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Michael is a musical director, lyricist/composer, and music producer with an extremely varied background. He formed a medieval ensemble to perform at the premier of ROBIN AND MARIAN, and a Country-Western band for the South African equivalent of the Kentucky Derby. He’s a former musical director for National Lampoon's live shows and television specials, including CLASS OF '86, for which he also wrote several songs. Other television work includes the soundtrack for PBS BIOGRAPHY, LIFESTYLES OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS, CNN TRAVEL SERIES, and the Jane Leeves sitcom THROB. During its original New York run, he conducted LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. He has appeared in several Broadway and off-Broadway shows as an actor/musician. These include PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES and SONG OF SINGAPORE. During the Toyota Comedy Festival, he was musical director and a contributing writer for FIRESIGN THEATRE. He has performed, produced, or written music and lyrics for numerous corporate clients, such as Bayer, Nike, Verizon, Kraft, CNN, Chase Manhattan, Scholastic, Hallmark, and many others. He continues playing both recording and club dates, and has performed with artists ranging from Jimmy Dean to Richard Gere to Shawn Colvin to MA$E, for whom he arranged and played keyboards on the platinum-selling I’M NO KILLAH. He is a contributing writer to CHILDREN’S MUSIC JOURNAL, NATIONAL LAMPOON, and THE SECOND SPRING (St Augistine’s Press). He was profiled in YOUR OWN WAY IN MUSIC (St. Martin’s Press).
I started teaching voice while at Purchase College and then focused on performing and writing, and came back to teaching last year. I use the techniques I've learned from my vocal teachers along the way, as long as my own ideas and perspectives on healthy, correct ways to sing your best. I believe strongly in teaching technique and basic theory in addition to singing whole pieces and performing. To me, every aspect of singing is enjoyable and I try to bring that sense of positivity and encouragment to my lessons.
I teach a variety of music to a variety of people, ranging from classical composition to hip-hop songwriting and production, classical voice to pop, rock, and punk vocals, baroque piano to free jazz synthesizers, and maybe not everything in between, but I try to get close. I have been teaching privately since 2006, with a special focus on teaching both children and adults with special needs. On top of that, I also am an adjunct instructor and engineer at Borough Manhattan Community College, where I teach students and other faculty alike the ins and outs of the recording studio. My main areas of expertise are in voice, songwriting and composition, improvisation, contemporary piano and synthesizer performance, recording your own music, and ear training and theory. I love to teach because I have to teach. My philosophy is if you believe you are born with a special gift, you are obligated to give and teach the ways of this gift to people who strive to understand it. In other words, music is my passion and the one thing I've been able to do my entire life, and creating it gives me tremendous joy. I like to think it is my musical duty to show others that they themselves can create this tremendous joy, and that I'm here to help them get there.
I began taking on some of my own private students around 3 years ago, and quickly fell in love with the idea of giving back to others what I have learned over my years of performing. Introducing students to the basics of guitar and their significance, as well as motivating and informing students of the importance of practice and persistence are some of the key elements I like to emphasize when teaching - especially with younger students. I also help to develop the students' ability to utilize their own creativity by coming up with their own ideas. This motivates them to continue learning as well as helping them to gain a passion for the instrument. When a student reaches a comfortable level on guitar, I encourage them to go out and perform in competitions and recitals.
I typically create individualized plans for my vocal students, depending on their level. I focus on technique and ease of singing with proper breathing for support. I do visualization techniques to help achieve an increased range without strain. I incorporate music the student is interested in to maintain their interest and love of music. I choose pieces of music that are appropriate for their level, yet challenging enough to keep them always improving. With my guitar students, I start with proper technique of holding the guitar and pick. I then teach the names of notes and strings. I use the Alfred book to help my students to learn how to read. I also teach songs the student is interested in learning to keep them excited about music.
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We recommend that students looking to start guitar lessons have a clear goal in mind - such as learning to play a few of their favorite songs. When you start lessons, your teacher will help you unlock the skills required to reach your goals. Keep in mind that you might not be able to start off with the exact song you want to learn - it could take months of study and practice to learn all of the notes and chords required to turn your dream into a reality.
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.
Young children will start out by learning how to fret notes with one hand, and how to pluck or strum the strings with the other. This will allow them to play simple, familiar songs on one string. Students will also be taught to read music, and will eventually learn how to play the common open guitar chords. Once students are more familiar with the guitar fret board, they can start learning barre chords, movable scales, as well as get introduced to music theory. Advanced students might decide to study classical guitar repertoire, rock or blues solos, or even jazz improvisation.
At Musika, we offer guitar lessons to students as young as 6 years of age. Students in this age category will start off by learning to play simple tunes on the top strings of the guitar. It is most comfortable for students of this age to start off by playing a half sized acoustic guitar with nylon strings. By about 7-8 years old, students will be forming different chords and playing along to their favorite songs. When students get to about 10-12 years old, they may become interested in a specific genre (usually rock) and decide to learn on a full-sized electric guitar.
Musika specializes in individually tailored, one-on-one guitar lessons in the comfort of your home. Whether your child learns in the studio or at home, the quality and content of each lesson will remain exactly the same. Home guitar lessons reduce the burden on parents to transport their children and equipment to their lesson, which saves time and money and helps to integrate lessons into busy work schedules. Musika prides itself on creating fun, engaging guitars lessons in an environment that students feel comfortable and familiar with, important conditions for their musical development.
Review by Vanessa
Eduard is an amazing teacher. (Coming from someone who previously knew the basics of playing and music.) He is not to harsh with his words and is extremely nice. Eduard has a great amout of experience and displays it through his teachings. Specifically by making it easy to follow along with his words to actions. As a person with a wondering mind whom is distracted easily, it is easy to pay attention.
Review by Anita
Our daughter has only been playing the piano since March. Tony replaced our other teacher who had a job transfer and could no longer teach. Tony is fun and encouraging. My daughter is playing Taylor Swift and Christmas songs and is playing the piano more than ever before. Very happy so far with Mr Tony
Review by Justin
I've been taking lessons from Michael once a week for eight weeks now, and with his help I have made dramatic improvements with my sax. Michael is a funny, nice, patient and all around great instructor. I'd recommend Michael, as an instructor, to anyone who wants to improve their skills and have fun while doing it.
Review by Teri Romano
Being I'm a woman, I was a little apprehensive having a male teacher (he knew this), however, after my trial lesson I realized he knows what he's doing and I had nothing to worry about!! He is very knowledgable on the piano and vocal techniques. He has a big vocal range so he is able to hit the high notes to be able to show me how I need to sing it. He is also phenomenal on the piano. I would highly recommend him for vocal and piano. Also, I don't know how to sight read music and he is teaching how to. I've been taking lessons with him for a month (my trial lesson was on 1/11) and I have already seen a huge improvement. I am an intermediate level singer looking to improve my vocal technique, breathing and improve my confidence in my singing abilities, Alex is definitely helping me do that.
Review by Joshua Thompson
I have known Erin since I attended graduate school at the Hartt School in Connecticut. Last year she came to the college I teach at to give a master class and talk about her experiences as a musician abroad. She has proven that she is a capable and wonderful musician and educator. I highly recommend studying with her if you're lucky enough to have the opportunity!
Review by Michelle S.
"My daughter has been a student with Mark for over a year. She has come so far and has learned so much in such a short time. Mark is extremely talented and knowledgeable. He is very serious, patient and super nice. If your child or if you really WANT to learn the drums, then I highly recommend Mark. He is our third instructor and the best one yet! You will not be disappointed." Michelle S.
Review by Howard
We value Chelsea for the quality of her lessons, but also for the flexibility of her schedule. She has worked around family vacations, impromptu summer camps and the upcoming school year. Emily is better prepared to start middle school band this year due to flute lessons from Chelsea and we plan to continue the lessons for the foreseeable future.
Review by Kaleen Todoroff
Noel is amazing. She is helping me to work toward my vocal goals for auditions to several musical theaters. She has helped me choose strong audition pieces and is teaching excellent ways to get the sound I need in a safe and healthy way. She works outside our lessons on new warm ups and new music pieces. She is the best.
Review by Scott
David is not only a great musician and educator but also a delightful human. We began using David six years ago as a piano teacher for my two boys. Since then my eldest moved on to acoustic and electric guitar and my youngest electric and stand up bass. Somewhere along the way I began to take guitar lessons also (I was David's most bearded student at age 48). David always came prepared to lead but also to follow, he often asked what we were listening to and taught us how to play it. His ability to listen to a piece of music and transcribe it always left me amazed, we have several notebooks full of songs we learned individually or played as a group. After a shoulder injury David continued to impress by teaching me music theory instead of our usual lesson. I could go on forever, David made a positive impact on my family and feel fortunate to have met him.
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