Brazilian Samba

Levels Taught: Beginner - Intermediate

About Makala W.

Background Check: Last verified 10/31/2013
Makala passed a background check on 10/31/2013 that included the following:
  • National Criminal Record Check
  • County/State Criminal Record Check
  • Sex Offender Registry Search
  • SSN Trace & Verification
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Male Ages Taught: 5 to 99
Female Ages Taught: 5 to 99


I have loved music as long as I can remember. I know its cliché to say so, but it's true! :)

For me, having parents of different ethnicity and siblings that were much older than me, I was heavily impacted by the wide variety of music to which my family members listened. The force of this crayon box of rhythms and sounds captivated and affected me so much that it is the key experience that I draw from in making my own music today.

I grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska (a small town in the center of the state) so my only option for entertainment and fun was getting involved in the arts! I started performing at a very young age as both a dancer and a musician. I studied classical ballet, modern dance, hip hop and street dance, and world dance traditions throughout my formative years, which helped me to gain rhythmical fluency. I started my formal music training when I began to play the cello. From then on, I was hooked on the sound and I immersed myself in music as much as I could; performing, competing, working in as many musical groups and productions as possible (as both a vocalist and cellist), and even teaching.

I moved to Seattle in 2003 to study opera at Cornish College of the arts, only to later change my major to Jazz, and then again to Latin music studies. Since graduating from Cornish in 2007, with my Bachelor of Music degree, I have been actively and diligently working in the local music scene; performing and recording with artists and groups of many different styles. Everything from various Latin genres, to Rock, to R&B/Soul, to Hip Hop, and Jazz. Through my music, I aim to reach out to people of all cultures. I also aim to teach my own students with the hope that they too can discover the same continuous love of music that I have grown to feel (and still am growing to feel) over the years. :)

*** Lesson Details ***
The main thing that I like to remind students of, when they take lessons with me, is that music is FUN! A lot of hard work goes into it, but the end result is always rewarding! I am a pretty laid back teacher, yet I still work to inspire my students to try their hardest and to be the best that they can be at what they do. It is very important to me that my students get their musical wants AND needs fulfilled.

***I now teach BEGINNING guitar and piano!***

In my lessons we work on a variety of topics, including:

-Gaining a feel and command for your own instrument.

-Finding your SOUND: (Vocalists) Making sure that you are singing the right music for your vocal style and also that connects directly to you, the vocalist. (Instrumentalists) Helping you to produce the right tones on your instrument.

-EXERCISES: (Vocalists) Breathing and vocalization that will lessen fatigue and enhance the strength, endurance, and quality of your voice. (Instrumentalists) Scales, Etudes, etc. to strengthen the muscles being utilized while playing, and also to build up muscle memory and accuracy.

-Music Theory and Ear-Training

-Building your repertoire, which is necessary for performance.

-Arranging and Communication with your accompanying musicians or band.

-Exercising variation and creativity through improvisation.

-How to Perform! You can have great chops, but YOUR interpretation of a given piece of music is equally important. Everyone’s style is different, and we will find and develop YOUR style!

It is my personal responsibility to not only help the student reach their goals, but to have a hand in instilling a deep love and respect for the art.

*** Studio Equipment ***
88 key piano, (Yamaha keyboard), cello, various percussion instruments, guitars, library, computer, lessons are given in the living room.

*** Specialties ***
As far as voice goes, I teach all genres and styles but I personally specialize in the Latin genres. I teach all aspects of the music; rhythm, harmony, theory. I even teach performance; how to work with a band in real-time communication, song communication (or story telling as I like to call it), and developing ones own personal style. I believe that there is much more to singing than just vocal technique alone, so I believe in teaching musical fundamentals and functions so that my students will not only be considered vocalists, but competent musicians.

For cello, I take the standard approach; getting to know the instrument and assigning various exercises so that the student will gain technical fluency, and building repertoire. Although I am not a certified Suzuki teacher, I do use some of their methods, since I, myself was a Suzuki student. I like teaching the student memorization of pieces, so that they can focus on technique and expression within a given piece.

Photos and Videos

Music Video of my band, Big World Breaks, performing our original song "Closer To Us."


Bachelor of Music Degree Aug 2003 - May 2007
Cornish College of the Arts

Languages Spoken

Spanish Fluent / Native Proficiency

Student Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by 16 reviewers.
Rated 5 out of 5 by Down to Earth! Makala is a patient person. She really takes a lot of time in explaining things so that you understand them. I took lessons from her for a year. I had never sung a note before. She helped me learn about the mechanics of my voice and taught me a lot about myself as a learner and singer! I wholeheartedly recommend her. February 3, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by Makala is a wonderful instructor. My daughter loves her piano lessons. My seven year old daughter has had three piano lessons from Makala thus far. Her interest and enthusiasm for the instrument has sky rocketed. Although it takes work, Makala helps to instill in her the necessary motivation to do the work. She is also great at building confidence. I would certainly recommend her for piano lessons. February 10, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5 by Wonderful! Makala has done wonders for my confidence with her approach and her tender teaching style. She has the skill set to teach classical to jazz and beyond. She is a special and gifted person.Kevin Saunders July 25, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by Makala is a great musician and has a very clear and comfortable method of teaching music. She knows her stuff! July 3, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by Fun-tastic! I would certainly recommend coaching with Makala. She has a very friendly and sunny approach, who encourages and teaches me new skills every lesson. I always come out of my lesson on a total high and always wanting to do more! May 11, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by Great with young kids Makala teaches cello to my 4 year old. I didn't think that we could make it through a 30 minute lesson, but Makala is really good at engaging and keeping my child's attention. We have been taking lessons for two months and my daughter now enjoys practicing and loves visiting Makala! May 2, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by Makala is professional and fun to work with. My daughter looks forward to her lessons each week! April 28, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by Friendly and motivating I looked forward to attending class with Mikaela! She pushes you to make an effort and she is an excellent instructor. Very nice. I 100% recommend her. February 6, 2012