We’re delighted to feature Tom Amoriello on this month’s Faculty Showcase. Tom is very well known in the state of New Jersey as a prominent music educator, guitar teacher, and performer. We’re very grateful for having him on our team, as are his students!
What do you teach at YOUniversity of Music and Arts, and what is your educational philosophy?
I joined the guitar faculty in January of 2012 and I teach many styles commonly associated with the guitar such as rock, metal, blues, classical in hopes of bringing joy to a budding musician. My philosophy is to have students leave each lesson with a sense of accomplishment. This can range from identifying letter names of strings during their first guitar lessons all the way to playing along with a recording by their favorite music artist.
Tell us more about your YOUniversity students. What do you enjoy most about working with them?
They are a huge part of my life! It is wonderful to watch them grow and mature into fantastic human beings! I know that this comes off as being a bit new age but it is amazing to see from an educational point of view as well as artistically whether they are working on a piece of music from the Royal Conservatory system or a 3-chord punk rock anthem, because I remember where they were at when they first started.
What do you like about being part of YOUniversity of Music and Arts?
A highly professional administration, excellent faculty plus the great community of Hunterdon County. We have amazing parents who really value their child’s education and artistic growth and to be a part of someone’s childhood as a positive influence, means the world to me!
You have been very involved with music education for quite some time and have had great successes, which have been showcased on TV. We’re dying to know more about this!
Yes, I was on Classroom Close-Up NJ a couple of times over the last several years. It was a great opportunity to showcase the dedication this community has to music education and educators and the kids were pretty excited to see themselves on TV too! In addition, for the last two years I have served on the board of the New Jersey Music Education Association as the Guitar Education Chairperson. This involves giving guitar education lectures at their state conference, hosting festivals and contributing articles to their quarterly journal. I am most proud of drafting the proposal to initiate “NJMEA Honors Guitar Ensemble,” which was approved by their executive board back in May. Now the guitar is recognized alongside all-state groups in the choral, orchestral, opera and jazz band areas which opens up a huge opportunity for the kids to continue their journey with the guitar in a fun and meaningful way.
In addition to teaching and performing, you also do research and publish scholarly articles. What topics do you write about?
I have authored or co-authored guitar advocacy articles for Tempo Magazine, The Official Magazine of the NJMEA. Although some of the articles are related to classroom or private studio teaching, other topics have included entrepreneurship, ukulele, method books, guitar building, basic guitar care, and college guitar studies.
When you perform, what types of music do you play?
Most of my professional outings have been related to the classical guitar having performed at wineries, memorials, on a military base for wounded warriors, benefits, historical churches and libraries. So, although most of my practice routine is dedicated to the classical guitar, I also enjoy working on heavy metal playing styles from the 1980’s, working on various speed technique exercises as well as popular songs from that era. So, essentially, I’m a shredder trapped in a classical guitarist’s body! But I do enjoy both styles very much.
What are your future goals, and what is on your professional bucket list?
A bucket list event for me would be to one day perform the Star Spangled Banner at a major league baseball game. I have a connection to the song from teaching the history behind the poem as well as my early love of baseball card collecting and attending games. This is a great way to combine my passion not to mention the patriotic sentiment that many feel during a performance.
Anything else you would like to add (any advice for aspiring young musicians)?
Hi kids! Enjoy your music lessons! You will remember these lessons for the rest of your life. I remember my first few teachers and lessons very well and often have conversations about them with my musician friends. So many great memories and a huge part of my childhood. I hope the same for you.