessons, averaging 50 students a week for 30 years. Rick enjoys teaching students of all ages and abilities, incorporating a lesson plan that goes through 12 levels. The first level is for the absolute beginner, up to level 12 for the advanced player. Rick also welcomes customizing this plan based on the individual students musical interests.

   MUSIC SAMPLES | Eight White Elephants      Perceptual Metaphysical     Reconstruction     
   CONTACT |  651-224-4549  •   rick.stack@gmail.com  •  www.rickstack.com


JOEL SHAPIRA - Jazz, Classical, Latin, Blues, Rock

Available: Mon, Wed

Joel Shapira is a top performing jazz and classical guitarist based in the Twin Cities. His educational background includes studies with some of the world’s great players and teachers including jazz legends Joe Pass and Tal Farlow. He studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, the Mannes School of Music in NYC and currently studies classical guitar with Alan Johnston.

He performs regularly with many top Twin Cities jazz players and vocalists including notable instrumentalists Phil Hey, Pete Whitman, Tom Lewis, Dave Schmalenberger, and many others, as well as vocalist Charmin Michelle with whom he has recorded two highly regarded CDs. For twelve years he was one third of the modern jazz trio Triplicate who released two CDs that received national airplay. He is currently a member of swing band Vic Volare and the Volare Lounge Orchestra, plays public and private solo guitar gigs extensively, and leads his own quartet which released their first CD Open Lines to glowing reviews in JazzTimes and on the Jazz Police website. He recently released the first recording “Inherence” with master guitarist Jack DeSalvo on Unseen Rain Records based in NYC.

Joel has over 25 years teaching experience with students of all ages and experience levels, and has a wealth of knowledge and insight to help all aspiring guitarists develop to their full potential. He has been teaching at St. Paul Guitar Studio since 2011.

   MUSIC SAMPLES | Superior Rising      Hit on Twelve     The Girl with the Flaxen Hair     
   CONTACT | joelshapira@msn.com  •  651-646-3274  •  www.joelshapira.com


DREW HURST - Rock, Metal, Classical, Jazz/Fusion, Guitar and Electric Bass

Available: Mon, Tue, Wed, Sat

Drew is a guitarist, instructor, and composer based out of St. Paul, MN. He has been teaching and performing professionally since the age of 16. He currently performs in his own group, Arrhythmogen: an instrumental progressive-rock trio for which he serves as lead guitarist and primary composer. In addition, Drew is the lead guitarist for the touring stage productions, Power Balladz, Rock Sirenz, and Mudshark and often fills in on guitar duties for various rock, funk, country, and blues groups. Drew has played hundreds of gigs all across the country and abroad and carries this practical experience into his teaching approach.

Drew graduated Magna Cum Laude with his B.M. in Guitar Performance from McNally Smith College of Music and is currently finishing up his M.M. in Guitar Performance (also at McNally Smith). While most of his studies have been rooted in contemporary music, Drew has also studied classical guitar. He has taught hundreds of students of all ages and experience levels and has college classroom experience. In addition to guitar, Drew is experienced in teaching music theory, composition, and performance techniques in both private and group settings.

   MUSIC SAMPLES | Blaine the Mono      Vacation in Chernobyl     The Endless     
   CONTACT | dhurstguitar@gmail.com  •  703-232-8903  •  www.drewhurst.com


Robert Castellano - Rock, Metal, Blues, Funk

Available: Tue, Thur

Rob Castellano is a guitarist, songwriter, and composer from Minneapolis, MN. Robert began playing guitar at the age of 13 and started performing at 14. He has played with a variety of different bands over the years, with genres ranging from Rock and Metal to Funk and Hip Hop.

Rob studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA and graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s of Music. During his time at Berklee, he studied privately with Joe Rogers, David Fiuczynski, and Don Lappin, and in labs with Scott Tarulli, and Jim Peterson. He also played gigs throughout the Boston area and was involved in several different student organizations helping to enrich the student community. His coursework included guitar performance, music theory (both jazz and tonal harmony), ear training, and music business classes.

Prior to studying at Berklee, Robert studied with St. Paul Guitar Studio’s owner Rick Stack in order to prepare for the audition and interview process. In addition to being an accomplished guitarist, he also sings and plays drums.

   MUSIC SAMPLES | Coming Soon!
   CONTACT | castellanorob@gmail.com  •  www.robcastellano.com  •  651-224-4549


BENJAMIN KUNKEL - Classical and Beginning Acoustic Guitar

Available: Saturdays

Classical guitarist Benjamin Kunkel, a native Minnesotan, began playing guitar at the age of nine. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota in 2007, studying under guitarist Jeffrey Van. He earned his Master’s degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2009, studying under world-famous guitarist Jason Vieaux. While at CIM he was twice awarded the Rosalia Ablan Memorial Prize in Guitar. After enjoying success as a guitar instructor and performer in Cleveland, Ohio, Benjamin returned to Minneapolis in 2011.

Benjamin is an active solo and chamber musician and has given many concert appearances. He tours internationally with the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet. His other recent performances have been presented by the Minnesota Guitar Society, Cleveland Classical Guitar Society, Cleveland Composers Guild, Greater Cleveland Flute Society, Edinboro University, The Music Settlement, and Chamber Music Midwest. While passionate about the traditional guitar repertoire, Benjamin is also a strong advocate of new music. He frequently premieres new works, collaborating with composers to expand the classical guitar’s repertoire.

A dedicated teacher, Benjamin brings excitement, expertise, and an understanding of the learning process to his instruction at St. Paul Guitar Studio. He offers solid experience teaching students of all ages and ability levels, having previously served on the faculty of The Music Settlement and Fairmount Center for the Arts in Cleveland, Ohio. Lessons are designed to develop sound technique, music-reading skills, rhythm and musicality, helping students become both skilled guitarists and excellent musicians. His aim is to help you find and reach your goals in music.

   MUSIC SAMPLES | Bach's Prelude BWV 998    
   CONTACT | kunkelguitarist@gmail.com  •  651-398-3902


BEN ABRAHAMSON - Acoustic Guitar, Fingerstyle Guitar, Improvisation

Available: Wed, Sun

Ben Abrahamson is an active guitarist and composer based in the Twin Cities. He has performed at venues including Minnesota Orchestra Hall, the Dakota Jazz Club, the Southern Theater, Northrop Auditorium, Sundin Music Hall, Intermedia Arts, Kare 11 TV, KFAI Radio, Amsterdam Bar and Hall, Red Stag Supperclub, Barbette, Honey, Icehouse, Loring Pasta Bar, and Riverview Wine Bar in Minneapolis/St. Paul; Mayo Clinic and Redwood Room in Rochester, MN; UW-Eau Claire Jazz Festival; Babouche Restaurant and 169 Bar in NYC; and Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA.

In 2010 Ben served as guest artist with the Muhlenberg College Theatre & Dance Department in Allentown, PA, composing an original score for Federico García Lorca’s Blood Wedding in collaboration with renowned flamenco dancer La Conja. Ben was hired as guest composer/guitarist for the premiere of Becky Heist’s choreography “Vagabondage” in the 2012 Macalester College Fall Dance Concert. Ben studied flamenco guitar under Juan Ramón Caro at Taller de Músics school of music in Barcelona and has shared the stage with such mentors as flamenco guitarists Michael Hauser and Pedro Cortés, Jr., flamenco dancer Susana di Palma, jazz educator Joan Griffith, and music iconoclast Gary Lee Joyner. He has performed his own compositions at the Minnesota Guitar Society 2012 Classical Guitarathon and 2009 Flamenco Guitarathons. Ben graduated with a B.A. in Music from Macalester College.

As an educator, Ben teaches private guitar lessons and group workshops in the Twin Cities and in Philadelphia, PA. He welcomes students of all levels who are interested in deepening their foundations in acoustic guitar, fingerstyle guitar, and improvisation.

   MUSIC SAMPLES | Atavism Sample      Intro to Alegrias    
   CONTACT | abrahamson.guitar@gmail.com  •  www.benabrahamson.com


DAVID MARTIN - Jazz, Blues, R&B/Funk, Latin, Rock

Available: Mondays

David is a guitarist and bassist, originally from the Ohio/West Virginia area. Most of the last 25 years in Minneapolis playing all styles on both instruments. He was in Portland, OR in 2008-’09 where he’s recorded 2 CDs with fellow guitarist Mike Doolin. Newest CD is “Tough Commute” (2014) along with their first CD “Reflection” (2009) and 3 new singles from 2015.

Locally, he plays in Salsa del Soul, Beira Mar Brasil, K-Libre 24, Monday Commute, Samba Meu, and accompany many vocalists around town such as Maryann Sullivan, Vicky Mountain, and Paula Lammers.

He also does a variety of music at several churches in the Twin Cities area.

   MUSIC SAMPLES | Doolescued      Yes No Maybe      My Romance    
   CONTACT | davemusic@hotmail.com  •   651-647-1595  •  www.davidmartin.org


JERRY KOSAK - Roots and Blues, Rock, Classical, Jazz

Available: Wed, Sat

Jerry has played and taught guitar for over 35 years. He received a Bachelor of Music in Guitar Performance from Arizona State University and a Master of Music in Musicology/Guitar Performance from Northern Arizona University. He has been the Head of the Guitar Department at McNally Smith College of Music (Saint Paul, MN) and teaches online guitar classes at Wayne State College (Wayne, NE). Jerry has been a featured performer at festivals such as The Walnut Valley Festival (Winfield, KS), The Canadian Guitar Festival (Kingston, ONT), Concrete and Grass Festival (Saint Paul, MN) and Lowertown Guitar Festival (Saint Paul, MN). He has won awards for his original music (Zeitgeist Composition Award and Jerome Foundation Grant) and has recorded two CDs of original music for solo guitar, Many Dances and Sounds Like This.

As a performer, Jerry is equally comfortable with an electric, acoustic, nylon string, resonator guitar, bass, or ukulele in his hands. Recent projects include Are You Experienced (Jimi Hendrix 40th Anniversary Tribute), The String Trio (string band music and early blues) and The Funky Blues Trio (funky blues for electric slide guitar, cajon, and bass). He has held court for 1st Monday Fingerstyle Guitar at The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar since 2013. In addition, Jerry plays with pit orchestras for musicals such as Grease, High School Musical, and Bye, Bye, Birdie.

What sets Jerry apart is his versatility. Because Jerry regularly performs, composes and teaches in all styles - roots and blues, rock, classical, and jazz - he has the authentic musical vocabulary needed to help students learn guitar using any approach. From beginner to advanced, Jerry is sensitive to the needs and abilities of each individual and enjoys helping others find joy in their own musical journey.

   MUSIC SAMPLES | Wary for the Devil Blues      Matagalpa     
The Garlic Press and the Little Horse    
   CONTACT | jerry@jerrykosak.com  •   612-308-8704  •  www.jerrykosak.com


MICHAEL HEDDING - Banjo, Mandolin

Available: Sundays

Mike Hedding has been playing mandolin with some of the Midwest’s top bluegrass groups since discovering the mandolin. Steeped in the bluegrass tradition of Bill Monroe, Mike now studies with Grammy Award winning mandolin player Mike Compton and teaches workshops in the Midwest. Mike also has an extensive knowledge of music theory and rhythm which plays a large role in how he teaches mandolin.

Picking up the banjo a year after the mandolin, Mike has also been traveling around the Midwest playing in the bluegrass group The New North String Band with fellow instructor Ryan Kimm. Mike’s banjo playing is now being heard on bluegrass radio stations across the country since The New North String Band released their debut album May 30th, 2009. Mike plays Scruggs/Crowe style as well as melodic banjo.

   VIDEOS |  
   MUSIC SAMPLES |   Up Above The Timberline     Big Sciota     Lonesome Moonlight Waltz     
   CONTACT |  651-224-4549  •  michaelhedding@gmail.com  •  www.mikeheddingmusic.com


JEFF RAY - Blues, Folk, and Country

Available: yearly clinics only

Jeff Ray is an innovator of the acoustic blues and folk music styles, specializing in slide-guitar and applications of unique alternate guitar tunings.

Ray started his career when he moved to Memphis, TN at the age of 17 and began performing on the infamous Beale St. with local Memphis musicians. In the late 1990's, Jeff moved back to the North and began focusing on the acoustic guitar, influenced by folk and blues musicians like Nick Drake, Bob Brozman, Mississippi John Hurt, Duane Allman, and Bukka White, to name a few. In 2004, he was inspired by local Minnesota-based resonator guitar players like Charlie Parr, Cam Waters, Steve Kaul, and Pat Donohue and picked up a National Resonator guitar and began perfecting the art of acoustic-blues finger-style slide-guitar. Since taking up the resonator guitar, Jeff Ray has also studied with Indian musicians like the famous Indian slide-guitarist Debashish Bhattacharya and has been incorporating elements of Indian classical music into his songwriting and performances.

Jeff Ray has since released four original full-length CDs and has toured the country and has been featured on radio and in international publications. He regularly performs locally and across the Midwest. He was one of the first instructors to join the St Paul Guitar Studio and has had a dedicated cadre of students learning the acoustic guitar ever since.

Jeff is comfortable teaching all ranges of expertise, from beginners to advanced players. He is also open to teaching many different styles of acoustic guitar, from acoustic rock and blues, to folk, singer/songwriter and country. For advanced students, he specializes in acoustic finger-style Blues guitar and slide-guitar as well as improvising, theory, songwriting, alternate guitar tunings, and performance.

Jeff's teaching style focuses on learning concepts and techniques through songs. The song selections are selected based on style and student requests. This method keeps lessons fun and interesting and helps the student feel like they are making progress and that they are not lost or bogged down.

   VIDEOS |  
   MUSIC SAMPLES |   Sandstone Footprints      Dear Grenadine      Samadhi       
   CONTACT |  651-283-0465   •   jeff@jeffraymusic.com   •   www.jeffraymusic.com