El Cerrito Music Lessons

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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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Kristen K.

Berkeley, CA

About Kristen

My name is Kristen K. and I am an accomplished violinist and teacher from Lexington, Kentucky. I began my musical studies at age 7 and quickly discovered my passion and love for music. As a young musician, I attended numerous summer music festivals, participated in the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra. I was a winner of two concerto competitions, which gave me the opportunity to perform solos with the youth orchestra. I continued my studies at the University of Kentucky as a Violin Performance major and it was there that I discovered my love for teaching music! After completing my performance
degree, I decided to also pursue a Bachelor’s in Music Education. During my college career, I served as a teaching assistant in the University of Kentucky String Project, I taught group and private lessons at several local middle and high schools, and also maintained my own private violin and viola studio. I was also awarded the McCracken Scholarship Award for Excellence in Music Education. The most rewarding part of teaching has been seeing my students continually improve and reach their goals!

In addition to teaching, I also am an avid performer. I have been a member of the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra for 7 years and was a member of the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra. I perform as a soloist, in chamber groups, and in orchestras regularly at various events and concerts. In the past few years I have attended international chamber music festivals in Prague, Czech Republic and in Lucca, Italy. I have also had the opportunity to perform with some of the world’s most renowned musicians including Itzhak Perlman, Midori, and Gil Shaham in additional to performing in the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and in Carnegie Hall in New York City. Studying music has provided me with many wonderful opportunities to learn and to grow. It is my goal to help students really love and enjoy playing music and develop the skills that allow us to share the magic of beautiful sound. Maintaining a high level of mastery as well as continuing to learn about the art of teaching are fundamentally equal and of highest priority for me. Through teaching music, I hope to inspire students and help them reach their potential.

*** Lesson Details ***
My teaching style is relaxed and understanding of where each student is at, while always maintaining a quick pace for learning new skills and always expecting the student to put forth their best effort. I am very encouraging and positive. I work with each student and his or her parents to determine short and long term goals and try to best provide the materials, instruction and motivation to achieve those goals!

*** Studio Equipment ***
Lessons in the living room, well lit, piano, music stands

*** Specialties ***
I specialize in teaching classical music but I also teach bluegrass and fiddle. I particularly like the Suzuki Method for beginning to intermediate students, but when they become more advanced I begin to incorporate concertos and sonatas.
...

Reviews

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Sheng H. January 19, 2015
Violin · In studio
Verified Student
She is really nice and sweet. I learned a lot from her and she always provide the best advice and material that can help me to solve my difficulties.
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Sam F. December 12, 2014
Violin · In studio
Verified Student
Kristen is a technically robust, patient and works with the student to ensure progress.
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Anthony Atthowe A. November 18, 2014
Viola · In studio
Verified Student
If I could write anything to hope that you choose Kristen to teach you, imagine it here: _______. That said. She is Amazing, Fantastic, Patient, Fun, Understand, did I say Patient!? I am a 28 year old man that is learning Viola as his "2nd" real instrument. I play piano well, and "campfire" guitar. Kristen is teaching me to read Alto clef and play the Viola. She is teaching at MY pace and not complaining when I come in without having the most practice time accomplished throughout the prior week. She has a flexible schedule and is available for communication (email and phone) between lessons (I've rescheduled many times because my work hours are not constant). She's Great! I hope you let her teach you! Thank you for reading.
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Kristen K.

Kristen K.

Berkeley, CA 94704
(10)
starting at
$27 / 30-min
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Vir M.

Berkeley, CA

About Vir

I am a graduate of U.C. Berkeley.;I have been teaching and performing music for over 15 years. I have toured the United States and other countries playing many types of music. I play Guitar and Bass and Sing   I teach in a fun style that emphasizes the students creativity.  Styles range from Rock, Folk, Electronic, Jazz,  African, World, Hip Hop to Country.  I can give you the skills to go to the next level.  From 5-99 years old!

*** Lesson Details ***
A typical lesson would look like this:  Depending on your level we would first work on some new chords and/or a new scale and how to play them
.  We "jam" a little to get the feel.  I have a really great way of teaching theory that will get you playing what you want.  The second half we usually focus on learning a song of your choice or working on an original of yours. I am very personable and easygoing.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Have guitars and amps, basses and amps, drum set, microphones and recording equipment.

*** Travel Equipment ***
Have equipment

*** Specialties ***
Rock, World, Hip Hop, Folk, Electronica, Classical, Jazz
...

Reviews

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caroline S. April 23, 2015
Guitar · In home
Verified Student
Vir is a gifted teacher. He has taught my son guitar for more than a year. He meets my son where ever he's at in his practice, attention and interests with calm, skilled focus and intention . Vir's background as performing musician infuses his teaching with an enthusiasm and creativity of practicing his teaching. We are truly grateful for Vir.
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Alexander S. March 6, 2014
Singing
Verified Student
A Guru

Vir is beyond your typical vocal coach. He was a huge help on things like pitch accuracy and phrasing, but more than anything, his focus on getting me to tap into and harness my inner power has already paid huge dividends in my recordings and performances. Further, Vir is an amazing person to know and his home-studio in Berkeley is magnificent!
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Vir M.

Vir M.

Berkeley, CA 94708
(2)
starting at
$35 / 30-min
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David W.

Berkeley, CA

About David

Hi there, and thanks for viewing my TakeLessons profile! I am excited to be a part of the team in Berkeley, CA.

I started teaching lessons while in music school for Classical Guitar in 1996. From 1998 onwards, I played with a variety of musicians from Africa and Latin America, as well the as great American traditions of gospel, funk, jazz, and bluegrass. All the while, I continued to study music theory and composition, on my own and in private lessons with both well-known players and local professionals. Flamenco and Indian Classical music have also been great interests which I am still in
volved with.

Though guitar is generally my "go-to" instrument, I often use a MIDI keyboard for composition, and studied/performed on bass for 10 years. The last few years, I have begun to develop my voice as well.

Since 2006, I have been teaching music theory and composition at Ex’pression College in Emeryville. This is a digital production environment for the arts, and my students come from a variety of backgrounds. Some are musicians/aspiring musicians, and some are primarily interested in working with technology; but all are audio enthusiasts and love music!

*** Lesson Details ***
Whether you are a complete beginner or have been playing gigs for years, are very young or old, I have something to offer you!

How we structure lessons depends in part on you and your goals, as well as your learning style. Having taught music for over 15 years, I have a large amount of resources at my disposal, and can either teach from a method book, or a variety of materials, some of which are my own creations.

I also like to use technology as a teaching aid, and can show you how to use your own computer, keyboard, or music production application (garageband, etc) to practice and create music at home. Another thing that I offer is to make recordings of key parts of the lesson, either as an audio or video file, or both. These can be shared with you through email, dropbox, or a flash drive if you bring one along to your lesson.

Please contact TakeLessons if you have any further questions! I look forward to meeting and working with you or your child.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Home studio: Front room with computer station, guitars, music stand. Waiting area with couches and table, and parents can sit in on lessons. Street parking available, no pets.

College: practice rooms and classrooms available with computers and MIDI controllers.

*** Specialties ***
On guitar and bass, I have experience in world music including Africa, Latin America, and Flamenco. I also love American traditional music, including funk, jazz, rock, and gospel. I specialize in teaching music theory and composition, no matter what instrument. Rhythmic concepts applied to any instrument are a favorite topic.
...

Reviews

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Jerry G. August 6, 2013
Music Theory
AMAZING!

I met Dave in my music theory class at Ex'pression college. He's the reason why I'm making music today. I went from not knowing a thing about music theory or a piano to creating chord progressions, understanding modes, intervals, modal interchange, and how to read sheet music. He's extremely patient, professional, and easy to get along with. His passion for music and teaching is infectious, I highly recommend!!!
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Pedro L. April 28, 2013
Flamenco Guitar
Verified Student
great instructor!

I have learned so much in the little time I've been taking lessons with David.

Not only is he extremely talented, but he's also very patient when it comes to teaching (which is necessary when I don't grasp the techniques right away).

I started off as a beginner, knowing nothing about how to play the guitar, and am now recognizing notes and memorizing and playing full songs.

He is very flexible with hours, and genuinely has a passion for Flamenco music!

Two thumbs up!!
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Tristan J. February 2, 2013
Verified Student
Fun and tremendously helpful

I started taking lessons with David mostly because I felt a little "stuck"; I have a decent amount of experience, but that wasn't translating into real progress. After a few lessons, a lot of odd issues have cleared up and I can hear the difference when I mess around.

David's quite flexible. I'm not a real beginner, but more of an "intermediate" level. So our sessions tend to be driven by something I've done over the last week, as opposed to the "method driven approaches" that tend to happen with less experienced players. David usually acts like a mentor, giving me an absolute brain dump pretty much each session.

So far, I haven't ran into any subject he hasn't had a lot to show me, so I expect to learn a lot from him.
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David W.

David W.

Berkeley, CA 94703
(7)
starting at
$30 / 30-min
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Jacob R.

Berkeley, CA

About Jacob

I have tutored students of math and have given drum lessons since my second year of college. I've tutored students of all levels of math, from 6th grade mathematics to all college math subjects. I have given drum lessons to beginners and intermediate students, and I engage the students in ear training as well so that they can be more well-rounded musicians. I put an emphasis on catering my teaching to a student's method of learning, so that they feel comfortable and so that we get the best results!
...

Reviews

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Christy M. June 22, 2015
Drum · In home
Verified Student
Jacob has been an awesome teacher for my teenage daughter, Quinn - who started very much from scratch with the drums. He is super patient, and brings an enthusiasm and clear love for music that is contagious and inspiring. He was able to weave in a lot of basic music foundation for her, and helped her progress at a pace that was appropriately challenging without being intimidating or discouraging. He helped her learn the fundamentals, but also let her apply them as patterns to songs and styles that interested her. If he wasn't moving away for school, we would love to continue with him, he's been a wonderful teacher. We'd recommend him in a heartbeat.
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Anya B. May 22, 2015
Drum · In studio
Verified Student
Jacob does a great job teaching drums to my sons, 6 yrs and 8 yrs. He has a great ability to make the lessons both fun and instructional. He allows time for exploration and jamming, and also works in techniques and music reading instruction. He regularly checked in with me to see how I thought things were going, and was responsive to any requests I made. My kids love Jacob, and I would not hesitate to recommend him as an excellent teacher!
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Justin B. August 27, 2014
Drum · In studio
Jacob is teaching for his first time, but he knows how to guide his student as he had been a student of many different instructors. Jacob teaches the basics, the rudiments, and postures. I have taken drum lessons from different instructors, so I was confident that I was doing the right thing. However, Jacob helped me figure out bad habits that I've never doubted. Jacob not only understands the pros/cons of different drumming styles, but he also knows how to transition smoothly from one to another. He guides you through how improve your capabilities, because he has been through the same steps that you are about to go into. I am having a very pleasant time learning from Jacob.
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Jacob R.

Jacob R.

Berkeley, CA 94705
(3)
starting at
$20 / 30-min

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