EARLY STARTERS PROGRAM AT OCTOPUS
While group classes can be a wonderful way to learn for students beginning at age six, more often that not, they are not suitable for very young children (five and under). These types of classes can be disorganized, distracting, and while fun, unfortunately often fail at relating important musical concepts to students.
Early Starters is a carefully designed program whose aim is to get young children (ages 3-5) into one-on-one music classes. Instructors engage students with multisensory percussive and melodic exercises using Orff methodology to demonstrate important fundamentals that will provide a jump start when it comes time to learn an instrument.
Lessons are structured to keep students engaged and focused, with parental participation expected to ensure that students are continuing to practice their lessons throughout the week. Depending on the age of the child and his or her level of development, we see students matriculate into focused instrument instruction within as few as three months of enrollment into the Early Starters program.
Joanna holds a Bachelors of Music degree in Music Education with a specialization in keyboard and choral from The College of New Jersey. She has taught general music and choir at elementary schools in New York and New Jersey. As a pianist, Joanna has participated in chamber music programs at Curtis Institute of Music and Westminster Choir College. She has also performed as a collaborative accompanist for the Music Academy International festival in Italy. Joanna has been in choirs since a young age, and has performed in operas such as La Bohème and Tosca. At The College of New Jersey, Joanna sang in the Chorale with Japanese students who were affected by the 2011 earthquake at Lincoln Center. She has also sung in the Chorale with the Mendelssohn Club and Philadelphia Orchestra. Her years of experience as an instructor and performer ensure her students receive a well-rounded and comprehensive music education.
Kayla, a soprano, began singing at the age of seven and throughout her youth, performed in numerous musical theatre productions, winning a Count Basie Award in her sophomore year of high school for her role as Ms. Adelaide in Guys and Dolls. Kayla attended Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts and obtained a B.M in Music Education and is currently pursuing her M.A in Music & Music Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. While attending Rutgers, Kayla sang as a soprano in the Voorhees and Kirkpatrick Choirs, as well as with the NJ Chamber Singers. Kayla currently works as a general music and choir teacher in the Summit Public School district, teaching students from many backgrounds and cultures. She is passionate about instruction, and caters all lessons to fit the individual needs of her students.
Jonathon is a recent graduate of Rutgers University with a B.M. in Music Performance from the Mason Gross School of the Arts. As a student, Jonathon studied classical voice as his primary instrument. He performed in both the Kirkpatrick Choir, the select choir that has a yearly performance in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, and in the Rutgers University Glee Club, a men’s choir that recently toured Sweden, Finland, and Estonia. He also has experience performing musical theater, participating in shows throughout both high school and college. Jonathon has also studied piano since he was 7 years old. He has focused both on classical performance and jazz piano, which has helped him develop a unique musical ear. As a student at Rutgers, Jonathon excelled at ear training, and often tutored other students in music dictation and theory. Jonathon’s wide range of musical experience enables him to meet the needs of any students.
Alex graduated from Westminster Choir College with a BA in Music and a concentration in Voice Studies. Studying voice as a soprano with Dr. Sharon Sweet, Alex was the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards and was counted a member of several select vocal ensembles, including Kantorei, Williamson Voices, and Symphonic Choir. In addition to her performances around the tri-state area at such prestigious venues as Lincoln and Kimmel Center, she has performed throughout France and England, including as a Choral Mentor at the Oxford University Choral Singing Summer School. In spring of 2018, Alex made her Carnegie Hall debut as the alto soloist in Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, and the Westminster Symphonic Choir. She has been recorded as a chorister, and is a featured soloist on three releases. This season, Alex has been accepted onto the extended roster for Donald Nally’s professional ensemble, The Crossing, and sings as the alto Choral Scholar in the Voices Chorale NJ. Alex has a passion for teaching, especially younger students, and her rich background in performance allow for lessons that teach not only technicality, but also musicality.
Jacqui received her BA in Music Performance and Production from Ramapo College of New Jersey. Throughout her life, she has performed in choirs, musicals, gospel ensembles, concerts and a cappella groups. Jacqui’s experiences have led to her performing on stage with the likes of Whoopi Goldberg. She focuses on techniques to fortify growth and confidence in her students. Her fun and gentle nature combined with knowledge and passion for helping students fully comprehend material make her a great fit for anyone interested in pursuing voice lessons.
In addition to Jenn’s training as a violinist and pianist, she is also a certified teacher of Elementary Education. With a Bachelor’s of Science degree in K-6 education from Taylor University, Her expertise in pedagogy are matched by her masterful approach to technique and her dilligent focus on the many seemingly small details it takes to learn an instrument as complex as the piano. Jenn is a great fit for anyone getting started on the piano or seeking to learn more about it. Her many years of experience working as an instructor, including teaching many individuals with special needs, make piano lessons with Jenn a great fit for any student.
Ana attended the Music Conservatory of Puerto Rico, first pursuing a BA in Violin Performance. During her time there, she participated in multiple orchestral engagements, ensembles, and solo performances. In 2008, she was selected to participate in the Orchestra of the Americas Festival under the direction of Maestro Luis Biava. During her tenure at school, she was afforded the opportunity to teach new music programs which helped her realize her passion for instruction and prompted her to change her major to Music Education. After completing her degree, she taught in an outreach branch of the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra called 100x35 Music. There, she had the opportunity to work with children, some of whom, had yet to experience the joy of playing an instrument. Ana has extensive experience working with students of all ages and skill levels, including those with special needs.