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While studying primarily with Ben Toth and Tom Kolor, she has worked with a number of other teachers specializing in different areas. This has given her a diverse knowledge in world music knowledge and playing abilities. Notable teachers include Joe Galiota (African drumming), Shane Shanahan (Middle Eastern hand drums), Rogerio Boccato (Brazilian hand drums and samba), and Dave Samuels (Caribbean Jazz). Secondary classical percussion instruction was provided by Al Lepak (timpani), John Bacon (drum set), and Michael Burritt (marimba).Though primarily a percussionist, Melanie is also an active violinist and vocalist. She held the principal second violin position with the UB Symphony Orchestra and frequently performs in small ad hoc ensembles for weddings and parties. She sang in two contemporary a cappella groups: her collegiate group Vocal Explosion! and the Hartford Wailers, a CASA League group based in Hartford, CT. She also was a member of the Hartt Chorale for 3 years.
I teach not only how to play the chosen instrument, but also about its history and its role across musical styles. Music is fun, and while hard work and practice are important and essential, so is enjoyment of music and enjoyment of one's instrument. I also strive to include music related field trips such as to opera dress rehearsals, to music related sites such as the EMP or to other local performances. Lessons can be held in the student's home or in my studio.
My teaching method is tailored to the desired goal of the student. I commonly employ classical fundamentals, which provide the student with tools needed to play the instrument. These fundamentals include: long-tones (for tone production), scales (for technique), overtone series (for the low/high range of the instrument) and reading music. From here, each lesson is modified to the particular student's goals, whether that is improvisation, playing jazz, performing classical literature, exploring experimental music, etc.
My motto is my students create their own lesson. I formulate lesson plans off of the styles of music you are most interested in. If my student has a more "just for fun" attitude, the lesson will inevitably be a more light hearted feel. If the student would like to focus on more technicalities, that as well is a different approach. However, I do have a more structured plan for younger students. This being said, all of my students should expect to learn proper exercises and scales to move along progress. All students will learn basics of music theory as well as musicality. I choose appropriate repertoire and/or allow my students to choose to meet their own goals. I also drive my students to experiment with improv as well as create their own music.
Music has been a big part of my life since I was in the third grade when I first joined the school choir. Eventually I migrated to playing Saxophone in middle school then to low brass in high school. After high school, I made the trombone my primary instrument, though I continued to play euphonium and tuba in college in various ensembles. I have had the opporunity to play all over the country including the Latin Jazz Grammys, the Playboy Jazz Festival, Central Avenue Jazz Festival, the IAJE conference, and for the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM). I have also had the honor of meeting music icons and supporters such as Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Poncho Sanchez, Cacau, Justo Almario, Joe Lavano, Radiohead, Hugh Hefner, Jorge Lopez, Hilary Clinton and Jay Leno.
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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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Musika recommends renting a saxophone. The student will also need to regularly purchase reeds. The thickness of reed is measure of a scale of 1-4, 1 being with the thinnest, 4 being the thickest. We recommend starting with a softer reed, a Rico 1.5 or 2.
The saxophone is a wonderful instrument to begin in elementary or middle school. Young saxophonists are able to progress quickly and many schools have jazz programs that feature the sax. Typically, Musika recommends waiting until age 8 before beginning sax lessons.
Saxophone can be a pleasure to learn at any age or level. We have adults who are total novices, some who haven't played their instrument in 10 years, and some who are more advanced students looking to take their skills to the next level. Our teachers have proven methods to get you the results you desire.
Lessons in home are a great way to improve your saxophone skills while saving time and money. Taking lessons in your home reduces travel expenses and allows you to express yourself musically in the space you know best.
The teachers in our network create a customized lesson plan for every student. Topics covered during Musika's sax lessons may include, but are not limited to: correct embouchure formation, how to appropriately shape your lips around the mouthpiece, proper breathing and posture, how to develop a solid tone in low and high registers, how to hold, assemble, and clean the instrument properly, fingerings for notes, techniques for developing quick finger action, how to read music, and most importantly, how to have fun playing the saxophone!
Review by Kristen Draughn
Mr. Lou M. is a God-send! With the various needs that our organization requires from our education partners in order to provide enrichment services to our students, Mr. Lou M. has always gone above and beyond in meeting all of those needs. Our students are learning, our caregivers are happy and satisfied, and we couldn't be more pleased with his performance.
Review by Lauren Segal
Ed is THE best instructor I've ever had and I've had many instructors over the years in various fields of study. Ed met us at a music store to help choose a guitar, this is after he first called and asked all the right questions. He's supplied my daughter with just the right amount of paper work and just the right amount of new techniques. By this I mean to say that Ed connects with the pace my daughter learns at. I highly recommend Ed AND Musika.
Review by Venessea Gilbert
Rebecca has been super with my son! He is 8yrs old and has mild aspergers. He has never played an instrument before but after one lesson with his teacher he could keep a beat on his drums. She is able to keep his attention and really makes it fun! She is flexible and easy going. I highly recommend her for any lessons. Very nice teacher! Thank you Rebecca for your outstanding service!!
Review by Roberta
My 4 year old son is quite energetic. Another piano teacher tried to teach him before Peter and could not get my son to listen to him at all. That teacher told me that my son had no interest and that we needed to wait before having my son take lessons. Peter started teaching my son a few weeks later. He quickly developed a great rapport with my son. I was astounded when my son sat down and listened to Peter during the first lesson. Peter has remarkable patience and is a natural working with children. He knows when to follow the child's lead. My son is very interested in how the piano works, so Peter takes the time to teach him about this. He is able to use my son's interests (superheroes, Lego, Star Wars, etc.) to refocus him back to playing the piano. Between lessons, he brainstorms on how he can teach my son better. For example, my son was playing the notes, but not understanding rhythm, so Peter looked into it and came back the next week with a new plan which helped. My son looks forward to his lesson every week. When he hears the doorbell ring on lesson day, he exclaims, "Yay! Peter's here!"
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!
Review by Susan
My daughter is extremely happy and comfortable with Rachel, and looks forward to her piano lessons every week. She is a very kind and patient teacher, always using positive reenforcement with my daughter, which makes all the difference in the world to children. We definitely are looking forward to continued piano lessons with her. So glad we found her.
Review by Tuvana
He is incredibly patient and really customizes his teaching style to the child. Both of my children are learning piano with him; they have learned so much and really enjoy the lessons. In fact, my daughter asked to learn another instrument (guitar) with him and is making great progress with that, too.
Review by Ro J.
“My son has been instructed by Mark for almost four years. Mark is an outstanding teacher. His credentials are by themselves impressive, but his ability to relate his knowledge to kids is even more so. Connor's ability to understand and read music is fantastic. Mark also knows the performance side of playing drums and has encouraged Connor to actually incorporate his knowledge to play alone and in a band. He is patient and encouraging which is what motivates Connor to work and practice. He is a mentor as well as a teacher. He is superior at what he does and we highly recommend him.” Ro J.
Review by John
When I started with Darrell, I didn't know anything bout music. Nothing. We started with basic music theory & moved into scales and reading. It hasn't been very long at all, but my confidence is growing quickly. He does ask a lot from you and he expects you to keep up. But I can honestly say that if you are willing to work hard and spend the time at home doing what he asks, you will see the results. He wants you to succeed and takes pride in watching you grow. If you want it as bad as he does, you will see the result very quickly.
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