Michael Isabell Guitarist Teacher
Denver native Michael Isabell has made a life-long journey in understanding, teaching, performing, and loving the guitar. His first steps into the music industry began in 1997 at Well’s Music, Music & Arts Center, and later, ProSound Music. Michael found himself surrounded by guitars, teachers, and the opportunity to be immersed in music. It was here that Michael pursued his passion for the instrument, helping others gain knowledge and an understanding of the guitar. In this environment Michael made many connections and life-long friends, including Jeff Sollohub, master guitar teacher and owner of the Sollohub School of Music. In 2012, after in-depth training and apprenticing under Jeff, Michael began his time as a teacher and mentor at Sollohub School of Music. Jeff’s decision to bring Michael into the School has proved to be a great decision, as Michael is a student favorite, his students are learning, growing, and staying with him for years and years. His patience and enthusiasm: nurturing. His passion and love for music: infectious.
When Michael is not teaching, he is learning on his own and states, “Learning never stops. There is no finish line with this instrument, or any other. There is only a deeper understanding and appreciation.” In 2014, inspired by his students and newly enthused by the music of Louis Armstrong, Django Reinhardt, and other Gypsy jazz musicians, Michael decided to undertake a new style, a new way of approaching the guitar. “I wanted to put myself in the shoes of a beginner.” states Michael. “My students are mostly comprised of the absolute beginner and those frustrated trying to understand and play the guitar on their own. It was important to me to regain that perspective and see through those eyes again.” Understanding not only a new style of guitar, more importantly, a more diverse and effective way to learn and teach. “My approach has to be as diverse as my students. From 8 to in their 80’s, finding new ways to convey information and new skills is an exciting challenge that keeps this profession fresh.” Expanding on his abilities, he has attended Master Classes in Reykjavik, Iceland to study with international Gypsy jazz guitarist and teacher, Robin Nolan and would later go on to perform and do radio with Robin. In 2018, Michael hosted and held his first series of Gypsy jazz workshops with notable Gypsy jazz musicians; Christiaan van Hemert of the Rosenberg Academy, and Tommy Davy of DjangoGuitars.com.
Michael can also be seen and heard in the Gypsy jazz inspired groups; Chez Coucou, Paris Swing Set, Swing Je T'aime, and with the Aaron Walker Trio. You can often find him jamming with local musicians with GypsyJazzDenver.com at places like; Carbon Cafe, and Denver's best jazz club Dazzle!