String Bass & Bass Guitar Lessons, Ensemble Coaching, Basic Music Skills


Jim has been teaching performance on the string bass and bass guitar, coaching ensembles and teaching basic music theory privately and at Boston and Metrowest area music schools since 1985. His private practice covers Belmont, Cambridge, Concord, Newton, Somerville, Sudbury, Waltham, Watertown, Wayland and Weston, and he teaches private students in their homes.  

Jim teaches all age ranges from elementary school to retirees. His middle school and high school students have successfully auditioned for and performed with District and State Festival Orchestras, won MVP awards in both the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival and the Charles Mingus High School Competition and been accepted to music programs at New England Conservatory, Oberlin College, McGill U., NYU and Indiana U..

At the core of Jim's teaching is the search for his students' individual musical interests and learning styles, allowing the student to open the doors to his or her own musical discovery. He uses metaphors of everyday activities - from walking and climbing stairs to sports and art activities - to help his students to, among other things, understand the mechanics of sound production, learn to internalize time and develop accurate shifting technique.  

References are available upon request.


"We love Jim! Watching how he has worked with our son over the years, he clearly 'gets' kids and enjoys working with them. In talking with the parents of some of his other students, what comes through is that he seems to intuitively know how to approach each student and tailor his teaching. He makes learning the bass fun."  A.D., Wayland, MA

"Jim Guttmann is the rarest of teachers who can combine an ability to teach technique, while simultaneously building the student's artistic, interpretive and expressive abilities.  Jim, with his warm personality, kind and often funny manner, is an encourager, who builds student's confidence through sharing  the joy of music."          G.T.  formerly of Belmont, MA

"We chose Jim as a teacher because of his expertise and reputation as a musician. We’ve stayed with him because of his skill and instincts about how to bring out the best in a budding musician. As an experienced teacher and parent, Jim knows that all kids go through lows and highs—times of doubt, when practicing is a chore, and times when they’re on fire about their instruments and nothing matters but music. Jim gently prods to help the young musician emerge at his own pace, with his own voice, forging the path that’s right for him, which may or may not be the path that’s right for most kids. Jim’s wry sense of humor and self-effacing manner have contributed to a strong, positive relationship with my son. Even when he hasn’t practiced he always looks forward to his lessons."  A.M.W. Lexington, MA

"Jim Guttmann is a great combination of old-school and new.  He cares deeply about the proper form, and he patiently stays with you until it becomes almost automatic.  But he is also wonderfully flexible, and is happy to respond to the student's needs and interests.  When my family surprised me with a bass for my 60th birthday, I had the great good fortune to end up with Jim as my teacher.  You should be so lucky."              B.N. Newton, MA

"Best of the best. Jim is famous, yet still maintains a modest  frank relaxed style while maintaining the strictest high standards. He asks a lot of his students, but he knows how to get it--a born teacher." W.G. Weston, MA

"Jim is the greatest.  He taught our son bass for years, always keeping him interested and moving forward.  Conscientious, creative, outstanding, Jim is the ideal teacher.  He makes house calls too!"  I.C. Wayland, MA

"My son has been taking bass lessons from Jim for a little over two years.  He started with the upright bass and after a while decided to take on the electric bass as well.  The progress my son has made in this relatively short time is absolutely amazing . . .  Jim combines a deep understanding of music theory and structure with the flexibility to address an individual student's specific needs and desires.  In doing so, he provides the foundation for learning, exploration and a passion for music.  Jim is also a warm and genuine person who really seems to care about his students.  I couldn't recommend him more highly!"   E.G., Newton, MA