These gifted teachers care about their students and enjoy seeing them make steady progress. And they make it fun to make music.
Our teachers don't lecture you - they play along with you!
|Louis Arnold - Acoustic and Electric Guitar
Longy School of Music, Classical Guitar Performance
Lou Arnold has been a professional guitarist since the age of 15 exploring many diverse styles of music. He played in working rock bands in Chicago and throughout New England before becoming interested in classical guitar, graduating from Longy as their first Classical Guitar Performance Major. Lou has been a faculty member at Wellesley College, New England Conservatory Extension, Boston Conservatory, The Longy School of Music, Atlantic Union College, Concord Academy and others. He performs throughout New England both as a soloist and in ensembles. His recordings include Music for Clarinet and Guitar with Robert D'Ambrosio, Opening the Door to Meditation with Pamela Ressler, and A Boston Guitar Project on Sail Records. At The Minor Chord, Lou teaches classical, steel-string acoustic, and jazz electric guitar.
|Rachel Gentile - Acoustic and Electric Guitar
B.A., Westfield State College
Rachel is proficient in many musical styles from rock to jazz to country. A prolific performer and songwriter, Rachel is a living, breathing example of the positive influence that music can have on a person's life. She has been passionate about music since she picked up her first guitar at the age of 1. Her teachers have included Phillip de Fremery (himself a student of the renowned classical guitarist Andr�s Segovia) and Ted Casher. She performs with several regional bands and works as a contract songwriter. Driven by a desire to bring personal enrichment to others, she teaches guitar to young and old alike and has taught students ranging in age from 6 to 88.
|Rob Hamilton - Acoustic and Electric Guitar
B.S., University of California, Davis
Rob has been playing guitar since the Beatles and Bob Dylan became household names in the 1960s. He teaches both steel-string acoustic and electric guitar and is well versed in most popular music forms including folk, rock, soul, R&B, country, and light jazz. Rob is adept at rhythm and lead playing, flat-picking, and finger-picking, emphasizing tone development. He works especially well with beginning and intermediate students. Rob plays guitar, bass, keyboards, and pedal steel guitar for a variety of local area bands including Rust Never Sleeps, Harmony-421, and the Breaktime R&B Group.
|Joan Kunselman - Banjo
B.S., Mount Holyoke College; M.S., University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Joan grew up studying classical music, performing on cello and piano. She attended music camp each summer throughout high school. While at Mount Holyoke, she studied for a semester at a music college in Germany. As an adult, she became interested in bluegrass music and has played banjo for over twenty years. Joan has performed as a duo and in larger bluegrass bands at local venues. She was awarded third prize in the Lowell (MA) Banjo and Fiddle Contest. Having picked up the banjo as an adult, she has a unique perspective and can relate well to students who want to learn a new instrument as an adult.
|Laura LeSaffre - Flute and Saxophone
B.M., Music Education, Boston University
Laura teaches music at Nashoba Valley Technical High School and directs the school instrumental and choral ensembles. She previously taught music in the Cambridge, MA school system working with students in grades 5 through 8. Laura is a past recipient of the Ed Denon Memorial Scholarship, awarded annually by the New England School Band Association to promising young players. She enjoys teaching music because it uses both the logical and creative sides of the brain. Laura believes that everyone can succeed. She focuses on the progress of each student and their improvement as individuals.
|BJ Magoon - Blues Guitar
BJ Magoon grew up in Acton, MA and got his first guitar for Christmas, 1962. BJ started playing publicly in his first rock'n'roll band for dances at Acton-Boxborough High School in 1964, playing the music of artists like the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan. After playing in several more bands, BJ cut his blues teeth playing electric rhythm guitar with former Muddy Waters Blues Band guitarist and singer Luther "Georgia Boy"Johnson. In 1986 BJ started the band that's still performing today, "BJ Magoon & Driving Sideways", specializing in blues, rhythm & blues and soul. Besides his performing career, he produced and hosted the weekly "Blues On The Ceiling" show on WICN-90.5 FM, Worcester, MA, and hosted the popular weekly Thursday night Open Blues Jam at The Acton Jazz Cafe for 14 years. BJ still performs regularly, both locally and throughout New England. And now, by teaching at The Minor Chord, he is hoping to pass on his extensive experience playing Blues and Rhythm & Blues guitar to students of all ages!
|Cynthia Menard - Violin and Fiddle
B.S., Oswego State University
M.S., Antioch University New England
Cynthia started playing music at the age of 7, and picked up the violin at 8. She studied classically for 15 years, during which time she was accepted into the Westchester Youth Symphony and performed with them in Carnegie Hall at the age of 16. As an undergrad she studied violin at Oswego University and performed in a wide variety of ensembles and orchestras. Cynthia has been playing fiddle and folk music with the Contra Banditos throughout Massachusetts for the last 10 years, performing fiddle, vocals, and most recently bass guitar. She strongly believes that music should be taught and played with passion and joy, and works to help students of all ages find passion in their playing, no matter what style of music they prefer.
|Jim Rice - Trumpet
M.S., New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
Jim started playing trumpet at the age of 10. He was playing professionally in local big bands and pit orchestras in the Lowell and Boston area by the age of 15. He led the 9-piece band "Swing Band Revival" in the 70s and played in several general business and funk rock bands. He has taught trumpet since high school, primarily at the beginner to intermediate levels. He specializes in helping students make the transition from basic trumpet skills to developing musical lyricism. Jim's favorite styles are big band and traditional small jazz combos, funk and blues. He has also dabbled with electronic trumpets and brass backup for country western swing bands. Jim loves the clear, crisp sound of a brass choir and playing duets.
|Carl Strathmeyer - Trombone and Low Brass
B.A., Dartmouth College
Carl has played trombone for over 50 years in all types of ensembles from wind ensembles to brass quintets to big bands to Dixieland groups. He studied trombone performance and music theory with the late Philip Catelinet, principal tubist with the BBC Theatre Orchestra and noted composer and arranger for brass band. He also studied electronic music with Jon Appleton, inventor of the Synclavier, one of the first sampling synthesizers.
Carl enjoys playing all genres of music, but has a special love for jazz in all its forms. He is a patient and encouraging teacher who enjoys seeing students become excited by their achievement.
|Tony Sumbury - Electric and Upright Bass
Berklee College of Music
Tony has over 20 years of teaching and performance experience. He has performed or recorded with Tierney Sutton, Ruth Brown, the Dave Rasmussen Orchestra, Ken Vandermark, Brett Wilmont, Dave Newsom and Tom West. He has worked as a pit musician with the Emerson Majestic Theater, The Walnut Hill School for the Performing Arts, the F.U.D.G.E. Theatre Company, and the Knitting Factory with Matt Maneri and Mark Burden. Tony performs as a freelance musician in a variety of musical environments including theater, jazz and rock gigs.
|Andy Voelker - Saxophone - Clarinet - Flute
Berklee College of Music
Andy is a professional saxophonist and music educator. He plays regularly with several jazz combos and big bands in the Boston area and has received favorable reviews from local jazz critics as well as air play on WGBH-FM's respected "Eric in the Evening" jazz program. In addition to teaching at The Minor Chord, Andy is a band director and band instrument instructor for Paul Effman Music, a firm that runs parent-supported music programs in a number of eastern Massachusetts elementary and middle schools. Andy brings the practical perspective of a working musician to his teaching and enjoys working with students from beginners to advanced players.
|Jerry Wile - Banjo and Bluegrass Guitar
B.S., Bridgewater State College
Jerry Wile is a bluegrass musician. He plays both guitar and banjo and has played for over 35 years in the New England area, performing at festivals and popular bluegrass venues throughout the area. He has played with many bluegrass bands and can presently be heard with the bands Granitegrass and Hurricane Hill, where he showcases the three finger banjo, flat picking guitar, lead and harmony vocals. Jerry has been teaching at the Minor Chord for over 20 years, primarily teaching the three-finger banjo style developed and made popular by Earl Scruggs. He occasionally takes on guitar students teaching the flat-picking or bluegrass style of guitar. Jerry's goal is to give his students the skills they need to play and jam with other bluegrass musicians.