A concertizing musician since age 9, I hold a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music in instrumental performance from the California State University Los Angeles, where I was named the CSU system's youngest to receive a graduate degree. In 2005 I earned a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Arizona, where I was the Graduate Teaching Assistant. I have also been honored as the University of Arizona's youngest doctoral graduate, receiving my degree at age 19.
I have performed as a member and guest soloist with countless chamber ensembles, orchestras, and bands across the United States. Highlights of my international tours include concerts in Shanghai, Seoul, South Africa, Madrid and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In addition to playing for such notables as Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Tippi Hedren, Barbara Sinatra, and Florence Henderson, I have played as an honorary guest at UCLA, the Colburn School, UC Santa Cruz, for the Japanese Ambassador and Embassy, and appeared as guest artist with the Anderson String Quartet, Barry Manilow, and most recently with Il Divo, as well as made several television appearances. My extensive performing experience means that no matter your skill level, as my student I will have you performing, sharing your music with others, and becoming an artist.
I have been the recipient of numerous awards for both my musical and academic performance, including the Valeria Finzi Memorial Harp Competition two years consecutively, the Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, and have been named as a Medici Scholar and on the Who's Who Among American Women and National Dean's List. I am also active as a composer, arranger, and transcriber, and have taught for the past 16 years. Teaching has always been a special joy of mine, and I have experience teaching students of every age and skill level. I believe in an individualized approach for each student and love to inspire students with my own love of music and lifelong learning. I have worked as a teaching artist with the McCallum Theatre Institute (with elementary-age children) and an instructor for the Osher Institute (age 55+). With a solid background in Classical masterworks, my technical skill and artistic vision allows for interpretations of a variety of music spanning Celtic, Latin, pop, jazz, and rock genres. I teach piano, harp, music theory and musicianship at Mt. San Jacinto College, music history at College of the Desert and provide private instruction from my studio in Palm Springs.
*** Lesson Details ***
What do you want to learn? If you are passionate about music and interested in improving your skills I will mentor you to help you achieve your personal goals. I will personalize our curriculum depending on your experience level, needs, and desires. I believe in a well-rounded approach so we'll focus not only on leaning the notes, but the inflections and expressions of music, performance techniques, technical dexterity, music theory, and music history. In this way not only can you be a skilled performer, but an informed one as well, no matter what your age. My students are my highest priority- I love working with children, introducing them to music for the first time, as well as with the adult student who "always wanted to take lessons" but hasn't been able to yet. Furthering the talents of experienced musicians is also a pleasure. I will be honored to help you in your musical journey!
*** Studio Equipment ***
Studio: quarter grand piano, pedal harp, Celtic harp, electroacoustic harp. There is an adjacent seating area so parents are always welcome to sit in on lessons.
*** Travel Equipment ***
Under special circumstances I am happy to travel to students who have their instrument and related equipment.
*** Specialties ***
I teach both Classical and popular styles and can specialize according to my students' needs/interests.
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The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.
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So far Dr Vanessa is doing an excellent job, my daughter really enjoys learning with her.