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, he's been performing at the piano for over 35 years in jazz, classical and pop genres. Band leader, freelance pianist, composer/arranger and educator - having taught at WSU for 13 years - are all areas in which Gary has many years of experience. 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.
Bilinda Lou (piano)
Started playing the piano at the age of five, Bilinda has studied piano, attending the Macao Conservatory in China as a piano performance pre-college student. She then went to Wright State University in Ohio where she received her Bachelors in Music in piano performance and then to the University of Colorado, Boulder where she finished her masters degree also in piano performance. Besides piano, Bilinda also studied orchestral percussion throughout college and has performed in Vienna, Salzburg, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, and China. Bilinda enjoys teaching students from beginning to advanced level with musical training of technique, musicianship, theory, and sight-reading. Fluent in Cantonese and Mandarin.
Melody (Yongjin) Xiang, a pianist, comes from China. Fluent in Cantonese and Mandarin. She studied piano when she was 3 years old. She received a bachelor’s degree in Shenzhen University. During her time in university, she won the first Prize in Youth group in the sponsored by the Thailand Bangkok Opera Art Center of Southeast Asia Second Prize in 18th Hong Kong Aisa Piano Open Competition. In 2017, she went to Longy school of music of Bard college in Boston for advanced studies. During her time in Longy, she received the Graduate Fellowship Scholarship and worked with students who were non-piano majors to help pass the piano exam. In 2019, she received her M.M. in Piano Performance at Longy. Now she is an active member of the MTAC. Melody has gained much knowledge in piano technique, and can draw from a combination of these backgrounds in her own teaching. She feels a need to share this great and musical sensibility with students of all ages.
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.
Saturday 12p-4p, Sunday 10:00am-4:00pm, upon request
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.
In 2014, Natalie completed her Bachelors of Music in Commercial Music Vocal Performance at Azusa Pacific University, followed by a Master of Music in Music Education with a Choral Emphasis. Natalie was born and raised in Hong Kong, and was involved with many local music groups including Show Choir Hong Kong, Opera Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts. Natalie was also a session singer for Hong Kong singer-songwriter Justin Lo’s (側田) single, “⼀粒糖,” and was a background vocalist at the Hong Kong Coliseum for G.E.M. (鄧紫棋) and Sally Yeh (葉蒨文). As a soloist, Natalie has performed at local fashion shows, charity events, and competitions, and received first place in Supernova Hong Kong 2011, “Best Singer” and “Best Original” in the Hong Kong Youth Artists Showcase, and second place in the “Brand New Star” competition hosted by Hummingbird Music Ltd. Additionally, she has more than 10 years of experience leading worship in church and school chapel settings. While at APU, Natalie won Final Cut, a singing competition judged by active music industry professionals. She also took part in various ensembles, including Chamber Singers, Gospel Choir, Commercial Styles, University Choir and Orchestra, Jazz Improvisation, and International Chapel Band. As a music educator, Natalie believes that all teachers and institutions should provide an inclusive, safe, fun, welcoming, and collaborative environment that promotes risk taking, as well as meaningful and joyful learning for all students so that they may experience the important values of music. She strives to create meaningful musical experiences for her students, inspiring them to become confident, independent musicians, as well as instilling in them a lifelong love of learning and music making.
Lori Richardson (flute, piano)
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
Registration Private Music Classes
one on one or two on one private lesson with teacher