Patient Lessons in Guitar, Bass, Piano & Tutoring. Columbia Univ, MA: Music & Computer Science.

Davis, CA

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About this pro

How does your business stand out?

I put my heart and soul into my lessons. Lessons are patient, positive oriented, student centered, and use the latest scientific research into how people learn music. At Columbia University, I began a lifelong study into the scholarly research on how people actually learn music, as well as the effect of learning music on the brain. As someone that has spent a career as a teacher and computer scientist, I have strong academic skills and also offer tutoring, emphasizing understanding of concepts. I love to teach and work with people in all academic areas. My lessons are holistic, I provide a complete musical education. It is far easier to play what one understands, and then one can play all forms of music. I include music theory, a wide variety of songs, exploring and understanding the elements and theory of music. And, when all is said and done, it's about playing with as much beauty and feeling as possible. I am very positive oriented with my students. I avoid criticism like the plague. I believe that each student is unique and all lessons are designed for the individual. In addition, I was trained in healthy ergonomics and ensure student's long term health, not only on their instrument but a life with computers.

What do you enjoy about the work you do?

I love to teach. Thus, I am very enthusiastic and energetic. Of course watching a student grow musically is an incredible experience. I often feel I'm planting seeds for the student's future. It is great to focus just on my teaching. After a lifetime of supporting Mission Critical computing systems, including classified systems, vendor support (Tier III). Now I took an early retirement to focus on private lessons. Music lessons can change people's lives. I change people's lives. And, if someone needs help with academics, I am happy to help, emphasizing understanding the underlying concepts of math and science, while improving reading and writing skills. These were skills required my entire professional career.
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Davis, CA 95618

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10 Reviews
  • Thumbtack Customer Sep 10, 2017
  • Original
    didn't meet him yet
  • David C. Jun 8, 2017
    Piano Lessons (for adults)
    Verified Review
    As a mature student and absolute beginner to piano I took my first lessons with some trepidation. I have found Bob to be very enthusiastic, supportive and helpful; and very good at explaining underlying musical theory concepts, not just the mechanics of playing piano.
    Bob C. Jul 16, 2017

    It's been a lot of fun teaching you. Consistency is the key!

  • Terry S. Feb 10, 2016
    Piano Lessons (for children or teenagers)
    Verified Review
    Bob C. Jul 16, 2017

    Hi Terry, I'd be happy to teach them.

  • Jane C. Jul 9, 2015
    I like that Bob really believes in me and sees things in me that I haven't been able to really see in myself. He's really expanding the way I'm seeing music as a whole and it's making me a better all around musician. He continues to push me and every time I think I've reached my limit, he breaks down the next barrier. His patience is much appreciated, and his teaching skills are rubbing off on me as I have recently begun to be open to the idea of teaching others myself. That's the level of confidence he has been able to instill in me.
  • Larry K. Oct 27, 2014
    It has always been a musical learning experience beyond the notes on the page for me working with Bob. His knowledge of the history of both the instrument and the music, enriches the learning experience. Bob gives more than just quality music lessons. He shares his in depth knowledge and experience earned over a lifetime of playing and teaching in every lesson.
    Bob C. Oct 27, 2014

    I've known Larry for many years. He was a specific student, he did not want to learn how to read music. He had a great ear, I could play and show him material and he could master it. While I believe if he learned to read he would have been much more successful, I never push anything on a student, I meet the student where they are. Larry loves to play his songs for many years and was a pleasure to work with.

  • Miki L. Oct 9, 2014
    Bass Guitar Lessons
    Verified Review
    I chose Bob to help me understand music theory and how it relates to the electric bass. He understands exactly what it is that I am trying to achieve and has constructed my lesson plan accordingly. He has been flexible with my schedule, and I return frequently as to make sure I'm getting the most out of his lessons.
  • Dave M. Jun 27, 2013
    Guitar Lessons
    Verified Review
    Iam a professional Guitarist and have been taking lessons from Bob for a bout 2 months now. I inicially contacted Bob becaused I had reached an impasse with my playing. Within the first couple of lessons I learned to negociate the fret board with more ease and confidence. Bob has a solid foundation in theory as well as teaching the student the pratical application of the theory. I was able to apply the learning material to my playing almost immediately after my lesson. Bob is very patient and takes the time to explain the material so it is well understood before the lessons are over. I highly reccommend Bob to anyone who wants to take their playing to the next level.
    Bob C. Jun 4, 2014

    Dave was a working professional. He was interesting, in that he was also a percussionist, and he had a unique approach, doing a lot of percussion on guitar. What he did not know was how to work his way around the fingerboard, so I gave him the science and forms to easily play in any key or any song. I also introduced him to reading music, this is a lifetime joy.

  • Dave B. Mar 8, 2013
    I have known and worked with Bob for about 25 years. He was my inspiration to get into playing electric bass and later, he guided me through obtaining an upright bass. As a result, I was able to be a contributor to my church's musical group. Bob is a patient and excellent teacher who truly understands music. Due to this knowledge, he's an excellent resource who isn't easily impressed by the fame or popularity of modern performers but gives his nod of approval only when they are approved by his expert ear. Thanks, Bob, for all of your inspiration, enthusiasm, and for adding a new dimension to my life!
    Bob C. Jun 4, 2014

    Dave was a fellow co-worker at HP with me. He heard my Swingtime CD and asked if he could learn to play bass. He was a pro, and wanted a real quality instrument to start with. He also as a ham radio expert and a tube expert I think his real love was driving huge tube amplifiers. Of course, that demanded he learn to play. His opportunity to play was in Church so we focused on what he needed to do to play with them. He had a great time. I taught him remotely using network tools and that old tool, the phone. With skype we could do more! He also got intrigued with string bass and learned to play in tune and enjoy it. Still his love for powerful tube heads took him over and that was traded for a tube amp. Dave can build Tube Amps, as well as state of the art computers. But he loves playing the bass best of all, always through a tube amp. I did talk him into getting a SWR Working Man's 12 which is not a tube amp so he could easily go to practices. It's the best of the combo amps, not the lightest and far from the most expensive but has a rich full tone and I didn't want Dave not playing because he had to transport very heavy equipment. All bass or guitar players should have a great sounding, small combo amp if they play electric. Of course, I prefer that guitarists start with acoustic instruments, and most electric guitarists practice most of thier lives on acoustic, including the most ardent rocker. Of course while I usually teach classical and jazz guitar as well as songs, most students quickly learn how to improvise and play blues including lead guitar. I'm so happy I was able to give Dave the gift of music, and now he can drive those huge tube amps he loves.

  • Peter U. Dec 27, 2012
    Bob is the best guitar teacher I have ever met. He's positive oriented, energetic, enthusiastic, student centered, patient, motivating, and a great musician in his own right. Whether you're a beginner or a professional, you will learn quickly and enjoyably from this teacher.
    Bob C. Oct 27, 2014

    Peter was another student that was not interested in learning to read music. I taught Peter how to play the songs he wanted to learn. All the while I "sneaked" music lessons into his playing so he was able to expand into all sorts of music. I never force students into anything.

  • Richard G. Oct 28, 2012
    I highly recommend Bob as a music teacher for beginners, folks who play for enjoyment and professional musicians. He enhances the student's experience by focusing on the music student wants to learn. At the same time he intertwines ear-training and music theory with technique. Bob is a great guitar and music teacher. He was my first guitar teacher. In later years mentored me on how to teach music.


What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
Generally we start with shorter lessons which are more economically priced at $30. As we progress, depending on the student, we spend more time reviewing and playing together and we expand the lesson to 45 minutes to an hour. I only charge $5 more for the extended lessons, but the student has to earn my additional time. My rates are very reasonable for someone with my credentials. I offer family discounts.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
Practice comes first. I am dedicated to practice on a daily basis. I constantly research the psychology of music, I look in two areas. One area is how to be a better teacher and how music study effects the brain. Music students do significantly better than their peers in all academic areas.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I was inspired by a great teacher who taught me how to work professionally as both a guitar and bass teacher. I worked my way through college playing and teaching music. I learned a great deal about teaching from him, and wanted to teach music. However, I add ear training as a natural part of my lessons. It is something everyone should have from the start and was amazed at music college how much better my ear became.
What types of customers have you worked with?
I am a patient, positive oriented teacher. I individualize my lessons for each student. I teach holistic lessons. With beginners guitar players I emphasize songs, each with a lesson and gradually they learn to read music. Learning to read music is a great gift. Many students go on to learning classical guitar, but I teach all styles of music. I teach bass players how to create melodic funky bass parts, and the elements of music. I also teach upright bass with either a jazz or classical approach. I love to start new piano students. I ensure the student understands what they are doing. Finally, I give short pre-music lessons sessions to younger siblings of my students, introducing them to music to students as young as 3. We do fun songs, early ear and rhythm training and learn basic concepts. Finally, I have had a career as a teacher, professor and computer scientist. I am happy to help teach all academic areas, math, reading, writing and test preparations.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
I recently learned to use Ableton, a computer based multi tracking software system. A student of mine helped teach it to me. Years ago I used to do studio work recording jingles on reel to reel systems (they sounded much better). For fun, I recorded Bach's Minuet in G Minor, written for the clavicord. I recorded the left hand on bass and the right hand on jazz guitar. It was a modern rendition. We all can learn from Bach, he wrote great bass parts and melodies that we can use in all kinds of music. It took a few hours and was a fun learning experience.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
First, find a teacher that loves to teach. Some people love to teach, I feel I'm planting seeds for the student's futures. Ensure the teacher has successful teaching and performance experience. Credentials, an appropriate musical educational background and a wide variety of performance are a guide to selecting a teacher. Educational psychology is a valuable tool for any teacher. Teaching is as much of an art as is science, I bring both music and science to my lessons.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
While I am highly trained and certified, the most important thing is I love to teach. Columbia University, MA Music and Music Education Berklee College of Music: Guitar and bass performance. Studies with Pat Metheny, Lenny Frank on guitar and with Bob Cunningham on Upright Bass. Keyboard studies at Columbia University and Berklee College of Music.