Larkspur Music Performance Lessons

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Check out some of our most popular teachers near Larkspur including Corte Madera, Greenbrae, San Quentin, Ross and Kentfield.

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Rob F.

San Anselmo, CA

About Rob

Rob (aka R.J.): Born in Detroit, Michigan, RJ studied r&b and jazz from Motown drummers and Funk Brothers Benny Benjamin and Uriel Jones. From the age of fifteen he played in rhythm & blues and jazz combos around Detroit. He then studied privately with Berklee School of Music drum maestro, Gene Stuart, mallet studies with Mark Johnson at Michigan State University and earned a Bachelors Degree from Michigan State. He moved to San Francisco where he studied North Indian percussion and tabla with Zakir Hussain, trap set with jazz recording artist George Marsh. He is a consummate producer, perfo
rmer, recording artist and teacher. He plays and teaches all styles of rhythm including jazz, funk, blues, rock, latin, and world fusion. He teaches drumset, congas, djembe, tabla, cajon and hand percussion. In addition to teaching privately, RJ has directed special week-long drum and percussion focused ensemble productions at Drake High School and Marin Academy and was Music Director at Cascade Canyon (K-8) School for two years where he directed variety shows and produced scores for the drama department. In his teaching practice all ages are welcome and all levels including: beginners, intermediate students, advanced players, and professionals.

*** Lesson Details ***
My approach to drum lessons is simple. I want my students to be excited about every stage of the process. I want to be as productive as possible with each student and want the lessons to be fun and focused.
I want beginning students to learn the essentials of good posture, correct hand positions or grips (how to hold the sticks in matched and military grip), how to best use their hands and feet to get around the drumset and to then develop a solid foundation of applicable rudiments, rhythms and patterns. In fact,
I have master drumset rudiments that help facilitate fluid movement around the drums in all directions. My studio is equipped with a top level TAMA drumset with Zildjian cymbals, congas, timbales, hand percussion, piano, vibes, excellent recording and listening equipment and speakers.
I provide the necessary foundations of rudiments, rhythms, patterns and grooves. Then I show how to combine these essentials to the drumset. I combine these developments with essential reading studies so the student learns to read drum music and charts from the very beginning.
I find out what kind of music the student listens to and likes and then I will use some of the more familiar tracks by those artists to help the student apply each pattern stylistically into actual arrangements…like a guitar teacher would teach some scales and chords, then apply them to actual songs. That way the student will remember the different patterns and remained engaged in the process. It’s a “see, say and do” approach.
I have a saying that I use: “FREEDOM follows FUNCTION and function follows FORM.” First you learn the forms (rudiments, rhythms and patterns). Then, with practice, you become functional with the forms, rhythm patterns and combinations. Then you are free to use everything you learn as it relates to the music. Your are “free” to create and improvise both alone and with others.

Within six month my students will have a firm grasp of essential rudiments, rhythms, patterns, sticking, single and double bass drumset techniques and be reading charts for the drumset.
Later on, as part of the student’s development, I will introduce them to different styles of music including jazz, African, Afro-Cuban, Latin and Brazilian rhythms and patterns so that the student becomes a well-rounded player.

*** Studio Equipment ***
My Private Studio is on the first floor of my house: there is a six-piece professional series TAMA drumset and an assortment of K. and A. Zildjian cymbals, a piano, set of vibes, timbales, congas, bongos, djembe and a variety of hand percussion. There are additional chairs to sit on, Parents are welcome to sit in on lessons.

*** Travel Equipment ***
Five and six piece drum sets, hard cases, three congas with cases, bongos in a hard case, timbales in a hard case, trap case for stands, cymbal case and stick bag.

*** Specialties ***
Trapset all styles, African djembe and shekere, Latin congas and timbales, Indian tablas.
...

Reviews

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Barbara S. October 29, 2013
Drum
Verified Student
I Got Lucky

A year and a half ago I decided to try to learn how to play an instrument, and chose drums. Learning how to also read and write music for drumming was high on my list. I also needed this to be a fun adventure with no real public performance goals for the first couple of years. It needed to be a stress reducer from the demands of the day job. Finding and working with RJ has been a total kick in the pants. I couldn't ask for a better coach. He hasn't let me get stuck in any one form, I'm learning all of them. It's hard! But I couldn't imagine not drumming now. It's very exciting, and I look forward to learning more over the coming years.
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KatyV January 11, 2012
Rob Franco

You won't find a better teacher than Rob. He obviously knows music, both theory and application. He is concerned about proper technique, but also enjoyment and variety, which means that you get it all. I'm learning tons more than I thought I would.
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Rob F.

Rob F.

San Anselmo, CA 94960
(2)
starting at
$60 / 30-min
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Donna D.

Corte Madera, CA

I offer piano lessons and voice lessons for beginning or intermediate students age 8 or above. I am interested in helping students learn to read music, and to sing or play with good technique, leading to outstanding performance, for family and friends or in public.

About Donna

I love to sing, and I have a passion for teaching students to sing well. I have sung in choruses all my life, and have been inspired by fine conductors and great composers. I am certain that music enlivens my life like nothing else, and it can do that for everyone. Whether you sing in the shower, or in the choir, or with a few friends, or in an opera, you can find your song.

Learning to play the piano, from the very beginning, or picking up where you left off in the past, will bring a spark to your life. Whether you want to play for yourself or some friends, or want to get on track to becom
ing a concert pianist, music will enrich your life.

My students develop an appreciation for music of the Renaissance up through the 21st century. They are willing to delve into exciting territory while learning to read music, establishing confidence in their own musicianship. They discover the music within themselves, while learning the technique necessary to be the best musicians they can be.

I enjoy teaching high school, middle school, and elementary students as well as adults. I Love teaching beginners. I am trained in vocal pedagogy, music theory, music history, repertoire, performance practice and methods.

My formal education:
B.A., UC, Berkeley (Phi Beta Kappa)
M.A., Occidental College
M.S. Pepperdine University
Lifetime General Secondary Teaching Credential

Teachers and mentors:
Howard Swan, Mary Jones, Edward Lawton, Robert Commanday, Roger Wagner, Linda Anderson, Boyd Jarrell, Paul Smith.

In the last twenty years, I have enjoyed being a participant in music at the College of Marin, through choral, vocal, opera and piano classes. I currently serve as volunteer assistant to the Director of Choral Activities.

I am particularly proud of my experience as instructional aide and coach for music students with disabilities at the College of Marin, including students with developmental disabilities and autism.

Past classroom experience:
Long Beach Unified School District, Choral Music Teacher
Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, Choral Music Teacher
Low Heywood School and King School (prep schools), Stamford, CT, Choral Music Teacher

*** Lesson Details ***
Voice students can expect to learn how to produce tone beautifully, using correct posture and breathing, and proper vowel production, rhythmic precision, pitch accuracy, carefully formed phrases, and musical and stylistic interpretation. But beyond technique is the amazing art of communicating with other people the wonders of the music. You should expect to make good progress in all of these areas in just a few weeks. I hope you will come with serious interest in developing your beautiful voice.

Repertoire might include folk songs, art songs and arias from the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras, as well as compositions of the 20th and 21st centuries. Songs might be in English, or possibly in Italian, Latin, German or French, if you interested. We would sit down together and decide what dreams and goals you have, and then choose music to get you going down the path to those dreams and goals.

You can expect to have learned several new songs, and to have brought them to performance level in the first 3-6 months. If you have a goal to learn music for an audition, contest or festival, that can happen.

Piano students can expect to learn everything about the keyboard, posture, proper use right and left hands, scales, chords, arpeggios, and fun exercises leading to good technique, rhythmic accuracy, speed and fluency. Playing beautifully, with artfulness and expressiveness will be priorities.

Repertoire might include beginning to intermediate compositions from the Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras, as well as compositions of the 20th and 21st centuries. We would sit down together and decide what pieces to choose which would help you get on a path to your musical dreams and goals, and what would be appropriate for your age and development as a musician.

You can expect to be playing pieces with 2 hands within a few weeks, and perhaps a melody with chords, if you are a beginner. Degree of difficulty will depend upon your age, experience and development, but even very simple songs can be played musically, with grace.

Of utmost importance to me is that every student learn to read music, and develop an understanding of music fundamentals. The level of sophistication will depend upon age and experience, but learning good musicianship is essential. At the same time, opportunities for creativity to develop through improvisation could be on the horizon for you. It is important to me that you want to learn and and want to become the best you can be.

*** Studio Equipment ***
I have a piano and computer with Finale at my home. I provide music and practice sheets, etc.

*** Specialties ***
For voice, I teach classical style, including posture, breathing, tone production, vowel production, phrasing, diction, appropriate style and performance practice, and music reading. Materials I use include everything from folk songs to arias, and 16th century to contemporary compositions, in English, Italian, Latin, French and German. Voice is my primary interest. I am also competent to teach beginning theory, and beginning piano, both classical and standard popular, including improvisation from charts (melody, chords).
...

Reviews

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AndreaS February 16, 2012
Very nice singing classes

Donna is a very warm teacher, her way of teaching is very encouraging and supportive. I enjoyed her classes and learned a lot, more than only singing. I would surely recommend her as a teacher.
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carmenl May 17, 2011
Donna is a great teacher. Gives me the direction I need to focus and progress and enough freedom to experiment with what I'm trying to learn. She also reveals some of mystery of how music works.
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LenoraY June 15, 2010
Feedback for Donna

Donna's method of teaching gets quick results. She simplifies, presents and reinforces concepts such that I've managed to make progress with each lesson. Highly intelligent yet flexible, Donna was quick to analyze my learning process/style. Therefore, when I do falter, she knows exactly why - and helps me make adjustments.
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Donna D.

Donna D.

Corte Madera, CA 94925
(4)
starting at
$40 / 30-min
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Peter D.

San Rafael, 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.

San Rafael, CA 94901
(13)
starting at
$40 / 30-min
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Ben L.

San Rafael, CA

About Ben

Originally from West Virginia, Ben has quickly made a name for himself within the music community since moving to San Francisco in 2009. Having performed in a wide array of musical situations early in his career Ben draws on those initial performances to shape his current music experience.

While earning his degree in philosophy and music from West Virginia University, he had the opportunity to travel to China in the summer of 2008 to perform with the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra. During his time at WVU Ben performed with the €œLittle Big Band€, WVU'€™s premiere jazz ensemble, along
with other Jazz and world music ensembles.

A teacher himself, Ben has had many influential teachers including: Tommy Igoe, George Willis, Tim Adams, Mike Dawson, Al Wrublesky, Scott Amendola, and Chuck Brown.

In addition to his freelance playing and teaching schedule Ben is a music teacher at Marin Catholic High School, the Mt. Tam School, and a guest clinician at Davidson Middle School.

*** Studio Equipment ***
In my studio I have a Roland electronic drum set, practice pads, audio and video recording equipment, and access to my full library of method books and percussion publications.

*** Travel Equipment ***
When traveling for lessons I bring various method books, as well as a practice pad to our lessons. I expect students to have a drum journal to record our lesson notes, sticks, a practice pad, and a drum set if we are focusing on drum set instruction.

*** Specialties ***
I Specialize in many areas of percussion including; Concert percussion repertoire, drum set - jazz, pop, rock, funk, R&B, world - marching percussion, and contemporary marimba.
...

Reviews

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Carole C. March 23, 2015
Drum · In home
Verified Student
Ben is an awesome teacher. He is patient and kind with my 8 year old and he covers a lot of material during the session. Would definitely recommend him.
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Nathan B. June 3, 2014
Drum · In home
Verified Student
Ben is fabulous. My son is 5, nearly 6, and Ben he loves his drum lessons with Ben. Without much prompting from mom and dad, our boy has decided that he loves rock n' roll and Ben has really channeled that enthusiasm. He's learning notations, theory, and rhythm. And having a great time doing it. Thank you Ben!
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Maggie H. December 2, 2013
Drum
Great teacher in a great environment!

Ben has been teaching my son Jack for the last seven months. Jack leaves each lesson with more excitement for the drums than the previous week. Ben's enthusiasm for music is infectious! Jack has improved tremendously since initially starting lessons with Ben. Each lesson is structured very methodically and he gives a very well rounded approach, covering rudiments, music theory, and drumset studies.
I would recommend Ben for anyone interested in taking drum lessons.
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Ben L.

Ben L.

San Rafael, CA 94903
(4)
starting at
$35 / 30-min
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Dan G.

Fairfax, CA

About dan

Hi!
I have studied, performed and taught the violincello (the cello), electric bass and contra-bass (acoustic, upright or double bass) for over two decades. I have played in symphonies, orchestras, chamber music ensembles, rock , blues , R&B, funk, and bluegrass bands, jazz combos, and Indian kirtan ensembles, performing everything from Beethoven and Tchaikovsky to Stevie Wonder and Miles Davis. Among numerous outstanding players and teachers, I have studied with Cameron Sawzin of the Boston Virtuosi as well as with renowned bassist Victor Wooten at his camp in Tennessee and California.

I take an intuitive approach to my lessons, focusing on the feel and tone of the music. I have found this to be the fastest and most effective way for my students to learn. I also put emphasis on technique, specifically healthy posture and body alignment in relation to your instrument.
You should take lessons with me if you want to realize your dream of becoming a great auditory artist . I never employ pressure tactics with my students. I only facilitate inspiration, knowledge and understanding. I love teaching and sharing the Joy of music with others. Working with music for so many years I have become aware of the fears in our society surrounding playing music and learning a new instrument. I help my students to see through these fear-based thought patterns compassionately and patiently so that they can truly Make Their Musical Dreams Come True. All ages welcome. It is never too early or too late to start!

Cheers, Daniel
...

Reviews

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Chengjin Z. May 20, 2015
Drum · In studio
Verified Student
I had a great experience learning drum with Dan.I have zero experience with drum, I asked Dan to help me play a song based on the video I like, he figured out how the drummer did it right away and taught me different style of playing it.
He is very patient and professional on what he is teaching. He knows how to help me to process different drum beats on my own pace, and encourage me to try out new things in each lesson. After taking his class, I enjoy playing and practicing drum on my spare time.
I am very happy to learn drum from Dan, and recommend him to people who is interested in learning or improving their music skills.
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Mia R. July 14, 2014
Cello · In studio
I would highly recommend Daniel! He has a true gift for teaching in a way that supports students to blossom in their own unique way. A deep listener with a talent for finding what lights up each person's musical inspiration; Daniel is patient, supportive, and a talented musician. I left lessons feeling inspired to practice instead of obligated to. Best teacher I ever had!
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Ben M. March 28, 2014
Bass Guitar
Finally a teacher I can learn from!

Dan came over to my apt and was very polite and a good listener. I told him what I wanted to learn and the types of music I liked. We talked for a bit and I instantly felt comfortable. After a good laugh we launched right in! I found his teaching style to be invigorating! We "jammed" on the first chord pattern he showed me and it actually sounded good. After a few more tricks I was hooked. I left my first session with Dan feeling not only inspired, but also informed. I had material to practice. Dan is a very fun, smart, broadly trained talent to learn from. I highly recommend him. A true musician!
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Dan G.

Dan G.

Fairfax, CA 94930
(6)
starting at
$70 / 30-min

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