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For the past 20 years, I've studied and performed with keyboards, guitars and woodwind instruments while exploring a very wide variety of music ranging from classical and rock to jazz and avant-garde. Expanding and sharing that knowledge with other people in a helpful and friendly manner is something that I consummately enjoy- especially if they're beginning where I once was. My education includes a Bachelor of Music in Music Composition from DePaul University, and I've been working on my Music Education Certificate at UMSL since August 2014. Teaching private music lessons to students has allowed me to develop my interpersonal and arbitrational skills through calmly and effectively solving student issues as they've come up.
I currently work as a teacher, singer, actor, and organist in Chicago. I'm teaching piano and electronic music courses full-time at Kenwood Academy, a CPS High School. I graduated from the Chicago College of Performing Arts with degrees in music education and vocal performance. Apart from my teaching, I stay active as a performer in the Chicago music scene. I have completed vocal training programs with groups like Chicago Opera Theater and the College Light Opera Company (CLOC). I regularly appear in operas and store front theater productions. As a pianist/organist, I regularly play for church services and rehearse choirs. I'm particularly devoted to composing, producing and performing new art music. I love to read, ride my bike, and teach new student-musicians!
I'm a professional musician and educator who has lived in Chicagoland with my wife and two boys for the last 18 years. I'm originally from Columbus, Ohio and received my BM from Capital University there. From there I was Music Director for one of Royal Caribbean's ships and then I made the move to Chicago in mid-1996. From then until now I have become one of the top/first call saxophonist/woodwind musicians in the city of Chicago and have performed all over the world with musical lumaries such as Aretha Franklin, The OJays, Brian McKnight, Diana Ross, Al Jarreau, The Temps and dozens of others!
I have been playing music since the age of four, including violin, piano, acoustic and electric guitar, and flute in band. I took classical piano, music theory, and composition at the college level at both Harold Washington College in Chicago, IL, and Boston University, in Boston, MA. In addition to playing in various bands, I compose and perform my own music, ranging from classical style piano solos and arrangements of 16th-19th Century catches to more alternative pop/rock songs. My long term goals involve maintaining a working teaching studio, while writing compositions for film, and other projects, and occasionally touring.
I am an eager and energetic teacher who takes pride in maintaining a busy musical schedule, both actively performing and teaching, and being able to use my wide range of experience to be a more effective instructor in my personal studio. I moved here to Chicago in 2008 from my hometown of Wichita, KS to study with Matt Lee and Tage Larsen at DePaul, and later graduated with a bachelor's degree in trumpet performance in 2012. Since then I have have many opportunies to play a truly wide variety of music all over the city, from swing music at the Green Mill, countless streetfests playing hip-hop, salsa, soul, and R&B, performing at Chicago Blackhawks hockey games at the United Center, a symphony orchestra at symphony center, big band music at the Jazz Showcase, and many other shows at venues like Lincoln hall and the Double Door. I believe that having a background in classical music, but having a wealth of experience in as many other styles of music as possible make me uniquely qualified as a music teacher, especially one that can get students of all ages excited about playing music.
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Once you’ve met with your teacher for your risk free trial lesson, continuing with Musika is easy! If you are satisfied with your lesson, all you have to do is register with us to continue! The trial will count as your first lesson if you continue, however, with our Great Match Guarantee™ if for any reason you decide not to continue then the trial is FREE. Go ahead give it a try, you really have nothing to lose.
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Music lessons in your home offer a convenient option to learn music! Most of our students request in-home lessons for this reason. As long as you have a piano or keyboard in your home, then you should be all set to start your lessons! Children who have never played an instrument before may feel more comfortable studying in their own home, as it may be less intimidating than going somewhere else. In-home lessons also decrease the time and gas money spent traveling to a different location.
Most students start out with a keyboard or digital piano. We recommend a full size keyboard with 88 weighted keys - weighted keyboards will have a touch response similar to a real piano. However, if purchasing a real piano is in your budget, we think that an acoustic piano provides students with the higher level of satisfaction during practice time.
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.
Piano lessons are usually structured around a series of method books, which are recommended by the teacher and can be purchased at a local music store or online. Lessons for beginners usually start with learning the notes of the piano, and progress to learning to sight read using songs the student is familiar with. As the lessons progress, more focus is placed upon proper technique, fingering, and posture. Basic music theory is also introduced. However, whatever direction a student decides to go towards, the instructor will work to make lessons fun and enjoyable!
Learning to play the piano as a child is fun, rewarding, and vastly beneficial to their overall development. Children can develop their motor-skills, dexterity, and coordination through technical piano playing such as learning scales, chords, and correct fingering. Young students can also develop their concentration, listening skills, and ability to master complex thought processes through theory, repertoire, and student-teacher feedback. Learning to play the piano can also be character building by instilling a hard-working attitude, developing self-discipline and confidence through practice, taking exams, entering competitions or performing recitals.
Review by Dylan Jacinto
Jessie is the finest musician I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I find her overall concept of approaching an instrument to be both comprehensive and effective. Each technique she has acquired has made it possible for her to tailor her method to a variety of ages and individuals. I cannot speak more highly of Miss Jessie's abilities. Her lengthy and impressive cradecials speak for themselves. I recommend no hesitation in seeking her services!
Review by Terri
Caitlyn is friendly, helpful and still holds my high-school aged daughter accountable for practicing. She also makes sure the music technique is mastered correctly during the lessons - they work hard and still have a good time together. I can highly recommend her as a flute teacher. My daughter is very happy & grateful to have found Caitlyn as a teacher.
Review by Svea Bryan
Brett is an accomplished musician, who shared his knowledge at a level that my five year old understands. He is polite and relaxed in his mannerisms but take a serious approach to focusing on the lesson. He is very patient and engaging with the attention span you'd expect from a kindergartener. His motto ever is "sometime you learn faster by going slow"
Review by Brad Schimmer
I have been playing the drums for about 5 years and I have to say that Alvaro is very patient. He has opened me up to new styles of music and I can now play a Songo groove! What I liked most was that he was flexible in what I wanted him to teach me and would also bring in new material specifically to what I wanted him to show me. Overall, great patient teacher and would highly recommend! Thanks Alvaro!
Review by Shelonda
Henry is teaching my daughter how to play piano. Henry is an excellent teacher, we really like and appreciate him. His teaching style works very well for my daughter, she is comfortable which makes learning enjoyable. Henry is very patient and I can see that he is passionate about teaching music. Great teacher for sure.
Review by Timothyfullard
We've only had a few lessons with Elisa, but so far we really like her. She has a lot of great suggestions for solo pieces as well as orchestral music that involves all 3 of my boys, while also including some Christian music that we can play at church. She is very patient in explaining the lessons and encouraging!
Review by Valerie Moore
Kevin is very friendly and professional trombone teacher. During the first session he assessed my 12 year old son's strengths and identified areas for development. He has helped him refine his technique which helps our son in band class but also has him working on duets that help him grow in new ways. He comes to our home and is always very punctual. I would highly recommend Kevin!
Review by Nancy
Darrell is A-Maz-Ing! He demands results from his students and therefore results come quickly. The time he spends teaching is intense and packed with great instruction. He is a tough teacher but offers lots of valuable instruction that is applicable for music as well as life in general. I highly recommend Darrell if you are ready for results!
Review by Steve Newman
My daughter began learning sax in her school band, but she didn't begin PLAYING sax until she started lessons with Debra. From scales and exercises to actual pieces, Debra coached my daughter with real insight, sensitivity, and patience. Her knowledge of the instrument and feeling for music - along with her easy-going,"kid friendly" personality - make Debra the ideal teacher and musical mentor.