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Music has taken me to see places of the world I would have never been, music has given me some of the coolest jobs in my life. Playing organ for the San Jose Sharks NHL team was a dream come true, and I am still the youngest person to have held that job in the NHL. They still use all of my recordings. I went to the Virgin Islands last year to perform with a band on New Year's Eve, total paradise all to enjoy just for playing some music! I currently travel the country for Roland Digital Piano Company and enjoy being able to perform for different audiences on high quality instruments.
I am a very patient, knowledgeable and experienced music instructor who loves working with students of all ages. I graduated from Sonoma State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education and a lifetime California state teaching credential. I also graduated from the Naval School of Music with top honors and I served in the Marine Corps as a bandsman playing the French Horn. I have taught music in many public, private and charter schools in California for over 30 years. I also taught music in primary schools in Edinburgh, Scotland for five years. I am currently teaching music at Cinnabar Charter School in Petaluma. I am also an accomplished pianist and songwriter having won awards for song writing in the children's music category.
Both passionate and laid back, ambitious and realistic, I have found great success through having an open mind and grateful spirit in this crazy music business. My friends and colleagues have described me as consistently positive, easy to get to know, and warm hearted. I hold two degrees in vocal performance, and consider the countless hours I've spent teaching in the studio and performing on stage to be my greatest assets. No musician is complete without an understanding of the piano; my own experience began at an early age, and I encourage any student to begin studying piano as soon as possible! I have studied with amazing pedagogues and scholars alike, and carry their teaching with me where ever I go. Although the bulk of my professional resume is made up with operatic experience, my roots lie in choral music, jazz, and musical theater. I have performed professionally in the United States as well as Germany and Italy. I have a spacious, sunny studio space in my house with a very nice, 88-key, digital keyboard in up-and-coming Center Oak, just outside of downtown Oakland.
Since the moment I was born I love singing!!! In 1996 I graduated from Moscow Gnessin Music College with Bachelor of Arts Degree in Solo Voice and Chorus Performance. In 2002 I graduated from Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory with Master of Arts Degree in Solo Opera, Choral and Chamber Voice Performance. In 1996, I won first prize in the Moscow’s “Bella Voce Vocal Competition” and, in 1999, won their grand prize. In 2000 I received a Special Award at the International Bulbul Vocal Competition in Baku. In 2002, I participated in San Francisco Opera Center Merola Opera Program for young singers and sang Musetta with Western Opera on tour. In 2006 I became a First Prize and Special Award winner in Rose Palmai-Tenser Vocal Competition and Prize Winner in Opera Index Competition in New York. In 2007 I was announced the Best Leading Female Singer in North East in Season 2006-2007 by Opera Online. The most memorable moments of my career include performing Aida with Teatro Massimo Palermo, Requiem Verdi on stage of Academy of Santa Cecilia in Vatican and in Kennedy Center, performing as a principal soloist with Bolshoi Opera Theatre in Moscow.
Since I was 8, I studied cello and chamber music with several teachers all over Europe, and I performed intensely in festivals and seasons as a chamber and orchestra musician - particularly in Italy and Sweden - between 2008 and 2011. In 2010 I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Cello and Chamber Music. In the meantime, I studied singing at pop-star Silvia Mezzanotte’s School, as well as with Opera Singers from Italy, Canada and Israel. The diverse methods I’ve studied from these masters of voice have allowed me to expand my range and repertoire by adapting their techniques into a wide variety of genres. I’ve been lead singer at Renato Giorgi’s Midi Recording Studio since I was 12. In my life I have had so many unbelievable music teachers and experiences, that it’s now an honor and a pleasure to share my learning lessons with students of all ages!
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Have you always wanted to be a singer? You are never too old to learn how to sing or to become a better singer. Musika offers individualized adult voice lessons geared to your needs. Learn to sing Pop, Jazz, or Classical music, or prepare for a national competition like American Idol or X-Factor. Expand your vocal range or learn how to choose songs that compliment your voice. No matter what your musical goals are, the professional instructors in our network are here to help. We train you to become a better singer whether you've just started singing now or have been singing since you were a child.
Taking vocal lessons from the comfort of your own home is the most convenient way of learning how to sing with good technique. Finding the additional time out of a busy schedule to transport your child to and from their lessons can be difficult, making home lessons a convenient, time and money saving option. The only thing necessary for home lessons is a quiet room in which to sing and a keyboard! There is no difference between the lesson content of studio or home lessons, only the location is different. Home lessons help provide a safe, familiar, and comfortable learning environment for students.
To protect your voice and keep it healthy, protect your body. You'll want to start by getting enough rest. Rest your body by going to bed on time every night, and rest your voice by limiting the amount of singing and yelling you do. Next, eat a balanced diet. Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains fuel your body and improve your voice. Then exercise. Aerobic exercise is especially important because it improves your lung capacity and helps your body fight illness. Finally, stop smoking. This habit damages your voice and your lungs. With a focus on protecting your body, you also protect your voice and keep it healthy and strong.
Voice lessons prepare your child for vocal auditions, competitions, and performances. Young children, however, are not physically prepared for formal voice training. Vocal cord damage or strain is a potential risk that comes with starting voice lessons too soon. For vocal protection and the best results, we recommend kids wait and take voice lessons after they reach puberty, or around 11 or 12 years of age. The vocal cords are more mature at that time, and kids minimize the risks of prolonged damage when they wait until after puberty to take voice lessons from the professional instructors in our network.
Students will learn and develop good, safe and effective vocal technique during their vocal lessons. The best way to build a strong, powerful voice is to learn the techniques and practice the exercises covered in lessons. The essence of good vocal technique is centered around being able to successfully bridge from the chest voice to the head voice, with no vocal breaks or noticeable change in tonality. To do this successfully requires strength, timing, and coordination of the intrinsic muscles of the larynx, the ability to maintain good vocal fold closure, and to tilt the thyroid cartilage. To do these things successfully students will also learn how to support their singing with breath management, as it is important that the air pressure above and below the vocal folds is balanced. During lessons, students will be taught the exercises in order to successfully master these skills. They will also learn about performance, stylistic and interpretive techniques, and how to apply them to singing songs.
Review by Ginger
Unbelievably Awesome. My daughter is a beginner and has some special needs. Justin is more than patient and helpful while being completely thorough and pushing her (in a good way) to try harder. He is encouraging and teaches effectively. I am very pleased. More important, so is my daughter. Thank you Musika! So grateful we found your service and connected with Justin. We highly recommend him.
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 Brenda Duffey-jepsen
Omar is a great teacher as he provides expert instruction AND the right amount of encouragement. He is a professional musician on several instruments, yet he is patient with beginners! He also has gone out of his way to purchase an appropriate book for me, strings to re-string the cello, and extra attention to tuning. I appreciate how he explains and demonstrates exactly what a beginning cello student needs to know.
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.
Review by Lea G
Kevin was such a fun, smart and innovative voice teacher to work with. I had the pleasure of taking lessons with him for over a year and I couldn’t have been more pleased with my time under his training. In just a few weeks I noticed my voice was stronger and I was able to apply his teaching and see the results. He explains his techniques in a way that the student is able to actually hear and feel the changes he is referring to. This allows the student to efficiently practice outside of lessons. Even further, he believed in me and truly cared about my progress. He was always energetic and focused in lessons and was continually surprised how far a song could come in just one hour of his time. Under his teaching I developed a stronger belt in my higher range, learned how to color my voice for different sounds and improved my stage presence. I wholeheartedly trust Kevin’s musical insight and was grateful that he challenged me with a wide variety of songs and styles that I hadn’t considered trying before.
Review by La from Issaquah
thank you musika and ed. I never thought of looking for an in-home lesson until I found musika. I have absolutely no hesitation that Ed is beyond capable. He's even offered to meet us at a music store to purchase the correct fitting instrument. how fabulous is that! We've also decided to extend the lesson time from 30 to 45 minutes. All this and just one lesson under our belt. He quickly understood where my daughter is at in level and her style of music. I'm thrilled as can be.
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 Queen Natalia
Lara is highly intelligent and knowledgeable in her profession. She is cheerful and personable, and has established a good rapport with students and staff alike. I have found Lara to be a highly competent, personable, patient, kind-hearted, and deeply caring person who is skilled professionally and interpersonally.
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.