Private Study

Richard Boukas at a recent Artist Residency.

Richard Boukas at a recent Artist Residency.

Apart from his teaching at New School University Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City, New York Jazz Workshop and numerous guest artist residenciesRichard Boukas maintains a robust teaching studio dedicated to private and semi-private study in a wide scope of music disciplines and levels.

An internationally acclaimed educator with over three decades of university teaching experience (he was presented the New School Distinguished University Teaching Award in 2010) and four decades mentoring individual musicians of all ages, genders and ethnic backgrounds, Richard designs a custom-tailored course of study to serve a musician's unique interests and forge the path to higher levels of creative expression and technical mastery. Richard teaches musicians who are already professional level, pre-college and college, and adult non-professionals.

Richard is fluent in Portuguese, and conversational in French, Spanish and Japanese.

Usually musicians have more than one area of interest they would like to explore in the same lesson. For example:

any instrumentalist or vocalist interested in studying improvisation, sight-reading, theory, solo transcribing
• a guitarist interested in Jazz or Brazilian music who wants to work on their improvisation, ensemble comping skills, repertoire development and sightreading
• an acoustic chamber musician who wants to work on choral music of the Renaissance or Baroque eras.
• a vocalist interested in studying jazz scat improvisation, Brazilian repertoire, Early Music choral singing, classical vocal technique to improve their sound, stamina and virtuosity
• a composer interested in expanding their composing, arranging and counterpoint skills, and studying masterworks of different composers
• a musician who would like to become proficient in guitar as a second instrument

All lessons are enhanced with musical handouts, scores, recordings, practicing exercise routines and select audio files (see LESSON DOCUMENTATION below).

To accomodate multiple areas of study (and economize on traveling time),


For optimum continuity, LESSONS and LESSON BLOCKS are scheduled at minimum every two weeks on the same day and time. See below for more details on BLOCK DISCOUNT RATES.

Musicians who are visiting from abroad or outside the New York City area for a finite period of time can arrange special study intensives where lessons are scheduled with greater frequency (ex. twice weekly).

Prior to the first meeting, Richard requests background input from the student(s) by e-mail, identifying their short and longterm creative/technical goals, stylistic interests and self-assessed skill levels in different musical disciplines. Materials are then carefully chosen and organized so that the first lesson is a substantive, focused session with a high degree of specificity and individualized attention.

Richard is very proactive in maintaining contact with students between lessons by e-mail. This additional contact between sessions promotes essential continuity and forms a dynamic mentoring relationship. Such contact includes answering lesson-related questions, reviewing assigned work, sending digital print, audio and video links as supplementary materials.

LESSON DOCUMENTATION: All lessons and other related materials are recorded digitally and uploaded to a private Google Drive folder where the student can download mp3 audio files for their future reference. As this is a discreet complementary service offered to each individual student, all private lesson audio files and Google Drive links are for use by that student ONLY and NOT for public distribution or dissemination. Once a certain number of lessons are archived and downloaded by the student, their folder is purged to allow for new lesson recordings.


In addition to "brick and mortar" sessions in his private studio, Richard also offers Distance Learning using real-time video apps such as SkypeWhat's App, and FaceTime. As with all his private teaching, video lessons are supported by cutting-edge digital musical handouts, scores, practicing exercises and online critiques of student work. Payment is handled primarily through Venmo (@Richard-Boukas) on mobile devices within the U.S. or by PayPal. Please note that for international and other types of PayPal payments Paypal fees of 3.1% apply. This cost is added to the lesson fee.


For more information and to sign up for a Distance lesson, e-mail Richard.


can be arranged for TWO and up to FIVE participants. Rates vary accordingly.


For those musicians who wish to study on a regular basis, PREPAID BLOCKS can be purchased at DISCOUNT RATES

• IN-PERSON LESSON BLOCKS are available in EIGHT HOUR (4 Lesson) or TEN HOUR (5 Lesson) BLOCKS. Lessons are TWO HOURS in length.

• ONLINE LESSON BLOCKS are available in NINE HOUR (6 Lesson) BLOCKS.
Lessons are NINETY (90) MINUTES in length.


To inquire about instruction RATES and other details, e mail Richard.


Topics for Private Study

Below are some main topics for private, duo and small group study.

Students may combine two or more areas of interest into one two-hour session.
These areas can be addressed along separate tracks and also integrated together if the context is appropriate. For example, a guitarist may want to work on Brazilian comping styles, Ear Training, and Sightreading in the same lesson.

    Brazilian Guitar

• Solo Brazilian Guitar Masters: From Garôto to Guinga
• Composing for Solo Brazilian Guitar
• Brazilian Guitar Comping and Percussion Sourcerhythms
• Right-hand independence exercises
• Arranging Brazilian Standards for Solo Guitar
• Adapting Brazilian Solo Piano Music for one or two guitars
• Brazilian Guitar Duo Workshop

    other Guitar

• Jazz Guitar improvisation, comping and solo styles
• Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar:
  single line soloing and solo guitar arranging
• Principles of Fingerboard Harmony and Voiceleading
• Sightreading for the Contemporary Guitarist: all styles

    Brazilian Repertoire and Interpretation

• Choro Performance Practice: repertoire of master composers
• Specialized Choro instruments: 7-string, cavaquinho, bandolim
• Brazilian Jazz Workshop: Improvising approaches
• The Brazilian Northeast: baião, forró, frêvo, xôte, maracatu

    Brazilian Vocal

• MPB (Popular Brazilian Music) Workshop:
  Jobim, Chico Buarque, Djavan, Guinga, Sérgio Santos
• Survey of Brazilian Vocalist Styles
• Portuguese Diction, phrasing, lyric interpretation,
vocal timbre and technique
• Scat-Singing Improvisation in Brazilian Styles

     other Vocal

• Jazz Scat-Singing:
Techniques, Classic Solos and Transcriptions
• Interpreting the American Songbook
• Arranging and writing charts for small ensemble
• Sightsinging for the Contemporary Vocalist (non-solfeggio)

    Brazilian Repertoire and Composition

• Composing for small jazz ensemble, chamber ensembles
• Hermeto Pascoal and his "Árvore" (tree) of composers:
  Jovino Santos Neto, Itiberê Zwarg, André Marques
• Hermeto Pascoal's Universal Music:
  Analysis, Harmonic Concepts, Chord Symbol Notation
• Music from Minas Gerais:
  Toninho Horta, Sérgio Santos, Milton Nascimento
• Guinga, intuitive genius, guitar-as-laboratory

    other Composition

• Compositional Techniques Across Stylistic Disciplines
• Finding Your Compositional Voice
• Contrapuntal Writing: Classical and Contemporary
• Richard Boukas compositions as models for study

    Essential Musicianship

• Instrumental and Vocal Jazz Improvisation:
    Principles of Linear Construction, learning from Transcriptions
• Solo Transcribing and Dictation Skills
• Repertoire Development: Working on and Memorizing Tunes
• Ear Training Practicing Techniques
• Constructive Listening: What to listen for in music
• Jazz and Contemporary Music Theory and Harmony
• Fast-Track Sightreading and Sightsinging

Distance Learning Sessions are also available using What's App, Skype and FaceTime.
For details, CONTACT Richard Boukas

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