Lafayette Music Performance Lessons

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John D.

Berkeley, CA

I have performed for a living since graduating high school in 2003 on 4 continents and in hundreds of different groups. From classical orchestras to intimate jazz bands to rock and roll to all sorts of world music, my versatility as a performer is what sets me apart from other musicians.

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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Vir M.

Berkeley, CA

I have taught Rock band in Schools and Privately. Bring it all together. I also teach stage presence.

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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Peter D.

Oakland, CA

Whether you are a vocalist, a pianist, or a singer-songwriter, I can help you take your expression and technique to the next level. I emphasize the concepts of "knowing your space" and then "owning your space" in order to help maximize the potential of the performer. I have coached hundreds of people over the last 6 years, and have worked as an Artist Developer/Music Producer for several artists.

About Peter

For the last ten years I have made the process of learning music an exciting and rewarding endeavor for all ages and levels. I am teach piano, songwriting, composition, and music theory, and music production, and am fluent in Spanish.

My teaching methods include all the basic elements (technique, theory, ear training, sight-reading, performance, etc.), but the key here is that the lessons are specifically tailored for and suited to you, the student. Drawing on my experience as an Artist Developer, for more seasoned music students, I have mentored many a musician as they find their a musica
l path, whether it be artist/performer, composer/arranger, accompanist, songwriter, etc.

I have studied with over 12 music professors, both in the classroom and individually for 6 years at Saddleback Community College in Orange County. I have also studied a number of styles while composing for and performing in various small ensembles, including:  world music, classical, pop, jazz, and musical theatre.

I continue to produce and compose music for myself and other artists as well.

*** Lesson Details ***
I each student in the way they need to be met:  if they need a serious approach to their musical goals, I meet them with the same intensity (and raise them a few!). Most students seem to prefer a laid back, more "fun" approach, which I am excellent at providing as well. For piano students, the Faber books serve as a springboard to go into playing their favorite kind of music, whether it's pop, jazz, or classical.

*** Specialties ***
Classical, jazz, and pop styles of piano
Songwriting in most genres (except rap)
Pop styles of singing and guitar
...

Reviews

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Dami M. December 22, 2014
Guitar · In studio
Verified Student
My child was resistant to learning the guitar - thought it was too hard - but was able to make strides and now enjoys it due to Peter's patience! He made the lessons fun, too.
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Melissa R. December 10, 2014
Arrangement and Composition · In home
I had the privilege to work with Peter in Artist Development. He was instrumental in helping be unlock my creative blocks. His passion for music and musicians is evident in his breath. He really cares about the art of expression and will always go the extra mile to help artists grow their authentic self and passion. I highly recommend Peter to anyone. His excellent songwriting and composition skills, along with his Music Industry expertise and connections are an added bonus that could expand to endless future collaborations and possibilities.
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brittany G. December 8, 2014
Songwriting · In home
I have worked with and learned from Peter D. for a little over 2 years and am SO happy with how much I have learned. Peter is classically trained but is also open to many music styles and experimentation. Not only is he an exceptional musician himself, he really knows how to "diagnose" each student and create the lesson around their needs. You will not be bored in Peter's class!
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Peter D.

Peter D.

Oakland, CA 94618
(13)
starting at
$40 / 30-min
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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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Sophia S.

Oakland, CA

Music performance is a combination of technical vocal skills, acting and stage presence, and musicianship, and you can learn it all here.

About Sophia

Sophia S. is a dynamic performing artist whose talents have led to the opera, recital, choral, rock, and electronic music stages.

With Sophia , lessons are tailored to each unique voice. Whether you need foundational technical work, a musicianship tune up, song preparation for a show, recording, or audition, or performance coaching-- Sophia designs her lessons to fulfill each student's particular goals. Students of Sophia have gone on to gain acceptance to music programs in institutions such as San Francisco School of the Arts and California Institute of Integral Studies. Under Sophia's tu
telage, students have also strengthened their abilities as lead singers and solo artists, delivered high quality recordings, nailed auditions... the list goes on!

"I believe that whether you are a beginner or a very experienced vocalist, there is always room to grow. I am deeply committed to teaching an exceedingly strong vocal technique rooted in the Italian Classical school of vocal pedagogy. I effectively communicate these ideas to each student, helping them build a solid foundation for great singing in any and every genre. Singing is equal parts artistry and skill, and it is beautiful, free, powerful, and communicative."

Over a decade of intense classical music training combined with adventurous experience in songwriting, radio, theater, and movement result in a teaching approach that is inquisitive, passionate, and most of all- effective. Sophia holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from San Francisco Conservatory, studying voice with the esteemed Catherine Cook. Originally from Portland Oregon, she graduated Magna Cum Laude from Portland State University with a B.A. in Music and minors in Theater and Classics. Sophia has sung operatic roles locally and abroad; has performed at some of the best concert halls and indie venues the Bay has to offer, both as a backup singer and a solo artist. 

*** Lesson Details ***
Vocal exercises are foundational to improve technique, and I employ many tried-and-true exercises (vocalizes) to build each student's technique at their own pace. Good news- they are fun too.

We discuss your short- and long-term vocal plans in order to motivate you and achieve improvement. You also have access to my musicianship-improving Mini-Guides, and music theory and/or production lessons at a discounted rate. I provide any advice and support my students need- creating recordings, booking successful performances, preparing roles and recitals, making a marketing strategy, or nailing an audition.

If you need performance coaching to improve your delivery, confidence, stage presence, or all of the above- we can achieve that! Song and movement work at the piano, guitar, or microphone is a sure way to greatly improve all of these areas.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Roland RD-500 weighted keyboard w/ VOX amp.

2 music stands, mirror, beverage station, music library, Neumann microphone and stand.

*** Specialties ***
Opera, cabaret, rock, production and songwriting.
...

Reviews

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Lisa M. October 29, 2014
Singing · In studio
Verified Student
Lydian, my daughter, had a wonderful experience with Sophia. Sophia was great with our 6 year old, taught her a lot and was genuinely encouraging. I highly recommend her!
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Kyra P. March 12, 2014
Singing
Verified Student
Pleasantly Surprised

After my 6 year old daughter's prior teacher relocated out of town, we searched for a another teacher. It took about 2 months.

At our first lesson with Sophia, I was pleasantly surprised at how she was able to pull my daughter's voice out and make her really sing.

Sophia is very passsionate about her art and passes that vibe along to my daughter. Sophia has an extremely strong voice and is stern enough to actually accomplish learning and progress. My daughter loves Sophia and I cannot wait to hear what the future holds for her.
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Rebecca Z. February 21, 2014
Singing
Verified Student
Great teacher!

Sophia is really patient and she knows what she is talking about when it comes to singing technique. She has taught me a lot about voice placement and the misconceptions that people have about voice control.
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Sophia S.

Sophia S.

Oakland, CA 94619
(13)
starting at
$34 / 30-min

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Music Performance Lesson Reviews from Students

Students are raving about their Music Performance instructors on TakeLessons. Check out some of these recent reviews.

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Recent Music Performance Articles from the Blog

Whether you're just starting out or a seasoned pro, check out the Music Performance articles on our blog.

Music Criticism: How To Handle a Critical Audience

Years ago, I heard my first band would be featured in the local paper and I was so excited to read the article. I hurried home to read it and found that the short blurb was far from complimentary. A public critique like that can make you want to give up. I certainly wanted to hide under my bed for a week! However, I have learned how to handle criticism and continued to make music that makes me happy. In the time since then, I have been lucky enough to receive both criticism and positive revie … Read More
Music Criticism: How To Handle a Critical Audience
Years ago, I heard my first band would be featured in the local paper and I was so excited to read the article. I hurried home to read it and found that the short blurb was far from complimentary. A public critique like that can make you want to give up. I certainly wanted to hide under my bed for a week! However, I have learned how to handle criticism and continued to make music that makes me happy. In the time since then, I have been lucky enough to receive both criticism and positive revie
What They Don’t Tell You About Becoming a Musician
When you become a musician -- whether you're playing the guitar, the drums, or another instrument -- you'll notice a pattern when others find out about your skills. Read on to learn what they don't tell you about becoming a musician, in this guest post by Brookings, SD teacher Carl S...     Every musician has his or her own story. Some people play as a hobby and may play the occasional gig. Others are gigging frequently or perhaps teaching music. No matter what type of musician you ar
Open Mic 101: How to Overcome Stage Fright & More
Thinking about stopping by an open mic night, or hitting the stage for karaoke? Performing in front of others is a fantastic way to boost your confidence and meet other musicians in the area - but it can also be pretty scary if you're a newbie! Luckily, learning how to overcome stage fright is easy when you focus on the right things. Read on to learn more about how open mic nights work, how to prepare for your first performance, and how to overcome your stage fright: How Do Open Mic Night

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