Jes Raymond

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Clawhammer Banjo, Songwriting, Acoustic Guitar, Singing, Small Group

Lesson Fees
from $75.00 / 60 Minutes

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Hey there! I'm Jes Raymond. I am an award winning songwriter and performer, and I teach voice, songwriting, guitar, and clawhammer banjo.  I love helping students practice well. I try to set up beginners with solid  foundations to build on, and inspire intermediate and advanced students with more personalized study. 

I majored in voice at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and then graduated from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA with an interdisciplinary liberal arts degree concentrating on music and mythology.  I toured regionally, nationally and in Europe (Belgium, Netherlands, Germany) as the front of The Blackberry Bushes Stringband for 10 years. I have taught songwriting, singing, guitar and performance workshops and residencies at many festivals and schools. (The Strawberry Music Festival, The Wintergrass Festival, The Sisters Folk Festival,  Cameron State University, Seabury School) I have taught music in the classroom as a Pre-K through 6th grade music teacher and conducted a 5th-8th middle school choir. I was granted the Jackstraw Foundation Artist Award in 2009, and The Seattle City Artist Award in 2010.  I’ve released a solo album and 3 albums with The Blackberry Bushes.  I have coached and collaborated on many different projects, and have licensed music for TV and commercials. I am currently the Artist-In-Residence at The Village in White River Junction, VT and tour with my husband, fiddler Jakob Breitbach as our duet- Jes & Jakob. Like most artists, teaching is elemental to my work. I have been lucky to study with some amazing teachers and I aim to synthesize and pass on that lineage.

I have spent a whole lot of my hours as a human being devoted to music, and I love watching music bring joy, community, and mastery into my students' lives.

 I really try to meet my students where they need me. Everyone learns differently, and so teachers figure out how to adapt concepts and techniques to serve the student and their goals. I aim to make lessons fun, accessible, and challenging enough to get on that growing edge. 

I know that good, focused, deep practice will take you anywhere you want to go. My primary goal as a teacher is to help you DEVELOP and DEEPEN your practice so that you can use your instrument to express your artistry at any level. For ADULT students this is usually a combination of technique and theory that is determined by the students musical interests and experience. With CHILDREN I am more focused on laying a foundation of fun, enthusiasm for practice, and solid fundamental skills.

I am trained classically and in folk traditions, and I draw from both. I  believe strongly in learning by ear and approaching music as a language. (We can all talk before we can read!) I also utilize written music and tab, and I can help you make the most of these tools.

I am equally enthusiastic about teaching singing to beginners, intermediate and advanced students. I focus on safely building ease and strength in the voice including advanced techniques such as healthy belting, and conversational phrasing. I work one on one, and also coach duets and small groups: working on  their growth as individual  artists and the music they are able to make collectively. 

I teach heart centered songwriting as a balance between creativity and craft.

I teach beginning through early advanced flatpicking guitar, helping students establish solid fundamental technique, accompany themselves singing, learn to play in groups, and learn to improvise solos. 

I teach beginning through intermediate clawhammer banjo- again teaching good foundation techniques to get you playing the music you are hoping to play. 

BA-LIBERAL ARTS The Evergreen State College 2004 with a concentrations in music and mythology Member Folk Alliance International

Some people want to master their instrument. Some people just want to feel better singing in church. Both are equally valid reasons for study and I work to try to make those goals happen.

I adapt teaching materials to each students needs based on their goals and use a variety of method books and supportive texts. Here are some of the methods I draw from:

Kodaly, Orff, and Suzuki Method, Dan Miller and Tim May's Flatpicking Essentials series, Ken Pearlman's melodic clawhammer banjo method, MANY books from Berkley Press

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