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Millbrae, CA Songwriting Lessons

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Popular Songwriting Teachers near Millbrae, CA

Check out some of our most popular teachers near Millbrae, CA including San Bruno, South San Francisco, Burlingame, San Mateo and Pacifica.

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About Steven B.

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Alameda, CA

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I will teach you the basic concepts of how to compose songs and make those musical ideas of yours a reality. Through music theory techniques, progression theory, lyric concepts and ear training, we'll take that song that's "in your head" and make it into a reality you'll be proud of!

About Steven
Have you always wanted to learn how to play the piano, guitar or electric bass? Or maybe you've just felt like brushing up your musical knowledge and playing skills? Now’s your chance to fulfill those dreams!

About Me: San Francisco Bay area pianist/guitarist/bassist; I've been playing music for over 50 years. I'm classically trained with a solid foundation and knowledge of music theory, and have over 40 years experience teaching, recording and performing. I have done session work and/or performed with members of Journey, Santana, Jackson Browne, Eddie Money, The Doobie Brothers and Greg Allman to name a few, and am currently teaching piano, theory and bass to Mike Dirnt, the bassist for Green Day. Let me take my education and experience and pass them on to you!

My main goal as a music instructor is to pass along my love and kno
wledge of playing music to my students, always vigilant for sharing shortcuts that will help the student to achieve their lesson goals faster. Some teachers teach only out of books. I am not such a teacher. Books solve the problem of learning music in generalizations and by their very nature, cannot take into consideration personal issues a student will encounter.

Most students are able to learn enough of the necessary mechanics at the first lesson to actually play something before they leave that lesson. This is important because they realize that playing music IS possible. I always enjoy the look on their face when they realize they have actually “played” their instrument at their first lesson.

I am not the sort of teacher who yells and screams if the student comes in unprepared. I realize that people come to me for a variety of reasons and I work with them with whatever they bring in. I am patient and if a student is not understanding a certain aspect, I bring into play alternate approaches. Not everyone assimilates information in the same way. Learning music should be an enjoyable adventure for the student and I venture to say that my students enjoy coming to their lessons. We have fun, and we learn.

My current rates are $40 per half hour, $60 per 45 minutes and $80 per hour, and believe me... you will get your money's worth! Also I should note that due to my current students, plus teaching at a private school in Sausalito and recording sessions, my time constraints only allow me to teach lessons out of my home studio in Alameda. Hopefully this will work for you as well!
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Reviews
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Eric H. June 10, 2017
· Piano · In studio
Steve is a rare find - an accomplished musician, a great teacher, and a genuinely nice guy. My 10 year old and I have been taking lessons with him for the past year, and our progress/improvement has been significant and noticeable. Particularly with my son, Steve is patient, supportive, and very encouraging, and he teaches at just the right level. He always makes sure that we cover music theory along with learning our favorite songs in order to get the most out of our training. My enjoyment of piano has increased significantly since starting lessons with Steve, and each time we leave a lesson he says: "Have fun with it!" I highly recommend Steve as a teacher.
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Billy May 17, 2016
· Piano · In studio
wow amazing!
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Tim M. February 22, 2016
· Piano · In studio
Great teacher and great time taking the lessons! I wish we could take more lessons with him but we've recently moved out of the area. Thanks for everything Steven!
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Steven B.

Steven B.

Alameda, CA 94501
(17)
starting at
$40 / 30-min

About Tracey H.

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San Francisco, CA
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I've been writing for 17 years, solo and as part of a band. I think I have an especially unique perspective of writing as a vocalist primarily, which can come with its own unique set of approaches and challenges. I like to work on songwriting as an authentic and intuitive extension of each individual's experience and creativity. There's no one-size-fits-all way to songwrite, and in working with my students on songwriting, my approach is to help guide you through what your process is, including finding and honing inspiration, making writing a part of your every day routine, lyric- and melody-writing, arrangement, dynamics, etc.

About Tracey
I've been singing, performing, songwriting, and studying voice for 20 years. I attended Berklee College of Music, where I studied Voice/Vocal Performance, and earned an Associate of Arts Degree in Vocal Performance from Musician's Institute in LA. I've been teaching since 2006, and work with a wide range of contemporary genres with a focus on rock, pop, country, folk, Americana, R&B, blues, and soul. I like to take a "back-to-basics" approach to voice by helping students develop the core aspects of breathing/breath control, correct vowel placement/vowel tuning, and a focus on muscle memory as it relates to stretching the cords. I've been told my approach is simple yet effective, and a unique blend of classic concepts with a practical/modern approach to getting in tune with one's own unique voice. Currently a gigging musician and songwrite
r in SF, I am in the trenches alongside many of my students, which gives me a unique perspective and empathy for the many stages of personal and career development as a musician. I have a lot of first-hand experience with the music business and what it means to manage a band and a DIY-career. Another area I specialize in (and which is probably the nearest to my heart!), is performance anxiety. Having overcome performance anxiety myself and gone on to be a bandleader and gigging musician, I have a close relationship to this and take a special interest in helping students overcome their own fears and anxieties, identify their own voice and identity as a singer, and taking the steps to develop that.

Mostly, I aim to debunk the mystery that the voice can be shrouded in, and change it from being elusive and temperamental to something that students can feel in control-of and at-ease with. I've taught a wide range of students, from young kids to a Marine (true story!), so am comfortable dealing with an equally-wide range of goals and voices.

*** Lesson Details ***
Well, my students tell me that I have the unique advantage of "being young/in touch with the real-world of the music business, but with real professional training and chops." That's about as good as I could have said it, I suppose! I like to pull from all the different facets of my experience and background to inform me as an instructor: formal education and training, as well as my first-hand experiences with my own band, my own struggles with performance anxiety, and my discovery of my own voice through the very methods I now teach to my students.
What that means for you is that rather than focus on a rigid set of rules, we'll focus on your voice and custom-fit a program that is built from solid vocal technique coupled with specific tools to help you develop your own voice and style. I do truly believe in building a solid foundation for you to build your voice upon, but am unconventional in that I believe the best way to learn to sing is by breaking down what is actually going on in there- in a way that students can understand and interpret themselves. Nerd alert: Vocal technique can actually quite liberating and fun! Yes, we will teach you how to breathe correctly; yes, you will be singing scales. But the key is that you'll know why you're singing each note, and what is going to get you to sing those notes more effectively. I believe in hard work because the voice is a musical instrument; but I also believe in making it easily digestible and fun.

In our lessons, you'll learn how to breathe correctly, test your vocal range, and start working on strengthening your head and chest voices to achieve some continuity in your range. We'll also develop the mask and what I like to call your "vendor voice." Oh yeah- it's good stuff. You'll have warm-ups and scales you can use on your own time to get ready for a gig or to continue strengthening the muscles.

*** Specialties ***
I have experience with a wide range of styles, but my main genres of focus are rock, pop, Americana, country, blues, soul, and R&B.
I specialize in vowel tuning/correct vowel placement as a way to strengthen the muscles of the voice, in order to correct pitch/tone and solidify muscle memory as it relates to the voice as instrument. I teach from a "ground-up" approach, meaning I feel it's crucial for my students to understand how their voice works, why it works in certain ways, and how they can use vocal technique to their advantage as singers and performers. Building upon that strong foundation, I customize a program for each of my students to address their own set of strengths and challenges.
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Reviews
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Gemma January 5, 2017
· Singing · In studio
I had my first lesson with Tracey today and I can't wait to take more! I'm a person who likes knowing how stuff works, why we may do something a certain way, what I should be paying attention to etc etc, and I love that she is willing to break everything down and explain in a very relatable way. She's very patient, easy-going, and despite how uncomfortable it is for me to sing in front of others, she made me feel like she's truly there to go along the journey with me, to improve and discover my voice with no judgments. Tracey is the best!
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Elizabeth N. August 4, 2016
· Singing · In studio
Tracey is super nice. I was not with them in the sdudio when she was teaching my daughter . She said I could definitely stay there though. My daughter was very happy with her.
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Elizabeth N. August 4, 2016
· Singing · In studio
Tracey is super nice. I was not with them in the sdudio when she was teaching my daughter . She said I could definitely stay there though. My daughter was very happy with her. This was the first lesson she he
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Tracey H.

Tracey H.

San Francisco, CA 94117
(6)
starting at
$60 / 30-min

About Justin R.

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San Francisco, CA

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About Justin
12 years of diverse teaching experience supported by an intensive classical background (MM San Francisco Conservatory BM Oberlin Conservatory) as well as years spent creating and improvising music -- Experience in Yoga, Alexander Technique, Dalcroze Eurhythmics and Star Trek Next Generation ;

*** Lesson Details ***
YOUR MUSIC:
Because this is a passion art, we will work with music that YOU LOVE, and that you can poor your passion into -- for children this can mean silly songs and your favorite cartoon and movie themes -- for adults this can be Led Zeppelin, thrash metal, Vivaldi, Muse, the white stripes ... I can be a guide, but ultimately you CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE!

MY APPROACH:
is tailored to each student, as I get to know you, we will figure what your strengths are as a musician. My teaching is centered around developing s
kill from understanding -- TEACH A MAN TO FISH -- I want you to find the principals of playing RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME music, with EASE. My teaching style can be both analytic, intellectual, and conceptual as well as intuitive, spontaneous and creative -- as musicians work in both modes. I have had experience with Alexander technique, injury prevention and rehab, and Eurythmics, so you will have someone here to guide you toward good habits and physical awareness.

CORE:
After 3 - 6 months you can expect to have an intuitive understanding of fundamentals such as chord charts, standard notation, tablature, music theory fundamentals, basic scales and how different styles of music are built, healthy guitar technique, and a nuanced approach to your own learning process.

STYLE:
Each student will develop skills in multiple styles of their choosing -- that might be; intensive Classical training -- singing and songwriting -- finger picking -- rock and metal -- folk -- jazz -- latin -- blues -- etc. We will approach each style from the ground up, and find a way to bring your creativity and personality out. No dogma, no copy cats, just expression.

*** Travel Equipment ***
Student should provide chairs, music stand, and own instrument -- I can provide a guitar for trying.

*** Specialties ***
Improvisation, beginning Jazz, Rock, beginner to advanced Classical and BASIC voice training, experience with pre-K and elementary level, as well as adults, and college bound level.
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Justin R.

Justin R.

San Francisco, CA 94121
starting at
$55 / 30-min

About Anthony J.

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Palo Alto, CA

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Self-expression and creativity are traits budding musicians often need some help developing. Coaching can consist of basic introduction to song structures and understanding popular songwriting techniques, while more advanced songwriters may need critiques from another pair of ears. What's the fun in only playing other people's music?

About Anthony
Extensive musical training, including thirteen years of jazz and classical guitar performance and theory, coupled with real-life experience as a studio and touring guitarist offers me a unique approach to music instruction focused on your individual goals and needs.

*** Lesson Details ***
While I do have a general method for education, the priority is always on what the student wants to learn. If you have specific subject material you would like to explore, contact me, I'll certainly help you out in any way I can!

*** Studio Equipment ***

Depending on the situation, I can bring some of my recording and performance gear to lessons for demonstrations and exercises, including:

-Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier
-Gibson Les Paul Standard
-Carvin DC400 Custom Build
-Music Man JP12 seven string
-A whole host of other amplifiers, mando
lins, acoustics, classicals, and folk instruments
-Home studio equipped with Pro Tools 11 and Logic Pro X for recording

*** Travel Equipment ***
I bring with me basic gear for teaching (not much more than sheet music and a guitar), but I can not leave gear with students. If a student had questions about specific types of gear I may have, including effects processors and amplifiers, and would like a hands-on learning approach, they can contact me in advance and I can demo the equipment for them.

*** Specialties ***
Music:
- I have been working recently as a touring musician and recording artist for rock and metal bands for the past few years. If you need assistance with breaking through stage fright, I can help your live presence dramatically. Check out my band, Love District!

https://www.facebook.com/LDistrict.Music/

- Folk stringed instruments and odd tunings.
- Sight Reading, both classical compositions and big band charts.
- Improvisational techniques.
- Theory and Songwriting.
- Recording techniques.
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Reviews
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Dinesh R. July 16, 2017
· Guitar · In home
Good teacher
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Al May 26, 2017
· Guitar · In home
Anthony starts from where you are with your skills and opens doors for your improvement.
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Al May 9, 2017
· Guitar · In home
I am to restarting an activity that I once enjoyed years ago. Anthony is the perfect instructor for this re-start: His style of teaching is positive and patient and his approach, with me at least, is focused on my stated desires of incorporating new runs, fingerings and a more melodic approach to my playing guitar: to rely more on the guitar and less on the voice. I look forward to practicing and to the sessions themselves since I started to see the improvement immediately.
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Anthony J.

Anthony J.

Palo Alto, CA 94306
(18)
starting at
$50 / 30-min

About Mark B.

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Castro Valley, CA
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I teach and help people how to write songs at all levels. Whether you are a beginner, or more advanced and need new ideas to draw from. There is an endless reservoir of ideas and concepts to help you to create any kind of music imaginable.

About Mark
I have played on tour with several professional bands, playing rock, pop, blues, African, metal, and country. I now perform live in various bands and record original music as often as possible. My music has gotten airplay in many countries.

I started playing guitar at age 9, and recorded 2 singles in the LA area by age 14. I was a music major throughout High School and College. I also learned a lot by educating myself at the Brand Library in the Los Angeles Area, which specializes in the arts. I specialized in advanced music theory and improvisational techniques.

I have enjoyed teaching music lessons since 1978.

I custom tailor a lesson plan to fit your individual needs and goals! I can teach you songs you'd like to learn instantly when I hear them on your iPod, mobile phone, cassette or CD that you bring in. I ca
n explain musical theory and concepts many different ways to make sure you understand them. I am very friendly and patient.

Sometimes I might inject humor into the learning process to make it an enjoyable learning experience, and to help you remember the important things.
I love the satisfaction of seeing my students grow musically proficient and and seeing the JOY that it brings them. Many of my students have gone on to become professional. I am well-versed and well-equipped to teach many styles: Rock (including all sub-genres...Tribal Ambient Doom neo Punk, etc), Pop, Blues, Jazz, Alternative, Country, R& B, New Age, Ambient, Electronic, Metal (and a few plastics and wood as well).

*** Lesson Details ***
I will develop a personal lesson plan for each individual student. During your lessons, I might cover topics ranging from learning how to play, starting from the basics (if you are a beginner), to choosing music that will inspire you on your level, to improving your technique, ear-training, music reading (if that's what you'd like), reading and understanding tabs (if that's what you'd like), knowing what it is that makes certain chords and notes sound good together for writing your own music, as well as guitar maintenance and adjustments, getting a good tone, amplifier settings, effect pedals (settings & placing them in the most effective order), recording tips, and where to get a decent pizza.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Living Room or Studio, both very comfortable. Amplifiers, guitars, effects pedals, bass, ukulele, balalaika, drum set, PA system and recording equipment.

*** Travel Equipment ***
I provide guitar, bass, or ukulele and amplifier when necessary, teaching tools. The student provides their guitar and paperwork I give them.

*** Specialties ***
Teach note reading using Alfred's New Guitar course. Ear Training, Genres: Rock, Pop, Blues, Jazz, Alternative, Punk, Metal, Folk, Country, Hip Hop, Funk, R& B, New Age, Ambient.

I currently have 5 albums out under my name. My music is on a major new age compilation, and has been played on the radio in several countries, and several internet radio programs. I have played on other people's albums...some of which get major radio airplay in Europe.
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Reviews
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Paul M. October 16, 2016
· Bass Guitar · In studio
Hanging out like old times and had a Great lesson. Thanks Mark
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Michael P. July 6, 2016
· Guitar · In studio
Mark was an excellent teacher, made me very comfortable. We talk about music and set some goal,he keeps a chart to know what his teaching each student and he write it all out on paper and he writes that you can understand his writing .so very happy. Mike
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Scott June 8, 2016
· Acoustic Guitar · In home
First lesson. Mark really dialed in my skill level and completely exceeded my expectations in terms of material, lesson plan, genre etc. Even got to play one of his ridiculously sweet tele's.
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Mark B.

Mark B.

Castro Valley, CA 94546
(15)
starting at
$40 / 30-min
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About Hristo V.

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San Jose, CA
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I design my lessons with the specific student goals in mind.

For Beginner students: we will start by exploring rhythm concepts and understanding how to read music. Learning the physics of the guitar and exploring the notes in the first few positions. Learning open position chords, and simple chords progressions, major and pentatonic scales,etc.

For Intermediate students: we will continue expanding our knowledge of the higher positions of the guitar, as well as develop better sight-reading skills. Bar cords and chord transposition, and music theory. Expanding our scalar vocabulary to modes, and minor scales. Learning arpeggios and classical etudes.

For Advance students: Close interval voicings, jazz improvisation, chord to scale relationships, and harmonic substitutions are some of the concepts we will cover. Learning solo guitar playing (chord melody), incorporating walking bass lines, transcription skill and arranging skills.

I specialize in Jazz guitar, improvisation,

About Hristo
Hristo is an impressionistic modern jazz guitarist and composer from Sofia, Bulgaria. Now residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, Hristo leads a variety of modern jazz formations, ranging from duets to quintets. Hristo has toured nationally and internationally, appearing at some of the most prestigious jazz clubs and festivals, and has also performed guitar clinics in Europe and Japan. He has written more than 270 original compositions, many articles on jazz improvisation, and a book on chordal theory and construction entitled Between the Voicings: A New Approach to Chord Building for Guitarists. The Hristo Quartet’s 2009 debut album, Song for Messambria (First Orbit Sounds Music) quickly received outstanding reviews by the international jazz community and was selected as one of the six best jazz albums of 2009 by E-JAZZ NEWS.
“His sophi
sticated and adventurous work is imbued with shimmering harmonies and lyrical improvisations.” – JAZZTIMES MAGAZINE
“His multihued compositions are like impressionistic sound paintings.” – JAZZIZ
“You just won’t find a jazz guitarist (on the planet) these days who has such essential communication skills through his fingers.” – Improvijazzation Nation Magazine
“Hristo may be one of the best kept secrets in jazz today. He is the epitome of sonic gold.” – DIGITAL JAZZ NEWS
“Hristo plays as the cultural end result of his life experiences. Simply put, he plays more so from the heart than he does the head.” – Critical Jazz
“A richly textured album full of strong melodic and rhythmic ideas and with some superb playing throughout.” – THE JAZZ MANN (England)
As jazz critic Edward Blanco describes: “Heis the newest guitarist to enter the national jazz scene and does so with a stunner of a recording in Song for Messambria, one of the finest debut albums I've had the pleasure of appraising this year.”
The record presents a unique blend of ECM-style modern jazz, classical, and Brazilian tone textures, and showcases the completely unique and masterful interpretation of the jazz idiom by each one of its members. In late 2009, Hristo released his second studio album featuring Latin Grammy-nominated pianist Weber Iago. The Secrets of an Angel is an impressionistic landscape painted by the delightful and graceful conversation between the two instruments (guitar/piano).
As jazz critic Brad Walseth describes: “On the heels of his impressive debut recording, Song for Messambria, guitarist Hristo returns along with pianist Weber Iago for a wonderful guitar/piano duet recording - The Secrets of an Angel...while the gentle title track shimmers like a glistening iceberg on a cold sea. The delightful two-part ‘The Last Pirate” is a highlight - brilliantly showcasing the exciting romantic bend inherent in his music, while the nostalgic lullaby “Leka Nosht (Good Night)” recalls a faraway youth and rounds out this fine release.”
In 2010 Hristo wrote a large scale jazz work (The Perperikon Suite) especially to be premiered at the 53rd Monterey Jazz Festival. This 7 movements jazz suite is inspired by the ancient Thracian city of Perperikon (located on the territory of Bulgaria), and combines orchestral, classical, jazz, and fusion elements depicting the history and mystery of this enchanting place. The work marks Hristo third album and one of his most adventurous and sophisticated works up to date. For the recording of this project the Hristo Quartet was joined by virtuoso vibraphonist and multi-instrumentalist Christian Tamburr.
As jazz critic Dan Bilawsky describes: “Shimmering harmonies resonate throughout these modern jazz marvels, and the soloists work their way around and through this accessible and exciting music with equal measures of taste, technique and spirit. His pieces are peppered with signpost sonorities and ideas that often reappear throughout a given song, creating a sense of continuity and thematic steadiness that develops around individual soloists. While this group ably establishes its own aural identity, which threads its way through the whole album, each movement of the suite has different strengths and a unique sonic footprint. Brought to life as a tale of two cities, The Perperikon Suite ultimately occupies its own wondrous world within the confines of its jazz borders.”
As jazz critic Brent Black describes: “There is an incredible warmth to his playing, a fluidity of movement and direction held firmly in place by a stellar quintet that provides ample support for the lyrical imagery created on this release. Aside from the superior sound which almost smacks of a live in the studio recording, there is a true working band feel that he has been able to obtain. He displays an unparalleled versatility moving from the flash of “The Acropolis” to the more introspective “The Southern City” allowing for a wonderfully paced recording. The drumming of Joe DeRose creates a special dynamic tension on the tune “The Great Hall.” A release that ends far too soon. Wonderfully crafted, well paced and a sonic tapestry that stands up as well as any release for this past year.”
As jazz critic Bruce Lindsay describes: “The music, performed by a terrific quintet, is beautiful: it captures images not of a city in ruins but of a city full of life, of vibrant activity. The Perperikon Suite is an impressive creation. Each individual tune is beautifully crafted, but so, too, is the Suite as a whole. His response to the ancient city is remarkable in both its conception and its performance.”
As jazz critic Michael Bailey describes: “Many time motifs are used throughout this suite. Tick-tock ascending and descending figures pass as a thread through cloth, to hold this musical garment—a coat of many colors—together. He achieves this effect with no apparent effort or change in guitar tone or approach. Merely by affecting the time signatures, he makes his magic. The Perperikon Suite is soft-spoken and brainy music that exists out of the ordinary.”

As jazz critic Brad Walseth describes: “The new songs are the strongest he has written yet, and the addition of Tamburr serves to take the music to an even higher level. Hristo, meanwhile, continues to impress the listener with his addictive blend of jazz with touches of classical, Brazilian and Eastern European influences in both his playing and songwriting. In lieu of visiting the legendary site yourself, listeners are urged to take a musical journey to the ancient location as seen through the senses of Hristo and shared with you through his highly satisfying musical presentation.”
As jazz critic Ed Blanco describes: “Hristo and his inspirational quintet provide an all-new experience on The Perperikon Suite, a concept album that is accessible, creative and a pleasure to spin often.”
In 2012 Hristo embarked on yet another musical chapter of his life. Heartmony is the long awaited and highly anticipated follow up to the first duet recording by the guitarist and pianist Weber Iago (The Secrets of an Angel). As the title of the record will suggest, Heartmony explores a truly intimate, honest, and emotional conversation between the two instruments. The music, which transports you from impressionistic landscapes to folkloric tales and from melancholic memories to meditative trances, is simply the purest harmonious sounds he has put on tape up to date. Straight from the heart, healing energy that will embrace you long after you listen to it.
“An absolutely wonderful recording.” – JAZZTIMES
“If ever there were a marriage between classical music and jazz then this Heartmony is it. Hristo and Weber Iago have created a very special experience.” – Grady Harp (Amazon.com)
“Both on and off the bandstand, he is an artist who wears his emotions on his sleeve. His new “Heartmony,” a duo session with his frequent collaborator, Brazilian pianist Weber Iago, provides a master class in the way a chord or harmonic progression can evoke a flood of sensations.” – Andrew Gilbert (San Jose Mercury News)
“Guitarist Hristo and longtime collaborator, pianist Weber Iago, have created a work of sublime musicality with Heartmony. Exquisitely lyrical, although a bit too sweet, this opus brings together multiple musical influences into a coherent and cohesive, multilayered narrative, the momentum of which does not slack from the first few notes to the very last. He and Iago interweave long musical threads into a shimmering soundscape of serene beauty.” – Hrayr Attarian (All About Jazz)
As jazz critic Brent Black describes: “Heartmony is a sonic mosaic pieced together from heartfelt feelings and emotions carried through time and communicated in an incredibly heartwarming and emotional presentation that exemplifies the zen concept of less is more perhaps as well as any recording of the last decade. The musical sound of one hand clapping. His and Weber's music transcends the more traditional jazz idiom in much the same fashion that their recorded work here is that of a more cohesive unified voice with subtle shadings, lyrical swells and the textured nuances that creates music that is to be experienced. An incredibly beautiful artistic statement of personal experience.”
“Guitarist Hristo and pianist Weber Iago sounds like a perfect match in a musical heaven, if such things exist. What I’m saying here is that this is a duet album that sounds perfect, music made from the heart and soul. There’s warmth, there’s care, and there’s a human quality to this that no machine can replicate, and it is that Heartmony that makes this a powerful album worth listening to repeatedly.” – John Books
As jazz critic Dan Bilawsky describes: “The eleven originals are all musical offerings from the heart and soul, but this isn't a one-dimensional recital. Some songs are full of life and positive energy, while others have a sense of regret and nostalgia sewn into their being, but they're all painted in sharp, vivid colors, thanks to the skills of both artistic practitioners at play.”
“This set of guitar-piano duets is quietly emotional, always intriguing and quite original. His clear toned guitar blends in perfectly with Iago’s powerful piano and the two musicians often seem to think as one. Heartmony is quite thought provoking and well worthy of many close listens. Highly recommended.” – Scott Yanow
“Hristo and Iago play together with the assurance born of long and fruitful collaboration. They know each other well, and it shows in the skillful way they complement each other. They take a beautiful melody and run with it. They wring every bit of emotion out of it. There are passages in a composition like “Memories in Black and White,” nocturnal moments in “The Last Leaves which Fell in Fall,” that sound like they could have been written by a nineteenth century Polish Romantic. Then there are moments in the same songs where there are glints of French Impressionists.” – Jack Goodstein (blogcritics.com)
“Hristo is a gifted composer and master guitarist whose stylish approach to the music makes him a hidden wonder of the jazz world. Heartmony is an intelligent musical statement and gentle follow up to his previous works, a relaxing soulful musical experience sure to touch a piece of your heart.” – Ed Blanco (E-JAZZ NEWS)
In January 2013, Hristo released “Familiar Fields” – his 5th record as a leader (and his 2nd quartet recording). The music presented in this session clearly displays the multidimensional tonal evolution of the band and each one of its individual members. The addition of drummer extraordinaire Mike Shannon to the quartet establishes a portal to new sonic landscapes and emotions to be explored in this collection of 9 original pieces by the guitarist. The music, which takes the listener through the realms of impressionistic, classical, jazz, experimental, and new age, always retains the unique sonic footprint that has brought critical acclaim to the quartet all over the world.
“He  paints a vivid pastoral landscape with epic sweep, often recalling the big-sky sound of Pat Metheny. Obviously, these musicians are more than comfortable with one another, as one delicate solo seamlessly segues into another.” – JAZZIZ

“Once again he has produced an immaculately crafted, often supremely beautiful album.” –
The Jazz Mann (England)

“If Pat Metheny and Larry Carlton are considered the kings of impressionistic jazz guitar, then certainly Hristo is a crown prince and ready to lead a palace coup. In fact, “Familiar Fields” easily stands equal to even their greatest albums. Part of the reason for that has to be credited to Hristo’s choice of musicians in the quartet. The musical affinity and effortless grace shines forth on this album like few recordings I have ever heard. They share a single heart and mind that bursts forth in illumination on every track. There is no weak moment or weak player on this album.” – Travis Rogers (JAZZTIMES)
“Over the past few years, Bulgarian-born, Bay Area-based guitarist and composer Hristo has consistently crafted music of great lyrical beauty. With his self-named quartet or quintet, or in duet with pianist and frequent collaborator Weber Iago, he has advanced a sound that manages to sound intimate and epic at the same time. He does so again on Familiar Fields (First Orbit Sounds), his latest recording with his quartet, which welcomes new member Mike Shannon on drums. As he has on previous recordings, He makes use of classical imagery and narratives in song titles such as “The Prophet’s Daughter,” “The Mask of Agamemnon” and “Wounded by a Poisoned Arrow,” the last of which is our selection. His instrumental voice bears echoes of the tonal warmth and big-sky sweep of Pat Metheny, as he and Iago, his beyond-simpatico musical compatriot, switch off on leads, riding the rolling hillocks of rhythm provided by Shannon and acoustic bassist Dan Robbins. Shannon proves an exceptional addition to the group, responding to and driving his companions in equal measure.” – JAZZIZ
As jazz critic Hrayr Attarian describes: “Bulgaria-born and San Francisco-based Hristo has established himself as a modern day troubadour. His enchanting and fantastical tunes have the feel of medieval ballads abundantly peppered with futuristic sounds. His sixth release, Familiar Fields, presents nine impressionistic originals that showcase his maturing compositional skills as well as the superlative, improvisational talents of his working quartet. With each album he oeuvre ripens and becomes more sophisticated without losing its delightfully spirited edge. Familiar Fields not only stands on its own merit as sublime music but also whets the appetite for what is yet to come.”

“Familiar Fields is a highly intelligent, thought-provoking Impressionistic escapade.” – Nicholas Mondello (All About Jazz)

“This release is a clear statement from an artist comfortable with who he is and where he is going. There are no absolute truths in music but instead there are shades of gray which he and his quartet fill in with the precision of a surgeon and the soul of a true artist. Never caught up in the academics of his works, he instead conducts a sonic exploration with the end result being a release that gives up something new with each subsequent spin. An ebb and flow unmatched, or perhaps unlike him, an ebb and flow that other artists simply can not match. As close to perfect as it gets!” – Brent Black (CriticalJazz.com)

“The Hristo Quartet, ladies and gentlemen, is in peak form. They have no competition: no other music in the jazz idiom is quite as satisfying.” – Grady Harp (Amazon.com)
“The musical bond between guitarist Hristo and pianist Weber Iago is as strong as that of Chick Corea and Gary Burton, with proof being their two sublime duet recordings, The Secrets of an Angel and Heartmony, as well as three small group sessions under his name. For the Familiar Fields quartet date with regular bassist Dan Robbins and new drummer Mike Shannon, chose nine gems to play from his vault of more than 270 original compositions. As usual, as one listens to his music, the words lyrical, impressionistic, spiritual, and passionate come to mind, and also his term "heartmony," which he defines as the simultaneous combination of feelings and emotions, especially when produced by experiences, memories, and stimulations pleasing to the heart, body, and soul." – Scott Albin (JAZZTIMES)
“The emotional essence of any Hristo recording can be seen before it’s heard via the distinctive oil paintings the guitarist creates for his CD jackets. his artwork for Familiar Fields is impressionistic, haunting and autumnal, the same qualities that characterize his latest collection of tunes. The foursome’s interplay is highly intricate, resulting in emotive tunes that wax and wane in intensity. Whether you call it post-bop or post-fusion, his brand of jazz is passionate and ethereal. He has developed into a formidable guitarist and intelligent composer, and since he’s only 32 years old, his best work may be yet to come.” – Ed Kopp (Jazziz)
“Within his tone and technique, it’s not difficult to hear the influences of Wes Montgomery, Pat Metheny and Lee Ritenour. He is adept at the full range of extended techniques but is most often described - justifiably - as an impressionist.” – Karl Ackermann (All About Jazz)
“Of the many attributes that Bulgarian (San Francisco based) guitarist Hristo possesses - refined technical abilities, warm tonality, and expressive soulfulness - his gift to convey beautiful stories through intricate composition is always at the heart of his appeal.” – Mark F. Turner

In October 2013, Hristo released his 6th album as a leader. "Rhodopa" is a beautifully crafted sonic pairing of the extremely emotional and lyrical Bulgarian folklore and the multidimensional and deeply textured world of modern jazz harmony. On his new music journey, the guitarist is joined by virtuoso Bulgarian clarinetist Liubomir Krastev. As jazz critic Dan Bilawsky describes: “Hristo and Liubomir Krastev cover everything from the mystical to the mournful and the grim to the gleeful on this absorbing duo date.”

“Hristo takes improvisational music to a third dimension of texture you can feel. Rhodopa is my selection for album of the year for 2013. Critically acclaimed guitar virtuoso Hristo started the year with the release of the highly regarded Familiar Fields. With Rhodopa, has now assumed his rightful place as a global virtuoso of unrivaled talent and ability. As artistically gifted as he is technically proficient, Hristo moves to the head of the pack with this stellar outing.” – Brent Black (CriticalJazz.com)

“Hristo boldly departs from the group setting and gives the audience even more of what they crave - soulful arrangements and virtuosity with heart. There is a beauty and an elegance that comes through on each and every one of Hristo's recordings. The music he composes, the arrangements he crafts, the musicians that he assembles together and the dignity and reverence of his musicianship speak of the heart of the man and his love of life.” – Travis Rogers (JAZZTIMES)

As jazz critic Hrayr Attarian describes: “The warm, poetic tunes are like fairy tales in verse. They are imbued with nostalgia, and shimmer with a variety of muted colors and sentiments. Krastev's softly undulating tones waver against his vibrating strings in a spiritual celebration of abstract beauty. This thematically unified work is a genre bending, elegant and satisfying opus and a new high for he who continues to excel himself on each fresh release.”

“Modern jazz guitarist, pianist and composer Hristo always refreshes the ear and the soul with his inordinately sensitive, mesmerizing, and beautiful approach to music. He is unique - and artist who explores every avenue of approach to both folk music and jazz and the result is an experience that simply no one else can match.” – Grady Harp (Amazon.com)

“With Rhodopa, guitarist/composer Hristo and clarinetist Liubomir Krastev meld musical minds, dive exuberantly into an array of earthy Bulgarian folk material and come up with four hands of beauty. The result is a panoply of aural color, emotion, and technical artistry.” – Nicholas Mondello (All About Jazz)

As jazz critic Ed Blanco describes: "Rhodopa is an instrumental serenade of Bulgarian folklore music interpreted by a world-class guitarist and clarinetist. Hristo and Liubomir Krastev deliver an enchanting and relaxing escape from reality with a fifty-three minute encounter of soul-reaching music."

"You just won’t find a jazz guitarist (on the planet) these days who has such essential communication skills through his fingers. With Liubomir’s reeds, they form a cultural jazz experience that can’t be compared with anything else!" – Dick Metcalf (Improvijazzation Nation Magazine)

On top of leading his own quartet, quintet, duo projects, and co-leading the group SEVA, Hristo also co-writes and plays guitar with Joe De Rose and Amici - an energetic jazz/fusion formation lead by drummer Joe De Rose. Hristo has appeared on countless radio shows/programs all around the world.

Hristo has also performed in world-class jazz venues and festivals including Yoshi’s Jazz Club (Oakland, CA), Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society (Half Moon Bay, CA), Kuumbwa Jazz Center (Santa Cruz, CA), Anthology (San Diego, CA), Catalina Jazz Club (Hollywood, CA), The Jazz Corner (Hilton Head Island, SC), Heidi's Jazz Club (Cocoa Beach, FL), Alvas Showroom (San Pedro, CA), The Jazz Station (Eugene, OR), Egan's Ballard Jam House (Seattle, WA), Timucua White House (Orlando, FL), Ivories Jazz Club (Portland, OR), The Herbst Theater (San Francisco, CA), SOhO Jazz Club (Santa Barbara, CA), as well as major jazz festivals including the 53rd Monterey Jazz Festival (Monterey, CA), 2009/2010/2012/2013 AT&T San Jose Jazz Festival (San Jose, CA), 2010 and 2012 Redwood City “Jazz on Main” (Redwood City, CA), Okazaki Jazz Festival (Okazaki, Japan) and many more.

Hristo holds a B.A. in Music (Jazz Studies) from San Jose State University in San Jose, CA.
He has also studied in the prestigious Roland Music Academy in Caracas, Venezuela.

Students can benefit from Hristo's completely amazing knowledge on the instrument as well as music/harmony theory. He will work and design unique and specific goals tailored to each student's individual interests. His dedication and passion for teaching are first class!!!

*** Lesson Details ***
I design my lessons with the specific student goals in mind.

For Beginner students: we will start by exploring rhythm concepts and understanding how to read music. Learning the physics of the guitar and exploring the notes in the first few positions. Learning open position chords, and simple chords progressions, major and pentatonic scales,etc.

For Intermediate students: we will continue expanding our knowledge of the higher positions of the guitar, as well as develop better sight-reading skills. Bar cords and chord transposition, and music theory. Expanding our scalar vocabulary to modes, and minor scales. Learning arpeggios and classical etudes.

For Advance students: Close interval voicings, jazz improvisation, chord to scale relationships, and harmonic substitutions are some of the concepts we will cover. Learning solo guitar playing (chord melody), incorporating walking bass lines, transcription skill and arranging skills.

*** Studio Equipment ***
A specific music room with a few guitars, a keyboard, amps, and recording equipment and music stands

*** Travel Equipment ***
I provide my guitar and amp.
Students should provide their guitars and amps (if needed)

*** Specialties ***
I specialize in Jazz guitar, improvisation, harmonic studies and theory.
Chord melodies, building lines, phrasing, voice-leading, chordal improvisation, and re-harmonization/substitution.
...
Reviews
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Kim L. April 26, 2014
· Guitar ·
Outstanding Performer

Hristo is the most inspirational teacher I've every had the pleasure to learn from. He shares his talent in a way that I look forward to every lesson. His patience and positive reinforcement encourages me to keep practicing. He selects the appropriate music for my level and teaches all genres. Thank you for working with me every week. I hope I get to work with him for as long as I can until he becomes too famous to continue teaching us.
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AllenH April 4, 2012
· ·
Great Instructor

I've been taking lessons from Hristo for a couple of months now. He is friendly, affable, and extremely patient. I enjoy our lessons, and have learned quite a bit in the short time we have been working together.
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JeanetteY March 7, 2012
· ·
wonderful instructor and very accomodating. We are appreciative of his talents!!
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Hristo V.

Hristo V.

San Jose, CA 95118
(9)
starting at
$65 / 30-min

About Danielle L.

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Oakland, CA

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Whether your goals are for personal enrichment or professional growth, your lesson will be personalized according to what's important to you.
I LOVE to teach, and appreciate my wee ones just as much as my elders...those who consider themselves "tone deaf" as much as my advanced students. As far as Special Needs go - I feel we *ALL* have special needs....every child and every adult.

As the creator and producer of San Diego IndieFest and Say It Records, I have a unique understanding of the industry, and love to share that with my students.

About Danielle
Hello Students / Parents!

I specialize in providing a fun, inspiring and safe space for each student to reach their goals - whether that be for the novice singer whose been wrongfully told they shouldn't sing, the more experienced singer looking to do more with their music, or the budding songwriter, actor or speaker looking to develop the talent and drive they feel within them.

I always remember the inspiration and patience I received from my best teachers, so I strive to provide exactly that to my own students. I sing and teach most vocal styles, with the exception of opera and screamo, and utilize my studio to create a supportive, empowering experience singing, speaking, writing and recording. I absolutely love teaching both children and adults and look forward to learning how to best support each one of my students in their indi
vidual path toward realizing their potential.

Here's a bit about my background and musical experience:

Bachelors of Fine Arts degree (Theatre/Voice) from United States International University Graduated Valedictorian
Chula Vista School of Creative and Performing Arts Graduated Valedictorian
Workshops and studying with Bill Doyle, Roy Mote, Andrew Barnicle, Jack Tygett, Leanne Summers, among others.

"After seeing Danielle, I was impressed with her intensity as a performer. Her ability to get behind a lyric was stunning, she lives every line. As an artistic performer, I've yet to see better."
-Tony Ferguson / Interscope Records: No Doubt, Bush, Fisher

My original band, Danielle and The Masses, has been recording and performing live since 2001. We are endorsed by Ani Difranco, The Black Eyed Peas, The Bruce Hornsby Band, and have shared the stage with artists as Jamie Foxx, CAKE, Metric, En Vogue, David Byrne, Berlin, Margaret Cho, Cyndi Lauper, Jonatha Brooke, Beth Hart, Semi Precious Weapons and more.

I have written and performed music and voice over for Ace Ventura, Nutty Professor, VH1, various TV shows and independent documentaries, Eveoke Dance Theatre, among others, as well as having recorded eight professional CDs of various styles on various record labels.

For over ten years, my record / production company, Say It Records has been producing socially conscious music events throughout San Diego and Southern California that promote independent music, film, art, community and human rights. I also co-own Durga Sound, a teaching and production studio, with producer Alicia Champion, as well as San Diego IndieFest, a powerful community event which promotes and supports music, film, art and civic engagement.

I have a great time utilizing my contacts in the industry to help my students get work/ press / entrance into the schools of their choice, etc. For example, I'm happy to report that just last year we were able to book eight musicians on GLEE, as well as lots more in other capacities including using their music in commercials and film and helping them get cast in local theatre and accepted into arts-centered schools.

*** Lesson Details ***
I start on the first lesson by becoming clear about what the new student's goals and desires are from there, we start developing technique to achieve those goals along with having fun right away doing what they came for - singing, writing, voice over, acting or using a combination of these things be it for professional purposes or personal fulfillment. Every lesson is personally customized to meet the specific goals of each student. As a teacher, I'm encouraging and fun, passionate and positive. While I'm definitely not "strict", I do appreciate focus and drive. However, I often work with people who have special needs and are working on developing those very things. I'm especially good at helping people through progress plateaus, roadblocks, stage fright, loss/ stress. Using music as a means of release and healing - for both kids and adults - is something I do a lot of and am very comfortable with.

As far as technique is concerned, I focus on utilizing posture, correct breathing and developing relaxed, strong support, so that the muscles are developed properly. We want the voice to develop without stress, enabling the student to constantly grow while steering clear of any injury that can happen as a result of straining, not to mention other habits that manifest when we sing without proper technique.

I strongly encourage students to record their lessons on a mobile device so they can practice easily on their own, and so they eventually have a record of how far they've grown.
We mostly use tracks to develop repertoire, prepare for auditioning and performances, and to have fun singing the music that excites each student the most.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Apple Mac Pro Quad Core running OS 10.8.3
Avid Pro Tools 10 HDX
Propellor Reason 4.0
UA 2-610 Microphone Pre-amp
UA LA-610 Microphone Pre-amp and Compressor
UA Teletronix LA2A Compressor/ Limiter
Behringer ADA 8000
more...

*** Specialties ***
Using music, writing and voice as a means of expressing yourself, growing as a performance artist, coping in challenging times, as well as a means of going professional and earning income are all areas I specialize in. Utilizing proper technique and learning how to sing / speak safely is also an area I focus on a great deal.

Learning precisely what each student wants is the key factor in my decision on how to achieve their goals. For example, using Speech Level Singing is definitely entrenched in my teaching, but I may not highlight it as much for those who want a more classical sound.

I excel with the following: first timers, very young kids, students working through stage fright, artists looking to develop their own original project, those seeking growth in their process of writing / recording / performing, those who are interested in using music and / or writing as therapy as well as with amateurs who've always wanted to do something musical but who think they are "too old" or too "untalented/short/tall/ fill in the blank" to try. I believe we all have something to say with our lives - finding the voice within you can be an incredibly powerful and transformative experience!
...
Reviews
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Liz June 12, 2017
· Broadway Singing · In studio
Danielle was absolutely wonderful with my 7 year old daughter. She tailored the voice lessons specifically for what we needed (help preparing for an audition), and what my daughter could handle. We had originally signed up for 1-hour lessons, but ended up doing a mixture of 45 minutes and 30 minute sessions because that worked better for my daughter. We did a mixture of in-person and Skype lessons, and I was surprised at how well the Skype lessons worked.

My daughter warmed up to Danielle very quickly, and really enjoyed working with her. Lessons were fun, and she got tremendously better over the course of a few weeks.

Danielle went way out of her way to accommodate my crazy work schedule and my daughter's need to practice (a lot) before her audition. She also created a track of piano music for my daughter to practice to at home, and emailed us all of the warm ups and other tools we needed. We ended up not using her fancy recording studio, but even having that as a possible option was amazing.

Danielle is a truly excellent teacher, and we will certainly return if my daughter decides that she wants to pursue singing on an ongoing basis.

Yay Danielle!
Thumb_59261575873b1_review_IMG_9948
Cynthia Ralph May 24, 2017
· Singing · In studio
Danielle brought a singer out in our daughter we had no idea was there. My daughter is incredibly shy but with Danielle's wonderful instruction & guidance she grew so much. She is a incredible instructor & person & would highly recommend her.
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Melissa and Tayden May 11, 2017
· Singing · In home
I'm going to have to due two reviews because Danielle deserves 8 stars! She is fabulous and caring and patient and professional and takes such an interest in all her students. My 13 year old, who is ADHD, has been taking singing lessons from Danielle for over 5 years. She has been so patient and calm and so encouraging to my child, even when I could pull my hair out, she encourages her to take her time and will go over and over every note again and again until she gets it right. When things have been tough for my sweet 13 year old, Danielle helps her express herself through her singing and encouragement. My quiet, shy , and sweet girl has come out of her shell and is so self assured now. She loves Danielle and looks forward to every lesson. I am so grateful for Danielle!
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Danielle L.

Danielle L.

Oakland, CA 94611
(28)
starting at
$45 / 30-min

About Larry T.

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Albany, CA
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Hello,

I began my Songwriting and Composing career in New York City's famous Tin Pan Alley working as a Staff Songwriter for Kama Sutra Records.

While there I was discovered by a Rock and Roll manager, who put me to work as a Songwriter/Composer/Pianist/Mime in an Art Rock band called “The Hello People”.
The band created five commercially released record albums, two of which were produced by Todd Rundgren.

The band appeared on the “Tonight Show”, Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, and the Fillmore's East and West while constantly touring the U.S

I toured with Todd Rundgren as a Pianist/Keyboardist and Vocalist on his “Back to The Bars” tour.

My true passion has always been Songwriting, Composing and Teaching.

I studied Piano, Songwriting, Composing Music & Jazz Theory privately.

Samples:
www.reverbnation.com/thehellopeople
www.reverbnation.com/largimusic
Thank you,
Larry Tasse

About Larry
Music is my passion. As a professional Songwriter, Composer and Pianist, have toured the United States in Rock and Roll bands, and made my living working as a songwriter, composer and pianist accompanying singers and instrumentalists, as a soloist, and as a recording session keyboardist and composing music and writing songs for Film and Live Theatre.

I am an award winning songwriter and I am a member of The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers- A.S.C.A.P.
...
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Larry T.

Larry T.

Albany, CA 94706
starting at
$45 / 30-min

About Taylor G.

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Richmond, CA

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Want to express yourself through poetry and song?
We will go over the basics and have a private workshop for your music or music in your head!

About Taylor
Taylor G. has been teaching lessons since 2014 and is currently available to teach lessons at your home or at her studio. Taylor has helped students woodwork, paint/draw, build with clay, sing, and explore.

Taylor G. received her training at California College of the Arts in 2015 where she received a degree in Sculpture, Sound, and Community Art. As an expert in her field, Taylor looks forward to helping new students achieve their goals. Taylor's teaching style is casual, relaxed, and encouraging.
...
Reviews
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Ariana H. June 1, 2017
· Ukulele · In home
Taylor is great with my 13 year old daughter. She is knowledgable, patient and nice.
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Brian March 4, 2017
· Ukulele · In home
Taylor, has been a very patient and perceptive teacher, helping me past the obstacles in my playing. She came up with exercises snd songs appropriate for the challenges i faced. I would strongly recommend her for a late beginner like myself.
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Lily February 10, 2016
· Ukulele · In home
great. my daughter had a first lesson with Taylor. she enjoyed it.
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Taylor G.

Taylor G.

Richmond, CA 94804
(3)
starting at
$55 / 30-min

About spenser S.

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San Francisco, CA

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We'll look at what makes us like and feel connected to a song and how we can produce that same effect in a unique way!

About spenser
Hello my name is Spenser Steinman! I am a performing guitarist, vocalist and songwriter in the bay area. I have been teaching for nearly 10 years and have taught all ages and experience levels. My main focus in teaching is to help my students fulfill their intentions with the chosen instrument.
I studied jazz guitar at San Francisco State University (BA).
Thank you for your consideration!
...
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spenser S.

spenser S.

San Francisco, CA 94122
starting at
$20 / 30-min

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