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Faculty

Suzanne Inwood (violin)Suzanne Inwood (Senior Instructor of violin & viola with distinction) 
A USC music school graduate, Suzanne has taught for over 40 years. Accomplishments include performing in the Indiana University Symphony, South Bend Symphony, USC Symphony, among others and teaching at the South Bend Community Schools Summer Clinic, the Idylwild Summer Music School, the Irvine Conservatory of Music, the USC Community School of Performing Arts. She is a creative teacher committed to excellence, providing good fundamentals for the beginner and coaching advanced students as they prepare for auditions, performances, and contests.  Suzanne is also offering a 10% discount on lessons for senior adults ages 70+. 

Saturdays 10am - 5pm, Thursdays 1:30pm-8:30pm







Lina Van (violin)Lina Van (Instructor of violin, viola) 
is an active violin performer and teacher.  She received her Bachelor in Violin Performance from The Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at Cal State Long Beach.  She encourages her students to participate in the Royal Conservatory of Music Program in order to track their progress.  Ms. Lina has over 15 years of teaching experience.  She works with students at all levels from age 5 to adult.  Ms. Lina is a mother of 2 young boys.  Besides her passion for teaching, she also has a passion for long distance running.  Fluent in Vietnamese.

Monday, Tuesday 2:00pm-5:00pm, Weekends upon request 








Circe Diaz (cello)Circe Diaz (Instructor of cello, multi-instrumentalist strings, piano) 
is an award-winning Venezuelan cellist hailing from El Sistema, Venezuela’s acclaimed youth music program. She was a student of magnet school New World School of Arts in Florida, studying under David Cole, as well as a cello performance student at the University of Florida– graduating both academic programs with honors. Ms. Diaz also holds a Master’s Degree in Cello Performance from the University of Florida. Ms. Diaz has performed as a touring featured cellist with The Nuevo Mundo String Quartet, the World Orchestra String Quartet, and as a soloist with the Symphony Orchestra of Aragua and the Whittier Symphony Orchestra, among others. She was also a principal cellist for the World Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, among others. Currently, Ms. Diaz is the principal cellist with the Pacific Opera Project. She also is a Teaching Artist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Whittier Youth Orchestra, and Santa Monica Conservatory of Music, and is the conductor of the Watts-Willowbrook Conservatory Youth Orchestra and Harmony Project at Longfellow Elementary School. She is a founding member of the JAC Trio, and the Yellow Bird String Quartet. She also is a recording artist for Warner Bros. Studios and Sony Studios. Fluent in Spanish.  

Monday 1pm - 9pm




Leo Nobre (string bass, guitar)Leo Nobre (Instructor of string bass & guitar) 
Leo has his bachelors degree in music from the University of Miami. A native Brazilian, Leo attended the American School of Rio de Janeiro, studying acoustic nylon guitar and string bass. As a high schooler he played with various Brazilian artists before being accepted to the University of Miami School of Music where he studied music theory, piano, arranging, and composition. He is a jazz musician, performing on and recording with many artists like Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Dori Caymmi, Airto Moreira, Jill Scott, Sergio Mendes, Hubert Laws, Black Eyed Peas, Shakira and many others. Leo has been awarded two Latin Grammy awards for playing with Sergio Mendez.  Fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.  

Monday - Friday 3pm-8:30pm







Melissa Lai (voice/piano/viola)Melissa Lai  (instructor of voice/piano/viola) 
Melissa Lai is a jazz vocalist/composer/arranger/educator who loves sharing in the collective joy of making music. She started out with classical piano lessons from age 4 to 13, and then started playing viola, studying with Anna Lim and performing with various youth and school orchestras. In her middle school big band, Melissa developed a passion for jazz and improvisation, which led studying jazz piano with Janet Jones and then Barb Catlin and Gary Fukushima at Pasadena City College. She then found her heart's calling in jazz voice and studied with Alina Roitstein, subsequently transferring to Cal State Northridge and studying with Erin Bentlage (of the vocal group säje), completing a bachelor’s of music degree in Jazz Studies. Melissa’s teaching approach stems from the belief that music is a vehicle for expressing oneself authentically and learning to become a kinder human, and she melds this with her varied musical background to meet students where they’re at and foster space for them to grow.


Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri 1:30-8:30, Sun, 10a-3p



 

Jonathan Lacayo(voice)Jonathan Lacayo (Associate Instructor of voice & piano with distinction) 
Jonathan, a lyric tenor and San Diego native, studied vocal performance (B.A.) under Dr. John Craig Johnson and vocal coach Ines Irawati at Point Loma Nazarene University. Before finishing his studies, Jonathan had become an accomplished teacher. At the age 18 he began directing his church choir and by the following year had become the Director of Worship Ministries (Centro Cristiano La Palabra.) In the middle of his junior year of college he had been offered a teaching position at the Recreational Music Center in San Diego. There he created a Vocal Arts Summer program and helped create school curriculums through their school site programs, establishing a vocal curriculum at the Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Academy. Furthermore, Jonathan has sung with Diego Opera’s university partnership program Opera Exposed! and outreach program Opera on Track under the direction of Dr. Nicholas Reveles.

Jonathan has had the privilege of being invited to sing throughout the United States and internationally in Mexico. He made his U.S. Debut with Long Beach Opera, March 2016, in the role of “Wissam” in of Heather Raffo & Tobin Stokes’ Fallujah, an opera inspired by the story of U.S. Marine Christian Ellis in the Iraq War. He reprised the role in his debut with New York City Opera November 2016. Jonathan made his international debut with Opera de Tijuana in the role of “Joe” in Gershwin’s Blue Monday October 2015. Other roles include Long Beach Opera as “Man 1” in Robert Xavier’s west coast premier of Frida (2017); Opera Theatre of the Rockies: “Radames” in Verdi’s Aida (2017/scene), “Goro” in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (2017/scene), “Pylade” in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride (2017/scene); Lensky in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (2015/Act 1), Don Jose in Bizet’s Carmen (2015/scene); San Diego Opera’s Opera on Track as “Don Ramiro” in Rossini’s Cenerentola 2016/Act 1); Point Loma Opera Theatre: “Parpignol” in Puccini’s La Boheme (2015), “Prince Charment” in Massenet’s Cendrillon (2014), “Beppe” in Donizetti’s Rita (2014), “Giuseppe” in Loesser’s Most Happy Fella (2013), “Aeneas” in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (2012) understudy for “Camile” in Lehar’s Die Lustige Witwe (2012) and “Don Anchise” in Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera (2011).  Fluent in Spanish.  

Monday-Thursday 1:30pm-6:30pm, Friday 1:30-6:00


Jeffrey Tay (piano, guitar, voice)
Jeffrey Tay (Instructor of voice & piano) 
Jeffery Tay is a singer-songwriter, Independent Artist, and Producer. Jeffery started learning classical piano a at the age of 10, and shortly after began learning the ukulele and guitar. He majored in vocal performance and holds a masters degree from Musician's Institute in Hollywood, CA and a bachelor degree from Xinghai Conservatory of Music where he was awarded “outstanding graduate student.” After graduation, he signed a contract with a Chinese label to be a singer and songwriter and released two original albums between 2013-2015. Soon after, he released 4 original singles as an independent artist, producing his own music videos, one which was pitched by MTV Chinese Channel and aired for more than one year. In 2018 Jeffery moved to Los Angeles and graduated from Musician Institute with a Certificate in Independent Artistry.
He holds awards as Top 4 in “The Guangzhou Foreign Language Singer Competition” (2009); Champion of “Budweiser of China Campus singer competition”; Top 10 in Hong Kong TVB “International Chinese New Talent Singing Championship” shows (2012); Top 4 in MTV China channel ‘Aloft Star’ (2015); Top 4 in Guangdong TV ‘Live casting idols of China’ (2016).  Fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese.  

Monday-Saturday 1:30-8:30pm, additional availability upon request. 


is dedicated and passionate about contributing to growth in the field of music. She began studying piano at the age of 5 and was accepted into the Central Conservatory of Music in China as a middle schooler, where she studied percussion with a piano minor. She participated and performed in both the Junior Orchestra of Central Conservatory of music and the China Youth Symphony Orchestra.  Holding a Bachelors Degree from Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and a Master’s Degree in Percussion Performance from UNLV in Las Vegas, Xin participated in the UNLV Wind Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble, the Rebel Marimba band, Rebel Steel, and the Brazilian ensemble, traveling across France and Australia as a performer.  With over 10 years teaching experience and a diverse background in music, Xin is a passionate piano teacher who focuses on enhancing students’ awareness of both the musical details and practice methods, while emphasizing the expression of their emotions through music.  Fluent in Mandarin.

Thursday 1:30pm-8:30pm






Lori Richardson (flute)Lori Richardson (Associate Instructor of flute, piano with distinction) 
Earned a Bachelor of Music degree with and emphasis in Performance from California State University Fresno. Lori also studied with Leone Buyse, Jim Walker, and attended Summer Master Class Seminars with the renowned master flutist and teacher, Frances Blaisdell.  With over 20 years of performing and teaching experience Lori is passionate about passing on her love of music to her students through a nurturing environment that emphasizes tone production, technique building, ear training and artistry/musicianship.  She believes the study of music enhances every aspect of a young persons development, creativity, sense of accomplishment and future success.   

Board Member MTAC, Member National Flute Association 

Wednesday 1:30-6:30




Vanderlei Alves clarinet/saxophone/fluteVanderlei Alves (clarinet, saxophone, flute) 

was appointed Associate Principal Clarinet of the Goiânia Symphony Orchestra in 2015 at the age of 19. Serving the orchestra for 7 years, he played in many countries in Latin America and Europe. He previously served as Principal Clarinet of Goiás Chamber Orchestra, Principal clarinet of the UFG Contemporary Music Ensemble and Principal Clarinet of Goias State Wind Ensemble. Mr. Alves is a founding member of the Goyania Woodwind Quintet which won the BSB Bank chamber music competition. Vanderlei has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Las Vegas Philharmonic, and the Berlin Philharmonic and the Munich Philharmonic. He has performed in Trancoso Music festival where he appeared as a soloist in 2018 and 2019. As an educator Vanderlei was appointed assistant professor at Federal Institute of Arts, Science and Technology of Goiás, where he taught clarinet, saxophone and chamber music. He is the author of the book Performance: Learning an Art" published by Appris publisher in Brazil know for its for research at CAPES/Fulbright.  Fluent in Portuguese, Spanish.

Thursdays 9a-7p, Fridays 9a-7p, weekends (upon request)







Josh Jerome (saxophone, clarinet, fluteJoshua Jerome (Associate Instructor of saxophone, clarinet, flute) 
Is featured as the lead tenor saxophonist in the LA Swing Barons as well as member of the classical saxophone quartet Ex Sono. Josh has received numerous awards as a soloist and section player in multiple genres including Outstanding Musicianship awards from the Riverside Jazz Festival and the Fullerton College Jazz Festival as well as winning the state MTNA chamber music competition in California. As a student at California State University Fullerton, Josh played principal saxophone for Symphonic Winds and First Tenor for the Fullerton Jazz Orchestra while studying with Damon Zick and Jeff Ellwood. Josh has performed with artists such as Bob Mintzer, Joe LaBarbera, Francisco Torres, and Scott Robinson.   

Saturday 9am-5pm 






Nathaniel Moore (oboe, sax)Nathaniel Moore (Instructor of oboe, sax) 
is a multi-instrumentalist and composer in Southern California. He specializes in playing the oboe, English horn, and saxophones, and is also proficient on the flute and piano. His musical abilities encompass various styles including classical, jazz, and gospel music. Nathaniel's passion for music developed at a young age and has deeply influenced him. Nathaniel completed both his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in Oboe Performance from Azusa Pacific University (APU) as a student of Dr. Ted Sugata. He also studied composition under the tutelage of Tom Hynes and Dr. Philip Shackleton. Nathaniel has performed with the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA), which is the largest majority Black orchestra in the nation. He has also played with the Orchestra Collective of Orange County, maintains a private oboe studio, and is a saxophonist in Jimmy McConnell's Super Big Band. In 2024, Nathaniel released his first jazz album, with the patronage of Christ St. John Baptist Church, titled “Gospel Translated to Jazz” and it is available for streaming. Nathaniel is passionate about music pedagogy and will be pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Rutgers University and will continue to be available online for lessons.








 
Jason Lee (guitar)Jason Lee (Associate Instructor of guitar, bass, ukulele with distinction)
Jason Geunsu Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Guitar from Conservatorium van Amsterdam in the Netherlands. After returning to Korea, he taught private guitar lessons at Baekseok Arts University, Paekche Institute of the Arts, and Soongsil University as a lecturer. He then moved to Los Angeles to pursue his Master’s degree in Studio/Jazz Guitar program at the University of Southern California, where he was selected to perform with the USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra, directed by Bob Mintzer and Vince Mendoza’s combo. Both ensembles were selected to perform in the final round at the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival in 2016 and 2017. He studied jazz guitar with Bruce Forman as well as studio guitar with Richard Smith and Pat Kelly. He also had an opportunity to perform American Root music under Steve Trovato’s guidance. He completed his Master's degree with Pi Kappa Lambda Honors. With over 10 years of teaching experience Jason's mature and steady character makes him a very trustworthy teacher. His patience and love gives his students as sense of great encouragement.  Fluent English and Korean.   

Sunday:  1:30-8:30pm



 

Ken Nagatani (guitar)Dr. Ken Nagatani (Associate Instructor of guitar with distinction) 
Received both a Master of Music and a Graduate Performance Diploma from the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Manuel Barrueco, and completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Southern California in 2006 as a student of William Kanengiser. While at USC, he was the recipient of the Mary Pickford Foundation Endowed Scholarship in Classical Guitar and the Jack Marshall Memorial Scholarship. Ken has been active as a teacher and performer in Los Angeles area for the past 17 years, and is currently an adjunct instructor at East Los Angeles College, Long Beach City College, and Glendale City College.   

Online only, Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm



 
Henry Zhao (guitar)Henry Zhao (Assistant Instructor of guitar)
Born and raised in the suburbs of Arcadia, Henry is one of the most promising young songwriters coming up though the L.A. Americana-roots music scene. He released his first eponymous debut album in 2019 with the help of Grammy-nominated Chad Watson as producer and on bass. His Dylan-inspired vocals, harmonica delivery lyrics has impressed folk legends like 60's era Troubadour Eric Andersen and Scarlet Rivera, Bob Dylan's violinist and close friend, who told him "you made Bob Dylan proud." Henry has been featured in American Songwriter for his performances at the Coffee Gallery Backstage, where he will return for his taping of his first live album. Henry holds a Philosophy, Politics and Law degree from USC and currently works as a freelance musician, performer, and writer. We are glad for Henry’s partnership in making our community a better place.   Fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese.

On demand, Thursday 6:00am-7:00pm






Caster Teoh (trumpet)Dr. Caster J. Teoh (Associate Instructor of trumpet & brass) 
started playing the violin when he was 6 years old but switched to the trumpet in 1997. A native of Penang, Malaysia, he served a.s principal trumpet in the Penang Symphony Orchestra from 2000-2002. In 2015, he was appointed Principal Trumpet with Dream Orchestra of Los Angeles and has been performing with this wonderful ensemble since then. Since coming to the United States, Caster has appeared in numerous orchestras, including the American Youth Symphony, Orange County Symphony, Santa Monica Symphony, Quad City Symphony, Cedar Rapids Opera, West Coast Chamber Orchestra etc. While in college, he was one of the finalists in the Maia Quartet competition and was awarded outstanding Pi Kappa Lambda award in 2007. Caster has been performing with many professional ensembles, including the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, National Orchestra of Malaysia, Kumamoto International Orchestra, etc. under numerous conductors and artists, such as Kees Bakel, Michael Tilson Thomas, Kurt Mazur, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Kazuyoshi Akiyama, and many more. During the summers, he has performed in many countries, including Brazil, Italy, Japan, Korea, Belgium, Taiwan, Australia, Thailand, Canada, etc. A doctorate graduate from the USC Thornton School of Music, Caster was inducted as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society in 2007 and 2013. While at school, he was also a Fulbright scholarship student and has been awarded 2013 outstanding Brass Chamber Music award. For the past summers, Caster has been performing in many world-class music festivals, including the International Winter Music Festival in Brazil, Alba music festival in Italy, etc. In 2014, he was invited to perform Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 with West Coast Chamber Orchestra. His primary teachers include Andrew Balio, Boyde Hood, David Greenhoe, John Bourque and William Theis. Aside from being an orchestra musician, Caster has also served as Music Director/ Conductor of the Youth Symphony West Orchestra, Brass Coach at California Summer School for the Arts and Adjunct Professor of Brass at Grace Mission University. Caster is a much sought after teacher of trumpet. His students have won numerous music awards, admitted to credited universities, such as Michigan University, Eastman School of Music, University of California, Los Angeles, Cal state University at Northridge, etc. At the same time, Caster’s students also performed in music festivals, orchestras and competitions throughout the country, including the International Trumpet Guild competition, Colburn Youth Symphony and Jazz Orchestra, Pacific Youth Symphony, Idyllwild Music Academy, Colorado Youth Jazz Ensemble, etc.  Fluent in Mandarin.  

Wednesday 3pm-6pm, Friday 2:00pm-6:00pm, Saturday 2:00pm-3:30pm


Victoria Ibarra (French horn/brass)Victoria Ibarra (Instructor of French horn/Brass) 
has her Bachelors degree from Azusa Pacific University.  











Jessica Ornaghi(mallets, percussion, drumset)
Jessica Ornaghi (mallets, percussion, drumset) 

is a percussionist and drummer with experience in orchestra performance, ensembles, recitals, and teaching. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of São Paulo in Brazil. She recently received her master's degree in performance with full scholarship from Azusa Pacific University, with professors Raynor Carroll, Mark Converse, Yuri Inoo, and Bill Schlitt. In Brazil, Jessica played with several orchestras, participated in several festivals and competitions, and in 2016 she was part of the European tour of the YOA orchestra. Since Jessica arrived in the US, she has been playing freelance with orchestras and ensembles and teaching kids and adults of all ages. 


Mon 4:00pm-8:30pm, Wed-Thurs 4pm-7:30pm, Fri 2pm-7pm 



Joe Goldberger(drum)Joe Goldberger  (Instructor of drum set & keyboard) 
Drummer/percussionist, keyboardist, composer & teacher, Joe has a vast and diverse background as a performance artist.  Joe has scored both theme and source music for a variety of American Film Institute thesis projects. Joe also scored the music for the award winning films:  "Stone Mansion" (currently running on PBS) and "Sunday Morning Stripper", (PG rated) which is currently running on SHOWTIME. (1st place in SHOWTIMES' SHOWCASE AWARD). Starting in the summer of 2006, and continuing into the present, Joe has been conducting arts-in-education workshops for "Theatre of Hearts Youth First" - at schools, and learning centers in the greater Los Angeles area. He concurrently teaches music classes for LAUSD.;  

Saturday 9:30am-4:30pm






FACULTY CURRENTLY NOT TAKING ON NEW STUDENTS:
Eve Chen (piano)Eve Chen (Instructor of piano) 
first started piano lessons at age five at the Yamaha Music School in Taiwan; this is where she began to develop her passion for music. During college she participated in various recitals, placing in many competitions, most notably receiving the Honor Award at the Performance Scholarship Competition of Old Town Music for Piano. She also won first place at the Seventh Annual Piano Ensemble Festival of Fullerton College. Ms. Chen graduated from California State University, Northridge with a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano. At CSUN, she studied under Dimitry Rachmanov and performed in master class with Roberto Prosseda. She was a recipient of the CSUN Music Department of the Music Teacher’s Association of California, West Valley Branch Scholarship in 2010-2011. Eve has been active as a teacher and performer for over 10 years, and she is currently a member of the Certificate of Merit program (MTAC). Fluent in Mandarin. 


EMERITUS:
Kenny Elliott(drum)Kenny Elliott, Emeritus (Senior Instructor of percussion & drum set with distinction
Kenny’s career as a professional drummer began at age 12 when he performed under the direction of the Red Saunders Orchestra at the Regal Theater. He was the staff drummer for Brunswick Records while teaching at the American Conservatory before moving to Los Angeles. Kenny toured with such greats as Lou Rawls, Aretha Franklin and Natalie Cole and performed with Ella Fitzgerald, Lucy Arnez, Diahann Caroll, Carol Channing, Ray Charles, Al Green, Eddie Harris, Al Jarreau, Chaka Kahn, Cheryl Lynn, Billy Preston, Helen Reddy, Dionne Warwick, and Stevie Wonder, and is currently the drummer for Jeff Goldblum. He enjoys teaching and working with people. 


 





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  • Neighborhood Music School & Store
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    (626) 708-0122
  • ???25 S 1st Ave.
    Arcadia, CA 91006
    • Fall hours Aug 15-Oct 15
      • Mon - Wed 2PM-7PM
        Thu-Fri 2pm - 6pm
        Saturday 10AM - 4:30PM
        Sunday appointment only