Instructors who teach: Guitar

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Andrew Clinkman

Andrew Clinkman

Andrew Clinkman

A native of Glenview, Andrew holds a bachelor’s of music from the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music, where he majored in jazz guitar performance. Andrew has been a lifelong musician, beginning both cello and guitar instruction at an early age. While studying at the New England Conservatory, Andrew was an active member of the Boston music community, in addition to appearing on several commercially-released recordings.

Andrew’s teaching experience includes directing a high-school jazz band, and structuring lesson plans for legendary pianist and educator Ran Blake. Andrew believes in the importance of embracing the individuality of each musician. Provided with the right tools, each student can thrive and contribute a unique perspective. Andrew is thrilled to be a member of the Piano Power team.

Joe Contreras

Joe Contreras

Joe Contreras is currently pursuing a bachelor’s in music education from Northeastern Illinois University. His original choral compositions have been performed by collegiate choirs throughout the Chicagoland area. He also performs regularly and has been featured at Jazz Showcase and the Elmhurst Jazz Festival.

Joe believes in fostering a lifelong relationship with music, built upon the idea that anyone can succeed with dedication to their craft. His teaching approach is warm and empathetic, while also promoting a work ethic that can be applied to all aspects of life.

Egan Franke

Egan Franke

An Indianapolis native, Egan has studied at both the University of Toronto and Columbia College Chicago. While hailing from a family of performers, Egan has focused in his own work on original composition. During his college years, Egan also coached youth soccer all over the greater Chicago area. He’s excited to combine his passion for music with the joy of working with kids.

Egan is well-versed in multiple genres, with experience composing and performing jazz, blues, pop/rock, and musical theatre, to complement his native classical background. Egan is active in the composing and freelancing scene in Chicago, currently concentrating on musical theatre.

Dominic German

Dominic German

Dominic German

Dominic is currently completing his master’s degree in vocal performance at North Park University. An active performer, he sings in the North Park Chamber Singers and performs in North Park Opera productions. He is also the bass section leader and soloist at Trinity United Methodist Church in Wilmette, and sings with Constellation Men’s Ensemble. Dominic is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute, where he received his bachelor’s in sacred music with an emphasis in vocal performance. While at Moody, he studied piano and organ and was a frequent worship leader for chapel services.

Equally comfortable in classical and pop genres, Dominic takes an integrative approach to teaching that focuses on fundamentals while encouraging students’ creativity and individualism.

Lucas Gillan

Lucas Gillan

Lucas Gillan

Lucas Gillan has been teaching private piano, guitar, and drum lessons in the Chicago area for six years. He is an adjunct faculty member at Wheaton College, where he teaches jazz drum set. With a broad musical background that includes everything from garage bands to jazz gigs to professional orchestras, Lucas has a unique perspective on what kind of experiences music can offer. His teaching approach balances a solid grounding in music fundamentals with a creative spirit that is open to each student’s musical interests.

Lucas originally began making music in his hometown of Tucson, where he performed in church, punk clubs, and all-city jazz ensembles by the time he had graduated from middle school. His passion for music led him to the renowned jazz-studies program at Northern Illinois University. He graduated with a major in jazz studies and a minor in journalism in 2007.

Aside from being an inspired teacher, Lucas is also a program director at AccuRadio.com and an active performer in Chicago’s music scene. He leads his own jazz group, Lucas Gillan’s Many Blessings, and performs under his own name as a a singer-songwriter, while also playing in numerous bands such as The Right Now, and Terry Bartolotta and Dan Burke’s original jazz groups. He has performed at venues ranging from Jazz Showcase to the United Center.

Andrew Hollander-Urbach

Andrew Hollander-Urbach

Andrew completed his master’s in music at Concordia College-Chicago, and he holds bachelor’s degrees from University of Wisconsin-Madison and Columbia College Chicago. His rich training in pedagogy allows him to work with all ages and levels, and to develop a unique lesson plan for each student. An active participant in the local music scene, Andrew has performed at such venues as Millennium Park and Soldier Field. He currently plays with a number of prominent cover bands throughout Chicago.

Andrew is a true musical polymath. From Bach to Bela Fleck, from Gershwin to Goo Goo Dolls, he loves crossing genres to help his students learn their favorite tunes.

Daniel Huber

Daniel Huber

Daniel Huber

A native of Maumee, Ohio, Daniel Huber graduated from Ohio University with a self-designed music degree, focusing on classical and jazz bass. Shortly after college, Dan moved to Chicago to pursue a career in music. He has been teaching guitar and bass ever since, as well as performing with more than 15 different rock and jazz bands. His current band, Old Shoe, has hosted its own annual three-day music festival, Shoe-fest, since 2011 and has released two studio albums.

Dan’s teaching approach is compatible with students of all ages and skill levels. He teaches a mix of songs that he and the student have hand-picked. In the process, he fosters an understanding of music theory and sight-reading, as well as developing composition and improvisation. Dan is thrilled to be able to spread the joy of playing guitar and bass to students.

When he’s not playing his Fender jazz bass, electric upright bass, or guitar, Dan enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter, and four cats at their home in Lakeview. He loves riding his bike around the city and traveling whenever possible.

Joe Meland

Joe Meland

Joe is committed to instilling a lifelong creative spirit within his students, catering to their individual interests while also introducing new and exciting ways to approach music-making. In addition to fostering technical skills, he also emphasizes “thinking like a musician,” giving his students real-world applications for what they learn. He holds a bachelor’s degree in composition from the University of Illinois.

A pianist, guitarist, composer, and producer, Joe’s original music covers many genres. In 2015, he premiered his concerto for rock band at the prestigious Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, taking home a BMI Student Composer Award. He has also received awards from the Wisconsin School Music Association and the National Federation of Music Clubs, and he was a finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Awards.

He is an active performer, playing everything from folk, pop, and rock, to soul, R&B, and hip-hop. On weekends, he can be found playing in Chicago or traveling to play across the Midwest. His band Boycut was recently featured in the Chicago Tribune. Joe looks forward to sharing his love of music and creativity with more great students in the year ahead.

Deanna Varagona

Deanna Varagona

Deanna Varagona

The product of a musical Tennessee family, Deanna’s music career began at age three, playing one-string bass in her family’s Italian folk group. Violin, piano, saxophone and guitar soon followed.

Her love of music continued to grow, and she now has 15 musical instruments under her belt. Deanna has toured extensively, playing everything from classical to country to indie rock. Her resume includes stints with Will Oldham, Lambchop and Bobby Bare, Jr., as well as tours of her original compositions.

With more than 30 years of teaching experience, Deanna excels as an instructor. Her friendliness, passion, and patience are complemented by a strong sense of clarity and structure. She encourages her students to explore their instruments and put their personalities in their playing, teaching both solid technique and the art of individual expression. “Even while learning the basics,” she says, “you’ve got to have fun!”

Ryan Wallace

Ryan Wallace

Originally from St. Louis, Ryan completed his graduate studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Grammy-winning guitarist and composer Sergio Assad. Ryan has performed in a wide range of settings, from rock bands, to solo classical concerts, to historical reenactments, to musical theater. Since relocating to Chicago in 2016, Ryan has been diving into the local music community and culture. He loves listening to modern and experimental music, and exploring music’s ongoing evolution.

Ryan believes that all music can be used for learning and growth, and he motivates his students by finding music they love. He balances the study of theory and fundamentals with the space to play for enjoyment, nurturing a sense of fun, excitement, and creativity.