Michael Peragallo – Guitar Teacher

Guitar and Ukulele
Bachelor’s in Classical Guitar Performance
Master’s in Music Education
Classical and Jazz

1476280_718060381539830_815909119_nI started playing guitar at the age of 13, was self-taught, and began mostly playing rock and metal music. I eventually pursued classical guitar in college, earning my degree in classical guitar performance from East Stroudsburg University and graduated with several music awards and honors.

While studying guitar, I began to teach in-home lessons during his the evenings. At the same time, I was a member of the ESU Jazz Ensemble, where I eventually became the principle guitarist, aiding and mentoring new guitarists.

I continued my study of the classical guitar while earning my master’s in music education from Marywood University. While studying at Marywood, I taught guitar classes to freshmen and sophomore music therapy majors, helping them with guitar proficiency for their work in the field. I am an active performer as a soloist, in duos, and as part of the Marywood Guitar Ensemble.

My teaching style involves having my students understand what is happening in the music and using proper technique to accurately and effortlessly interpret the music they are working on. By using musical analysis (theory) and technique students are able to be complete guitarists, musicians, and understand how to apply these concepts to their practice for maximum results.

As a guitarist who has studied rock styles, classical, and jazz, I am excited to offer my services and teach all styles and ability levels.

When did you begin playing Guitar, and why?
I had always been interested in guitar however I began playing guitar around the age of 12 or 13. My older brother was a drummer but played some guitar. He began teaching me how to read tab and search for songs I was listening. I began learning by ear and thought it was amazing to be able to figure out a song. Once I began I was hooked.

What other instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?
As a music education major with a certification in K-12 teaching I play a little bit of every instrument. However, my main instruments are guitar (all styles with emphasis on classical), ukulele, and piano. I took method courses on all instruments and taught middle school band for one year. I took private piano lessons for two years during my undergraduate and graduate terms of study.

What are your personal goals as a musician?
I have several goals as a musician. One of my top goals is do more original compositions and arrangement of songs. As a guitarist I want to continue to improve my technique and musical interpretation. I also am always working on learning varied songs in the guitar literature, and have a new program of music, or be working on one, once my prior songs have been completed. Finally, I always want to keep up with the latest research and my knowledge in music history, theory, and new practices in the world of music education and pedagogy.

Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked?  Something you’ll remember forever?
I have had several. One particular one I will remember always was very early into my self-study of guitar. I was having a particular hard time with a new technique (sweep-picking). I was able to learn it by using a metronome, and playing through the technique very slowly and building up speed. I was amazed at how quickly and well I was able to learn a new concept using this technique. Of course many musicians and guitarists are very familiar with this for practicing. However, being self-taught at the time I look back and am happy that I discovered this sooner rather than later. This really shaped how I practiced all styles of guitar from then on and helped me from practicing the wrong way.

What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?
During a master class with Bradley Colten he focused on musical interpretation and the “flexibility of notes”. He talked about singing lines of music and finding where the music has tension/relaxation to go beyond playing “like a robot” and adding artistic expression. He mentioned that when we look back at the best performer usually they are talked about how expressive they are and how well they interpreted the music. I remember after this really moving towards going beyond what is in the written music and using my knowledge of analysis for a “next” level interpretation of the piece that was both accurate and artistic.

What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?
My most challenging moment was probably when I had to learn to play flute for one of my woodwind method courses. I had only just learned brass and was still not very comfortable using my breath as a means of playing an instrument. It took me a long time to even make a sound let alone run out of breath in a second. Eventually I was able to overcome this through practice and the help of my peers who were woodwind players.

What is your biggest musical achievement?
My biggest musical achievement to date would most likely be the competition of my master’s thesis. The paper was titled “Musical Interpretation: A Theoretical-Historical Approach”. It focused on the guitar pieces I was working on and I explained how musical and historical analysis of a composer and the work can lead to an informed interpretation which in turn shows that technique and choices of techniques are devices for the means to an artistic end.

Favorite thing about teaching?
My favorite thing about teaching is when I am able to play or explain a concept to a student in a way that I can see a light-bulb go off in their head and then they are able to demonstrate understanding of the concept.

What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?
As someone who was self-taught I suggest taking lessons from the beginning. Having an expert teacher who can make sure no bad habbits form, answer your questions, and guide you in your learning is an invaluable tool and can really keep your motivation high and develop your ability at a much quicker speed than using your own resources.

Personal music projects: i.e. bands, groups, shows, recording, etc.
Currently, I am working on my next recital program and beginning research for a music essay in the topic of music theory. I am also slowly working on recording and arranging music in my small home studio.