photo credit: Josiah Van Dien

Zubin Thakkar

Focus Areas: Musical Director

Zubin Thakkar is a platinum-selling producer, engineer, songwriter, musical director, and guitarist from Toronto, Canada. His list of credits include Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello, BoysIIMen, Tyler Shaw, Kira Isabella and many more.

Since 2015 Zubin has been the Musical Director and lead guitarist for Grammy nominated artist, Shawn Mendes. In this role he has put together performances for Saturday Night Live, The Grammy Awards, The Tonight Show – Starring Jimmy Fallon, The American Music Awards, The Ellen Show, X- Factor, The Much Music Video Awards, The MTV Video Awards, The Billboard Awards as well as sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden, the Rogers Centre, the O2 and Wembley Stadium in London, and the Staples Center. Heʼs also toured the world with Shawn playing and musically directing his three sold-out, headlining tours, the most recent being “Shawn Mendes: The Tour”.

On top of playing with the likes of John Mayer, Ed Sheeran, Miley Cyrus, John Legend, Khalid, The Roots and Zedd while working with Shawn Mendes, Zubin has extensive credits as a producer and engineer. He produced Shawnʼs 2017 MTV Unplugged album and was a vocal engineer on the Grammy nominated song “Señorita” by Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes. He also produced several acoustic tracks on the 2018 eponymous Shawn Mendes album including the stripped version of the chart topping, Grammy nominated single “In My Blood”. Zubin also produced Shawn’s vocal for his collaboration with Taylor Swift on her song “Lover”.

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Most recently Zubin’s musical direction and guitar playing was featured in two Netflix specials – “Shawn Mendes: In Wonder” and “Shawn Mendes: Live In Concert”, the latter which was filmed during the singer’s sold-out show at The Rogers Center in Toronto. He also worked extensively on the audio post-production and provided additional original music for both films.

Zubin co-wrote the song “Always Been You” from Mendes’ latest album, “Wonder” and also produced 7 live songs which are included on the deluxe release.

Zubin also composes for film and TV and his music has been featured on many television shows, networks and brands such as Netflixʼs “Black Mirror”, CMT, MTV, Nickelodeon, Family Channel, CBC, YTV, Much Music and by the NFL, NBA, Nascar, Tommy Hilfiger and Tim Hortons.

Carl Verheyen

Focus Areas: Rock / Funk / Fusion

“One of the Top 10 Guitar Players in the World” Guitar Magazine

“One of the Top 100 Guitarists of All Time” Classic Rock Magazine

In his 50-plus years of playing the instrument, Carl has created a wildly successful, multi-faceted career. He is a critically acclaimed musician, vocalist, songwriter, arranger, producer and educator with fifteen albums and two live DVDs released worldwide. Carl is commonly regarded as a guitar virtuoso capable of playing any style of music with remarkable mastery and conviction. He has been one of LA’s elite “first call” session players for the past 38 years, playing on hundreds of records, movie soundtracks and television shows. As a solo artist,  Verheyen has graced the pages of countless industry publications and been the subject of numerous articles chronicling his rise to the forefront of the modern day guitar scene. Carl has won numerous polls and musical honors in the US, Germany, France, Italy and the UK.

A member of the British rock group Supertramp since 1985, Carl has played to millions of enthusiastic fans in sold out arenas worldwide.

As the creative force behind the Carl Verheyen Band, he has released an impressive and eclectic discography that showcases his endless talents across a wide array of musical genres. Carl has run the CVB since 1987 and the band has toured all over the world steadily since 1997. They continue to draw fans on the festival circuit as well as theaters and clubs in North America and Europe.

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A much sought after studio musician, Carl plays on other artists’ CDs whenever his busy schedule permits. He has recorded and played with a virtual who’s who of the music industry including John Fogarty, The Bee Gees, Cher, and many others. His vast collection of well over 1,000 movie soundtracks and television credits is enviable. 67,000,000 people heard Carl as a featured soloist at the 2009 Academy Awards. He is also heavily featured in the documentary film about the electric guitar called Turn It Up! 

Learn more about your instructor HERE.

Mattias “IA” Eklundh

Focus Area: Metal / Experimental / India

Mattias “IA” Eklundh is a Swedish guitarist and singer, known for his band Freak Kitchen and his participation in Frozen Eyes, Fate, the Jonas Hellborg Trio and Art Metal. He has also released solo albums under the name Freak Guitar.

Today Mattias is considered one of the most innovative guitarists in the world. Mattias’ minimalist, home-brewed and sober approach to the guitar has surprised record buyers and journalists around the world. There is simply no sign of expensive guitar effects or processors involved in his playing, despite the sometimes “strange” sounds you hear.

Ace (Martin Kent)

Focus Area: Band Performance

Martin “Ace” Kent is a member of the alternative rock band Skunk Anansie. The band celebrated international success with their hit Hedonism and with over 4 million albums sold, they are one of the most successful bands of the 90s.

Ace lives in London where he works as a musician and producer. His passion revolves around effect devices with which he creates his distinctive sounds. In his lessons, Ace mainly works with you on your band performance.

Learn more about your instructor HERE.

Mika Tyyskä

Focus Areas: Tapping / Sweeping / Arpeggio

The website of our lecturer Mika Tyyskä has cult status among guitarists – after all, the magic of the animated character Mr. Fastfinger is one of the most virtuoso that is currently offered on six strings.

In the Professional Program Guitar, Finnish-born Mika exclusively shows you his techniques for tapping, sweeping, alternate picking and arpeggios and shows you how to practice them effectively and use them musically.

Learn more about your instructor HERE.

Patrick André

Focus Areas: Pop / Band

Patrick André is an electric guitarist, instructor, and composer from Kaiserslautern.

He has been playing guitar since he was 7 years old, studied musicology in Saarbrücken as well as popmusic design (focus on electric guitar) at the Popakademie Baden-Württemberg. Since graduating in 2012, he has played as a freelance musician in numerous bands, has performed on stage with Michael Schulte and Mark Forster, among others, and has played guitar for various TV shows. He gained his first experience as a guitar teacher back in 2005 and has since taught hundreds of students at various levels.

As an all-rounder he is active in numerous cover bands, composes, produces and arranges either as commissioned work or for his own projects. His focus is on band-friendly playing, adapted to instrumentation, gig and style, as well as the perfect sound and part for each song.

Bob Saganas

Focus Areas: Live Playing / Rock- and Metal Playing

Bob Saganas started playing the guitar at the age of 16 and successfully completed his guitar studies in Athens in 2010. As a professional guitarist, he played with his bands for big bands like the Scorpions and Thin Lizzy as a support act in front of large audiences and worked with musicians like Kip Winger (bass player for Alice Cooper).

He could already prove his excellent live playing in numerous European countries and he is still a frequently booked guitarist. In the Professional Program, Bob will take you to the next level in Rock and Metal Playing.

Learn more about your instructor HERE.

Nico Schliemann

Focus Areas: Rock / Pop / Touring / Studio

Nico Schliemann comes from the Stuttgart area and has been playing guitar since he was 10 years old. At the age of 16 he already studied at the Jazz & Rock School in Freiburg. He has been a guitar teacher for over 19 years and has made a good name for himself as a coach. In 2011 he won the 2nd place at the international guitar contest “Guitar Idol III” in London as best newcomer.Live he is mainly on tour with JUNO17 and the German electro-pop act Glasperlenspiel (among others through the big arenas at the summer tour 2015 as support of HeleneFischer). He played with Wincent Weiss, Maite Kelly, Gregor Meyle, Elli Erl (DSDS), Percival Duke(The Voice of Germany), Rolf Stahlhofen (Söhne Mannheims), Stefan Stoppok, The Wheater Girls, uva.

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Learn more about your instructor HERE.

Yannick Robert

Focus Area: Jazz Playing

Yannick Robert comes from Paris and is known for his unique finger playing technique and melodic playing. He studied at the Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT) in Hollywood and at the CIM Paris and at this time was already chosen as the winner of the Jazz Contest of the famous La Défense Jazz Festival. He played with many stars of the jazz scene like Scott Henderson, Alain Caron, André Charlier, Michel Cusson, Jean-Marc Jafet or André Ceccarelli and has published numerous books, CDs and DVDs over the years. Yannick is a guest lecturer at the MAI (Music Academy International) in Nancy, Teaching Director of the Ibanez Guitar Schools in France and Collection Director at ID Musique.

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As an endorser for Ibanez Guitars, he played a major role in the development of a Fretless Signature Model and can be heard on CDs such as Fretless Guitar Masters and Village of the Unfretted.
This makes Yannick a well-known figure in the Fretless Guitar World. As a specialist in the field of jazz, he adds his knowledge from over 30 years of experience to the Professional Program Guitar and introduces you to the world of jazz playing.

Andreas Reinhard

Focus Areas: Rock / Pop / Riffing

After Andreas Reinhard successfully graduated the Professional Program in 2011, he moved to Berlin to study music production at School Of Popular Arts.
The Professional program gave him all the tools needed to become a successful musician in the German capital.
In Berlin, he is currently working as a studio and touring musician and producer. Andreas plays guitar for different acts such as Cloudy June and TAM. His main focus is his own band The Oklahoma Kid, which went on multiple tours through Europe within the past years.

André Mertens

Focus Areas: Rock Improvisation / Sound / Bending / Legato

André Mertens is a passionate musician and enthusiastic music trainer. Already as a teenager, he started playing in bands and teaching guitar. Among his musical highlights are winning the Robert Johnson Guitar Awards as the best young guitarist in Germany, many workshops with well-known musicians, a big tour through the USA and Canada with guitar legend Uli Jon Roth and worldwide performances on festivals like 70.000 Tons of Metal in Miami/Florida and the Metaldays in Slowenia.

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André studied at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien in Hanover, where he not only perfected his skills as a guitarist, but also deepened his knowledge of other instruments such as drums, bass, piano and vocals, and became involved in studio production and composition/songwriting. Since then, he has been touring Europe with his bands and has played hundreds of gigs. With his rock band Cryptex, he has released three albums and signed a worldwide record deal with SPV/Steamhammer. In the Professional Program, André’s teaching focus is on rock improvisation, sound, bending and legato.

Learn more about your instructor HERE.

Humberto Colacio

Focus Areas: Latin

Brazilian guitarist, arranger and guitar teacher, Humberto Colacio studied classical guitar in the University Cantareira in Brazil (São Paulo) with Henrique Pinto, one of the most famous music educators.

After graduating, he deepened his knowledge in composition with another icon,

Debora Gurgel, arrangement, harmony and improvisation. A duo concerto with her, crowned their work before his immigration to Germany.

Thanks to the Vertiegungsstudium with Debora Gurgel, today Humberto Colacio is an excellent arranger, who spares no effort and develops felxible arrangements in different instrumentations and musical styles.

Today, the guitarist and arranger performs in various cities in Germany with Brazilian musical works. Particularly noteworthy are the work and performances with the flutists, Nina Groschup and Rotraut Jäger, the singers Luciana Cardoso, Paula Carreira, Gabriela Maria Lehr, Fabio Domingues and Fausto Israel and the accordionist Darja Goldberg.

As a teacher in classical, electric guitar and music theory, he offers workshops in Brazilian music and works in different music schools in Hessen and in Baden-Württemberg. His students have already won several prizes in competitions such as “Jugend musiziert”.