Zak received his Masters in Music from Western Oregon University. He specializes in teaching "all the plucked things" including Guitar, Mandolin, Ukulele, Banjo, and Lute lessons. So if you want to learn guitar, Zak's your guy!
How’d you end up at Music Masters?
I interviewed for Music Masters the day after my college graduation and started teaching a week later and throughout my Master’s degree. In school I found myself in role of “utility guitarist”, playing whatever fretted instrument there was call for. This has continued to be my role here at MM, teaching the whole lineup from uke to bass!
What sparked your passion for music?
I grew up loving grunge and heavy rock but, other than a brief stint on trombone, didn't really pick up an instrument until I was 17. Since the beginning of playing the guitar I've loved learning how it works. While some people learn music like a learning a language I learned music more like learning to put together a puzzle or solve a crossword. I strive to pass on this intense curiosity to my students!
How’d your music go from there?
I quickly found out that I was a little in over my head and decided to study music in school. The faculty at WOU wound up being a perfect match for me. Being in a small school allowed me to study and perform music ranging from late renaissance sacred music to modern jazz with stopovers in Rock, American folk music, and Brazilian street music. I was also insanely lucky to meet Christopher Woitach, who wound up being my mentor, teacher, and my gold standard for what it means to be a music teacher.
Who would you most wanna jam with?
In no particular order… Julien Lage, Chris Thile, Noam Pikelny, Jaco Pastorius, Jim Hall, Ralph Towner, Erik Satie, and from the non-musical camp Salvador Dali, Magnus Nilsson, and Grant Achatz.
What do you express through your music?
I think a great performance is like a great joke. We set up certain expectations and how we choose to confirm or break down those expectations is where the fun comes in. Sometimes a great piece can make you laugh, not because it’s funny, but because they just came up with an unexpected punchline for an old joke. I want to show off the connections between different styles of jokes and unearth lots of new musical “jokes” in the process.
Your message to aspiring artists?
Make playing a game. Set yourself little challenges and see if you can reach them. If you can’t then make up even smaller challenges until you can! If you do this every day you’ll wind up a much freer artist and you’ll be more invested in everything you play!
Bass Guitar Lessons