Born in Queens, NY and raised on Long Island’s south shore, Sal d’Alessandro has been teaching music in Middlesex County for over 45 years. Sal started lessons on guitar at age 11 and continued through high school and college, graduating from Wesleyan University in 1972 with a BA. Studies included West African and African-American musics with a focus on jazz studies. Sal received a Jazz Travel-Study grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1972. Subsequent enrollment in Wesleyan’s Educational Studies Program lead to a Connecticut 049 teaching certificate (Music PreK-12) in 1989 followed by a MALS degree in 1996, also from Wesleyan.
While an undergraduate, Sal studied classical guitar with Roberto Santi at Wesleyan and jazz guitar with Sal Salvador through an exchange program at the University of Bridgeport. Sal recently retired after 29 years in the Cromwell Public Schools, teaching general music and instrumental music to grades K-8. Founder of the Cromwell Middle School jazz band in 2001, Sal also spent his last three years as the middle school band director. Professional education affiliations include the NEA/CEA and NAfME and the CMEA. Sal is also a life member of Local 400 of the American Federation of Musicians. Musical experiences started in high school with work in the New York metropolitan area, including rock, pop, folk and “society” gigs. Sal was a member of The Group, one of the very first Catholic folk mass bands to perform regularly both at their home church and at concerts at the diocesan center and the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in NYC. They also recorded two albums of devotional music. Sal is currently performing with Long Island Sound, a seven-piece “wedding band” and Moto, a five-piece band featuring Reggae and Soca Caribbean grooves.
A CMEA certified adjudicator for jazz guitar and bass, Sal specializes in helping intermediate and advanced students to prepare for middle and high school regional and all-state try outs as well as college auditions. A strong emphasis on music theory as it applies to both harmonic analysis and improvisation is an important component of his instruction. Many of Sal’s private students have gone on to study at Hartt, Berklee, UCONN, etc. and are still active both as performing and recording artists.