Nick Russo
Nick Russo

Nick Russo

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Introduction: On-Line Ukulele, Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin, Resonator/Dobro, electric bass, drums, ear-training, jazz improvisation & music business lessons via Facetime, Zoom, Skype, Facebook, Gmail Multi-instrumentalist, Nick Russo is a full-time professional musician, educator and father in NYC. Nick performs with artists such as Paul McCartney, Jon Batiste (Colbert Show & at NYC Black Lives Matter protests), John Lithgow, Rob Morrow, , The Hot Sardines, Antonique Smith, Deep Singh, (Katy Perry, Sting, Robert Plant), Frank London, Zeb Bangash, Russell Hall (Bessie & The Rainbow Kids), Gordon Au: The Grand St Stompers, Alphonso Horne (Lady Gaga) & many other musicians & bands. Russo was the guitarist for legendary jazz organists, Jimmy McGriff & Jimmy The Preacher Robins, vibraphonist/composer/producer, Teddy Charles Sonny Dallas, Joe Ascione and leads The Scooches (Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches), Hot Jazz Jumpers & Nick Russo+11. Nick has performed on ABC’s Good Morning America, has appeared in Sam Mendes' Away We Go and PBS Masterpiece, The Chaperone. He also plays guitar and banjo on the first episode of PBS kids, Peg Plus Cat and composed/performed two African solo guitar pieces for the movie, King George for bassist/film composer, Tarus Mateen (Terrance Blanchard's collaborator). Nick is the author of Metallica's Legendary Licks series (vol. 1 & 2), editor of GRP arpeggios (Hal Leonard), created/shot his own blues guitar and slide guitar video courses for JamPlay/TrueFire in Colorado and recorded a video of the original 1924 Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with an orchestra with Princess Anne (daughter of Queen Elizabeth) as the honoree (released in Oct 2020). Russo also played guitar on the NYC Summer Stage virtual MLK concert (Jan 15th) with Anthony C Bryant & Russell Hall. A few of many reviews (more at the bottom): Joanna W. on Aug 27, 2020 Ukulele, Online My daughter began classes with Nick as part of her after school program with a group of elementary school kids who signed up for group Ukulele classes. When quarantine started due to COVID, we all had to switch to remote zoom classes with Nick. Teaching music remotely must be challenging but Nick never made it seem challenging. He was always so patient and age-appropriate with the kids and communicated often with the parents. After the group lessons ended, we decided to continue with 1:1 classes with Nick. He really allowed my daughter to go at her own pace but still challenge her. He does ear training as well and now my daughter can play along with many songs she likes, just by figuring out the notes on her own. Nick's follow up emails after each lesson made sure we are aware of what he worked on and any HW our daughter should work on. Our daughter has progressed so much in just a few months of starting a new instrument! Nick is really a kind and amazing teacher! Look no further for a great music teacher! Amelie G. on Aug 13, 2020 Guitar, Online Every time I have a guitar lesson with Nick, it is wonderful. He is very passionate, dedicated, and knowledgeable. He always manages to find interesting pieces, beautiful to listen to but also fun to play. He is open to suggestions and new techniques and makes sure that his students enjoy the class and learn something. He is never hesitant to explain something again or in a different way. He is very kind and always gives the student a voice, encouraging them all along the way. I definitely recommend Nick to anyone wanting to learn guitar at any level or age. By Bill on 5/29/2020 Guitar, Online I have been taking lessons with Nick now for a little over a year and it has been a great experience. I appreciate that Nick tailors lessons to my ability and musical interests and incorporates a little musical theory at times. Having started with little knowledge of the guitar, I think I've progressed a lot and that's due to his teaching. Lessons are also a joy. Nick has an easygoing teaching style, while at the same time he's focused on helping me progress. I feel lucky to have found Nick as an instructor, and I would recommend him to anyone looking to learn the guitar. By Ellen on 5/27/2020 Banjo, Online As an adult, I was hesitant about learning a new instrument. Nick has been amazing at helping me learn the banjo! He is encouraging, patient, professional, and extremely knowledgeable. I would highly recommend Nick to anyone at any age. By Peter on 4/19/2020 Ukulele, In home Nick is an amazing ukelele teacher! He has been teaching my 9-year-old son for about 8 months now. He is cheerful and enthusiastic, and an undeniable talent. His teaching style is at once relaxed ("feeling" the music over strict adherence to technique), and rigorous (dropping in some heavy music theory early on). He's teaching my son to be a "musician", not just a "ukulele player". He encourages creativity and tailors the lessons to what our son enjoys. He sends a great summary email after each lesson with notes and reminders and things to work on for the next week. And his lessons even carry over nicely to how my son is learning piano. We would recommend him highly. By Josh on 4/17/2020 Ukulele, Online Nick is a great ukulele teacher. He works with my daughter in her after school program but we've also done online/virtual lessons and even I learn so much! He's fun, easy going, super encouraging and a true talent that he can see what my daughter (and I) are doing right and wrong. He's the best music teacher you can find. Apr 11, 2020 Elizabeth Profile-location-online Online My son takes beginning band with Nick. This group of very young players is learning how to hear a piece of music, break it down, play it together, and make it their own. Along the way, Mr. Nick teaches them theory, technique, and joy in playing music. Nick has the patience of a saint. His expertise is in guitar and banjo, but he knows his way around the whole band, and can teach rhythm and technique on a wide range of instruments. I highly recommend. Note, we’ve done lessons both on line and in person. Both were good. Nick has performed at Lincoln Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center: Dizzy's Club, Carnegie Hall, The U.N., across the United States, internationally in Japan, Spain, Brazil, St. Kitts, Bermuda, Canada and as guitarist/MC for Anastasia Rene throughout Russia: Moscow, Omsk,Tomsk, Novosibirsk and Acedemy City. Russo has also been a sideman with Antonique Smith, actor, Rob Morrow plus The Hot Sardines, Russell Hall, Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks, Marcus Miller, Ruben Fox, Moroccan vocalist/composer, Malika Zarra, Bill Charlap, Frank Vignola, Victor Jones, Jim Nolet (Jazz Passengers), Jennifer Jade Ledesna and continues to play for The Hot Sardines, Jon Batiste, Russell Hall's Bessie & The Rainbow Kids, Andrew Nemr (tap dancer), Miles Griffith's New Ting, Terry Waldo, Dandy Wellington, New Orleans’ Aurora Nealand, Gordon Au's Grand St Stompers, Mona's Hot Four, Dr. David Pleasant, Jon Weber, John Colianni, Kim Clarke, Anastasia Rene, Indian/pop singer, Meetu Chilana & many others. Nick has played extensively with Malika Zarra, including her Ebony Road CD release with Harvey Wirht, Mamadou Ba, Brahim Frigane and other great world musicians. As a pupil of Pandit Samir Chatterjee, Russo continues to study Indian music, plays harmonium, box tanpura, oud, (soon sitar!) and performs with grammy nominated producer/composer/Indian percussionist, Deep Singh (tabla player with Sting) and grammy nominated producer/trumpet player/composer, Frank London on a regular basis. Russo has also played extensively with ELEW years before, when he was jazz pianist, Eric Lewis and trombonist, Clark Gayton as sideman in various bands, including the James Brown tribute band with the late great, Black Velvet (Charles Bradley) led by Victor Jones. -Professor Nick Russo (guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, dobro/resonator/slide, tenor guitar, baritone resonator, bass, drums, composition) is currently the adjunct professor at Essex College, Jazz clinician for over 19 years via Kupferberg Center (Queens College) and has been on the staff at Great Neck Music Conservatory. Nick has given lectures at Manhattanville College, at Queens College and at schools, nationally. Nick currently leads/MC's 3 bands: Nick Russo+11, Hot Jazz Jumpers and Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches. Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches (with Betina Hershey) album, Get Us Out Of Fearland: #2 album, #2 artist, #5 song with 6 of our songs in top 20 on April 2018 International Folk Music DJs Radio chart! Over the past two year, Banjo Nickaru Western Scooches has built a solid following in the Eastern U.S. with a half dozen tours while also playing such prestigious events such as NBC affiliate Kansas City TV, Falcon Ridge Fest, Kansas City Folk Fest (main stage), Folk Alliance International, NERFA, WFUV Sunday Supper, Jon Platt's On Your Radar, Blue Plate Special, WMOT Finally Friday, WNCW Studio B Sessions, WoodSongs, Isis Music Hall, the Mid-Winter Folk Fest at Club Passim and recent January 2019 APAP showcase in NYC. Nick is also the author of Metallica Legendary Licks (series 1 & 2) and editor of various guitar instructional books for Cherry Lane Music (Hal Leonard Corp.). “Nick Russo has worked with artists all over the jazz spectrum. His latest release brings a decidedly unorthodox approach.”DOWNBEAT ⋆⋆⋆⋆ "....the inimitable Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches" — John Platt (WFUV) “A heart as big as the sky…full of high energy and higher spirits.” -Elmore Magazine “A band that has to be seen to be believed.” — John Platt (WFUV) David Amram testimonial (on YouTube) "They go back to basics with songs that bask in a genuine roots regimen and a sense of timeless tradition." Elmore Magazine "Americana music at its purest and most impressive." No Depression “Unfailingly high-spirited." LONDON TIMES "...Banjo Nickaru and Western Scooches are ridiculously fun." Rambles. Original music: Nick Russo+11 7th year anniversary on YouTube Little Hands (original Teen Taal Tukra) Banjo Nickaru and Western Scooches Get Us Out Of Fearland album release The Scooches APAP 2019 Banjo Nickaru and Western Scooches (with Betina Hershey) album, Get Us Out Of Fearland: #2 album, #2 artist, #5 song with 6 of our songs in top 20 on April 2018 International Folk Music DJs Radio chart! Over the past two year, Banjo Nickaru Western Scooches has built a solid following in the Eastern U.S. with a half dozen tours while also playing such prestigious events such as NBC affiliate Kansas City TV, Falcon Ridge Fest, Kansas City Folk Fest (main stage), Folk Alliance International, NERFA, WFUV Sunday Supper, Jon Platt's On Your Radar, Blue Plate Special, WMOT Finally Friday, WNCW Studio B Sessions, WoodSongs, Isis Music Hall, the Mid-Winter Folk Fest at Club Passim and recent January 2019 APAP showcase in NYC. “Nick Russo has worked with artists all over the jazz spectrum. His latest release brings a decidedly unorthodox approach.” DOWNBEAT ⋆⋆⋆⋆ "....the inimitable Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches" — John Platt (WFUV) “A heart as big as the sky…full of high energy and higher spirits.” -Elmore Magazine “A band that has to be seen to be believed.” — John Platt (WFUV) "They go back to basics with songs that bask in a genuine roots regimen and a sense of timeless tradition." Elmore Magazine "Americana music at its purest and most impressive." No Depression “Unfailingly high-spirited." LONDON TIMES "...Banjo Nickaru and Western Scooches are ridiculously fun." Rambles. -Down Beat magazine 2006 Ro review plus [Jan/Feb 2016] Hot Jazz Jumpers' "The Very Next Thing" DVD/CD review -Jazz Insider magazine current issue [Dec 2015] 2.5 page interview -Just Jazz Guitar magazine interview [February 2015 issue] -Vanity Fair magazine (August 2013) interview "Summer of 2013, Nick R. performed at Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin's home. It was an honor to meet Paul McCartney and jam with him while he played toy harmonica. Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Iridium, Bluenote, Birdland, U.N., IAJE, Cape Cod Jazz Festival, NJPAC, Sweet Rhythm, Smalls, Zinc Bar, Smoke Jazz Club, internationally: Japan, Spain, Russia, Brasil, St. Kitts, Canada, France, Bermuda, Sweden, Israel -Toured/recorded and/or worked as sideman with Antonique Smith, Jon Batiste (from the Colbert show), Jimmy McGriff, Teddy Charles, Bill Charlap, Sonny Dallas, Victor Jones and Cultur-versy, Vince Giordano & The Night Hawks, Frank Vignola/Joe Ascione, Miles Griffith, David Pleasant, Jim Nolet (former violinist for the Jazz Passengers), Dandy Wellington, Jon Weber, Aurora Nealand (from New Orleans), Anastasia Rene, Mona's Hot Four, Gordon Au's Grand Street Stompers, Michael Arenella's Dreamland Orchestra, with Jesse Gelber, Raphael McGregor, Emily Asher's Garden Party, and many other groups. -Appears in Sam Mendes Film "Away We Go" -Movie Soundtrack: King George. -Guitar/banjo: "Jew Grows in Brooklyn," "Take Me Along," "The Big Apple Circus" + others. -Banjo/Guitar Chair: "New Girl In Town" (Irish Rep Theatre) -Author: Metallica Legendary Licks series,volume 1 & 2) -Editor GRP chords (both Cherry Lane Music/Hal Leonard). M.A. from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College (partial scholarship) B.S. from S.U.N.Y. Stony Brook, graduated magna cum laude. Dean's list all semesters -Published interview (book): A New Face of Jazz (Cicily Janus) -Playing guitar/banjo on first episode of new PBS cartoon "Peg and Cat" - Current adjunct professor at Essex College -Guest lecturing professor at Manhattanville College -Substitute adjunct professor at Queens College -Winning participant: I.A.J.E. with Miles Griffith's New Ting 2007. Performance and educational certificate granted. -Winning participant; part-scholarship award: 2004 International Jazz Workshop at BANFF Centre, Canada (dir, Dave Douglas) -Winning participant; full-scholarship award of the 2001 JAS academy in Aspen Colorado (dir, Christian McBride (Down Beat Dec. 2001) -Studying Bol (Indian rhythmic system) with tabla player, Pandit Samir Chatterjee 2006-2007; 2013-current -Studied with Pat Martino, Billy Bauer, Ben Monder, Tony Purrone, Pete Bernstein, Dr. Stephen Salerno, Dr. David Belser -Studying African Rhythms with drummer, Harvey Wirht *** Lesson Details *** With over 20 years teaching experience, Nick is patient with children & adults. He has a creative, unique pedagogy emphasizing hearing through singing, ear-training & natural, organic listening. Nick instills healthy absorption of music while students have fun learning their music, sight reading, internalizing with focus on rhythm and time. As a student, you will get to work on music that you, the student select as well as work on sight-reading, technique, ear-training. We will also work out of method books and use other sources of information. *** Specialties *** Nick's pedagogy emphasizes ear-training, singing, reading and truly hearing the music we are working on. Rather than rote teaching and guitar tablature, he instills natural listening, transcribing, sight-reading and proper technique. Lessons are always enjoyable as Nick observes each student's unique needs and listen's to their song preferences and musical goals. Students have the opportunity to learn pieces and genres they select and they are trained to figure out tunes by ear (ear-training) and transcribe. Nick teaches: -classical guitar and Brazilian guitar (nylon 6 string and nylon 7 string guitar) -acoustic steel string guitar, electric 6 string and electric 7 string guitar - jazz guitar + an eclectic mix of styles: blues, Brazilian music, Latin Jazz, Afro-Peruvian, Indian music, rock, heavy metal, funk, R & B, Motown, reggae + other genres. - tenor banjo (traditional jazz, jazz from New Orleans, Dixieland and world music) -5 string banjo (Earl Scruggs finger picking [bluegrass and country]) -tenor guitar -ukulele -mandolin -resonator slide/dobro. -lap steel -baritone resonator (slide) REVIEWS from students: Pablo Online Jun 8, 2020 TLDR; The guy is fantastic. He knows his stuff, he is a real performing musician, and he is a great and inspiring teacher. Long format: I've had a guitar sitting around my flat for about two years. The only thing I could do, other than looking at it, was playing three open chords very very very badly. And I just thought that playing music wasn't for me and that I didn't have the mind for it. Because I am stuck at home for the quarantine, I decided to check if maybe I could do something productive with my time and decided to give taking some guitar lessons a try. Doing research online for someone willing to teach me remotely, I found Nick, and I am thrilled I did. We have now had only about 6-7 lessons, but he has ignited in me a passion for learning the guitar and also made me believe I can. He has a style that will accommodate and inspire any sort of student. In my case, I want to learn the blues. But because I knew nothing about guitar playing, I need someone that can take me through the basics in a structured way where things build on each other. Nick did just that. The guy is a proper performing musician with a great personality and loads of experience under his belt. I have been inspired and made confident by his way of teaching, and I want to study with him for years to come. By Alex on 6/5/2020 Electric Guitar, Online First off, Nick is patient and very proficient at guitar playing. There were so many times when I've practiced with him that I was either out of tune, hitting the wrong note on the wrong fret, or just wasn't understanding the ear training while staring at the webcam. Yet he showed his positivity and encouragement for me to improve upon my playing, especially when it came to my ear training. There's always patience coming from Nick, since he wants you to learn as much as you are able in order to develop your songwriting and be a better, more confident composer. Thank you! Apr 11, 2020 Elizabeth Profile-location-online Online My son takes beginning band with Nick. This group of very young players is learning how to hear a piece of music, break it down, play it together, and make it their own. Along the way, Mr. Nick teaches them theory, technique, and joy in playing music. Nick has the patience of a saint. His expertise is in guitar and banjo, but he knows his way around the whole band, and can teach rhythm and technique on a wide range of instruments. I highly recommend. Note, we’ve done lessons both on line and in person. Both were good. Mar 18, 2020 Peter Profile-location-home-on line Student's Home I first heard Nick play about 4 years ago and a friend of mine took lessons from him. When I decided to start lessons, I naturally decided to go to him. As I went to his place, I thought, "Oh wow! I forget to ask my friend whether he's a good teacher!" I need not have worried. He's superb. He focuses on musicality: listening, hearing, enjoying; and then pulls out the technical things you could improve at and delves deep. I leave every lesson feeling great, and (proof of the pudding) people I jam with comment on how much my playing has improved. I'm an "advanced intermediate" player, but Nick also teaches kids, beginners, etc. In the age of coronavirus, our lessons are on Skype, and they are great, too. He comes out of jazz and plays trad as well as modern, but he also has an Americana band, and he knows classical, and the student before me is learning Hendrix-style rock. So no matter what direction you want to go, Nick is your man! Mar 14, 2020 Cris Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio I’ve been trying to teach myself guitar from online videos and just started taking lessons with Nick. It’s making a huge difference. He’s worked on my posture, left and right hand positions, started me on basic ear training, sight reading and understanding of rhythm. He’s given me exercises to help with chord changes I’ve been struggling with. Nick’s a great musician who loves to play but also loves to teach, so a beginner with no music training can gain from his knowledge. He’s a kind, patient teacher and an enjoyable person to spend time with. My guitar playing sounds better already. August 5, 2019 To Whom It May Concern, I am pleased to write this letter of recommendation for Mr. Nick Russo. I worked with Mr. Russo as the teacher on site in the Midori ukulele program, 2018/2019. The class met two times a week. He was always on time, prepared and an highly effective communicator. We discussed the plan for the day, any special needs a student may have and concluded with a wrap-up and plan for the next meeting. Mr. Russo has shown an ability to teach students at all grades and levels of competency. He allows the students to have input in their learning as he stays true to the curriculum. His knack for boosting a student’s confidence and his patience makes the learning experience fun and enjoyable for students. Mr. Russo was direct and clear in his expectations of the students and maintained a fair and calm demeanor. The students would regularly speak very highly of Nick and his efforts. They especially responded to Nick’s style of teaching. His virtuosity as a musician, his knowledge and respect for world cultures and his kindly manner was valued by all in the classroom. The cultural history of music shared by Mr. Russo helped give the students a background and deeper understanding which boosted their interest in the class. The culminating performance was well attended by the parents and received accolades! Nick recognized the importance for the students to develop the show cooperatively in order for them to own their responsibility, performance and enjoyment. Many of the children asked their families to purchase a ukulele so they may continue the musical growth that Mr. Russo inspired. Mr. Russo’s dedication to teaching, his wide range of musical skills and obvious love of music make him a real asset to any educational setting. He adds quality, both personal and professional to a school community. Sincerely, Ms. Rhonda C. (Public School Teacher) P.S.101Q THE SCHOOL IN THE GARDENS Monique Paniagua, Principal Irtis Gonzalez, Assistant Principal Laura Fahey, Assistant Principal July 6, 2019 To Whom It May Concern, Mr. Nick Russo has been the resident artist for our afterschool Ukulele program for the past two years. This program was highly successful due to his professionalism. He has an excellent rapport with students. He worked collaboratively with the teacher in charge and encouraged parental involvement. He was extremely patient with students who were struggling in the class; a quality that didn’t go unnoticed! Mr. Russo always communicated with me as the supervisor in charge whenever there were any problems or concerns. I recommend Mr. Russo without reservation for any future endeavors he may seek to engage in working with students. Sincerely, Irtis Gonzalez Assistant Principal Melissa Apr 2, 2019 Ukulele · In studio Nick Russo is a fantastic tutor for kids and adults who would like to learn Ukulele, guitar, banjo or other instruments. He makes ‘learning fun’ he's friendly and cheerful. I don’t have any background in music but, Nick made it easy for me to understand the notes and how it works. I always look forward to every lesson. I Highly recommended Nick to everyone. Bill Mar 22, 2019 Guitar · In studio I’ve been taking guitar lessons with Nick now for a few months and it’s been a terrific experience — cannot say enough good things. Each lesson builds on the last and Nick tailors them to my ability and musical interests mixing in enough music theory, which makes learning both productive and enjoyable. Most importantly I feel like I’m beginning to understand how music works and not just blindly memorizing patterns or scales. I considered online courses before choosing Nick, but there’s no substitution for one-to-one instruction. Nick’s feedback and instruction are invaluable. I was a little concerned about trying to pick up guitar in my early 40s, but its been a rewarding experience so far and I’m looking forward to more lessons with Nick. Sarah M Mar 19, 2019 Acoustic Guitar · In studio Nick has been teaching my 7 year old guitar for one year now. His excellent, progressive curriculum, patience, and allowing my son to pick some of the music has fostered a joy in his playing and even the work that goes into learning a difficult instrument. My son even "teaches" me a weekly lesson. I couldn't recommend Nick enough! Rocky C. Nick is an amazing person and phenomenal guitar player. I've met Nick at Mona's jazz jam awhile back and have always admired his playing as well as his approach to music. His historical knowledge, skills and passion for the music inspires me to grow as a musician. I recently decided to take some lessons with Nick to structure my learning and technique. Nick is humble and very inclusive which makes the lessons fun and engaging. Nick is the best and i'd recommend anyone looking to learn to take lessons with Nick!!! Apr 3, 2019 Liz R. Nick Russo has been teaching my son how to play the ukulele for over a year now. He is incredibly gentle and patient with children, and tailors his instruction to match the needs and interests of his students. Nick emphasizes a variety of ear training techniques, without sacrificing the need for classical training. My son has learned how to properly tune his instrument, read music, and improvise a variety of songs by ear. Most importantly, he enjoys his lessons and is motivated to continue playing. I cannot imagine finding a more positive and compassionate teacher for my child. - Elizabeth L, Queens, NY Mar 24, 2019 -Ann Kittredge Oct 12, 2013 Guitar Exceptional, musically rich learning Nick is a terrific, terrific teacher whose main goal is to nurture my son's love of music and instill the idea that learning to play guitar or drums is not hard, it's unfamiliar and my son has been learning from Nick since he was 7 years old. I love watching Nick balance solid technique with fun. Like taking a contemporary song that my son loves and teaching him to play a portion of it. Or inviting another student (or sometimes even a professional musician) to sit in on a lesson and jam with my son. Nick is teaching the whole person, not just their fingers on the guitar. He really cares and I would recommend him to anyone! -James B. Jan 2, 2015 Guitar Exceptional musician. Skilled and patient teacher. I have been taking weekly guitar lessons with Nick for nearly four months now and it has been all I hoped for and more. As a recent retiree and amateur musician one of my goals is to rapidly improve my novice guitar skills. I was looking for a teacher who would push me hard but was willing to work with the particular songs and musical questions that I might bring to him each week. I could not be more pleased. Nick is able to immediately bring his knowledge and experience to any material that I bring to a lesson and he uses it as the basis for a wide range of teaching moments - whether it be technique, harmony, or improvisational approach. What I didn't anticipate was the extent to which his holistic, listening (and singing) based approach to playing an instrument has challenged me. Nick is making me a better musician not just a better guitar player. (And it is very helpful that he types out notes on all that we discuss and sends an email following each lesson.) -Koji Y. Dec 24, 2014 Jazz Guitar Mr. Nick R. is an absolutely great guitar player and music instructor. I'm a young professional jazz guitarist and instructor and have been taking jazz guitar lessons with Nick R. weekly since September of 2014. Every lesson, I receive a lot of information that I didn't know before and Nick always give me proper quantity and quality of task Many ideas, information from his suggestions, including how to practice myself and instruction that goes beyond musical and guitar technique, also including psychological and philosophical concepts from Nick's experience and knowledge. His explanations are incredibly clear and easily to follow. I've been playing guitar over 15 years. In my experience, it's very, very difficult to find a mentor like Nick Russo. I truly appreciate meeting him and have tremendous respect for Professor Russo. Thanks as always Nick!! Koji Yoneyama (professional jazz guitarist and instructor), Dec. 23, 2014 -Shimun (Sam) A. Nov 23, 2014 Acoustic Guitar You can say that I'm a rookie when it comes to playing guitar. So, I decided to do something about it. I'm taking 45 minutes sessions with Nick and I have to say that he is a really talented a teacher as well as he is a musician. While having fun during the lessons, I rake in so many new tricks up my sleeve. I love his individual approach, flexibility, and creativity just to outline a couple. For the short while that I've known Nick, he's been all, a patient teacher, a talented musician, but most of all he's been an inspiration to me. My goal was to learn to read music and learn how to play the instrument more fluently. But now, the whole world of new and fascinating opportunities opened up to me because of his mentoring and support. Thank you Nick! I wish I could take longer sessions with you on a more regular basis. -Tom N. Feb 8, 2014 Guitar Highly Recommended I've taken classes with Nick in a group setting (at Jalopy) and privately, and while I studied guitar as a kid and trombone in school, and I've never had a better music teacher. And I do mean music teacher, not just guitar teacher - Nick's approach is to start with the MUSIC you want to play, not just the guitar as a collection of strings and frets or a series of fingerings to memorize. He's realistic about where people are starting and how much time and energy they have to devote to the instrument with all else happening in their lives (school, work, family, whatever), but he really wants all his students to get better, to learn and progress and love the music like he does, and leads by example of his own musicianship and dedication to the art form. Highly recommended for all levels, all styles. -Jerry F. Aug 11, 2014 Jazz Guitar Finally found a guitar teacher who provides individualized instruction based on what I know and don't know. I previously depended on my guitar to make music. Nick showed me how to make the music yourself in your head and then find it on the guitar. He has great patience and also answers every question . And, most important for me, he writes out the lesson notes at the end and sends them. Every previous teacher told me 20 things in a lesson and I remembered two. Nick makes sure that every minute of my lesson is given proper attention. -Ramsey Jan 21, 2016 Banjo Nick took me on as a banjo student and did an amazing job of quickly finding out how much I already knew and then ran with it, pushing me further while letting me direct us into areas that I wanted to pursue. He's very patient and insanely knowledgable. Every lesson has been packed with a ton of information, practice, instruction and music theory. (He's also a very nice guy to have a conversation with.) I couldn't recommend Nick highly enough as an instructor. -Donna Q. Dec 26, 2015 Acoustic Guitar I've been taking lessons with Nick for a few months now and it's been a really positive experience! I have no guitar experience at all so I'm coming in as a true guitar novice. Nick takes time to explain techniques and encourages you to "listen" to the notes and to hear how the music comes together. He's very patient and definitely has a wealth of guitar knowledge. If you're looking to learn guitar, then I'd definitely recommend Nick! -Sabrina S. Jan 21, 2015 Acoustic Guitar I started my lessons with Nick just one month. I know I am inquisitive, intense, overly involved and very detail oriented with my interests in general and I treat guitar the same way. I enjoy and immerse myself into it. I think Nick has a very broad knowledge of guitar playing and comes across as a very conscientious instructor in the way he handles my overachieving demands. I would surely recommend him. -Bryan Oct 8, 2016 Guitar At just my 1st lesson with Mr. Russo -- HE'S THE MAN!!! Very concerned with getting the most out teaching/reaching the student!!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED -Taylor Feb 3, 2016 Ukulele Nick was a terrific teacher -- very enthusiastic and encouraging. He knows what he's talking about as well. He definitely breaks things down so even beginners like me can follow along and understand. -Sara G. Oct 3, 2016 Ukulele Great musician, great instructor. Learned more than I ever thought I would be able to at this age. Very patient. -Robert May 24, 2016 Banjo Nick was quick to assess my ability and direction and we made immediate progress at a comfortable pace. -Eric Falconer Jan 30, 2016 Guitar Nick has been a great teacher so far. He's patient and takes the time to adapt to my current strengths and weaknesses in order to tailor the lesson to fit my needs. Highly recommended. -Matthew H. Jan 18, 2017 Guitar He does a great job cater the lessons to your needs -Kevin Jan 4, 2016 Banjo Nick is very talented, knowledgeable and patient. He communicates material extremely well and is a pleasure to work with.

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Eric D.

Nick Russo is a truly outstanding teacher. His lessons were expertly tailored to my skill level and personal goals. Nick inspires passion for music – he has a way of translating music theory into easily digestible insights that are fun to learn. Nick enthusiastically entertained any musical whim I brought to our weekly lessons, bringing me along for the ride! He was always positive and full of constructive feedback. The breadth of his experience in the music industry is staggering - I cannot imagine a more credentialed, qualified instructor. Learning from Nick was an absolute pleasure.
Oct 19, 2021
Andrew J.

Guitar Lessons

Hands down, Nick is an incredible music teacher. My online guitar lessons with him are greatly helpful for both my guitar playing and for when I eventually return to playing piano (I played piano for several years when I was younger). In addition to his knowledge of music and pedagogy, his responsiveness is amazing. When I first started lessons with him, I had an electric guitar with goals of learning hard rock and metal. After a few lessons, my goals drastically changed, and I am now learning on a classical guitar. Despite this massive shift in focus, the quality of Nick’s lessons has not diminished in any way. With his help, I picked out a more appropriate guitar and the lessons have only gotten better. If you want someone who is not only incredibly skilled but also knows how to teach his set of skills, Nick is the teacher for you, regardless of which genre of guitar music you want to learn. I will add that his online lessons are just as good as any in-person instruction.
Jun 12, 2021
Irum M.

Guitar Lessons

My 17 year old son has been taking guitar lessons with Nick for the last several months. We have worked with many music teachers over the years, Nick is the best of the best. He has truly sparked Humza’s connection with music again. He is technically masterful but not rigid which can often be the case. A true teacher at heart that cares about their student’s well being and learning journey. He has been such a wonderful addition to Humza’s routine during Covid. I cannot be grateful enough that we found Nick! Highly recommend him for anyone that is looking to reignite their musical connection and move your technique to the next level.
Apr 30, 2021
Rachel S.

Guitar Lessons

I would very highly recommend Nick as a guitar teacher. I've been taking lessons for five weeks and he has already helped me a lot with my technique. He has a great combination of the knowledge of a professional musician and also the patience and guidance of a very experienced teacher. I also like that he is helping me with ear training. I've had previous experience with reading music, but he is really expanding my horizons with listening to music and trying to figure it out by using basic principles. This is a way to learn that I hadn't experienced before in guitar lessons in the past, and I think it's a great way to learn. I'm looking forward to many more lessons to come. This has really helped me to enjoy playing the guitar again.
Mar 15, 2021
Patrick D.

Guitar Lessons

I came to Nick in search of something more than just someone to teach me songs. At some point we need to learn theory and build a solid music foundation in order to progress and create. He has been great at helping me figure how to navigate this theory space and take the next steps. He is very passionate and a great teacher. Highly recommend!
Mar 15, 2021
Background Check

Nicholas Russo


  • What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?

    I charge$40 or $45 a half hour to 35 minutes, $65 for 45 minutes; $85 an hour.

  • What is your typical process for working with a new customer?

    I help students reach their goals, learn music and genres they are most interested in and teach them to teach themselves via listening, ear-training and sight-reading. I focus on proper technique, rhythm training, hearing and internalizing music organically through listening, singing and ear-training.

  • What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

    B.S., M.A. I.A.J.E. performance with Miles Griffith and education certificate Classical guitar training Jazz guitar training lead jazz master clinician at Kupferberg Center (The Colden Center via Aaron Copland School at Queens College) North Indian Classical training African rhythm training Gulla-Geechee rhythm training Alexander Technique Midori & Friends classroom management training and experience

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