Piano Lessons


Humberto Olivieri


Areas of Work: Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn

Ages Taught: All Ages.

Styles: Classical, Jazz, Pop, Rock, Music Theory, Composition, Ear Training

Levels Taught:

Piano: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced


Humberto Olivieri was born in Caracas, Venezuela and showed an interest in music at an early age. This was partly influenced by his father who loved playing records of Lionel Richie and George Benson. His father would often play on the piano while while a 5-year-old Humberto sang along. Shortly after, Humberto learned to play piano by ear and this instrument became his main tool for performing, improvising and composing.

Humberto began his formal classical piano studies with professor Bruna Monestiroli, a former student of pianist and educator, Alfredo Casella. Montestiroli gave him the basic technique and understanding of tonal western harmony. He then discovered Jazz, and pursued Jazz studies at the City College of New York where he graduated with a Bachelors in Music Performance.

In New York, he studies with Ray Gallon and Barry Harris and attends workshops with Kenny Werner, Fred Hersch, Bill Charlap and Ted Rosenthal, to name a few. He also studies with saxophonist Jason Rigby, who introduced him to the concept of free jazz.

While here in the US, Humberto has taught at music schools, such as the Miami Youth Symphony, where he worked as teacher assistant for Alex Berti, one of Venezuela's leading composers and orchestrators. He also taught at the Kids On Keys music school in New Jersey. Parallel to that, he continues teaching privately to students of all ages and levels.

Humberto's teaching method his very similar to his former classical teacher Bruna Monestiroli, but also incorporates some of the philosophy and teaching style of Barry Harris, Kenny Werner and Bill Evans. Similar to the latter, Humberto believes in "practicing the minimum". He doesn't like to overwhelm his students with loads of material, and prefers to focus on small portions of a piece of music or exercise until it can be played effortlessly.

Simona Donova


Areas of Work: Manhattan, Queens

Ages Taught: All Ages

Styles: Baroque, Romantic, Classical, Pop, Rock, Contemporary, Music Theory

Levels Taught:

Flute: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Piano: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Simona Donova is a recent graduate from the Aaron Copland School of Music, based in New York City, where she studied with the legendary flutist and performer Judith Mendenhall. Simona began her career as a flutist at the age of ten in Varna, Bulgaria where she was born and raised. After relocating to the United States in 2010, Simona was actively performing while pursuing her music degree. She was a recipient of multiple prizes, some of which included First Prize Winner at the International Flute Competition in Volos, Greece, First Prize of the NAFTA Annual Competition in Arkansas, Winner of the University of Central Arkansas’ Concerto Competition, Winner of the Aaron Copland School of Music Concerto Competition, Nominated and awarded with the CAFTA Organization Award for Outstanding Musician of the Year, and Winner of the 2017 Bergen Philharmonic Concerto Competition. Simona has participated in numerous master classes throughout the United States and has studied under some of the most distinguished flute players, such as, Philippe Bernold, Paula Robinson, Mark Sparks, Paul-Edmund Davies, Keith Underwood, Ali Ryerson, Zoe Goode, Nadine Asin, Jonathan Keeble, Stefan Hoskuldsson, and her current teacher Judith Mendenhall. Simona was a participant at the Interlochen Summer Music Camp in Michigan, the ARIA Summer Music Academy in Massachusetts, the Hidden Valley Music Festival in California, the Miami Music Festival in Florida, and the Volos International Flute Convention in Greece. Simona has performed as a principal flutist in multiple orchestras in the United States, including the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, the Miami Symphony Orchestra, and the YPhil Symphony Orchestra just to name a few. Simona is an active performer in New York City and enjoys a colorful career working with versatile musicians. Her repertoire includes a variety of styles, such as classical, contemporary, jazz, latin and gospel music. A couple of Simona’s upcoming projects include a collaboration with the legendary jazz artists David Budway and Ali Ryerson, as well as a solo debut with the Bergen Philharmonic in New Jersey.

Ben Pinnola


Areas of Work: Nassau County, Western Suffolk

Ages Taught: All Ages

Styles: Jazz, Rock, Pop, Blues, Folk, NYSSMA prep, Music Theory, Composition and Arranging

Levels Taught:

Saxophone: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Guitar: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Bass:  Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Piano:  Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Flute: Beginner, Intermediate

Clarinet: Beginner, Intermediate

Drums: Beginner, Intermediate

Voice: Beginner, Intermediate

Ben Pinnola is a musician, composer, performer and music teacher from Long Island, New York. Ben is a multi-instrumentalist and performs regularly on saxophone, guitar, bass guitar, piano, percussion and vocals. Ben performs at music venues, restaurants and private parties all over the Long Island and New York City area. He plays in jazz bands, rock bands, pop groups, concert orchestras and also performs solo.

Ben plays as a featured musician, all over the New York City area, at venues such as The Cutting Room, The Bitter End, Mercury Lounge, Rough Trade NYC, Cornelia Street Cafe, The Amphitheater at Bald Hill, Tilles Center for the Performing Arts, Revolution Music Hall, 89 North Music Hall and more. He plays with jazz bands, rock bands, pop groups, concert orchestras as well as performing solo. Ben enjoys playing music of all genres.

Ben earned a Bachelor's Degree in Music Performance from Five Towns College, graduating as a member of the Phi Sigma Eta Honor Society. Ben also created and performed two original arrangements with the Vocal Jazz at the seasonal concerts at Five Towns College.

Ben's latest musical endeavor is an original music band called GeoTribe, in which Ben composes and sings as well as plays piano and saxophone. GeoTribe is a jam band who's sound is influenced by rock, funk, jazz, folk and beyond. Ben also has jazz project called the Fresh Tones. The Fresh Tones have been featured live on WUSB 90.1FM. They play original compositions, as well as jazz standards. Ben grew up in a musical household, and has been playing music his whole life. He has been playing professionally with his father’s band, The Suburban Brothers Band, since the age of 15.

Ben has a deep passion for music, that he shares whether he is on stage or in a music lesson. Ben loves to teach students of all ages and skill level. Ben has taught private music lessons for over ten years on Saxophone, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Piano, Clarinet, Flute, Drums and Voice.

Brian Lee

Areas of Work: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau

Ages Taught: All Ages.  Great with kids!

Styles: Classical, Jazz, Blues, Rock, Pop, Theory, Songwriting, Composition, Recording

Levels Taught:

Guitar: Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced

Ukulele: Beginning, Intermediate

Piano: Beginning, Intermediate


Brian Lee, Owner of Galliard Music, is a guitarist, pianist, and composer based in New York.

He studied the guitar with Steve Salerno, the piano with Geoffrey Burleson and Gary Hammond, and composition with Sidney Boquiren. Brian holds a Masters of the Arts in Music Education from Hunter College and a Bachelors of Science in Music Performance from Adelphi University.

A licensed NYS certified music teacher, Brian has taught elementary school music in Manhattan and Queens, in both public and private schools. An instructor of the guitar and piano since 2005, Brian has taught students of all ages and levels and is experienced in aiding students with special needs. In addition to preparing most of his students for numerous live performances, he has also sent most of his students to NYSSMA all of which have received outstanding scores.

Brian has been performing live since 2003 in multiple bands on the guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, and vocals across Long Island, NYC and other parts of the northeast. Currently, he is making music in his solo project called "Yellow Rainbow", which combines live field recordings with synths to create atmospheric soundscapes. Collecting sounds from various cities, forests, parks, and within his own home in NYC, electronic ambient sounds collide with sounds found in everyday life.

John Gray

Areas of Work: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens

Ages: All Ages

Styles: Classical, Jazz, Pop, Rock, Theory, Composition, Recording, Songwriting

Levels Taught:

Bass: Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced

Guitar: Beginning, Intermediate

Ukulele: Beginning, Intermediate

Piano: Beginning, Intermediate


Since moving to New York City in 2005, John has been one of the most in-demand bassists and teachers in New York. John attended Manhattan School of Music, studying bass with Larry Ridley and Jay Anderson while studying piano and composition with Garry Dial and Richard Sussman.  

After graduation, John formed a band called The Jazz Thieves, and has performed his original compositions with them. The Jazz Thieves have played extensively throughout the city at Spike Hill, Rockwood Music Hall, Tea Lounge, Flatiron Room, and the Greenpoint Gallery to name a few. Their first self-titled album was signed to Fervor Records under the name “The John Gray Band”. They have been featured on radio programs throughout the world, and continue to perform in NYC often.

As a teacher, John has taught piano, guitar and bass to students privately, as well as at Pelham Music Arts Studio in Pelham NY, Dea School of Music and Art in Staten Island, and New Canaan Music in New Canaan, CT. John has also worked at the Caedmon School and St. Hilda's and St. Hugh's schools, helping to produce their fall and spring concerts. John works with students to improve their musical skills, teaching them both important works from the past, and modern, popular songs. John's hopes to inspire confidence in the student's musical and life skills with his teaching method.

John also plays in many other projects. John has played jazz with jazz masters James Moody, John McNeil, and Wayne Bergeron. He also had played with with Jason Trachtenburg (of the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players) and currently plays with Tim Cronin (of Camera Obscura/Freelance Whales/Los Campesinos) in his band Floating Compass, at venues such as the Bowery Ballroom, Mercury Lounge, and Glasslands Gallery.

John Velsor


Areas of Work: Nassau, Suffolk

Ages Taught: All Ages

Styles Taught: Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, Theory

Levels Taught:

Guitar: Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced

Bass: Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced

Piano: Beginning, Intermediate


John Velsor received his bachelor degree in music performance on guitar in 2010 from Molloy College. In addition to studying under Dan McGann at Molloy, he had also received an associate’s degree in performance at Nassau Community College, studying under the direction of Stephen Leonard and Bill Zito. Although focusing on classical guitar technique and performance for his degree, John has done fieldwork in the field of music therapy, giving him experience working with children on the autistic spectrum as well as children suffering from other learning disabilities. He has the ambition to ultimately become a professor, aiming to do his master degree work in either music education or ethnomusicology.

John has been giving private guitar lessons since 2006, and has been employed through several notable institutions since. His teaching style aims to meet the personal desires and ambitions of his students while simultaneously instilling a solid understanding of music theory and structure. His laid back and patient approach allows students to feel comfortable to learn and develop at their own pace. Each student is developed a specific lesson plan that is custom designed to help the individual reach their musical goals both personal and academically, allowing them to become the competent musician they want to be.

Aside from his academic achievement, John is also an avid performer. He performs locally as well as touring regularly as a one man band under the title "Astronauto", along with playing guitar in the band "Medicine Fish". John's wide array of musical taste and diverse style has also lead him to playing in and working with many different bands of diverse genres.

Julian Maultsby


Areas of Work: Nassau, Queens, Suffolk

Ages Taught: All Ages

Styles: Rock, Pop, Jazz, Classical, Music Theory, Musical Theatre

Levels Taught:

Guitar: Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced

Bass: Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced

Drums: Beginning, Intermediate

Piano: Beginning, Intermediate

Voice: Beginning


Julian Maultsby has been playing music since he was 8 years old. He started off as a percussionist in his elementary school band. Since then he’s learned to love music through multiple genres and instruments, most notably on the guitar and bass.

Throughout high school, he was instructed on the guitar by Latin jazz artist Michelle Marie. To further his education, he attended Molloy College for his Bachelors in Music, with a concentration in classical guitar (instructed by Dan McGann and Christopher Gotzen-Berg) as well as voice (instructed by Terence Goff and Nicholas Dosman). While studying guitar and voice, he was also the drummer for the jazz ensemble, which travelled to Ireland to play at Dundalk IT in 2014.

He is a self taught bassist and is an avid performer with his band Medicine Fish. He has also performed in various musicals, both on stage and in pit bands. He is currently attending the Nassau Community College Studio Recording Technologies program to better understand the production side of music using Pro Tools.

Julian believes music, being an art form, is an essential element to everyone’s well being because at its core, it’s just pure fun. Julian believes that the more you play, the better you get; the better you get, the more you want to learn; and the more you learn, the more you want to play: a never-ending cycle that constantly brings happiness!

Kaitlin Pelkey


Areas of Work: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens

Ages Taught: All Ages

Styles: Jazz, Pop, Folk, Classical, Music Theatre, Alternative

Levels Taught:

Voice: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Ukulele: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Guitar: Beginner, Intermediate

Piano:  Beginner, Intermediate


Kaitlin Pelkey is a composer, educator, and music therapist. She graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree in Music Therapy and a minor in Psychology. Kaitlin is a singer and multi-instrumentalist, teaching voice, ukulele, guitar, piano, and songwriting. She strives in her lessons to help her students discover curiosity and joy in music-making, setting up sustainable creative practice that will serve students in and out of the classroom. Kaitlin had toured and recorded with multiple music acts for the last seven years and is currently working on her first solo record. 

Jared Lucow

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Areas of Work: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens

Ages Taught: All Ages. Fun and Friendly with Kids

Styles: Jazz, Blues, Rock, Pop, Theory, Songwriting, Composition, Recording

Levels Taught:

Guitar: Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced

Piano: Beginning, Intermediate

Voice:  Beginning, Intermediate


Jared comes from a musical family. By age 5 he was a roadie for his parent's traveling stage show. For his 10th birthday he received his first electric guitar. Throughout high school he participated in the renowned Jazz program of Semiahmoo Secondary (Surrey, BC Canada). This program took him across Canada, to the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Idaho, and eventually Cuba. Following high school Jared completed his 4 year program at Humber College in Toronto where he received his Bachelors Degree in Jazz Guitar Performance. Since 2008 the guitar has taken him around the world. He has performed in Spain, Italy, France, Cuba, South Korea, Thailand, Bali, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Cambodia, Singapore, and the Canary Islands. From 2009-2017 Jared was primarily stationed in Phuket, Thailand where he performed music in 5-Star Resort Hotels and taught music at International Schools. In January 2018 he relocated to New York City to pursue his dream of becoming an original recording artist and performing his 200+ song catalogue.

Reid Riddiough


Areas of Work: Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn

Ages Taught: All ages

Styles: Jazz, Rock, Pop, Classical

Levels Taught:

Guitar:  Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Piano:  Beginner, Intermediate 


Reid’s love of music began at the age of eight when he began studying the piano in Phoenix, AZ. He quickly became fascinated by composers such as J.S. Bach and Frederick Chopin, as well as Ray Charles and Bill Evans. By the age of twelve, he began studying guitar in addition to piano and began growing very interested in blues, rock, and metal music. From there, he began focusing on guitar as his primary instrument. 

Reid was introduced to jazz at the age of fifteen when he began attending weekly jam sessions at The Nash, Phoenix's premier jazz venue. This led him to begin performing professionally in the Phoenix area on a regular basis during high school. From there, he was admitted to the Arizona State University Jazz Studies Department, where he studied with Jeff Libman, Michael Kocour, and Lewis Nash and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Jazz Performance in May 2017. 

While living in Phoenix, Reid became an integral part of the Phoenix jazz community, performing regularly at venues such as The Nash, Sacred Grounds, and the Lost Leaf. Having relocated to Queens in August 2018, he is quickly establishing himself as a musician, composer, and educator in the New York City area. In his experience as a professional musician, he has performed with George Colligan, Will Goble, Eric Rasmussen, Dom Moio, Dennis Rowland, Lenny Roberts and others. Additionally, he has performed in school ensembles with Cyrille Aimée, Miguel Zenón, George Garzone, Marshall Gilkes, Andy Martin, Wayne Bergeron, John Hollenbeck, Darcy James Argue, and Ben Wendel as guest performers. 

Rachel Karmel


Areas of Work: Suffolk County and Eastern Nassau County

Ages Taught: All Ages

Styles: Classical, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Pop, Theory, Songwriting, Recording

Levels Taught:

Voice: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Violin: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Ukulele: Beginner, Intermediate

Piano:  Beginner, Intermediate

Cello:  Beginner, Intermediate


Rachel has been studying music for 20 years and received her Bachelor Of Science in Music Education at Hofstra University.

Prior to her degree, she performed in many private and collegiate ensembles as a vocalist, such as Hofstra University Chorale, Hofstra University Chamber Choir, and Hofstra University’s all female a cappella group: Makin’ Treble. She held the position of Music Director for Makin’ Treble for three years and wrote several arrangements for the group to perform.

Rachel has sung in over 20 different style choirs and has played in 10 orchestras. 

Currently, she performs with a jazz combo in the Hamptons, acts in musical theatre productions, is in an upcoming folk band based in Brooklyn, competes in popular vocal competitions, and writes, records and performs her own original music. (KarmaRé : Unispan Records) 

The various experiences in performance ensembles have shaped her personally, and have also helped mold what her teaching styles have become. Rachel is excited and eager to teach any age. She believes that no matter who you are, music is a personal experience; everyone can connect with music on their own level. As a teacher/ coach, Rachel focuses on technical skills, literacy skills and an emotional connection to the music.

Mary Alouette

Areas of Work: Manhattan, Brooklyn

Ages Taught: All Ages. Great with Kids!

Styles: Pop, Classical, Jazz, Musical Theater, Electronic Music, Songwriting, Ear Training

Levels Taught:

Voice: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Guitar: Beginner, Intermediate

Ukulele: Beginner, Intermediate

Piano:  Beginner, Intermediate


A stunning song siren – award-winning electronic jazz singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Mary Alouette's voice bears both tone and control earned through opera training and the emotional connection of a jazz and soul singer grounded in her work performing as a Gypsy jazz and pop singer. Her songs, full of infectious melodies and dangerous rhythms, have laid the groundwork for a fresh, distinctive, and unforgettable sound.

Mary's Gypsy jazz singing brought her to stay in a Gypsy caravan in France; she’s also headlined at venues including 30 Rockefeller Plaza’s Rainbow Room and SixtyFive Bar, the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, Blues Alley, and Terra Blues; sung at Carnegie Hall; competed in the Apollo Theater’s tour; performed the US National Anthem for the Major League Baseball teams: the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals and for the Major League Soccer team DC United; studied opera singing at the American Institute of Musical Studies in Austria and the Schlern International Music Festival in Italy, as well as received a Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance from McGill University in Montreal, Canada; and worked in the studio as an audio engineer in Brooklyn. She’s won the Grand Prize in the Washington Area Music Association’s (WAMA) Professional Artist Support System Songwriting Competition, placed as a finalist in the Mid-Atlantic Songwriting Competition, placed as a finalist in the We Are Listening Singer-Songwriter Competition, won New Artist of the Year (2013) and Best Debut Album (2013) with WAMA, and has twice been nominated by WAMA for Best Jazz Vocalist. She was an Artist in Residence at Strathmore Center for the Arts in Maryland and her performance has been highlighted in the New Yorker. From releasing three EPs of original music that combine Gypsy jazz and electronic music to composing and performing live film scores at Nitehawk Cinema in New York City, her creative muscles have flexed a complex vibrancy reflected from her formative years in Washington, DC and Montreal, Canada.

Mary has been teaching for ten years to students of all ages and levels of experience.  Her students have won the Apollo Theater’s “Amateur Night: Making a Star” Competition, passed the entrance exam to the Conservatory of Music of Brooklyn College, and are songwriters with music publishing organization BMG.  They have also won tiny victories that make up more than grand victories.  Mary loves guiding her students to find their passions in music and is their biggest advocate!

Carlos Cabrera

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Areas of Work: Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan

Ages Taught: All Ages

Styles Taught: Classical, Pop, R&B, Jazz, Production

Levels Taught:

Piano: Beginning, Intermediate

Music Production:

Ableton: Beginning, Intermediate

Logic: Beginning, Intermediate

Pro Tools: Beginning


Carlos was born in Los Angeles, CA, raised in the Midwest and currently is based in New York.

Cabrera studied piano with Dr. Susan Cobb, and with Dr. Steven Widenhofer; He holds a B.A in music from Millikin University.

Cabrera caters his lessons to the individual needs of his students. Lessons should help you develop skills, but most importantly it should be fun, and not feel like another school assignment. “If you heard it, we’ll play it!”

Cabrera has performed at some of the most iconic venues in NYC including: Arline’s Grocery, Pianos, DROM, Shrine World Music Venue, Rockwood Music Hall, The Bowery Electric, The Bitter End, and The Knitting Factory. Since moving to New York, Cabrera has performed for an array of artists, including Hip-Hop, Gospel, Soul, R&B, Conscious Pop, and Rock.

Cabrera strives to have a positive impact on others through the power of music. This mindset has enabled him to travel and perform across the U.S. at venues including the legendary Whiskey A GO-GO in Los Angeles, the Carver Theatre in New Orleans, and a Midwest tour.

Cabrera is currently producing pop records with his writing partner Lescribe, at “3 Red Shoes” label, teaching piano and production, and working as a session musician.

Kristina Koller

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Areas of Work: Manhattan

Ages Taught: All Ages.  

Styles: Jazz, Rock, Pop, Musical Theater, Songwriting, Arranging

Levels Taught:

Voice: Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced

Piano: Beginning, Intermediate

Ukulele: Beginning

Always innovative and pushing the limit, Kristina Koller is making her mark in the music world. As a vocalist, arranger and songwriter Kristina utilizes a wide range of music genres to create her unique sound. Evidenced in her widely acclaimed 2018 debut album ‘Perception’, her take on jazz music in this song collection is both timeless and contemporary, adding interesting textures to uplift old standards for millennial music tastes. Her EP ‘At The Poli Club’, released in early 2019, captures a snippet of her live show. It exemplifies her extraordinary and expressive vocal dynamics in its purest form, doing what she does best - performing and producing music without bounds. 

Growing up just outside of New York City, Kristina was exposed to a wide array of music & dance which markedly influenced her at an early age. As such, she performed in youth musical theater and eventually branched out artistically, embracing solo performance as a teen singer-songwriter and vocalist in alt-rock bands. Her artistic thirst reached into classical art songs, opera and vocal jazz when she discovered the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O’Day, Sarah Vaughan and Chet Baker. Her embrace of jazz expanded into the performance space during her high school years, joining a quartet that gigged locally in Westchester, NY. On scholarship she studied at The Hartt School’s Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz and completed her formal music education at The City College of New York. Kristina developed her musical voice in the NYC jazz scene, performing at venerable haunts such as Smalls, Smoke, Minton's, Mezzrow as well as The Apollo Theater.

Over 5 years of teaching students from the age of 5 to 28. Has taught privately and in group settings (camps, masterclass, mommy & me classes) Recently was a mentor as part of the Women in Jazz Organization for a student attending Berklee College of Music.

John Meier

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Areas of Work: Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn

Ages Taught: All ages

Styles: Jazz, Rock, Pop, Classical

Levels Taught:

Guitar: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Piano: Beginner, Intermediate

At the age of 10 John began studying music privately. Starting on the piano and saxophone he eventually decided to choose guitar as his primary instrument and went on to receive a bachelors degree in Jazz Performance from Arizona State University.

John is a highly motivated performer and teacher with strong communication skills aimed at meeting the needs of diverse groups of students. Competent in performing a wide range of genres; He seeks to equip students with the fundamental performance composition and theoretical skills that will see them excel no matter which path they take in music.

Although he performs variety of genres including jazz, rock’n roll, country, R&B, blues, classical and musical theatre, John specializes in the composition and performance of contemporary improvised music. Some of his compositions have been showcased at the Nash Jazz Club, the Arizona State University Jazz composition contest, and the Reno Jazz Festival.

Alex Mejia

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Areas of Work: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens

Ages Taught: All Ages. Great with Kids and Adults!

Styles: Jazz, Rock, RnB, Pop, Classical, Blues, Flamenco, Ear Training, Music Theory, Songwriting/Composition

Levels Taught:

Guitar: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Ukulele: Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced

Bass: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Piano:  Beginner, Intermediate

Drums: Beginner, Intermediate


Alex is a musician, composer, educator and performer from the mid-Michigan area. Having grown up in a musical family, Alex first learned to play guitar from his father until age 10 when he began studying music seriously with John Campbell(Sea-Cruisers). Alex has always had a love for all music whether that was Mozart, Jimi Hendrix, Art Blakey, or Stephen Sondheim. In 2015, Alex graduated from Michigan State University's Jazz Studies program led by world renown musician Rodney Whitaker(Jazz at Lincoln Center, Roy Hargrove.) While at MSU, Alex had the privilege of touring and performing with Ettienne Charles, Michael Dease, Randy Napoleon, Peter Bernstein, Christian Mcbride, and Jeff Hamilton.

In 2015 Alex relocated to Portland, Oregon and began a career as an independent recording artist releasing the self-recorded Compositions on the Guitar Vol 1 & 2 in 2018 under the name A.F. Mejia. In addition to his solo career, Alex led the song-writing collective and progressive-pop group The afternooners which released a self-title EP in the summer of 2018. He continued performing jazz, rock, rnb, and pop with other groups including Mr. Vale's Math Class, Kingsley Music, Amirah, and the Jeff Chilton Duo. In 2018, Alex moved to New York and began performing with internationally known singer/songwriter NyaLi and as a founding member of the Richard Cortez Quartet. He continues to performing regularly with his band Alex Mejia's Brass Fantasy.

Alex has been teaching music since 2012 in MI, OR, and NY; He teaches students of all ages (4yrs-70yrs). With a strong focus on fundamental exercises and source material, Alex encourages students to let their interests drive lesson plans in turn leading students to have a focus in everything from Flamenco guitar to Blue-Grass to Indie-Rock to Heavy-Metal and Ragtime. Alex is a patient, understanding and focused educator that loves to share his excitement and passion for music in an educational setting. He continues to pass along keys phrases and life lessons he learned while at MSU: "Each One Teach One" and "How you do anything is how you do everything." In addition to music, Alex has interests in theater, visual art, photography, dance, yoga, film and sports!

Jay Julio

Areas of Work: Manhattan, Queens, Nassau

Ages Taught: All Ages. Great with kids!

Styles: Classical, Jazz, Pop, Theory

Levels Taught:

Violin: Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced

Viola: Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced

Cello: Beginning, Intermediate

Piano: Beginning, Intermediate 

First-generation Filipino-American violist Jay Julio hails from Uniondale, New York. A prizewinner in national competitions held by the National Federation of Music Clubs, the Music Teachers National Association, and the YoungArts Foundation, as well as a 2019 recipient of the Juilliard Career Grant, they have been profiled and featured on Interlochen Public Radio, WKCR, and SiriusXM. Jay has spent recent summers at the Lake Tahoe Music Festival, Manchester Music Festival, Texas Music Festival, and Aspen Music Festival as a New Horizons Fellow, the Yellow Barn Young Artists Program, and the Orpheus@Mannes Institute.

They perform throughout the year with Symphony in C, the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, and the New Juilliard Ensemble. Jay recently appeared alongside Joshua Bell at the 25th anniversary gala of the Elton John AIDS Foundation and Vijay Iyer in a performance of his own multimedia work Radhe Radhe. Additional appearances this year include performances at the Philadelphia Inclusive Arts Festival, in Havana and Matanzas as part of the Minnesota Orchestra-led Cuban-American Youth Orchestra, and Juilliard’s FOCUS Festival. As violist of the Madkoi Quartet, they have collaborated with fashion magazine Uomo Moderno in a performance for the Italian royal family and was recently mentioned in a BBC Music article on Groupmuse. With the Madkoi Quartet and as an independent collaborator, they have premiered works by Adam Cuthbért, Josefino Chino Toledo, and Rolf Wallin in North America and beyond. They have also worked closely with Aaron Jay Kernis, Richard Danielpour, and Andrew Norman.

Jay recently started their MM at the Juilliard School on a full-tuition Susan W. Rose Graduate Fellowship, studying with Heidi Castleman, Misha Amory, and Matthew Lipman. They completed a BM at the Manhattan School of Music under Karen Ritscher on a full scholarship after graduating from the Interlochen Arts Academy at the age of sixteen with its highest musical honor, the Young Artist Award. Jay studied chamber music with members of the Juilliard, Cavani, and American string quartets, and participated in masterclasses with Jennifer Koh, Kim Kashkashian, and Cynthia Phelps. They began formal musical training at the age of fourteen through the Mannes Preparatory Division and count among their mentors Matthew Lipman, Renee Skerik, and Anne Lanzilotti. They serve as a Teaching Fellow at the Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program and substitute viola and chamber music instructor at the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division. For rhythm, Jay studies poetry.

Andrew Schiller

Areas of Work: Manhattan and Brooklyn

Ages Taught: All ages

Styles: Jazz, Rock, Pop, Classical

Levels Taught:

Bass:  Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Piano:  Beginner


Andrew Schiller is currently residing in Brooklyn, NY after finishing a master’s degree in jazz bass performance at the New England Conservatory. A native of Phoenix, he graduated from Arizona State University under the musical direction of Michael Kocour. His personal mentors have been Ken Schaphorst, Donny McCaslin, Ralph Alessi, and Frank Carlberg. His bass teachers include John Clayton, Dave Holland, and John Lockwood.

Andrew started performing on bass (electric and acoustic) and piano, forming a rock band with friends from his junior high. Since then, he’s worked as both a bandleader and sideman in various musical styles, with the bulk of his concentration on jazz and classical. Andrew strives to perform and compose with a personal and sincere voice while attempting to create something contemporary and original. He enjoys many types of music, often blending different genres and collaborating with a variety of musicians. 

Andrew has a passion for music education in addition to performance. He has spent summers running music clinics at festivals abroad and leading classes and ensembles at the ASU Latin Jazz workshop. He spent a year as a graduate TA at the New England Conservatory for a class that taught harmony, ear training, and composition. Andrew also has plenty of private one-on-one music instruction, working as the interim jazz bass teacher at Arizona State University for a year teaching students at an advanced level while maintaining a private studio of mostly younger students, ages 4-17. 

In 2012, he was recognized in Downbeat Magazine for his work as a soloist and in January 2013, he was awarded the opportunity to perform original compositions at the Panama Jazz Festival with an NEC ensemble. Most recently, Andrew was awarded the ASCAP Young Composers Grant in February 2014.

Mike Marcinowski

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Areas of Work: Manhattan, Brooklyn

Ages Taught: All Ages

Styles: Jazz, Rock, Pop, Classical, World Music

Levels Taught:

Drums: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Piano: Beginner


Mike Marcinowski is a Brooklyn based drummer, percussionist and educator. Originally from western Massachusetts, Mike was drawn to New York because of its long and storied musical history and thriving scene. Equally at home in rock, folk and jazz realms he enjoys bringing the subtlety and nuance of free improvisation to tightly arranged pop music. His current projects include forays into alternative rock, avant-garde musical theater, radical gospel music and a solo drum/synth act called Big Ceremony.

Music has been a part of Mike's life for as long as he can remember, since growing up listening to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones with his family. He started playing percussion in elementary school and moved to the drum kit in high school where he started forming and performing in the DIY music scene. Mike has degrees in classical percussion and ethnomusicology with a focus on West African diasporic music. He has studied Malian/Guinean folkloric drumming with master drummers Karim Tounkara and Sekou Sylla, and jazz/improvisation with Bob Gullotti, Bob Weiner, Chad Taylor, Ches Smith, Gerald Cleaver and Billy Martin. He is currently studying classical piano repertoire with Aleksandra Kocheva and Haitian ceremonial music with Morgan Zwerlein.  

Mike can be found playing throughout NYC in a number of scenes, as well as accompanying world music, modern and creative movement dance classes with the Mark Morris Dance Group. He has worked with students of all ages and abilities, offering guidance in technique, reading, and improvisation techniques to both drummers and non-drummers.

Erica Strauss


Areas of Work: Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Nassau

Ages Taught: All Ages. Great with kids!

Styles: Classical, Opera, Musical Theater, Jazz, Pop

Levels Taught:

Voice: Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced

Piano: Beginning

Soprano Erica Strauss has performed with numerous opera companies and symphony orchestras including The Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Cleveland Orchestra, The Chicago Philharmonic and the Théâtre National D'Evreaux. She is also an accomplished recital artist, having debuted with the Marilyn Horne Foundation at Carnegie Hall as well as the Cleveland Art Song Festival and the Pro Musica Detroit recital series. Ms. Strauss has been seen in The Metropolitan Opera's Live in HD movie theater series, broadcast around the world and shown nationwide on PBS. Her recitals have been broadcast locally on WQXR and nationally on WFMT and she has been a featured guest on National Public Radio's broadcast of “St. Paul Sunday” discussing her recital work with host Bill McGlaughlin.

A native of New York, Ms. Strauss holds both Bachelor’s and Master's degrees from Mannes College of Music. She is the recipient of numerous prestigious honors and awards including First Prize in the Gerda Lissner Foundation competition, a Sullivan Foundation award, a Richard F. Gold Career Grant and awards from the Marilyn Horne Foundation, Liederkranz Foundation, Metropolitan Opera National Council, Jose Iturbi International Music Competition, Opera Index, American Opera Society of Chicago and The Musicians Club of Women.

Erica has taught students ranging from grade school to the professional level and believes that music lessons should be a joyful and fun experience, no matter what age.

Enjoy taking music lessons from a highly qualified instructor in the comfort of your home. 

Give us a call at 646-791-6642!