Guitar & Bass Instructors
Frank Varela attended Berklee School of Music and has been a private music instructor throughout the life of his career. He has also taught as a lecturer at the University of Connecticut and Manchester Community College in addition to his after school guitar program for the South Windsor Recreation Department.
Frank is also an accomplished guitar player and composer. Early on he was awarded a scholarship from the National Endowment for the Arts. His work has been favorably reviewed in nationally renowned “Jazz Improv” Magazine and he has played and composed music for six published CD recordings including 2 Mystery Feet CD’s. The first one, entitled “Walk the Walk” includes performances with jazz guitar great Larry Coryell. Frank also had the opportunity to record with drummers Lenny White (Miles Davis, Chick Corea) and Joel Rosenblatt (SpyroGyra) on the latest release entitled “Upstream”.
Frank has also performed and recorded with such greats as Jimmy McGriff, Max Roach, Tony Trischka, Bill Keith and Windham Hill Grammy winner, violinist, Darol Anger. He is currently working on a recording under his own name entitled “2 Sides to every story”.
Frank Varela also has a solo DVD, “Rare Footage” where he plays guitar and bass simultaneously.
Born and raised in Northern Connecticut, Michael is an accomplished guitar player/producer/songwriter. He was a founding member of the band The Last Goodnight, whose song ‘Pictures of You’ was a top ten hit on the United States Hot AC chart. Writing, recording and performing, both across the country and internationally, were parts of the experience Michael had while signed to Virgin Records. Additionally, with over 15 years of experience in guitar instruction and a Bachelors Degree in Jazz Performance from Westfield State University, Michael is well-versed musician. Michael believes in a student first approach to his instruction and creates lessons to meet each individual’s goals– those wanting to learn jazz, rock, blues, or pop – as well as those who would like to learn the technical sides of guitar or those who just want to learn to play songs for enjoyment.
Ben Corbitt is a locally grown and accomplished guitarist/songwriter/artist from Vernon, CT. With over 15 years of experience, Ben focuses on taking the essential elements of music’s fundamentals and helping each student integrate them coherently and efficiently into their musical lives. From aspiring professionals to casual hobbyists, Ben works to find a way to personalize each lesson and effectively targets each student’s needs based on skill level, musical interests and personal goals.
Ben is a deeply versatile musician and is musically proficient in a wide range of styles including Classic Rock, Modern/Alternative Rock, Blues, Jazz, Funk, Country, Folk, Hard Rock/Metal and Reggae. Ben performs live regularly with multiple groups and on multiple instruments. Ben also spends his time cultivating his personal music style by writing and recording original music as an independent artist.
Ben has also achieved academic success as a student of Classic and Contemporary Music Studies. In 2010, Ben received his “A.A. in Music Studies” from Manchester Community College, one of the top five highest ranked community colleges in the country. In addition to receiving his formal degree, he also received additional academic accolades in the form of MCC’s “Certificate of Achievement in Music Studies” and the “Mickey Albrezio Music and Fine Arts Scholarship”. After MCC, Ben moved to Hollywood, CA to one of this country’s premiere Contemporary Music Colleges, Musician’s Institute. During his year of attendance, Ben studied guitar performance, music business, and independent artistry.
Dennis joins the Summit faculty having played in bands and performing for more than 25 years. Shortly after graduating High School in Stafford Springs, CT he moved to Atlanta, Georgia to attend the Atlanta Institute of Music where he received a certificate of completion in 1999. While in Atlanta Dennis gained valuable experience touring the east coast performing original music for nearly 2 years.
It wasn’t until his mid 20’s when Dennis discovered the double bass and decided to go to the University of Georgia where he received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees in double bass performance under the guidance of world renowned virtuoso Milton Masciadri. During his time at UGA he was able to study and perform in countries all over the world including Italy, China, Uruguay, and Costa Rica. Dennis also performed in many ensembles at UGA including the jazz big band, jazz combos, the UGA orchestra, salsa band, the symphonic band and more.
Outside of his studies Dennis maintained a very active schedule as a working musician performing with numerous musical theatre groups in the Athens, Ga area. He also performed regularly with his jazz combos, original rock band, and many other freelance opportunities.
Dennis has recently returned to the Manchester area from an extended stay in Costa Rica where he held the position of double bass instructor for the city of Tres Rios. He was also teaching all violin, viola, and cello at a private high school as the assistant teacher of stringed instruments. Dennis frequently performed with the orchestra of Cartago and maintained a busy schedule as a freelance musician. There he became fluent in Spanish and also taught English as a second language.
Currently Dennis is performing with the Manchester Community Orchestra and working at Summit Studios where he is sharing his experience, teaching guitar, violin, bass, and also coaching rock bands. Dennis recently auditioned for the Hartt School of music where he hopes to receive an Artists Diploma with Robert Black.
A Native of Long Island, New York, Sean began his musical studies at the age of nine. He started off playing rock music on his electric bass with his Dad in their unfinished attic, and has went off to play all over the East Coast, including Carnegie Hall, the Bushnell, Union Station (Hartford, CT), and many other renowned clubs. Sean received a bachelors in music from the Hartt School of Music, studying classical double bass with Robert Black. Sean was also selected to receive a full scholarship in his final year, as a part of the 20/20 Performing Arts Program. As the only double bass player in the program for that year, Sean performed chamber music with some of the top musicians in the school, with music ranging from baroque music to contemporary improvisations.
Sean continues his musical journey performing with many different ensembles. Sean is the lead singer and bassist for the Indie Funk group Ladyhips, who recently released Live at Farmtone, a series of music videos and live recordings that were recorded in a century old hay barn in Connecticut. Check out their music at www.ladyhips.com . Sean is also the bassist and one of the arrangers for the Connecticut tango group, Infinitango, who perform regularly throughout the New England Area. As a freelancer, you can find Sean in various musical theatre pits, church mass performances, salsa bands, and big bands around the area. Sean takes advantage and pride in the fact that the bass is such a versatile and needed instrument in many styles. Sean is also beginning a promising career as a record producer, and is currently in the middle of recording and mixing 4 different records simultaneously.
As an educator, Sean is incredibly active throughout Connecticut as a bass, voice, and guitar teacher. Sean is on part time faculty in the Manchester and Middletown Public School systems, teaching students from first grade to senior year. Sean believes that a student will only grow musically if they feel the urge to do it themselves, and Sean helps fuel that fire by exposing his students to music that they perhaps have never heard before.