I’m Jay Kauffman, a guitarist, teacher, composer, and illustrator. My training is in classical guitar, and I studied performance at the Cincinnati Conservatory and the Juilliard School of Music. I recently moved to Tucson, Arizona, and am seeking to fill my teaching studio both locally and online.
I love teaching guitar, all ages and levels. My highest goal in teaching is to create and hold a space of inspiration, support and challenge in service of your ongoing improvement.
- I offer several stand-alone online courses, including a technique course that is focused on embodied musicianship.
- This is my latest CD, of original classical guitar compositions illustrated by my own watercolors and accompanied by an evolving storyline.
- If you were brought to this site to find the scores for my Youtube recordings of Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik or Rossini’s William Tell Overture, then click those links if you wish to go straight to them. Here is a full listing of my scores available, including published works.
- Another experiment of mine has been the creation of watercolor bookmarks–please check these out, since you just might love them. My hope, in a world full of screens, is to contribute eye-rest, and the human enjoyment of reading physical books.
Recordings and Scores
CD with original artwork available for streaming and purchase at Bandcamp: Music is everywhere these days, but listening to it is getting harder. Classical music– and all serious “listening” music—-hails from a time before app-driven dopamine hits ruled our...
This is my arrangement of the full finale (the famous part) of the William Tell Overture for solo classical guitar. Mauro Giuliani, the accomplished 19th century guitarist-composer wrote a number of “Rossinianes,” virtuosic potpourris into which he threw many of the...
This is a live performance of Milonga, the first “island” in my Archipelago for Guitar, performed at the “Piano Lunch” concert at Christ & St. Stephen’s Church, New York, NY.
All 4 movements of Serenade No. 13 for Strings, K. 525, transcribed for the advanced classical guitar, from G Major into D Major. If you're a bit burned out on Sor and Giuliani and their ilk, it's a lot of fun to play a great composer such as Mozart on the guitar. A...
Prelude 1: Lullaby from a Paper Boat / Prelude 2: With Variation / Prelude 3: Brookrolick / Prelude 4: Like a Passacaglia / Prelude 5: Moto Perpetuo
CD available for streaming and purchase at Bandcamp: Fingerprint is a musical tour of the world through the strings of Jay Kauffman’s guitar. It is a refreshingly original collection of music inspired by folk and popular idioms from around the globe. It features some...
At the core of learning to play the guitar well is the quality of time you spend with it. A lot has been said about quantity–about the 10,000 hours of practice you need in order to reach mastery. And about how to organise each of those 10,000 hours. These are both important. But the quality of that time is more important.
The book “Talent is Overrated” makes the claim that a specific manner of practicing, called “deliberate practice” is what separates the W.A. Mozarts or Tiger Woods of the world from everyone else is something he calls “deliberate practice.”
Here are the elements of Deliberate Practice:
1. It’s designed specifically to improve performance—designed very specifically, for exactly what needs improvement at the specific stage of development.
Have you heard the legend of the guitarist with no bad habits?
It goes like this: “there was this guy, who my friend used to go to school with, a monster guitarist, who’d been taught so well as a child that he never developed any bad habits!”
I still mumble and stumble a bit with music theory terminology, but that’s because my inclination has always been towards the feeling side of things. I think in the language of feelings, not jargon. I always ask myself, in a very visceral sense, what does this bit of theory mean, in terms of how the music sounds, in terms of how it feels? So why should you care about music theory? What does it do for you? And what does it not do for you?
10th Year Anniversary Edition:I'm revisiting some of my best old posts on playing guitar. Enjoy! When you learn to play an instrument like the classical guitar there's plenty to worry about. Your hand position.Your other hand position.Coordinating your hands (and your...
When you panic at the complexity of the fingerboard, you may think that what you have to memorize are a bunch of individual notes and chords, so you can jump to the right one at the right time. That’s true, but on a deeper level, what you really need to learn is the deeper musical shapes those notes follow. And these shapes have a lot more humanity to them, they are what we respond to emotionally, and thus they tend to be easier to learn. They have their full power because of the musical scale from which they spring.