Ella Fitzgerald, Sara Vaughn and a set of musically inclined parents made up the early influence of her piano and singing career. A prodigy of sorts, she started playing the piano and singing at the early age of six inspired by a home atmosphere that continually permeated with talk and practice of music. Her father a jazz pianist and mother a jazz singer.
She continued her goal for music and studied at the Conservatory of Music at St., Paul’s College and University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines. It came to no surprise when she embarked on her own singing career, joining a host of singing contest using them as stepping stones to her musical career.
Winning the prestigious “Star Search of Asia” finally brought her some recognition, and since then became a regular guest at various TV Shows which included a Broadway Sunday Musical Comedy Show for five years. She was selected the Representative for the Asian countries touring with other Asian performers. This exposure brought her to the attention to perform at some of Manila’s Premiere Five-Star Hotels. A recording contract with Blackgold and Villar Records singing her own compositions capped her career. She worked with a Talent Agency Company in the bay area called “Singing Stars” based in San Diego for many years.
The San Francisco Filipino American Jazz Festival has featured Ann Marie at concerts over the past few years, most notably as guest artist of our Festival at the SF Pistahan and Parade at Yerba Buena Gardens, the Jazz History Month Celebration at the SF Main Public Library, Yoshi’s, The Scottish Rite Theater, Angelica’s and continues to perform at Jazz Venues in the Bay Area.
There is no doubt that she has musical chops and talent in abundance. Ann Marie has brought together the crème of the crème of first-class musicians in the Bay Area. Musical Director, Mr. Dioscoro “Boy” Palacio and Ann Marie worked on exceptional and original arrangements of standards such as “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” “Love For Sale,” “It’s Alright With Me,” “Cry Me A River,” “Lover Man,” and “Gypsy In My Soul.” Her original compositions, “I Was Only Dreaming” and “Come Back” show off her composing and songwriting abilities. “Sing a Song with Passion” her debut CD has now been released.
Ayumi Asayama enjoys teaching piano to children and exploring her student's interests in Music together. In her teaching, she includes ear training, rhythm training, finger technique, and fundamental music theory. For beginner students, the first goal of the piano lesson is to play the melody line of the student’s favorite song and motivate practicing the basic skills.
Ayumi Asayama started playing classical piano when she was 3 years old at Private Yamaha Music Studio in her home town Osaka, Japan. After she learned classical piano, she explored Jazz, R&B, Soul, Blues, Rock, and Pops Music. She started singing cover songs by R&B musicians such as Alicia Keys, and Steve Wonder with a band or playing piano by herself, and performed at live music cafes, bars, venues, hotels, and welfare facilities.
Besides Ayumi working as a kindergarten teacher/child care worker after graduating from College with Early Childhood Education in japan, she continued to perform and pursued her passion for Music. She learned Piano and Vocal performance at Music Performance Academy from professional Musicians in Los Angels in 2012. She joined the Christmas concert of Victoria Bible Church in Pasadena, CA as a part of the choir. Most recently, Ayumi received an associate degree in Arts in the field of Music from Skyline College in 2022
Clark began his musical career at the age of 9, taking piano lessons with Ms. Janet Brewer. In his time under Janet's instruction, Clark explored baroque, early classical, and romantic repertoire, completing several annual piano auditions for the National Guild of Piano Teachers (NGPT) and receiving awards for his performance of 10-15 pieces from memory each year.
At the age of 13, he began taking violin lessons with Victor Lin at the Vibo Music Center. In this time, Clark's musical interest expanded to include more modern genres of music as well as traditional world music. Not long after, Clark enrolled into Archbishop Riordan High School, whose music program did not include stringed instruments. So, while enrolled, Clark dabbled in various other instruments for the school's concert band, marching band, drumline, pit orchestra, and jazz band. In his graduation year, Clark was selected as the recipient of the John Philip Sousa Award.
Clark later began working on his B.S. Forensic Biology at CSU East Bay.By this time, Clark became more interested in composing rather than performing music. Today, he is a piano accompanist for local church choirs. He teaches piano and violin at the Vibo Music Center. Also, while he occasionally accepts other commissions, Clark is currently responsible for composing over 80 tracks for an online video game-in-development, Pumpkin Online.
Clark's teaching style emphasizes comprehension of musical literature. Students can expect to learn two styles of reading music: 1) quick, analytical reading and 2) slower, deliberate reading for muscle memory. Moreover, Clark works towards giving students instruction that will lead to very fluent expression of musical ideas. Students will also be encouraged to explore music theory, improvisation, composing/songwriting, and learning-by-ear.
Elise Kwon, originally from Seoul, South Korea, is a pianist, composer, and music educator. She started studying music at 9, and her professional musical training began at the age of 19 at Hanyang Women’s University in Seoul, Korea. She majored in Applied Music as a drummer and performed at various venues in her hometown. After she moved to California in 2014, she began her studies at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, where she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Music Composition and Film Scoring.
Elise has teaching experience with a broad range of age groups from preschool to adults. As a member of SFUSD, Elise now works at Ruth Asawa School of the Arts where she teaches the theory of film scoring and music production. She has been teaching online private/group classes for ages from 5 to 18 and currently offers lessons through Zoom.
Elise's goal as a teacher is to provide an easy and fun musical education for students and develop her own music theory method textbook. She looks forward to working with students from different musical backgrounds.
Gram Aguas grew up learning music here in the San Francisco Bay Area. When he was eight years old, he studied and played clarinet at his elementary school orchestra band. At age twelve he fell in love with blues, funk, R&B, and rock and roll music. He picked up a guitar as a result and started learning how to play songs from recordings of his heroes. Hungry to know more about music, he started taking lessons at ViBO Music Center. Not only did he learn a variety of skills, techniques, and styles while taking lessons (classical, jazz, reggae, folk, metal, latin, etc), he also found a deeper love and appreciation for many different types of music as well. At age sixteen, he started teaching his own weekly private students and started studying more jazz, as well as piano. He would play local gigs at restaurants and private events with different jazz combos during high school. At age eighteen, he went on to get a bachelor’s degree at San Francisco State University studying music while simultaneously teaching and playing gigs after classes. Gram continues to perform and teach music around the Bay Area today. His goal as a teacher is to help his students understand the joys of playing and listening to different types of music, as well as providing them with the tools they need to help them succeed in their own personal musical journey.
Guanhua Ge (Monica) is a pianist, singer, composer and music producer living and working out of California. She had 24 years of experience playing piano and 7 years of experience singing. As a soprano singer, she won 3 awards in Italy, and 3 awards in the USA for choir. She composer for a animation film that won 10+ international film award nominations and awards, including The 53rd Taiwan Golden Horse Awards Best Animated Short Film Nominees, The 57th Krakow Film Festival, The 33rd Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival narrative short film selection etc. She scored 14 original songs for Taiwanese Public Television service Broadcasting, with an estimated 18 million viewers.
Guanhua Ge (Monica) began the musical career at the age of 4, taking piano lessons with Ms. Sao Jin. At the age of 16, she began learning harp lessons with harp professor in Tianjin Conservatory of Music, China. When she was 20 years old, she began to learn Musicology in Xinghai Conservatory of Music, China. Monica earned her Master degree of Fine Arts in Music Production and Sound Design for Visual Media at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She had a Bachelor of Music Degree in History of Western Music and Modern Chinese Music in Musicology at Xinghai Conservatory of Music, China.
Monica's teaching style emphasizes music to understand music history, music culture and music literature. She is good at teaching students to think differently and encourage learning and understanding of music. She is very satisfied with the patience of the students, because she believes that the golden keys to teach music not only tell students to play musical instruments or singing skills, but also to maintain and understand, love and enjoy music. Students can expect to learn music theory, chord / scale relationships, piano and vocal music, Western music history in different periods, national and cultural backgrounds.
Raised in Santa Clarita (Southern California), Helen has been singing in choirs since freshman year of high school. This includes the famed Show Choir of Golden Valley, Rhapsody in Gold. In 2011, Helen moved to San Francisco to study at SF State University where she received a bachelor of fine arts in music with an emphasis in jazz studies. As a singer, her vocal styles range from Brazilian to Latin Jazz, Salsa, Swing, Blues, R&B and Pop. During her time at SF State she studied and played with John Calloway in the Afro Cuban Ensemble. She later performed with his latin jazz septet at the Redwood City Salsa Festival in 2017, 2019 and at the 2020 Latin Heritage Day concert. Helen has also sung in Anthony Blea’s City College Charanga Band for three years and has conducted the CCSF choir (under Michael Shahani) during their 2019 Winter Concert. Helen’s own group, the Helen Palma quartet, has performed at the Ocean Ale House for over two years. Helen is also a teacher of voice and piano, currently teaching at the ViBO Music School.
Jeff Peterson is a graduate composition student at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music who started music when he was 4 when he took piano. He later picked up the trumpet and French horn until committing to composition. He is incredibly passionate about teaching music, as he began doing so at the end of high school where he volunteered his time teaching at the local elementary schools. He went on to work at MakeMusic Inc. after graduating with his Bachelor of Music in composition in 2016 and hosted his own radio show “Piano Spectrum” in 2017. His compositions also received recognition, winning the Sonoma Fine Arts Commission and the John Phillip Sousa Award. Jeff currently studies composition privately with two pupils of Nadia Boulanger (notable and famous music teacher): Dr. David Conte of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Phelps Dean Witter, a 1950’s graduate of the Paris Conservatory. Among music, Jeff has been an avid handwriting enthusiast for over 10 years, mainly focusing on the history, manufacture, and collection of old fountain pens. You’ll be hard-pressed to find him without a fountain pen in his hand!
After graduating from the music college in Japan with the majors of piano and vocal, and beyond, proceeding with the schooling in England, Finland, France and USA. Still continue the professional piano studying with the professors, performing piano recitals and being a singer and a piano accompanist for a Jazz saxophone player at various venues. Always reminding myself with the Plato’s words “Music is a moral law. It gives wings to the mind, A soul to the universe, Flight to the imagination, A charm of sadness, A life to everything. “
Originally from Hartsville, South Carolina, trombonist Miriam Snyder currently lives in San Francisco, California, where she is working towards a master’s degree in trombone performance at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and freelancing in several Bay Area orchestras. Prior to attending SFCM, Miriam lived in Rochester, New York, where she earned a bachelor’s degree and performer’s certificate in trombone performance from the Eastman School of Music. Throughout her career, Miriam has achieved many successes, including participating in many festivals, master classes, and honors ensembles. As a passionate solo and chamber musician, Miriam has competed in several competitions, with her most recent accomplishments including placing third in the national level of the 2017 MTNA Senior Brass Competition and placing first in the 2021 American Trombone Workshop’s National Quartet Competition as a member of the Outer Loop Trombone Quartet. Her primary teachers include Dr. David Hamilton, Larry Zalkind, Paul Welcomer, and Timothy Higgins. Miriam’s professional goals include teaching privately at the collegiate level and playing trombone in an orchestra. Outside of playing trombone, Miriam enjoys arranging, baking, running, and taking care of her cat and plants.
Naomi Stine began playing the piano at age four and has been surrounded by music ever since. At age twenty Ms. Stine studied piano with Dr. Bruce Cook at Diablo Valley College, and in 2004 was chosen to perform the Mozart Piano Concerto No.23 K.488 as a live soloist with the Diablo Valley Philharmonic Orchestra. Since 2006, Ms. Stine has studied piano with world renowned concert pianist Roger Woodward at San Francisco State University where she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance. She earned her Masters of Music Degree in Piano Performance under Roger Woodward. Ms. Stine has participated in many recitals and competitions at San Francisco State University and plans to pursue a Doctorate of Music upon her graduation in the Spring. Ms. Stine is excited and eager to pursue teaching piano to students of ages and walks of life throughout her musical career.
Robert’s musical training began when he was in utero because his mother was an accomplished classical pianist and she spent hours practicing. Then, through her training he was playing Bach, Beethoven, and show tunes by the age of 4. His first performance was in kindergarten when he performed his pieces and accompanied his school for the holiday recital. With a degree in music from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, Robert has made it his mission to spread the joy of learning to play piano to anyone interested and has been teaching for over 30 years. He has developed a variety of fun and innovative techniques and shortcuts to make playing piano accessible to all, and has proven time and time again that it is never too late to start.
Instruments - Violin / Viola / Piano
I started playing the violin when I was 7 years old. I studied classical music with private teachers, and had experience in youth orchestras most of my childhood. In High School I attended Cabrillo community college, and studied privately with Sue Brown, along with taking her chamber ensembles, and symphony courses. I completed my Associates degree in Music from Cabrillo College, where I studied classical and jazz, before I transferred to San Jose State University to complete my Bachelor’s degree. While attending SJSU, I studied with Diane Nicholeris, Paul Ehrlic, Bruce Moyer, and Gwendylon Mok. I also attended Apple Hill Chamber Music program in New Hampshire during the summer seasons. I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree in Music Spring 2016 and currently studying jazz at the Berkeley Jazz school, music production, and I continue to learn classical and perform. I believe that everybody should have the privilege to play and experience the benefits that music can offer.
Taylor holds a Master’s Degree in Viola Performance at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she studies with Jonathan Vinocour.
Taylor Cooksey started studying violin at the age of fourteen with Dr. Georgette Popa and viola at age seventeen with the same professor. While under Dr. Popa’s instruction, Taylor participated in the Seraphim Symphony Youth Orchestra in Southern California, where she was a soloist, concertmaster, and principal viola throughout the four years she spent in the ensemble. With the symphony, Taylor got the chance to perform the Czardas violin solo with the orchestra at the 2012 London Olympic Games, and the Hoffmeister viola concerto at the Chambord Castle and La Madeleine Cathedral in France in 2014. Other notable performances that Taylor has been a part of include touring Germany and Prague with the BCCM Orchestra in 2017, and performing in concert halls such as Carnegie Hall, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Segerstrom Performing Arts Hall, and the Kennedy Center.
Taylor received her Bachelor’s Degree in Viola Performance with a minor in psychology in 2019 from California State University, Long Beach where she studied with Dr. Josephine Moerschel and Dr. Jason Bonham. During her time at Long Beach, Taylor joined the American Youth Symphony Orchestra, and had the privilege to perform in various studios to record viola tracks for the short film “Bruised” and for the band Tribal Seeds.
Taylor has been teaching violin, viola, cello, and piano for five years in various private music schools and public schools. For the 2018-2019 school year, Taylor had the opportunity to teach high school orchestra at Villa Park High School, where she led the ensemble in rehearsals and prepared them for their school concerts. Taylor also has experience teaching middle school orchestra, as she led a summer orchestra program in 2018 and 2019 at East Whittier Middle School. Taylor also has extensive experience teaching children under the age of five, as well as children that have special needs.
Wan Su, graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in Technology and Applied Composition in 2018. She earned her Master’s and Bachelor degree in Composition at the Xi’an Conservatory of Music, China. Her passion for piano began at the age of five. Being passionate and enthusiastic for music allowed for excellent academic piano performance and compositions through hard work and determination.
During her studies at the SFCM in Technology and Applied Composition, she increased her knowledge of industry-standard technologies and professional composition workflow. As a composer, Wan Su furthered her abilities with compositions in all media genres. Her portfolio consists of electronic, ambient, experimental, orchestral for all mediums.
As a piano teacher, she develops curriculum that are designed to improve the abilities of musicians, whether they are beginners or advanced performers. By teaching multiple courses that combined music theory and composition, her students are able to focus not only on piano skills but also composers’ backgrounds, music structure and harmony. Her solid academic foundations, patient character, over 10 years teaching experience, innovative attitude make her become an excellent teacher in the various aspects of the modern music industry.
Zahra Rothschild is a music educator and performer from San Francisco whose goal is to work with young musicians to foster a lifelong passion for music. She is a recent graduate from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo with a B.A. in music (specializing in vocal performance) and a double minor in Latin American studies and Ethnic studies, where among other things she cultivated skills in classical vocal technique, piano, conducting, music research and classical and commercial music performance. She has been a private music educator in San Luis Obispo, and has been a part of a diverse array of ensembles including the Cal Poly SLO Arab Music Ensemble, Cal Poly SLO Chamber choir, and Cal Poly Vocal Jazz Ensemble. She is versed in a wide array of musical styles including jazz, Latin American music, pop, and classical, and she loves exploring both traditional techniques and more "jam" based skills with students.