As a guitar instructor, Seth Himmelhoch has devoted himself to the classical guitar across the full range of its repertoire from the earliest beginning pieces all the way to showpieces for the concert stage. For young beginners, the focus is the Suzuki Guitar School, with its step by step progression from Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star to Asturias by Isaac Albeniz.

For aspiring professional guitar performers and educators, the focus shifts to intensive work in classical technique and musicianship, drawn from a broad range of sources including the Etudes of Villa Lobos, Sor, Carcassi and Brouwer, the pedagogical works of Carlevaro, Scott Tennant, Frederick Noad and Aaron Shearer.

The Suzuki teaching takes place at the JCC/Thurnauer School of Music in Tenafly, New Jersey where Mr. Himmelhoch is founder and director of the Suzuki Guitar Program.

Mr. Himmelhoch is also Director of Classical Guitar Studies at the William Paterson University of New Jersey in Wayne, NJ. The university provides a full blown comprehensive program that offers concentrations in guitar performance, music education, music management and sound engineering arts.

In his teaching career, Mr. Himmelhoch has coached many young guitarists to prepare them for auditions, and his former students have been accepted as music majors at prestigious institutions such as Manhattan School of Music, Eastman Conservatory, North Carolina School of the Arts, the Juilliard Preparatory Division and Peabody Conservatory.

The Suzuki Guitar Program at the JCC/ Thurnauer School of Music

In Shinichi Suzuki’s Talent Education method, children as young as age three can be instructed in classical music with a loving approach. Originally used by Dr. Suzuki to teach the violin, the method has been adapted to cello, viola, piano, flute, double bass, recorder and classical guitar. Central to Dr. Suzuki’s method is the idea that every child can learn to play beautiful music if he or she is nurtured in an environment of love and encouragement coupled with expert instruction and high standards. This environment includes daily home practicing with the parent as home coach, the use of professional recordings to train the child’s musical ear, and a carefully crafted repertoire that is not only beautiful to play and listen to but is also designed to train the hands to correct technique. The Talent Education Method relies on having both private and group instruction for each child so that technique, musicianship and teamwork skills develop at the same time.

Seth Himmelhoch has been an instrumental figure in making the Suzuki method available for the guitar in the U. S. Since 1987, when he took teacher training with Suzuki Guitar School pioneer Frank Longay, Mr. Himmelhoch has devoted a great deal of energy to promoting and teaching the Suzuki method. In addition to founding the Suzuki guitar program at the JCC, he has been an active volunteer in the Suzuki Association of the Americas Guitar Development Committee. Mr. Himmelhoch’s playing is heard on the CD recordings for Suzuki Guitar School Volumes 2, 3 and 4, along with the playing of Andrew Lafreniere.

At the JCC/ Thurnauer School of Music, the Suzuki Guitar Program begins with an eight week parent training course to prepare the “home coach” for his or her new job as practicing partner. Then the child begins guitar lessons and learns the basics of posture, hand position, rhythm clapping and other fundamentals. Once the child has learned the first piece of music, the group class is added to the weekly schedule and the full program is under way.

Each year at the JCC/ Thurnauer School of Music recitals and concerts give the kids fun performing opportunities, and the many other events at the school give a musical family plenty of chances to hear great live music. The school has presented concerts with artists as varied as Eliot Fisk, Gil Shaham, Wynton Marsalis and Paquito de Rivera and has also offered numerous master classes and competitions.

For information on Seth Himmelhoch’s Suzuki Guitar Program at the JCC:
JCC/Thurnauer School of Music: (201) 569-7900 ex. 235
Seth Himmelhoch: (201) 928-1641

Or look on the web at: www.jcconthepalisades.org

For information on the Suzuki Talent Education Method:

The William Paterson University Music Department

William Paterson University of New Jersey is a dynamic and intense state university where the professors in the music department are personally involved in the musical and professional development of their students. The classical division of the department holds high standards for the student body and the expert instruction available there helps the student rise to these standards.

Seth Himmelhoch has been on the William Paterson University faculty since 1995 and he has helped many guitar students through to graduation in that time. He has also been a driving force behind the William Paterson University Guitarfest, a yearly one-day guitar workshop that has presented artists such as Carlos Barbosa-Lima, Benjamin Verdery, Nicholas Goluses and many others.

The guitar majors at WPU can opt to enroll in one for four possible concentrations as guitar majors:

  1. Guitar Performance: This program is aimed at developing the highest level of ability in the aspiring guitar performer.
  2. Music Education: This is a program preparing for the teacher certification that features work in all the areas of primary and secondary school music teaching.
  3. Music Management: The emphasis of this program is on the business of music including the recording industry, publicity, artist management and copyright law.
  4. Sound Engineering Arts: The Sound Engineering Arts major will get the technical knowledge needed to get started in the cutting edge field of sound engineering.

William Paterson University Music Department
(973) 720-2315