OUR INSTRUCTORS

 

Rick Stack- DIRECTOR of St. Paul Guitar Studio. Rock, Blues and Fusion Instructor

Available: 5:00-9:00 PM Monday-Thursday. 

Rick Stack is a guitarist, guitar instructor, author, and owner of St. Paul Guitar Studio. Rick's own music is a blend of Rock, Funk, and Jazz with influences from Indian, Middle Eastern, and Latin music. His book Secrets Of The Electric Guitarist will be available on Amazon fall of 2016. Rick has taught over 80,000 lessons, teaching an average of 50 students a week for over 30 years. 

Rick incorporates a lesson plan that goes through 12 levels. The first level is for the absolute beginner, up to level 12 for the advanced student. Rick also welcomes customizing this plan based on the student's interests. One of Rick's favorite things to teach is rock, blues and fusion improvising. He also loves teaching classic rock. 

A graduate of Musicians Institute, Los Angeles, CA. , Rick began playing the guitar at age 11, and was playing and teaching professionally by age 16. Rick has played over 3,000 gigs throughout parts of the US, Mexico, the Caribbean and Cuba over the last 32 years for crowds up to 10,000 people. 


DREW HURST- Rock, Metal, Classical and Jazz/Fusion Instructor

Available: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. 

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.


BENJAMIN KUNKEL- CLASSICAL AND BEGINNING ACOUSTIC GUITAR INSTRUCTOR

Available: 12:00-3:00 Wednesday. 10:00-2:00 Saturday. 

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.


ROB CASTELLANO- ROCK, METAL, BLUES, FUNK AND BEGINNING ACOUSTIC GUITAR INSTRUCTOR

Available: Thursday evenings. Saturday afternoons. 

Rob Castellano is a guitarist, songwriter and composer from Minneapolis, MN. Robert began playing the guitar at the age of 13 and started performing at 14. He has played with a variety of 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, 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. 

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. 


Ben Abrahamson- Acoustic Guitar and Fingerstyle Guitar Instructor

Available: Wednesday evening. 

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.


Jay Hildebrand-Classical, Fingerstyle Acoustic, and Beginning Guitar Instructor

Available: Sunday afternoons. 

Jay Hildebrand is an award winning classical and fingerstyle guitarist. He is a DMA candidate at the University of Minnesota, with a secondary area of study in Music Theory and a Masters degree in Classical Guitar Performance. Jay has studied with some of the nation's greatest classical guitar teachers including Rene Izquierdo, Michael Partington, and Manuel Barrueco. Jay has seven years experience teaching beginning guitar classes, advanced classical guitar lessons, rock, blues and folk at the college level.

Jay specializes in teaching classical, fingerstyle and beginning guitar, and enjoys working with students of all ages on what they want to learn, constanly finding meaningful ways to relate the music being studied to core principles of guitar playing and music making. Lessons with jay can be structured or as free form as you like. He may take one student on an intensive year-long study of classical guitar, and another on a casual walk through some of their favorite fingerstyle acoustic tunes.


JERRY KOSAK- BLUES, ROCK, FOLK, CLASSICAL AND JAZZ GUITAR INSTRUCTOR

Available: Tuesday evening, Wednesday afternoon and Saturday afternoon. 

Jerry Kosak 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, and teaches online guitar classes at Wayne State College. Jerry has been a featured performer at such festivals as The Walnut Valley Festival, The Canadian Guitar Festival, and the Lowertown Guitar Festival. He won the Zeitgeist Composition Award and The Jerome Foundation Grant for his original music. Jerry has recorded two albums of original music for solo guitar, Many Dances and Sounds Like This

As a performer, Jerry is equally comfortable playing electric guitar, acoustic guitar or resonator guitar. Recent projects include Are You Experienced, a tribute to Jimi Hendrix, and The Funky Blues Trio. He has been part of First Monday Fingerstyle Guitar at The Black Dog in Lowertown since 2103. 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 student and enjoys helping others find joy in their own musical journey. 


DAVID MARTIN- JAZZ, BLUES, R&B/FUNK, LATIN AND ROCK GUITAR INSTRUCTOR

Available: Monday evenings.

David Martin has been an active guitarist and bassist based in the Twin Cities for the last 25 years, performing all styles on both instruments. He has recorded two albums, Reflection and Tough Commute. 

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


Mike Hedding- Banjo and Mandolin Instructor

Available: Sunday afternoons. 

Mike Hedding has been a staple of the Minnesota Bluegrass scene for the better part of a decade. He has played with the bands Blue Wolf,  Sweet Grass, and The New North String Band, of which he recorded an album with. He currently plays with The High 48's, Sans Souci, and The Katey Bellville Band. His band Sweet Grass won the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-time Music Association's Race For  A Place band contest and came in 2nd in Rockygrass' esteemed band contest. 

In 2014 Mike traveled to Nashville to do banjo work on No Grass Limit's all original project, which was produced and recorded by dobro ledgend Randy Kohrs at Slack Key Studios. His playing can be heard on the same tracks as Tim Crouch, Dustin Benson, and Randy Kohrs himself. 

Mike is committed to building a positive relationship with each of his students. He strives to create a comfortable atmosphere where the lessons are designed to help the student achieve their objectives. He enjoys working with youth to adults, beginners to advanced. Mike is passionate about music and wants to help his students get inspired reach their musical goals, and most of all, have fun in the process.