Meet our instructors
Dave has been a teacher in the Bay Area for over 20 years. He studied classical guitar with Jim Bertram at CSU Hayward, where he studied for his music degree. He has co-led his rock band, Attila & Dave Project (ADP), for many years, recording three albums with the group, and touring through the U.S.No stranger to various styles of music, he is comfortable in just about any musical genre. “I love to play music.” Dave is also the piano tuner/technician, and guitar repairman at the CV School.
Joey began his music career in Atlanta playing and recording with several prominent bands, including members of the Atlanta Rhythm Section, Sea Level, and the Glenn Phillips Bands. Since arriving in the Bay Area in 1991, he has performed almost every concievable genre of music from Soukous to Samba-Reggae, Blues to Bluegrass.
He is best known in the Bay Area for a slew of projects with guitarist Chris Rossbach and a 13 year association with fusion band The Bartron Tyler Group.
Currently Joey plays bass with BMA nominated singer Paula Harris & the Beasts of Blues, rock outfit "Winterland" and has launched a solo career as an interpreter (and fledgling composer) of science and skeptical songs via "The Skeptic's Jukebox".
Joey's early musical influences were Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Allman Brothers, Yes and Todd Rundgren. At some point, the music of Frank Zappa became very important to him. As of late, he enjoys everything from Bela Bartok to King Crimson to Emmylou Harris to Bill Laswell to Pat Metheny. He would like to also mention Mike Keneally, Miles Davis, Bill Frisell, Steve Tibbetts, The Meters and Umphrey's McGee.
Some of the amazing musicians he has had the pleasure of recording and/or performing with include Alana Davis, Hershel Yatovich, Will Ray, Celso Alberti, Mike Vanderhule, Mumblefinger, Chris Rossbach, Ronny Crawford, Paolo Baldi, Danny Montgomery, Huge., Taylor P. Collins, Simon Russell, Billy Johnson, Scott Matthews, Tommy Bradford, Will Russ Jr., James Armstrong, Ken Harrill, John Caban, Drew Youngs, Ron E. Beck, Jack Chernos, Bryant Mills, Terry Hiatt, Mike Emerson, Garth Webber and Nir Z.
He has taught bass and guitar since 1994 at Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto.Joey runs a production studio called The Tomato Farm in Palo Alto. He drinks a lot of coffee and eats a lot of vegetables. His extra-musical interests include his bicycle, physics, cosmology and cooking.
Jason Bolich is a musician and actor who has been teaching in the Bay Area for over a decade. While he got a late start in music, only beginning to play at the age of 16, he has dedicated his life to performing and helping other students learn. He began playing in various bands as soon as he started playing, and has not stopped since. The bands range in style from punk, jazz, alternative rock, and even Irish folk.
Outside of performing with his bands, he is also at home in the studio, either producing or tracking the instruments himself. He went to San Francisco State University for the Music & Recording Industry program, and has been fortunate enough to work in such studios as Fantasy Studios and Sharkbite Studio.
Jason is also a theater teacher, working with the Castro Valley Dramatic Arts Academy. With teaching both music and theater, he likes to promote creativity for the student. While he has a student playing songs or exercises, he will also prompt the student to try new ways of using the new knowledge the student has. As a songwriter himself, he wants his students to be able to develop their own sound and style of playing that is uniquely them.
Kyle Reinhart has been teaching guitar for about 6 years. He has played in several groups playing Jazz, Rock, Blues, and Metal all over the Bay Area and in Los Angeles. He is currently the lead guitarist, songwriter, and founder of the bands “Vivifyd” and “Cosmic Sans”. He teaches both Electric and Acoustic guitar for any genre, level, or age. He is also working on a music major at Los Positas College in music composition for Classical and Jazz.
Harlem-born singer Clif Payne bridges the genres of pop, rock, R&B, gospel and jazz. He's a 3-time Star Search winner who has opened for Johnny Mathis, Tony Bennett, Dionne Warwick and Lakeside. Clif hails from a family of musicians and singers. His father was a reedsman who gigged with Lionel Hampton. His mother was a talented vocalist who once backed Nat "King" Cole in a vocal ensemble.
Skilled at reading music, arranging and improvisation, Clif's voice has been featured on numerous albums and commercials. Several years of living in LA enabled Clif to sing with incredible musicians and share the stage with jazz diva Dianne Reeves, Lionel Richie and The Commodores, Tony Toni Tone, and Sheila E. Clif has sung with American Idol judge & vocal coach Peggy Blu, Four Play drummer Harvey Mason, Grammy award-winning producer Narada Michael Walden (Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin), Lenny Williams, jazz fusionists Hiroshima, former Chicago vocalist Bill Champlin and legendary R&B band, Tower of Power. Actress Michelle Pfeiffer requested Clif to sing "When A Man Loves A Woman" at her wedding reception. Clif's debut solo CD, Welcome To My World, is currently in pre-production. As a voice teacher, has studied with legendary LA vocal coach Seth Riggs (Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder) associates, Chip Hand and Roger Burnley. Clif's strength as a teacher is rooted in his musical diversity, experience, patience, encouragement and passion for sharing what he has learned in performance and study to his students. Clif's motto: "Sing not just to be heard--but also to be heartfelt and believed!"
Dayna Speed's music background is rich and varied. She started singing before she can remember and gained invaluable experience singing in bands that covered most of the popular musical-styles but specialized in progressive rock, and their own original music.
When Dayna was young she was a soloist and an ensemble member in choir and smaller groups throughout grade school and college performing in theatre shows and variety shows. During her college years she learned the ropes of professional performance from her roommates who were members of Sly and the Family Stone and the Larry Graham Band. It was during this time that Dayna was accepted into the Judy Davis Voice Studio. Judy was known as the "Vocal Coach to the Stars" whose students included Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Mary Martin and Grace Slick. Dayna shared a classroom with members of En Vogue. From there she formed her own rock groups, Tarantella, Nemesis, and The Hunger. These bands performed throughout the Bay Area and Los Angeles. She has appeared as a background vocalist on many studio recordings in a career that has spanned 30 years.
Dayna began coaching in 2004 at the request of a friend and fell in love with helping people learn to sing. Her expertise is in breath control, enunciation, and vocal strength.
Billy Johnson was born in Philadelphia, and was the beneficiary of the mentoring of fine players like Gerry Brown and Cornell Rochester on the local scene. He spent a lot of time traveling back and forth between Philly and New York, playing at one time in a band with guitarist Kevin Eubanks and his brother, trombonist Robin Eubanks. It's easy to see why the guitarist Carlos Santana enlisted Billy Johnson on three different occasions to man the traps for tours and albums. He did his first tour with Santana in 1990 and 1991, and then rejoined the band in the summer of 1994 for about two-and-a-half years.
Johnson is fleet around the kit, but his most spectacular quality might be his grounding. He throws his roots deep into the music, keeps the drive going while leaving room for the percussion to breathe around him.
Billy Johnson is not so much smooth as solid - his grooves have an edge to them. His solos are built around ostinato patterns, repeating a phrase with the feet and adding onto it up top. There's always a connection to the funk in Johnson's grooves. Johnson performed on Santana's 'Milagro' album in 1992, and the 'Brothers' record featuring Carlos and Jorge Santana. He plays the opening cut on Santana's smash, 'Supernatural', the spirited romp (Da Le)Taleo. Billy Johnson has provided a hot rhythmic bedrock - a steady pulse on Put Your Lights On, the powerful tom work on Migra, some slinky funk on Love Of My Life, and the upbeat Latin-infused rock on Maria Maria and Smooth.
Billy Johnson has played on four albums with Frankie Beverly and Maze, including 'Joy and Pain', 'Live In New Orleans', 'We Are One', and 'Back To Basics'.Billy Johnson has also been performing with contemporary jazz guitarist Joyce Cooling since late in '96 (and played one track on her second cd, 'Keeping Cool'), and has been playing with the Bay Area pop band Pablo Cruise when time permits.
Billy has been teaching for many years. He focuses on private lessons, drums clinics, and taught at the Oakland School of the Arts.
With over 40 years of teaching experience, Doug has performed with many world famous artists, including Iron Butterfly, Eddie Money, The Coasters, Dizzy Gillespie, Vital Signs, and more. He is currently in 5 bands, including the Linda Imperial Band featuring David Freiberg of Jefferson Starship and Quicksilver Messenger Service.
Doug began playing music at the age of three. By age seven, he was studying at the Kansas City Conservatory of Music under the supervision of Tom Plaster. He studied with the best, including Billardo of Henry Mancini’s Orchestra, Bill Nawrocki, Chuck Brown, David Garibaldi, Narada Michael Walden, Ralph Humphrey of Don Ellis and Frank Zappa, and Tony Williams.
As a highly regarded and well in demand drummer Randy (Ranzel) Merritt has spent years providing rhythm and swing for music legends and icons such as Pharoah Sanders, Ahmad Jamal, Sylvester & The Two Tons Of Fun, Rodney Franklin, David Murray, The Last Poets, Fontella Bass, Macy Gray and many others.
Bio coming soon...
Melissa Nering has taught piano in the East Bay for the past fourteen years. She graduated from California State University East Bay with a BA in Liberal Studies and a Minor in music. Melissa had a keen interest in piano from the time she was seven years old. When she finally had the opportunity to begin classical piano lessons, it was a dream come true. She believes one is never too old to learn and enjoys teaching children and adults.
Many of Melissa's students have participated in studio recitals, community events, and Certificate of Merit testing. Melissa successfully auditioned to become a Cal Plan member with the Music Teachers Association of California (Alameda East Branch) and she is currently working towards Active membership. Melissa believes in a well-rounded piano education and incorporates music theory, technique, repertoire, sight reading, and ear training into lessons at the piano.
As a formerly shy performer, Melissa can relate to stage fright and patiently helps students to overcome their fear of performing in front of an audience. Even playing in front of people you love can be stressful when you are learning something new. Melissa believes in the importance of an at-home practice routine and weekly lesson attendance for students to make steady progress and achievement.
When she is not at the piano, Melissa can be found hiking, reading a good book, baking, or spending time her friends and family.
Bio coming soon...
I was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, and I have been a resident of the East Bay since 2000. I studied piano pedagogy at a local college, where I earned certificates in teaching Beginning and Intermediate Piano.
Every lesson, I love seeing the smiles on my students’ faces.
I believe that learning music should be fun and exciting, so I like to provide well-rounded piano lessons with many hands-on activities. My lessons use a lesson book as a guide, but also cover rhythm exercises, ear training and improvisation as well as music theory.
For group lessons, I introduce classical composers along with live performances of their piano music. I believe that listening to a variety of music is also important to developing musicianship.
Latin music & jazz are his passion: A West Coast native studied with jazz master John Handy performed at Mount Hood & Monterey Jazz Festivals jazz pianist at San Francisco landmarks "Top of the Mark" and Fairmont Hotel recorded with Carlos Santana performed with Phil Woods and accompanied Barbra Streisand. Played on cruise ships worldwide & resorts from Grossingers to Yosemite.
PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS: Get off the page! Learn to improvise. Find your own voice and develop your own style as you progress. Do not limit yourself to one idiom. Learn a variety of music: jazz, pop, funk, Latin jazz. Practice and persistence will pay off!
Chelsea Randall began playing the piano at 5 years old. She studied classical music for 14 years, and later branched out into playing other styles of music. Chelsea now has a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University East Bay in jazz studies, with an emphasis in jazz piano performance. She has been trained in teaching both Suzuki, and traditional piano methods. Her diverse musical style studies have positively influenced both her playing, and teaching styles.
Cheyenne Drachen has been a trumpet player and musician for 18+ years and has a BA in Music Performance from CSU East Bay. She has a wealth of professional experience performing many genres of music, from Jazz to Classical to Salsa to Disco. She plays and subs in bands local to the Bay Area including Parlor Tricks, The Last Minute Band, and The Deconstruction Orchestra. She also teaches Beginner and Intermediate piano to students of all ages
Kaye Evangelista was raised in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area and began her musical journey at the young age of four being self-taught by ear. She began formal piano lessons at the age of eight. While she was learning piano, she also began learning violin through the elementary school program. She participated in various playing chamber groups throughout groups throughout high school and college.
Kaye attended George Mason University studying both violin and piano. She also learned viola and cello while in school. She has been teaching for nearly 10 years. She has specialized in teaching beginners to late intermediate students with an age range from 3 years old to adults. She has also specialized in teaching students with disabilities.
While she is not teaching, Kaye enjoys photography, cooking, and web design/development.
Steve started piano lessons at age seven. He studied music at UC Berkeley and Berklee College of Music. His primary styles of music are Jazz, R&B and Latin Music.
Steve has toured all over the world playing everything from small clubs and restaurants to 40,000 seat concert venues.
He has recorded over 100 CD’s and had record deals with Warner Brothers and Six Degrees Records.
Steve has also written over 50 songs that have been recorded, including one that has sold over a million copies. He also has compositions that have been in movies and TV shows.
Originally from Poland, cellist Pawel Walerowski was formally trained in his native country and graduated from the Conservatory in Poznan in Cello Performance. During his formative training, he played in various ensembles and recorded for radio and television. Pawel received honors from competitions like J.S. Bach Competition in Zielona Gora and International Cello Competition in Liezen Austria. He served as Principal Cellist and soloist in Jeunesse Musicales Youth String Orchestra in Slovenia (with which he recorded two CD’s) and toured major European countries with an original cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals.
Pawel first came to the US in 2000, as a part of Missio Musica, a group playing for a musical "Saviour". He toured the east coast and played in Nashville. In 2005, he came to America again, this time on a scholarship to the University of Arizona, to study with a virtuoso cellist Nancy Green. Pawel subsequently performed throughout much of the western U.S. in various ensembles. He served as a cellist for an Opera in the Ozarks production of Carmen in Arkansas. He worked aboard as a cruiseship musician for a year, visiting Caribbean islands and Central Mexico. His other credits while in San Francisco Bay Area include recording for singer-songwriters, premiering of musicals, playing for a circus production, subbing in Berkeley Rep Theater and being a member of the ViBO String Quartet and ViBO Simfani.
Pawel studied piano with Julian Fong, a graduate of Royal Conservatory in Vancouver, Canada. He has been an accompanist for various church services.
Dr. Hannah K. Harrington holds a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She has been a member of the Modesto Symphony since 1981 as well as principal cellist of the Patten Symphonette in Oakland, CA. She has substituted as a cellist in various local professional orchestras. She especially enjoyed the two international tours with youth and college orchestras (2004, Italy; 1990, Russia). Dr. Harrington is known for her love of teaching and coaching young musicians. She also holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in Near Eastern Studies and has been a professor at Patten University for many years.
Bio coming soon...
Jenna graduated from St. Mary's College with a B.A. in music. She currently plays trombone in The Community Women's Orchestra and The Walnut Creek Concert Band.Jenna has played with Dirty Cello, Klezmer Kats and the We Players production of Hamlet. She has taught elementary and middle school band and recorder classes for 6 years and is a brass coach at Moreau High School. Jenna has taught private lessons for 10 years.
Michael Booker is an upcoming musician in the bay area that is comfortable playing a variety of styles and has been studying music for over 10 years. He plays Classical, Jazz, Funk Fusion, Acid, Rock, Rockabilly, and many more.
His unique style of playing has touched the hearts of many people throughout the Bay Area and beyond as he has performed in many different groups ranging from parades at Disneyland, marching band for his school, and performances with his church.He’s studied under Dann Zinn, Marcus Stephens, Erik Jekabson, and Glenn Richman. He’s also played with artists Bob Sheppard, Andy Martin, Mic Gillette, Bobby Shew, Bryan Lynch, Geoffery Keezer, Edgardo Cambon, Mike Sopko, and Terrence Brewer to name a few.Michael has been teaching private lessons for many years and volunteers with a local music camp as a counselor every summer.
Nate Guinto is a contemporary violinist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He graduated from the Berklee College of Music with a Degree in Violin Performance (Magna Cum Laude) in 2016. He has studied with some of the best contemporary violin players in the world. Names such as Darol Anger, Matt Glaser, Rob Thomas, Mads Tolling, Jason Anick, Jeremy Kittel, Mimi Rabson, and Mike Block. Nate Guinto specializes in playing modern day music that you would usually hear on the radio. Also as a trained jazz musician he also makes the concept of improvising a really important skill to have. Nate has played in a number bands/ensembles during his music career such as CGC Chamber Groove Company (2016), The Berklee Contemporary String Orchestra (2013), The Cuervoz Quintet (2016), but nowadays Nate Guinto is more of a solo performer. Nate Guinto has performed for many weddings, private events and parties as a solo performer. He is also currently an aspiring producer. Nate Guinto uses unorthodox methods of teaching that try to best suit the student. Nate still teaches proper technique through some classical methods. At the end of the day Nate just wants the kids to have fun playing and will cater to whatever they want to learn.
Denise has been playing and performing on the violin and the organ since she was a child. Her performances have taken her across the world, to Europe and Great Britain playing in such venues as Italy, Austria, and France.
Denise was an active member of the Redwood Chapel orchestra for more than twenty years, playing solos for services, as well as sitting first chair during their many concerts and shows. Enjoying many genres of music, her performances range from symphonic and chamber music, to modern pop and even bluegrass stylings. Denise volunteered her services in the Castro Valley School District throughout the 1990s, aiding students in the CVUSD music program. Since the mid-eighties, Denise taught violin privately. Her students regularly achieve "Superior" and "Command" performance awards at the annual California Music Educator's Association (CMEA) Festivals. Her former students can be see in such halls as the New York Philharmonic Orchestra . Denise has experience teaching musicians as young as three years old to mature adults. Stylistically, Denise is well-versed in traditional and modern styles of teaching (I.e. Suzuki), and is able to assess each student's need, and develop a custom framework and pace to best suit the learning style and goals of each student.
Bio coming soon...