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 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.
Dannielle is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where she received her Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance. Recent perfomrance credits include La Contessa in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. She has been a featured soloist with the Eastman Chorale, Eastman Repertory Singers, and the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra. Dannielle has worked with internationally renowned coaches and composers and has received local and regional awards, most recently as a finalist in the NATS Eastern Region Conference. Her studies have taken her abroad, most recently performing in numerous concert halls in Italy at Si Parla, Si Canta. Dannielle works to ensure that every student creates their unique musical fingerprint while maintaining a comfortable environment for students to experiment and grow.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With 40 years of extensive experience as a piano instructor, Elvira holds a Masters of Music in Piano Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied under the guidance of Dr. Arkady Aronov. She has participated in numerous prestigious masterclasses and festivals including the Texas International Piano Festival and Tivoliclassica in Italy. She has prepared countless students for exams, auditions, and competitions including ABRSM and NJMTA auditions. An active member of the international piano community, Elvira holds memberships in the National Music Teachers Association (NMTA), New Jersey Music Teachers Association (NJMTA), Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM), and the Board of Judges for the American Guild of Piano Teachers. Elvira relishes the opportunity to share her impressive wealth of knowledge with students of all ages.