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.
Patrick Behnke-Violin & Viola
Patrick Behnke earned his Master's degree in both Performance and Composition at the California Institute of the Arts, and his Bachelor's in Viola Performance from the University of Michigan. Patrick is an attentive and dedicated teacher who believes in music instruction built around student-centered learning. He has been involved in a range of styles on the viola and violin, from classical to pop, contemporary, folk, and fiddle, and is happy to work with students as they travel the musical path of their choice. Encouraging every student to access creativity in their music education is something he values highly. Patrick's compositions have been performed by the Contemporary Choral Collective of Los Angeles (C3LA), the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra, and chamber ensembles in which Patrick is a member.
Alvaro Carmena-Black-Brass & Piano
Alvaro Carmena-Black is a Spanish-American trumpet player who began playing trumpet at the age of seven. Since then, he has been focusing on growing his skills as both a performer and a teacher. Since moving to the United States, Alvaro has been exposed to many different teaching methods and musical styles, from the classical William Adam method to Jazz improvisation. In May 2022, Alvaro graduated from Berklee College of Music with a Bachelor of Music in Brass Performance Studies, studying. While at Berklee, Alvaro studied with great performers and educators such as Jarritt Sheel, Marcus Rojas, Angel Subero and Marquis Hill. As a music educator, Alvaro hopes to pass on his knowledge and experience to his students so they can continue to grow along their musical journey. In addition to private music lessons, Alvaro teaches an early childhood music program at a Spanish immersion school in Los Angeles. Cumulatively between private and group classes, Alvaro plans to continue to grow as a music teacher to impact students in the LA area.
Camden Boyle-Violin, Viola, Piano
Camden Boyle is a composer and music teacher who believes in the transformative power of music. A lifelong violinist, he is the former concert-master of the UC Santa Barbara orchestra and member of the Young Artist String Quartet. He’s performed in master classes for Gil Shaham and Yo-Yo Ma. Camden holds a Bachelors (2017) and Masters (2019) in Music from the Juilliard School in New York and has taught violin, viola, and piano locally in California for the
last three years. As a teacher, he is experienced working with all ages and skill levels. Camden is committed to the patient and rewarding process of encouraging gradual weekly progress in students – progress that will build a
flourishing technique and musicianship over the span of months and years.
Tamao Cmiral is a classically trained pianist from Los Angeles earning his Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Piano Performance from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In addition to his experience as a pianist he is self-taught multi-instrumentalist playing the ukulele, guitar, bass guitar, and drums. Tamao has performed in a number of different ensembles such as high school salsa band and world music ensemble, chamber groups, university choir, and more. Although his interests in music are widespread, piano is his foundation and he believes the instrument is a great gateway into the world of music. With over 20 years of experience playing the piano Tamao is keen on offering his students a musical education that is fun and inspiring while also being disciplined. As an instructor his goal is to share his knowledge to help his students become technically proficient at their instrument but more importantly for his students to build a long lasting bond to music.
Alexandra Engen-Flute, Piano & Music Theory
Alexandra Tseng Engen is a classically trained flutist & composer from South Pasadena, California. Alexandra a BA for Flute Performance from the University of California, Davis. She performed extensively as the Phyllis and Thomas Farver endowed piccolo chair of UC Davis Symphony Orchestra (UCDSO). She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree from UC Davis with a double emphases in Flute Performance and Honors Composition in 2011. Alexandra went on to obtain her Master of Music (M.M.) degree in Flute Performance from New York University: Steinhardt in 2014. There, she studied under world-renowned flutist Robert Dick. After graduating in 2014, Alexandra contributed to the Youth Music Festival where NYU alumni and current students wrote compositions for local New York City youth, allowing children to experience new music and collaborate with living composers. Alexandra is a flexible and supportive instructor that likes to make music a fun experience for her students.
Kris Feldman-Flute, Piano, Voice
Kris Feldman has been a private teacher of voice, flute, and piano for over 25 years. She is also the music teacher and children’s choir director for Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary School in Pasadena and a member of the worship team at Newhall First Presbyterian Church. Kris has her Bachelor of Music in Jazz studies with Flute Concentration from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, where she studied with David N. Baker of the Smithsonian Jazz Society; Dominic Spera, Jazz Studies; Harry Houdeshel, Flute; and Eileen Farrell, Voice. The unique environment of IU allowed Kris to explore songwriting, arranging, piano, and electronic music, while maintaining traditional classical training. As a result of this diversity, Kris went on to explore the Chicago music scene, performing jazz, blues, pop, rock, and progressive sounds, as well as embarking on a career as a recording artist and vocal arranger. She also sang several commercial jingles for radio and television before moving to the LA area to raise her family and continue her performing and teaching career.
Chad Fitzsimmons-Guitar, Bass Guitar, Ukulele
Chad Fitzsimmons is a multi-instrumentalist who has been performing for live audiences since age nine. Not only a performer, Chad is also a composer whose songs have played across the United States and Europe. He has performed with the group Black Irish Texas, and has had varying temporary performance positions in the bluegrass and rock scenes of Austin, Texas. Today Chad focuses on chamber music, inserting his banjo into the practice where he can. He is currently a student at California Institute of the Arts where he is in the process of completing his BA in Music. As an instructor, Chad likes to support his student's musical goals by breaking music down to its elements and devising student specific paths for achievement.
Tom Fong-Guitar, Bass Guitar, Piano, Ukulele
Tom Fong is a versatile guitarist based in Los Angeles. He is proficient in a wide range of genres, including classical, pop, rock, and jazz. Tom started learning the piano and the guitar at the age of 7 and 12. He holds grade 8 classical guitar and piano certificates from The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. Tom obtained his Bachelor of Music in Guitar Performance and Minor in Audio Production from Musicians Institute. While there, he was awarded the International Musicians Merit Scholarship. After graduating, Tom worked there as a teaching assistant before pursuing his Master’s Degree at the University of Southern California. At USC, he studied with maestros such as Frank Potenza, Paul Jackson Jr., Bruce Forman, and Adam Del Monte. In 2022, Tom graduated from the Studio/Jazz Guitar Performance program and got invited as a member of the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society. Besides teaching, Tom is currently a music library composer for TV and film, and has served as a session guitarist and music director for numerous artists from Hong Kong and Taiwan when they tour in the U.S.
Jullanar Gamboa is a jazz vocalist in Los Angeles. She attended Berklee College of Music where she received her B.A. in Vocal Performance back in spring of 2017. Since then, she’s worked as a freelance voice teacher and performed at various venues around town that include Pasadena’s Jones Coffee Roasters. In addition to performing, Jullanar had the opportunity to co-write and sing on the revised soundtrack for the Damien Chazelle film Whiplash. As a vocal instructor, she believes in a technical approach to teaching voice, combining vocal technique exercises with the ability to encourage, empower, and help her students attain the confidence they need to be great vocalists. She brings empathy and support to her practice and believes that anyone who wants to sing can do so!
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 Eastman School of Music. While a member of the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, Cameron shared the stage with world-class guest artists such 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, 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. He is 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.
Osvaldo Gonzalez-Clarinet, Oboe, Saxophone
Osvaldo U. Gonzalez is a music educator in the Greater Los Angeles area teaching clarinet, saxophone, and oboe. He has coached and instructed at Don Bosco Technical Institute, Glendale High School, Saturday Conservatory of Music, Cornerstone Music Conservatory, and New Life Vision Church (NLVC). In his private music educator, Osvaldo works with students of all ages and levels. His main focus when teaching is to create lessons/studies that fit the student’s level, technical ability, and musical interests to inspire them to grow as musicians. A Los Angeles native, Osvaldo received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education at California State University, Los Angeles in 2015 under the guidance of Dr. Emily Moss and his clarinet instructor, Helen Goode-Castro. Currently, he is pursuing his Master of Music at Cal-State LA for Clarinet Performance to continue developing his skills. By accomplishing his own educational aspirations, he plans to pass on his knowledge to his students with the skills he developed from his graduate studies.
Jon Jacobs-Guitar & Ukulele
Jon Jacobs is a classically trained, versatile guitarist with over fifteen years of teaching experience. He’s an empathetic, affirming, and passionate teacher who loves sharing the joy of music with his students. Jon grew up playing rock, blues, country, and bluegrass, then went on to study classical and jazz guitar at Carleton College. There he earned a BA in music with an emphasis in performance. He also has experience performing with jazz bands, jazz ensembles, chamber music groups, and his alternative rock band with whom he's written and recorded original music. Jon’s teaching style involves cultivating a growth mindset, fostering curiosity, and creating a balance between the everyday fun of making noise without judgement and the sustained effort that leads to long term satisfaction as an artist.
Lu Jiang earned her Master’s degree in Music Education from Mississippi College and her Bachelor’s degree in Musicology from Southwest University for Nationalities in China. Cosmopolitan, engaging, and patient, Lu teaches piano and music theory. Lu has helped many students to pass the ABRSM examinations in Music Theory and Piano Performance. Lu relies on her international experiences to enhance her teaching methods. She has ten years of experience teaching piano. She believes in working towards specific musical goals and mastering solid technique as the foundation of great musicianship.
Grace completed her Bachelor of Music from California State University, Long Beach in piano performance and composition in 2006, but her musical adventures started nearly 40 years ago. As a young child, Grace studied in classical and jazz piano, violin, cello and classical guitar. She also performed in various youth orchestras and choirs in and around the Sydney Opera House. In addition to her years as a piano teacher, she has extensive experience as an accompanist for
singers, instrumental soloists and choirs. With membership in both MTAC and MTNA, Grace can help anyone prepare for piano competitions, college entrance exams or just learn a lifelong tool for relaxation and meditation through music.
Juhun (Sam) Kim-Cello
Juhun (Sam) Kim is a passionate and engaging cellist with over 11 years of orchestral experience. Juhun was born in South Korea. He studied Music Education and graduated from Dordt University in Iowa in 2022. As a cello instructor, he has taught in Hyundai Ulsan Youth Orchestra and Northwest Iowa Youth Symphony Orchestra. In his teaching career, Juhun has helped many students of all ages and skill levels improve their cello performance and musicality, from beginners to advanced players. His students have gone on to audition for orchestral positions in both middle school and high school. Juhun has always strived to put the student first while at the same time, upholding a standard befitting the level of music the student is trying to learn. His passion, empathy, and strong cello proficiency make him a great choice as a cello instructor.
Alicia Kuch has over 20 years of experience playing the violin and over a decade of orchestral experience. She is Classically trained and has also studied Baroque violin. Alicia graduated from the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and received her Bachelor's in Music from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was a member of the Chamber Orchestra and University Baroque Ensemble. In her teachings, Alicia emphasizes developing proper violin technique as well as developing skills in music theory and musicianship, but also hopes to impart the joy that comes from learning and playing the violin by creating a fun learning experience for her students.
Melody Lin-Piano & Music Theory
Harpsichordist, fortepianist, and modern pianist Melody Lin holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Historical Performance Practices/Keyboard Studies at Claremont Graduate University. There she studied harpsichord with Prof. Robert Zappulla and modern piano and fortepiano with Prof. Jenny Soonjin Kim. Prior to earning her doctorate, Lin had received her Master’s Degree in Music, majoring in Piano Performance, and was the top graduate from Taiwan Fu Jen Catholic University, where she studied under Dr. Ming-Hui Lin. In 2011 she joined the Applied Music Program at East Los Angeles College, working closely with her dedicated mentor, Dr. Lucy Nargizyan. Mrs. Lin has taught piano in and around the San Gabriel Valley since 2011. As an instructor, she builds students ability to read, develop technique and perform on the piano through positive encouragement. Students are given weekly goals to achieve their best in music. Past students of Mrs. Lin have gone on to perform in recitals, participate in graded exams as well as competitions. Her ultimate goal is for students to enjoy music and the piano.
Jonathan Lucas-Piano & Music Theory
Jonathan lucas has been playing piano since the age of seven, and teaching for the past six years in eastern Los Angeles. Jonathan is a graduate from the Interlochen Arts Academy and the University of Michigan where he studied jazz and
improvisation. Jonathan studied under the tutelage of Jeff Lavner at the Colburn School of Music in downtown Los Angeles who now serves as the chair of the piano department. Jonathan is an active performer in the Los Angeles area, playing with a variety of artists and songwriters over the last five years as well as touring around the country as a keyboardist and vocalist. Jonathan has an extensive background in classical music theory as well as jazz theory, with extensive experience in ear training and transcription of both jazz and popular music. Jonathan hopes to convey his love of music to his students by helping them experience the joy of the musical language.
Matthew Margeson earned his Bachelor's degree in Jazz Studies from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Matt is an attentive and kind teacher who believes in music instruction built around goal-oriented learning. He is a music producer, songwriter, and touring drummer who works with students as they develop skills in music and life. Encouraging every student to access creativity in their music education is something he values highly. Matt's creativity and love for creating music is abundantly clear in his artist project Part Time Love Affair. Recently featured on KCRW here in Los Angeles, the music of Part Time Love Affair is warm and refreshing. Matt helps his students cultivate their skills and keeps the process of learning music inspirational for all ages and levels of expertise.
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.
Justyna Misiewicz began studying classical piano in her home country, Poland. She later learned to play the organ and received a Master’s in Education and Church Music from Opole University. Justyna continued studying music at California State University Los Angeles, earning her second M.A. as well as California teaching credentials in music. Before moving to the L.A. area, she was an organist at a parish church on Catalina Island for five years. She has been teaching piano to young children as well as adults. Justyna is interested in early sacred music, music history, and performance practice. In 2019, she received a Ph.D. in Musicology from Claremont Graduate University. Throughout her doctoral studies, she continued lessons in piano and organ and served as a research assistant. She received the Graduate Dissertation Award from the university as well as a grant to conduct her dissertation research in Krakow, Poland. Justyna loves to share her musical interests with her students and hopes that playing the piano will stay with each student for a lifetime.
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.
Dave Salay-Drums & Percussion
Dave Salay, originally from Cleveland, OH, holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Cleveland State University where he studied with Tom Freer of the Cleveland Orchestra. He has held the positions of Principal Percussion with the West Virginia Symphony and section percussion with the Louisiana Philharmonic. He has performed with orchestras across the country including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and has worked as a drummer in Cleveland and Los Angeles. Dave is an artist for Pearl Drums, Adams Percussion, Zildjian Cymbals and Freer Percussion. As former adjunct faculty at Loyola University of New Orleans and Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra, Dave loves teaching students of all ages and levels and believes in making music fun.
Andrew is a very passionate pianist, singer, composer, and songwriter who absolutely loves teaching. He graduated Hofstra University in 2014 with double Bachelor's degrees in both Music and Film. There, he attended an intensive Art Of Piano Pedagogy seminar by the renowned piano educator Blanche Abram of Baldwin, NY. At Hofstra, Andrew studied privately with Professor Abram for four years as well. Aside from being a piano instructor, Andrew has performed as a bass section leader and soloist for the New Jersey Choral Society for 6 years, in competitive chamber choruses at Hofstra University, and most recently at Bel Air Church in Encino, CA. Andrew was also a music director for Ponds Reformed Church in Oakland, NJ for 4 years where he played piano, sang solo, arranged music, and conducted holiday choruses. Andrew is also an award-winning filmmaker who has written and directed several films which have traveled around the world screening at film festivals. He has taught and tutored piano in many different capacities for 17 years, has taught every age and difficulty level, and enjoys figuring out the students' strengths and weaknesses individually for a well-rounded and personally tailored musical educational experience.
Elva Tang-Flute and Piano
Elva is a flutist from Southern California and recent graduate of Michigan State University with a Master’s of Music in Flute Performance. In Michigan, she played with the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra and was an active member of the MSU Symphony Orchestra, Wind Symphony, and chamber ensembles. She also frequently played with the California Solisti Chamber Orchestra and performed in masterclasses for Emmanuel Pahud, Anne Zentner, Jennifer Gunn, and Hannah Hammel. She holds a Bachelor’s of Music from UC Irvine where she studied with Patricia Cloud. Elva has maintained an active private flute studio since 2016 where she prepares her students for state honor band auditions and MTAC Certificate of Merit exams. She works to foster strong flute playing fundamentals in her students and to create a positive space for students to learn and express themselves.
Robert Wolk is a drummer, educator, and composer based in Los Angeles. As both a teacher and a lifelong student, he aims to foster a curiosity for and love of music that is bolstered by a strong technical foundation and an understanding of tradition. By not limiting himself or his students to any genre, he hopes to harness the common ground between styles to empower his students to find their own voice in an ever changing musical landscape. Robert holds a Master of Music in composition from The University of Maryland, and Bachelor of Arts degrees in percussion performance and composition from The University of Maryland Baltimore County. As an artist, Robert has written for a variety of ensembles ranging from orchestra to rock bands to computers. He has released over 10 albums of original music, contributed to many other recordings, and performed as the main act at venues like The Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles and The Fillmore in Washington DC. Recently, he has composed for film, performed on an album by Javier Reyes of Animals as Leaders, and used his percussion background to provide sound design for a feature film.
Nyomi Zinga is currently completing a Bachelor in Music degree at Azusa Pacific University with an emphasis in voice. Nyomi has been around music all her life, participating in band, choir, and vocal ensembles through high school. Nyomi teaches music fundamentals for toddlers and young children at the Azusa Conservatory through the Tiny Tunes program and has performed with many vocal ensembles at APU including East End Vocal Jazz, University Choir, Gospel Choir, etc. As a vocal instructor, her philosophy is to empower students to learn and grow in their musicality and vocal ability through positive reinforcement and engaged learning.