Joe Musella is a guitarist and music educator who is active in the Boston music scene. His rock quartet, the Joe Musella Group, performs internationally. Musella's recent collaborations include recording with Joe Vitale, the current drummer for Crosby, Stills and Nash, and with their bass player, David Santos. Other guitar work includes playing for theater productions and with the bands Freestyle and the Ginamark Band.
As assistant professor in the Guitar Department at Berklee College of Music, Musella developed and teaches the popular Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin course, and is developing a course on Eric Clapton. He also is a Berklee alumnus, and studied with Charlie Banacos and Mick Goodrick.
"I specialize in contemporary guitar playing. I played in bands from the time I was in eighth grade, and learned a lot just through real-world experience. I was a performance major at Berklee, and when I graduated, I played relentlessly four or five nights a week. It was tough at times, but I was in my early 20s and totally loving life at that point."
"I remember as a kid sitting on my bed with my little stereo listening to Van Halen and hearing 'Eruption' for the first time. When Eddie Van Halen went into that finger-tapping thing, I was mesmerized, thinking, 'How is he doing that?' I probably listened to it a dozen times in a row."
"I'm still very passionate about the guitar to this day, still actively playing. And teaching guitar is always very engrossing. Anything can be going on in my life—horrible things or great things—but when I get into the classroom and start talking about guitar, I'm there, in the moment."
"I never felt I was particularly naturally talented or gifted; I just kind of stuck with it and worked hard. So I think it's not necessarily about natural talent; it's about working hard and having your basics together. If you have a strong foundation, you can pretty much go anywhere from there."
"I really encourage my students to be more creative with the information I give them, once they understand it and start seeing the possibilities. So I give them a lot of writing assignments to encourage composition. I like it when students who have been struggling with their modes or their pentatonic scales tell me, 'Oh, man, finally it's starting to make sense to me.' It's a great feeling when they start to connect the dots—and especially when they start doing something creative with that information."