1-2-1 Mentoring

1-2-1 Mentoring

 

I’ve helped the playing and musicianship of some of the most formidable young players on the UK and European music scene.  

I’m a visiting lecturer in jazz guitar at the Royal Academy of Music and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and I’ve toured internationally for over 15 years headlining leading festivals and venues around the World with my original music.

If you want to seriously up-level your playing, your composition and your whole approach to music contact me directly to discuss a mentoring package that will be tailored to your specific goals and desires as a musician and artist. 

“Wow just discovered this band TROYKA with their album ORNITHOBIA…….. fucking banging, wow”

Flea – Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

“Exceptional record this one…a real piece of immense beauty” 

– Jamie Cullum – BBC Radio 2

Testimonials

“Chris is an exceptional teacher, he always shaped his lessons to my specific needs whether it was composition, technique or general career advice. My time studying with him was hugely formative. His methodical approach to technique transformed the way I view the guitar and taught me the value of efficiency and accuracy.

In addition to this, Chris emphasised the value of sight reading which has benefited me hugely in my professional career as it has made me able to do gigs i otherwise wouldn’t have been able to accept.”

Miles Mindlin

Miles Mindlin

Manhattan School of Music
Royal Academy of Music (BA Hons)
Purcell School of Music

 

Miles Mindlin is an award winning virtuoso Jazz Guitarist, composer and bandleader. He is currently based in New York studying for a Masters at Manhattan School of Music on a scholarship. He received a “First” from the Royal Academy of Music in London. Nominated by Gilad Hekselman and Lage Lund, he received the single “fully funded place” at the Siena Jazz Festival and Summer Workshop. He won the Des Simmonds young guitarist award, a full scholarship to study at The Purcell School of Music and won the guitar chair at the National Youth Jazz Orchestra at age 18. His debut album, to be released on the Fresh Sound label in November 2023 features all original compositions which draw on literature, film and music in equal measure.

“Chris is an exceptional teacher, he always shaped his lessons to my specific needs whether it was composition, technique or general career advice. My time studying with him was hugely formative. His methodical approach to technique transformed the way I view the guitar and taught me the value of efficiency and accuracy.

In addition to this, Chris emphasised the value of sight reading which has benefited me hugely in my professional career as it has made me able to do gigs i otherwise wouldn’t have been able to accept.”

Miles Mindlin is an award winning virtuoso Jazz Guitarist, composer and bandleader. He is currently based in New York studying for a Masters at Manhattan School of Music on a scholarship. He received a “First” from the Royal Academy of Music in London. Nominated by Gilad Hekselman and Lage Lund, he received the single “fully funded place” at the Siena Jazz Festival and Summer Workshop. He won the Des Simmonds young guitarist award, a full scholarship to study at The Purcell School of Music and won the guitar chair at the National Youth Jazz Orchestra at age 18.

His debut album, to be released on the Fresh Sound label in November 2023 features all original compositions which draw on literature, film and music in equal measure.

Miles Mindlin

Manhattan School Of Music

Royal Academy of Music (BA Hons)

Purcell School Of Music

“I studied with Chris for two years at the Royal Academy of Music in London and as well as being inspired by his virtuosity and originality as a guitarist, was always impressed by his dedication as a teacher, and ability to concisely articulate what I needed to do to reach my musical goals. 

In our first lesson, Chris noted that whilst I had developed a modern sensibility in my linear playing, my chordal vocabulary was quite undeveloped and relied on ‘stock’  jazz guitar voicings. To help me address this imbalance, Chris introduced his system for developing more modern sounding chord voicings all over the neck, a process which involves devising mixed interval structures and transposing them through parent scales. After putting significant work into this area over the last couple of years, I feel my harmonic language is more nuanced and personal, making me far more comfortable and flexible when playing an accompanying role in a contemporary ensemble. Over our time working together, Chris was also able to answer all the questions I had regarding tone production, sight reading, rhythmic skills and picking technique. A real highlight of my time at the academy was getting to play the music from his ‘Warmer than Blood’ album, and throughout this process Chris offered invaluable advice on learning and internalising challenging modern material- since I graduated these skills have been particularly useful whenever I am called to work as a sideman.

My favourite thing about studying with Chris, however, was that he was always encouraging me to explore my individuality and cultivate my own path. I would strongly advise anyone looking to improve their guitar playing seek him out for some lessons. Thanks Chris!”

Debut album Transmission! Out December 2023

Karim Saber

 

Berklee college Of Music (BMus)

Royal Academy of Music (MA

Chris has been a true game-changer for my playing, not only for my practice habits but also to how I approach music. As a rock kid I sometimes struggled with the jazz schools that I came through, including Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Leeds Conservatoire. Chris truly understands what I need to work on, and why I didn’t get certain things, and he always has the right answer. He helped me to play better than ever, developing my taste in jazz, but not losing sight of what inspired me to play when I was younger.  I can’t recommend him enough. Chris is such a heart-warming, inspiring musician and the most thoughtful teacher I’ve ever had!”

Hyo Jung

Guildhall School of Music (MA)

Leeds College of Music (BA Hons)

I studied with Chris at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire for around 2 years and his teaching approach was very specific to my individual needs as a guitarist and I developed very quickly as a result of his teaching. Chris is honest about what needs improvement but very encouraging and inspiring and very generous with his vast knowledge of the music and the instrument. Highly recommended!

I graduated from the Conservatoire with the jazz performance Prize and am currently studying at Trinity Laban in London where I play with some of the top musicians in the country.”

 

Francis Tulip

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (BA Hons)

Trinity Laban Conservatoire (MA)

“I’ve studied with Chris for the last 5 years or so, prior to and as part of my time at the Royal Academy of Music. I use many things I’ve learnt and worked on with Chris, including his fretboard and harmony systems, and many different techniques as well as diving into specific players’ approaches. Chris introduced me to a wide range of new, varied music and improvisers.

Chris’ Warmer than Blood project has served as an influence for my music and it’s been great to gain perspectives on composing and methods of coordinating musicians and leading small chamber groups through lessons.

I’m currently studying jazz at the Royal Academy of Music, where I have recently been part of big band projects run by Gwylim Simcock and a concert showcasing a set of John Taylor’s own big band arrangements. I have released my own music on Bandcamp and run several groups of my original music.

 

Dom Howard

Royal Academy Of Music (BA Hons)

“I didn’t realise how important a mentor was going to be in choosing a career in music until I was

fortunate enough to start having guitar lessons with Chris Montague. I was in my last year at

school and weighing up my options. Once I started with Chris I didn’t look back.  I started with very little experience of jazz and I didn’t have much fretboard knowledge together.  Chris patiently introduced me to the world of jazz standards, playing through chord changes and

transcription. I remember he had a very thorough approach to learning arpeggios which I still draw upon to this day. Perhaps most significantly of all, over time with his guidance, I was able to forge a stronger connection to my aural imagination, the ideas that lived in my head that until that point had struggled to come out on the guitar in an expressive way. Chris encouraged me to start singing my lines and made me apply the vocabulary of the great players to repertoire we were studying. It proved to be the foundation of my freelance career as a jazz guitarist and professional musician.

Chris is that rarest of things; a world class player who is also able to communicate complex ideas with a practical, relatable and ultimately inspiring manner. He is a compelling and unique musical voice, a formidable improvisor and writer who is also able to turn his hand to an immense array of guitar stylings. To this day he remains one of my absolute favourite guitarists, with a touch, sound and technical arsenal that I still aspire towards.”

Alex Munk is an award winning guitarist, composer and bandleader living in London.

Having established himself as one of the capital’s most in demand jazz guitarists, Alex has since released two critically acclaimed albums with his band Flying Machines who are now widely acknowledged as one of the biggest breakthrough acts to have emerged from the UK jazz scene in recent years.

Alex Munk

Royal Academy Of Music (Mmus)

Leeds College Of Music (BA Hons)

“I studied with Chris for 4 years from the age of 14-18 whilst at the Purcell School of Music. Chris was inspirational to me as a teacher and mentor and also a rolemodel as a musician and a person. Chris is a huge part of my musical development and life and I owe so much to him. Chris taught me the core fundamentals of guitar and music which have stuck strong with me since, and also engrained a strong work ethic and passion for music in me. 

Over our 4 years I learnt so much in our lessons and we covered a huge area of learning. For me the best things about our lessons was the depth we went into on each subject. We would work for weeks on a single topic really exploring the details of it. I feel so grateful to have had this.  

At the age of 18 I went on to attend the Guildhall School of Music and Drama to study Jazz Guitar. I embraced the London scene and was able to start working quickly, playing at Ronnie Scotts, The Vortex, Pizza Express, Savoy Hotel, Milton Court and The 606. Having just finished my degree course I am now working full time as a musician in London and look forward to future projects and ideas I have in the pipeline now that I am not a student. In November I am travelling to play at the ‘Bahrain International Jazz Festival’ which will be my first abroad working gig.  

Chris was more than a teacher for me, he was a true mentor. Everything that I learnt over those 4 year has and will stay with me for the rest of my life. I took notes every lesson and I still work through those books to this day!”

 

Sol Grimshaw

Guildhall School of Music (BA Hons)

Purcell School Of Music

“I started studying with Chris when I was 13, which was pretty early on into my development as a guitarist and as a musician, so I can safely say that without Chris’ guidance and patience I would not be in the position that I’m in right now as a musician. Amongst many of the things that Chris helped me with, the main one that really helped propel me to the next level was his system for learning the fretboard. The way it was broken down into systems from 1-5, 5-8 etc just made sense to me, and enabled me to start to connect scales, licks, and chords together more fluidly, rather than using the same shapes and positions over and over again, not to mention the knock on effect it had on my sight-reading as well.

After leaving school I started at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, gaining direct entry into second year, eventually graduating with honours with a first class BA in Jazz Guitar. Over the course of my studies and beyond I’ve been fortunate enough to work and gig with some incredible artists such as; Yazz Ahmed at the Barbican Centre, Capital Orchestra for three dates at LSO St Lukes and a show at Cadogan Hall as a part of London Jazz Festival.

If you are looking to level up your guitar playing, musicianship or compositional ability, Chris is the guy! He totally changed my playing and my musicianship to where it is now and I’m forever grateful for all the effort he put in to helping me get to where I am now.”

 

Charlie Heywood Snell

Guildhall School of Music (BA Hons)

Purcell School Of Music

I met Chris in 2016 during his Masterclass at ICMP in London. I started to have private lessons with him shortly afterward as I felt my guitar playing lacking technique, knowledge of the fretboard, linear and chordal vocabulary, and time accuracy issues.  Through his advice and precise method based on limitations, I instantly achieved an insightful knowledge of arpeggios, scales, and basic chord voicings, which made me succeed in my undergrad studies.

In addition, Chris’ flawless guitar technique based on legato, hybrid, and economy picking, helped and inspired the development of my guitar technique, through an intuitive and natural process that not only gave me dexterity on the instrument but also a more unique and recognisable sound.  Thanks to him I joined the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire as a Postgraduate student; here I had the pleasure of having more classes with him about learning jazz standards, working with the metronome, analysing transcriptions, discussing guitar styles, and how to combine them in improvisation.

Overall, Chris has been a mentor, a role model, and a friend; having lessons with him is always inspiring, and it gives the student many different musical perspectives. Having lessons with him and watching him play has had the biggest impact on my musical development, and helped me to achieve academic and professional success as a session player and bandleader. 

I completed my bachelor’s in popular music performance at ICMP in London in 2019, winning the award for the best guitar player in 2016-2019, and my master’s at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in jazz guitar. “ 

 

Luca Gianassi

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (Mmus)

Karim Saber

Karim Saber

Berklee College of Music (BMus)
Royal Academy of Music (MA)

“I studied with Chris for two years at the Royal Academy of Music in London and as well as being inspired by his virtuosity and originality as a guitarist, was always impressed by his dedication as a teacher, and ability to concisely articulate what I needed to do to reach my musical goals.

In our first lesson, Chris noted that whilst I had developed a modern sensibility in my linear playing, my chordal vocabulary was quite undeveloped and relied on ‘stock’  jazz guitar voicings. To help me address this imbalance, Chris introduced his system for developing more modern sounding chord voicings all over the neck, a process which involves devising mixed interval structures and transposing them through parent scales. After putting significant work into this area over the last couple of years, I feel my harmonic language is more nuanced and personal, making me far more comfortable and flexible when playing an accompanying role in a contemporary ensemble. Over our time working together, Chris was also able to answer all the questions I had regarding tone production, sight reading, rhythmic skills and picking technique. A real highlight of my time at the academy was getting to play the music from his ‘Warmer than Blood’ album, and throughout this process Chris offered invaluable advice on learning and internalising challenging modern material- since I graduated these skills have been particularly useful whenever I am called to work as a sideman.

My favourite thing about studying with Chris, however, was that he was always encouraging me to explore my individuality and cultivate my own path. I would strongly advise anyone looking to improve their guitar playing seek him out for some lessons. Thanks Chris!”

Debut album Transmission! Out December 2023

“Chris has been a true game-changer for my playing, not only for my practice habits but also to how I approach music. As a rock kid I sometimes struggled with the jazz schools that I came through, including Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Leeds Conservatoire. Chris truly understands what I need to work on, and why I didn’t get certain things, and he always has the right answer. He helped me to play better than ever, developing my taste in jazz, but not losing sight of what inspired me to play when I was younger.  I can’t recommend him enough. Chris is such a heart-warming, inspiring musician and the most thoughtful teacher I’ve ever had!”

Hyo Jung

Hyo Jung

Guildhall School Of Music (MA)

Leeds College Of Music (BA hons)

 

Francis Tulip

Francis Tulip

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (BA Hons)
Trinity Laban Conservatoire (MA)

“I studied with Chris at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire for around 2 years and his teaching approach was very specific to my individual needs as a guitarist and I developed very quickly as a result of his teaching. Chris is honest about what needs improvement but very encouraging and inspiring and very generous with his vast knowledge of the music and the instrument. Highly recommended!

I graduated from the Conservatoire with the jazz performance Prize and am currently studying at Trinity Laban in London where I play with some of the top musicians in the country.”

I’ve studied with Chris for the last 5 years or so, prior to and as part of my time at the Royal Academy of Music. I use many things I’ve learnt and worked on with Chris, including his fretboard and harmony systems, and many different techniques as well as diving into specific players’ approaches. Chris introduced me to a wide range of new, varied music and improvisers. 

 Chris’ Warmer than Blood project has served as an influence for my music and it’s been great to gain perspectives on composing and methods of coordinating musicians and leading small chamber groups through lessons. 

I’m currently studying jazz at the Royal Academy of Music, where I have recently been part of big band projects run by Gwylim Simcock and a concert showcasing a set of John Taylor’s own big band arrangements. I have released my own music on Bandcamp and run several groups of my original music.”

 

 

Don Howard

Don Howard

Royal Academy of Music (BA Hons)

 

Alex Munk

Alex Munk

Royal Academy Of Music (Mmus)
Leeds College Of Music (BA Hons)

“I didn’t realise how important a mentor was going to be in choosing a career in music until I was fortunate enough to start having guitar lessons with Chris Montague. I was in my last year at school and weighing up my options. Once I started with Chris I didn’t look back.  I started with very little experience of jazz and I didn’t have much fretboard knowledge together.  Chris patiently introduced me to the world of jazz standards, playing through chord changes and transcription. I remember he had a very thorough approach to learning arpeggios which I still draw upon to this day. Perhaps most significantly of all, over time with his guidance, I was able to forge a stronger connection to my aural imagination, the ideas that lived in my head that until that point had struggled to come out on the guitar in an expressive way. Chris encouraged me to start singing my lines and made me apply the vocabulary of the great players to repertoire we were studying. It proved to be the foundation of my freelance career as a jazz guitarist and professional musician.

Chris is that rarest of things; a world class player who is also able to communicate complex ideas with a practical, relatable and ultimately inspiring manner. He is a compelling and unique musical voice, a formidable improvisor and writer who is also able to turn his hand to an immense array of guitar stylings. To this day he remains one of my absolute favourite guitarists, with a touch, sound and technical arsenal that I still aspire towards.”

Alex Munk is an award winning guitarist, composer and bandleader living in London. Having established himself as one of the capital’s most in demand jazz guitarists, Alex has since released two critically acclaimed albums with his band Flying Machines who are now widely acknowledged as one of the biggest breakthrough acts to have emerged from the UK jazz scene in recent years.

“I studied with Chris for 4 years from the age of 14-18 whilst at the Purcell School of Music. Chris was inspirational to me as a teacher and mentor and also a rolemodel as a musician and a person. Chris is a huge part of my musical development and life and I owe so much to him. Chris taught me the core fundamentals of guitar and music which have stuck strong with me since, and also engrained a strong work ethic and passion for music in me. 

Over our 4 years I learnt so much in our lessons and we covered a huge area of learning. For me the best things about our lessons was the depth we went into on each subject. We would work for weeks on a single topic really exploring the details of it. I feel so grateful to have had this.  

At the age of 18 I went on to attend the Guildhall School of Music and Drama to study Jazz Guitar. I embraced the London scene and was able to start working quickly, playing at Ronnie Scotts, The Vortex, Pizza Express, Savoy Hotel, Milton Court and The 606. Having just finished my degree course I am now working full time as a musician in London and look forward to future projects and ideas I have in the pipeline now that I am not a student. In November I am travelling to play at the ‘Bahrain International Jazz Festival’ which will be my first abroad working gig.  

Chris was more than a teacher for me, he was a true mentor. Everything that I learnt over those 4 year has and will stay with me for the rest of my life. I took notes every lesson and I still work through those books to this day!”

 

 

Sol Grimshaw

Sol Grimshaw

Guildhall School Of Music (BA Hons)

Purcell School Of Music

 

Charlie Heywood Snell

Charlie Heywood Snell

Guidhall School Of Music (BA Hons)
Purcell School Of Music

“I started studying with Chris when I was 13, which was pretty early on into my development as a guitarist and as a musician, so I can safely say that without Chris’ guidance and patience I would not be in the position that I’m in right now as a musician. Amongst many of the things that Chris helped me with, the main one that really helped propel me to the next level was his system for learning the fretboard. The way it was broken down into systems from 1-5, 5-8 etc just made sense to me, and enabled me to start to connect scales, licks, and chords together more fluidly, rather than using the same shapes and positions over and over again, not to mention the knock on effect it had on my sight-reading as well.

After leaving school I started at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, gaining direct entry into second year, eventually graduating with honours with a first class BA in Jazz Guitar. Over the course of my studies and beyond I’ve been fortunate enough to work and gig with some incredible artists such as; Yazz Ahmed at the Barbican Centre, Capital Orchestra for three dates at LSO St Lukes and a show at Cadogan Hall as a part of London Jazz Festival.

If you are looking to level up your guitar playing, musicianship or compositional ability, Chris is the guy! He totally changed my playing and my musicianship to where it is now and I’m forever grateful for all the effort he put in to helping me get to where I am now.”

I met Chris in 2016 during his Masterclass at ICMP in London. I started to have private lessons with him shortly afterward as I felt my guitar playing lacking technique, knowledge of the fretboard, linear and chordal vocabulary, and time accuracy issues.  Through his advice and precise method based on limitations, I instantly achieved an insightful knowledge of arpeggios, scales, and basic chord voicings, which made me succeed in my undergrad studies.

In addition, Chris’ flawless guitar technique based on legato, hybrid, and economy picking, helped and inspired the development of my guitar technique, through an intuitive and natural process that not only gave me dexterity on the instrument but also a more unique and recognisable sound.  Thanks to him I joined the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire as a Postgraduate student; here I had the pleasure of having more classes with him about learning jazz standards, working with the metronome, analysing transcriptions, discussing guitar styles, and how to combine them in improvisation.

Overall, Chris has been a mentor, a role model, and a friend; having lessons with him is always inspiring, and it gives the student many different musical perspectives. Having lessons with him and watching him play has had the biggest impact on my musical development, and helped me to achieve academic and professional success as a session player and bandleader. 

I completed my bachelor’s in popular music performance at ICMP in London in 2019, winning the award for the best guitar player in 2016-2019, and my master’s at the Royal Birmingham

Conservatoire in jazz guitar.

Recent workshops / Masterclasses:

 

Berne Hochschule Musik – Switzerland
Rochester Jazz Festival – USA
National Youth Jazz Collective
Aldeburgh Young Musicians
Institute of Contemporary Music Performance
Royal Northern College of Music
Hamburg School of Music – Germany
Royal Welsh College of Music
Burnley Jazz Mechanics
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music
London Contemporary College of Music
Electriccampfire.com
Royal Birmingham Consevatoire
Bath International Guitar Festival
Luca Gianassi

Luca Gianassi

Royal Birmingham Conservative (Mmus)