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My musical journey started at a very young age. I would get up and put on my 45's and set up my metal TV tray with pots and pans and away I would go playing the drums along with the records. At 6 my school had a demonstration of instruments. I went home and exclaimed to my parents that I wanted to play Saxophone. After seeing the price they asked if I wanted a guitar. I said yes. I started lesson at 6 with a local teacher that would come around to all the kids in my neighborhood. I took lesson for 6 years and then went on to explore sports. At 18 I went back to my guitar and relearned by myself all the lessons I had gone through. I also started taking lesson at a local music store and I attended the college of San Mateo and took 4 semesters of Theory and musicianship. I started giving lessons a few years later working at Guitars unlimited in Menlo Park, CA. At 21 I began playing professionally in clubs and festivals. I've continued playing professionally since and teaching guitar.
For young beginners, I usually start with basic theory notions taken from the Lizard Academy books, combined with some exercises on the guitar. Once comfortable, I start to introduce some notions about improvisation and soloing, as well as increase the difficulty of the exercises I want them to practice on. For young adults or adults, I like to take my students in the direction they want to go, besides teaching them something slightly different just to enrich their background. I also like to focus on their difficulties and eventual mistakes to correct them and help them pull through.
I was born and raised in Oakland. I have been playing guitar for over 15 years and congas for over 10 years. I went to Berkeley High School where I played guitar in the BHS Jazz Ensemble. I then attended the New School in New York City, majoring in jazz guitar studies. I have studied guitar with Steve Erquiaga, Dave Creamer and Jack Wilkins, and congas with Josh Jones, Sandy Perez and other Cuban percussionists. I have also studied voice with Jane Sharp and piano with Ellen Wasserman. I as the guitarist for the Cal State East Bay Jazz Ensemble and was also a member of the CSUEB Percussion Ensemble. Jacob graduated from Cal State Monterey Bay with a B.A. in music recording technology and from Cal State East Bay with a M.A. in music composition. Over the years I have performed with musicians such as Josh Jones, Michael Aaberg, Dayna Stephens, Ambrose Akinmusere, Jonathan Finlayson, Geoff Brennan, and Ray Brown. Mr. Kessel has performed at the Montreux, Umbria, and Vienne Jazz Festivals. I currently play guitar, congas and sing in a variety of performance settings around the Bay Area. I am also a music producer and songwriter, as well as a designer. In my spare time I enjoy playing with my dogs and exploring new restaurants and music venues. I also like studying computer programming.
I try to cater my lesson style to the individual students desire and needs. I like to always incorporate the fundementals of music and technique while exploring the material at hand. Some key points I try to incorporate into my teaching are an understanding of: rhythm, technique, playing from ear, improvisation, theory, and most importantly making music!
I have been teaching Guitar/Music Theory for almost 20 years. I have a Certificate of Music Industry Studies from the Diablo Valley College, which was completed in 2014. As for now, I'm a music/composition major at the Diablo Valley College, transferring from a 2 year college to get my bachelor degree. Besides composing for my band, I write orchestrated instrumental music from classical to soundtracks, etc. I believe that each student require a different approach, depending on their level. For example: if they want to be a professional musician, or if they just want to learn music as a hobby. I also believe that music should be fun, no matter the path the student want to follow. And it is my responsibility to find a way to inspire my students.
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At Musika, we recommend that adult students looking to start guitar lessons have a clear goal in mind. Whether your goal is to learn to play your favorite song, write your own music, develop a certain technique, or join a band, the experienced teachers in our network can help you make those goals a reality! It can take time, often months, to develop the techniques and co-ordination required to play the guitar to a good level. The best and quickest way to learn the fundamental skills is to take regular lessons and practice your guitar playing as often as possible.
Where possible, it is beneficial for younger students to begin their guitar lessons on a smaller sized guitar. Half or three-quarter sized acoustic guitars are the most suitable guitars for young beginners. Older students who can manage to hold their guitar comfortably may wish to start out by using an electric guitar. For $150 - $200, a brand new student model guitar can purchased. However, this price does not include the cost of buying an amplifier or guitar leads, which are essential for an electric guitar player, and will therefore incur additional costs. Students will typically have fun and enjoy playing an instrument dependent on how easy they find it to play. Consider that higher quality instruments are often nicer and easier to play when looking to buy a guitar.
The most important thing students learn is how to have fun when they are playing the guitar! It can be a challenge to master the basics, and it can take a lot of practice but with the proper teacher, students can be playing their favorite songs without too much trouble. Topics covered during guitar lessons include: learning notes, open chords, barre chords, finger picking, sight reading techniques, music theory as well as how to strum and pluck with the fingers.
Musika deals primarily with home lessons for students. The location is the only difference between our in-home lessons and our studio lessons. As they do not have to travel to their lessons, home guitar lessons can be highly convenient for those parents and students with a busy schedule. For younger students in particular, having guitar lessons in the comfort of their own home can be of great benefit. They will feel more safe and relaxed in familiar surroundings, allowing them to focus on learning and enjoying playing the guitar.
Children need three main things in order to begin guitar lessons: physical dexterity in their hands, patience and commitment to practice between lessons. With the help of one of our great instructors, some hard work, and daily practice, students can quickly improve to a point where they can play their favorite songs. Parental encouragement also plays a big role in determining a students success.
Review by Elsahatzipavlou
Erin has been a wonderful voice/piano teacher for our 7 year old daughter. She is talented, patient, and has a wonderful demeanor. She has been consistent with her teaching in piano and voice. She keeps record of where the students leave off so that they know what to expect the following week. I would definitely recommend Erin to anyone looking for a skilled piano/voice teacher.
Review by Brooklyn
Laura is a fabulous teacher. She explains concepts to me using concrete examples so that I can understand changes that I need to make to my posture, breathing, phrasing, etc. She makes warm-up exercises fun, and she's got a great sense of humor over all. Her teaching style is collaborative, more egalitarian (she respects what I already know and meets me at my level), tailored to my particular interests and strengths, and I always look forward to our lessons!
Review by Wendy
Bill has been great with my 2 young children (age 3 & 6). He has integrated games into the lessons - they have enjoyed showing us how to play the games when it is time to practice piano. Bill has been easy to contact and rescheduling has not been a problem if we have a conflict at our regular lesson time.
Review by Heather Berest
I started my 5 yr old daughter with Karleen this Fall. Karleen has a calm and honest disposition. My daughter adores her and cannot wait for her arrival. I was concerned because my daughter is not so willing to "practice" during the week. Karleen advised me to allow her habits of practicing to evolve naturally as her love and understanding of piano increases. She emphasized how nurturing my daughter's love of music is most important. This was music to my ears :)
Review by Roselynbrown
After moving from NY and parting from our amazing piano instructor, we thought we couldn't find a piano teacher close to what we knew. We are happy to say Musika matched us up with someone professional and friendly who enjoys teaching younger students. Thank you! We definitely recommend Kuan as a piano instructor :)
Review by Jon
Michael is exactly what I was looking for in a teacher. The first thing he did was to determine what I wanted to get out of lessons, and what my existing skill level is. He is now aiming me in the right direction - and he is clearly skilled, experienced and knowledgeable, in addition to being very easy to get along with. I'm very happy.
Review by Jonathan
Angela is a phenomenal teacher. She is full of charisma and is a joy to work with. Most of my experience with her has been focused on working in the Alexander Technique and she seems very knowledgeable in this study. I would highly recommend her to any prospective student. I have seen myself improve dramatically in a few short weeks with her guidance (and much practice of course!)
Review by Jermain
Mrs. Regnarene is an awesome teacher!!! She found musical aids that appealed to my 5 year old daughter and used them to help teach her piano. She has a lot of patience and I could tell she puts in the work before class to have a lesson ready for my daughter. She is always punctual, friendly and respectful. I would recommend her to any parents who want to start their kids off with a good foundation in piano. Jermain T. Riverview, FL
Review by Leslyn
Steve is an excellent instructor. My son has really connected with him and he is learning the guitar quickly. Steve is patient and never rushes through a lesson in order to make it fit within the session time limit. In addition, before he leaves, he writes notes and instructions for my son to follow. By the next lesson, my son is confident in what Steve has taught him. Most importantly, Steve builds my son's confidence in his own own ability and progress after each lesson.
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