John Putnam has been teaching and performing music his whole adult life. Over the years he has been and remains a blues guitarist and singer, lounge pianist, songwriter, recording artist, workshop leader, a studio arranger, and a composer/producer for movies and TV. And additionally, he has taught guitar, piano and singing to hundreds of students.

Besides teaching privately, John has taught classes in classical harmony, jazz theory, and ear-training at the School of Contemporary Music. His other class education credentials include teaching Computer Science at UMASS Boston and Eastern Nazarine College, Music Synthesis at The School for the Museum of Fine Arts, and Digital Electronics at the Lowell Institute School at MIT.

From 2011-16 John led Blues Ensembles at Music Makers in Manhattan which regularly perform at the Bitter End in Greenwich Village. He actively performs as a singer and on both guitar and piano.

Some students and colleagues unsolicited remarks:

"Just wanted to add to all that was said in the article that you are a dedicated educator that shares his craft with those who aspire to be like him. As we all know, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! You have taken me from 0-60 in a very short period of time, and I thank you for that. You are much more than just an entertainer/musician, you are a true teacher. That, my friend, is difficult to find."

Dr. Anthony Reino

"You are awesome, John. Thanks so much!! I purchased the sheet music for Dixie in G from music notes and have been working on transcribing the notes. It's 6 pages and my note reading is slooow, so your one-pager is so much better. ... John, I love you in a non sexually harassing way!! Thank you!


"John, And I a grateful for you my Blues-y friend. I learned a very great deal. You bring an amazing repertoire and skill set. I'm am a MUCH better player because if you. And it's been a pleasure throughout."

Dr. Robert Forman

"Dear John, I just wanted to take a minute to let you know how much I enjoyed watching you work at the workshop yesterday. I really enjoyed it and I feel really great that we have someone of your caliber working at the Studio (now officially Music Makers New York). ... I was really impressed (as usual) with your teaching manner, the fact that you took a second to ask everyone how they were doing just foreshadowed what a hands-on, professional experience they were going to get, and you delivered in spades. Really, I don't want to gush, but I was really impressed. It gave me a lot of food for thought with my own teaching and possible coordinating. You're a class act John, and I'm glad you're with us."


For me, John, you are one of those rare musicians, wonderfully gifted, and anxious to pass on your craft. Pass on the blues craft, that is what you do.

J. B.

I just wanted to write and tell you that my workshop experience with you was fantastic in every way and I look forward to working with you again whether it is at … or some other setting.

R. N.

You are a supremely talented teacher and I've learned so much from you. I've really enjoyed our time playing together … Everything from blues to R&B was a blast with you.

O. B.

You are a master teacher.

Karen Petry

I've really enjoyed working with you. You created a safe environment for me that's let me try out challenging new things. …You have mucho grace and integrity and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with you. 

Tania Kendrick

 I really had a good time in the Blues workshop.  I just thought it was a great environment  for a Blues lover and a new piano player to “throw it all against the wall” in a supportive and fun environment. It was really obvious that you are committed to helping us all learn and improve.  I looked forward to every Monday- and I found myself practicing more and more - because I loved the material ,and because I  wanted to do my best every week in class. More importantly – I’d walk out of each session BELIEVING  I can be a blues piano player. ! That is an unfamiliar feeling for me after 30+ years of musical instruction.

Ed Sandler

 You are a great teacher with a loving disposition that endears you to the people you work with. I hope your future endeavors are successful and prosperous in many ways. You have that special bone in your body that just resonates to the melody and you can't help but, make it shine for others.

P. W.

This is a very belated “thank you “ note for giving me the opportunity to learn a great deal thanks to your direction, orchestration skills, teaching ability and leadership. … I ... did greatly add to my understanding of form and blues improvisation in our class.

Wally Scanlon

Some of the handouts I have created for my students:

Some of my transcriptions I created for students: