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More important than my conservatory education and my teaching and performance experiences is my passion for teaching music and my undying belief that anyone can learn to sing, play piano, and read music. I'm a graduate of the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey and a winner of its merit scholarship.
After performing with the New York and Royal Philharmonics, the New Jersey and Virginia Symphonies, the American Boy Choir and the internationally renowned opera star, Andrea Bocelli, studying opera and piano at Westminster Choir College and performance art and improvisational acting at East Carolina University in North Carolina, and appearing in shows and pageants across the east coast, I found my life's work in 2003 when I began teaching music.
I've successfully taught hundreds of different students since 2003, from 5-year-old with special needs, to middle-aged professional opera singers, to 65-year-old doctors of music. I've created and led a workshop about singing called, "The Whole Body Singer" and written several articles about music and music education. My extensive knowledge of the voice has encouraged and enriched hundreds of singers and prepared many to win competitions, musicals, pageants and auditions. Having both taught myself piano and received formal training at a conservatory has prepared me to teach almost anyone how to play. The intensive training and education that I received at Westminster Choir College in songwriting, music theory and sight reading has benefited my students at every level. My current work as singer and keyboardist in the acoustic rock duo, Timberwood, has strengthened my knowledge of a broad range of styles and genres.
In the lessons that I teach, I'm flexible, positive and encouraging. While I want my students to have fun and love music, not dread it, I expect hard work and persistence. I am caring, patient, nurturing, and compassionate. For piano lessons, I usually allow the student to choose a piece with which to warm up and then move on to technique and repertoire. In my voice lessons, I usually warm up the singer and discuss technique and sight-singing before focusing on song choices. Joan Frey Boytim wrote a book for voice that I like to use, and I like the Estelle Liebling exercises for the more advanced singer. Hanon exercises are a big part of my piano curriculum, and I enjoy the Bastien and Alfred books for young and old. I have used completely random songs pulled out of a piano bench and a karaoke CD for kids. I will use almost anything I can get my hands on if it means effectively teaching music. Parents are always welcome to observe lessons quietly.
*** Travel Equipment ***
I provide an acoustic guitar to bring to voice lessons. I expect my piano students to have a piano, an organ or a keyboard.
*** Specialties ***
I specialize in teaching classical, pop and musical theater singing, classical and pop/rock/chordal style piano, and sightreading, including solfege syllables. I enjoy using Estelle Liebling as my voice method and Hanon for piano technique. I have coursework in jazz and pop theory and songwriting from Westminster Choir College. Teaching special needs individuals is also one of my specialties, and one that I highly enjoy.
Justin is an active composer and tenor soloist based in Jacksonville, Florida. Justin holds an Associate of Arts degree from Brevard Community College (now Eastern Florida State College) in Cocoa, Florida, and is pursuing his Bachelor of Music Education and Bachelor of Music Performance degrees at University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida.
Justin currently holds the position of Choral Librarian and Assistant Conductor of the Osprey Men’s Chorus at the University of North Florida under the guidance and mentorship of Frank Watkins and Cara Tasher, which has allowed him the opportunity to perform under such conductors as Simon Halsey, Rollo Dilworth, Sandra Snow, and Simon Carrington.
I worked for Eddie Van Halen for five years in the 1990's in the Beverly Hills area of Los Angeles and was instrumental in providing help with development of the Peavey Wolfgang and Wolfgang Special Guitar by providing feedback on the prototypes Eddie was designing at the time. I learned a lot from Eddie and his brother Alex about music and the music industry. (All you have to do is pay attention! ) I have played in bands from Hollywood to Toronto and back both as a singer songwriter and guitarist. I bring the Musicians Institute way to the table and get things up and running quickly. I help students get it under their fingers fast and get it right the first time.
I believe in sharing the happiness of making music with anyone who loves music and the guitar in particular. I do my very best to get you playing the songs you love in Pop, Rock, Jazz and Folk Music of your choice. Today's modern new guitars are easy to play and you will enjoy learning Guitar right away. That is how it should be.
When you study there is a basic understanding of Guitar to be learned that allows an ease of use for anyone for years to come. This will help you reach your goal and improve each week. My students learn to practice in a way that feels comfortable and makes sense. This takes all the stress out of learning and gives everyone something to smile about and look forward to each week.
The good feeling of playing along with friends and taking a solo is within every students grasp. I will show you the way there. And with a solid and straightforward approach to the theory as it applies directly to the guitar you will feel confident and unafraid of any music endeavor. We'll cover harmony and fingerboard theory and give you a road map of the guitar neck that makes it a pleasure to play. You learn the basics and much more than you thought possible retaining 90 percent of what you learn!
Having been a student myself I was deeply involved in music since age 12 and played in bands and duos for over 15 years . I can help you to be a well rounded player and performer with a smile, a laugh and a joy for music whether your in a band or a budding solo artist.
*** Lesson Details ***
Most students want to play the Guitar to play their favorite songs and I'm the same way. Music is something we carry with us in our hearts and minds. Students will learn what they wish to learn and work at a pace that is comfortable to them. Whether you are a student, “weekend warrior” or a parent whose child has expressed an interest in Guitar anyone can learn all there is to know about Harmony and Theory for the Guitar and how to play their favorite songs.
We cover theory in an easy and straightforward no nonsense way in the first half of each lesson and then apply it to the song you wish to learn. This creates an atmosphere where you understand and feel at home with the Guitar. You get an understanding right away and because it is immediately fun it allows you to feel comfortable at any level. Music is fun, and songs are the creative expression of what we feel. Combining theory and the freedom to play and sing songs allows us to express ourselves through music.
After 6 months students will have a solid foundation in theory, and a road map of the guitar fretboard enabling them to advance to an intermediate level if they are ready to do so. Students will know enough that music as it relates to the Guitar, which is the world’s most popular instrument in contemporary music, is not a mystery but is a welcome friend. And they will be able to play songs by popular artists and advance at a pace that is satisfying and enjoyable.
What Students Are Saying About ~ James Teaching Style
“James’ patience, knowledge and under-standing made learning guitar fun. I like the lessons. He cares.”
--Rebecca L., guitar
student, Venice Beach, CA 2003
“James taught me to
play pop and rock, and
introduced me to
fingerstyle guitar. I love it!”
--Joseph E., guitar student, Vancouver, BC 2006
“I studied guitar privately with James in 2010. His style of teaching helped me to get
past my blocks. He opened new doors for me. Thanks!”
--Daniel S., guitar
student, Los Angeles, CA 2010
What James spouse says about working on songwriting with him:
"James is my husband for over 10 years now. Over the years, I have seen James give guidance and counsel to many hopeful musicians of all ages, and inspire others about how music influences and benefits our lives. I would highly recommend James to anyone who wants to learn guitar, voice, music theory, and acting. James is a great talent, and study with him would benefit anyone with the sincere desire to grow as an artist. When we married, I had fallen in love with James’ conversational style, and his vast knowledge of music. When I heard him play guitar, I knew that I wanted to write songs with him, and we released our first album, in 2012 on iTunes."
*** Studio Equipment ***
Ovation Glen Campbell Artist Acoustic Electric Guitar, Ovation Pacemaker 12 string Guitar, Ibanez PF 5 Acoustic Electric Guitar, Fender Telecaster 6 string Electric Guitar. Korg Mini Pandora III Amplifier/Studio EFX, Toshiba Laptop Satelite Pro with PreSonus Studio One Artist Software, PreSonusUSB Audiobox, HD7 Studio Monitor Headphones, M7 Condenser Mic, PreSonus Studio Producer software with SoundCloud integration, iBook G4 with Garageband 3 and iLife Studio. Godin Summit CT Electric Guitar is the guitar I now endorse exclusively !
*** Travel Equipment ***
Lesson Plans, Godin Summit CT Guitar, Fender and Ovation Guitars, Tuner, Android Smartphone and apps, iPads, Korg Mini Pandora Amp, Toshiba Satelite Pro Laptop. Android LG Smartphone with Tuners, Voice Recorder, and Metronome and Chord Reference Guide, and Guitar Tuner, iPod Touch Pro Studio.
*** Specialties ***
Songs in the following styles: Pop, Rock and Modern Country Music. Also Composition Analysis while learning the song.
Minghui Phebe Y. played for the National Youth Festival in Singapore and has also performed internationally with various choirs. She accompanied the North Central University Chorale in a performance at Carnegie Hall, New York, and was a featured soloist in the St Thomas Festival Orchestra Competition 2012, played with the members of the Minnesota Orchestra.
Phebe has been teaching piano for more than 10 years, passing on a genuine, life-long passion for music is her goal. She believes that music is a way to guide a student's artistic development and a means for her to serve others. She hope to see her students succeed in their life endeavors.
Born in 1982, Havana, Cuba.
Singer, Actress and Music teacher.
Member of Jacksonville Symphony Chorusâ€‹.
Began studying piano at the tender age of 5 and four years later she was accepted at the
â€‹Conservatory of Music "Manuel Saumell", where also studied singing and choral conducting.
She continued her superior studies until the age of 18 at Conservatory "Amadeo Roldan" specializing in choral conducting and music theory.
In the year 2000 was accepted at the University of Arts of Havana, Cuba (ISA) where she began studying opera singing and performing arts. During her time at ISA participated in recitals as a soprano soloist and acting with the theater group "Century 21".
After earning her Bachelor’s Degree, won a scholarship awarded by the Fundacin Carolina to study at the Liceu Conservatory in Barcelona, â€‹â€‹Spain. There she had the privilege to be the apprentice of the prestigious singers Eduard Jimenez and Maria Soler.
After her postgraduate studies, Lena received Master lessons from the internationally recognized soprano Montserrat Caball at the city of Zaragoza, Spain.
Lena has being teaching music now for over ten years. Her profound love for music and children, inspired and motivated her to become a teacher.
I have studied with the University of North Florida for four years in Vocal Performance with an emphasis in operatic singing. I believe that music and theatre can open many more doors than performance, especially with children who struggle with the social aspects of daily life, as well as overall confidence. I have personally seen the effect teaching music and theatre to children with autism and speech impediments, and it has quickly become one of my greatest joys to see them grow!
I have a strong background in musical and straight theatre, having taught and assisted/directed children's theatre. I love coaching Shakespeare to young students, as it gives them a great formal background into the arts. For the past ten years, I have performed in the following genres: Music theatre, theatre, Opera, film, monologue competitions, solo competitions, and abroad performances. I require that all music students become proficient in ear training and basic theory. Resume available upon request
"Steven is very professional and extremely helpful. He always has a smile on and is serious about helping you phrase the music. I would highly recommend him to anyone."
"It's been really exciting so far! Jordan has been so helpful, so knowledgeable. I could not have found a better instructor and I'm getting better and better every day."
"My daughter's wedding was weeks away and I had never been able to dance a step. With Jenny's help, I came further than ever before in such short time in any subject."