"I have taken music lessons from many teachers over the past fifty plus years. I can honestly say that John Funkhouser is one of the finest music instructors I have ever had. John is a natural teacher. He is always positive and encouraging, but also appropriately critical and demanding. He is never condescending or discouraging, and I always leave my lessons feeling excited about the learning journey that lies ahead. John is also extremely present and attentive during the lessons, as I feel that he is 100% focused on me and musical success. Unlike other accomplished musicians with whom I have studied, John never lets his ego interfere during our lessons and never shifts the focus of the lesson to himself in any way. His only interest is on what I want to accomplish and how he can best help me to achieve my goals. To this end, he is also creative and flexible, and does not have a rigid approach to music In particular or life in general. John is a wonderful teacher and person, and I feel very fortunate to be studying with and learning from him.
"John Funkhouser is one of the most influential teachers I have ever had. My first experience having John as a teacher was my first ear training class at Berklee. Right away you could see how much John loves to teach. He always approached his teaching in such a positive manner. The main thing that made me want to study with him, though, was his ability to get information across and have it stick. I began studying bass with him shortly after and my jazz playing improved tremendously. Soon after, John would put me on jazz gigs with him to help apply what I was learning. We would later go on to play in multiple groups together playing shows all over New England.
Since studying with John I have been able to make a full time career out of music. I teach 50+ students a week and teach rock ensembles. I also play bass in multiple bands and freelance, gigging four nights a week.
Currently John is playing in my Dub/Jazz Fusion band Dub Boat. He still helps me push the envelope and is still my teacher after more than 15 years. Now we’re more like best friends.
If you’re looking to step up to the next level I highly recommend studying with John!"
Adam Saylor, professional bassist and educator
“John is an exceptional teacher because he really tries to understand what your goals are, and makes an effort to tailor the focus of his lessons towards those goals. He is willing to review material over and over again if needed, and to come up with new and different ways of explaining things to help clarify. His positive and lighthearted approach is just the kind of encouragement any student, of any level will find supportive. He has a wonderful sense of humor and always finds ways of making the lessons fun!”
Isabel Stover, professional jazz singer
“John is a caring, understanding teacher. We all are at different stages of skill development, and John is attuned to where I am on the curve. He helps me to understand how to approach a song in terms of voicings and improvisation. At the same time, John has led me down the path of music theory and how to improve my knowledge of the basics e.g. scales, chord progressions, rhythms, so I can apply these skills to songs and get to the next level. John has an easy going personality and makes it natural to ask questions and seek feedback and never makes you feel that your thoughts are too minor for such an accomplished musician. Listening skills are always important and John makes sure our sessions are interactive and manages his advice around my interests and ideas. John has created a really thoughtful environment for improving my music skills….and makes our lessons something to look forward to.”
"It would be an understatement to say that lessons with John are just Piano or bass lessons but they are in fact lessons on how to become a better musician. That is not to say that you won’t improve on your instrument and be inspired to practice after a lesson with John but he takes you inside the theory of the music which makes playing the music easier. In my case, he has taking away the mystery of Music theory and cord progressions and presented it in a way that is simple to understand. His low-key style instantly put you at ease and makes you feel that you can ask any question without feeling self-conscious. He also will try to figure out what works best for his students and goes with the interest of the student. I truly believe that lessons with John will improve your musicianship no matter what your instrument is and I should know since my main instrument is saxophone."
"I am primarily a self-taught piano player and wanted to find a way to dig out of a musical rut. While I had tried several teachers in the past, I could never quite grasp their explanations of theory or song-structure. Despite my skepticism based upon these experiences, I was highly motivated to move to the next level, so I Googled “blues piano teachers in Boston area”, found John Funkhouser, and the rest is history. Together, we have explored blues, classic ragtime, Bach (!!), and, currently, different styles of jazz – following musical paths that I never thought I’d had the chops to explore.
There are several reasons why John’s teaching style has worked for me. His musical knowledge is encyclopedic; he is extremely conversant with genres and styles that I have wanted to explore. Some of this is due to his academic background but a great deal of it is due to his long experience as a working musician and composer. As such, he has been able to translate musical and theoretical concepts in a way I can finally understand them – both in concept and in practical application. Due to his experience and well-trained ears, he has been able to explain, translate and demonstrate various riffs, sounds and patterns that I hear other piano players using but have been unable to duplicate. While all that would have been sufficient for what I was looking forward, John is not only a remarkable pianist, he is also an extraordinary bassist. His accompanying me on bass has gone a long way to helping me understand how to work with a rhythm section and to improvise. Finally, John’s demeanor as a teacher has been perfect – he is patient, well-tempered and yet, will not allow me to take sloppy, mistaken short-cuts…something I have perfected until now. Not only am I practicing -long and hard- I’m enjoying it!!
In short, John has changed my life and I cannot give him a high enough recommendation."