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.

Margaret, General Music Teacher

MARGARET

Margaret is a passionate and patient teacher with years of experience providing a wide range of students vocal and piano instruction. Starting at a young age in Rutgers and Westminster children's choirs, she has experienced first hand the value of learning music early in life. Margaret is a graduate of Monmouth University with a degree in Vocal Performance with a concentration in classical music. Her extensive performance experience began as a child with the Westminster Choir with which she performed at the White House and various private choral events. As a seasoned musician, she’s enjoyed roles in operas such as Carmen and Amahl and the Night Visitors.

Joanna, General Music Teacher

JOANNA

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.

Jenn, General Music Teacher

JENN

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.

Jonathon, General Music Teacher

JONATHON

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.

Jacqui, General Music Teacher

JACQUI

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.

Alex, General Music Teacher

ALEX

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.

Aidan, General Music Teacher

AIDAN

Aidan has studied Voice Performance and Secondary Piano at Westminster Choir College and Voice Performance at Mason Gross of Rutgers University. He has performed throughout the United States, Italy, France, and the UK, and has also studied in masterclass settings with such luminaries as Dalton Baldwin, Niel Shicoff, and Simon Carrington. Aidan sings with world renown outfits, such as the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Same Stream Choir. In addition to his impressive performance CV, he draws on a wealth of instructional experience including teaching secondary voice lessons and aural skills at Mason Gross to undergraduate students.