New York City Piano Teachers
Diana Benson is a classical guitarist and pianist originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico. In addition to guitar and piano, she teaches voice, ukulele and songwriting in New York City, where she now resides. She spent the better part of a decade studying closely with two mentors: celebrated classical guitarist Lynn McGrath, and revered pianist Stephen Montoya. As a high school student, Diana regularly performed in recitals and participated in competitions and festivals across the U.S., including the Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) and The Parkening Guitar Competition, where she received masterclass instruction from distinguished guitarists like David Russell, Ana Vidovic and Christopher Parkening. She went on to study classical guitar at the North Carolina School for the Arts as the youngest student admitted in her focus at the age of 17, and later completed her studies in music performance, composition, and foreign language at the University of New Mexico. In addition to her classical studies, Diana sang in a variety of traveling choral groups throughout high school and took small roles in the Broadway musicals ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ and ‘Rent’.
In the course of her studies, Diana was honored with awards of excellence from the National Honors Society of Guitar and recognized for her performances with the critically acclaimed woman’s guitar ensemble, ‘Presti Quartet.’ She was selected two years in a row to perform 1st chair in the New Mexico ALLSTATE Guitar Orchestra - the first-ever young woman to earn that position. The following year she was chosen as one of twelve guitarists to represent music in education in the United States.
In the time since her studies, she has called many places home. She lived in New Orleans for several years and in that time her musical interests broadened to embrace traditional American forms, such as jazz and the blues. During her time there, she ran a private music practice, teaching children and young adults to become proficient in these idioms. She continued her travels, her studies and her teachings during the summer of 2017 in Spain. She has been living, studying and teaching in New York City since the fall of 2017, always carrying with her the belief that music should never feel like a chore and that learning music should be curiosity-driven, active, enjoyable, and emphasize self-expression. Diana believes in building a strong foundation of musical knowledge with her students by providing the tools to create good habits from the beginning and encouraging effective, deliberate practice. It is her mission to inspire aspiring musicians as a music educator and bring a life-long love of music to her students.
Liz Hogg is a piano and guitar instructor from NYC. She has taught private and group piano lessons throughout NYC and in Long Island to various ages and skill levels. She has taught freelance and at Brooklyn Musical Arts, Treblemakers Music School, Poppenhusen Institute, Montessori Progressive Learning Center and Dr. Jun Fu Music Learning Program. She enjoys exposing students to music theory, improvisation and the various eras in music history, as well as teaching students how to play songs they already know and love.
Ms. Hogg is also an accomplished guitar instructor. She has taught at Sunset Park School of Music, Staccato Music Center, Hosh Kids and Melody Time Music Center. Performing as a soloist, she has toured nine countries, playing numerous festivals and concert halls. Awards include the Lanciano International Guitar Festival fellowship, Mannes School of Music’s Dean Award, the Maurice Kagan Memorial Scholarship Award for Excellence in an Orchestral Instrument and a Fulbright-García Robles Scholarship semi-finalist. In her hometown, Ms. Hogg has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Brookfield Place, Morgan Library, and the Italian Academy, and internationally at venues including Portugal’s Casa da Música and Mexico’s Tlaqná Concert Hall. She has also performed live at radio stations including WFMU, WNYC and WHFR and has been a featured artist at festivals Internacional Camerata 21, CMJ and New Sounds Live. As a composer and performer/singer of her own music and in various groups, Liz has recorded eight full-length albums and eight eps, self-released and released by Don Giovanni Records, Mouca and Acuarela.
Deanna Melendez is a voice teacher/vocal instructor from Queens who is very passionate about singing, creating, and teaching music. She is an alumni from LaGuardia Performing Arts HS, a.k.a the “Fame” school, where she pursued classical voice. She is currently a Music Education major at Long Island University Brooklyn, where she studies jazz, classical and even musical theater. She is also the Worship Director at her church, in Ozone Park, Queens.
Her main goal is not only to help her students reach their full potential in vocal quality, but to give them all of the tools and techniques needed to go above and beyond their own expectations. She is a firm believer in teaching her students how to breathe and properly use their core, through legit singing, and has in turn witnessed a clear, strong, and sustained sound with no strain or discomfort!
She is able to teach: Broadway/Musical Theater, Classical Voice, Gospel Singing, Jazz Voice, Opera Voice, Pop Voice, and basic Vocal Training. She has been teaching since 2015.
Residing in Brooklyn, NY, Colin is an active member of the creative music community. As a drummer/composer, Colin brings a unique approach to his music combining elements of jazz, free improvisation, and 20th century classical music. His music draws heavily from Bartók, Ligeti, Feldman, and Grisey, as well as Henry Threadgill, Anthony Braxton, and Muhal Richard Abrams.
Colin initially began piano lessons at age 4. At age 8, he received a drumset. After 10 year of intense classical piano study, Colin decided to pursue percussion as his main instrument. Outside of performing, he is an active educator in the NYC area. He has privately taught students of all ages and experience levels, as well as group classes at music schools and colleges. He offers lessons on both drums and piano.
Colin has studied drums with Ed Soph, Dan Weiss, Ari Hoenig, Ralph Peterson and Tyshawn Sorey. He has studied composition with Ingrid Laubrock, Tyshawn Sorey, and Eric Wubbels. Colin attended the University of North Texas and City College of New York. He holds a BFA in Jazz Performance and an MA in Music Performance with a focus in 20th century theory and composition.
A native of Oakland, California, Jesse Levit started playing piano and saxophone at the age of seven. After winning numerous honors and performing with the SFJAZZ High School All-Star Band and the Monterey Jazz Festival All-Star Band, he has had the opportunity to perform with such talents as James Moody, Frank Lacy, Jim McNeely, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Jane Monheit, Wynton Marsalis, Eddie Daniels, Peter Erskine, Wycliffe Gordon, Frankye Kelly, Sam Rivers, Dave Liebman, Lenny Pickett, Khalil Shaheed, Mark Levine, Diane Witherspoon, Benny Green, Stefon Harris, Seamus Blake, and Rufus Reid.
Jesse has been featured on three CDs: Oaktown Jazz, Pocketized, and Excursions. He currently resides in New York City and recently earned a master's degree from Manhattan School of Music. He performs regularly on piano, sax, and EWI in numerous venues around NYC, the Bay Area, and beyond.
A native of Berkeley, California, Noah Garabedian holds a BA in Ethnomusicology from the The University of California Los Angeles, and a Master's in Music Performance from New York University. In 2006 he was awarded a John Coltrane National Scholarship, and in 2007 was selected as a finalist for the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz graduate program. In March of 2011, Mr. Garabedian was selected to participate in Brad Mehldau's master class at The Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall, and in June of that same year was selected as a finalist in the ISB Double Bass Competition.
In November of 2016, Mr. Garabedian received a Fulbright Specialist Grant to teach jazz music for one month at Silpakorn University, in Bangkok, Thailand. As an educator Mr. Garabedian currently works with the music outreach program at Jazz At Lincoln Center called Jazz For Young People. He is also currently part-time faculty at The New School in New York City and works as a teaching artist with the New York Pops. In the past he has served as adjunct faculty at NYU, taught with The Weil Institute at Carnegie Hall, the Brooklyn Friend's Summer Jazz Camp, Stanford Jazz Camp, and participated in the music outreach program between UCLA and the Los Angeles Unified School District.
As a sideman, Mr. Garabedian has performed and toured with Ravi Coltrane, Josh Roseman, Ralph Alessi, Andrew D'Angelo, Myron Walden, Nir Felder, Frank LoCrasto, Silver City Bound, Julian Pollack, as well as his own sextet Big Butter And The Egg Men. In March of 2014, Mr. Garabedian represented the US State Department on a seven-week tour of Southeast Asia with Silver City Bound, where they performed for the public, and taught workshops on music in several countries.
Matt Mitchell is a singer and actor based out of NYC. He has studied classically for over 10 years and sings/teaches a variety of styles to a variety of students. Most recently, Matt played Burrs in Lippa's Wild Party. Other work includes leading a new piece of theatre, Your Name On My Lips, at Theatre for the New City and appeared in the original Off-Broadway company of Lili Marlene at St. Luke's Theatre. Aside from performing,
Matt writes music and has taught voice/music at Abron's Art Center and Garden Street Performing Arts in addition to his private clients.
Humberto Olivieri 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, as well as introducing him to the art of teaching by letting him borrow some of her younger students and monitor his teaching. 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.
Lucy Clifford is a bassist, composer and educator from the south coast of New South Wales, Australia. Since receiving her B.A in Jazz performance from Sydney Conservatorium of Music and her Grad.Dip from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Lucy's multi genre bass playing has contributed to her extensive body of work, having performed across the globe with countless artists at festivals, concert halls and venues worldwide. She has performed with the likes of Grammy Winning artists Alejandro Sanz and Jesse & Joy at the Rise Up As One Festival (2016 USA), Mariza of her USA Tour (2017), Grammy Winning Producer Javier Limon & Tonina at the Ellas Crean Festival (2017 Spain), M+E at SXSW Music Festival (2016 USA), Alex Silver Quintet at Edinburgh Jazz Festival & Sydney International Women's Festival (2012 Scotland & AUS), Maher Beauroy at the Martinique Jazz Festival (2016 Martinique), Wollongong Conservatorium of Music Ensemble at the Reno Jazz Festival, Amy & The Engine at The Gillette Stadium (2015 USA), and Mighty Mystic at B.B Kings Blues Club (2016 NYC) to name a few.
Lucy's bass playing appears on a myriad of records from over the years, having worked with artists such as Mariza, Nella, Tonina, Maher Beauroy, Art Note, Peridot, High Key People, Billy Wylder, Nacho Gonzalez and Juan Mejia's Conspiracy among others. Her bass playing encompasses many genres with varying artists, often exploring beyond the fringes of jazz, pop, rnb, afro latin and reggae. Lucy is also heavily involved in educating younger generations at various music establishments throughout Australia and the USA, most recently selected to be on faculty at the Victor Wooten Bass Camp, held at Berklee College of Music in 2017 and 2018. She currently resides in New York City.
Chris has been playing the drums for close to 15 years and performs regularly with many different and unique ensembles. He currently plays in a rock band by the name of The Troubled Clefs, an Indonesian Percussion Orchestra, the Band of Long Island and many more different ensembles. Chris is a recent graduate from the Aaron Copland School of Music of Queens College where he received his Bachelor's degree in music with a concentration in percussion performance. He has learned how to play in many different styles and techniques, and has played performances in Ireland, Bali, and even for a Tedx Talk. Chris also has experience with piano and teaches that as well. He is a flexible teacher and really sets up the lessons to what the student wants to learn as well as keeping the lessons fun, relaxed, and enjoyable for every student.
Dustin Beardsley is a freelance trumpet player in New York City. Earning his Bachelor of Music at New York University, Dustin graduated magna cum laude and was the recipient of the Outstanding Jazz Student Award for his graduating class. He has studied trumpet and improvisation with many renowned performers and teachers: Chris Jaudes, Laurie Frink, Ralph Alessi, Michael Rodriguez, Rich Perry, and Scott Mullett.
A frequent call for musical theater, Dustin held the chair as trumpet player for the New London Barn Playhouse’s summer season for three years (2013-15). Dustin has performed across the country and internationally with several Broadway tours: A Chorus Line (2018) The Producers (2015–16) and Guys and Dolls (2014–15). In New York City, Dustin can be found playing in a number of settings, including: musical theater pits, singer-songwriter horn sections, studio sessions, big bands, jazz combos, and classical ensembles. In addition to performing, Dustin also works as an arranger, composer, and songwriter for original projects and his own groups.
Dustin has given lessons to students of all ages and abilities, from those just beginning their studies to professionals seeking to refine specific techniques. He has also led masterclasses with elementary and high school level ensembles. Adept at finding methods that suit each student’s abilities, Dustin is eager to share the different approaches and techniques assimilated throughout his playing career!
Colin Leeds is a trained multi-instrumentalist, performer and music teacher. Originally form New Jersey, Colin discovered his passion for music at a very early age and has been pursuing his love for the art ever since. After graduating from Berklee College of Music in 2014, Colin began teaching private lessons for students of all ages as well as teaching and performing at local pre-schools. As a seasoned educator, Colin has turned absolute beginners into gigging musicians. When not on playing music, Colin loves to play basketball, bike, swim, read, write and laugh!
Colin is thrilled to be a part of Henderson Academy of Music and beyond excited inspire his students. Whether you want to become a rockstar, pop-star, or just want to have fun, Colin is a firm believer that everyone has the ability to learn an instrument. Let's get together and play some music!
Nathan Pezzotti, a New York City based composer and pianist, has written and played piano in a variety of musical styles and is excited to transfer his love of music onto students. A graduate of the Juilliard School, Nathan is no stranger to technical training yet seeks to ultimately help his students find their own unique voice and nurture their passion for the music they love. Nathan is proficient in many styles of music including classical, jazz, and other of popular music and has played in both recital halls and in multiple bands. Nathan has 8 years of teaching experience at both the college and beginner level and is comfortable teaching all ages. As a composer, he is equally engaged in the creative side of music making and encourages that development in his piano curriculum.
Vocalist, pianist, composer, educator and producer Vivienne Aerts has international performing experience on stage in The Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, and the US, sharing the stage with both national and international Jazz icons such as Lee Konitz, Kenny Werner, Chris Potter, John Patitucci, Joe Cohn and Florian Weber. Vivienne has been residing in New York City since April, 2015 where she gave a debut performance at the infamous Blue Note Jazz Club and is currently working on her third album.
In addition to her degree in Vocal Performance from Berklee College of Music in Boston, she also has a degree in Choir Directing and a Bachelor and Master's in Clinical Psychology from the Netherlands. Currently Vivienne works with pianist Kenny Werner and the Berklee Effortless Mastery Institute, which helps students to 'let the music play itself'. Vivienne believes in sharing her joy for music with students of all ages and she is adept in all styles of music.
Elizabeth Sullivan has a passion for music. It is both eclectic and electric and she infuses her students with a desire to excel in their chosen art by her outstanding and talented example. Whether it is guitar, piano, or drums, Elizabeth sets the tone and cadence and the rhythm follows. She is able to see each child's unique gifts and nurture those qualities to grow in a life changing and positive way. She is also a very talented vocalist.
Elizabeth attended Ithaca College Music school as a Vocal performance major and is now finishing her Masters in Music Education at Hunter College in Manhattan. She also has extensive experience as a teacher and show director for children at School of Rock. Elizabeth is a teacher, performer and an all around musical extravaganza, wrapped in a small package. In short, she is an inspiration.
Creative pianist and composer Utsav Lal has gained critical acclaim for his innovative handling of a variety of genres such as Jazz, Indian classical, Celtic music, Rock/Pop and classical. This 25 year old pianist has had over 150 solo performances in global venues such as Carnegie Hall NYC, Kennedy Center D.C, National Concert Hall Dublin and the Southbank Center London. Having played at leading festivals such as Edinburgh Jazz festival, Glasgow Jazz festival, Asiatopa Melbourne and Asia on the Edge DC, he also holds the distinction of being the only pianist to perform at Indian classical festivals such as Harivallabh Sangeet Samelan (India’s oldest festival running for 138 years) and Saptak music festival. Five solo records and laurels that include recognition as a Lal’s style has been described by Novara Jazz festival director Corrado Beldi as having “illuminating grace”. A disciple of Dhrupad legend Ustad F.W. Dagar, Lal’s music has been acclaimed for its sincerity, simplicity and depth.
Lal has conducted several workshops titled “Breaking Boundaries” and is well known for his collaborative work with Irish and Scottish musicians, in particular for his “Ragas to Reels” project with performances in India, Ireland and UK and also for his extensive project work with Inventor Geoff Smith on the worlds first ever Fluid Piano on which he recorded a unique album released in July 2016. He has been teaching for over 6 years in private and group situations and has worked with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra as a Teaching Artist in multiple locations.
Kiho is a professional violinist/violist, based in New York city for over 5 years. Her classical training began at the age of 3 and played in numerous youth orchestras, chamber groups, solos and competitions all through out her childhood.
Upon enrolling at Berklee College of Music, Kiho obtained jazz training, improvisation and other contemporary technique to widen her musical vocabulary and bring herself to become a versatile player. Kiho's teaching career started largely during this time as well, as she was employed as a tutor at Berklee, due to her outstanding GPA to help other students with core music classes including Tonal&Jazz Harmony, Ear Training and Conducting.
After obtaining her bachelor's degree Kiho moved to New York and has played at acclaimed venues such as John F. Kennedy Center, Beacon Theater, Lincoln Center, etc. with various artists of all genres. She has taught over 50 students of all ages and creates worksheets and study materials on her own to help her students achieve their own goals. Her classes can range from meticulous preparation for NYSSMA, ABRSM and Trinity examinations/competitions to fun Jazz improvisational classes.
Eva Arce is a musician, multi-instrumentalist performer and instructor based in Park Slope Brooklyn. She began playing the piano at age 10 and at age 11 began playing the French Horn. She studied at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College where she received a B.A. in Music with a minor in Psychology. She then completed a year of graduate studies in Music Therapy at SUNY New Paltz. After five years of working closely with geriatric and TBI populations as a Music Therapist, she moved to pursue music as a performing art. Currently she performs regularly in various ensembles which include the UN Symphony Orchestra on French Horn, Funkrust Brass Band on trumpet and Jeremy Cone's 'The Field' project on piano. Performing venues have included Steinway Hall, the Cathedral of St. John the Devine, House of Yes and the Music Under NY program among many others. In addition, she currently provides instrumental instruction to multiple students privately in their homes, having done so since 2004.
At present, she is undertaking intensive piano study under Jack Gedzelman, an accomplished pianist who has studied under and performed alongside Leonard Bernstein. Jack is markedly selective in the students he accepts and currently coaches Giacomo Franci, a successful concert pianist and Maestro of the NY Chamber Players Orchestra. Eva's goal is to achieve the maximum level of mastery in piano performance and teaching.
In Eva's own words, “My reverence for music is a major driving force behind much of my undertakings, both professionally and in leisure. Whether as a performer, teacher, or therapist I find deep reward in sharing the wonders of music with those around me and inspiring them to find excitement, enjoyment and empowerment in engaging in its many forms. In its great flexibility, music has provided me with a medium for which I will never run out of endeavors or ways to share with others.”