Bio & teaching approach

• Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Classical Guitar Performance, Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University.

• 26 years’ experience teaching guitar.

• Was one of a select number of students at Peabody Conservatory to study under world-renowned classical guitarist Manuel Barrueco.

• Has taught guitar at several colleges, music schools, and private schools, including Morgan State University, Gettysburg College, the Bryn Mawr School, and the Fine Arts Association in Willoughby

Currently the director of the Cleveland Guitar Orchestra of the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society.

• Has given recitals and performances in Ohio, Maryland, California, and West Virginia, including performing as soloist with the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra.

• Received a grant from Gettysburg College in 1999 to research new avenues to further more ergonomically effective classical guitar technique.

• In addition to Manuel Barrueco, studied under Ray Chester, David Tanenbaum, Julian Gray, Saul Gropman, and Dr. Nels Leonard.

• Currently Director of Music at St. Clement Church, Lakewood, and Choral Director at the Lyceum School, South Euclid.

Teaching approach

I provide students the tools they need to most successfully attain their goals for the guitar, whether those goals are very modest, very ambitious, or somewhere in between. Helping students achieve what they are most enthusiastic about is what is most rewarding to me.

To help reach these goals, I give students a foundation in sound guitar technique and general musical skills, as these are both paramount to bringing out the best in the student’s potential. Trained in the Aaron Shearer tradition of classical guitar technique, I emphasize minimizing tension to achieve greater precision, speed, fluidness, good tone, stamina, and musical sensitivity. I also teach students music reading skills with an emphasis on feeling and understanding rhythm. Good technique, reading skills, and good rhythm lay a foundation that the student can take with him or her for life, providing the tools needed for continued improvement, to better be able to take on new styles, or to do more in-depth study of music theory if interested.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, this type of training is hard to come by in guitar instruction today. As a result, many students develop bad habits which compromise their playing, and others simply quit because the guitar seems too mysterious and overwhelming. In order to achieve the best success, students need a logical progression of skills to master step-by-step, and with expert guidance. Skipping steps or speeding through steps will only lead to “holes” in a guitarist’s overall skills.

The process of development must go at the student’s pace as the ability and the drive to master new skills will vary widely from person to person. I respect the student’s natural pacing and the student’s particular goals.

Different Styles

I also provide training in other acoustic guitar styles beyond classical. Good principles of guitar technique transfer to all styles. For those styles that use a pick, students will learn how to use a pick in such a way as to maximize coordination and speed.

Optional Recitals

In early June, optional informal student recitals are held for those interested. In addition to giving students a concrete goal to strive for, recitals provide performance experience and can be very rewarding.

Lessons for Children

Starting lessons early gives the individual an advantage in developing his or her fullest musical potential in music into adulthood. In addition to gaining musical skills, studies have consistently shown that learning an instrument also helps the young mind to develop in other areas such as math, reading and verbal skills.

Lessons for Children Age 6

With parental involvement many children at this young an age can learn to play the guitar and get a head start in gaining proficiency. For students in this age group, however, reading music is very cumbersome, if not impossible, and unnecessarily delays obtaining skills on the guitar. These children will gain skills initially by learning songs through a combination of identifying note names, familiarity with melodies, and memorization. It is essential that the student in this age group use a size-appropriate guitar.

Children's Guitar Lessons

My son David started lessons with Mr. Flood when he was 6 years old. Now a year later, David’s enthusiasm for his classical guitar has grown. Mr. Flood’s attention to correct technique, and a great understanding of how much a child can absorb at each lesson have produced results which have been encouraging to both David and parents. With his patient, gentle approach, and willingness to go at the student’s pace, Mr. Flood is a wonderful teacher, and we look forward to more great lessons, and an expanding repertoire in future years.

Dr. Karen Workman
Piano instructor


Lessons for Children Age 7 to 12 and Teens

This is an ideal age range for anyone to learn the guitar. These ages will benefit from having started at a younger age, enhancing their chances of achieving higher levels of skill.

Patrick Peralta

I have been taking lessons with Mr. Flood since 2008 with no previous musical experience beyond Guitar Hero and Rock Band. In two and a half years I’ve improved tremendously under his instruction. I began with lessons in classical guitar and have progressed into jazz and rock. Mr. Flood is always encouraging and at the same time always able to help students make progress with his attention to detail and wide understanding of playing styles. Today I am a guitarist in the jazz band at St. Edward High School, am in a rock band with my two younger brothers, and play my classical and electric guitar every day, all thanks to my lessons with Mr. Flood.

Patrick Peralta
Sophomore, St. Edward High School


Lessons for Adults

A great bulk of my students are adults, including experienced players and complete beginners.

Being in my late 40s, I was a bit apprehensive about learning something as new and different as classical guitar. Through a local Internet search, I found James Flood and was impressed with his credentials. It’s been 16 months since beginning my lessons, and the experience has certainly been more rewarding than I anticipated. James is an excellent classical guitarist, and his patience while working with beginners makes the learning experience even more fun. He matches his teaching style with the student’s learning style and speed, and the result is a well-balanced learning experience. If you’re either a beginner or at the advanced stages of learning, James can help you achieve that next level.

Gary Medved
Owner and President, Roto-Die, Inc.
Chief Operating Officer, King Cool Light, Ltd.

Lessons for Experienced Players

I have worked with many experienced guitarists over the years in many styles, players who are at intermediate or advanced levels, and have helped them to reach a new level in their playing or expand their range of styles. Many devoted guitarists describe the experience of running into a “brick wall.” No matter how much they practice, they seem to have reached their “cap.” I especially love to work with these devoted players and help them to achieve a level which eluded them before.

Joseph Sagrilla

I had been playing contemporary guitar for several years (I started out playing rock on electric guitar and later taught myself to finger pick when I began playing solo finger-style acoustic). Eventually I hit a plateau. No matter how much I practiced, my playing abilities remained stagnant. In an effort to reinvigorate my passion for the guitar I began taking classical guitar lessons with James Flood.

James is an amazing instructor. Through his highly disciplined, yet nonjudgmental process, James helped me break down bad habits and begin building good ones. He introduced me to principles of guitar playing technique that are fundamental, yet none of my prior instructors had touched upon. James is helping me build a foundation of sound guitar playing technique for both classical finger picking and playing with a pick. I can’t recommend James highly enough.

Joseph Sagrilla
Management Consultant

What students and
parents say...

"I drive an hour from Akron for my lessons and guarantee that James is one of the best guitar instructors in Northeast Ohio."

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"I wanted to reiterate one more time how wonderful this whole experience has been for me, and how exceptional James is at guitar instruction I hope to be able to study with him for many years to come."

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"James is an amazing instructor."

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"Mr. Flood is...always able to help students make progress with his attention to detail and wide understanding of playing styles."

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"Mr. Flood's exceptional skill has opened up a new love for music..."

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"Mr.Flood's great understanding of how much a child can absorb at each lesson have produced results which have been encouraging to both David and parents....Mr. Flood is a wonderful teacher..."

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"James can help you achieve that next level."

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