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John D.

Berkeley, CA

About John

*** Lesson Details ***
My students will develop a passion for music and a desire to play!

I like to get right to the experience of actually playing music. I start with learning songs, drum beats, and chord progressions and get to technique and music reading AFTER we have had some fun.

My key to successful teaching is to create a custom curriculum for each student. Some students are interested in the details of how to do it "right", and others just want to rock. I try to adapt to different learning styles and musical goals to give each student an ideal experience.

I want student
s to learn how to play, not just how to read or do drills. We will listen to music together, and talk about the function of each instrument. For drummers, I play bass lines on the piano and we lock into a groove. For piano students, I play along with drums or percussion. It's important for students to learn how to play with others, and to listen and get inspired by what's around them.

Students will have the option to perform in a student recital where you are backed by a band of professional musicians!

***John D.'s Biography***

I was born in Amsterdam, Holland, where my father worked as an opera singer. While listening to vocal warm-up arpeggios, my mother bounced me on her knee and taught me rhythms and rhymes.

In my family we beatbox, play piano, and sing together. The family moved to the States in 1995 where my parents worked as music teachers. My Dad is a voice professor at the University of Wisconsin, and my Mom runs an amazing music program at Country View Elementary School in Verona, WI.

I played in the band program throughout high-school and had an amazing and demanding music teacher and highly talented friends. The drumset became my passion and I played, blissfully and recklessly, as often possible. Our teacher took the high school band on a concert tour of Europe in 2002 in Austria, the Czech Republic, and Italy.

The band program led me to classical and contemporary music at the University of Wisconsin, where I honed my craft and discovered the profound breadth of music around the world. I paid my way through college as a member of the WI Army National Guard Band, a great wind ensemble with jazz and rock band components, and slowly built a career as a musician. I took every gig that came my way and created my own if nobody was calling. Pretty soon I became "œthe guy in, like, 8 different bands", including Funk, Rock, Jazz, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, and West African bands. I've been working as a musician ever since, performing several nights per week, and teaching during the day.

I began teaching drum lessons to my friends when I was about 18 and realized I was really good at it. I began taking on private students and teaching group lessons and classes. Students of mine have achieved the highest ranks at the State Solo and Ensemble Festival in Wisconsin, and auditioned into the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra. I am on the annual faculty Wildcat Percussion Camp, was adjunct faculty at New York University, and directed the world percussion ensemble at the University of Wisconsin. I've worked as a teacher with the Madison Area School District, Wisconsin Youth Company, YMCA, Global Arts to Go, University Settlement, and in many different public schools in the New York metro area. I taught a high school class called "The Spirit of Jazz", and

I've learned how to be a real teacher, to put myself in your shoes to help you achieve your potential as a drummer, and as a musician. My teaching style is to de-mystify the art of percussion: getting great sounds out of the drums, being prepared for any style, practicing productively, and focusing your mind.

I have a Bachelor's degree in classical percussion from the University of Wisconsin, a Masters degree in Jazz Performance from NYU, and have traveled to Africa, Europe, and Latin America to perform, record, and study. I have performed with Badal Roy (Miles Davis), Chris Potter, Kenny Werner, Brad Shepik, Lenny Pickett, Chuchito Valdez, and many other great musicians. I was Adjunct Faculty at NYU'™s jazz program, and at the University of Wisconsin dance program. I've given masterclasses at Juilliard, University of Michigan, Lawrence Conservatory, and many other colleges. I played for 5 months in the Off-Broadway show "Fun Home", and toured and gigged with a wide variety of bands.

I've recorded on nearly 20 albums and have been involved in many other projects. Ask me anything you want in our music lessons!
...

Reviews

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Mike T. September 22, 2014
Percussion · In studio
I have been a colleague of John's for 16 years and he has always impressed me with his constant dedication to the craft of music. Though he is incredibly talented, he has always been one that works hard and asks questions without fear. In my experience, this is the kind of person that makes the best teachers. He has always loved music, drums, all percussion and more recently has been learning so much about music technology and how to express yourself with any media available. It would be a shame to pass up an opportunity to study with him!
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Daniel P. August 24, 2014
Drum · In studio
I was pretty new to drumming when I first started taking lessons from John, and I could barely play a simple back beat. Long story short - within 6 months I was playing my first show!

I was looking for a teacher with both rock/jazz and classical background, so John fit the bill perfectly. He also knows a lot about Latin American percussion and other styles from around the world, and has a great understanding of how these different styles relate to each other and the various techniques which can be applied.

During the first few lessons, we discussed my background and aims, and came up with a solid plan for how I should proceed. John's broad experience was really helpful for this process. I had been playing guitar and piano for many years before I started on drums, so I already had a decent grounding in musicality and theory. We therefore focused mainly on technique during lessons. John has a real gift for explaining things in an easily understandable way, as well as going into detail when required. Whenever I had trouble with a particular technique, John's advice would help me overcome it. He is also very helpful in suggesting suitable exercises and repertoire. John also provides a private blog containing lesson notes and useful links, and he was also happy for me to record lessons, which I found very useful. With John's help, I was able to progress pretty quickly, and after 6 months I started playing in a band with some friends, which has been awesome fun.

John is super friendly and engaging, and this makes lessons with him great fun. As well as being a fantastic drummer, it is clear that he really cares about the quality of his lessons, and about his students. I'm sure he would make a great teacher for students of all ability/background. John, you rock! Thanks!
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Annie H. October 13, 2013
Drum
Verified Student
Great Musician & Great Teacher

My son started taking lessons with John when he was 7. During the past few months my son has become more aware of the music around him. He looks forward to drums every week. John has great patients and is amazing at connected with children. He is able to keep my son focused, which can be a hard task of itself. He offers instruction while still valuing the individual's personality and taste. John not only shares his knowledge and personal experiences, but his passion.

I would recommend John to anyone in a heartbeat.
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John D.

John D.

Berkeley, CA 94708
(4)
starting at
$30 / 30-min
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Jessica W.

Lafayette, CA

About Jessica

Hi! My name is Jessica and I would love to be your voice and/or piano teacher! I have been studying and performing classical music for 21 years. My relationship with music started at age 9 with the Contra Costa Children's Choir and I have maintained my classical vocal studies ever since. Along with my vocal studies, I studied classical piano privately with Keith Snell for 7 years, competing and achieving high marks in regional competitions. I went on to receive her Bachelor's degree in Music at Mannes College of Music in New York City and finished my education at the San Francisco Conserv
atory of Music, where I received my Masters, receiving training in vocal pedagogy and physiology, as well as vocal performance. I graduated from SFCM in 2009 and immediately began perusing both a teaching and performing career.

I have maintained an active voice and piano studio since 2011 and also teach with Village Center for the Arts, giving private lessons as well as working with their In School Outreach Programs, teaching Beginning Piano Class and Musical Theater Workshop. Other teaching opportunities include Vocal Master Class with Acalanes High School Women's Ensemble, voice instructor and Alto section leader for Occidental Choral Retreat with Volti SF, Music Instructor with Gymboree, and volunteer pre-school music instructor at Fairmount Elementary in SF.

I am an active performer in the Bay Area as well, performing with the new music ensemble Volti, Lyric Theatre San Jose, Opera on Tap San Francisco, Urban Opera, West Coast Opera Works, San Francisco Baroque Opera, and Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute (BASOTI). I have also been employed as a performer on the east coast, making my professional debut with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra in 2011 and singing the title role in Handel’s Radamisto with The Manhattan Opera Studio in August 2014.

During my many years studying music, I was inspired by several amazing teachers. They are responsible for making me the artist and musician I am today. My mission as a teacher is to pass on the wonderful knowledge and passion that was given to me onto a new group of eager young minds. I am truly a self proclaimed music dork and proud of it! I am a fun, patient, passionate teacher and am very excited to be a part of the TakeLessons team!

*** Lesson Details ***
In my lessons, I feel it is important for my students to have fun and to and enjoy the learning process. However I believe in order for both student and teacher to get the most out of the lesson, practicing at home is extremely important and I expect my students to do so. I will always send them home with a goal or assignment that should be reached or completed by the next lesson to the best of the students ability.

For my voice students, we always begin with breath. Proper breathing is the foundation for all good singing. Then we move on to warming up both the voice and the body. During warm-ups, we will focus technical concepts such as breath control and support, vowel placement, and optimum vocal production. In most lessons (time permitting) we will work through a piece of music, one of their choosing or, if needed, I will recommend a piece. We finish each lesson with a review of the concepts we discussed during the lesson and practice goals for the week.
For my piano students, I begin with finger placement and keyboard awareness. Depending on the students age and level, we will use both a music book and a music theory book (for very young students, I will hold off on the music theory and focus mostly on finger placement and keyboard awareness). Each week, I will assign two pieces of music and pages in the music theory book (again depending upon student's age and level). Students are expected to prepare the assignments by practicing at home and have them ready at the next lesson.

Communication is something very important to me as a teacher. I want my students to feel comfortable expressing their needs and/or concerns, musically or otherwise and hope they would appreciate me, as the teacher, to do the same.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Upright piano with seating for parents

*** Travel Equipment ***
I can provide music and have a portable electronic keyboard.

*** Specialties ***
Classical voice is definitely my specialty. I believe good classical technique is the basis for all good singing and can be applied to genres such as musical theater and jazz. The only vocal styles I am NOT comfortable teaching are belting, pop or rock style vocal production.
...

Reviews

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Christine G. April 28, 2014
Classical Voice
Verified Student
Patient and encouraging

I'm always impressed with how Jessica is patient with our 7 year old daughter and still is able to draw her out and motivate her when she is tired from school. Jessica always finds creative ways to be inspirational. Both my husband and I drive 15 miles to be able to have Jessica teach our little girl. We think she is worth it. She has been flexible and always tried her best to work within our schedule and has even driven out to our house to cover a lesson when things didn't work out in the schedule.
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Kellian D. March 11, 2014
Piano
Verified Student
Wonderful teacher

Jessica is teaching piano and voice to my 10 year daughter, and I am so impressed with her skills as a teacher. She is patient, encouraging, and inspiring, and her love for both music and teaching is apparent. She is also extremely knowledgeable about music theory and uses a teaching method that's very effective and gets students actually playing music right away, without shortchanging their long term development as musicians. Jessica is a rare find, plus she comes to our house for lessons!
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Jeannemarie H. February 27, 2014
Piano
Verified Student
Jessica is great with kids and makes music so much fun!

I have two girls, ages 9 and 6. They both take piano with Jessica once a week. I can't express enough how great Jessica is with them and her ability to adjust to their ages and their ways of learning.
Jessica is so passionate about music which is demonstrated in her teaching style and of course all her education, training, and performances.
Jessica is so wonderful in her communication - showing such support throughout the lesson and has a great ability to explain the music so they understand.
My girls are very fortunate to have such a great mentor and teacher. Jessica is a true professional who is fully committed to music. We could not be happier!
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Jessica W.

Jessica W.

Lafayette, CA 94549
(7)
starting at
$25 / 30-min
211313_163832_26213

Didier B.

Concord, CA

About Didier

My music education began at age 8 when, after a year of pestering my parents, I got my first guitar. My self-taught forays began casually at first, until I was introduced to the likes of Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton (the Cream years) and then later, Frank Marino, John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola, and Allan Holdsworth. By age 15, it was "all about the guitar: eat-sleep-school-guitar," with many countless hours burning the midnight oil, deciphering the solos of my heroes. I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area after high school and began studying guitar under the mentor-ship of virtuoso Marc Bonilla (who
has worked with such luminaries as Ronnie Montrose, Derek Sherinian, Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple). Bonilla has since moved to L.A. to pursue an impressive career as a film and T.V. composer, while I stayed on in the Bay Area as full time working guitarist/studio musician/composer/teacher.

My love and passion for teaching guitar is matched only by my love of studio and stage performance as a full time professional musician.

My ability to play many different styles of music has led me to a great diversity of music projects over the years. This versatility has afforded me work with Latin jazz, Caribbean (soca), nouveau flamenco, world-beat, hard rock, and blues bands all over the San Francisco Bay Area for the last 20 years. This also includes a stint with a San Francisco based funk-jazz quartet that performed, among other things, funky and creative renditions of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Herbie Hancock.

In 2005 I released a solo rock album called “Left Turn on Spanish Highway”. The music on this CD is a passionate blend of hard rock instrumental guitar with contemporary flamenco rhythms (think Gipsy Kings meets Joe Satriani). It has received a lot of five star reviews on online stores such as iTunes and CD Baby.

My Jeff Beck-ish electric guitar style has been repeatedly featured in live performances by the world-renowned vertical dance troupe Project Bandaloop in San Francisco, Oregon, and at the Banff Center for the arts in Alberta Canada.

My acoustic guitar performances are heavily featured on the 2004 album "Despi A Alma" by internationally acclaimed fado singer, Ramana Vieira, and subsequently, on her 2009 follow up release, “Lagrimas De Rainha”.

In the late 90’s, I had the opportunity of challenging my improvisational skills, by performing many seasons with San Francisco's longest running theater improv troupe, Flash Family, where I was called upon to create on-the-spot compositions in real-time, to match the actor’s unscripted and unpredictable story lines.

In the audio/visual world, I've composed music for film and a children's story. I frequently collaborate with local film, theater and T.V. composer Chris Houston (my musical contributions to Houston's compositions can be heard in the movie "Enchanted”, which in the past has enjoyed wide circulation on Showtime, and also on the soundtrack to the Marin Theater Company’s 2009 production of “Magic Forrest farm”, and the San Francisco Playhouse’s production of “Our Lady of 121st street.

Currently, I’m the lead guitarist for the San Francisco funk-rock originals band, FiveDown, fronted by R and B singer Ishtar Monique. Other music projects include co-writing, recording and producing an upcoming album for the Marin based hard rock band, Urban Fiction. I continue to perform on occasion around the bay area as solo guitarist for corporate events and weddings, and also with Ramana Vieira and ensemble where my Al Di Meola-style approach to acoustic lead guitar playing is sought.

*** Lesson Details ***
Think of me not only as your teacher, but also your dedicated coach, whose purpose and goal it is to help you reach your highest musical aspirations. I am very passionate about teaching guitar. Your success is my success. I’m also very patient and easy going but will push you gently when you need it, to ensure your continued musical growth and success. I will not only teach you what you want to learn, but also what you need to learn in order to progress. During your first lesson with me, I’ll spend some time finding out what your goals and aspirations are, then develop a lesson plan from there. The lesson plans are used as a guide and also as a way to track and monitor your progress.

You will be taking your lessons with me in my home recording studio, which will make learning a lot more fun, creative and rewarding. You’ll also be able to record yourself performing songs and pieces you’re working on, from time to time. Recording yourself is an excellent way to see where your strengths and weaknesses lie; it will also help you to develop a critical and discerning ear.

When applicable, I like to use my student’s favorite songs as a vehicle for learning crucial aspects of music study, which include music theory, scales, chords, arpeggios and of course, proper technique. I also like to encourage and support sight-reading for very young students and have developed ways to make that fun, interesting and rewarding.

*** Studio Equipment ***
The studio has a keyboard, computer with music tutorial software, and guitars. The studio also has an ample supply of books, DVD, and transcription materials. The studio also has amps to be a working studio. The studio also has a nice seating area for parents.

*** Specialties ***
Guitar (beginning to advanced): Rock, Blues, Funk, Fusion, Jazz, acoustic finger-style, hybrid picking, cage system, tremolo bar technique, two handed tapping, speed picking, alternate and legato picking. I also teach beginning Flamenco.

I like to meet students were they are musically and build from there. Typically, I like to use a repertoire of songs that inspire them; using their favorite songs (when appropriate) as a means of learning theory, harmony, and technique. Over the years, I've learned that the most important first step with any student (specially beginners), is to get them playing right away - the emphasis is always on fostering love and enjoyment for music - as they move through proficiency levels at their own pace. Having said that, I do like to make sure they are pleasantly challenged but not frustrated (beginners), is to get them playing right away - the emphasis is always on fostering love and enjoyment for music - as they move through proficiency levels at their own pace. Having said that, I do like to make sure they are pleasantly challenged but not frustrated.
...

Reviews

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Auncharee W. June 4, 2013
Guitar
Verified Student
Didier is an Amazing Teacher!

My 8 yr old daughter has been taking lessons from Didier for the past 6 months and looks forward to her lessons each week. He challenges her while still keeping it fun and teaches her songs that interests her. Didier is a wonderful instructor who is very patient, kind, knowledgeable and easy to talk to. He is an extremely talented and passionate musician who enjoys teaching and it shows.
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Sailaja S. November 13, 2012
Guitar
Verified Student
Guitar lessons experience with Didier

Hi,here to share my wonderful experience in taking guitar lessons with Didier. Being a beginner, I have started learning the way to hold the guitar, strings, it's notations etc from him, off course the journey still continues.....I am happy that I found an instructor with lots of patience, talent and skill to groom me further in this music world:)
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Josephb February 28, 2012
Great Teacher

My son is attending lessons with Didier for few months now. He started from scratch and now he is starting to rock. We drive for lessons every weekend from far away and it is definitely worthy...
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Didier B.

Didier B.

Concord, CA 94519
(4)
starting at
$30 / 30-min
259817_9pqzxk9ypvh3lvcd7l43

Ken W.

Concord, CA

About Ken

At age 12 Ken picked up a guitar and fell in love with the instrument. He began with an obsession with Metallica and related bands that later evolved to a passion for classical and jazz music, music theory.

From 2008 -2010 completed the music program at Diablo Valley College in June of 2010, which includes extensive coursework in Music theory, Piano and Guitar. Since 2011 Ken has been a Jazz Guitar Performance Major at Cal State East Bay. There he has studied Classical and jazz Guitar performance with world class musicians.

"Music has many different levels and the beautiful thing is the
re is a place for everybody. I have spent a lot of time throughout my music career going “back to basics” in order to become a better musician. We are all capable of becoming great musicians and just because someone can play faster than you doesn't necessarily make them better. Music provides everything from healing power to just plain fun for the human spirit so I always encourage students to go at there own pace and work within their abilities."

*** Lesson Details ***
20+ years experience as a musician and teacher Ken has taken self taught route and the lessons route. "I believe 100% that being taught by someone who has sufficient experience really provides the roadway for a solid foundation whether you are planning on being a pro, just for fun and all levels in between. The combination of self-discipline and a good teacher are a must to have as a musician."

Amongst many other approaches of teaching music, I try to instill the 3 most lacking areas most musicians usually have to begin.

1. Sight reading: Unfortunately most common with guitarists! Tablature is a somewhat useful way to start but reading music will open many doors and opportunities for any musician

2. Collaboration: A teacher provides one way of collaboration as well as a band or an ensemble at school or in the community.

3. Improvisation: I provide a music theory background and I have a method plan for chord progressions, and help with learning the entire guitar.

I take step-by-step approaches towards giving a student encouragement and instilling music appreciation. I am very organized so every lesson will be documented and we will work on specific areas of fundamental development. Most of all have fun! That what gets us playing music in the first place!

I look Forward to meeting you!

*** Studio Equipment ***
Lesson room, music stands, benches, amps, two pianos, computer area for recording,

*** Travel Equipment ***
Their own instrument and any necessary cables, amps etc. for them I will provide my own

*** Specialties ***
I mostly specialize in jazz and classical guitar and have taught blues, rock, metal and Latin American guitar. All ages and all levels. I also teach western music theory (classical and jazz) from the baroque period to modern day. I teach beginning piano which consists of the basic fundamentals (i.e. scales, posture hand positions, etudes and beginning repertoire)
...

Reviews

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Rahul S. November 6, 2014
Classical Guitar · In home
Ken is an awesome teacher and an great person. He teaches my 5 year daughter and she loves his lessons and his jovial approach. Within 4 weeks, she has picked up a lot of things and is improving day by day. He is patient as you ought to be with the kids and yet persistent enough to stick to the task.

I am really looking forward to them picking up songs in the coming lessons. I will recommend him anytime and completely vouch for his credentials and ability as an excellent guitarist as well as teacher.
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Jon C. August 18, 2014
Classical Guitar · In studio
Verified Student
Ken is a talented musician, nice person, and a fantastic teacher. I wanted to branch out into classical guitar after many years of playing other styles. Ken was good at adapting to my background and goals.
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Francesca G. June 30, 2014
Guitar · In studio
Verified Student
Ken W. is an awesome teacher, my daughter loves her lessons with Ken, he is very patient kind and makes my daughter feel very comfortable. He also is very positive inspiring. I plan on keeping Ken as my daughters instructor for a very very long time
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Ken W.

Ken W.

Concord, CA 94521
(9)
starting at
$55 / 30-min
200079_182608_1248640292

Frank R.

Concord, CA

About Frank

Frank is passionate about sharing the natural method of singing with students of all ages.

Frank received a Bachelor of Music in Voice performance from Indiana University, and is a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique (Posture Awareness in Action).

He has taught vocal music at Elementary, Intermediate, High School and College levels.

His students have won college scholarships and music awards.

Frank has performed leading roles in Broadway shows, Light Opera and Opera.

His experience as a vocal musical specialist in schools has helped to shape of
method of instruction that is fun, easy and yields amazing results.

*** Lesson Details ***
Frank's lessons are focused on achieving the students goals.

Students choose songs meaningful to them along with songs the teacher recommends to broaden their muscial appreciation and vocal skill. Styles of music include: folk, show, pop, classical.

Interpretation and acting skills are developed.

Students learn the language of music (rhythm, pitch, symbols ) through games and activities.

Students will find their voices getting stronger and more beautiful through increased awareness of posture, diaphragmatic breathing, and vitality of jaw movement. This creates a wonderful sensation of freedom and relaxation. In 3-6 months time the student will experience an increase in range, beauty and power. I can guarantee your most beautiful and powerful voice with perfect high notes in 3-5 years of regular lessons.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Piano and Keyboard

*** Specialties ***
All styles of music except woman's chest voice (belting).
very strong with children's voice training and classical ,especially
opera. Natural method of singing using awareness of posture.
...

Reviews

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Elaine M. June 13, 2015
Singing · In studio
Verified Student
I went in never having had a voice lesson. He took me through the basics in a wonderfully welcoming and creative way. I know I will be much the better singer after his classes!
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Jessa M. December 8, 2014
Broadway Singing · In studio
Verified Student
It was a great joy learning from Frank for the several weeks I had him as instructor. He has his own little studio at home, with his piano, so you can enjoy and be comfortable singing out loud without other disruptions. His method is very simple and effective. It's all about energy, posture, and jaw movement! I definitely saw a change in my singing after only two lessons of learning from Frank.

He is also friendly, smiling, and courteous! He'll start you with warm-ups and then end with songs/pieces to practically implement the movements you've learned during warm-ups. Try a lesson with Frank! You'll not regret it!
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Diana D. May 17, 2014
Singing · In studio
Verified Student
My daughter has been taking singing lessons with Frank for 2 years. She started lessons when she was only four and a half years old. She is now 9 years old and Frank is one of the best vocal teachers she has ever had. Frank is amazing with kids. He keeps my daughter focused and has fun with her at the same time. My daughter looks forward to her class every week. We've seen great improvement in her singing as well as her confidence. I have been extremely happy with Frank and would highly recommend him to anyone looking for vocal lessons--young and old.
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Frank R.

Frank R.

Concord, CA 94518
(5)
starting at
$30 / 30-min

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