Our Piano staff all have at least a masters degree in piano performance or pedagogy. Our associate piano staff have bachelor degrees or minor in piano. The Certificate of Merit program which is held by the Music Teachers Association of California shapes much of our standard curriculum, providing a steady diet of standard repertoire, music theory, scales and chord progressions, sight reading, playing by ear (aural training) as part of their weekly lesson. While this program is not for everyone, it is an option that is presented to most grade school students who choose to study with us.
At the heart we focus on a student’s enjoyment and appreciation of music and private study allows each student to go at their pace and once the basics are mastered, may choose the type of repertoire they play.
Our teaching staff have backgrounds in classical, jazz, pop music fields, and even video game composition. We accept students from the age of 3 years old who show an ability to follow instructions and sit with concentration for a period of at least 15 minutes.
Solo performance opportunities include at least 2 recitals per year, in house master classes, numerous citywide, statewide, national and international festivals. Standardized examination opportunities include participation in Certificate of Merit exams, ABRSM programs, Royal Conservatory programs.
Ensemble studies and performance opportunities include participation in jazz ensembles, worship bands, and learning to accompany soloists.
Recommended Lesson Books: age 3 FJH My First Piano Adventure age 4 FJH Piano Adventures age 5 and up: Alfred, KJOS Bastien Piano Basics age 10 and up FJH Accelerated Piano Adventures age 16 and up: FJH Piano Adventures for Adults, Alfred
Our Piano Department
Gary Blumer (piano, composition)
holds a masters degree in Composition from Wayne State University where he then taught for 13 years before coming on board at Neighborhood Music in 2006. Freelance pianist, band leader, composer/arranger and educator, Gary has been performing at the piano for over 45 years in jazz, classical and pop genres. www.myspace.com/garyblumerjazzpiano
is an experienced soloist and collaborative artist with performances in the United States, Taiwan, and on television. Most recently, Yafei worked as a collaborative pianist with numerous Los Angeles-based choirs, including SUUS Choir, Taiwanese Hai-Yun Choir, and Woodland Academy Choir. She serves as a staff accompanist at CSU Northridge, and regularly accompanies for student competitions and evaluations throughout the greater Los Angeles area. As an active member of the Music Teacher‘s Association of California (MTAC), Ms. Lin has developed a reputation as a music educator dedicated to excellence and student success, and her students have been recognized for their outstanding performances in the Certificate of Merit and ABRSM. A native of Taiwan, Yafei began studying piano at the age of seven and continued her education at Shih Chien University, where she studied piano and violin. She holds a Master’s Degree in piano performance from CSU Northridge, with piano studies under Dmitry Rachmanov, and was the recipient of the Etude Music Club Endowment and the Art Council Music Scholarship. Fluent in Mandarin. Advanced level only.
Member MTAC, Royal Conservatory
Wednesday 1:30-8:30pm, Saturdays, additional availability upon request.
Eve Chen (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. Vaccinated.
started piano along with music theory studies at the age of five. He is extremely passionate about teaching, even as a kid. He had earned the ABRSM piano diploma, a “5” on the AP music theory exam, as well as a “distinction” mark on the ABRSM theory level 7 in his high school years. Harry has been teaching piano and music theory for 4 years. He had mastered the CM theory curriculum, the AP theory curriculum, and the ABRSM piano and theory curriculum. He prides himself as one who can turn complicated or dreadful concepts into interesting and simple analogies to help students understand and memorize better. He wants every student to find the music journey rewarding, successful, and, most importantly, enjoyable. Fluent in Mandarin.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 5pm-8pm
Jonathan Lacayo (voice, piano, children)
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.
Hailed by the San Diego Union-Tribune as a “versatile wonder,” Kiana Bell is making her voice heard in the worlds of classical, musical theatre, and pop singing. While completing her B.A. in Music at Point Loma Nazarene University, she spent three years as part of San Diego Opera’s Educational Outreach and Apprenticeship program, Opera Exposed!, performing concerts in the Greater San Diego area, as well as on the main stage as one of the youngest members of the chorus. Favorite credits include Carousel (Utah Festival Opera), Ragtime (San Diego Musical Theatre), La Cenerentola (San Diego Opera on Track!) and American Rhythm (Lamb’s Players Theatre). Kiana has received prizes and recognition from the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus Young Artists Competition, the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and the Metropolitan Opera National Council. Kiana has recently taken a step into commercial music by becoming a Featured Singer and vocal captain for Royal Caribbean Cruises International, where she travels and performs anything from Musical Theatre revue shows to her own pop and soul sets. Kiana has been teaching private vocal lessons and vocal workshops since 2012. She makes it her aim to equip her students for any genre of singing by harnessing and cultivating classical-based technique.
recently completed his Master’s Degree in Cello Performance at Azusa Pacific University after completing both a Bachelor’s Degree in Cello Performance and Humanities degree in 2018. Prior to his time at Azusa, Jared studied with Seattle Symphony cellist Walter Gray, and had the opportunity to participate in masterclasses with both principal Chicago Symphony cellist Stephen Balderston and renown cello soloist Joshua Roman. Jared studied under Dr. Marek Szpakiewicz DMA, Professor Christopher Russell, Ingrid Chun and Suli Xue of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Karen Dryfus from USC, Glenn Dicterow, former New York Philharmonic concertmaster, and Dariusz Skoraczewski, the principal cellist for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Jared had the opportunity to travel to Zhengzhou, China with a small group of six instrumentalists from the Azusa Pacific University Symphony and Professor Russell. While in Zhengzhou, Jared and his colleagues rehearsed and performed with the Yellow River Symphony Orchestra, performing Aaron Copland’s Our Town, Johannes Brahms’s Concerto for Violin and Cello in A minor, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 in C minor at the Henan Art Center. Additionally, while playing with the symphony, Jared had the opportunity to play for a televised choral competition that took place near Zhengzhou. Jared has additional performed as a cellist and choral ensemble member in both Hong Kong, Xian, and Beijing. In addition to his classical training, Jared has also had the privilege of working throughout Los Angeles as a performing and recording artist. See his YouTube here. Vaccinated.
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
Tuesday 1:30pm-8:00pm, Wednesday 1:30-6:30, Mondays upon request