Joel McCray
Arlington, TX
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Joel McCray

Joel M.

Arlington, TX
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This teacher successfully passed a thorough criminal background check with SterlingBackcheck. This badge verifies trusted teacher status.
Teaching Locations:
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Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate
Students will learn how to express their thoughts, musically, on the ukulele. They will learn how to listen for ideas and use music literacy to interpret those ideas in a variety of contemporary genres.

About Joel M.

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 10 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, Darren Rahn, 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 18 years of private teaching experience and 30 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 MOXF8, Roland Fantom, Protools 9, Logic ProX, Midi Keyboards, Bass Mod 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


Write a Review
13 Reviews
Maria C.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Joel is clearly very passionate and well versed in the language and study of music, providing a solid foundation for anyone wanting to learn the dynamics of music and performance. He doesn’t just teach mechanics, he teaches you the how and the understanding so you come away with more than the knowledge of how to play a few songs. He tailors the curriculum and home practice around the student’s unique interests to blend enjoyment and knowledge in a way that keeps you excited about music!

Posted Jul 17, 2021
Cory C.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Outstanding Teacher and a super nice guy.
Very talented and Knowledgable.

Posted Mar 18, 2021
Karee D.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Joel is an extremely knowledgeable musician & teacher. He has the ability to teach to your understanding as well as leave you feeling inspired & capable of reaching your vocal/ music goals!!!

Posted Sep 7, 2020
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Joel was professional, friendly, and interested in my goals. Joel had patience with my being nervous yet making me comfortable. I left feeling energized and positive that my time and money are not being wasted. He also explained our exercises in a way that I could understand.. thank you Joel. looking forward to next week...

Posted May 10, 2019
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Joel is very knowledgeable, practical, and capable to teach at any level. As a graduate music student, I have gained so much from his lessons than in class.

Posted Feb 4, 2019
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Thank you Joel. I am looking forward to my next session. I left very inspired.

Posted Dec 14, 2018
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Joel was awesome ! Very knowledgeable, extremely talented, and down to earth. I was very nervous at first, but after 5 minutes he put me at ease and I was singing as if I was singing alone !

Posted Oct 31, 2018
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Great teacher. Always finds a way to engage each student and very patient. Truly passionate about what he does.

Posted Jun 21, 2018
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Awesome teacher. Answers every question and explains all concepts thoroughly.

Posted Jul 11, 2017
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Joel is not only an outstanding musician, he is also a great teacher! I had the pleasure of taking piano lessons from him and enjoyed every minute of it and learned a ton. His instruction was a wonderful supplement to what I learned at the University. His is very knowledgeable, competent technically and hilarious! In addition to everything he offers musically, he is one of the best people I've ever known. Thank you Joel, for sharing your gifts!

Posted May 9, 2017
Denine L.

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.

Posted Apr 21, 2014
Lavonda S.

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!

Posted Nov 1, 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.

Posted Jul 18, 2012

Photos & Videos

11 Photos & Videos


Jun 2013 - Jun 2015

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.

Credit Underwriter
Jan 1993 - Jun 2000

Bank One, Texas N.A.


Aug 1988 - Dec 1992

University of Texas at Arlington


Speaker, Coach Trainer, and Consultant
Aug 2016

John Maxwell Team

Certified to teach mastermind groups. Consult/Train the development of ideas, strategies, and production. This works well in music to help artists to turn their ideas into completed projects.

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