For those who want to play that low-end groove…
We can get you playing fast. Regardless of your musical tastes or level of experience, as an Altered Stage bass member, you’ll always be in demand.
If you’re an absolute beginner, you’ll learn fundamentals, form and theory. And you’ll likely walk out of your first bass lesson able to play part or all of a song you love. And if you’re interested in playing live with a band, we’ll get you on your way toward holding down the beat faster than you could imagine.
For intermediate bassists, your bass lessons can focus on improving technique, speed and improvisational skills. Of course, your instruction will be driven by you and your individual musical goals. You’ll also have plenty of opportunity to put what you learn into practice during the many jam sessions and gigs. Yes, you’ll be in demand. And you can also work with our other members to create your own original music to share with the world through our Altered Records label.
Are you a more advanced bass player? You’ll also get significant value out of your Altered Stage bass lessons and membership too. We will encourage you to think about music from a different perspective by exploring non-familiar genres and complex musical works with the ultimate goal of helping you expand your own creativity. You’ll also discover the value of playing with musicians with a wide range of skill levels, which can alternatively push you further and bring you back to basics. You can also work with our instructors and other members to write, record and publish your original works.
Altered Stage is the perfect place to pursue your musical goals. Above all else, the atmosphere is welcoming and inclusive. The instructors themselves are great musicians and supportive of all musical goals. Everything from learning to play my favorite songs to musical theory and songwriting — all skill levels are welcome.
– Jason Y.
Vinny Kabat, Bass Instructor
Vinny Kabat received his BM from Elmhurst College, where he studied with Steve Suvada.
He takes part in a member of multiple jazz-oriented ensembles where he can be seen playing in various musical settings throughout the Chicago-land area, from accompanying show choirs to playing in musical pits to backing singer-songwriters.
Vinny also plays violin, which was his first instrument at the age of 5. He also plays piano and guitar.
Vinny’s musical influences include rock, bebop, bluegrass, jazz, and fusion.
Alex Piazza, Bass Instructor
Alex Piazza was born and raised in Southern Louisiana before making his way north. Son of a church music director/pianist/organist, he began studying and playing music when he was six years old. Alex played double bass, electric bass, trombone and tuba in school music ensembles from middle through high school. Jazz ensembles, orchestras, marching bands and wind symphonies were the first formal settings in which Alex performed. High school saw the creation of personal music projects with friends, playing funk throughout the region. Alex moved to Memphis to attend Rhodes College, and studied music as well as physics. He quickly got involved in the local music scene, playing bass with Ghost Town Blues Band, a staple of the Beale Street Blues circuit. Memphis was where Alex steeped himself in blues, soul, and r&b.
After graduating, Alex moved to Chicago, seeking a larger and more expansive music scene. He attended DePaul University and earned a Master’s degree in Jazz Trombone. While living in Chicago, Alex has performed in myriad settings, from musical theater pits to afro beat ensembles. In February of 2020 he toured the country playing bass with Chicago rock band The JAB. During the Covid shutdown, Alex used his newfound free time to begin writing and recording his personal project Snooz Club. Currently he can be seen backing up Nashville based singer songwriters Phillip Michael Scales and Mike Maimone, and co-leading Bodega Bodega, a Chicago based Brazilian music project. He has toured nationally and internationally on electric bass and trombone, performing in Europe, Canada and the United States.
Alex’s musical ethos centers around the relationship between performer and audience, his goal being to create space for the listener to be their most authentic self. Alex prides himself on his ear training, musical flexibility and sensitivity to those around him. His desire to elevate the music around him in an unselfish way characterizes his approach to music making. His musical education includes both formal academic traditions and regional vernacular music passed down from prior generations of musicians. Alex believes in dedication to the craft, and that the joy of music comes in walking the tightrope of personal expression in service of communicating with others both on and off stage. As a teacher, his intention is to empower students to find their own voice and pursue it rigorously. At the end of the day, the process is the goal, and Alex’s process is about tapping into and reflecting the love and joy that music brings to all of our lives.
Justin LaForte, Bass Instructor
Justin’s first love was classic rock – but his musical interests didn’t stop there. Eventually earning his BA in Music and performance from Loyola University Chicago, he studied jazz with Kyle Asche, Scott Burns, Victor Garcia, and Anthony Molinaro, and classical guitar with Peter Aglinskas. Justin is a performing musician, equally at home playing in musical theatre pits, weddings, and shows with his own rock bands.
For the last decade Justin has worked for gear website zZounds.com as their main on-camera demo musician, creating product demo videos for anything from guitars, basses, keyboards, pedals, and amplifiers. He also writes and produces all of his own songs for the company, and serves as their main recording and mixing engineer.
Justin is proficient on guitar, bass, and drums. If you are interested in learning rock, jazz, funk, blues, classical, music theory, or songwriting then Justin is your guy!