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Erica S.

Belleville, NJ

About Erica

Hi! My name is Erica, and I am a private lesson teacher, composer, arranger, and pianist currently living, writing, performing, and teaching in North Jersey. I believe that by having such a versatile musical background, I will be able to understand different needs and interests you may have and help you begin or continue your musical journey and reach your goals.

I currently teach 30 private piano and composition students in North New Jersey, and I am consistently inspired by all the progress all my students have made! My students have played classical pieces in recitals, played in jazz com
bos with other student musicians, written music that was performed by professional ensembles, learned how to play ragtime, and more. No two students have gone down the same path, because the curriculum was developed around the individual.

As a composer, I've penned over 15 charts for Jazz Ensemble, in addition to several charts for Studio Orchestra, Jazz Combos, Chamber Groups, Vocal Groups, and Film, and I've won a few awards, including 1st Place in the International Zurich Jazz Orchestra Composition Competition, a 2011 ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award, and a 2012 ASCAP Plus Award. I co-lead a jazz orchestra that has performed in several NYC clubs. My pieces have also been performed by her own chamber group "Community of the Spirit," Kurt Elling and the Metropole Orchestra the Zurich Jazz Orchestra, Todd Coolman's Quintet, the Eastman Jazz Ensemble and Studio Orchestra, Bernie Williams and the William Paterson Jazz Orchestra, Weapons of Jazz Destruction, and others.

I've also been inspired by many teachers along the way. I have a BM in Jazz Writing (Composition) with high distinction from the Eastman School of Music, and an MM in Jazz Arranging from William Paterson University. My composition and piano teachers have included Jim McNeely, Bill Dobbins, Rich DeRosa, Harold Danko, Raymond Torres-Santos, Tony Caramia, and Adrien Cohen, and I am a current member of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop in NYC.

I'm a very passionate teacher and I'm excited to begin your musical journey!

*** Lesson Details ***
In addition to a customized lesson plan (dependent on your goals, strengths, weaknesses, and interests) you get introduced to a wide variety of styles and concepts. Some of the things you will do in your musical adventure with me include:

1) Learn classical pieces ranging from short Bach Minuets if you're a beginner, to Chopin Nocturnes and Bach Preludes and Fugues if you're advanced.
2) Learn the "why" behind music... Why does this sound quirky? Where does the musical statement end? What harmony is the composer using?
3) Write your own music. We might take a new concept you learned, and you may compose a song based on it. Or you may have your own ideas, and I'll help you take them to the next level.
4) Learn to improvise and learn how to play some jazz. You will play over blues and learn jazz standards. You will also learn how to play by ear.
5) Learn basic conducting.

*** Studio Equipment ***
home: fully-weighted keyboard, seating for parents, music stands, sheet music, printer (for printing custom handouts), free wi-fi
music studio : fully-weighted keyboard, seating for parents, music stands, sheet music, printer (for printing custom handouts), free wi-fi

*** Specialties ***
I teach classical and jazz, and usually like to incorporate both into lessons at some point, even if the student may have a greater interest in one of these (so you don't have the classical pianist that has never played one note not written in the music or doesn't know how to spell a simple major triad, and you don't have a jazz pianist whose reading skills is not up to par, and has no regard for tone/touch). Typically students not only read classical repertoire (Bach, Beethoven, Bartok, Kabelevsky, etc.) but also learn how to improvise over a blues, read a lead sheet, and figure music out by ear. I'm also comfortable with rock styles.

I also have a lot of experience accompanying (musical theatre, instrumental, vocal...) and I like teaching the student how to follow a soloist. I teach students how to read lead sheets so they can read whatever they may get from a vocalist, and I teach chord theory so that they can easier recognize patterns in music when playing with an instrumentalist or vocalist.

I incorporate composition and theory into lessons, usually in conjunction with whatever piece they are learning (explain what type of chords are in their piece, or explain how they move, or why something may sound discordant or may go somewhere expected, or I may teach them phrases in music just like sentences work in English.) I definitely, however, work with students who are more serious in composition as well and talk about how to develop their pieces, how to create ideas, how to get out of a "writers block," orchestration techniques, encourage them to expand their instrumentation, etc.
...

Reviews

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Annie G. April 14, 2015
Piano · In home
Verified Student
I am an adult student with some piano in high school who began lessons in January, 2015. Erica is a brilliant musician. She is always ready when I arrive, fully able to remember where we left off, and always making sure that I make progress. She is 100% professional. I have learned so much from her about music theory and composition -- it has been great.
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Brian A. February 21, 2013
Piano
Verified Student
She gets it!

Quick background: I was classically trained for about 7 years in piano, starting when I was around 9. My teacher was great, and did an awesome job of driving the fundamentals.

Fast forward to more recently: Having not taken lessons for 15+ years (I had continued playing and learning...just without a teacher), I decided I wanted to pursue a bit more jazz and theory. I went back to my childhood teacher, who very honestly told me that jazz was not his forte. I took a few months of lessons with him, which helped to get me back into the swing of things, but I was really interested in jazz.

I found Erica on takelessons, and she was truly amazing! If you're looking for a teacher who is always "by the book", this isn't her. While I'm sure she can do that, she thrives in allowing you to be a musician. Her understanding of complex time signatures is great, and she really helps to chunk things up into manageable pieces.

Some of her greatest strengths, from the student's perspective, are her patience, friendly demeanor, STRONG understanding of music theory (she's a composer at heart, and I've no doubt that she's great at it), broad knowledge of music, from composers to artists, and her ability to help you learn to improvise. If I wanted to play different notes than what was on the page, within reason of course, that was ok. Having come from a classical background, that was quite refreshing.

I was always able to look forward to learning something new at my lessons; even her book recommendations have been excellent.

I'd say, because of her patience, she's a perfect teacher for adults and children alike. You really can't go wrong with Erica!
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Erica S.

Erica S.

Belleville, NJ 07109
(2)
starting at
$35 / 30-min
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Peter Van D.

New York, NY

About Peter

Peter Van D. began teaching in New York City in the early 1990’s. In 1994, he was invited to join the faculty of New York University’s Collaborative Arts Project 21. Van D. has taught private voice and vocal technique classes during both the Academic year and for the Musical Theatre Summer Intensive. He has been a guest for the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston and presented master classes at BYU-Idaho. For several years, Van D. has served as a judge for local NATS auditions and presented lecture demonstrations for NYSTA(New York Singing Teachers Association). His NYU stude
nts have been featured in productions at CAP 21 and Tisch School of the Arts Main Stage. His private students have appeared in Broadway productions of RAGTIME, MAN OF LA MANCHA, THE FULL MONTY, FOLLIES, BOMBAY DREAMS, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, and THE PRODUCERS.

Van D. made his Metropolitan Opera debut in April 1995 in John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles, and returned for five seasons to sing roles in Die Zauberflöte, Salome, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Capriccio and Andrea Chenier. In March 1997 he portrayed the title role in Gianni Schicchi with the Metropolitan Opera Guild.

*** Specialties ***
Former opera singer, I have been teaching musical theatre for 15 years. I am skilled in both styles. I teach a physical technique that will serve the health and longevity of the student. Certified in hypnosis and Reiki, both of which are useful in overcoming Performance Anxiety.
...

Reviews

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Robby D. March 27, 2014
Singing
Amazing Voice Teacher!

Peter really opened up my voice and really helped me grow into my voice as a singer. It was night and day and his technique is easy to learn and adapt. He works with your voice and helps it become better overall and is really supportive. I'm grateful for what I learned from him and I still use his techniques everyday!
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Nick R. March 26, 2014
Broadway Singing
Best thing to happen to my voice

Peter has been the best thing to ever happen to my voice. I started studying with Peter freshman year of college and I still see him regularly 6 years later. He took my completely untrained voice and helped me find, not only technique but also confidence in myself and my abilities. If it weren't for him I would not be pursuing musical theatre as a career. I would also not be booking jobs professionally. I owe my current and future musical theatre career to him. GO SING WITH HIM!!!
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Jimi H. March 25, 2014
Singing
A Superb and Supportive Teacher!

Peter is by far the best voice teacher I ever had. I have a very multi-faceted personality and very multi-faceted voice. I was struggling to find my true voice after being told I was everything from a mezzo to a coloratura soprano. Unlike some teachers who heard a certain part of my voice and were determined to place me in a box based only that one part, Peter would always tell me to let my voice do what it wants to do. I have never felt like he ever took offense if I decided something I was working on was not right for me. He has only ever been completely open and supportive if I wanted to try something. He is the first teacher who let me go to my extremes, just to touch upon all the colors of my voice, and then he helps me find balance and settle into my true voice.

My voice is still a work in progress, but he has helped me so much, with his expert knowledge of vocal production and how the body can affect the sound being produced, with his open, "let's try it" energy but also with the right amount of guidance so that I'm not just floating all over the place. He has guided me to quite a few of the best pieces I have ever sung because of his incredible intuition about what would suit my voice. He is well-versed in repertoire and he is a very strong pianist.

He's also been supportive in other ways, suggesting books on auditioning and breathing, and sharing articles about the voice and about physical health as well (the winter can be hard on a voice!). He's by far just the best teacher I have ever had, and worth every single penny! There aren't enough words to show how much I consider Peter to be an all-around amazing teacher.
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Peter Van D.

Peter Van D.

New York, NY 10024
(8)
starting at
$30 / 30-min
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Aaron B.

New York, NY

About Aaron

I am an enthusiastic accompanist, performer, and teacher, engaged in projects ranging from Early Baroque figured bass, to 20th-century classical chamber music, to Broadway and Folk. I currently teach Dalcroze Eurhythmics classes in Manhattan, an innovative approach to classroom music education that uses movement and the body to connect what the ears hears and the mind knows. As a pianist I have performed in Switzerland, England, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York.

*** Lesson Details ***
Lessons are tailored to your needs, so we will discuss goals, methods, and practicing strategies
to keep you excited, directed, and successful.
For beginning pianists, I use a variety of piano methods, including Faber, Bryanskaya, 4-hand repertoire, and my own materials. I also take advantage of my training in the Dalcroze Eurhythmics approach to music education, which focuses on gesture, improvisation, coordination, and command over the musical language.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Steinway upright, couch, and plant

*** Travel Equipment ***
I will provide books for the lesson, xeroxes for students, pencils, staff paper, etc. Students should buy or copy music as appropriate.

*** Specialties ***
Piano: beg to adv - prefers inter to adv

I am trained in Dalcroze Education, which is an approach to music education that uses movement to connect what the ear hears and what the mind knows. In the piano lesson, I draw from what I have developed in the classroom, including improvisation, dis-ordination, kinaesthetic awareness, and notation.
...
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Aaron B.

Aaron B.

New York, NY 10025
starting at
$40 / 30-min
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Mr. Tony

Lodi, NJ

About Tony

Passionate about sharing my love of the guitar with students of all ages, I've been teaching for more than 30 years. A trained Flamenco guitarist, I found, at the tender age of 7, my passion when I heard the world-renowned Flamenco guitarist Sabicas. Studying Flamenco since then, I began, during my teens, performing professionally and have had the honor of performing with such nationally known musicians as Billy Bang (legendary fiddle player), Willy Calhoun (Living Colour), Vassar Clements Band, Tom Chapin, Stanley Jordan, Buddy Miles, and Michael Powers. In high school, I enrolled in an H
onors Musicianship class at the RiverDell, NJ, Senior High where I learned to read scores, conduct and identify multiple instruments, sight read, orchestrate scores and compose music. Following my true passion, I enrolled in the American Institute of Guitar (AIG), studying under the most sought after Flamenco guitar teacher for the past 20 years, Dennis Koster (author of Keys to Flamenco Guitar) and met the legendary Sabicas in person. At the same time, I began training in the Blues, educating myself on various styles and from various teachers, eventually going all the way to the tracks.
...

Reviews

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Heidi H. March 31, 2015
Guitar · In home
Tony has been teaching me for nine years and he truly believes in teaching his students not only the basics of learning the guitar but why the instrument is such a privilege to play and teaches based on the students ability. He also teaches the history and evolution of the guitar and also facts that i never knew that made me very proud to play such an instrument. He sees the potential in the student and encourages them to go beyond where they think they can go and makes it happen. Tony slowly built up motivation in me to keep exploring on my own and he planted the seed of wanting to practice to the point where playing guitar became one of the most important things in my life and i do not think another teacher could have done the same thing. I started to explore YouTube and teach myself a lot of the songs i wanted to learn starting with chords, then finger picking, then adding percussion, and finally putting all three together in many arrangements. I would never have been able to figure that out or have the motivation to if it was not for the things he taught and showed me. Now he teaches me many new techniques involving flamenco and you really cannot get all of this with someone else. Some other people I know have different teachers and i can tell by the way they talk about them and what they are learning that they do not compare to mine. I am really lucky to have ended up with someone who has such commitment and I am always super excited to keep learning what he has to teach. His knowledge is endless and it blows me away what he shows me. Tony never tries to make any of his lessons boring and he definitely has a talent not many people have. I recommend Tony, 100%.
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Cathy W. November 6, 2014
Tony has worked as guitar accompanist for the past year and a half with our 700+ religious formation students from K-8 as well as our whole church assembly. He has played classical to contemporary Christian music with us and is fantastic. As a teacher myself, I see him as an ideal person to learn from. Tony is patient, kind, knowledgeable and tuned into kids as well as adults. You couldn't want for more in a teacher.
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Roberto S. October 28, 2014
Guitar · In studio
I strongly endorse Tony as a master pop and classical guitar teacher (as well as a dynamic, highly creative guitarist and pop/rock/folk tenor singer). I received a Master’s Degree from the Juilliard School in 1986 in voice, and he and I have worked on a weekly basis at churches and concerts since 2007. His mastery of incredibly rapid finger techniques in all major and minor scales, widely varied strum technique in so many different styles, understanding of audio production and vocal-instrumental microphone usage, as well as soulful improvised counter melodies is unmatched in my experiences. He also taught my son guitar, as well as many of my parishioners at my church, and they went on to playing frequently during church services and many other venues. His manner with children and teens is very gentle, humorous and witty, and is instantly beloved by all who meet him. Throughout my career I have rarely heard an artist who has more artistic and musical impact in concert or religious events than Mr. Tony. And the line of people wishing to meet him after concerts is so long that he does not leave events for more than 90 minutes or more. You cannot do better anywhere than having Mr. Tony as a teacher, colleague or friend.
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Mr. Tony

Mr. Tony

Lodi, NJ 07644
(9)
starting at
$30 / 30-min
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Simon H.

Union City, NJ

About simon

Hi! My name is Simon and I'm a British multi read player with 20+ years experience playing in London's West End Musicals and orchestras. I also have an extensive list of credits as Artistic Director for various youth theatre companies in the UK, Europe and the States. I studied in London at Trinity College of Music and was lucky enough to get my break early playing in CATS at the New London Theatre. After that I moved on to playing in Chicago, Beauty and the Beast, Merrily We Roll Along, and My Fair Lady. I have been a regular resident in the West End ever since, with my most recent credit pla
ying in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. I teach Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute and Bassoon from beginners up to a professional level. I have also had extensive experience vocal coaching for musical theatre and audition preparation classes.
I have recently married a San Jose resident, hence my move to the States!!
...

Reviews

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Liza G. March 29, 2015
Flute · In home
Verified Student
Liza loved the lesson, esp. how Mr. Holland explained the basics and corrected some of the notes that she was playing wrong all this while. Mr. Holland is very accommodative and easy-to-interact with.
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Floro R. March 18, 2015
Saxophone · In studio
Verified Student
I'd been with Simon for five lessons. Very patient and attentive. Ready to work at my own pace.
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Johnny P. March 13, 2015
Clarinet · In home
Verified Student
My son loves learning from Simon and looks forward to his weekly lesson.
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Simon H.

Simon H.

Union City, NJ 07087
(7)
starting at
$35 / 30-min

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