Join the Conversation
3090 S. Bascom Ave
San Jose, CA 95124
Call Now: 408.377.5864
Hours: M-F: 11-8, Sat: 10-6, Sun: 11-6
Showcase Music Institute
Bio: Ken began to study the guitar at age of fourteen. Learning to play from recordings of classic blues and rock, he went on the road with a Bay Area top-forty band soon after graduating from high school. By age twenty-one he realized an early dream in being fortunate enough to go on the road with blues guitar legend, Albert King. Looking back, he affectionately remembers Albert as being a “monster” blues guitarist with a big heart, a musician who was not only willing to share the spotlight with younger musicians, but one who was always generous with his praise, constructive criticism, and encouragement.
A year later and back home from the road, he started teaching himself to play jazz from recordings by Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery, Grant Green, and Howard Roberts. This soon resulted in his leading a jazz trio, a quintet, and a duo, all featuring some of the Bay Area’s finest musicians. It was about this time that he began writing his own jazz compositions. He eventually studied jazz improvisation with renowned jazz educator, David Baker, and later he studied the application of compositional techniques to jazz improvisation with jazz guitar master, Jim Hall.
Then, inspired by a friend, he decided to go to school to major in classical guitar and music composition, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree (1981) and a Master of Arts degree (1991). He studied classical guitar with Bahram Behroozi and received further advanced instruction from Rey de la Torre, Manuel Barrueco, and Laurindo Almeida. In addition to studying classical guitar, he excelled in writing music and received numerous awards and cash prizes for his contemporary “classical” compositions.
After graduating he was a founding member of the Powerhouse Blues Band. Focusing on the blues for the next seven years, he performed regularly throughout the Bay Area, including the Monterey Blues Festival and a tour of Maui. Today he free lances, taking on various recording and performing projects as they come along. He continues to write jazz and classical compositions, and in his spare time he works on transcribing J.S. Bach’s solo cello suites for classical guitar.
While still in school Ken began teaching some of the other classical guitar majors how to play jazz and blues. Eventually he would teach a Blues History and Improvisation class at San Jose State University. Currently he specializes in teaching blues, jazz, classical, and classic rock guitar. In addition, he teaches all levels of music theory from fundamentals to advanced harmony, as well as form and analysis, music composition, songwriting, and improvisation.
As a Teacher:
Over the years he has developed effective techniques for helping others get in touch with and express their creative selves through music. While his teaching is highly structured, he remains flexible enough to adapt to the individual learning styles and needs of each student. With over thirty years of teaching experience, he finds it deeply rewarding to help others achieve their musical goals, whether they include becoming a professional musician or simply playing for fun.
Specialties: Blues, Rock, Jazz, Classical
Accolades: Bachelor of Arts degree and Master of Arts degree in Classical guitar and Music Composition. Additional Writing and performing awards and accolades.
Musical Influences: Albert King, Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery, Grant Green, Howard Roberts, Bahram Behroozi, Rey de la Torre, Manuel Barrueco, Laurindo Almeida
Ken brings advanced music education, professional musicianship, and unquestionable artistic passion to his teaching. I have studied classical and blues guitar with Ken and have found him to be effective in both individual and group lesson formats. He has high standards for the growth and development of his students, and those standards are balanced by his patience. I recommend him highly.
Brad (age 49)
Many years ago I studied rock, blues, and jazz guitar with Ken. With those lessons I became a competent lead guitarist and have since played in many Bay Area bands. In the past year I have gone back to Ken because my playing had become stale. Under Ken’s tutelage I have really expanded in my lead playing, really delving deep into jazz and blues. I have become a better guitar player in general, and rediscovered why I love playing the guitar. Thank you Ken!
Eric (age 49)
I have been a student of Ken’s for three plus years. Having studied with many guitar teachers, I find Ken’s instruction to be the most comprehensive I have experienced. Ken’s playing experience and music degrees provide him with the ability to answer questions from playing styles and fingering techniques, to complex music theory. His lessons are tried and proven methods that get results and instill confidence and passion in his students. If you are searching for a guitar instructor that will help you find your guitar voice, at your own speed, and with music theory and player history, I highly recommend Ken.
William (age 51)
I have taken lessons from Ken for several years now, and his method truly works. Ken has re-instilled my love for the blues and classic rock guitar. I am enjoying my playing more than ever and am thankful I took up guitar lessons with Ken.
Ed (age 51)
Ken is an unbelievably good player who has mastered the Blues by playing with Blues legends and by careful study of the techniques of the great Blues players. He is an equally creative teacher, devising and honing his unique and effective approach through many years of experience working with musicians at all skill levels. I have learned from Ken that being good at improvising the Blues requires going beyond learning songs and licks. It requires playing the unwritten music of the inner you. It requires playing not just with feeling but developing the ability to connect directly to your inner emotional state–on demand. With his oft repeated, “Hear it before you play it,” “Connect to the music,” “Try starting in a new way,” and other favorite sayings, Ken has taken me from raw beginner to competent soloist in a few short years. Studying and playing the blues with Ken has profoundly impacted my ability to be creative.
Bruce (age 48)
I selected Ken as my guitar instructor based on his M.A. in classical guitar and composition from San Jose State. I have been very pleased with his constructive advice, methods, music selection, and competent instruction. He approaches each lesson as a collaborative effort and directs my study to move me along towards our mutual goal. He displays extraordinary patience and meters out encouragement often enough that I know it is meaningful when I receive it. Over the years, I’ve had four guitar instructors and I would rate Ken the best.
Peggy (age 62)
I started taking
lessons with Ken when I was nine years old. One of the things I like about him is he will only teach you what you want to learn. This makes it fun to practice. Another positive trait is he only pushes you as hard as you want. For example, when I did not practice very much, he did not give me very much to practice. But when I really started to practice, he gave me more things to play, especially when I started playing jazz. Ken helped me learn to play rock which segued into blues and then jazz. This year I am in the advanced jazz ensemble at my school. Ken has contributed greatly to my advancement.
Dillon (age 15)
Ken has been my music teacher on and off for ten years. I keep returning to Ken for a number of reasons: he knows his stuff (has a Masters degree in music), he is kind, patient, challenges me and at the same time encourages me. I am a song writer and he has helped me to grow in that skill, as well as learn the guitar so I can accompany myself if necessary. He has also contributed his own skills to a number of projects I’ve done, and that has been a tremendous blessing to me.
Stacy (age 50)
After searching in vain for a competent music instructor, I attended a clinic hosted by Ken. I was impressed with his teaching style and decided to take private lessons in jazz and blues guitar. Ken is an extremely patient and knowledgeable instructor. Additionally, his insight and understanding of the instrument continues to impress and motivate me. Ken has the education, experience, and playing ability to assist any student in obtaining their musical goals. I highly recommend him!
Craig (age 46)
I have been taking blues lessons from Ken for about three years now, and it has been a great experience for me. His teaching style consists of learning classic blues solos from the greats at a relaxed pace that slowly ramps up in speed and complexity as you get comfortable. Then he goes beyond having you memorize solos, showing you how to improvise in the styles of the various blues masters. Oh, and by the way, did I mention that Ken absolutely shreds (he played with Albert King); jamming with him is one of the highlights of my week. So, students starting at a low skill level will not be overwhelmed, and more advanced students will definitely be challenged.
Dale (age 52)
Ken’s teaching technique creates an exciting and enriching experience which will help raise the skill of any blues or jazz guitar player. His teaching nurtures creativity by weaving together his music education, his passion for playing blues and jazz guitar, his years of performing on stage, and his experience working with Albert King. Having started lessons with Ken almost fourteen years ago, I am continuing to enjoy our regular lessons as I refine my blues and jazz guitar playing. Ken has an uncanny ability to devise fun exercises which help me incorporate his teaching into my own playing. The most memorable of these is an exercise designed to enhance creative improvisation, taking you to the zone quickly, giving you a heightened sense of awareness, and opening the door to a vast number of creative possibilities. This has opened amazing new perspectives in my playing.
Alfred (age 54)