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Private Music Instructors: Guitar, Banjo and Ukulele

Learn about our talented guitar, banjo and ukulele private instructors:

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Peter Aglinskas (Guitar) earned a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Music degree from De Paul University. Recipient of the Chicago Cultural Department’s “Artists International” Award, Peter Aglinskas has been delighting audiences for more than two decades with his signature blend of popular, classical, and world music influences. Peter’s latest CD release―South Shore Soul―features his original solo guitar arrangements of soul music from Chicago and The Region.




Bekr Ali (Banjo, Ukulele, Mandolin) is a rhythm and melody enthusiast who enjoys sharing his passion for plucked stringed instruments with others. This includes banjo, guitar, mandolin, and ukulele. He spent ten years in the Czech Republic working as an ESL instructor while playing in blues, soul, and bluegrass groups on the side. Bekr primarily focuses on American Old Time music, but also dabbles in other styles of traditional music. He primarily teaches by ear and demonstration, using sheet music and tablature as supplements.



Peter Jump (Guitar) is a guitarist with 16 years of experience and 10 years as a guitar instructor, Peter Jump has covered a wide range of musical territory. From thrash metal to Classical and Jazz ensembles to arranging and composing music in a wide variety of genres, His musical journeys have given him a lot of versatility. As a performer, he has played onstage with Jazz musicians such as Mark Colby and Bob Rummage and performed under the direction of Harper instructors Steven Suvada, Steven Vazquez, and Ken Spurr. As a composer, his work includes Classical guitar quartets, Jazz ensemble pieces, and solo guitar music. He holds a B.F.A. in Music with honors from Elmhurst College where he studied guitar with Steven Suvada, Frank Portolese, and Mike Pinto. Peter continues arranging and composing music passionately and hopes to one day do music for a major video game company.


Tom Pandaleon (Guitar, Guitar Bass, Ukulele), nicknamed “Guitar Tom”, grew up in Chappaqua NY, a suburb of New York City, and has been writing, playing and teaching music for many years. After showing a knack for creative writing, especially short stories, poetry, and humor, he eventually fell in love with the music, guitar playing, and poetry of Paul Simon, as well as the harmonic singing of Simon and Garfunkel. To him, Simon & Garfunkel presented the ultimate combination of writing, storytelling, and performance. In the fourth grade, he began guitar lessons and started writing songs immediately! In the seventh grade, he bought an electric guitar, and began taking guitar lessons with a local instructor. After High School, he went to Bard College (NY) where he chose to major in Music. He graduated from Bard with a BA in Music, and received the coveted Claire Leonard Honors Scholarship for Excellence in Music Composition and Performance. Tom began teaching guitar privately, the following year, as Adjunct Faculty at Bard, and has now been teaching Music for over twenty years. He teaches Guitar, Ukulele, and a few other instruments. He plays and teaches multiple styles, techniques, and disciplines on the guitar, ukulele, bass and banjo. As a unique privilege, I have played live on two separate occasions with two diverse musicians, both in the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame: Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys, as well as Pete Seeger, the famous folkie and activist. His mottos are “Learn Music YOU like!”, and “We work hard, but we have fun doing it!”

Steven Suvada (Guitar) has appeared as a guitar soloist with over 30 different symphony orchestras across the country. Suvada’s performances have taken him to such venues as Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Milwaukee Performing Arts Center, and the Folger-Shakespeare Theater in Washington D.C. He has appeared on TV and radio innumerable times. Recent summer outdoor performances included music festivals in Minnesota, Ohio Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois and Ontario, Canada. Suvada completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees at DePaul University under the guidance of Richard Pick He has performed in Master Classes for Manuel Barrueco, Charlie Byrd, Eduardo Fernandez, Lawrence Ferrara, Tom Leisek, Jeffery Meyerriecks, Jorge Morel, Joe Pass and Myrna Sislen. In addition, he has given master classes at colleges and universities throughout the country. Mr. Suvada’s multi-faceted career has involved accompanying or opening for such artists as Vic Damone, RoseMarie, Rosemary Clooney, Bo Didley, the Crystals, the O’Jays, the Chi-lites, Lou Rawls, Les Elgart, Donna Summer, Mitzi Gaynor, The New York Voices and Oprah Winfrey. Steve is also on the faculties at Elmhurst College and Loyola University. He teaches guitar, guitar ensemble, electronic music, and world music.

Steve Vazquez (Guitar, Ukulele), Chicago guitarist, began his love for the guitar at the age of eleven. It started with a simple riff picked off a tune being played by The B-52’s on Saturday Night Live. He then forged ahead with pointers from friends and was self-taught for many years. Playing in bands throughout his teen years, his love for music intensified as he began his classical guitar studies under Steve Suvada at William Rainey Harper College. He went on for further study with Mark Maxwell at DePaul University (B.M. ’91) and Ann Waller at Northwestern University (M.M. ’94). These great study opportunities and hard work allowed him to play in Master classes for Sergio and Odair Assad, Oscar Ghiglia, Stepan Rak, Paul O’Dette, David Starobin, Dusan Bogdanovic and more. Fresh out of grad school, Steve was a Chicago Artists International Program award recipient. This allowed him to study with the groundbreaking, great Czech guitarist/composer, Stepan Rak in Prague. Steve has since performed through the Midwest and Chicago area with The Chicago Guitar Quartet, Chicago Guitar Camerata, Ensemble Espanñol, and in duo with Chicago virtuoso guitarist, Brian Torosian, plus many other solo and chamber performances. His diverse classical repertoire spans from music of the Renaissance to modern works, including his own compositions. Steve is also currently rocking with his indie/underground band Blue Eyed Jesus and has played with Woolworthy, Thing 3, and more. His numerous Chicago appearances have included the prestigious Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, The Fourth Presbyterian Church Noonday Series, The Old Town School of Folk Music, Harris Theater, Hothouse, The Metro, Double Door, and Reggie’s Rock Club. Steve has been heard on WFMT, WXRT, WBEZ, Q101, WNUR and Radio Arte. Learn more about Steve Vazquez and his indie/underground band Blue Eyed Jesus.

Jose Verduzco (Guitar, Ukulele) started playing the guitar at the age of seven; at seventeen he entered the Conservatory in Mexico City. A year later he moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he continued his music education at Oakton College and Harper College. He studied with Michael Adamziek, Steven Vasquez and Steven Suvada – all of whom are known in the music industry as accomplished classical guitarists. Jose got his Bachelor of Art from Northeastern Illinois University in classical guitar performance under the coaching of Dr. Brian Torosian. Jose has had master classes with teachers from different universities such as: Ann Waller from Northwestern University; Mark Maxwell from DePaul University; and David Azabagic from Roosevelt University. Jose has also participated in numerous guitar festivals throughout the Midwest. Further, he has been teaching private guitar and voice lessons for fifteen years. Jose is an active performer of the classical guitar and he performs throughout the Chicago land area as well as in the suburbs. Jose has also participated with different bands and ensembles both playing the guitar and singing. Some of these performances have been featured on cable television on channel 11 as channel 66, the Spanish channel.

Jeremie Witz (Guitar, Bass Guitar, Ukulele) is a guitarist who has been playing for nearly 20 years. He has played professionally in numerous bands and ensembles ranging from jazz to folk to rock and has been writing music for the same length of time. He graduated from Columbia College Chicago in May 2014 with a BA in Music Composition. He studied under composers: Drew Baker, Kenn Kumpf, Ilya Levinson, and Marcos Balter. He performed and worked with members from the groups, Del Niente and Chicago’s Composer’s Collective. Jeremie teaches bass guitar, ukulele, songwriting, counterpoint, orchestrating, arranging, music theory, and composition. He is experienced with all kinds of music software, such as Pro Tools, Logic, Garage Band, Cubase, FL Studio, Finale, Sibelius. If you want to learn how to write, record, mixing, and master your own music, there’s never been a better time to learn.


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