Piano & Keyboards
Classical, Jazz, and Contemporary Styles
Joel Brandon is a 28 year-old singer, pianist, and composer from Annapolis, MD. A story-teller at heart, Joel has a passion for self-expression and bringing productions to life through the emotive and versatile power of music.
Joel likes to make lessons fun, yet structured. He focuses on the goals and interests of his students, having them perform music they love, while working on a solid technical foundation. They learn how to play and sing music by ear, in addition to reading music notation. He has 3 years of experience teaching students ages 6-63 in all styles.
Joel began studies on piano and music theory at the age of 6, learning the technique of the Russian Piano School as a medium for increased endurance and facility. As a performer, Joel has sung and played in a variety of styles, including classical, musical theater, top 40, Christian, and jazz. He has over 5 years of professional experience performing contemporary and traditional Christian music in various church positions. His singing has earned 1st and 2nd place awards in competitions held by the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), and he is also a featured soloist on two albums by the Messiah College Concert Choir, Like a River and In Remembrance.
As a composer, Joel has written for a variety of short films, the theater, and for the standard array of large and small ensembles. His specialties include dramatic interpretation for picture, MIDI sequencing, and orchestration.
Joel holds a Master of Music from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, where he completed the selective Media Writing and Production program. He completed studies with Raul Murciano Jr., Gary Lindsay, Steve Guerra, and Devin Marsh. Joel also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Composition/Voice from Messiah College,, where he studied with Damian Savarino and Dwight Thomas. Also, he studied film in Los Angeles for a semester, scoring student films and interning at Fox Music.”
Joel is available for lessons on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Jazz, Classical, Pop, Rock, Funk and Electronic Piano
Antonio Dangond is an accomplished pianist, composer, and arranger with performance/recording experience in various styles of music, including jazz, classical, pop, rock, funk, and electronic music. He has had the privilege to study piano with Christine Jones, Gerard Hagen, Matt Harris, and Gary Fukushima. While in high school, he completed the American College of Musicians/Piano Guild High School Diploma Program and the MTAC’s Certificate of Merit Program up through Level 10 (Advanced). He received his BM in Jazz Studies from California State University Northridge.
Antonio has recorded for Dirty Thursdays Podcast, the television program Get Thee Behind Me, and with various artists throughout Southern California, including the CSUN Jazz A Band. He has performed at The Mint, The Coach House, The Galaxy, Catalina’s Jazz Club, and at the 2011 Playground Music Festival, which featured several world-famous acts. He has also worked with musical theatre companies Gourmet Detective, Stepping Stone Players, and Children’s Civic Light Opera.
As an educator, Antonio’s skills range from providing complete beginners with a solid grasp of music fundamentals to helping experienced performers expand their musical horizons. His teaching methods utilize not only a deep understanding of music theory, but its practical application to performance and composition as well.
Antonio is available for private Piano lessons on Tuesdays, Wednesdays.
Beginning and Intermediate Classical Piano
Coco York has performed for President and Mrs. Bill Clinton twice, royalty, dignitaries, State Departments around the world, members of the Dutch Government and she has also authored a book: Simple Vocal Technique with Inner Engineering. Hailing from Strong, Arkansas, USA, where she was born, Coco has made her way to New Orleans, Australia, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Asia, Africa, Europe, leaving her mark in music across the globe.
CoCo has shared the stage with artist such as McCoy Tyner, Dianne reeves, Tanya Marie, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Toots Thielemans, and many others. She has appeared in theaters, recorded, and has extensive television and radio experience from around the world.
Born Guinevere Henry and nicknamed CoCo because of her penchant for drinking hot chocolate, she earned a Bachelor of Performing Arts degree in Music from Southern University in Louisiana. She studied Opera with Matiwilda Dobbs then subsequently returned to Southern University to continue her education. She has since earned a Masters Degree in Psychology and a Masters Certificate in Music Therapy.
Coco has worked as a Music Therapist at Links High School in Montreal, QB with developmentally challenged children, as well as in geriatrics at the St. Andrews Long Term Care Facility (also in Montreal, QB) with adults who suffered from autism, Parkinson’s, stroke and other ailments. Additionally, Coco has served as a Substitute Teacher at a number of schools in the LA County, has taught Master Classes all over the world, and has held permanent positions at both the Aboriginal School of the Arts in Sydney, Australia and the prestigious Rotterdam Conservatory of Music in The Netherlands.
When asked about her teaching style, Coco responds: “My teaching style is extremely simple: I always meet a client where they are. I assess to find out what their individual needs are and join them there.”
Coco is available for private beginning/intermediate piano lessons on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays.
Pop, Rock and R&B Vocal Teacher
As a performer and songwriter, Jason has shared the stage with artists such as Rocco Deluca, Nikka Costa, and Jonathan Foreman, as well as countless local indie favorites. He had a brief stint as a top 60 contestant during the first season of NBC’s the Voice. His original songs, Paper Roses, and Aftermath – from his self-titled EP – appeared on network television shows Gossip Girl, and Ghost Whisperer. To his acclaim, Jason self-released his first full-length album titled, Stomp Out the Sun in 2010, and toured the West Coast in promotion of that record. In 2012, he co-produced, co-wrote, and engineered the EP Before the Evening Falls, with his Americana side-project, the Tin Drums. He is currently working on his third studio album with Mirrorball Entertainment that is set to release fall of 2013.
While completing his undergraduate degree in Commercial Guitar and Arranging, Jason was a volunteer music instructor to at-risk youth at the Azusa Pacific Conservatory of Music, as well as a professional music instructor at Gard’s Music. Following college, he worked at Joe Ferrante Music Academy for over a year teaching guitar, piano, and voice. In addition to teaching at Monster Music Lessons, he also teaches privately at La Canada School of Music. Through these various teaching positions, Jason has gained the confidence to be a creative and flexible teacher, able to adapt his lessons and style to meet the unique needs of each student. His college professors inspired him not only to be a great musician but also a great teacher. He loves teaching because he enjoys watching students hone their talent into skill so that they can achieve their dreams.
Classical, Pop, and Jazz
At a young age she began to play piano and violin, training in both the classical and pop genres. It wasn’t until college, while studying at the University of South Carolina under Bert Ligon, that she discovered and devled headfirst into jazz. The new style quickly became apparent in her songwriting. After graduating college, Taryn relocated to Brooklyn, where she remained an active member of the music scene. She formed her own band, Taryn Lounsbury Live, and played violin for The Anthony Mulcahy Band, where she opened for acts such as Glen Hansard and Mark Geary. In 2012, Taryn was a featured artist at the Gealach Gorm Songwriter Festival in Kill, Ireland. Taryn taught at her private music studio, “Taryn’s Melodies,” in Park Slope, Brooklyn, while working for Forbes Music Company in NY as a piano, violin, guitar, and vocal instructor. Her debut album, Too Happy For Love, released in February, exhibits her diverse and unique musical background, as well as her natural grasp of language and storytelling.
“I have been an educator and administrator for quite sometime, and am aware of the qualities that separate mediocre from good, and good from great. Taryn is unquestionably great. I am constantly evaluating teaching talent in private instruction, group instruction, and in public/ private school classrooms. It is not often that I find a teacher with Taryn’s ability, passion, personality, and commitment.” -Forbes Music Company, NY
Jazz and Rock Piano
Derek John Buechel is an honors graduate of Columbia College in Chicago where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree. While attending Columbia, Derek based his studies in the jazz and rock/fusion guitar idiom, and had private lessons with Chicago greats Frank Dawson and Peter Lerner. Through his studies and training, Derek attained a solid foundation in all aspects of music including composition, theory, technique, production, sight-reading, and ear training. While at Columbia, Derek was surrounded by many of the businesses’ finest musicians including blues greats Koko Taylor and Fernando Jones, jazz greats Pat Martino, Jon Faddis, and John Pizzarelli, and funk legend Fred Wesley.
While maintaining a solid rock n’ roll foundation, Derek’s style is described as an eclectic mix of jazz, rock, blues, funk, and psychedelia. Part of the reason for his unique style is his involvement in a number of different musical outfits. Derek was a member of almost every different ensemble Columbia had to offer including Jazz Guitar, Blues Ensemble, Pop Orchestra, New Music Ensemble, and Groove Band. He was also very involved in Chicago’s theatre and comedy scene, working as Music Director for a production based out of Chicago’s legendary 2nd City and also playing lead guitar for the Apollo Theatre’s Baby Wants Candy, the most popular improv-comedy sketch in Chicago.
Since moving to Los Angeles in late 2008, Derek has built a solid musical foundation for himself through teaching lessons, and his rock band, Hey You!. Hey You! has been lighting up Hollywood, constantly playing some of L.A.’s best venues such as the House of Blues, Key Club, Viper Room, and the Troubadour, and has even won a couple of awards along the way (RAW Artist Musician of the Year, Project Rock Warrior winners). The band happened to catch the ear of Producer/Engineer Mike Clink (Guns N’ Roses, Heart, Metallica), and is currently in the studio recording their debut album with him.
While performing with Hey You!, Derek has still kept his love for teaching alive. He has received much praise for his teaching of all age groups, but specifically with children. He has been involved with childcare and education since high school, and this can be seen in his teaching style with kids. Some of his students have even given him the nickname “Happy”.
Classical and Pop Piano
Andreas Farmakalidis is a professional performing musician, published musical author as well as educator with national as well as international touring experience.
He is primarily known as an electric bass player. He was fortunate enough to record with notable musicians such as Grammy award winning guitar player Marty Friedman,Megadeth, aika (J-pop top10), Neilaproductions, among others. In addition, he supported many well known artists and he has shared the stage with the likes of Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder, WAR, Greek x factor and super idol artists among many others.
He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Music from Berklee College of Music as well as a MA degree from Brandeis University . In addition, Andreas is a Rotterdams Conservatory alumnus, where he was studying Jazz bass Performance as well as Music Pedagogy. Moreover, he has a performance grade degree in piano from Trinity College in the UK.
Lastly Andreas is a staff writer for the renowned bass magazine. His First music book, which is published through academic publishing, focuses on observations and analyses in the music of Ornette Coleman. His second book (hip hop bass lines), which is going to be published through bassline publishing, will be out early 2012.
Andreas is available for private lessons on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Alexis Stone Lopez
Beginning Piano & Piano for Vocal Accompaniment
Alexis was born in August 1984 in Modesto, CA. She attended Woodrow Elementary, Somerset Middle School, and Fred C. Beyer High School.
Shortly before graduation from high school, she decided to audition for the first season of American Idol. So, at 17, she skipped school just before finals to drive more than 300 miles alone to Los Angeles for a 40-second audition. Although competing with more than 10,000 Idol-hopefuls, she made it all the way to the final Wildcard competition, before leaving the show.
After graduation, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue her music interests. She attended Pierce College in Woodland Hills, CA, where she studied Linguistics and Music, and then went on to earn a full scholarship to the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA.
Alexis has been working in recording studios since she was 14 years old, not only as an artist and studio vocalist, but also as a recording engineer and a producer. Although her primary focus has been on her education, she has also managed to tour with several major acts at venues including MGM Grand, Cal Expo, Universal Amphitheater, and other major locations across the U.S.
She is currently back in the studio full time, working to complete a volume of songs, to draw from for her upcoming album.
Alexis has limited availability for Private Piano, Vocal and Guitar Lessons on Monday, Tuesday , Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.