As lead guitarist for rock band 28 North, I had the opportunity to play The CMJ Music Festival in NY, NY in 2009 and 2010, SXSW in Austin in 2010, Sundance Film Festival in 2010, at the House of Blues in Chicago, and scores of other venues around the country.
I’ve written and recorded hundreds of songs and had the opportunity to produce four albums with 28 North, as well as perform as a guitarist and vocalist on many others. Locally, we opened for Dave Matthews Band at First Niagra Pavilion, and My Morning Jacket at Trib Total Media Amphitheater, as well as just about every other venue in town. Pittsburgh Magazine named 28 North the best band in Pittsburgh in 2010.
I’ve dedicated my life to sharing my passion for music. I’ve also expanded my musicianship to include my voice and a number of other instruments, as I believe they are all rivers that lead to the same ocean. I work continuously to improve my understanding of music. I attended the University of Pittsburgh as a guitar major and The Univeristy of Vermont as a guitar minor, and I’ve studied locally with John Maione, Steve Delach, and John Marcinizyn.
I remember being in my bedroom, a 14-year-old who had to get up for high school in a few scant hours, unable to go to bed without getting all the way through a Green Day song. True, I could only play one string at a time. True, it wasn’t the most complex piece of music. Still, I was sold for life. For me, the guitar unlocked a world of music that had been trying to get out for some time. I had spent years trying to learn piano and saxophone, yet here the guitar let me play the music I loved on the first night. Since then I’ve spent almost every day practicing, playing in bands, writing, recording, and performing.
Tastes in music are as vast and varied as people themselves, and everyone, of course, has favorites. I’ve always believed that there is something worthwhile in all music—something that you can learn from—but more than that, something you can take pleasure in.
My goal as a musician is to enjoy and add to a world full of great music.
My goal as an instructor is to help you do the same.
For the past four years, I’ve been the front man and guitarist for the Pittsburgh-based pop-punk band, My Cardboard Spaceship Adventure (MCSA). Together we have released two studio EP recordings and opened for national artists Hellogoodbye, Mae, Punchline, Stellar Kart, Emily Osment (also a regular on “Hannah Montana”), and Anthony Raneri (also of the group Bayside). MCSA was also featured in 2009 on the Vans Warped Tour. We continue to tour the east coast and Midwest.
Music has always been my passion and outlet for expression. I spent hours in my room playing power cords, trying to figure out MXPX and Blink 182 songs. (My neighbors can attest to my attempts.) I was fortunate to find a teacher who saw my desire to learn guitar, understood my goals, and was able to expand my musical knowledge.
It’s almost a decade later, and my guitar hasn’t left my side. During that time, I’ve been blessed to work with many local musicians and songwriters who have challenged me and helped me to keep learning. Playing music isn’t a foreign concept or something that’s meant for only an elite few.
If you’ve thought about picking up a guitar, you’ve already taken the first step. My job is to help you take the next step by instructing and adapting each lesson specifically for you and your goals, and to challenge you when you’re ready. Whether you want to play by ear, play in a group, write songs, learn theory, or play purely for personal enjoyment, I can help.
As an actively gigging bass player, I have had the opportunity to play a variety of shows with a wide array of musicians. Currently I write songs and play bass (electric and upright) for a Soul/Funk/Jazz band, Lyndsey Smith and the Soul Distribution, as we tour through the Pennsylvania area. We have played multiple large scale shows including opening for Tower of Power at the Altar Bar and playing a private party for the lead actor in Grease 2. I have also played in local house bands, large musical productions and written songs for solo artists.
As a child, I studied piano and drums privately from kindergarten until 8th grade at which point I picked up the bass guitar when my friends were starting a band and no one we knew played it. At that moment I knew I had found the instrument that felt like a natural extension of myself. Since
then I have dedicated my life to music and the bass and currently attend Duquesne University for jazz bass performance. I now study privately with some of the best musicians in the world in the fields of music theory, composition, and performance.
In order for music to be appreciated, it must be shared and I believe that it’s something in everyone’s heart. For me, playing bass isn’t just about the action, it’s about saying something I want to without the need for words. Being able to share my knowledge of the musical language is the highlight of my musical endeavors and I hope that everyone gets the chance to enjoy the wonderful intricacies of the musical world.
Knowledge is only ever one question away – Ben Rossman