PIANO LESSONS AT OCTOPUS

Piano lessons at Octopus Music School are taught using our proprietary OPUS curriculum (Octopus Poly-Instrumental Units of Study). OPUS consists of ten grade levels, each with a requisite assessment and certification. With consistent practice at recommended intervals, our carefully designed curriculum prepares students to quickly advance from day one by equipping them with the necessary tools and scaffolding to build a comprehensive understanding of the piano. In addition to learning note-reading, rhythm interpretation, and proper technique, students are exposed to theory, aural training, music appreciation, and collaborative courses with peers to help cultivate an immersive environment in which to thrive.

Lessons are still tailored to individuals' unique learning needs, and repertoire remains flexible so that students are able to learn music which interests them, however the core content and benchmarks have been standardized to ensure fast and steady progress for students of all ages and skill levels.

Daniel, Piano Teacher

DANIEL

Daniel began studying music when he was twelve years old. By age nineteen, he was studying piano at Fundação das Artes in the city of São Caetano do Sul, under the guidance of pianist Claudio Tegg. During this time, he began composing pieces for musical theater and short films and has been a passionate composer ever since. Daniel has participated in several music festivals throughout Brazil, such as the International Piano Festival in Piracicaba and the International Piano Festival in Vale do Aço. In 2016, he had his work, 'Respirateur,' premiered by Roger Admiral, a pianist and professor of music at Alberta University - Canada. As an active performer of contemporary and ethnic music, Daniel has also performed in festivals throughout the U.S. including MusikFest, Newark Porch Music Fest, and a special performance at the Oregon Piano Summer Music Festival in collaboration with the esteemed Alexandre Dossin. His compositional style merges classical influences such as Scriabin, Chopin, Ravel, Schumann and Brahms, with his background studying Jazz and Brazilian music. Currently, Daniel is involved in researching piano pedagogy and spends his time preparing students for competitions and performances throughout New Jersey and New York.

Joanna, Piano 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.

Blythe, Piano Teacher

BLYTHE

Blythe's goal in teaching is to foster a love of music and a passion for the arts. She focuses on developing her students as musicians in general and on a relaxed technique that will allow for the best possible artistic expression. Rather than teaching students individual pieces, she teaches them how to teach themselves and spends time laying the foundations of good practice habits and fluency in reading music. Growing up in southeast Michigan, music has been a lifelong passion for Blythe. She began studying the violin at age three and added piano at age nine. Blythe sang in choirs throughout her childhood and began taking voice lessons in high school. She eventually decided to study voice performance at Westminster Choir College, where she completed both her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees. Blythe has performed extensively in operas and recitals but mostly enjoys choral singing. She sings regularly with several professional ensembles and she has been teaching music since 2008.

Dannielle, Piano Teacher

DANNIELLE

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.

Jerry, Piano Teacher

JERRY

Jerry began piano studies at the age of four and his professional work has spanned genres from television and theater to sacred music. He has worked for a variety of renowned institutions and individuals including New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse, Emmy Award-winning director Andrew Carl Wilk, Massachusetts’ North Shore Music Theater, and the Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut. His theatrical credits include pianist/conductor for the past original off-Broadway production of The Fantasticks, co-musical director of Heart’s Desire, by Emmy Award-winning conductor and composer Glenn Roven, and conductor for the musical Green Gables by Cincinnati composers Mark Friedman and Janet Vogt in Dayton, Ohio. His work in music for television has included work for National Geographic Television and he has made several appearances on Sounds from the Spires, on Sirius/XM’s The Catholic Channel, hosted by Dr. Jennifer Pascual, Music Director of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.
Jerry holds a bachelor degree in music (Thomas Edison State University) a masters in theology (Saint Elizabeth University), and is pursuing a Phd in music composition at Rutgers University in the studio of Grammy Award-winning opera composer Robert Livingston Aldridge.

Glennise, Piano Teacher

GLENNISE

Glennise received her BA in General Music from the University at Albany, SUNY and her MA in Music Theory-Composition from the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University, where she studied with Dr. Ting Ho and Dr. Marcos Balter. She has over 25 years of teaching experience in vocals, piano and clarinet to both children and adults, in public schools and privately. She has also prepared numerous students to excel in the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Examinations (ABRSM) in both voice and piano.

Edsel, Piano Teacher

EDSEL

Edsel holds a Bachelors of Music, Piano Performance, with an emphasis in pedagogy from Kean University and is also a composer. His musical career began at the age of sixteen, and while many may consider that an older age to begin learning, his late start did not deter him. Under the guidance of music professors at Kean University, Edsel learned to play and master difficult classical piano repertoire such as Claire de Lune by Claude Debussy and Piano Sonata No. 8 in A minor K.310 (First movement) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in a short amount of time, while also pursuing his passion for composing. During his time at Kean, he studied piano with William Barto-Jones (whose style is based upon the Alexander Technique), Music Theory and Composition with Dr. Matthew Halper, and participated in many choir concerts under the direction of Dr. Mark Terenzi. Under the instruction of Professor William Barto-Jones, Edsel learned the Alexander Technique, and now teaches it to his students in hopes that it will help them progress and play piano with the least amount of tension, only using tension when needed. With the help of Dr. Halper, he was also able to compose four original compositions named: Playing in the Snow, Falling Leaves, Marching through Spring, and Fun Summer Days. At Kean University, he gained performance experience by participating in their student recital programs performing piano solos and piano four hands pieces and accompanying chamber works for Kean University’s Chamber Music Ensemble. Edsel has been teaching students for nearly a decade. Now, he performs for various winter and summer fundraiser concerts at the Messiah Lutheran Church in Sayreville, NJ, and has also premiered some of his original compositions at concerts and continues to work on his craft.

Susan, Piano Teacher

SUSAN

Susan’s musical career began at a young age when she began studying at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee Wisconsin. After receiving her BA in Piano Performance from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, she went on to direct various children’s choral church groups. An experienced accompanist and instructor, she has over 20 years of experience teaching students piano, many of whom have gone on to pursue music as a career.

Robert, Piano Teacher

ROBERT

Robert studied guitar with international performing artist Anna Maria Rosado and composition with American composer Annette Le Siege. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Classical Guitar Performance from New Jersey City University, and has performed extensively in small venues throughout Vermont. He was a house musician for several seasons at the Yosemite Theater in Yosemite National Park, California. A true pedagogue, Robert has been performing and teaching numerous instruments including guitar, piano, strings, ukulele, banjo, mandolin, mountain dulcimer, and brass & woodwinds for over 20 years. Notable performances include a guitar trio led by Dr. Rosado at the 2011 NJMEA conference in East Brunswick, and several trips to Carnegie Hall as a member of the NJCU Choir. His focus is on creating individualized lesson plans that address the students particular interests and needs.

Margaret, Piano 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.

Karl, Piano Teacher

KARL

Karl taught a friend how to play “Purple Haze” on the guitar in 1991. The friend returned the next day and gave him $5. At that point, Karl found his calling. He received a B.A. In Music from Rutgers University in 1994 and has over 30 years of teaching experience, privately and at various conservatories, including the New Mozart School in Palo Alto, CA. Along the way, he has studied jazz guitar with Ted Dunbar, jazz piano with Kenny Barron and classical piano with Sophia Rosoff. In 2002 he was approached by Alfred Publishing to write a book. Beginning Piano for Adults was published in 2003 and has sold over 20,000 copies. Karl was introduced to the Alexander technique by renowned hand therapist Caryl Johnson and considers proper posture and alignment an integral part of his pedagogical philosophy.

Lina, Piano Teacher

LINA

An active performer, Lina is a frequent participant in recitals, chamber groups, choirs, and operas including Don Giovanni and Elixir. During her studies at the Valle University where she received a Bachelors of The Arts in Music Education, she performed with the Univalle opera which toured Colombia and Ecuador. Her work as a voice conductor at Cooperative University of Colombia and Unison Center for the performing arts in Jackson Heights, New York has given her a unique opportunity to see the world of performance from the other side of the podium. Lina is currently preparing for her Masters of Music in Vocal Performance with the distinguished Karen Beardsley at the Manhattan School of Music. In addition to her academic pursuits, Lina is both a member of the choir and cantor at St. Matthias Church. As an educator, Lina has extensive experience as a vocal, piano, and general music instructor and has taught a diverse range of students from children to adults, including those with special needs.

Paul, Piano Teacher

PAUL

Paul began his music journey at nine years old where he started on trombone and fell in love with the instrument. He received a Bachelor of Music in trombone performance from University of California, Santa Barbara, where he studied with the legendary studio musician Bill Booth, and a Master of Music in Trombone Performance from University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music, where he studied with the bass trombonist of the LA opera, Terry Cravens. During his study in Southern California, he had many different freelance experiences, ranging from teaching students of all ages, playing classical, jazz, contemporary, and church music. His teaching philosophy is to teach the student to become a teacher for themselves. By helping students develop critical thinking skills, students would teach themselves everyday, in the practice room, in the classroom, and in life. He values composition and improvisation in early musical training for all genres.

Julian, Piano Teacher

JULIAN

Julian is a character tenor from Weehawken, NJ. He started his training in musical theater, singing in rock, folk, and other commercial music styles, before beginning his classical training at Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA, where he holds a B.M. in Music Performance. He gained valuable experience in his studies of modern and contemporary classical music and dedicated himself to creating original performances in both operatic, solo, and choral repertoire. He also explored directing and writing, where, in a single year, he directed three operatic productions, providing ample performance opportunities for chamber musicians and singers at the Conservatory, committing fully to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the arts. He received the Cecilia Award for Vocal Excellence and the Undergraduate Dean's Award, for these efforts. On top of technical training, Julian has a knack for acting, expression, and mastery, and enjoys bringing out the best in people.

Pierre, Piano Teacher

PIERRE

Pierre received his BM in Music Theory from Five Towns College in 2007. Since then, he has been teaching in the Newark and Irvington school districts as well as privately in-home. His years of experience as a piano teacher and general music teacher help him to understand and instruct each student. Using piano as a form of expression and communication, Pierre encourages diligent practice habits and uses individualized lessons to keep students engaged and focused.

Bonnie, Piano Teacher

BONNIE

Bonnie received her B.A. in Music Performance at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania with a concentration in piano and organ studies. During her time there, she participated in the University Choir and several chamber ensembles studying and performing technically advanced pieces. Not simply an incredible pianist, she also has extensive knowledge of all levels of music theory, music history, music composition & arranging, aural skills, and advanced conducting. In addition to her work as an instructor and performer, she serves as music director at two area churches helping to adapt and arrange works for a variety of musical instruments. Her students benefit from her expansive knowledge of all things piano and organ and her exhaustive understanding of the scaffolding students must have in order to take their playing to the next level.

Aidan, Piano 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.

Jamie, Piano Teacher

JAMIE

Jamie is a professional, classically trained pianist, vocalist, and drummer and holds a B.A. in Music Education K-12 with a concentration in voice, and a minor in piano from William Paterson University of New Jersey. In high school, Jamie was involved in a variety of award winning ensembles including concert choir, chorale, Madrigals, men's choir, all-state choir, concert band, wind ensemble, marching band, and jazz band. In 2007, the drumline, of which Jamie was co-section leader, earned the title of Grand National Champions.

After graduating WPUNJ, he worked at Pompton Lakes High School as a Marching Band Tech and sang as a hired choir section leader for Trinity & St. Philips Cathedral in Newark, NJ, and for Trinity & Episcopal Church in Cliffside Park, NJ. In the summer of 2018, he was hired by Lincoln Center for their Mostly Mozart Festival. Jamie was the Assistant Conductor for the William Paterson University's Choir Tour in 2018 where he conducted and sang through Austria and Italy in places such as the Vienna State Opera House and Melk Abbey.