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Troy Nussbaum

Guitar & Ukulele Instructor

My name is Troy Nussbaum.  I have been playing guitar now for 23 years.  I started in eighth grade while at a friend’s house.  That night, I picked up an old acoustic and learned how to read tablature. I was immediately hooked and having a blast trying to learn tunes I knew from the radio and tv.  The first song I ever learned, that night, was “Come As You Are” by Nirvana.  After that, I couldn’t put the guitar down.

I began taking lessons shortly after where I learned the importance of fundamentals.  Not only did these strengthen and tune my abilities on the guitar, but they opened up the possibility to play even more songs I liked. And even more challenging songs. I had an interest in soloing during this time and it all tied together.  My teacher and I worked on songs I enjoyed but always bounced back and forth to relevant rudimentary exercises and concepts that would have to be tackled in order to progress and play more songs I enjoyed.

Years later, I would attend Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California.  Having developed a strong passion for improvisation after playing with friends around town, I decided I wanted to take my private studies more seriously and study more intensely.  So, it was off to LA for the next two years where I would learn all kinds of important fundamentals and skills that applied to all styles of music.  I was able to try my hand at playing funk, jazz, blues, rock, metal, reggae, pop, and more.

Upon graduating from Musicians Institutes two year program, I returned home and began teaching lessons in the same store I grew up taking lessons at as well as another local shop in town.  For a year, I took on as many students as possible and applied the methods I had garnered from my first private teacher and all of the teachers and lessons I had the opportunity to take at Musicians Institute.

The guitar can be approached easily by just following a routine and applying exercises and core fundamental concepts on a weekly basis. I like to teach this way because, just like in school, everything builds off of the previous lesson.  All a student has to do is make sure and practice each week and we can build off of those concepts, chords, or whatever material that was assigned and keep moving forward.

I further developed this teaching method while earning my undergraduate music degree from Western Illinois University and also teaching in their community music program, a spot usually reserved for graduate students.  I was honored to earn the chance to teach in their program.  Lastly, I attended Northern Illinois University for my Masters degree in jazz studies, where I set aside teaching in order to more fully immerse myself in jazz improvisation under the direction of Fareed Haque, Bobby Broom, and Reggie Thomas.  It was an intense but rewarding time.

My ultimate goal as a teacher is to get you playing songs YOU like and having fun on the instrument.  I may have pulled methods from advanced instructors and styles but I take it, make it my own, and apply it so that even an absolute beginner can pick up and start making music.  I want you to find joy in the instrument, just like I do and I would love to help you get started!