Joel McCray

Joel M.

Arlington, TX

About Joel M.

Joel teaches: Ages 9 to 70
Teaching since: April 2002
Last sign in: More than two months


I started playing recognizable melodies on the piano at 18 months old. At that time I was told that I even had perfect pitch. By age 5, my mother started giving me classical, gospel, and improvisational lessons. I was one of her 50 students until my senior year in high school. Through elementary, junior high, and high school, I received a lot of performance experience from school marching/concert bands, choirs, church choirs, piano concerts, band/choral conducting, and composing.

I received my BBA in Finance from the University of Texas at Arlington; through college and to the present, I have received over 25 years of performing/directing experience from overseeing two mega-church music ministries. At these ministries, I served as the department head, responsible for lead piano, directing, arranging, worship leading, and departmental oversight.

I have produced 7 personal instrumental projects, and I have produced and recorded over 40 projects for other local, regional, and international artists. I currently travel with national, jazz, recording saxophonist, Joseph Vincelli, and my personal band Zamar. We have performed with a number of acts from Kirk Franklin, Kirk Whalum, Boney James, Fred Hammond, and many more.

As an instructor, I have been blessed with an ability to be relatable, relevant, musical, creative, fun, and engaging. I understand the language of music as a performer, and instructor, but most importantly, I value the ability to help the student find their own path of learning the joy of making music vocally and instrumentally. With over 10 years of private teaching experience and 25 years of group experience, I have gained a wealth of knowledge on how to be instructive and personal with the young or older beginner, intermediate and even advanced players. Let's grow together musically.

*** Lesson Details ***
My teaching style is very laid back, although goal-oriented. We have fun while seeing progress. For piano, I typically use the Alfred Series "Alfred Basics 1 - 6" or the Adult All-in-One for the Older Beginner. In the first 3 - 6 months, one will become familiar with basis technics and concepts behind creating music. These concepts will be the foundation behind learning how to read music, play by ear, and create your own songs in any style.

We would move a little faster for the older beginner and work through the Alfred's All in One in conjunction with introducing my 5 steps to performance for any popular style. These steps have been very valuable for those that are wanting to play piano, guitar, bass, or even sing.

For vocalist, I work through Estelle Liebling, Vocal Course, Alfred Piano (as an instrumental reference) and a number of practical performance techniques that I have gained over the years to sing in more of a pop, jazz, gospel setting. We will work on performance techniques and develop the ear to gain confidence to perform in various popular settings. I will also introduce creative ways to make up original music using basic theory and ear training.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Acoustic Piano, Yamaha Motif, Roland Fantom, Protools 9, Midi Keyboards, Ibanez 5 String Bass, Acoustic and Electric Guitar, and Tama Drum Kit.

*** Specialties ***

marked as a Student Favorite have taught a minimum of 25 lessons and
have received the highest feedback rating from students.

I specialize in gospel, R&B, Neo Soul, Blues, jazz improvisation, arranging, lead sheets, rhythm charts, and music arrangement theory

Photos and Videos


Jun 2013 - Present
Texas Music Teachers' Association

Presenter of an overview on the topic "Moving Melodies from Heart To Hands", a 5 step approach to understanding how the principles of classical and jazz music can be transferred to all genres.

It also provides practical tools on how to effectively compose musical ideas.


Aug 1988 - Dec 1992
University of Texas at Arlington

3 Reviews on Joel M.

Write a Review
Denine L. Apr 21, 2014
· Bass Guitar ·
You will never find a better bass teacher

Joel is a great teacher. He has patience, keeps on track, gives good feedback, and knows all kinds of music. He has taught me bass, and vocals. I am a lead in my school musical and I owe it all to what he has taught me! I would recommend Joel for anyone who wants to learn about music. He is a very good, reliable, professional... all the stuff you look for in a teacher.
Lavonda S. Nov 1, 2012
· ·
Mr. Joel is the most professional, intelligent, exciting musician teacher my daughter has ever had!

My daughter really understands Mr.Joel, she loves that he is patient, fun, and very professional! She likes him so much, that she brags about how great he is at school!
JanetP2 Jul 18, 2012
· ·
Inspiring and nurturing

Joel has changed my life. It is difficult to put into words just how much he has poured into me as a piano player. He not only has shown me techniques that create IMMEDIATE improvement but has instilled a confidence in me as well. Joel has a very calming teaching style. He is SUPER patient and nurturing. He brings out my deepest musical desires that propel me to do my very best and that cause me to be a more diligent student. Fantastic person and teacher! I recommend him highly. I wish I had had a teacher like him when I was a child. I am soooooo grateful that I know him now that I am an adult. Thank you Joel.
Joel McCray
Joel M.

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