Carolyn Ota

Carolyn O.

New York, NY

About Carolyn O.

Carolyn teaches: Ages 18 to 90
Special needs
Teaching since: January 1981
Last sign in: 2 days ago


Coming from a large extended family in Hawaii, I was surrounded by luau music, kachi-kachi dancing, Japanese bon dances, handsome local guys singing and playing their guitars and my aunties strumming their ukes and singing old songs. I reveled in walking alone in Nature or playing piano and singing in empty, stain-glassed churches – just wailing in the dark and colored light!

I studied: classical piano, organ, oboe, clarinet, violin, voice, and guitar. I sang in jazz trios and pop bands, earned income as a church organist/choir accompanist, and spent 15 years teaching private piano lessons to students of all ages.
I studied drawing and painting, I drew trees, animals, the ocean, sky and mountains, still life, and the people around me.

Upon arriving in New York City, I entered into a journey of playing at a Washington Heights gospel church, living in a building filled with musicians, accompanying vocal master classes, studying Sanskrit, Indian raga, world percussion, creative arts therapy and performance wellness.

I now compose and sing my songs - interweaving voice with keyboard or guitar. Besides teaching privately, I can be found performing my songs in clubs, outdoor festivals, coffee houses, and poetry/healing events. I currently attended a certificate program in sound & music healing and the focus of my music rests here. I incorporate many techniques to aid students in relaxation, breath awareness, and de-stressing.

Using traditional teaching methods, I create meaningful experiences for students by:
- being patient, flexible and creative in approach
- using visual, aural, and tactile teaching tools

*** Lesson Details ***
After 3 to 6 Months OF Lessons, you can use the important music fundamentals you've learned to create music you love.
After about a year, you are invited to share your music with others in an intimate family recital or a performance for charity in service to your community!

*** Studio Equipment ***
Upright piano, piano synthesizer, guitar, percussion instruments

*** Travel Equipment ***
Carolyn carries her own guitar, teaching aids, manuscript paper, pen/pencils, and handouts.

Recommended for students:
KEYBOARD - ideally, have your own keyboard/piano, piano books, staff paper
ACOUSTIC UKULELE/GUITAR - your own guitar, capo, tuner, staff & TAB paper (you can wait for teacher to help you choose)
VOICE - have sheet music, lyrics or charts of your songs
SONGWRITING - have manuscript paper, recording device and journal/tablets to record their ideas
ALL STUDENTS - small tablet for notes & keeping track of assignments and a recording device to hear your playing/singing/compositions (optional)

*** Specialties ***
Performing Singer-Songwriter specializing in improvisation and Sound & Music Healing.

Photos and Videos

Singing a 1949 Hawaiian song with my ukulele for a recent wedding ceremony.

Languages Spoken


Fluent / Native Proficiency


Limited Proficiency
Write a Review

5 Reviews on Carolyn O.

Thumb_93509_pi_Identitié soutenance
Sophie D. Aug 3, 2016
Ukulele · In studio
Verified Student
One day, I decided to learn ukulele by myself but I became quickly stuck. I found Carolyn on this website and then went to her place to take my first lesson. Carolyn is super sweet; very welcoming, smiling, fun to work with. She is very positive and gives great feedbacks all the time! I learnt a lot during our session!! At some point, we sat at her piano to talk about notes and keys: it was very interesting to switch to another instrument. In addition, her place has very harmonious vibes: when I left I felt so much better!!! I definitely recommend Carolyn for music lessons! And I look forward to our next ukulele lesson!
RebeccaM1 Aug 8, 2011
Carolyn turned out to be the perfect piano instructor for my teenage niece who is a slow learner. Carolyn is enthusiastic, supportive, patient, and fun. My niece especially loves getting to sing together with Carolyn as an added bonus!
CarolineL Apr 15, 2011

My 11 year old absolutely adores Carolyn--she can't wait for her weekly singing lessons!
CandaceG1 Oct 21, 2010
Inspired Student

I would like to thank you patience and love for the piano. These qualities are what help me learn and appreciate the piano. Thank you!
LuisV Aug 18, 2010

I am so happy to have you been my granddaughter teacher I am confident en your knowledge and I hope you kip up for ever
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