|James Lorusso reminisces
about American Luthier Thomas Humphrey in the September 2008
issue of Classical Guitar magazine.
read more -
I found the search for classical guitar instruction
rather daunting until I discovered the website of James
Lorusso. My initial contact from several other entities
and individuals proved far too commercially driven for
my taste. I was interested in taking formal lessons
and learning how to read music not just learning from
tablature or playing by ear which I had done for over
fifty years. A few hours following my e-mail inquiry
I was surprised and gratified to receive a personal
call from Mr. Lorusso and was in his studio the very
next day. I was immediately impressed with this gentleman.
- read more -
His warmth and finely honed pedagogic approach were
so apparent it was only a matter of minutes into
that introductory lesson I became convinced I had
found the quintessential teacher a true pedagogue
and a man of such talent and encyclopedic musical
knowledge I was drawn to him like a magnet. Seldom
in life does one come across a resource as substantial
and charismatic as this gentleman look no further,
you have just found a genius who's also as warm
as the day is long! My name is Tom I'm 67 years
of age and feel like a kid when I'm in Jims studio.
In three months he has given me gifts of learning
and brought me to places I thought were unachievable.
He will do the same for you!
James Lorusso is a graduate of the
Music Conservatory of Westchester, through its collaboration
Mercy College, where he was the recipient of a Conservatory
scholarship as well as a scholarship from the Epstein Fine Arts
Fund. He studied guitar in Puerto Rico with Leo Brouwer, Alirio
Diaz, Angel Romero, and Manuel Barrueco, and musical interpretation
with renowned pianist Bruce Hungerford in New York. Mr. Lorusso
made his New York debut at CAMI Hall in 1984, and was a prizewinner
in the 1983 international guitar competition at the Festival Internacional
de Guitarra de Puerto Rico.
Mr. Lorusso has served on the Conservatory faculty for 41 years
and is also a faculty member at
Manhattanville College and
Westchester Community College. He has also taught at
Marymount College and the American Institute of Guitar. He has
studied in Spain with guitarists Narciso Yepes and Jose-Luis Lopategui.
Private Instruction Available
Now accepting students in Westchester County. If you would like
to sign up for private instruction with James, or lessons at the
Music Conservatory of Westchester, please
click here to
contact Mr. Lorusso.
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Mr. Lorusso is now offering face to face online lessons via
Skype video calling. The first call is free! During
this video call, we will get acquainted and explore your goals,
needs and direction. The second, and all subsequent video calls,
will be paid through PayPal. Call or
contact Mr. Lorusso for
details. To make a payment,
Video calling on Skype: Talk face-to-face with live video for free.Get
Approach to Teaching
Excerpts from Book II by J.L.
Of his approach to teaching, Mr. Lorusso says, “I try to
treat students as individuals and learn as much as I can about
their musical tastes so I can help them fulfill their musical
dreams. Instead of following traditional rules of pedagogy,
I like to use whatever works for each student. Each person has
a system of thinking that is unique and, as a teacher, I need
to understand that system."
Mr. Lorusso identifies each student’s strong and weak points.
“For example, some people have naturally good technique but
can't read well, while others excel at reading but struggle
with the physical aspects of playing. I first try
to build up what is weak because what they do
will always get stronger. It’s important to let students know
what their strong points are, because sometimes people aren't
aware of their own gifts. I try to mix this with a sound
foundation of technical training on the instrument, starting
with things that I believe to be essential.”
Mr. Lorusso has been exploring these essential aspects of
guitar playing. “I’ve been compiling exercises and studies with
the hope of creating a guitar method that could possibly break
new ground. I began many years ago and it is still a work
My thoughts regarding technical development ... [read more]
Most good musicians know that scales, arpeggios and
technical etudes (or studies), are the pillars supporting
good technical development on any instrument. After
forty years of teaching however, I have found that the
order in which you introduce various techniques makes
all the difference in how they are assimilated. Besides
this, the goals of each student must be taken into consideration,
so you don't simply give them something they will never
need or use, but only what is pertinent to accomplish
their various goals. For the aspiring professional,
of course you give them the highest standard of training,
but most students are not in that category! The old
masters of the guitar have given us everything we need
for technical development. One thing is lacking however,
and that would be, more attention to the very beginning
levels, and most importantly, the order of things to
create a smooth progression from a beginning to advanced
level of playing. This is what I meant by the statement "I've
been compiling exercises and studies with the hope of
creating a guitar method that could break new ground".
This aspect of training, or pedagogical smoothness,
has been perfected on the piano and violin, and has
been much improved in recent years for the guitar, but
we are not there yet! This is why I said "it is
still a work in progress".