James Flood is the founder and director of Westlake Music Academy. He has taught guitar for nearly 30 years at numerous institutions including Morgan State University, Gettysburg College, and his own James Flood Guitar Lessons where students have been known to come from Akron and Canton to Cleveland for weekly lessons.
James received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in guitar performance from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, where for his Master’s he studied under the world-renowned Manuel Barrueco. He also studied under Ray Chester for his Bachelor’s and privately with David Tanenbaum and Julian Gray, among others. He has given performances in Maryland, California, Ohio and West Virginia. James has extensive experience as a choral conductor. He was director of the Lyceum Schola Cantorum from 2009 to 2017. Currently he is Director of Music at St. Clement Parish in Lakewood, Ohio and the director of the Cleveland Guitar Orchestra.
James works with all levels, beginning, intermediate and advanced, in both classical and non-classical styles and emphasizes a foundation in sound guitar technique and general music skills. He works with intermediate and advanced students on refinement of technique, interpretation and overall musicality. In 1999 he received a grant from Gettysburg College to further more ergonomically correct classical guitar technique. His technique largely consists of efficiency of position and movement and minimizing tension.
John Karkosiak has his Bachelor’s of Music in Guitar from the Jackie McClean Institute at the Hartt School of Music, Univerity of Hartford, where he studied under hard bop style guitarist Richard Goldstein. He also studied extensively under international touring and recording artist Dan Wilson at Cuyahoga Community College. John has performed with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers Ensemble, Cedar Walton Ensemble, and Thelonious Monk Ensemble at the Jackie McClean Institute of Jazz, and performs in the northeast Ohio region. John has been teaching private guitar since 2013. He also teaches ukulele.
Steve received his bachelor’s degree in guitar from Muskingham College and is a teacher to over 40 private students in both the Cleveland and Canton areas ranging in age from 8 to 70. He is committed to providing focused and engaging lessons. As a teacher, Steve specializes in teaching rock, jazz, finger style and theory. He also has experience as a professional bass player and teaches bass at WMA.
Steve performs around northeast Ohio as a solo musician and has played at a number of venues including Severance Hall, Musica in Akron, and The Paul Duda Gallery/Robert Hartshorn Studio in Cleveland. He has also performed in various ensembles including the Cleveland Guitar Orchestra and the Simcox Big Band and has played in several pit orchestras for various theater productions around Ohio. As an active community member, Steve has worked with En-Rich-Ment of Stark County, a non-profit dedicated to providing music education and performance opportunities to under-privileged youths.
Committed to continuing education, Steve considers himself a “life-long student” and currently studies classical guitar and pedagogy with James Flood.