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Pinole Music Lessons

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John D.

Berkeley, CA

About John

*** Lesson Details ***
My students will develop a passion for music and a desire to play!

I like to get right to the experience of actually playing music. I start with learning songs, drum beats, and chord progressions and get to technique and music reading AFTER we have had some fun.

My key to successful teaching is to create a custom curriculum for each student. Some students are interested in the details of how to do it "right", and others just want to rock. I try to adapt to different learning styles and musical goals to give each student an ideal experience.

I want student
s to learn how to play, not just how to read or do drills. We will listen to music together, and talk about the function of each instrument. For drummers, I play bass lines on the piano and we lock into a groove. For piano students, I play along with drums or percussion. It's important for students to learn how to play with others, and to listen and get inspired by what's around them.

Students will have the option to perform in a student recital where you are backed by a band of professional musicians!

***John D.'s Biography***

I was born in Amsterdam, Holland, where my father worked as an opera singer. While listening to vocal warm-up arpeggios, my mother bounced me on her knee and taught me rhythms and rhymes.

In my family we beatbox, play piano, and sing together. The family moved to the States in 1995 where my parents worked as music teachers. My Dad is a voice professor at the University of Wisconsin, and my Mom runs an amazing music program at Country View Elementary School in Verona, WI.

I played in the band program throughout high-school and had an amazing and demanding music teacher and highly talented friends. The drumset became my passion and I played, blissfully and recklessly, as often possible. Our teacher took the high school band on a concert tour of Europe in 2002 in Austria, the Czech Republic, and Italy.

The band program led me to classical and contemporary music at the University of Wisconsin, where I honed my craft and discovered the profound breadth of music around the world. I paid my way through college as a member of the WI Army National Guard Band, a great wind ensemble with jazz and rock band components, and slowly built a career as a musician. I took every gig that came my way and created my own if nobody was calling. Pretty soon I became "œthe guy in, like, 8 different bands", including Funk, Rock, Jazz, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, and West African bands. I've been working as a musician ever since, performing several nights per week, and teaching during the day.

I began teaching drum lessons to my friends when I was about 18 and realized I was really good at it. I began taking on private students and teaching group lessons and classes. Students of mine have achieved the highest ranks at the State Solo and Ensemble Festival in Wisconsin, and auditioned into the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra. I am on the annual faculty Wildcat Percussion Camp, was adjunct faculty at New York University, and directed the world percussion ensemble at the University of Wisconsin. I've worked as a teacher with the Madison Area School District, Wisconsin Youth Company, YMCA, Global Arts to Go, University Settlement, and in many different public schools in the New York metro area. I taught a high school class called "The Spirit of Jazz", and

I've learned how to be a real teacher, to put myself in your shoes to help you achieve your potential as a drummer, and as a musician. My teaching style is to de-mystify the art of percussion: getting great sounds out of the drums, being prepared for any style, practicing productively, and focusing your mind.

I have a Bachelor's degree in classical percussion from the University of Wisconsin, a Masters degree in Jazz Performance from NYU, and have traveled to Africa, Europe, and Latin America to perform, record, and study. I have performed with Badal Roy (Miles Davis), Chris Potter, Kenny Werner, Brad Shepik, Lenny Pickett, Chuchito Valdez, and many other great musicians. I was Adjunct Faculty at NYU'™s jazz program, and at the University of Wisconsin dance program. I've given masterclasses at Juilliard, University of Michigan, Lawrence Conservatory, and many other colleges. I played for 5 months in the Off-Broadway show "Fun Home", and toured and gigged with a wide variety of bands.

I've recorded on nearly 20 albums and have been involved in many other projects. Ask me anything you want in our music lessons!
...

Reviews

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Mike T. September 22, 2014
Percussion · In studio
I have been a colleague of John's for 16 years and he has always impressed me with his constant dedication to the craft of music. Though he is incredibly talented, he has always been one that works hard and asks questions without fear. In my experience, this is the kind of person that makes the best teachers. He has always loved music, drums, all percussion and more recently has been learning so much about music technology and how to express yourself with any media available. It would be a shame to pass up an opportunity to study with him!
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Daniel P. August 24, 2014
Drum · In studio
I was pretty new to drumming when I first started taking lessons from John, and I could barely play a simple back beat. Long story short - within 6 months I was playing my first show!

I was looking for a teacher with both rock/jazz and classical background, so John fit the bill perfectly. He also knows a lot about Latin American percussion and other styles from around the world, and has a great understanding of how these different styles relate to each other and the various techniques which can be applied.

During the first few lessons, we discussed my background and aims, and came up with a solid plan for how I should proceed. John's broad experience was really helpful for this process. I had been playing guitar and piano for many years before I started on drums, so I already had a decent grounding in musicality and theory. We therefore focused mainly on technique during lessons. John has a real gift for explaining things in an easily understandable way, as well as going into detail when required. Whenever I had trouble with a particular technique, John's advice would help me overcome it. He is also very helpful in suggesting suitable exercises and repertoire. John also provides a private blog containing lesson notes and useful links, and he was also happy for me to record lessons, which I found very useful. With John's help, I was able to progress pretty quickly, and after 6 months I started playing in a band with some friends, which has been awesome fun.

John is super friendly and engaging, and this makes lessons with him great fun. As well as being a fantastic drummer, it is clear that he really cares about the quality of his lessons, and about his students. I'm sure he would make a great teacher for students of all ability/background. John, you rock! Thanks!
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Annie H. October 13, 2013
Drum
Verified Student
Great Musician & Great Teacher

My son started taking lessons with John when he was 7. During the past few months my son has become more aware of the music around him. He looks forward to drums every week. John has great patients and is amazing at connected with children. He is able to keep my son focused, which can be a hard task of itself. He offers instruction while still valuing the individual's personality and taste. John not only shares his knowledge and personal experiences, but his passion.

I would recommend John to anyone in a heartbeat.
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John D.

John D.

Berkeley, CA 94708
(4)
starting at
$30 / 30-min
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Larisa K.

Hercules, CA

About Larisa

Began violin lessons at age 8.
At age 15 was accepted into the elite program at the School of Music in Odessa, Ukraine.
Continued on to one of the premier music Universities in the world: Kiev State Conservatory, where I received a Masters degree in Teaching and Performing arts.
Throughout my higher education I have held Violin Instructor positions first at the Kiev Music School and then at the Conservatory.

My Professional Career in Ukraine and USA includes performance with numerous symphony and chamber groups, such as Kiev Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera,
San Jose Symphony.
I am passionate and dedicated to my Art which is reflected in my teaching style and in the results my students consistently achieve.
My ultimate goal as an instructor is to convey to my students the beauty of making music. I define success to be the ability to see the joy that playing for yourself and others brings to you and your audience.

*** Lesson Details ***
My Method and Goals:

Proper technique is the key to producing extraordinary sound and growing as a violist. I ensure that my students gain solid understanding of these fundamentals first and foremost.
A significant part of the first few lessons will be devoted to developing proper posture and hold of the instrument. A good violinist must be relaxed to prevent muscle tension and produce those rich, spellbinding notes. Soon the instrument begins to feel like an extension of the hands, and students begin to progress much quicker, seeing (and hearing) surprising results.
I can follow the Suzuki method if requested, but much prefer principles of the Russian School. I will be happy to discuss the benefits of each with you.

*** Studio Equipment ***
on ground floor of townhouse w/ seating for parents

*** Travel Equipment ***
Student has to have his own instrument. I can provide the music sheets

*** Specialties ***
Classical music. Mostly traditional Russian method of violin teaching, also Suzuki.
...

Reviews

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Linda K. December 18, 2013
Violin
Incredible Training - A Perfect Match

We interviewed many teachers, and then I found Larisa. Providing incredible training in classical techniques combined with a spirit of playfulness and fun, she’s been the perfect teacher for my daughter
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Sara D. December 18, 2013
Violin
A Great Violin Teacher

My daughter has been taking lessons with Larisa for three years and has made incredible progress. She began as a viola player and Larisa gave her lessons on that instrument as well. She was very helpful in making the transition to violin. Larisa works on technique as well as musicality so that the student develops into a well rounded musician. Larisa is the type of teacher who communicates clearly so that the student is able to immediately grasp the new concepts. She is a wonderful violinist and is able to demonstrate by playing beautifully as well as explaining. Larisa is extremely knowledgeable about the different periods of music and composers and shares this in her teaching. She has an easygoing personality and my daughter immediately connected with her. I would highly recommend Larisa for your student.
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Vita V. December 7, 2013
Violin
Verified Student
Perfect balance of professionalism and passion

Larisa was not our first teacher but she is no doubt the best one. She is highly professional, she accentuates the right positioning of the hands, but the music and emotional expression is on the first place. She combines the best of the Russian music teaching tradition with very attentive and fun environment for kids. She is very sensitive to child's needs and structure her lesson very individually . Not to mention her excellent communication and reliability. She also has a very positive attitude and my daughter is always looking forward to her violin lessons. Thank you, Larisa!
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Larisa K.

Larisa K.

Hercules, CA 94547
(3)
starting at
$30 / 30-min
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Vir M.

Berkeley, CA

About Vir

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

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

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

*** Travel Equipment ***
Have equipment

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

Reviews

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

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

Vir M.

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

Berkeley, CA

About David

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reviews

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Debora Haaxman August 21, 2015
Guitar · In studio
Verified Student
What a nice, enthusiastic and great instructor with the students best interest in learning to play. David is personable, easy going and wants his student to succeed. Took his time to find me (a total beginner in guitar) an excellent lesson book. His instruction motivates me and find his lessons very interesting anf fun! Can't wait to practice and look forward to my next lesson!
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Ian C. July 30, 2015
Flamenco Guitar · In studio
Verified Student
David is an excellent teacher. I've been taking flamenco guitar lessons with him for about a year now and have experienced a significant improvement in terms of actual playing and rhythmic abilities and also understanding the music in general.

David is patient, he does an excellent job explaining things and goes above and beyond to make sure that you're really learning. Consistently impressed.
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Jerry G. August 6, 2013
Music Theory
AMAZING!

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

David W.

Berkeley, CA 94703
(9)
starting at
$30 / 30-min
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Astrid A.

Pinole, CA

About Astrid

I have worked with children with autism and other learning difficulties. I love helping students fall in love with music, like I did growing up with my vocal coaches. I am passionate about music and my students learning and excelling in their craft. I enjoy working with all ages and all types of music abilities.
...

Reviews

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Rachel S. May 23, 2015
Singing · In studio
Verified Student
After looking for weeks for a vocal teacher, I came across Astrid here on TakeLessons and felt she might be a good person to try a few lessons with. I showed up the lesson to find out that she was the older sister of two of my good friends and to find out that she is the best vocal teacher I could have found! She's very patient, fun, talented, helpful, and silly, and she really makes learning to train my voice awesome! I take one 1/2 hour lesson usually once a week with her, and I've already completed two full songs with her in the few months I've been training with her!
Astrid is definitely someone I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a vocal coach, plus she has an awesome voice. Definitely going to continue lessons with her! :)
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Matt W. January 25, 2015
Singing · In home
Verified Student
Astrid is great with our 14 year old daughter. She listens to her, challenges her, and is helping her develop a lot.
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Augustino M. June 15, 2014
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
by teaching a young girl like Jasmine and being a young lady herself;;Astrid is very patient and seems very skilled on what she does
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Astrid A.

Astrid A.

Pinole, CA 94564
(3)
starting at
$30 / 30-min

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