Michael Nicolella  


I am fortunate to teach a thriving guitar program at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington. Cornish is the oldest independent music conservatory on the west coast, founded in 1914. Today, it is a vibrant arts college, located in downtown Seattle, offering Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Theater, Dance, Visual Art, and Design as well as Bachelor of Music degrees in composition and performance. Recent guest masterclasses at Cornish include the Mobius Trio, Jason Vieaux and Sharon Isbin. In addition, Seattle is home to one of North America's most active classical guitar societies. Cornish students are frequently afforded a chance to perform in the SCGS's masterclasses given by artists on their International Series.

I also currently teach a limited number of private students. In the past I have directed the classical guitar departments at Lawrence University and the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. I have given guest masterclasses, lectures and coachings throughout North America including: Yale University, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, University of Victoria, Berklee College of Music, Appalachian State University, Rhode Island College, Music Academy of North Carolina, Wake Forest University, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Universiy of South Carolina-Columbia, University of Calgary, Wright State University, North Carolina School of the Arts, Eastern Washington University, Loyola Marymount University, Pacific Lutheran University, Guilford College, University of North Carolina - Wilmington, University of California-Santa Cruz, U Mass Boston , University of Rhode Island and Marylhurst University. I have also been guest adjudicator for the Calgary Performing Arts Festival, Victoria Perfroming Arts Festival and Musicfest Northwest (Spokane, WA)

Lessons are currently $90 per hour and it is my policy to never raise the rates of an individual for as long as they decide to study with me. My current students include amateurs, students with professional aspirations and professional guitarists. I enjoy teaching students of any level, as long as they take their music making seriously. I accept students who wish to study weekly, bi-weekly and by appointment.

I believe in giving all students a solid technical foundation. While I acknowledge the obvious fact that anatomical differences exist between players, I believe that there are also principles of efficiency that hold true and that unnecessary and excessive tension are the main obstacles to a fluid technique. I strive to help students become their own best teacher. Consequently I rarely spoon-feed fingerings and interpretive ideas. I instead have more advanced students make their own initial attempts and then discuss the relative merits; presenting them with options. I believe in helping students to develop creative and efficient practice strategies and techniques in order to help uncover their own musical potential and individuality.