“Stellar songwriting with some especially gorgeous guitar work from Derek Barber.”
– Premier Guitar Magazine
“Derek Barber’s guitar work flits from jagged edges to smooth licks like vogue.”
Jacob Hoffman has been teaching and performing music since 2004. He specializes in folk, country, blues, and rock, though he loves delving into all styles with his guitar, banjo, bass, and ukulele students. Growing up with Rolling Stones, Billie Holiday, Grateful Dead, and Joni Mitchell on the turntable, he studied where their music came from and found his deepest inspiration from American roots artists of the early recording era.
Jacob is a community teaching artist who organizes classes, jams, festivals, and gatherings that focus on the folk process—where people are passing down old techniques, improvising together, and creating new traditions. He grew up singing in a choir and picked up guitar at age 13. Next came bass, then banjo, then a pile of other stringed things. He strives for his students (youth, adults, ensembles) to learn musical skills and truths that transcend whatever instrument(s) they use. He loves to facilitate open-minded, creative collaborations and seeks to lead in a way that inspires individuals to express their own ideas and musical understandings.
Jacob’s first touring band, The Powder Kegs, won a 2007 talent contest live on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor. He has toured nationally and internationally with Tumbling Bones, a vocal-centric folk band combining old-time, bluegrass and rock ‘n’ roll. They were chosen as U.S. State Department Cultural Ambassadors to perform and teach in Eastern Europe in 2014 and 2015.
He grew up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and lived in Portland, Maine for ten years before moving to the East Bay. He loves to square dance and swing dance, is a budding fiddler and a sucker for scratchy field recordings, and some day wants to learn ragtime piano. Jacob teaches group classes and private lessons at Blue Bear.