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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Arrica R.

Oakland, CA

Getting the notes right is crucial. Your performance of those notes is equally as crucial. Our favorite performers have more than just the ability to perform notes they connect with the work they are presenting and the audience they are presenting it to to. I've been performing for over 25 years and would love to help you with your performance technique. We'll work on stance, delivery, emotional connection, and creative visualization to help you deliver your best possible performance.

About Arrica

I was born and raised in Los Angeles but I've just recently relocated to the Bay Area. I am a Professional Musician/Songwriter/Vocalist teaching songwriting, voice, and performance technique as well as a combination thereof. I began singing at a very young age for anyone who would listen (so my parents tell me) and began taking music lessons shortly thereafter. I am now a USC graduate and have also studied music privately for over 25 years as well as at the esteemed Vocal Power Institute. I've professionally released several albums and I am grateful to have had my music featured/licensed by
Starbucks, NBC, The CW network, NikeWomen.com, and MTV. I've toured extensively playing to audiences across the country and have had the honor of sharing the stage with artists ranging from Conor Oberst, Inara George, Johnette Napolitano, Martha Wainwright, to Jackson Browne. I have experience teaching both adults and children, and enjoy teaching beginning as well as intermediate to advanced students. In addition to teaching privately, I have experience teaching children through my volunteer work with The Girls Rock Alliance, a non-profit organization that aims to teach young girls about self-confidence and self-expression through music education.

*** Lesson Details ***
I am easy-going, friendly and I believe that developing a great student/teacher rapport is the key to making the most out of the time we spend together. The curriculum I utilize is specifically designed to meet the student's individual needs. Initially we'll spend time assessing where you are and where you'd like to be. Most importantly, we'll set goals and create a lesson plan that will allow you to attain them. We'll work on basic techniques (or intermediate to advanced depending on skill level), for example - breath support, vowel placement, posture, relaxation, the fundamentals of song structure and music theory. We'll also work on the psychology of performance and eliminating any unwanted tension that may arise. We'll choose songs to work on that you'll enjoy singing, or analyze the songs you love in order to discover and/or improve upon your own songwriting abilities.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Front music studio area w/ guitars, computer with protools, keyboard, microphone, pa system, and seating for parents

*** Travel Equipment ***
I can provide a small keyboard and/or guitar

*** Specialties ***
My main musical styles that I perform and teach are Pop, Rock, Folk, and Americana/Country. I specialize in creating a lesson plan that suits the needs of each individual student.
...

Reviews

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Dave July 9, 2015
Singing · In studio
Arrica is an excellent teacher and our lessons are always fun and enlightening. My wife and I are taking lessons in order to sing harmonies and duets better, and Arrica designed exercises for us to do just that. She is flexible with what we want to do while also offering structure to the lessons and goals.
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Ken B. July 2, 2015
Singing · In studio
Verified Student
Off to a great start! Arrica offered a very accessible teaching style that this beginner adult student truly enjoyed!
Humming all the way to my second lesson!
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Samantha P. September 5, 2014
Singing · In home
Verified Student
Arrica is a wonderful singing coach! My nine-year-old daughter thoroughly enjoys their time together each week. Arrica always follows my daughter’s lead and gauges her interest in particular songs while also giving input and suggestions that further her progress and challenge her at just the right level. Her kind and patient demeanor has also helped my daughter, whom is somewhat shy, feel completely at ease. I can see through my daughter’s lesson with Arrica that she is very passionate and committed to her work. I would whole-heartedly recommend Arrica to anyone whom is looking for an amazing singing coach.
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Arrica R.

Arrica R.

Oakland, CA 94611
(5)
starting at
$40 / 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
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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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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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.

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 … Read More
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
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

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