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Invitation to Mastery


I’ve been doing a lot of teaching over the past years. It inspires me, and I love it.

I would like to be available to everyone at every level of commitment. But as I get busier and busier with my teaching and other projects,  my availability keeps running lower and lower. As a result, I must choose to focus more on teaching people who are the most committed to learning and challenging themselves,  by giving them the highest level of commitment and support from my end.

Long story short, I’m restructuring the way I teach. I’m shifting my focus to creating a way to give the absolute best of my time and efforts to those of you who love playing classical guitar enough that you’re willing to commit on a higher level in order to get the results and enjoyment you’re looking for.

I will still teach weekly or biweekly lessons. And if you choose that route, you’ll get the absolute best I have to offer for that hour of time. I’ll give thought and preparation to each lesson.

But I’m putting my heart into creating a high end, one-on-one classical guitar learning program called “Invitation to Mastery.” This program will fill in all the cracks and all the missing links.

It will also give you much more bang for your buck.

To get into this program, you’ll have to prove to me that you are ready for it. This program is not for dabblers.

But I’m also not going to judge your entry into this program based on how good you already are: this is not about your current level of playing. I will work with you whatever level your playing has reached. (no beginners for online lessons, though)

What I’m screening for is seriousness of purpose, and that depends on how much you really want to improve, how much you really want to achieve the goal you set out.

So here’s the basic plan:

I’m taking on a small number of students several times a year, and giving them 6 months of intensive mentoring, completely tailored to rocketing your guitar skills through the roof, mastering repertoire, and achieving direction, flow, and enjoyment –and thus improvement—-in your practicing.

If you choose to take this on, I’ll do anything I can to help you get better.

I’ll be showing you everything I know.

We’ll develop a set of challenging but realistic goals for you, and then we’ll achieve them together.

  • We’ll start out by assessing your current strengths and weaknesses.
  • I’ll diagnose the areas where you need to get some serious work in.
  • We’ll then work out an achievement plan.—a list of repertoire that you are going to commit to mastering, a skill set that you are committed to improving.
  • Each week or at appropriate intervals, I’ll ask you to send me a recording of the repertoire, exercises, or anything else that you are working on, that I’ve assigned to you.
  • Each week we’ll establish a time for an online or in-person lesson where we can truly focus on the details that matter: technical and musical.
  • We’ll share an online document set that both of us can use to keep tabs on what’s happening.
  • You can upload your recordings and videos to a private server for me to listen to and view, and I’ll get back to you quickly with detailed suggestions, encouragement, and recommendations
  • Things take time and effort on the classical guitar, and patience is an important part of learning well. But by the end of the 6 months, you’ll not only have made significant, noticeable improvements in the one or more areas of playing that are key to your overall progress at this point; you’ll also have learned and reinforced a set of high-level practices, habits and principles that will serve you in the future as you grow as a guitarist. You’ll also have learned a set of repertoire that you love, to the highest level that you’re currently capable of, and you’ll have a set of wonderful pieces at your fingertips you are comfortable with and proud, performance ready!

This is for people who are serious about becoming the guitar player they’ve dreamed about becoming. You could be doing it entirely for the love of it—love of music and love of playing music on the guitar is what it’s all about for me. Or you could be preparing fo an audition, building repertoire, practicing for a recital or a show. It’s about mastering technical challenges, growing and deepening your musicianship, learning how to practice effectively and developing a sense of flow and effortlessness in your playing

This program is not for you if you have one foot in, one foot out: low commitment to practicing, following up on technical suggestions, developing your own self-expression and musicianship to the max.

This program is not for you if you want to avoid a strong sense of commitment to an established goal and fritter away your lessons, time, money and effort in a 1 step forward, 1 step back.

This program is not for you if you don’t feel comfortable looking at your playing habits closely enough and often enough that make consistent, steady improvements that add up to much bigger, permanent improvements.

This program is not for you if you expect a teacher to do everything for you: to work out all your fingerings, to baby you through your blind spots, to imprint all his stylistic and artistic quirks onto you so you become a clone.

This program is for you if you know that in order to truly grow as a guitarist and develop your own style, voice, expressive voice, powerful technique and ability to learn how to learn in collaboration and on your own–you must do most of the work. That part of it is up to you.

This program is for you if are interested in getting real and honest, direct feedback and support from a highly skilled, experienced teacher who will do everything possible to get the right knowledge, the right recommendations, the right challenges across to you week to week, so you know what work you have to do to get the best results and achieve flow in your practice and playing.

This program is for you if you have one or more frustrating issues in your playing and practicing that you absolutely want to get handled, understand from the inside out, so you can continue to grow as a guitarist.

This program is for you if you have one or more missing or underdeveloped skills that you want to improve on in a major way, and want to get the best inside, in-depth understanding of how they work and how you can continually grow and improve them now and in the future.

This program is for you if you’re looking for more than just one-size-fits-all weekly lessons that try to cram everything into a short time-frame and leave you fending for yourself.

This program is for you if you demand more structure to the overall arc of our work together.

Last but not least: This program is for you if you are interested and able to make use of all the technology and communication options that the web offers.

A few student endorsements:

I have found Jay’s teaching approach to be just what I needed to see a large improvement in my classical guitar playing ability.  With Jay’s patient and focused approach, he quickly honed in on ways to improve my right hand and left hand technique and speed and has helped me to bring out the nuances in classical guitar music.  The has also resulted in me having much more confidence in my playing and performance.
Jerome K.

I’ve been studying with Jay Kauffman for about two years and have learned more in that period than in the prior ten years. He has given me a great deal of insight as to how to improve the quality and interest of my music and, in so doing, has increased my desire to practice more. My repertoire has increased substantially as a result of all this and I recently gave a concert for some friends with some of the pieces we have been working on!
B. Clemens

[Jay’s approach to teaching is] distracting me TO the music and away from the usual din in my head which disconnects me from both my hands and the guitar.  So instead of listening to the whirlwind of chopped up thoughts I’m usually having while practicing, which are mostly negative (did that wrong, strings ALWAYS buzz, my hands must be misshapen, shouldn’t be even trying to do this, etc.), I am listening to the guitar — to the strings.  The second thing is coming naturally from the first: I am feeling a direct connect between my mind, hands and back and shoulders and what sounds are happening.  So I feel in control.  By contrast I guess it felt, [before this] that every time I played, I was pulling the handle on a slot machine…maybe my fingers would accidentally get it right, maybe they wouldn’t.

Rachel M.

Here are some of the things you need to know about this program:

It’s going to cost $2100. This is a steal when you consider my rate of $80 /hr, and that I’ll be helping you out much more than the usual 4 hours per month of prescribed time. This comes to only $10 more per lesson, but the value of each lesson is at least doubled by adding in all of the other aspects of this program)

This fee is a filter: I’m not willing to risk the possibility that you’ll drop out after one month or whatever (especially if I’ve spent months working my ass off for you)

I have a lot of students, but you’ll be first on my priority list. You can even text me a question, and I’ll answer it as soon as humanly possible!

You’ll have free access to everything I do online for the next two years.

A few small caveats:

Don’t take me up on this offer if you’re some wierdo who is going to call me 10 times a day and wake me out of bed to talk to me about some fingering then don’t take

You must agree to take action. I’ll do everything I can to make your guitar playing skills rocket thorugh the roof, but you must be serious: you must take action and apply the strategies and excercises I give you, work on the skills that I deem most important for you to work on.

If you want one of the slots, please do the following in this order (no exceptions):

1. Send a 25% down payment of $525  to my Paypal address at

2.Send in an application telling me your phone number and a good time to call or skype with you within the next 24 hours


Applications will be considered on a first come, first served basis, . there is no application deadline and the spots will be filled by the first eligible candidates.

Very important note: I will not review your application until payment has been received. I’m purposefully making the barrier application difficult because I don’t want to review a  lot of applications) If if doesn’t work out  I will (of course) refund your money within 24 hours of your payment. But I’m just not willing invest my time in reviewing stuff from a bunch of people who eventually decide that this program isn’t for them or that they don’t have funds.

Also, you should know, there will be absolutely NO refunds with this program. I’m only willing to work with doers and people who will 100% commit to making their playing awesome.

My Commitments and Promises To You:

  1. Enhancing Enjoyment and Flow—-challenging you with repertoire that inspires you, giving you the appropriate exercises and challenges at the appropriate time so you can focus on practicing and not have to worry about all the confusing, larger questions
  2. Making it a process of discovery of what you want to achieve
  3. Leaving no stone unturned in creatively solving all problems, blind spots, technical, physical, mental issues that hold you back
  4. No Bullshit Approach: this means that I’m interested in using techniques and practices that work for you, whatever they are.
  5. Making great music, making the music as good as it can be, is the highest goal.
  6. becoming a musician, not just a guitarist
  7. Self expression