pbPaul Bangser, Director and Instructor of Washington Guitar School

Paul is an active guitar teacher and performer who lives in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C.  He is the former Director of Guitar Studies at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, DC’s only arts-dedicated high school, where he taught guitar and music theory and led the school’s guitar ensemble. He has also taught privately for many years, and has operated his own private teaching studio in Bethesda since 2006.  Paul is incredibly enthusiastic about teaching guitar and music and helping others realize their dreams of playing the guitar.

Paul has also been performing as a guitarist for over 25 years and has a versatile record of performances in jazz, rock/pop, classical and latin guitar styles. He has led his own jazz quintet on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, performed at Strathmore Mansion’s tea room, and has performed on many occasions with D.C.’s exciting latin jazz group Trio Caliente. Paul’s own groups have performed rock/pop, folk and jazz at area coffeehouses and clubs, outdoor festivals, and other public and private events. Paul has performed regularly as a duo with jazz singers and has also held the guitar chair for professional theater productions, including the shows Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar.

Paul is also Music Director and Associate Conductor of the Interplay Orchestra (a Resident Partner at Strathmore Music Center), a 60-piece orchestra composed of members with cognitive/developmental and other differences who play together with professional and community musicians.  Paul arranges the music and conducts this group in year-round rehearsals and concerts at Strathmore Music Center.  He also recently served on the Board of Directors of the Jazz Education Network (2010-14), a national and international organization for advancing jazz education and performance.

Starting on guitar at the age of 12, Paul learned to play the great folk/rock/pop music of the day while in his teens (you still cannot stump him on the Beatles).  His studies turned to jazz guitar and improvisation while in high school. During his college years, Paul’s teachers included Herb Pomeroy and other faculty at the Berklee College of Music, and later, jazz guitarist and educator Paul Bollenback.


mbMichael Bard, Instructor

Michael Bard is an active DC-area musician, composer and teacher. Michael has taught rock/pop, Spanish, classical and other styles of guitar for many years, and he has a large and loyal following of guitar students of all ages. A past Vice President of the Washington Guitar Society, Michael holds a Masters degree in music from Arizona State University, Tempe and a Bachelors degree in music from Wright State University in Ohio.

Since 2003, Michael’s group Trio Caliente has performed exciting Flamenco, Pop, and Brazilian Jazz throughout the DC area and the country. Here in DC, the group has performed at Blues Alley, The Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, The Harman Center, Strathmore, the Library of Congress, Mellon Auditorium, and the D.A.R. Constitution Hall.

In addition, Michael has performed as a soloist and with various musical ensembles throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, North Africa, South America, and the Middle East, including Higher Octave/Virgin recording artists Shahin and Sepehr, with whom he has toured nationally and abroad. He has also been featured on various radio and TV programs around the world. His first recorded solo effort, Illumination, features original compositions for guitar and solo piano.


Russ Rodgers, Washington DC Bass InstructorRuss Rodgers, Instructor

Russ Rodgers has been playing and teaching bass guitar professionally for over 30 years. He has studied with Kevin Bales, Jimi Haslip of the Yellow Jackets, Oteil Burbridge, Anthony Wellington, John Patitucci, Trip Wamsley, Corey Christiansen and Ted Howe. Russ founded the Bass Program at The Atlanta Institute of Music (AIM) in 1985 and served as Bass Director for its first eight years. After leaving AIM in 1993 because of a busy performance schedule, Russ returned to AIM and taught classes and private lessons from 2001 to 2013. During this time, Russ also taught private lessons at the East Cobb Music Academy and other Atlanta locations.

From 2006 to 2013, Russ performed locally in Atlanta with jazz vocalist, Theresa Hightower. In 2014, Russ relocated to Washington, DC and now teaches live online private instruction with students from all over the world as well as teaching privately at different locations in the DC area.