Benicia Music Lessons

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Music Lesson Reviews from Students

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About Sven O.

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San Francisco, CA

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About Sven
Hi, I'm Sven and I love helping people learn to sing!

I'm a singer and choral conductor with 20 years experience as a full-time performing musician. I have taught class voice and individual singing lessons at the New England Conservatory of Music and have been a Teaching Artist with San Francisco Opera for nine years. As artistic director of Lacuna Arts (SF), I conduct the 24 voice a cappella Chorale and present workshops in ear training, sight singing, and music theory for choral singers. My students have gone on to major in voice performance at the college level and to perform as soloists with local choruses.

*** Lesson Details ***
I teach classical singing technique based on a scientific knowledge of vocal anatomy and the physics of sound—and not on flashy gimmicks.

Through guided practice, you will learn to:

-take a long
, slow breath that expands the ribcage before starting to sing
-initiate the vocal tone with an onset that is neither breathy nor pressed
-manage breath efficiently so you never feel like you "run out" of air in the middle of a phrase
-connect from pitch to pitch and vowel to vowel for a seamless legato
-sing any dynamic from piano to forte
-increase your vocal range from top to bottom with balanced resonance and smooth register transitions

If you study with me, you will learn why common expressions like "breathe from the diaphragm" are essentially meaningless (we can only breathe from the diaphragm). And you will come to understand why things like trying to "bring the sound forward" or "send the voice to the back of the room" are physically impossible (sound doesn't move like that).

Whether you are interested in singing opera, choral music, or musical theater, you will learn a foundational classical singing technique that will allow you to make the artistic choices you want with confidence, poise, and finesse. Students must be serious about improving their singing and commit to a minimum of 60 minutes of at-home practice between lessons.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Lessons in the living room, upright Kawai piano, sitting area, mirror, music stand, Edirol/Roland digital recorder

*** Travel Equipment ***
Must have piano

*** Specialties ***
classical, opera, and "legit" musical theater
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Reviews
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Daniela R. January 9, 2018
· Audition Prep · In studio
I don't usually write reviews cause I am always afraid they'll sound fake (because my complements always sounds super corny), but after reading this disclaimer, please know that this is as sincere review from a very very pleased student, who decided to write this because It's is the best way to repay someone that completely went out of his normal lessons activities to help me out with my very specific requirements.

I rate Sven 5 stars because aside from being a very educated (musically and socially speaking) person, he also welcomes you into his class with a mix of kindness and funny personality super willing to teach you but at the same time wanting to push you and get the best out of you.

I was very impressed by how much knowledge he always has in his hands, with his wonderful credentials but mostly with how motivating it was to be learning from someone you feel knows what he is doing, and because of that, earns your respect and makes you want to work harder and make the best out of the lesson.

As I mentioned before, I went to Sven with the very specific goal of preparing my portfolio to apply to my dream music school, and not only he gave me the confidence to arrange my existing material, he motivated me to create new material.

Not only I completed my task but I gathered months of knowledge in a matter of 2 weeks.

Very happy and thankful to have had the opportunity to study and work with him.
Super recommended as a teacher, and very cool person :).
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Rachel October 19, 2017
· Singing · In home
Sven has a wonderful gift in being able to break down concepts and offer concrete guidance which I so appreciate as a beginner.

He is very organized and has a deep knowledge and passion for his work.

He is without a doubt, a top-notch instructor.
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Nick October 11, 2017
· Singing · In home
Sven is a great teacher! I'm excited to continue my lessons with him
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Sven O.

Sven O.

San Francisco, CA 94117
(9)
starting at
$60 / 30-min

About Elizabeth P.

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South San Francisco, CA
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About Elizabeth
Elizabeth P. is an operatic soprano and a private voice teacher. Raised in Pennsylvania by a family of accordionists, she resisted the family tradition and proclaimed a love of singing. She has since settled down in South San Francisco with her husband, John, and her cat, Bubby.

Elizabeth teaches singing to adults and children of all genres, from rock to opera. Her students have pursued music careers, entered college music programs, and performed in their communities. Elizabeth prides herself on building healthy voices and confident individuals.

Elizabeth performs regularly in operas throughout the Bay area. She has sung with Opera Cultura, Phènix Opera, Just Opera, Verismo Opera, West Bay Opera Chorus, and Valhalla Productions. Her opera credits include Ernestina (L'Occasione Fa il Ladro), Suor Genovieffa (Suor Angelica), First
Witch (Dido and Aeneas), Anna Gomez (The Consul), Giulia (La Scala di Seta), Chiquita (Coyotes and Rabbits), Waldvogel (Siegfried), Monica (The Medium), Oscar (Un Ballo in Maschera), Gerhilde (Die Walküre), and Carmela (La Llorona). Elizabeth has premiered three song cycles by the late composer Stephen Senderoff, entitled Spoon River Songs, Old American Songs, and Exits.

Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Gettysburg College and a Master of Music degree from Duquesne University.
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Reviews
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Angelique C. January 26, 2015
· Singing · In home
We have had the pleasure of knowing Elizabeth for the past few years during which she has taught singing to our daughter, Katia, at home. Not only is Elizabeth knowledgeable, she is patient, thoughtful and considerate of her students. She puts nervous singers at ease while encouraging them to explore their full potential. We are most fortunate to have Elizabeth as Katia's singing instructor as our daughter really looks forward to her weekly lessons.
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Jennyfer H. January 24, 2013
· ·
Liz is great!

I'm quite nervous when it comes to singing and Liz is managing to put me more at ease with me and my voice. She is very amiable, gracious, and knowledgeable. She does her best to help me find my voice and points out where I could improve without making me feel awful or pressured. In just the few lessons I've had with Liz, I think I've made some great improvements that I can hear and feel when I sing, with Liz being enthusiastic about trying to push the boundaries of my voice gently while assisting me in reaching my full vocal potential.
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Penny T. November 13, 2012
· ·
Good teacher.

My daughter had few singing teachers, Elizabeth is one of the best. She is nice, knowledgeable, very patient. The technique from her is really helpful.
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Elizabeth P.

Elizabeth P.

South San Francisco, CA 94080
(5)
starting at
$40 / 30-min

About Nicole B.

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About Nicole
Mezzo Soprano, Nicole Birkland is a professional opera singer based in Napa, California. She has worked with The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera and has been a young artist with Merola Opera, Chautauqua Opera and Des Moines Metro Opera.

Ms. Birkland is a pupil of voice teacher Jean McDonald who she has been studying with for 18 years. She passes on what her teacher has taught her, while adding her own touch and personal experiences as a professional singer.

She loves to work with beginners who are learning to sing for the first time as well as experienced singers of all genres. She also has experience teaching choir and music from K-12. Ms. Birkland's experience and understanding of differentiating styles allows her to teach in any genre.
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Nicole B.

Nicole B.

Napa, CA 94558
starting at
$45 / 30-min

About Alix J.

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San Francisco, CA

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About Alix
I hold a both Master's and Bachelor's degrees in music, and have studied with singers who have had international careers and performed with artists who have performed at major opera houses around the world. I myself am an active performer of classical vocal music with a growing career. I teach both classical and musical theater to beginners of all ages, stressing healthy use of the voice and having fun!
Regardless of my availability calendar, please do not hesitate to contact me with questions or about scheduling a lesson as I often do have flexibility. I look forward to hearing from you!
*** Lesson Details ***
-Lessons involve the building of vocal technique through exercises, followed by working on song repertoire.
-Children under 10 work on their own curriculum combining building musicianship skills along with vocal technique
.
-Initial trial lessons are encouraged, but students who wish to continue should be able to commit to regular lessons.

*** Specialties ***
-opera
-lieder/German art song
-"legit" musical theater
-young children

Home Studio Note: I teach out of my home, which is also home to two cats. They can be kept out of the music room, but people with serious cat allergies may be bothered.
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Reviews
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Lorenzo September 20, 2017
· Opera Voice · In studio
Alix is truly a phenomenal teacher! She is compassionate, nurturing, and seeks to improve her student's vocal abilities. All of our lessons have been thorough, educational, and certainly insightful. I have become such a better singer in only a few short lessons, and look forward to becoming a master in the next few!
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Julie July 11, 2017
· Singing · In home
Alex is an exceptional teacher. My 13 year-old wished for voice lessons for such a long time, and I'm so pleased Alix is working with her. She is helping my daughter improve her technique (breathing, posture, range, etc.), while keeping lessons positive and encouraging, and finding music that my daughter enjoys. When Alix demonstrates what she is describing- WOW, what a voice! My daughter looks forward to every lesson, and if it's possible, loves to sing even more since she has been learning with Alix.
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Grey M. June 22, 2016
· Singing · In home
Alix was a delight. My 7 year old has been begging me for signing lessons and she came in ready for him! Professional and loving
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Alix J.

Alix J.

San Francisco, CA 94121
(3)
starting at
$35 / 30-min

About Joseph C.

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San Francisco, CA

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About Joseph
I am a graduate of the University of Miami Studio Music & Jazz school with over 20 years of professional experience. I have toured internationally and have played in many diverse musical arenas. The past 16 years of my music career have been spent in the Bay area playing professionally and teaching privately.

My specialties are in jazz improvisation and music theory. My students range in age from 4 to 60, most being between the ages of 9 and 16. Many of my students attend the Urban School and School of the Arts here in San Francisco. Most of my students are at the top of their class in band and music theory studies and have made the San Francisco All-City Orchestra.

Specific credentials and references are available upon request. All levels welcome, serious students only.
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Reviews
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Vincent March 6, 2018
· Saxophone · In home
My son got his first saxophone lessons and loved it. He is very excited to learn with Joseph!
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Eric December 20, 2017
· Saxophone · In studio
10/10
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Robert G. July 6, 2017
· Saxophone · In studio
Very friendly, pragmatic, and musical. Accurately assesses where I am and teaches accordingly.
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Joseph C.

Joseph C.

San Francisco, CA 94121
(15)
starting at
$25 / 30-min
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About Andy L.

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Novato, CA
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About Andy
Hi my name is Andy Lewis I've played for over 35+. Years. To be honest it's been so long I've lost track. In that time I've won Awards and been respected by many. Yes drum lessons from me will learn basics like rudiments, rhythms that are used in a number styles of songs out there, and much more.
Most importantly how to feel the music, have fun playing during the ups and downs of a musician career. Will learn from some of the best and there techniques but more importantly help you become the drummer that makes you stands from the rest. The style that they hear you they will say that's (put your name here.) And finally play by thinking outside of the box not just stay inside of the lines.
Most importantly have fun will have fun playing together.
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Andy L.

Andy L.

Novato, CA 94947
starting at
$42 / 30-min

About Meghan K.

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Oakland, CA
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About Meghan
I grew up singing every genre you can imagine. From country to RnB, to musical theatre and classical. I became serious about music in high school and went off to college and graduate school where I earned a B.M. (Ithaca College) and M.M (San Francisco Conservatory of Music). I studied pedagogy and voice science and fell in love with teaching over the years. Whether you are a hobbyist who wants to try out singing for fun or a professional, I have tools that will elevate your singing and help you feel confident and in control of your voice. I also teach songwriting and basic music theory. I can't wait to hear from you!
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Meghan K.

Meghan K.

Oakland, CA 94618
starting at
$117 / 45-min

About Adia G.

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Vallejo, CA
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About Adia
​ADIA AZIZA GRIFFITH (SOPRANO) is a native to the San Francisco Bay Area. She attended Notre Dame de Namur University, from which she graduated with a Bachelors of Music. Adia has performed in multiple productions; Oaklahoma, Genevieve, Understudy of Guilletta in The Tales of Hoffman, Mrs. Page in Merry Wives of Windsor, Mrs. Nordstrom in A little Night Music, The Mother in Amahl & The Night Visitors, and played the role Musetta in La Boheme. Adia has also performed as soloist with "Viva La Musica", international touring choir under the direction of Shulamit Hoffman and with the Winchester Orchestra singing excerpts from Henry Mollicone's Gabriel's Daughter. Adia remains active in her community and has sung for San Francisco's "Memorial for the Homeless," the City of Oakland's tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King and various youth, women em
powerment workshops and church conferences throughout the Bay Area. Taking it from the church house to the opera house; from gospel to opera are just two genres she can't love more. Adia also enjoys teaching voice and song writing as well. She strives to uplift others through positive music that inspires and brings light in every situation.
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Adia G.

Adia G.

Vallejo, CA 94590
starting at
$34 / 30-min

About Michael W.

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Emeryville, CA

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About Michael
I am a professional guitarist and music educator located in the bay area. I have studied music at the college level both classical guitar during undergrad. and jazz studies as a graduate student at Northern Illinois University. I enjoy my connection to the educational side of music as well as the performance side. As a performer I have played many of the historic venues the bay area has to offer such as, The Great American Music Hall, Fox theater, The Independent, The New Parish, The Chapel, Elbo Room, Slim's Boom Boom Room, Fillmore Jazz festival, The UC Theatre, Sweetwater Music Hall, Ashkenaz and the Rickshaw Stop.
I have had the pleasure of opening for such legends as George Clinton, Bernie Worrell and Leo Nocentelli. Last summer I performed and toured with grammy winning artist Jody Watley. In addition to musical freelan
cing I am a member of 12 piece Oakland based band Strike Iron which features high-energy grooves, hypnotic percussion, and heavy horns wrapped into socially charged dance music. You can also catch me playing with bay area funk powerhouse Kuckaw!. My commitment to musical versatility has allowed for diverse musical opportunities in a variety of styles from gospel music in churches, to funk & jazz at local clubs, summer festivals throughout California, and corporate/wedding gigs throughout the greater bay area.
It has been my privilege to teach guitar over the last twenty years to students of all ages in multiple cities. I take great care in getting to know each student's motivations and goals and then together we set sail for the musical journey. I thoroughly enjoy students that are open to the learning process and that are excited and curious about understanding the mysteries of music. I always aim to create an environment that supports both discipline and fun. Some of the topics to be expected in lessons with me are the following:
Chord knowledge, learning songs, music theory, chord/scale theory, improvisation, composition, note reading/sight reading studies and fun!
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Michael W.

Michael W.

Emeryville, CA 94608
starting at
$109 / 45-min

About Dave H.

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Concord, CA

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About Dave
After high school, Dave Holt began setting his poems to music which led to a reenactment of the well-known songwriter fable, moving from his birthplace, Toronto, Ontario, to California to follow his dream of becoming a successful songwriter. He and his wife Chappell collaborate on composing, recording, and performance. After a full time music adventure, he followed the muse of story-telling and poetry into San Francisco State University’s Creative Writing program (B.A. ‘93, M.A. ‘95). Though mainly of English/Irish ancestry, he’s also descended from a great story telling family, the Debassiges of West Bay First Nation Ojibwe (O-jib-way), notable on Manitoulin Island (Ontario) for preserving the 300 year history of their leaders, elders, and warriors. He accompanies himself singing and drumming when telling his stories, also published in
his book, Voyages to Ancestral Islands, and the published poems in four anthologies, one of which earned a Pushcart Prize nomination. Dave has done community service work in the American Indian community for several years.
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Dave H.

Dave H.

Concord, CA 94521
starting at
$34 / 30-min

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