Ben was born and raised in Tennessee close to the musical cities of Nashville and Memphis where he discovered his love of many genres of music including blues, rock and jazz. Over 25 years of experience with music and guitar allow Ben to cover several genres of music with his students including blues, rock, jazz, funk, classical, flamenco and Brazilian styles. Ben also teaches beginner and intermediate 5-string banjo, covering both the Scruggs and clawhammer styles. Ben has studied, shared the stage, and toured with national and internationally known artists, including Rick Zunigar (Stevie Wonder) Leon Russell and jazz legend Charles McPherson.
Ben holds his Bachelors of Music in Jazz Studies degree from Portland State University where he focused on orchestration, composition, jazz arranging and jazz piano. While living in Los Angeles, he studied classical guitar with Scott Tennant (LAGQ), Evan Hirschelman, Robert Mayeur as well as classical guitar studies at Los Angeles Valley College. Ben currently resides in Portland, OR where he performs regularly in jazz, chamber music and Latin ensembles.
Ben tailors each lesson to the individual’s needs, recognizing that everyone has different aspirations and motivations for studying and learning a musical instrument. He has a guitar curriculum for all levels of students to help them grow musically with every teaching session. His curriculum include focuses on sight reading, articulation, ear-training, theory, developing tone and technique as well as interpretation on the piece(s) being worked on. He strives to provide students with a safe and patient learning environment so they are comfortable engaging and advancing as a musician. Ben also likes to incorporate in each lesson the importance of proper movement and posture with the instrument ensuring a lifetime of pain free playing and performance.