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Palisades Park, NJ Songwriting Lessons

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About Nikole W.

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New York, NY

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Hi! Welcome to my TakeLessons page, where I provide information about my background and teaching services.

I am an experienced performing artist and teacher that works in New York and regionally. My music students include children, working professionals, performing artists, and seniors. I attended Barnard College, Columbia University, and Maggie Flanigan's acting conservatory program. My training at Columbia University and with private instructors focused on classical repertoire and theory, but I also work with students on popular music (i.e.Pop, R&B, Electronica, and Folk). Music theory (i.e. sight reading, chord progressions) and practices from Linklater, Alexander, Williamson movement, and Art of Practicing techniques are incorporated into my music instruction.

30 minute-lessons are available for children aged 5-6 only while 60-minute lessons are available for students above the age of 6. Prospective students may sign up to take a trial lesson with me at first to see if we ...

About Nikole
Hi! I appreciate you taking the time to learn more about how I can help you as a teacher.

What is my background?
I am an experienced performing artist and teacher that works in New York and regionally. I have developed a keen ability to assess and shape talent from years of training, teaching, performing, and working with the head of Arts programs to conduct admissions interviews, student evaluations, and performances. I attended Barnard College, Columbia University, and Maggie Flanigan's acting conservatory program. My training at Columbia University and privately with notable musicians focused on classical repertoire and theory, but I also work with students on popular music (i.e. Pop, R&B, Electronica, and Folk).

What material is covered during lessons?
Music theory (i.e. sight reading, chord progressions) as well as posture,
artistic expression, interpretation, breathing, and finger and pitch placement techniques are incorporated into my music instruction. Cold reading, audition preparation and technique, Shakespeare, scene analysis, and business strategies are examples of topics that may be covered in acting instruction. Linklater (voice), Alexander, Williamson (movement), and Art of Practicing (piano) methods are also employed.

What are the profiles of my students?
My students come from different walks of life: children coming from school who bound excitedly to my lesson door; teenage artists who have the passion and vision but lack the technique; working adults who seek reprieve from the stress of work by singing/ learning an instrument that they've always wanted to play; and seniors who want a fun hobby to keep active. I enjoy teaching them and watching them master the fundamentals while developing their own performance style (or even composing their own music)!

What is my teaching style?
Based on feedback, students appreciate that I am a teacher with a warm personality whose supportive, passionate, and fun approach and effective techniques help them attain the following: 1) a firm understanding of the fundamentals of music theory or acting technique; 2) an ability to effectively learn how to perform and practice singing/playing/acting a piece; and 3) a style of performing that minimizes tension, produces beautiful sound or a dynamic character, and/or allows them to fully express themselves. After a few months, students should have sound knowledge of all three.

My students and I connect, in part, because I remember being like them. On stage, I started out dancing and acting; I delved into singing and songwriting and then fell in love with playing the piano. The day that I learned how to merge those passions (i.e. singing while playing the piano) was one of the happiest days of my life! Now, whether I'm performing Shakespeare on stage, playing Chopin and Beethoven, or singing while playing tunes by Whitney Houston, I still get excited. Hopefully, I fuel that excitement in you, too!

What is the lesson structure?
Due to the comprehensive nature of my teaching style and structure, students above the age of 6 take lessons for 60 minutes; 30-minute lessons are only available for children aged 5-6. If a student wants to learn how to play while singing, I am happy to help him/her do so!

*** Studio Equipment ***
My studio location in Manhattan is conveniently near Midtown, Chelsea, Flat Iron, Murray Hill, Union Square, Tribeca, and the Financial District in particular and is easily accessible via public transportation. It houses an upright piano and seating for parents.

*** Specialties ***
Acting: Meisner Acting; Theater Acting; Shakespearean Acting
Music: Classical Piano; Contemporary R&B & Pop Piano; Singing; Theory; Playing Whie Singing; Songwriting

***Pricing***

Thirty minute rates are for younger students only. Adult students are required to book 60 minute lessons.
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Reviews
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Ebony November 2, 2017
· · In studio
Nikole is phenomenal. Great spirit, incredibly welcoming. I feel a lot more confident in public speaking.
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Ashley A. January 24, 2017
· Singing · In studio
Nikole, is very warm and professional. I have never continued with voice lessons, I enjoyed the experience so much that I'm going to kick the bad habit of smoking and sit down and seriously figure my finances out to continue being taught by her. I cannot express enough how much fun I had...no pressure Nikole if you read this...lol
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Marilyn T. October 10, 2016
· Acting · In studio
Easy to work with and understood what I needed to work on almost immediately.
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Nikole W.

Nikole W.

New York, NY 10001
(4)
starting at
$55 / 30-min

About Keith D.

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New York, NY

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Learn how to construct a tune: both lyrics & music. All keys

About Keith
I teach students from beginners to advanced & aspiring professional "musicians,singers,songwriters. Each program is tailored to the individual involving all styles of music as per your preference. Theory & reading notated music is taught & required. I am a master guitar teacher/music producer for recordings/published, author of guitar instruction books. I WILL TRAVEL WITHIN MANHATTAN EAST & WEST FROM THE 30'S TO THE 80'S FOR MY CLIENTS TO THEIR HOMES TO GIVE LESSONS/or MY MIDTOWN STUDIO FOR MUSIC INSTRUCTION & RECORDING.

*** Lesson Details ***
A thorough lesson plan is created for each student according to their individual goals & types of music. They will be proficient readers of notes so they can play whatever they desire. I'm a patient teacher who can reach all student levels; beginners to advanced.

*** Studio Equipment ***
365 Track Pro recording studio
Demos to completed CD's.

GUITAR & PIANO

*** Travel Equipment ***
Guitar & Keyboard

*** Specialties ***
All styles from blues to classical
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Reviews
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Bhavin June 16, 2017
· Acoustic Guitar · In studio
Keith is a great instructor.
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Brea J. May 2, 2017
· Piano · In home
Keith is wonderfully patient and truly gifted at teaching young children. My 6-year-old can't wait to have her piano lesson every week!
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Jee Hee June 20, 2016
· Guitar · In studio
I really love his guitar lesson. I am a beginner and needed professional's help to improve and Keith taught me step by step from the basic and I was able to understand a guitar better and enjoyed playing a guitar more. From every lesson, I learnt new things. I really recommend his guitar class.
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Keith D.

Keith D.

New York, NY 10017
(8)
starting at
$30 / 30-min

About John R.

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Pelham, NY
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About John
*** Travel Equipment ***
I do not provide any equipment. I expect my students to have their own instruments, amplifiers and music.

*** Specialties ***
I am proficient in all guitar styles including blues, jazz, rock, folk and classical. I have a PhD in music and have been a professional musician for 30 years.
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John R.

John R.

Pelham, NY 10803
starting at
$30 / 30-min

About Juan C.

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New York, NY

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About Juan
New York city composer and guitarist Juan Calderon is a native of Ecuador raised in Colombia. He immigrated to Miami at age 20 to escape the political climate of the late 90’s, and resides in Manhattan since 2008.

Juan’s music blends elements from his unique life experiences, having been raised as an only child by a single mother in a bohemian environment. He was a recording and touring rock guitarist in Colombia, and he has studied East Asian music extensively, inspired by interaction with musicians and artists in China, Japan, and Indonesia.

His latest accomplishments include a performance of his composition “Reino Incierto” at Carnegie Hall (2015) and Sounds of the City, as well as a performance of his guitar quartet composition “Rising” by the UK guitar quartet.

Juan Calderon currently studies classical guitar with Mark D
elPriora, chair of the Guitar Department at the Manhattan School of Music, where he earned a master degree in composition. His mentors include composers Susan Botti, Reiko Fueting, and electronic music pioneer Joel Chadabe. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Florida, where he studied jazz guitar with Tom Lippincott, and composition with Susan Epstein-Garcia.

Juan is also an avid cartoonist, collector of rare books and little cars, food adventurer and runner.

*** Lesson Details ***
Guitar teaching encompasses many disciplines. One has to be a bit of a psychologist in order to gauge a potential student needs and musical sensibilities. The mathematical aspect of musical notation and rhythm makes us part mathematicians. In the end, there is also a self-actualizing aspect to guitar teaching in the sense that we are always witness to those moments that made us decide a career on music.
During my years of guitar teaching I have encountered many types of students, and I have learned from them as much as they have learned from me as they make me question aspects of music that I would have never thought about. I have learned to not take for granted the definition of concepts such as rhythm and harmony, and to look at guitar technique from different perspectives as I find ways to accommodate to a student’s capabilities. Ultimately, it is also a job that requires a lot of planning and structure. My first step, generally, is to assess the student’s ability and interest to find material suitable for them. Then, I proceed to familiarize with the student’s musical tastes and sensibilities to assign practice material accordingly. For example, if the student is interested in rock or pop music, we will work on a particular song that fits his level and also solves a particular technical problem. During that process I will answer any of the student’s questions, and provide insight into musical terminology. We will also work on basic concepts of rhythm, melody, and harmony. My training as a composer and jazz guitarists also enables me to tap into the student’s creative side. In that case, we would start with a basic blues progression and blues scales, and work on the basics of improvisation or songwriting.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Basement studio w/ small keyboard, amp, acoustic guitar, 3 electric guitars, music books w/ seating for parents and lots of magazines!

*** Travel Equipment ***
I provide music sheets, students should have an instrument, tuner, paper, pencil, and a metronome.

*** Specialties ***
I teach fundamentals of music theory, principles of jazz improvisation, classical guitar technique and repertoire, song writing, pop songs, sight reading, and overall musicianship, as well as Jazz, Rock, Blues, Bossa Nova, and other Latin Styles.
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Reviews
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Dawn G. July 13, 2016
· Guitar · In studio
Juan is wonderful and very knowledgeable in music. He is very patient and makes you feel comfortable. I leave a lesson feeling like I am accomplished and relaxed. It nice to see progress in such a little time. I go home with enthusiasm to learn more and want practice to do so.
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Chrystine R. February 14, 2016
· Classical Guitar · In studio
With a patient and intuitive approach, Juan tailors each lesson to fit not only the student’s skill level, but also desire for depth of understanding. When I first began taking lessons, I was only able to plunk a few chords and play along with a few basic songs. However, over the course of a year and a half with Juan, I gained a foundational knowledge of the classical guitar, as well as the confidence to site read and play a range of other styles of guitar music. He seamlessly integrated music theory concepts into song studies, helping me learn major/minor scales and chord shapes, and then apply this knowledge to better understand song structures and composition. It has been such a great experience learning from Juan, especially because he is both an exemplary teacher and guitar player!
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Dionne T. May 4, 2015
· Guitar · In studio
Juan is awesome. He makes learning guitar easy and never complicates it .. and makes it fun. He's a great teacher.
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Juan C.

Juan C.

New York, NY 10027
(9)
starting at
$40 / 30-min

About Aaron C.

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Berkeley Heights, NJ
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About Aaron
*** Studio Equipment ***
Practice amp, spare instrument cables.
*** Travel Equipment ***
I expect the student to have their own guitar, practice amp, spare strings, chromatic tuner, instrument cables, notebook, pencils, pens, guitar picks and any pedals they wish to use. If they have an acoustic guitar then I would expect them to also have a capo. I bring all materials listed above as well as my list of books and study material. I try to keep all materials in digital form to send to the student and parents at their convenience. In addition to the aforementioned, I also will come equipped with a macbook laptop computer with Pro Tools 8.0.3 and Logic Pro X professional recording software installed on it. I also will bring a fast track pro recording interface, a Sennheiser e935 vocal microphone.

*** Specialties ***
Genres I s
pecialize in include rock and metal vocals and guitar. Songwriting, production and performance
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Reviews
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Phil August 7, 2015
· Music Recording · In home
Very Broad range of knowledge on ProTools v8.
Had a lot of very useful information and tips to get started quickly.
His style of teaching made it fun and interesting.
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Lawrence S. June 5, 2015
· Guitar · In studio
I took guitar lessons with Aaron and then later did both singing and guitar lessons. I found him very proficient in both. The lessons were enjoyable and I learned a lot. Highly recommended.
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Aaron C.

Aaron C.

Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922
(2)
starting at
$30 / 30-min
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About Martin N.

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Brooklyn, NY
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About Martin
Hello students and parents!

I have been teaching bass, guitar, and piano for over 10 years and have been playing all those instruments for over 12 years. I have experience teaching kids as young as five as well as adults. I enjoy having a variety of students.

I received a Bachelors in Music from Manhattan School of Music where my major was Jazz Bass Performance. I also studied a wide range of other subjects including piano, composition, and arranging. I am currently in my second year of a Masters in Music Education at Teachers College (Columbia University).

I am very passionate about music as well as teaching and I want to inspire my students.

I play with a variety of artists in New York City and have toured extensively both nationally and internationally.

I have performed with artists including Ethan Iverson, Albert "Tooti
e" Heath, Billy Hart, Greg Osby, Jason Moran, Dave Liebman, Steve Wilson, Ambrose Akinmusire and Aaron Parks and have studied with teachers including Jay Anderson, David Grossman, Larry Grenadier and Ben Street.

I look forward to helping you grow as a musician and learning from you as well!

All the best,
Martin

*** Lesson Details ***
My primary mission is to help you accomplish the goals you have set for yourself. Within the first lesson I want to learn what you hope to achieve. I always ask my students what music they love and want to learn more about.

I want to use the music that you connect with to help you grow on your instrument. I will also teach you the techniques needed to play the instrument and expose you to the different styles possible on the instrument.

I tailor my teaching to each student's needs, concerns, strengths and weaknesses. I use a variety of teaching tools, including books and recordings, based on what I think will help you.

I am very patient, fun, and engaging. I guarantee that within 1 lesson you will feel inspired and ready to embark on an exciting musical journey.

*** Studio Equipment ***
The studio lessons take place in the living room with a piano, upright bass, and guitar. Seating is available.

*** Travel Equipment ***
I use public transportation. I expect the student to provide an instrument and if possible, the book we are working through. Otherwise I will provide the book.

*** Specialties ***
I specialize in jazz, but can teach classical, rock, pop, funk, r and b,
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Martin N.

Martin N.

Brooklyn, NY 11225
starting at
$40 / 30-min

About Andrew P.

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Brooklyn, NY

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About Andrew
Hello! How are you? What do you love about music? What do you want to learn? I can help you get there.
Playing music is demanding, and can be an amazing experience, so my main approach in teaching is to keep it fun, and keep it focused. For the past 16 years, I’ve developed my own style, teaching hundreds of students from age 5 to 75, in most types of music. The early lessons are for starting to learn basic techniques and music theory. We can also begin to play your favorite songs and musical styles. Eventually, lessons will often begin with me asking “What are we working on today!?” and the student will bring me their work and questions. We laugh a lot, work really hard, and make some great music!

Let me know if you have any questions, and hope to work with you soon!
Thanks, Andrew
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Andrew P.

Andrew P.

Brooklyn, NY 11211
starting at
$40 / 30-min

About Adam C.

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New York, NY
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I will break down the nuances of songwriting in a friendly, clear, and articulate manner. We will discuss various concepts of the acoustic guitar in the styles and songs you enjoy most.

About Adam
A graduate of the University of Rochester with a B.A. in Music and Psychology and trained at renowned National Guitar Workshop, Adam is an experienced teacher and performer on the guitar, piano, ukulele, and bass in a variety of styles, including rock, pop, jazz, classical, and folk. Adam loves to share his passion for music with others, and ever since his first student, an autistic child, Adam has sought to make learning music fun, regardless of age, style, and ability.

*** Lesson Details ***
My approach to teaching music is strictly an individualized one, catering to the specific interests and goals of each student. I believe that if learning music is truly enjoyable and fun, students will develop a sincere love for their instrument. In teaching children, my emphasis is on instilling in them a love of music. While progressing in mus
ic obviously requires preparation outside of lessons, I consciously avoid asking students to practice. Instead, I incorporate the music and styles that appeal most to the student and use them as vehicles for teaching concepts.

I strive to make learning music fun, regardless of age, style, and ability. I organize an annual recital to showcase my students' talents and hard work.

*** Travel Equipment ***
I will provide all music and instructional materials, and ask that students provide a clean, quiet area to hold our lesson, ideally with a music stand. I also ask that a student provide their own instrument. If providing an instrument is not possible, I ask that the student notify me so I can provide an instrument for them in the interim.

*** Specialties ***
I specialize in a wide range of styles on the acoustic and electric guitar, piano, ukulele, and bass.

I explain music theory in a fun, clear, and articulate manner and show its benefits and application in song writing, learning music, and playing by ear. My extensive background in rock, classical, pop, folk, and jazz allows for a truly cater my instruction to my student's tastes.

I make it my mission to structure my lessons on my student's goals and interests and avoid imposing concepts that don't interest my students.
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Reviews
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Theo B. July 20, 2017
· Ukulele · In home
Adam is prompt, professional and patient. He allows you to learn at your own pace and makes lessons fun by teaching popular songs.
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Augustin T. May 27, 2016
· Bass Guitar · In home
Since our first lesson I've been progressing nonstop. He's a great teacher for both learning songs and exploring the nuts and bolts of music.
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Tamar M. August 12, 2015
· Ukulele · In home
Adam does a great job of adjusting to the student's level of experience. I'm a beginner with some minimal uke experience, and he adjusted the pace of the lesson accordingly. I especially like his emphasis on contemporary music; he seems to have fun with music which, as someone who endured years of strict classical piano training as a kid, I find very refreshing.
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Adam C.

Adam C.

New York, NY 10017
(5)
starting at
$50 / 30-min

About Marie-France M.

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Waldwick, NJ

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About Marie-France
I have taught piano and voice most of my adult life. Early on I learned the need to adapt my teaching style to the uniqueness of each student, especially those whose perceptions differ widely from the general populace. I love what I do, helping each student discover and nurture their abilities, no matter what age the student may be.

The Holistic Piano method is especially effective with my Autism-spectrum students, a segment of the population I find particularly rewarding to teach.

The following is a quote from ex-student Karena Krull, author of "Drama Made Easy", and "Rummy Roots."

“Her greatest strength is her ability to find the right direction for each individual. This ability to adapt to the student's needs lends to individual success for student and avoids their frustration. If her current method or communication is
n't creating success for a student she will quickly change to another till she finds the right words or method to enable the student to succeed with the least amount of frustration.”

*** Lesson Details ***
I draw on a wide range of materials in The Holistic Piano (and voice) method. The curriculum may be color-based or number-based, we might focus on chord building or sight-reading, or Songwriting, depending on the student's need and desire.

*** Studio Equipment ***Private Music studio with glass door so waiting parents can see what's going on (though they can also be in the studio if they feel more comfortable.) I have a grand piano, 1 keyboard, and a variety of other instrument including hand drums, chimes, boomwackers, a chimealong and autoharp to enhance learning experience.

*** Specialties ***
Because each student is an individual, I approach teaching like a coach, custom designing a course of study for each student to meet their individual needs.
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Reviews
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Thomas October 16, 2017
· Singing · In home
All went well with first lesson
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Annabella September 25, 2017
· Singing · In studio
We had our first lesson today and it was wonderful. Marie really knew how to connect to my daughter on a level that made sense to her. She utilized developmentally appropriate techniques to enhance the experience while conveying the objectives of the lesson. Excellent!
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Julia September 5, 2017
· Piano · In studio
Very satisfied with my first lesson. I found Marie-France to be very knowledgeable and very personable. I feel very enthusiastic and am looking forward to my next lesson with her.
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Marie-France M.

Marie-France M.

Waldwick, NJ 07463
(61)
starting at
$35 / 30-min

About Gabbi C.

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Brooklyn, NY

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Students can expect a thoughtful, patient and kind teacher who wants to help them grow and mature as writers. We'll spend time focusing on chords, melodic development, song structure, and (if you're a beginner) analyzing the works of other great songwriters. I also like to include arranging techniques to help my students bring their songs to a full band if they want to.

About Gabbi
I am a professional vocalist and composer, with a BFA and BMus in Jazz Performance, and over 10 years of performance and recording experience internationally, including appearances at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center with NY's premiere a cappella ensemble Khorikos, and the Knitting Factory with Brooklyn-based indie band RVBY MY DEAR; as well as commercial voiceover work for major brands. I specialize in teaching Jazz, Pop/Contemporary, Broadway and Choral singing, songwriting, theory, ear training and arranging, as well as Beginner – Intermediate Piano.
All ages and levels are welcome - including college and high school students preparing for auditions! Whether you’re looking to take your music to the next level professionally, or want to learn just for fun, lessons are tailored to your ability and musical interests. I don't believe in a
one-size-fits-all approach to music, and I encourage and guide my students to find what it is about their voice that makes them unique.
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Reviews
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helena October 30, 2017
· Singing · In studio
Highly recommend.
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Holger March 30, 2017
· Piano · In studio
Highly recommend!
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Ebony March 19, 2017
· Singing · In home
Gabbi is awesome! I'm so happy I'm taking lessons with her. Very pleased.
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Gabbi C.

Gabbi C.

Brooklyn, NY 11211
(16)
starting at
$40 / 30-min

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Songwriting Lesson Reviews from Students

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

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Our teachers have taught

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lessons and counting!

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Recent Songwriting Articles from the Blog

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

The Anatomy of a Hit Pop Song [Infographic]

The Anatomy of a Hit Pop Song [Infographic]

When you're learning how to write a song, looking at how other songs are structured can be a great place to start. Like looking at a map before you go on a roadtrip, checking out the basic elements of songs you love gives you a sense of how they were written and what you need to do to write a song of your own. If analyzing all your favorite songs sounds like a daunting task (it is), you're in luck. The Billboard Experiment wanted to know if there was a formula that could determine which songs … Read More

The Anatomy of a Hit Pop Song [Infographic]
When you're learning how to write a song, looking at how other songs are structured can be a great place to start. Like looking at a map before you go on a roadtrip, checking out the basic elements of songs you love gives you a sense of how they were written and what you need to do to write a song of your own. If analyzing all your favorite songs sounds like a daunting task (it is), you're in luck. The Billboard Experiment wanted to know if there was a formula that could determine which songs
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Are you perfectly content performing the pieces of famous composers and lyricists... or do you want to make your own contribution? If you want to learn how to become a songwriter, check out this guest post by teacher Eric C...   The world of music is as vast as the world that we live in. Some genres have existed for thousands of years, while others are still being created today. This is all because music is constantly evolving. The evolution of music comes from songwriters and
Logic Pro Tutorial: How To Create An Audio Slow-Down Effect
Want to add a cool slow-down effect to your music? Learn how in this Logic Pro tutorial from Brevard, NC teacher John C...   If you've listened to popular radio in the past several years, and I’m guessing you have, you've heard either a vocal melody line or an instrumental part of a song make a particular effect. Listen to the following Fall Out Boy song and pay attention to the music in the background at 00:27 seconds, again at 1:27, and once again at 2:27: Did you hear it? Th
6 Destructive Beliefs That Hold Beginner Musicians Back
Do you ever wonder how good your skills would be now if you started practicing a year ago? A question like this should motivate, not dishearten you. In this article, guest writer Elizabeth Kane will take you through six destructive beliefs you might face as you're learning how to become a musician, and how you can overcome them...   Mind Over Matter Your mind is a powerful tool. Your thoughts dictate just about every conscious decision you make. Whether you're a beginner guitari
Are You Really Ready To Record Your Song Or Book A Vocal Session?
Think you're ready to write your own song and record it? Songwriting can be an arduous process - but seeing the final product is an amazing feeling. Read on for a helpful pre-recording checklist from Perth Amboy, NJ teacher Jeff S...   Whether you're singing your own song or hiring a vocalist to sing on your demo or master, there are many layers of preparation needed to ensure optimum results. Some songwriters like to wing it and hope that things will magically work out because th

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