Gianfranco Ferri

Gianfranco Ferri

I was born in the United States but I grew up in Italy and I was given my first guitar when I was 3 years old. At the age of 12 I started my formal music training, first with a foundation of piano and then moving on to the guitar. I took weekly classical guitar lessons for the next four years in Casamassima, a small town in the south-eastern region of Puglia. This included learning solfeggio, reading standard notation, and performing in yearly recitals.

My first experience playing with a large group of performers was when I joined my church choir as one of the accompanists. After that my guitar studies focused more on folk-style strumming techniques, rhythm guitar, basic and barre` chords. In my last years of high school I joined my first rock band and started playing the electric guitar. The next stage of guitar education involved everything about blues pentatonic movable scales, power chords, and how to solo over the basic blues song structure. After high school I moved back to the US and studied singing and acting at the University of Central Florida where I graduated with a BFA in Musical Theatre Performance and then at San Francisco State University receiving a Master in Drama. In college I had the opportunity to study voice with some of the best professors at UCF and SFSU and I also had the opportunity to co-direct musical theatre performances with Tony Award nominee Barbara Damashek (Quilters, 1984) for the San Francisco State University theatre program.

I started giving guitar lessons in 2004 in Pacifica, California where I also began teaching music at a local preschool. At this time I also began playing mandolin, ukulele, and banjo and developed a passion for folk, bluegrass and fusion music. The demand for music lessons in the local preschools grew so much that I was hired full time as the music teacher for all 3 of its locations. When I moved back to Florida in 2012 I became a certified music, drama, and italian teacher for grades K-12. From 2012 to 2014 I worked as the performing arts director and music, drama, and italian teacher at an elementary and middle school in Riverview. My teaching method is flexible. Depending on the skill level of the student, on the instrument, age of the student and his/her musical interests, my approach will adjust to the individual needs. I am a very patient teacher. I try to find out what specific songs, bands, or aspect of playing an instrument the student is interested in and I develop the lesson around that. My final objective is to improve the skills of my students until they have surpassed mine!

I like different styles of music and guitar playing. I am a big fan of the blues (both traditional and electric), classic rock, alternative, and also classic blues-rock influenced new bands. I am very interested in world music and in particular the Pizziche from the Tarantism of southern Italy, Jazz (Bop and post-Bop), and Broadway Musicals. Having grown up in Italy I also have a vast repertoire of Italian music, both old and new. I have been performing live with bands or solo since 1992 in Italy, California, and Florida and still do today. I released three albums which are available online: Luce(2002), Ridgewlker(2009) (both instrumentals), and Strega(2005) with my band of the same name.