Letters of Recommendation




Here is a letter I got from a student from several years ago.  I’ll include some generous statements from the correspondence then I’ll conclude with his letter of recommendation. 

Hey Jesse,

I stumbled across your blog and figured I'd drop you a line.  I think of you often and how much your passion for music influenced my own.  And I still take my good old cannonball where ever I go…  Music is such an important part of my identity, my spirituality, and my daily life and I have you to thank for that in large part.

I actually did a little stint as a music instructor …  The whole time I tried to share the passion and joy that you shared with me.

He closed the note offering the following as a letter of recommendation.

Just take lessons with Jesse. It's been 7 years since I last took a lesson and I can still feel the impact he had on my life.  He gave me all the technical skills I needed to thrive in college big bands and quartets but more importantly he taught me how to love music.  His passion and joy made me fall in love with music and start developing a relationship with it that will give me meaning for the rest of my life.  If you've read this entire paragraph, you've already thought too much about it.  Take lessons, thank him later. And if you're like me, try to reconnect him after years to thank him again.  Need proof? I still have that same copy of the omnibook and a Charlie Parker quote on my wall.


Simon included a picture of the same Charlie Parker Omni book
 we studied from while he was a teenager.


The following is my response.


Liddle brutha,

Thanks for splittin' your electrons to be here on my computer last night. Very happening surge of energy [and Californian!] and I received it strongly. 

            I’m proud to have been impetus to so many things most of which is ‘teacher’…never a more noble pursuit.  My experience says it is ‘good for me’ to be a teacher. The mental activity inspires excellence and effects my mind and body positively even on a bad day. 

So, my boy, as a teacher you know what I’m talking about when I say ...[some students] never make the quantum leap that you so easily did. 

You donned the royal cloak of music when you trusted your chutzpah (yeah?) and intuition in improvising on your saxophone and found spirituality waiting there.  That’s where I am.  It’s a cool groove. Many aren’t ready.  Some are scared.  Some don’t even know: there are levels of understanding that we revisit and deepen. I was just pointing to the concepts.  You can dwell forever. Vastly.  Deeply.


Thank you for including spirituality in that list. Being a result of it is the finest complement.  There has been no other real quest in my life. Thank you for the kind words. 

From the energy of your correspondence
 I feel inclined to give you the advice
I would today give.

When playing,
 if you're looking for inspiration,
 look for your spirituality.
 Inspiration will be right next to it. 

While playing don’t stop.
  Keep the inner voice out
 by feeling the impact of your observations
without the use of words.
 Don’t stop playing.

Repeat.

2014


 Jesse Meman, both as a professor of music and as a human being has added so much to our lives. My son Liam has taken alto saxophone for more than 2 years and his ability to read music, improvise and understand the theory behind each piece has grown exponentially. I actually can't understand what he or Jesse are talking about, yet I sit in awe! He has a way of making learning an instrument a contagion and thus I now am taking guitar after being stagnated for more than 30 years. Jesse is a consummate professional and should be teaching in a graduate institution, but he teaches privately and we recognize how lucky we are. I cannot say enough about how much we appreciate his expertise and we both highly recommend taking classes from this fun, energetic and motivating teacher. Thank you Jesse, you Rock!! ~Ileana Esparraguera,M.D. and Liam 



 ****

I  just want to say that Jesse is an amazing teacher and you should definitely take lessons with him. He builds up your basics and fundamentals for playing your instrument and then takes it from there. Jesse also helps you have confidence in playing and really helps you enjoy music and be motivated to improve. ~Robert Qian 


Robert Qian


 ****


 I would like to thank you for the guitar and saxophone lessons for myself and children for nearly the last 4 years. It is only through having to move with the Navy that we are not continuing our lessons. It takes a special musician that can teach adults as well as those as young as 6. We greatly appreciate your ability to make music fun while learning enough theory to build upon for years to come. Your instruction on improvisation has been inspiring for us all, as this is something that cannot be simply learned from a book. Thanks again and I wholeheartedly offer my recommendation for anyone wanting to have lessons that go beyond rote memorization and to the “next level”. 
 Sincerely, Bill Todd 


Will Todd
 **** 

 You taught my daughter Abby a lot for three years - alto, some bari, even a little guitar. She’s having a blast in jazz band and learned a lot of groovy skills - but even more importantly, confidence - from you. Now it’s MY turn and I’M having a blast learning to play the guitar my dad gave me in high school. 45 seems to be the right age to learn for me! We love ya ~The Majanes

Abby Majane

**** 

Just wanted to stop by and say that I think Jesse is a fantastic teacher, and that you should take lessons with him if you ever get the chance.  I’m an adult student who always wanted to play guitar, but for years could never quite get around to it.  I played piano and flute as a kid, but always felt like there was something missing and like many people I eventually stopped.  I was afraid that if I picked up guitar, the same thing would happen.  Well, I finally took the plunge with Jesse as my guitar teacher, and I’m really glad I did.  In about two months he’s taken me from not knowing how to hold a guitar to having the confidence to play just about anything I want.  Jesse’s a great teacher by any measure, but the key thing that makes him the MAN is that from day ONE he focuses on your development as a musician, and not just as the operator of another instrument.  Not all teachers do this.  Take lessons with him and you’ll see what I mean right away. ~ Neil 

**** 

Jesse is a rare contemporary musical force. Under Jesse’s Zen a student or experienced professional will not only learn to play an instrument at the master level but also to understand by direct transmission the state of being that causes all great music to spontaneously happen. Such a state is only present in very few musicians of such stature who are living much beyond the standard confines of current academic thought. Artists like Jesse Meman represent the ultimate point of aspiration for musicians . ~ Ney Mello   www.neymello.com

Ney Mello

****

 In the few days you were here jammin' with us I had the breakthrough of finally meeting someone would could explain to me, "Coltrane on the guitar", the beauty of playing ’outside". It was like a light bulb going off in my head and hands all at once. I feel with a lot of wood shedding on my part, I can finally play those missing notes that I've heard all the guitar greats play over the years. I know I have a long way to go but thanks for helping me see past the box of American music academia, and look at pan-tonalities in a whole new way. My approach to the fretboard will never be the same. Thanks for showing me endless options. ~ Bryan Dunn  http://bryandunnblues.com 

**** 

My son, Simon, took sax lessons with Jesse for almost 9 years...which is quite a testament since Simon was about to quit the saxophone after only one year taking lessons in school. He’s going off to college now, and his saxophone is going with him, as well as a love for music and a natural feel for the instrument. Jesse is a great teacher who made the saxophone and music theory fun while at the same time inspiring Simon to play and improve. He was attuned to Simon’s needs and adapted his approach through the various ages Simon passed through. And apart from music, Simon values his personal relationship with Jesse, as well. I highly recommend him! ~Daniel Mont

Simon Mont

****

 You have been a wonderful saxophone instructor for my son, Matt. As he graduates this month, I can’t help but reflect on the six years of instruction he has taken with you and appreciate his transformation from a tentative student into a skilled musician. He will miss the weekly lessons but he hopes to keep the music going in college. He is lucky to have had you for a teacher. ~ J. Repka

Matt Repka

**** 

 I have been taking guitar lessons from you for about six months now and I wanted to let you know what a fantastic instructor you have been. When I started, I was not even sure I could master how to use the pick, but your guidance and determination have really given me more confidence in my ability to play the guitar. It has also been great to talk to you about our mutual love of music, which has gone a long way in helping me understand not only how to play the guitar, but also appreciate the music I listen to even more. Thanks and I look forward to my lesson on Friday night. 
Doug Evans

 ****

 Dear Jesse - Just want you to know that after relocating to Virginia Beach to be closer to my Popeye’s restaurants, I have remained diligent to the guitar. The primary reason that I remain enthusiastic is YOU. For three years, every week, we sat in my studio and you drilled both the principles of music theory and timing into me while getting me to stay focused. That is an achievement in itself for I am a long time entrepreneur who likes things fast and successful. Music takes time and focus and diligence. You were able to master a tough student past 55 years of age and do it masterfully.

I can’t thank you enough for taking the time and expending the commitment to me. It has made a difference and given me a base in guitar musicianship that surprises my new teachers and me.



Please come down and spend some time and join me on the next studio gig when we do

the Popeye’s commercial. I would love to have you sit in and play the backup theme.

You’re the pro and you got me to the next level in my playing. Three years man. Not a week wasted.

All the best and I expect to see you down here.

Joseph R Simone

Joe Simone
Chairman, Co-Founder, International Spirit of Life Foundation
USA Board Member, INCTR, Belgium (International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research)
Founder, The Great Saratoga Music Hall (1975)
National Franchise Advisor for Gerson Lehrman Group, NY, NY
Founder and CEO, Saratoga Food Group/Popeye’s
757-523-4934