Our Instructors


Guitar, Ukulele, Bass and Banjo

Since taking lessons at a young age in Memphis, Ben learned early on the importance of tone, rhythm, and groove. A prominent aspect of Ben's playing style is his use of hybrid picking (incorporating both a pick and fingers simultaneously). This versatile picking technique allows for sounds and note combinations not possible with pick or fingers alone.
"I believe developing one's own musical voice"
Click here for more information about Ben.


Guitar, Bass, Drums and Piano

Alejandro Urzagaste is a multi instrumentalist, teaching guitar, bass, drums and piano. Alejandro Urzagaste studied guitar at Northern Illinois University with Fareed Haque. Primarily a jazz guitarist he also plays classical, rock and flamenco although he appreciates music regardless of genre.

"There are only twelve notes."

Click here for more information about Alejandro.



After finishing his studies at Northwestern in 2004, Lee decided to pursue a career in music education as well as performance. Lee is able to teach a multitude of styles including rock, metal, blues, and jazz to all ages of students.

Lee takes each student very seriously and is able to adapt his teaching techniques for all levels and interests.
"I like to use the various songs I teach as a vehicle to communicate the important concepts of music, like harmony, melody, and time, " says Lee.  Click here for more information about Lee.



David's degree is from the University of Chicago; he has taught privately for years, as well as at the American Conservatory of Music.

As a guitarist, David is fluent in a wide range of styles, including R&B, blues, jazz, gospel, rock, and classical. He performs in both solo and group settings in venues ranging from theaters and concert halls to hotels, clubs and private functions. 

Click here for more information about Dave.


Steve Schmidt, Founder of North Shore Guitar Academy and Guitar Guru

With over 25 years of experience in the music industry, NSGA’s Founder, Steve Schmidt is an awesome musical mind. Stemming back to his days at Hughes & Kettner, Steve secured endorsement contracts with talents like Alex Lifeson, Fuel, Deftones and Nuno Bettencourt and grew his extraordinary knowledge of instruments. His time spent working for The Chicago Music Exchange served as a launching pad for his successful sales career buying, selling and brokering over 4,000.000.00 worth of new and vintage guitars and amplifiers. Steve is also a musician with 35 years of live guitar performances under his belt. Leading by example, Steve inspires both his staff and students to reach for the stars every day. Steve is the director of the Band Boot Camp program and is also an instructor for adult and youth classes.