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I love seeing my students grow in their knowledge and appreciation of music! Excellence is rewarding, and I teach the process to get there from whatever level we begin. I use positive reinforcement and notice what the student is doing right. Then, I give critique and an action plan to improve performance. It feels good for the student and teacher when they learn the methods to break down what is currently difficult into smaller pieces so that it is both manageable and possible to go further than they thought. This is a skill that can help students not only in music, but in all aspects of their studies and life. We work together to rise above any challenges and create successes.
While growing up in Spain, my Grandmother had a Piano Studio where she would prepare students to enter the Conservatory System. After noticing that I could play T.V. commercials by ear on the Piano, I was enrolled in music theory and piano at the age of 6. A year later, I entered the Conservatory. I now hold a Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano and Child Pedagogy.I have studied in the U.S. and Europe (where I won a piano scholarship) and performed in San Francisco, Oakland, New York City, and Madrid. I have won competitions, performed in chamber music ensembles and worked extensively as a an Accompanist. Lastly, I have a classical background, but can be inspired by all Music (especially Jazz) and equally encourage students to find educational value in a variety of music.
I have studied music for over 25 years. I graduated from California State University, East Bay in 2010, and have completed 1 year of my M.M. in Trombone Performance from the University of North Texas. I am currently based in the SF Bay Area and plan to continue my studies here. I have extensive experience playing in many ensembles in many different styles, such as: orchestra, brass quintet, jazz band, rock band, horn sections, chamber music, as well as numerous others. I have participated in Masterclasses with reknowned conductors Esa-Pekka Salonen and Gustavo Dudamel. I have studied Music History and Music Education in depth as well, and I have a deep understanding of musical styles and form.
The skill level of my students range from Beginner to Intermediate. For Piano Students: My beginner students start with the Bastien Piano Basic Method Books. I assess what book level is necessary during our first lesson. Other beginner material I use are: Alfred's Basic Piano Library Lesson Books, Older Beginner Piano Course (For Adult Beginner Students), and Piano Adventures series. Book levels vary per student and some additional material may fall to the responsibility of the students family to purchase. For the Advanced Beginner to Intermediate students (both adults and children) I use a mix of the higher level of all series listed above and a series of pieces that will challenge my students to explore their musicality, expression, awareness, and technical skills. For Cello Students: My beginner to intermediate cello students are taught using a combination the the following method books: All for Strings, Belwin Course for Strings, The ABC's of Cello, and Strictly Strings. In addition to method books I also use a series of pieces that will challenge my students to explore their musicality, expression, awareness, and technical skills.
For beginning students (children and adults), I typically start with Alfred's Piano Lesson and Recital books. Once the student has progressed to be fluent on note-reading and play basic rhythmic patterns properly, I will begin introduce simple solo repertoires and etudes such as Czerny studies, Bach minuets, and sonatinas. If a student is not interested with classical music, then I may introduce some film music (Frozen, Star Wars...etc) or other popular songs in solo piano versions. I am pretty open-minded to provide options for students and allow students to pick the repertoires they are interested in order for them to enjoy learning. I also encourage all the students, even the very beginners, to participate in recitals, to gain experience in musical world and to train their courage to present themselves in front of people. If advanced students, I may assign one or two pieces from each stylistic period (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, 20th Century, and Contemporary) to prepare them for a full recital program. I may introduce some local or international competitions or more performance opportunities if students are interested.
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Modern day keyboards have a wide range of functions that make them perfect for learning to play the piano. Many keyboards have in-built lessons and songs of varying difficulties to play along to, which can act as a great supplement to lessons. Keyboards also come with a range of different instrument sounds and FX, such as percussive sounds, string sounds, synthesizer-type sounds and brass and horn sections, which can be fun to play with. They also usually have a record function and can be synchronized to a personal computer, which is great for hearing your progress or writing your own music!
All students start their lessons at different levels of experience and with different aims and goals in mind. For beginner students who are new to the piano, lessons will be devised to give students the fundamentals of good piano playing. Students will learn the correct posture, hand position, and fingering techniques for playing scales and chords. Students can develop these skills through practicing scales, arpeggios, and simple melodies using both hands. For advanced students, topics that may be covered include more intricate skills, such as creating runs and fills to add interest and variation to their playing, to develop their repertoire of pieces they can play, and to develop their sight reading. Some students may have a specific genre that they are interested in learning, such as jazz piano. Students will learn the musical theory and techniques that underlay a host of musical genres. The teachers in Musika's network are able to recommend books or specific areas of additional study that they feel will advance each individual student and help to achieve their goals.
Taking piano lessons as an adult is a great way to learn a new skill and have fun at the same time. The instructors in Musika's network can help you learn from the very basic level if you are a beginner, or if you are an advanced player they can help you refine your skills. Adult lessons generally focus on learning the technique of the instrument, including how to read music, chords, and learning repertoire.
Taking piano lessons from the comfort of your own home is the most convenient way of learning to the play the instrument. All you need for your lessons is a piano or keyboard to play on! Home lessons remove the hassle of transporting your child to and from their lessons, and can be fitted around busy work schedules more readily. Whether the lesson takes place in-home or in the studio, the content remains the same. Home piano lessons are a particularly good option for younger students. It is a big advantage for young students to learn in a familiar, comfortable, and supportive environment.
Piano is a great starting instrument for children who have never studied music before. The instructors in our network specialize in teaching younger children, and will develop an individual lesson plan for your child. The youngest age we recommend starting on piano lessons is age 4. The instructor will be able to teach your child how to read music and develop a love of playing piano, as well as beginning music theory.
Review by Alamu Vinai
Usually I don't write reviews. I am compelled to write for Feng. I've experience finding/working with many music teachers over the years for different instruments (piano, flute, sax) for kids. I think Feng is the best, he is so passionate about music, he encourages the kids. He teaches thoroughly - you can tell he knows lot about saxophone. I would definitely recommend Feng!!
Review by Ryan Piveteau
Amber is personal and cares about her students. She is flexible in her schedule and maintains a professional attitude in her lessons. Her want for her students to succeed makes her excel as a teacher. She is very knowledgeable about music and extremely experienced. Additionally, she includes external activities aside from lessons for the students who wish to advance themselves externally. Really a great teacher who offers great opportunity.
Review by Ashley S.
Ali was an amazing voice coach! She taught in a way that made sense to me, and helped me find the voice placements I needed. I didn't know I could sound like that! My development with her was leaps and bounds rather than tiny dreadful steps that happen when you don't know what's going on! Ali was dedicated to helping me work on an audition for a music scholarship and I nailed it all thanks to her, seriously. I can't thank her enough! She helped me with the tools and confidence I needed to sing in the real world alone rather than just back row in a large choir.
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 Jennifer
Dave is a fantastic teacher. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to students that I think is invaluable. At the same time, this does not limit him from working with beginning students. He is very communicative with the parents as far as schedule changes. We are so grateful to have found him!!
Review by Paula Chacon
I've always said, "It's all about the teacher." That skillful, effective teacher who can reach that child and ignite her passion, is truly a gift. Ric does that for my daughter. As a former music teacher myself, the most challenging thing in working with children is how to build their fundamental musical skills while letting them have fun and be expressive. The teacher must create a safe, supportive environment, and Ric does that. Ric immediately focuses on fundamentals of tone and technique, giving my daughter succinct instruction on how to improve, thus she can sense the improvement immediately. Ric seems extremely easy going; even when lighting a fire under her sometimes under-achieving butt, Ric never criticizes, judges or blames. He works with my child, understanding her, helping her problem solve, and even giving her the quick answer sometimes so she can move quickly and stay motivated. Ric balances fundamentals with fun and expressiveness, so my child feels as though she can 'play' and they truly make music in every lesson. I am thankful we found a good match with Ric.
Review by Angie Ignazzitto
Stephanie is an excellent voice teacher! Our 10-year-old daughter enjoys her lessons with Stephanie each week. She has an amazing way of connecting with our daughter through music. Stephanie knows how to offer constructive feedback in a positive way that keeps our daughter interested and wanting to learn more. I would recommend Stephanie without hesitation.
Review by Kristin
Ted S. is teaching clarinet to one of my children, and piano to two others. He is extremely knowledgeable, and very encouraging. His teaching methods are keeping my children enthused about their lessons, and without that, you have nothing. Two of my children were taking piano lesson from another teacher for the past year, and not progressing. Ted has been able to evaluate their skills individually, determine what was missing in their music education, and begin again with some early basics they seem to have missed. I am convinced we are finally moving forward, and am very happy about that. I wish I would have made this change much earlier.
Review by Marcia Hecht
Karleen has really turned it around for me. My previous teacher (not from Musika) had me feeling anxious, upset, and incapable...NOT the desired result! Karleen's method is clear, appropriate for my beginning level, and (best of all) actually lets me achieve some progress! I'm actually looking forward to my lessons now!
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