I teach music performance at all skill levels. As a singer/songwriter/guitarist, I have a lifetime of performance experience, having played to audiences of all sizes in a wide variety of venues from coast to coast. So I can help you with every facet of your performance with the goal of making you as prepared, confident and polished as possible.
Jeff is a seasoned instructor in guitar, songwriting, music performance and music business. He also offers lessons in public speaking, voice-over performance and ukulele. He welcomes students of all ages and experience and has successfully and happily taught beginners to pro-level musicians and recording artists. Jeff is pleased to announce that he is currently accepting Takelessons online students via Skype.
Jeff can teach guitar and songwriting in all styles and is an adept acoustic and electric guitarist. His knowledge of chords is extensive and his acoustic fingerpicking skills are formidable. Jeff structures all lessons around the individual goals and playing level of his students. Jeff's students tend to study with him for quite some time, as his wealth of knowledge, diversity of instruction and patience are extraordinary
. Jeff prides himself on customizing every student's lessons based on their particular preferences, goals and skill level. "It's a very personalized kind of instruction, as I never take a cookie-cutter approach to teaching…". Jeff's 3 promises to all students is to give them personalized lessons, be attentive to their needs and goals. and to make them feel like every lesson is worth their investment of time and money. As long as students practice regularly, they can expect to dramatically increase their clarity of playing, their chord "inventory", their musical ear and awareness and play the songs they've always wanted to learn.
After honing his craft as a songwriter and performer, Jeff created and taught music classes at colleges, universities, and music schools throughout the country for many years, including UCLA Extension, Santa Monica College, Pasadena City College and The Harrison School Of Music. Jeff is currently teaching ukulele classes and songwriting classes at Tacoma Community College and Pierce College, both in Washington state.
When asked to summarize his views on teaching and music: "Teaching and playing music always puts a smile on my face; especially when I see that the student is having fun, learning what they want to learn and feeling the passion about music that motivated me to pursue my own musical career".
As a working singer/songwriter/guitarist, Jeff is known for his memorable melodies, intelligently crafted lyrics and heartfelt vocals. His compositions have earned him over 50 awards from various national and international songwriting contests and he's a former staff songwriter for the long-standing New York City-based publisher, Bourne Music. He has also won best music video awards at 3 international film festivals.
Some of the artists that Jeff has been compared to as a guitarist and vocalist include Keb' Mo', James Taylor, Kenny Loggins, Ry Cooder, John Mayer, Bill Withers, Jim Croce, and Don Henley.
Jeff is a NJ native, but lived and performed in Los Angeles for many years, where he worked in the studio or shared the stage with well-known artists such as Dave Koz, Norman Brown, John Daversa, Hiroshima, Little Richard and N'Dea Davenport.
Jeff catalog of over 450 songs and compositions spans virtually every genre, but many of his tunes are amalgams of pop, blues, jazz, R&B, country and rock. Quite a number of Jeff's songs have appeared in film and TV. One that Jeff is particularly proud of, is the dynamic pop ballad, "Journey Of The Heart" (co-written by Jeanne Smith), which was licensed by the N.C.A.A. (National Collegiate Athletic Association), who deemed it "the official anthem" of their NCAA Hall Of Champions facility in Indianapolis.
Jeff has commercially released 4 CD's of his original material: The most recent of these is his 2013 release, "Blujanova" (a merging of blues, jazz and bossa nova), which was praised by platinum selling and Grammy-nominated jazz star, Dave Koz: "Jeff's voice is so clean and pure...the production is lovely...warm and inviting...I love the interesting and surprising takes on some classics too, especially 'I Feel Good'…that brought a smile to my face!". The other CD's stretch into other genres. "Truthteller" (bluesy pop/rock and singer/songwriter material) "Me, Myself, and I" (acoustic) and "The Spin" (pop, rock, and country-tinged singer/songwriter material). All of Jeff's albums are on his label, Relevant Records. The late great John Braheny, author of the best-selling "The Craft And Business Of Songwriting (Writer's Digest Books), gave high praise to Jeff's CD, "The Spin", calling it "honest, crafty, melodic and the songs are all exceptional". Patch called Jeff "a consummate songwriter".
*** Lesson Details *** At the first lesson, I will ask you to tell me what songs you want to play and artists you want to play like and I will set the table for that by providing the chords you'll need, chord and scales and exercises to enable you to play them and guidelines and tricks on how to make it happen as quickly as possible. I know a wide variety of songs in all styles and styles, including current hit songs as well as pop, rock, blues, jazz, country songs. if you have a song or artist that I don't know already, I will learn it (often on the spot) and if not right then, at the next lesson. I have taught my students to play songs by artists as varied as Taylor Swift, U2, Jason Mraz, Adele, Eric Clapton, Django Reinhardt, Doc Watson. And that's just naming a few.
I always make it clear to my students at the first lesson: "There is no such thing as a stupid question". I want you to feel comfortable to stop me at any time to clarify what I am teaching you, ESPECIALLY if it is too difficult or vague. I pride myself on always being organized for your lesson and making sure that you grasp whatever it is I am teaching you. The goal is to get you to be able to play what you want as quickly as possible. This will take practice and dedication on your part, but I will do everything in my power to help you get there.
I never force anything on any of my students. but I feel it would be beneficial for you to learn to read music OR read tablature and chord diagrams. You tell me which one and we'll go in that direction. If you'd like to read music, then we can decide on a book for you. I have used Hal Leonard instructional books (with CD's! this way you can play with a backing track and get a sense of rhythm, which is very important), but I'm open to other method books you might have or like.
After 3 to 6 months, you will feel you are significantly more skilled on the guitar than you were before we started lessons. You will know more chords (and move from chord to chord), be able to do at least some basic fingerpicking and be able to read some music or tablature.
*** Specialties *** Acoustic fingerstyle guitar (a la James Taylor, John Mayer, Eric Clapton, Keb' Mo', Jason Mraz, John Martyn, Jim Croce, etc.
Blues guitar a la Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Keb' Mo', Jorma Kaukonen, Ry Cooder, etc.
Bossa nova guitar
Songwriting (any aspect and any level; musically, lyrically, structurally, etc.)
the songs of Taylor Swift---quite a few of my younger students want to play her material, so I have about 15 songs ready to teach you and always learning more (by popular demand)
Adapting songs that are keyboard-based and creating arrangements of them for acoustic guitar. Examples include songs by Adele, songs by Elton John, Irina Menzel's huge hit song from "Frozen", John Legend's "All Of Me", Coldplay's "Viva La Vida", etc.
Recording on Garageband. I became so skilled with Garageband that I was asked to give seminars at Apple Store locations, showcasing my recordings and how to use the program.
Teach all levels of musical performance. Emphasis on technique, stage presence, expression, public speaking and conquering stage fright.
My name is David, and I am a music teacher of many different subjects. These include guitar, piano, bass, ukulele, recording, music theory, production, composition and film music composition.
All styles, and all ages. Classical, Rock, Alternative, Slide Guitar, Blues, Jazz, and more!
I have a Masters Degree in music from The University of Melbourne in Australia, as well as having the distinction of a Bachelors Degree in Music from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle.
Many times a student will come to me after having been with another teacher for some time,.. they express to me that the other instructor did not teach them what they wanted to learn, nor did they achieve the result that they wanted.
The instructor perhaps had them mired in endless exercises and studies that were great
to get you READY to play music, but perhaps was not music in and of itself.
I find that when I get right down to the nitty gritty of playing, and show my students a song they love and know, and get them playing guitar by the end of the session that they are usually thrilled and excited.
In the end it makes them work harder and practice long because THEY ARE PLAYING MUSIC ON THE GUITAR!!!
Certainly exercises are of paramount importance, but when you can make that connection with a student and help them to relate to the guitar the exercises are ultimately easier to them, and the experience of playing guitar an enjoyable and less alienating task.
Grab your guitar and start today!! Let's get you playing TODAY!!!!
“I've been working with David for a couple of months, and it has been a great experience. I'm new to bass, with a little guitar experience--he quickly sized up what I knew and had me working on exercises and a great bass line that got me playing right away. He has been very flexible and accommodating of my schedule needs, and he gives plenty of positive and constructive feedback. I've been working in education for nearly 30 years, and I know a great teacher when I see one. David fits the bill, and I'm lucky to be working with him.”
Rudy F., Principal Middle School
“My son had been taking lessons for seven years and was losing interest. David's passion for music, knowledge of music theory, ability to read the student and know the best way to approach the lessons is exactly what my son needed. Along with his background in a wide variety of genres….classical, rock, jazz, etc. has made learning more exciting, resulting in a renewed interest.”
Tammy S., University Place
“David is an outstanding instructor! My son is 5 years old and loves him. My son is occasionally a difficult child with his own special quirks, but David is so patient and observant and tailors the lessons as we go along week to week to keep my son engaged, encouraged and learning. I also have two younger children who must tag along to the lesson and even they are excited during the lessons and are already asking when they start their lessons! We will be starting at least one more child's lessons with him during this coming school year! He is great!”
Cherise H., Parkland
“Loving the relaxed atmosphere with David. Bargain prices for the one on one experience with such an awesome, educated and talented musician.”
Raven R., Tacoma
“David is an amazing talent and provides me with much needed inspiration. In little over a year, I have learned a tremendous amount about nearly all styles of guitar, classical and lead guitar in particular. It's very helpful to have an awesome instructor who is extremely knowledgeable and very patient. His lesson plans are geared towards what I want to learn and the lessons that we work on cover all the techniques that are necessary to take my skills to the next level. He makes every lesson fun and he works with me until I am comfortable to move on.”
Larry L., Gig Harbor
“David tailors each lesson dynamically to my own progression which has been great. Gauges progression and gives you things to work on before the next lesson. Highly recommend him!”
Kory J., Tacoma
"David has been our son's guitar instructor for the better part of a year. During that time we've appreciated his patient encouragement, especially during the early weeks of instruction. His ability to individually tailor his teaching to his students , incorporating their musical interests has helped our son progress quickly and helped keep him motivated. he really is a wonderful teacher."
Amy L., Tacoma
"Where do I begin? I started with a guitar and a couple of chords...(A lot of desire but basically an empty canvas)." 'This was my life for a number of years until I met David.
Now I must first admit, I am ADD so teaching me and captivating my attention is no easy task...David not only broke through that barrier but opened the door to world of music I had aways felt and now suddenly I could touch.
If you posses the desire to learn and the drive to work...the sky is the limit."
Wes H. City of Destiny Tacoma, WA
"I am very happy with my decision to take lessons with David. In just 2 months I've gone from strumming some chords to understanding picking patterns, learning how to put together an entire song, and expanding my techniques. I am very surprised at how much technical skill I have been able to pick up in such a short period of time"
Marianne B., Tacoma
"I'm 46 years old and my only known talent is for overcomplicating things. I've always admired a good guitar player and wanted to learn to play myself--who doesn't?--but felt I didn't have the talent or just "couldn't do it." Then I found David and he said, 'Oh yes you can. Commit to 4 lessons up front and you'll see that you can.' I took the leap and sure enough, he had me playing blues riffs in less than one month. All I had to do was listen and do as he instructed me to and it all comes very naturally. There's no stress, just a whole lot of fun! If you're like me and you thought you couldn't play guitar, start with David and just have some fun with it. It's simple. You won't want to put the guitar down again!"
Dan D., Tacoma
I had been playing guitar for about 5 years and had only been self taught. I found myself completely stuck playing the same chords and not able to play riffs or solos at all. In my first lesson I was playing the blues with slides and hammer ons and pull offs. In a couple of lessons he had me soloing in different keys and playing riffs from guitar gods! He was able to teach me in a couple lessons what took me years trying to teach myself! He makes lessons so much fun because not only are you learning the music theory but he relates it to popular songs that you can practice along with. He also has so much knowledge in other aspects as well. He can teach you about music gear and amps or help you compose your own music. He caters to your style and taste in music and can teach you ANYTHING!
I love guitar period, but it's overtly frustrating when you have no idea where to start, or how to play at all. I went through multiple guitar instructors trying to learn how to play and each of them weren't very specific, or didn't hone in on any one thing at a time so you could really start to get it down and process it. Then we happened to find David, and he was really what we were looking for. I started picking up chords like no other, It helped, and is helping tremendously. He goes into depth about the song,letting you comprehend it a little more, and ultimately learning it quicker and better.
Skye R., Tacoma WA
I have had 4 different Blues guitar Teacher in the last 6 months, getting nowhere as far as really playing some Blues until I ran across David. The other teachers just wanted me to learn the pentatonic scales, Major and Minor. That took a lot of boring weeks and I am sure I will need to know those scales but I just wanted someone to show / teach me Blues chords, related to Blues songs and the timing to the chord changes so I could start playing some kind of Blues. I have had 6 one hour lessons so far with David and I am playing the Blues. The first 4 hours Dave showed me a E, A, B7 blues chord progression with some step up and step down notes. The 2nd 2 hours Dave showed me a A, D9, A7,E9 Blues chords and Blues timing with slides.
I take one hour Lessons every Thursday and in 6 hours I am playing the Blues. I picked up the guitar about 6 months ago, started teaching myself and not really getting anywhere. I am not a fast learner, about average in learning something new. Now I set a home Learning my guitar and polishing the Blues songs that David has taught me, starting to get FUN.
Les F. Tacoma, Wa.
Working with David has made me focus on areas of my chops that needed fine tuning. He provides the basic exercises and tools that, when practiced enough in a zen-like manner, clarifies your understanding of movement on the fret board, and makes you sound a bit more professional. Questions regarding speed, theory, notation, composition, and even string size, are ready for answer with David, which is what keeps me working with him. From begining, to intermediate, to professional levels, if you're looking to improve your chops, Dave's your guy.
Frank L., Seattle WA
I had tried many different instructors and had become very frustrated with trying to learn guitar. Within one lesson David had me playing ACDC and RUSH! David just has a way of explaining things so that they make sense and doesn't waste any time getting right down to the nuts and bolts of guitar. A lot of other instructors spend alot of time getting you 'ready' to play guitar, but with David we got down to playing guitar right away!
Stevie J., Olympia WA
“I started receiving lessons from David a few years ago, to improve my guitar abilities. I always used to tell people, "I've been playing guitar since the Eighties, though you would never know it." At the time I started, I knew some Metal riffs, three-chord Punk Rock progressions, and simple 12-bar blues. Though I took two guitar classes and first-year Music Theory in college in the early Nineties, the only scale I could say I knew was "blues pentatonic," emphasis on the quotation marks.
My goal was to relearn Modes/Scales, and brush up on theory, so that I could write more complex material. David taught me that, and so much more. Over these few years, I've learned Progressive Rock, Fusion/Jazz, and even some Country styles, as well as a great deal more about Metal and, yes, even Punk from David. I can play leads and solos with much more proficiency, in timing with the rhythm, and more tonally correct, than I ever could before. He has also helped me read music better, construct more professional-sounding compositions, and has started me on my own path to produce my own recordings, from recommending and using recording software, to capturing dynamics with mic placement, to mixing the rough takes to get the most out of the sound.
For a musician of any level or caliber, having an instructor like David is a true asset--for he has the knowledge and skills to take an entry-level musician every step of the way to becoming a professional performer, recorder, mixer, engineer, and producer. The only limit to the lesson's potential is your own level of determination, which David quite expertly helps you to improve with every session. Even if your goal is to simply learn to play one song on one instrument--and David teaches MANY instruments--he will have you playing that song like the musician who wrote it before you realize it--as long as you stick with your practice between lessons. That part's up to you!”
Marc D., Apple Valley CA
*** Studio Equipment *** Mac Logic Presonus invariable guitars, amps, keyboards, and other stuff. Tama drumset, Full Mic's. University trained mind and honed skills. Who cares about the software.
*** Specialties *** Generally come from conservatory/ classical background so utilize classical methods of teaching with a contemporary application to suit modern day application
I actually feel I got somewhere on the first lesson. He starts by teaching a song. Love it.
April 26, 2019
Awesome lesson very knowledgeable and fun to be around
February 4, 2019
I have been taking guitar lessons with David for a year and a half. It has been a blast to learn guitar from him. Whenever possible, he likes to structure his lessons so that you're playing music and it doesn't feel like you're doing drills, but when I have to work on something specific he gives me great drills to work on.
I've learned everything from Bach to AC/DC, from The Beatles to Rush. David encourages me that I'm improving, but also pushes me to continue to improve.
I am learning a lot under his tutelage, and I am going to keep learning as much as I can.
A native of the Pacific Northwest, saxophonist Kareem K is a performer, composer, and educator, who is in high demand for his talents both on and off the stage.
Growing up in the northwest with its vibrant music scene allowed Kareem the opportunity to study with, listen to and perform with world class jazz artists residing in the area. Artists such as Tracy Knoop, Jay Thomas, Don Lanphere, Bill Ramsay, Hadley Caliman, Julian Priester and many others had a large impact on Kareem early in his musical education. This direction and guidance continues to inspire and lead Kareem as he continues his lifelong passion undertaking a career as a professional musician.
Today, as a performing artist he spends most of his time leading his group for which he composes and arranges most of the music. The band is constantly on the move as a sought af
ter performing group and spends most of its time performing in and around the Pacific Northwest. When not leading his own group Kareem can be seen and heard performing as a sideman with many other top notch musical acts and projects, most notably The Paperboys from Vancouver BC.
As an educator Kareem divides his time teaching jazz improvisation as an artist in residence at The Tacoma School of the Arts, directing the award winning student jazz ensemble at Pierce College, conducting masterclasses and workshops at schools around the Puget Sound area, and maintaining a full load of private students. Along with his teaching duties Kareem is the director or The Tacoma Jazz Association, serves on the Tacoma Arts Commission, and is a D'Addario Woodwinds performing artist.
Kareem holds a Bachelors Degree of Music from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle Washington which he attended after receiving a full scholarship.
Throughout his years of teaching Kareem has worked with students of all ages and abilities, from beginners just getting started, to advanced players who simply want new ideas and direction.
*** Lesson Details *** Lessons are relaxed and are focused on what you would like to learn.
I usually begin with assessing where students are in their abilities and then come up with a lesson plan based on what they already know and what they would like to accomplish. They can be geared towards a 5 year old with no musical training whatsoever, or to an advanced musician who wants to further develop their skills.
Topics that I cover in lessons throughout a typical day of teaching include: Instrument technique, sight reading skills ( note and rhythm recognition ), memorization skills, music theory, ear training, improvising, and composing.
After 3 to 6 months of lessons and regular practice a beginning student should have a good command of their instrument and a strong foundation of sight reading. At this point we normally will also have started some music theory as well. For students wanting to focus on jazz we will have already begun improvising as well.
*** Studio Equipment *** 5x10 room w/ piano and seating for parents
*** Specialties *** I focus on the basics of learning to read music and basic technique on the instruments that I teach. From there I proceed with theory, ear training, improvising, composition etc. It all depends on what the students want to learn. I am comfortable teaching classical music as well as jazz, rock, composition, and improvisation.
Kareem is superb. Under his tutelage I am certain I will advance quickly from my current skill set. I'm more convinced than ever that I can become a real musician. His assignments require the commitment that I am willing to invest. I hope I will live up to his expectations.
December 6, 2017
My granddaughter is 6 years old and this is her first professional piano teacher. Kareem is ensuring that she has the basics down before she continues. She enjoys the lessons, and is excited when lesson day comes.
June 2, 2017
My daughter absolutely loves Mr. K!! He is very patient and takes his time to always answer ANY questions she has. She loves taking piano due to him being so awesome!! If you are looking for a great teacher for your little one there is no need to look any further!!
What my students learn is stage presence. How to hold and work a microphone and how to use the "three points" on a stage so that the entire audience feels like they are part of the experience.
We also go over some techniques to help with nervousness or "stage-fright." Students learn how to project, how to enunciate, and how to breathe. I give exercises to assist in learning how to develop a good on-stage appearance.
I started singing professionally at the age of fourteen. I have had leading roles in semi-professional theatre productions since I was seventeen. I have also been assistant director, musical director, choreographer, costumer and writer for many productions from West Side Story to My Fair Lady to Camelot. In the theatre I have worked with and trained children and adults of all ages. I have also conducted summer camps that were theatre workshops for children. I was a school teacher at a Charter school for eight years and I taught music and drama to children from Kindergarten to 12th grade. I have been giving voice lessons for more than twenty years. I tailor my programs based on the needs of my students. I am passionate about music and I love being able to share that with other individuals who are passionate about music. I have wor
ked with children and adults who told me "I cannot sing" and have shown them that, once you understand how your voice works, you can do things you never dreamed you could do. I will work hard to help anyone who has the love and determination to sing to improve and become a better singer.
Students I have worked with have won competitions and even been accepted into the AMDA in New York.
*** Lesson Details *** The voice is an instrument and, like any instrument, you have to know all of its parts and how it works in order to get the most out of it. I teach my students how to properly use their voice without damaging their vocal chords. I teach vocal techniques and exercises to help my students become a better singer. My students will learn how to use their diaphragm; how to use dynamics; how to project; how to build up their lung capacity; how to sing in a clear and articulate manner; how to sing various different types of music; how to control their voice; and how to develop their natural ear for music as well as showmanship. My style and technique has been developed over many years of practical experience and learning from instructors and entertainers who work in the entertainment industry. My method of teaching is entirely my own and I have had a lot of success with it. I expect my students to work hard and be dedicated but I try to make the lessons not just instructional but fun.
*** Studio Equipment *** Home-lessons taught in a designated music room, has an electric weighted keyboard and a karaoke machine.
I have recording capabilities that allow me to record my students and blend their voices with the background tracks that we work with. Once a song has been mastered, I record the song and email it to you so you can have it to enjoy and share with family and friends.
*** Specialties *** I teach my students breathing techniques; how to use the diaphragm and relax the vocal chords; how to project; how to properly enunciate; how to perform a song instead of just singing it; showmanship; how to select the music that is right for them. The voice is an instrument and, like any instrument, you have to fully understand it and its different parts in order to get the most out of it.
For me, having parents of different ethnicity and siblings that were much older than me, I was heavily impacted by the wide variety of music to which my family members listened. The force of this crayon box of rhythms and sounds captivated and affected me so much that it is the key experience that I draw from in making my own music today.
I grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska (a small town in the center of the state) so my only option for entertainment and fun was getting involved in the arts! I started performing at a very young age as both a dancer and a musician. I studied classical ballet, modern dance, hip hop and street dance, and world dance traditions throughout my formative years, which helped me to gain rhythmical fluency. I started my
formal music training when I began to play the cello. From then on, I was hooked on the sound and I immersed myself in music as much as I could; performing, competing, working in as many musical groups and productions as possible (as both a vocalist and cellist), and even teaching.
I moved to Seattle in 2003 to study opera at Cornish College of the arts, only to later change my major to Jazz, and then again to Latin music studies. Since graduating from Cornish in 2007, with my Bachelor of Music degree, I have been actively and diligently working in the local music scene; performing and recording with artists and groups of many different styles. Everything from various Latin genres, to Rock, to R&B/Soul, to Hip Hop, and Jazz. Through my music, I aim to reach out to people of all cultures. I also aim to teach my own students with the hope that they too can discover the same continuous love of music that I have grown to feel (and still am growing to feel) over the years. :)
*** Studio Equipment *** 88 key piano, cello, various percussion instruments, guitars, ukulele, library, computer, lessons are given in a private studio.
*** Specialties *** As far as voice goes, I teach all genres and styles but I personally specialize in the Latin genres. I teach all aspects of the music; rhythm, harmony, theory. I even teach performance; how to work with a band in real-time communication, song communication (or story telling as I like to call it), and developing ones own personal style. I believe that there is much more to singing than just vocal technique alone, so I believe in teaching musical fundamentals and functions so that my students will not only be considered vocalists, but competent musicians.
Excellent teacher and flexible related to schedule so I can take classes and work normally! Full of knowledge. Awesome class👍
October 12, 2019
My daughter LOVED her first lesson! She was smiling from ear to ear following her lesson and was excited to share what she learned. Makala provided tips to support at home practice. I am happy to have found such a wonderful teacher to introduce piano to my daughter.
September 30, 2019
Makala is an inspirational teacher/mentor. She takes time to learn what I like, and tries to adjust our lessons in-the-moment to my personal learning style. I feel connected and safe in our lessons, and love the way she challenges me. Thank you for making music a positive force in my life, Makala.
a holistic approach to music performance, incorporating improvisation
I'm a professional composer, teacher, and pianist - and I like to keep active doing all three throughout my community. On July 31, 2013 TakeLessons featured me on Seattle King 5's morning TV news program - I taught a miniature lesson and discussed the impact of piano lessons on the brain. My piano and composition lessons are very in-depth, but also very flexible. Because of my thorough knowledge and experience with music, I can teach all ages, skill levels, and an array of important subjects - including piano, ear-training, music theory, improvisation, composition, creativity, music history, ethnomusicology, and percussion. I cater to each student's interests as well as incorporate many of these subjects into my piano lessons so that every student gains a thorough understanding of music and becomes a well-rounded musician.
I started ta
king Suzuki piano lessons when I was 5 and quickly fell in love with the piano. Since the Suzuki method incorporates such thorough ear-training and the ability to play without sheet music, I quickly began to explore my creative side and was improvising on the piano by age 7. Naturally, this led to composition! Music was flowing through me, and I was able to both improvise and compose my inspirations on the piano. I entered and placed in the Reflections state composition contest each year. Throughout my youth, I was also very involved with the band (played trumpet), dance, drama and attended many symphonies, ballets, plays and operas - giving me a well-rounded artistic upbringing.
I pursued my passion and earned a Bachelor's degree in music composition from Mills College, followed by a Master's degree in music composition from the renowned California Institute of the Arts. My thorough education has taught me to compose for any instrument or ensemble as well as compose for film, dance, and theater. It has also taught me to understand the piano in-depth, along with theory and ear-training. Since graduating in 2006, I have scored several films, received commissions to compose for ensembles and musicians, and taught both composition and piano lessons. I also created an ensemble named SIRÃoNa that I composed for, managed, and performed piano, percussion, and indigenous flutes in, and I was interviewed and featured on NPR along with local radio stations and newspapers. I have produced two CD's. Most recently, I composed a score for a silent film, premiering live with the Seattle Jazz Ensemble as part of the moisture festival in Seattle.
Do you want to learn to sit at any piano and simply play what you feel? Or turn that tune running through your head into a song that you or others can perform? Or to master every detail of a piece of music so that you can express it exactly as the composer intended? I can teach you! I encourage all ages and backgrounds to explore their creative musical passions and discover the endless possibilities of piano performance and music composition!
*** Lesson Details *** When teaching piano, I take a similar approach to the Suzuki method. But instead of teaching from the Suzuki books, I teach my own composed exercises and pieces that I believe are more fun and accessible to today's student of any age! I create MP3 recordings of each exercise and have students listen to and memorize the exercises in their own time.This is a very important aspect of my lessons that thoroughly develops the ear - giving the student the ability to play the exercise from memory and to deeply understand the connection between their actions and the resulting sound.
I develop my exercises to progress each student through an increasing degree of technique difficulty and musical parameters - such as rhythm, melody, chords, harmony, key and range. Beginning exercises will isolate a specific musical parameter to bring thorough understanding of its possibilities, while advanced exercises and pieces will work on coordinating multiple parameters and techniques at the same time. Within 6 months, a beginner piano student will have tackled and perfected simple yet fun exercises that incorporate each major musical parameter, as well as develop correct posture and finger technique, and have developed some ear training and basic music theory skills. I also have my students do creative exercises, which develop more thorough ear training and the ability to eventually improvise and compose on the piano. More advanced piano students will perfect their ability to interpret and express each piece of music that they play and will receive thorough ear training, music theory lessons, and develop their creative abilities through piano improvisation and composition. Once they have tackled the fundamentals, intermediate and advanced piano students will learn the classics as well.
Along with piano lessons, I'm also highly qualified to teach music composition - including beginning to advanced composition, music theory, composing for any instrument or ensemble, Sibelius computer notation program, film scoring, and orchestration.
*** Studio Equipment *** Private room, desk, professional digital piano - 88 keys fully weighted, piano bench. 2 professional cameras and iMac computer for online lessons. Percussion instruments for young students. Sibelius for composition students... Parents can sit in.
*** Travel Equipment *** I expect students to have their own piano or keyboard when having a lesson in their home.
*** Specialties *** Piano, Composition, Suzuki method, Classical, Contemporary, Ear Training, Memory Training, Piano Improvisation, Music Theory, Piano Ergonomics, In-depth Holistic Approach, Music History, Rhythm and Percussion. Success in teaching ages 3 and up, all backgrounds and ages.
Students will learn how to present their repertoire with healthy technique, appropriate stylizing, and intentional dramatic choices. Instruction will include how to move on stage, how to develop organic acting, and how to work onstage with other singers. Students will also get practice performing in front of others
*all lessons are always taylored to be appropriate vocally and dramatically for age, voice type, and ability
Hello! My name is Serena!
Music shapes my life and has made me the person I am today. My experience in training in opera, musical theatre, jazz, and pop has expanded my musical skills and knowledge. Not only have I been trained in performance, but I have also studied music history, music theory, conducting, movement training, ballet, Alexander Technique, acting, yoga, stage craft, improvisation, other languages, diction and the International Phonetic Alphabet, voice science and anatomy, and vocal pedagogy. I have completed my Bachelor of Music in Operatic Vocal Performance from the prestigious Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University under the tutelage of the legendary Carol Vaness. I have also studied with acclaimed teachers and coaches around the world including Dr. Kari Ragan and Maestro Dean Williamson.
This year has been w
onderfully packed with performance for Seattle Opera. I just closed out a 78 performance run of CINDERELLA IN SPAIN where I sang the role of CINDERELLA and was even on the poster! I also performed the roles for the Seattle Opera preview performances of GRETEL in HANSEL UND GRETEL, VIOLETTA in LA TRAVIATA, KATYA in KATYA KABANOVA, and QUEEN OF THE NIGHT in MAGIC FLUTE. I made my Seattle Opera debut singing ALITSA and RACCOON in their touring production of "OUR EARTH", as well as performing on the mainstage in many productions. My upcoming performances include singing in the Seattle Opera kick off to the season SUMMERFEST in July; and OLYMPIA in LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN with Pacific Northwest Opera. My other roles include ALKANDRE in PENELOPE with Vespertine Opera in Seattle, WA; FRASQUITA in CARMEN with OperaBend in Bend, Oregon and Pacific Northwest Opera; and SUSANNA in LE NOZZE DI FIGARO with the Seattle Opera Guild. I also made my international debut in December 2014 singing GRETEL in HANSEL UND GRETEL with Opera Mariposa in Vancouver, BC. I have also been the featured soloist as "Christine" in Ten Grand's Phantom of the Opera at Benaroya Hall in Seattle, WA, and many lead roles in both opera and musical theatre: such as Semele (Semele), Marie (La Fille du Regiment), Gretel (Hansel und Gretel), Countess Ceprano and Gilda (Rigoletto), Blondchen (Die Entfuehrung aus dem Serail), Maria (West Side Story), La Fee (Cendrillon), Sarah Brown (Guys and Dolls), Cathy (The Last 5 Years), Rosina (Barber of Seville), and more! I have also been part of jazz ensembles, and won the Battle of the Bands at Indiana University with a rock group! I am proud to have won the Seattle Opera Guild/Opera Plus Young Artist Scholarship Award for the 2015/2016 season, the Encouragement Award in the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions, First Place in the National Classical Singers Competition, the C.M. Gerber Scholarship, Music Dean's Scholarship, Music Faculty Award, First Place at Washington State Solo and Ensemble Competitions, First Place in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) National Competitions, and many more!
Teaching brings me such joy! To share the love of music and to educate the musicians of tomorrow is both gratifying and inspiring. I have been teaching since 2005 and provide a fun and focused learning experience where there are no "wrong" questions, and everybody's unique voice is celebrated! Many of my students have gone on to study music in college, and have landed lead roles in musical theatre, choir solos, All State and All Northwest choirs, and won awards in Classical competitions.
In my spare time, I like to hike, eat good food, and spend time with family and friends!
*** Lesson Details *** My studio provides musical knowledge through private lessons including healthy vocal technique, basic understanding of music theory, and basic piano skills. I encourage a fun and focused environment. Come ready to learn, and let's make music!
A typical lesson will include vocalises that detail proper technique, some ear training work, some music theory training, and will be followed by repertoire. During this time, students will learn how to produce clear and authentic diction (English and other languages), breath management, phrase shaping, smooth transitions between higher and lower pitches, stylistic ornamentation, as well as dramatic involvement of the piece.
Students will learn the importance of the foundations of breath support, and how to create a healthy sound for any genre while keeping the unique qualities of their own voice-- no cookie-cutter singers here! Students will also learn how to read music, practice effectively, perform authentically, and take care of their delicate instrument for a lifetime of singing!
While Skype is a marvelous tool that has revolutionized the world of teaching, nothing can replicate natural acoustics. In-studio lessons are suggested for a clearer and more personable lesson. **Skype lessons are reserved for long distance students only**
STUDIO ABSENCE and CANCELLATION POLICIES: Regularly scheduled and attended lessons are the best way to see positive changes in your voice! The smooth running of the Studio Schedule helps make that happen. Therefore, missing lessons is discouraged and make up lessons/cancellations are not given in the Studio unless: - I have had a performance or rehearsal that conflicts with our lesson time and cannot have the lesson as scheduled. If this occurs, I will inform you of the event as soon as possible and give you the option of a make up lesson or cancelling the lesson. - Notices of foreseen cancellations (family vacations, religious holidays, school functions, special occasions etc.) are eligible for rescheduling or cancellation if given before the first lesson of the month. - Of course, life can throw us for a loop! Illness, emergencies, and unforeseen events may possibly be given make ups or cancellations and will be determined at the Studio's discretion. (In the matter of illness: standard procedure is that if the student can attend work/school, they should come to their lesson. A cold can easily be worked around. If the voice is affected (for singing students), Studio time can still be used to work on ear training, music theory, music history, etc.)
All other absences will result in the lesson being marked as "missed". A hard copy of the Studio Policies and further details will be given to the student at the first lesson. Please feel free to ask any questions or clarifications.
*** Studio Equipment *** The studio lessons take place in a designated area of my home. The room includes seating for parents to observe lessons as well as a weighted keyboard (88 keys), music stand, desk, and materials. No pets. Lots of street parking is available. Shopping and coffee/food located within walking distance.
*** Specialties *** Specialties: Classical/Opera Other styles and genres: Musical Theatre, Jazz, Pop, and Rock.
Serena taught my 8 year old son for 9 beginner lessons. The scheduling did not work out for us to continue.
I loved her teaching style! She is calm but also fun for the boy. He loved the warm up exercises. In only 30 minutes of class they were able to play several little pieces. My son could then practice and master them at home. That gave him a sense of accomplishment. This approach is better than working on a hard piece and being frustrated. She focused on sight reading from the start instead of memorizing which is a great habit.
April 24, 2019
Serena is very knowledgeable and super helpful with my daughter' s audition prep. Highly recommend!
April 17, 2019
Serena is excellent! She shares my interest in both vocal training and vocal pedagogy, so she can explain the physiology of what I'm doing wrong when that happens - frequently in my case. She is a delight to work with. Encouraging. Intelligent. Professional. I'm sad to have to drop lessons for now.
Some of Dan’s past students have been finalists in televised talent shows and now enjoy professional music careers. For example, Sofia Olsson, (”True Talent" Finalist, Sweden), Feridah Rose ("Denmark's Got Talent" Semi-Finalist), and Rasma Freimane ("Top Overall Vocalist", Tech Music School, London) —see videos.
Now you have an opportunity to learn from acclaimed producer, composer, pianist, and vocal coach, Dan whose resume includes studio recordings, Radio- and TV broadcasts, and concerts in venues such as the Presidential Palace of Ukraine, the Latvian Cabinet, the nationally televised talent show, ‘Clash Of The Choirs’, Christmas Spectacular, Coca-Cola Holiday Caravan, Northwest Folklife Festival, and Leavenworth’s 50th Anniversary Christmas Lighting Festival. Dan has performed in 30+ countries on four continents, and his music is available on Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, etc.
Dan holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science from Uppsala University (Sweden). Dan ...
Some of Dan’s past students have been finalists in televised talent shows and now enjoy professional music careers. For example, Sofia Olsson, (”True Talent" Finalist, Sweden), Feridah Rose ("Denmark's Got Talent" Semi-Finalist), and Rasma Freimane ("Top Overall Vocalist", Tech Music School, London) —see videos.
Now you have an opportunity to learn from acclaimed producer, composer, pianist, and vocal coach, Dan whose resume includes studio recordings, Radio- and TV broadcasts, and concerts in venues such as the Presidential Palace of Ukraine, the Latvian Cabinet, the nationally televised talent show, ‘Clash Of The Choirs’, Christmas Spectacular, Coca-Cola Holiday Caravan, Northwest Folklife Festival, and Leavenworth’s 50th Anniversary Christmas Lighting Festival. Dan has performed in 30+ countries on four continents, and his music i
s available on Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, etc.
Dan holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science from Uppsala University (Sweden). Dan has won teaching awards for five consecutive years, including the "Tacoma Best Vocal Coach 2019" (see photos). He is the director of Tacoma Gospel Choir and Tacoma Chancel Choir, as well as Roar Children's Choir.
With Dan, you will receive unparalleled, professional, and masterful classes. Do not miss this opportunity to learn from an award-winning expert in his field. Allow me to take you to the next level, whether you are a beginner or an experienced virtuoso.
I look forward to guiding you on your educational journey! Lessons are offered either in my home studio in Tacoma, WA, *or* I can teach you through live, online private video lessons.
Dan is truly enthusiastic about sharing his love for his native language! Of course his pronounciation is excellent, and he has infinite patience. He is also open to meeting his student wherever they are in the process. I am really enjoying learning Danish with Dan!
January 31, 2019
Dan is an incredible coach. I enjoyed the lessons I took with him and learned alot. I look forward to working with Dan in the future
January 7, 2019
I was impressed with my first lesson with Dan. He adjust lessons according to my needs. Will continue to take lessons with him. Thank you.
"Very professional. Helped me to improve my singing a lot ;)"
"I was 16 years old when I first started with Coren, She has helped me to get an amazing sound out of my voice! I sang every thing in my Nostrils! and my A
dam's apple up in my Brain! I started out singing with my church choir, then my church band. My music director said I Should Take some lessons. He gave me Corens number and I set up a lesson for the following Thursday.
I got to the lesson and I was shaking. I've always been an Actor and I've always had this mental block about my voice. But After talking to her, Within the first 5 minutes she had already had me laughing and relaxing in my chair. She not only showed me how to use my vocals, she explained (In Detail) why and what was making my voice tighten up in the first place. She understood everything that my vocal cords were doing.
I would certainly say that Coren goes the extra mile when it comes to training the voice. And she has one of the biggest hearts on this planet! There were many lessons I had with her where I would Just be in tears because I had a mental block about my voice. But Coren would not let me stay there. She Believed in me and she got me out of my mental patterns.
I owe a lot to this women and I couldn't be more Grateful that I have the opportunity to study under her!"
"I have very much enjoyed Jan's Acting For Singers class at the Songwriting School of LA in Burbank. Jan is an enthusiastic teacher with a wealth of knowle
dge and a real passion for encouraging talent. I highly recommend studying with her to improve performance and hone your craft."
"As a professional entertainer I can vouch for her musicality, voice, listening ability. Having performed with her on a few occasions she has an amazing ab
ility to improvise and make her musical partner (me!) sound great. She will make you excited about singing!"
"My first time taking any type of vocal training before. I did this in hopes to be a better singer in my car. One day I was humming and a friend herd me an
d said I sounded amazing. I could feel my face turning red because I thought at the time I was alone. Anyways, months later... Guess who's doing karaoke on Tuesday nights?!!"
"I am a math/science nerd and do not have much experience in proper singing, less in stage performance. After reading Benjamin's profile, I was very positi
ve that he had the right personality and teaching style suited for me. My guess was correct! I have enjoyed every single of the 10-15 lessons with him and look forward to many more. Teaching how to sing is much more than just giving instructions and demonstrating correct techniques. Even a YouTube video can do that. You hire a mentor so that he/she can criticize what you are doing wrong and create exercises customized to fix such malpractices. Benjamin has been doing exactly that. Additionally, he has been helping me improve on my stage etiquette, as well as performance skills. His sessions are also thoroughly entertaining, and he puts you under right amount of pressure, allowing you to be motivated without feeling embarrassed. I started as an amateur singer and planned to pursue singing as a hobby at best, but now I hope to turn singing into an avocation. I am happy to recommend Benjamin to anyone looking for singing and stage performance lessons!"
"Jessica is an amazing teacher! She not only understands all the technicalities behind singing but she works to your strengths and helps you cultivate both
your inner and outer voice! I felt very comfortable with her and even got emotional a few times as it was such a powerful experience to be able to be vulnerable and engage in something I love so much. Jessica is the perfect mix between professional and experiential where you'll learn skills but you will also have fun doing it. I highly recommend Jessica for your musical needs. I look forward to my future sessions!! It also helps she is incredibly talented! An all around win and positive experience :)!"
"I cannot express enough how much Mr Steven has been a blessing in our school! The children love him!! He has so much talent!!!"
"Fawn is the best at what she does. She's a true pro. I leave each lesson feeling like I can master my career. Her innovative and out side the box teaching