Our Teachers

Our Instructors

All of our teachers are music professionals who hold degrees and have several years of teaching experience for their respective instruments.  Many specialize in particular genre's ranging from classical to jazz to contemporary music, but all of our teachers have experience working with students at various levels and ages.

Aimee Acevedo-Winds

Aimee Acevedo began her musical training at the age of 9 on clarinet. When she entered middle school she began to learn saxophone and then began learning flute in high school. Currently, Aimee is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Tenor Saxophone Performance and Music Education at Azusa Pacific University. She currently studies clarinet under Jennifer Showalter, saxophone under Rusty Higgins, and flute under Shannon Canchola. She has performed with the APU Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, and University Choir and Orchestra on several woodwind instruments. She has years of experience performing in classical, jazz, pop, and latin styles.  Along with playing in several ensembles at APU, Aimee also teaches lessons on saxophone, clarinet, and flute and is actively gigging in the Los Angeles area. In her teaching, Aimee hopes to instill an appreciation and passion for music by teaching students fundamentals, proper technique, music theory, and performance practice.

Drew Aron-Guitar, Ukulele

Drew Aron began studying the guitar at age thirteen. He attended California State University, Northridge from 2008-2012 and earned his Bachelor of Music degree in guitar performance. During his studies he was awarded the Andres Segovia Scholarship and was a member of the CSUN Guitar Quartet. Since graduation he has dedicated his time to teaching classical guitar, recording and performing in the greater Los Angeles area. Drew's teaching philosophy is to help each student develop the musical skills necessary to accomplish their own individual goals so that they may become expressive and artistically fulfilled musicians.

Amanda Campos-Woodwinds

Amanda has been playing woodwinds for over 10 years, and began her classical and jazz studies at Citrus College in 2010. She continued studying music at Los Angeles City College, and is currently pursuing a certificate in Music for Early Childhood Education at Pasadena City College. She has several years of college and professional performing and recording experience ranging in jazz, Latin and pop styles. Teaching saxophone, flute and clarinet across Los Angeles, she loves to bring energy into her lessons that cover the elements of music in an engaging and relatable format. .

Victor Carracedo-Drums

Victor A Carrracedo studied at L'AULA de Jazz de Barcelona under the mentorship of Quim Sole, graduating with honors in 2011. While at L'AULA, he was awarded a scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston where he moved in 2011. At Berklee, he garnered great experience as a studio drummer, recording over 40 sessions a year. In 2012, Victor graduated with a Master of Music degree. As an instructor, Victor gives his students the tools they need to create and perform in many styles such as jazz, latin, rock, reggae, etc. Victor's ultimate goal is to share his knowledge about drums with students and see them grow as musicians.

Tigranuhi (Tina) Chapkinyan-Violin, Piano

Mrs. Tigranuhi(Tina) Chapkinyan received her Masters Degree in Music at the Komitas Conservatory of Yerevan in 1987 (Violin Major, Piano Minor). Mrs. Chapkinyan held teaching and Originally from Armenia, Mrs. Tigranuhi(Tina) Chapkinyan received her Masters Degree in Music at the Komitas Conservatory of Yerevan in 1987 (Violin Major, Piano Minor). Mrs. Chapkinyan held teaching and performing position in professional music schools, symphony and chamber orchestras in Armenia. Since arriving in the United States in 2000, she continues her career as a violin and piano instructor and solo performer. Mrs. Chapkinyan is an active member of Music Teacher's Association of California (MTAC), Hollywood Branch. Her successful teaching method which she has developed in her twenty-seven years of teaching experience is reflected in her current student's accomplishments who participate in numerous MTAC recitals and competitions, and play in state-wide conventions.

Nan Deng-Piano

Nan Deng's musical studies began at the age of four in China, first on the piano and later in voice.  Over the years, Ms. Deng has performed as a solo pianist and won numerous local piano competitions. She was accepted into Xinghai Conservatory of Music in 2007 and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education with emphasis in Piano Performance. In May of 2014, she obtained her Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from California State University Northridge. In 2017, She completed a Master of Music degree in Keyboard Collaborative Arts at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and is currently pursuing a Graduate Certificate. She has worked extensively with professional singers and instrumentalists. As a collaborative pianist, she has performed in numerous collaborative piano concerts and served as music director in the USC chamber opera. As an instructor, Ms. Deng strives to provide her students with the tools required to become skilled musicians. She enjoys teaching her students and helping them to reach their full potential.

Oliver Dobrian-Drums

Oliver Dobrian is a musician, songwriter, and teacher based in Los Angeles, California. He is primarily a drummer, having started playing at age 4. Since 2008, he has been teaching drum lessons privately. In 2014, he earned a degree from UCLA in Jazz Performance. Currently, he is the drummer in California rock band Filmspeed, as well as playing and recording as a freelancer in various groups around Los Angeles. Oliver’s love of music spreads to all aspects, and his biggest goal is to spread that love in any way he can. In his lessons, Oliver likes to cater to the interests of every individual student as much as possible, maintaining focus to make progress in an area the student truly wants to learn. Ultimately, Oliver believes that music making should be fun, and he aims to keep it that way by exposing students to new topics of interest, fostering old ones, and playing as much as possible!

Guro Elverhoei-Voice, Piano

Guro has been singing and playing piano since the age of 7. She attended Berklee College of Music where she studied classical voice technique and contemporary singing styles such as RnB, pop and gospel. She's recorded many of her original songs and worked with talented musicians in professional studios. At the commencement concert she was chosen to sing in front of 4000 people with Julio Iglesias and Dee Dee Bridgewater as honored guests. Guro has a warm personality and is a very patient but structured teacher. She has a strong knowledge in music theory as well as technical knowledge in both piano and voice, and she goes out of her way to help all of her students to improve their skills.

Valerie Espinoza-Voice

Valerie Espinoza earned her Bachelor's of Music Education from California State University, Los Angeles. Under the tutelage of her instructor, Dr. Susan Kane, Valerie’s powerful voice and sensitive musicality quickly established her as a sought-after soloist and choral artist. She has been a featured soloist for Pergolesi’s Magnificat in C major, Schubert’s Mass in G, and
Schwartz For Good from the musical Wicked. Her operatic roles include Rosalinda in Strauss II Die Fledermaus. Her chorus roles include for Gluck’s Orphee et Eurydice, and Philip Glass
Hydrogen Jukebox. Beyond her success with classical repertoire, Valerie also enjoys singing other genres like Pop, Afro-Latin, Latin-Jazz, Early music, Romantic, Latin-pop, and R&B.
Shortly after receiving her degree, Ms. Espinoza was also given the opportunity to travel to Europe as a scholarship student to study and perform German Lieder. Valerie hopes to continue to share and grow her instrument, as well have the opportunity to help cultivate the art of her future students.

Dylan Ewen-Piano

Dylan Ewen began studying classical piano at age 11. In high school he branched out to other instruments and began writing original music and playing in bands. He went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music in 2014. In 2015 one of his projects was asked to play the LA festival Burger-A-Go-Go which prompted his decision to move to California. Dylan has taught all ages and believes the most important thing a teacher can do is instill a lifelong love of music in their students. A background in theory and technique is important, but Dylan also loves to bring in contemporary examples to spark his students’ interest, whether it be rock, pop, blues or jazz. In addition to teaching, he continues to write and record original music for his personal projects as well as for commercials and short films.

Dr. Cameron Ghahremani-Brass, Piano

Dr. Cameron Ghahremani holds a Doctoral of Musical Arts from the University of Miami, a Master's in Orchestral Trumpet Performance from McGill University, and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Rochester. While a member of the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, Cameron has shared the stage with such world-class guest artists as Maria Schneider, Dawn Upshaw, Rafael Padron, and Ben Folds. While at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, Cameron was awarded a teaching assistantship and conducted private lessons and coached the Frost Trumpet Ensemble who were awarded Second Place at the National Trumpet Competition in 2015. Since his arrival in Los Angeles, Cameron has performed with the San Diego Symphony, Musical Theatre West, Cupcake Theatre, the Golden State Pops Orchestra and the contemporary chamber orchestra, Kaleidoscope. Dr. Ghahremani began his musical studies first on the piano and received instruction for 13 years. He was also trained in keyboard proficiency, musicianship, and theory at the Eastman School of Music. Since his arrival in Los Angeles, he has been an active trumpet and piano instructor for all ages and levels.

Jason Golday-Guitar, Bass Guitar, Ukulele

Jason studied Jazz and Classical Guitar at Indiana University in Bloomington, receiving his BM in Performance. He received his MFA in Jazz Guitar Performance from California Institute of the Arts. Jason has over fifteen years of public and private teaching experience including middle school, high school and conservatories. Jason is involved in several Los Angeles music projects and frequently performs in diverse venues such as The Echo and Satellite to The Santa Barbara Museum of Contemporary Art and The Hammer Museum. Along with performing, Jason composes music for commercials, short films and silent films.

Kunyou Guan-Piano

Born and raised in southern China, Kunyou has developed a love for piano music since the age of 5. She has been teaching in various settings such as group piano and working with students of special needs. Her teaching philosophy is that learning is to be student-centered, and teaching is to be tailored to the student’s needs. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Piano Pedagogy from Cal State Fullerton and is a member of Music Teachers’ Association of California. Outside of teaching, she also plays for worship services at her home church, and enjoys exploring different music genres. Her favorite composer is Beethoven.

Anthony Hernandez-Piano

Anthony Hernandez is a collaborative pianist, organist, composer and teacher who earned his Bachelor of Music in Music Composition from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2009. Hernandez was awarded several collegiate honors as a solo pianist, including first place in the MMTA Collegiate Piano Upper Division in 2008.  As a composer, he earned first place in Webster University's Young Composers Competition of Missouri in 2009.  He has worked as music director, rehearsal accompanist, assistant music director and/or pit keyboardist for over 20 musical productions, including Jesus Christ Superstar, A Man of No Importance, Into the Woods and The Wizard of Oz. He's worked with many production companies, including Lyceum Arrow Rock Theatre, University of Missouri Theatre Department, Columbia Entertainment Company, PACE Children's Theatre, among others. He has performed extensively as collaborative and solo pianist throughout Missouri, the midwest and in Brasília, Brazil. As a composer, he has had orchestral works premiered by the Columbia Civic Orchestra and the 9th Street Philharmonic Orchestra.  Mr. Hernandez began teaching piano in 2010, working with students of all ages and all styles of music from pop and rock to classical, musical theatre and jazz. In the summer of 2018, Hernandez relocated to Los Angeles, CA, where he continues freelancing and working as a pianist, accompanist, composer and teacher.

Alyse Hokamp-Flute & Piano

Alyse Hokamp was born and raised in Kailua, Hawai'i. She earned a Bachelor's and Master's degree in flute performance from the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, and recently moved to Los Angeles. She performs regularly with her husband in The New Rainbows, a flute and guitar duo. Alyse regularly takes orchestral auditions and aspires to be an orchestral flutist. A late beginner on the piano, she began her first piano classes at the end of high school, and practiced earnestly throughout college. A few years after college, she began her first church organist job and has employed as such since then. She is currently the Music Director/Organist at Bethel Lutheran Church in Los Angeles. Alyse has taught beginners young and old, as well as group and private lessons, for over five years. She believes that anyone who wants to learn and enjoy music can, and she aims to help!


Nicholas (Nick) Hon-Drums & Piano

Nick was born and raised in the greater Los Angeles area, where he has had the opportunity to experience music and gain a passion for it from a young age. He followed this excitement from childhood through college, where he completed a Bachelors in Music at the California Institute of the Arts in 2016. He has been teaching professionally as long as he has been playing music professionally, and believes that sharing both performance and knowledge go hand in hand. He believes that making music should be fun while simultaneously be something stimulates the mind. As a performer, Nick has had opportunities to play drums on film soundtracks, multiple independently produced studio albums, and at various venues around Los Angeles such as Blue Whale and the Bootleg Theatre with a variety of musical projects. He is excited to share what he has learned with his students, and hopes to pass on the joy of playing music!

Esteban Obando Jaramillo-Piano

Esteban was born in Bogota, Colombia but was raised in Montreal, Canada where he began taking piano lessons very early on. While living in Montreal, Esteban was a very involved member of the music community and spent his time teaching privately, performing in bands, recording and singing in his church choir. In 2011, Esteban performed as the youngest member of the Montreal All-City Big Band in the world-renowned Montreal International Jazz Festival. That same year, Esteban began his studies at Berklee College of music in Boston. During his four years at Berklee, Esteban further developed his abilities as a pianist, performed and recorded with several artists, immersed himself in music technology/production and honed his skills as an arranger in diverse musical genres. He graduated magna cum laude with a degree in piano performance and another in contemporary writing and production as well as a minor in latin music studies. Since graduating in May of 2015, Esteban has continued to teach and perform. As a teacher, Esteban is very invested in his students and motivates them to achieve their goals through passion, method and discipline.

Sara Jones-Violin, Viola

Sara Jones originates from Pasadena, CA and began her violin studies at the age of 7. She attended Pasadena City College for violin studies and transferred to the University of Redlands, where she received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Music, Violin Performance. Sara has performed with many orchestral groups such as Crown City Orchestra, Coachella Valley Symphony, Redlands Symphony, along with various string quartets, piano trios, and string duos who perform across Southern California. Besides performing, Sara has been a violin instructor for almost 5 years and has loved every second of it. She uses a traditional approach in her methodology and tries to instil great musical knowledge and passion in her students. She strives to help students become very knowledgeable in playing the violin itself and in music theory, history, ear training, wise practicing, and performance etiquette. Sara hopes to continue this ideology here at San Marino Music Center.

Ryland Kelly-Piano, Guitar, Bass, Drums

Ryland Kelly is a graduate of The Juilliard School where he studied bass, piano and composition with members of the New York Philharmonic and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Nationally, he has performed at such notable venues as The Blue Note, The Highline Ballroom, Sullivan Hall, and The Kennedy Center. Over the past few years Ryland has dedicated even more of his time to teaching Bass, Guitar, Piano, Drums, Rock Band and the music production software Ableton Live. He finds the experience of working with all ages and levels very inspiring and fulfilling. Ryland also finds the process of taking a student from their first lesson to their first concert to be very rewarding.

Francisco Lopez-Trombone, Tuba, Trumpet

Francisco Lopez graduated California State University Los Angeles in 2015 with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education (Instrumental) and a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics (General). He has been playing trombone for 14 years and studied with jazz trombonist Jacques Voyemant during his collegiate years. While at Cal State LA, Francisco regularly performed with the Wind Ensemble, the Jazz Ensemble, the CSULA/Olympia Youth Orchestra, and the Afro-Latin Ensemble. He helped reform the CSULA Brass Quintet and provided trombone lessons for participants of the CSULA First Chair Honor Band and visiting schools and ensembles. Francisco has had the privilege of performing with the CBDNA Intercollegiate Band and Kansas as well as playing with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Currently, he is the lead trombonist of the Wiseguys Big Band Machine in Montebello and performs with various groups in the Los Angeles area. Francisco believes lessons should be tailored to the students’ unique needs to better cultivate proficient musicians, interest in the arts in general, and well-rounded human-beings.

Armin Mariano-Violin, Viola, Piano

Armin Mariano began studying violin at age 7 and at 12, he switched to viola because of its warm rich tone. He graduated from Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), and decided to major in music. He was awarded a scholarship to attend Carnegie Mellon University and earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Viola Performance, and Certificate in Music Education. Armin has been an active performer and teacher since 2009 in Los Angeles and in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He teaches both violin/viola and piano to students of all ages. Throughout his studies, Armin has developed a passion for teaching and individualizes lessons for each student based on their different strengths. He focuses on developing basic musical skills using fun and creative ideas.

Jeff Melendez-Woodwinds

Jeff Melendez is a woodwind performer and educator based in Los Angeles. Jeff currently studies at the Los Angeles College of Music and is an expert in saxophone, clarinet, flute, oboe and bassoon. His performances include the Los Angeles Latin orchestra and he had the privilege to be part of the Tournament of Roses Honor Band for 2 years. Currently, Jeff teaches at Helen Bernstein High school as a coach and was former director of music at Belle Vista Elementary school. Jeff believes in helping students achieve a goal of musical knowledge and experience.

Elzbieta Nawrocka-Piano

Born and raised in Poland, Elzbieta began a highly comprehensive piano and music education at age 7. She attended F. Chopin Music University in Warsaw, further deepening her knowledge and experience via short studies across Europe.  Having attained Master’s degrees in  Classical Performance and music Pedagogy, she continued her education in Paris, France through a full scholarship from the French government.  Upon relocating to Norway in 1992, she worked primarily as a music educator and organist, while simultaneously pursuing her career as a performer and interpretive artist.  Over the span of 18 years, she was employed to teach a wide curriculum of college preparatory music courses, including piano performance, music history, theory, and concert production while concurrently working as a private instructor and accompanist. Elzbieta has worked with many highly accomplished soloists and chamber musicians on notable and successful projects in Europe and Scandinavia. She also made appearances on a number of broadcasts on Norwegian and Polish national television and radio and was featured on several chamber recordings produced and distributed by LAWO Classics records.

Danielle Oda-Voice, Piano

Danielle is born and rasied from Mililani, Hawaii. She began piano lessons at the age of 7 and quickly fell in love with the art. She enjoyed playing the works of David Benoit, David Foster and many forms of pop/contemporary music. Feeling a need to try something new, Danielle began voice lessons in middle school, and became even more intrigued - she trained hard in private lessons and began feeling comfortable combining piano and voice. Attending the University of Hawaii, she majored in music, with an emphasis in voice. In May 2014, she made the big move from Hawaii to Los Angeles to pursue music.

Jeff Pifher-Saxophone

Jeff attended the Eastman School of Music (B.M., ’07) where he studied jazz saxophone with Walt Weiskopf and classical saxophone with Chien-Kwan Lin. After completing his degree, Jeff became a full time production assistant and stage manager at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. Returning to academia, he received his master of music degree in jazz performance (M.M., ‘11) from the elite Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. While in Miami he studied jazz saxophone with Gary Keller and jazz piano with Whit Sidner. Recently Jeff has been in pursuit of his doctorate in jazz performance (D.M.A.) and has received a certificate in arts entrepreneurship from the University of Southern California. Jeff uses music to inspire his students to challenge themselves and make learning a more enjoyable experience.

Mercedes Quintana-Violin/Viola

Mercedes Quintana holds a bachelor’s degree in music performance from the University of Colorado and a master’s degree from the DePaul University School of Music where she studied with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Mercedes is an active freelancer in the Los Angeles area and regularly performs with local symphonies. As an instructor, Mercedes is certified in the Suzuki Teaching Method but believes in a comprehensive approach to teaching music. She believes that music is fun and creative so the approach to learn it should be also.

Juan Sixto-Guitar

Juan Sixto began his guitar studies as a hobby, intending to replicate and cover the music of The Beatles. Soon, his teenage pastime matured and turned into a passion. His dedication has acquired him the opportunity to accompany and perform with groups such as the “Rio Hondo Guitar Ensemble” and the “Workman Mill Industrial Orchestra” in Whittier, California. Juan Sixto has studied under the private instruction of respected instructors such as John Dearman, Grammy Award winner with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. With an abundance of patience and nearly a decade of experience in teaching, Juan has had the privilege of guiding many students through their musical journey. His approach to teaching and his unique methodology can make the daunting skill of reading and playing music feel so easy and natural to any student.

Patrick Shiroishi-Guitar, Saxophone, Piano

Patrick received his BM in Music Therapy and Music Performance in Classical Guitar from Chapman University. While at Chapman, he actively performed in the University's Guitar Quartet and Duo, which in 2008 took first place in a nationwide competition in Brownsville, Texas. He was also given Chapman's Guitarist of the Year Award in 2009 and Music Therapy Scholarship Award in 2008. From 2010-2013, Patrick worked at Orange County Children's Therapeutic Arts Center where he served as the Therapeutic Arts Coordinator. There, Patrick worked as Music Therapist for children with special needs, lead the Early Head Start/Pre-Kinder Arts program, and taught piano and guitar to children of all ages. When he is not teaching, Patrick performs and collaborates with several ensembles and bands around the Los Angeles area.

Christine Smit-Voice, Piano

Christine Smit started piano lessons at age 5 and singing at age 7. She went on to graduate from Berklee College of Music with her Bachelor's Degree in Contemporary Writing and Production. She works currently as a teacher, solo artist, background vocalist, arranger, and vocal producer. She has been featured on several contemporary gospel albums including Israel Houghton's 'Road to DeMaskus'. Christine is a patient and encouraging teacher who trains her students (both voice and piano) in proper technique, music theory, practice techniques, and ear training. Her goal as a teacher is to educate students not only to read the notes on the page, but to develop a deeper understanding of the music to further inspire their own creativity in all genres.

AnnMarie Stanislaus-Voice, Piano

AnnMarie Stanislaus is a singer and songwriter from Malaysia who studied at the International College Of Music in Kuala Lumpur, and graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree in Songwriting. AnnMarie is well known for her performance with Grammy Award winning composer/producer, David Foster, at The David Foster & Friends Concert at Stadium Putra, Bukit Jalil in 2011. Aside from performing, AnnMarie has also been a dedicated Voice and Piano Teacher and Show Choir Vocal Coach, teaching students whose age groups range from children to adults. She has given private voice lessons and has coached show choirs at International schools. In 2013, she conducted a Songwriting Workshop at the International College of Music. Currently, she’s a music instructor and continues to perform extensively in the music scene here in LA.

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