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.
Sean is a regionally recognized producer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and composer. His work can be heard through the countless projects he creates and participates in each year. Examples include serving as a composer and accompanist for the HARTT SCHOOL collegiate dance division, as a songwriter and instrumental musician under his own name, as co-producer/band-member of New Haven folk band GOODNIGHT BLUE MOON and as a pit musician for many of the most celebrated theaters in the northeast (THEATERWORKS, LONG WHARF THEATER, GOODSPEED OPERA COMPANY, ROUNDABOUT THEATER COMPANY).
Sean graduated from THE HARTT SCHOOL with highest honors in 2012 in double bass performance. In his final year, he was a member of the university’s premiere chamber ensemble 20/20. Upon graduation, Sean focused his creative energies on fingerstyle guitar studies and on the recording arts, producing several fantastic musicians in the state of Connecticut while accumulating a reputation as a freelance bassist.
Most recently, Sean released his debut album everybody shares a name, available to stream and to purchase on his website. Self recorded, performed and produced, everybody shares a name (2018) takes its lead from the classic golden age songwriters of the mid-late 20th century, all the while nodding towards a style that lives a bit more left of center. GOODNIGHT BLUE MOON’s most recent album Dawning Dream (2018) also features Sean’s work as a producer, recording engineer and co-mixing engineer.
As an educator, Sean is incredibly active throughout Connecticut as a bass, voice, and guitar teacher. In addition to many of his students winning positions in all-state and all-regional orchestra & jazz ensembles, all of his students have walked away with an increased love for music in all of it’s forms. Sean believes that a student will only grow musically if they feel the urge to do it themselves, which he hopes to enable in his students by exposing them to lesser known musical works and by prioritizing the art of performing with conviction, regardless of style or instrument.