Teacher Profile: James Cross

James Cross

James Cross

Instrument(s): Drums, Guitar, Piano, Ukulele

City: Washington, DC

Education: Northern Virginia Community College

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    About James Cross

    Jim Cross is a Northern Virginia based Guitar, Drums, and Piano Instructor. He also teaches guitar family instruments, like ukulele and banjo, and he's a singer, songwriter, and engineer.

    Jim started playing music at age 10, and his first instrument was Drums. He started school band in 5th grade and private lessons with Minzie Pittman at CMC (contemporary music center) in Chantilly. In 7th and 8th grade he was invited into the area honor band, which is a collection of all the best music students from the local middle schools. Between ages 12 and 15, he was performing in the MSO Orchestra and continued studying all styles of drumming and percussion.

    In his college and post college years, Jim took up playing Banjo, which led him back to Guitar. His interest in bluegrass and country was a big motivating factor and he learned mostly from going to local bluegrass jams like Frying Pan Park and Round Hill. He studied Earl Scruggs style banjo, specifically, and used to attend his concerts -- even meeting him twice. His passion for bluegrass has continued to grow over the years, and his band "The Hub City Revue" once place in a local bluegrass competition.

    Jim has 17-plus years of teaching experience and began his journey with Music Education in college. While attending NoVA Community College, he was seeking a part time job that was a good fit with his class schedule and started working for a local music store. Within a year, his initial studio in the early 2000s flourished and was working at 3 studios very quickly! Jim completed his BA at NoVA and continued teaching after.

    Jim's primary area of study is Drums and Percussion -- all styles and genres, including Orchestral, Marching Band, and Drum Kit. The concepts he emphasizes most in drumming are both orchestral as well as rudimentary stick control. He places a lot of importance on learning music notation from the start and can explore all genres from rock to classical, jazz, Latin, blues, country and other world music as well as the rudimentary drilling found in marching band music. For Guitar, Banjo, and Ukulele students, Jim's forte is teaching popular styles, like Country, Rock, and Pop. His specialty is with beginners and the "campfire guitar" genre. He often pulls from the Hal Leonard and Mel Bay methods for Guitar students, as well as several well-know rudiments collections for drum students.

    Jim's greatest hope for his students is that they gain the ability to play and create music, but also develop skills like critical thinking, task managing, work ethic, the overcoming of adversity, self confidence and establishing identity and connections with other people. Jim values the ability to pass his knowledge on, because one of the great goals of all professional musicians is to leave something behind, and continuing the musical tradition is very special to him.

    Outside of music, Jim is a lifetime auto mechanic and classic car enthusiast. He owns and drives a 1971 Dodge Charger, which he restored from the ground up. He is an avid baseball fan and was a player who still plays softball regularly. He has two pet birds and a turtle and is an American history buff.

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