Joe Berger got hooked on music at the age 12, when he received his first instrument, a guitar, from his great-uncle. “I locked myself in my room and played for the whole weekend,” he recalls. “From that point on, I had my guitar with me all the time.”
Fortunately, many of Joe’s friends in his hometown of Great Neck NY were children of famous musicians, so he had plenty of practice opportunities. His first group was called “The Living Few,” in which he performed with band mates Ted Wender and David Schwartz, both of whom have made their mark on the music industry.
Joe went on to the California Institute of the Arts, majoring in composition. There he studied with accomplished musicians and composers like William Douglas, Morton Subotnick, and Ravi Shankar.
A fourth-generation New Yorker, Joe returned to his home state and settled in NYC, performing with many music greats, including B.B, King, Al Jarreau, Beth Midler, Barry Manilow, John Abercrombie, and Todd Rundgren, among numerous others. He is a fan of the Beatles and Miles Davis, and has also drawn inspiration from the famous Long Island, NY jazz guitarist, the late Joe Monk, whose creative teaching methods and style were legendary.
In 2007, after Joe had been asked numerous times to recommend excellent music teachers who would give in-home lessons to adults or children in Manhattan and Brooklyn, he founded Hey Joe Guitar music school.
“Over the years, I have taken on many students who had spent years learning incorrect technique from previous teachers,” Joe says. “That’s why I decided to refer only the very best instructors with high teaching standards.”
As he explained in an interview with a NYC parenting blog Mommy Poppins, he recommends only the kind of teachers that he would choose for his own child – patient, reliable, highly qualified, and experienced, with excellent teaching techniques and communication skills.
Today, Joe continues to work as a jazz guitarist, performing with his pianist brother, Greg, at Smoke Jazz and Supper Club on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. They are known as the Fabulous Berger Boys.