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Brooklyn, NY     |     

919-210-8229

© 2017 Kenneth M. Florence

KEN FLORENCE 

PRIVATE MUSIC LESSONS

Brooklyn-based private music teacher operating in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Over a decade of experience teaching a broad range of styles to students of all ages and backgrounds. Strong focus on the individual student's personal interests and goals. 

 

BIO

A recent transplant to the Park Slope area, I'm a composer and multi-instrumentalist originally from Raleigh, North Carolina. Prior to receiving my master's degree in composition from Mannes (The New School), I was the lead guitarist in the indie rock band Annuals. As part of this group I signed with two major record labels, appeared on national television programs such as Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and performed globally both on tour and at prominent festivals such as Bonnaroo, Coachella, Glastonbury (England), and Roskilde (Denmark). 

Think a song you want to play is too difficult?

 

No song is off limits for my students!

 

 

 

I regularly create special arrangements tailored to students' current skill levels, such as this one of Shake It Off by Taylor Swift for beginner guitar. 

I also frequently make instructional videos and practice tracks for students' home practice!

I have been teaching private music lessons for twelve years, both freelance and as part of various organizations. My approach to teaching is highly dynamic—I don't use the same method with every student and I have no stylistic prejudices or an agenda to push. I approach each student as an individual, tailoring lesson plans to suit their personal goals and interests. I have experience playing and teaching an extensive range of styles including pop, rock, jazz, country, metal, and classical. One of my main goals is to foster a sense of musical understanding with every student so that they may learn to combine technical, theoretical, and aural skills into a unified whole.

APPROACH

Most students want to learn to play songs they know and love. To that end, I get students playing the music they want to play right from the beginning, often through personally crafted arrangements of songs/pieces of the student's choosing, specifically tailored to their current skill level. This way, technical and theoretical skills are learned through direct experience with actual music, and only very rarely through rote exercise. 

For more advanced players, I offer an array of strategies designed to take your playing to the next level. I find that the most common shortcomings of advanced players are conceptual. The technical skills are there but the level of conceptual and theoretical understanding has hit a wall. Many players find themselves playing the same chord shapes, melodic patterns, and harmonic progressions over and over again. I've had much success over the years in getting advanced students out of this rut and helping open up new pathways for exploration in both improvisation and composition. 

I love teaching both kids and adults. With younger kids (5-10), my approach is highly animated, engaging, and always in the spirit of having fun. Most of my young beginners start out by developing fundamental sight reading and performance skills (except in rare cases when this doesn't seem to be the most advantageous route to learning). After a few months, a repertoire of songs/pieces is developed, at which point I generally encourage a small recital for students to show their parents (and maybe a few friends) what they've learned. For pre-teens and teenagers, my approach is more varied, as older kids tend to have more defined musical tastes and interests. Guitar, ukulele, and songwriting students in this age range have the option to bypass sight-reading and choose a more "by-ear" approach. Most adults have very specific musical interests and a clear idea of the kinds of things they want to learn. I work closely with adult students during the first few lessons to design a strategy aimed at getting them where they want to be as quickly and comfortably as possible. 

 

Adult beginners tend to think they're too old to learn a new skill. This is simply not true! The most common hang-up for adult beginners is simply the belief that they can't do it. This is in essence a psychological issue and can be easily overcome with a little coaching. Over the years, I've developed an approach to getting over this initial stumbling block and have helped many adult beginners achieve their musical goals. 

REVIEWS

"Ken Florence was an ideal teacher for my 8YO who flourished under his attention to detail in lessons and innovative ideas to keep her moving along. I highly recommend Ken and would happily chat to give more specific references as needed! A great teacher and person!"

-Katherine M., parent of guitar student

"I've been playing off and on for 15 years and am mostly self taught. I knew what I wanted to learn but was having trouble figuring it out on my own. In the first lesson Ken was able to zero in on what I want to learn and the best way to go about it. In three lessons I feel that I understand the guitar so much more than I have in the past 15 years of playing. Not only from a technical standpoint, but also in a "feel" sense. On my own I could learn all the scales, chords, and songs I wanted, but Ken has helped me to make sense of everything and use these skills to become a better player all around."

-Christopher C., guitar

"Ken is an incredibly talented musician and teacher and I would recommend him to anyone. He tailors his lessons to meet the individual goals of his students. If I wasn't understanding something, he knew how to explain it in a different way until I understood. He also taught me some techniques for figuring out songs on my own which I really appreciate since I am about move out of NYC. However, if I wasn't leaving I would still be taking lessons with him!"

-Brittany P., piano

"Kenny is an insightful teacher who has an ability to inspire the abstract, esoteric about music/art and the real practical. He's well informed on classical theory, jazz theory and will inspire anything you'd like to do with music or the guitar. I highly recommend his sessions!"

-Ross O., guitar

"I took from Kenny when I was in middle school/early high school and he truly is the one who made me want to start writing songs. He's beyond talented, inspirational, and has a great smile to boot!"

-Leah K., guitar/songwriting