Featured Testimonials

Below are three testimonials, one from a parent, one from a student, and one from a colleague.

Eric has a passion for music second only to the love for his family – Amanda, his wife and Xavier, his son.  Eric’s demeanor is so easy and non-threatening and he wears his joy of all things music on his sleeve.  These qualities produce Eric’s very unique teaching approach which feeds off of each individual student’s excitement for music.  He tailors his lesson plan to each student sharing with them in their excitement for their personal taste in music.  And Eric is a fabulous musician in his own right, in spite of his humility.

As a parent of one of Eric’s students the joy I have felt seeing my child thrilled with the newly acquired skill she has learned is tremendous.  I never have had to insist that she practice.  She comes out of Eric’s lesson driven to accomplish the task at hand.  Her self-motivation at home during the week to play and practice her newly acquired skill or task comes as naturally as Eric imparts the knowledge.  It is her desire to master what the lesson introduced to her that has her grabbing for her guitar at home.  And that desire is implanted and fueled by Eric and his teaching approach.

One of the special things that Eric offers his students is the opportunity to be a part of a concert.  This undertaking is super human, but the result is stupendous. An organizational nightmare no doubt, he pairs up his students into groups of like-minded, comparably-skilled “bands” of 3 or 4 musicians.  The piece for each group is chosen, the individual parts are taught and learned, and the appropriate backing tracks are applied for authenticity.  He finds time for all his students to get together with him to practice a couple of times – which in this day and age with everyone scheduled to the max, is quite an accomplishment.  And Voila!  The concert is a smashing success.  All the students enjoying playing their music and a new-found confidence is born from performing in front of an audience and their music peers.  Eric is so giving of his time and talent to this venture, one can only sit back and enjoy in amazement.

Eric feeds the love of music for the student.  So often the case the teacher beats this love of music out of the student with theories and concepts beyond their ability to grasp.  A skilled, learned musician, Eric is all about that too for the student who is ready … everything all in good time.

A teacher who loves what he teaches more, or a teacher who loves the opportunity to share with others in their love of learning, you will not find.

Julie Pedersen (parent)

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A man that has had a significant impact on me is Eric Clemenzi. Eric was my guitar teacher. He was supportive, understanding, and very knowledgeable about music. When teaching, he always put his students first. He always made his students want to continue learning about music because of his excitement, his enthusiasm, and his positive attitude. His passion for teaching was displayed every time I took lessons from him. Eric challenged me from the beginning. The songs were not always easy as they tested my rhythmic skills, sight reading, and knowledge of time signatures, phrasing, and timing. Eric always told me to focus on the theory behind a piece of music, to know what notes you are playing while you play it. While he taught me many more modern rock songs, he also taught me about music theory concepts such as notes, keys, and scales on the guitar. Eric also recommended songs that I might not have listened to on my own because he wanted to expand my musical range. He emphasized theory, and I thank him for that because the theory gave me a deeper understanding about music and how to write my own.

After a couple of years with Eric, he started emphasizing improvisation. He wanted me to make up my own guitar solos using pentatonic scales. Improvisation was his way of showing me how to make my own music. I would write multiple songs a week and show them to Eric at my next lesson. He never once said that any of my own music was bad or wrong. He taught me how to be more creative, and that weird and unique songs can be great.

Eric would hold recitals every year to practice performing in front of audiences. The recitals were fun because I love to be in the spotlight and entertain people.  I also started a band, Blue Cucumber, with my friend Dmitri. My favorite moment with the band was playing on an outdoor stage at Salisbury Beach on a warm, summer night, performing songs that we wrote together. Family, friends, classmates, and locals came to enjoy our music.

Although I am not necessarily pursuing a career in music, Eric Clemenzi influenced me in ways that will lead to my success outside of music. He taught me to be creative and original as well as have respect for peers and keep an open mind. He also taught me to think about what you are doing while you do it. He challenged me to do my best. Perhaps the most important thing I learned from him though is to keep a positive attitude, because it helps to conquer any challenge when you stay positive.

Connor Barry (Former Student)

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When I began my studies at Berklee College of Music, one of my instructors said, “You’ll learn a lot from us, but you’ll learn even more from your classmates.” That proved true, and today, when I think of that quote, I think of Eric Clemenzi.

Eric lived down the hall from me, and I considered him a friend the first time we met. I enjoyed our conversations, we had similar tastes in music, and we both spent innumerable hours in practice rooms. And although neither of us identified with the scene, we were both straight edge: no drugs and not a drop of alcohol—just music. That was what mattered, and nothing would get in the way. Fifteen years later, none of that has changed.

Those are the similarities. One major difference was that Eric was about a thousand times the musician I was. It’s not a contest, I know, but it’s true. I was a fairly sturdy drummer; Eric was an extraterrestrial guitarist. The guy was from somewhere else. Fifteen years later … yeah, same story.

Fortunately, I’ve managed to trick Eric into making music with me. I’ve worked with him on a number of projects over the years, and they have all been amazing experiences. We lock ourselves in basements, rehearsal rooms, and recording studios, and the mania begins. Day becomes night. Night becomes a jelly doughnut. The jelly doughnut of night becomes the Interstellar Wombat of Justice, running a soup-can telephone line directly into my consciousness, whispering, always whispering, telling me what to write.

Ahem.

Eventually I emerge, unaware of the date, unsure of my name, and very much in need of a burrito. I am at least certain we’ve created something I’ll be proud to play for anyone.

It is a joy to record with Eric, to be part of such consummate musicianship. He’s an inspired writer and his solos have been known to cause cerebral maceration. But he’s also a great listener and a sensitive accompanist. He can conduct a group with a glance and a nod. In our original projects, I have tried to come up with ideas Eric couldn’t pull off. I haven’t found one yet. It’s not just that he knows his instrument; it’s that he understands the inner workings of music. Whatever the material, he seems to have the entire score committed to memory.

I have long been in awe of Eric’s musical ideas and his technical facility, but what I admire even more is his work ethic. He’s always developing something new, and I love that. I saw his pursuit of mastery at eighteen, and I see it today.

I’ve learned a lot from Eric over the last fifteen years. I’d like to think he’s learned something from me too, but I can’t imagine what. Not many people get to meet their favorite guitarist. I get to make records with mine.

T. G. LaFredo
session drummer
contributor, Modern Drummer magazine
Berklee College of Music, 1997–1998
tglafredo.com