Chris Poon | Guitar Program Director
Christopher Poon is an experienced teacher who has taught private students and was a faculty member of the Institute of Vocational Education in Hong Kong, where he was a lecturer for the music technology program. Chris graduated from Berklee College of Music with a Bachelor Degree in Music, double-majoring in Guitar Performance and Contemporary Writing & Production. Jazz Guitar has been his main focus in the recent years, but he enjoys playing other styles of music on the guitar as well, such as Pop, Rock, Latin, and Folk. Chris has developed his own curriculum-based, goals-driven and progressive guitar course utilizing renowned teaching materials from the Berklee College of Music and Musician Institute that covers both guitar playing and music theory.
Andrew Bayardi | Guitar
Andrew is an experienced and versatile guitar instructor who is well versed in various music genres. Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew grew up listening to Country and Rock n' Roll music. As he was developing his love and skills for the guitar at a young age, he also studied classical and jazz music along the way. After earning his Bachelor of Music Degree in Guitar Performance from the prestigious Berklee College of Music, he has been an active educator and performer in the recent years. He is currently the lead guitarist in an indie rock band, "The Honors", that appears in festivals and venues throughout the Northeast. It is his belief that the main goal for learning an instrument is to have fun and to explore one's own path to making music. With his upbeat personality and positive attitude, Andrew always how to make learning and music fun for his students.
Michael Byrne | Guitar
Originally from Martinsburg, WV, Michael is a talented and experienced guitarist/instructor who has a passion for music making and teaching. Since high school, Michael has been teaching guitar lessons to students of different ages and levels. His musical journey eventually led him to the prestigious Berklee College of Music where he majored in Music Business. While in Boston, Michael has had the opportunity to work with school-aged children from the Boys & Girls’ Club in Dorchester, MA, teaching them guitar lessons. As a musician, Michael is currently active with two local bands – Hyrbrid Noise and Akidna that perform both cover and original music. Michael believes patience and being personable are the two important qualities for every instructor. Knowing that spiking students’ inner passion for music is what would reward them ultimately, Michael always tries to strike a balance between teaching the fundamental and fun elements in his lessons.
Amy Mantis | Guitar
Hailed from Maine, Amy started her musical journey on the guitar at a young age. Her talents and passion for music eventually led her to the Berklee College of Music where she graduated with honors majoring in Music Business. While at Berklee, Amy started her own rock band called Canary. Since Canary's inception in 2010, the band has opened for Jackson Browne at the House of Blues, was hand-selected to represent Berklee at the 2012 SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, and performed nearly 100 self-booked shows. Amy also performs regularly as a solo act as well as with the American Who Sensation (rocking the music of The Who!), one of Boston's best tribute bands. Amy has been actively teaching students of all ages and levels in the recent years. She strongly believes in the fundamentals when it comes to teaching while at the same time, the learning should be fun (note that the word "fun" is in "fundamentals")!
Austin Smith | Guitar
Austin Smith is a multi-talented guitarist, composer, and educator from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. After receiving his Bachelor Degree in Music majoring in Composition at Berklee College of Music, he went on to earn his Master’s Degree in Composition from UMass Amherst. Over the years, as a performer, Austin has kept himself busy performing/recording in the U.S. and Europe with his own trio as well as pop artist Kat Kennedy and jazz drummer Marton Juhasz. As a composer, he was a semifinalist in the chamber music category of the American Prize Competition in 2018/2020, and won the IBLA Grand Prize for Most Distinguished Musician and Special Mention in 2019. As an educator, Austin aims to build a bridge between the fundamentals of music and students’ interests. Seeing a student delighted when making music is a major driving force behind his work. Austin strives to create an learning experience that is both inspiring and challenging to bring out the best from each student.
Richardson Smith | Guitar
Richardson Smith is a guitarist who holds a Master's degree in Modern American Music Performance from the Longy School of Music and a bachelor's degree in music education from the University of New Hampshire. He is a founding member and guitarist of the soul/jazz rock band Gretchen and the Pickpockets and performs extensively across New England and the eastern US. He is well versed in all music styles from Classical to Rock music and everything in between. Richardson has privately taught students ages 6 to 65, has taught K-8 in public schools, and catering to each student's personal learning style is a vital part of his teaching. Music is a both a personal and universal language, and Richardson is glad to enrich his students' lives with it in fun and engaging ways.
Riley Stockwell | Guitar
Originally from Groton, MA, Riley is a Guitarist/African Percussionist graduated from Umass Dartmouth with a Bachelor Degree (Magna Cum Laude) in Jazz Guitar performance. During these years, he has been learning jazz harmony and concepts, composition, and Moroccan and Ghanaian music including studying the music of the Asante in Ghana, West Africa. A few of his past teachers include world class musicians such as Chris McDermott, Jim Robitaille, Mike Rivard, Royal Hartigan, Andy McWain, and Attah Peku. Drawing influences from many aspects of Groove, Jazz, and World Music, he has begun to develop a unique voice of his own. Studying with such a wide array of musicians has also led him to play every note with integrity and intention. In the recent years, Riley has been performing extensively in the New England area with various local bands. As an educator, Riley has worked as a teacher for national guitar workshop and also a private guitar instructor for over three years. He has taught guitar, bass, ensembles, songwriting, and world percussion to different age groups in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Also, he has assisted in many West African Drum and Dance clinics in the New England, and Washington D.C. areas as well. Riley is a talented, personable and patient instructor who is great at adapting to a student's specific needs in order to ensure improvement while having fun learning the music students love!
Ryan Strumpfler | Guitar
Ryan is a guitarist and composer from North Andover, Massachusetts. Having been raised in both The Netherlands and The United States, Ryan was exposed to many unique cultures of music at a young age. Inspired by Rock and Metal music, he first picked up the guitar at the age of ten, studying technique and composition under Andrew Martin and Aaron Goldberg. He later furthered his education by attending The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, with a concentration in Jazz Guitar under Jim Robitaille. Since receiving his Bachelor Degree in Music, Ryan has been an active performer, composer and an educator in the greater New England area. As a versatile musician, he has appeared in various venues ranging from clubs to private functions performing all styles of music. At the same time, Ryan has also been teaching music in both classroom and private lesson settings to students ranging from school-aged children to adults. As an educator, Ryan aims to help each individual student achieve their potential with an emphasis on incorporating creativity and instilling joy.
Christopher Sweeney | Guitar
Chris Sweeney grew up in Morris, Illinois and started playing guitar and saxophone at the age of 10. He continued throughout high school playing in concert, jazz and rock groups as well as teaching lessons at Brandalino's School of Music in Morris, IL. Intending on pursuing a career in music, Chris accepted a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music. He graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education. Chris currently teaches elementary general music in Middleboro Public Schools at the Memorial Early Childhood Center. He continues to perform in various genres including jazz, rock, musical theatre as well as solo classical repertoire. Chris encourages all students to reach their full potential. He meets students at their level and uses familiar materials and techniques to help his students' progression.