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  Our Teachers    

  Valery Goldes   

Valery Goldes has played the piano since the age of 7 until eventually working his way up to studying piano at the Juilliard School in New York. As a performer, Valery has played with many orchestras worldwide such as the Israel Philharmonic under the baton of Zubin Mehta, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra of the Hochschule fur Musik und Theater amongst others. Valery is also a pop artist. His debut song Cinderella-Special Girl became a viral hit on social media and was viewed more than a million times on YouTube. Watch it here! As an instructor, Valery's passion has always been to share his music knowledge and experience with his students. He has been teaching kids and adults all his life and believes in being not only an instructor but a mentor to each of his students. His hope is to expand their knowledge and inspire them to be creative in their crafts. His teaching subjects include piano, composition, songwriting, and improvisation.

  John Werthmann   

John is an enthusiastic, effective, and overall excellent music teacher with over 5 years experience leading group and individual lessons. With a zest for inspiring passion in his students, he thrives in and loves the art of musical education. John attended George Mason University in Virginia, and his studies include Percussion Performance, Jazz Drum Set Performance, and a Bachelor of Arts in Music. He draws from over 16 years' experience as a professional drummer and percussionist, with additional talent on the guitar, bass, piano, ukulele, and singing/songwriting.

Rhonda began playing the piano by ear at the age of 4, when she was accepted to Juliard as a youth scholar. A native New Yorker, attending the " Fame" school. After high school and 2 years at Boston University as a music major, she moved to Florida where she completed her college degree in music, piano & voice, with a minor in education. After earning her degree, she went on to work with the head of the Palm Beach Opera. Besides performing, Rhonda has been teaching music for over 20 years both privately and as a K-6 music teacher in both the L.A. Unified public school system and at private schools. Her skills range from piano to voice to guitar, and is capable of teaching all ages and levels. Additionally, she teaches pre-school children general music and has formed choirs to sing throughout the community. As a dedicated accomplished educator and musician, Rhonda combines both the creative and theoretical approach to teaching and is admired by her students.

Rhonda Burns-Wachtel
  Crystal Keith    

A Los Angeles native, Crystal brings a lifetime of professional music experience to every lesson. Born into a long line of musicians, she began piano lessons began at age 5. She attended The Boston Conservatory of Music, where she studied vocal music, music theory and piano. After switching her focus to classical theater, she attended The Central School of Speech and Drama in London as an acting major with a music minor. She performed lead roles in UK productions of “Grand Hotel” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." Back on her home turf, she appeared in "Louis and Keely: Live At The Sahara" for its 9-month run at The Geffen Playhouse. She also performed vocals, piano and bass in her lead role with The Burning Opera LA - an original rock opera about Burning Man. After becoming a mother in 2012, Crystal shifted her focus to teaching - piano, voice, music fundamentals and theater. She remains active in the Los Angeles theatre community as a member of several local companies.

  Mario Gorito    

Mario started playing guitar at age 10 and teaching by age 15. At age 18, he attended the LA Music Academy (now LACM) and studied under a group of world renowned musicians including Frank Gambale, Steve Fister, Dave Hill, Brad Rabuchin, Mike Shapiro, and many others. After graduating LAMA, Mario continued working as a freelance musician playing live shows, making records, and composing for other artists. As an instructor, he takes pride in bringing real world experiences into the classroom, and teaching students step by step on how to improve on their instrument. 

  Sofi Sarkisyan    

Sofi has graduated from Yerevan State Conservatory majoring in Piano (Music). Afterwards she finished two years of postgraduate study. 

She holds Master’s degree in Piano. Her qualifications upon graduating are Concert Performer, Piano Teacher, Artist of Chamber Ensemble, Piano Accompanist. 

With 10 years of teaching experience and teaching more than 50 students different levels and backgrounds Sofi teaches beginner(elementary) through advanced levels. She is also a member of MTAC and can prepare students for CM evaluation test.

In addition she has 20 years of experience as an accompanist and have played with different performers. 

Fluent in English, Russian and Armenian

  Joe Francis    

Joe Francis has been a full-time teacher and musician for over 20 years.  He began his career as a honors piano performance major at McGill University in Montreal.  After moving to New York in the early 90's, he began to teach and perform.  Joe has worked for Warner Brothers publishing, Wiggles'n'Tunes, Kinderwise, and many others as a musical arranger and writer with music featured on network television, independent films, and video games.  He has shared the stage with members of Tower of Power and Santana among others.  In 2013, he was the Indaba/i-Heart/X-Converse grand prize winner of an international song contest benefiting the Portland Children's Cancer Hospital and a runner up in the CNN theme-song contest in 2012.  As a teacher, Joe tailors each lesson to the individual student and is comfortable with many different styles of playing.  He believes in a relaxed and supportive musical environment.

  Keithian De Von    

Keithian Dé Von was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. His father, a Cuban producer; met his mother on tour where she was a professional dancer/choreographer. He was raised in New Orleans, Louisiana and later moved to Texas. At the age of 7 he began recording and touring with a local gospel group. After accomplishing a hit on Christian radio and many shows, Keithian was introduced to a Warner Brothers Record Executive, who wanted him to be a member of a preteen boy group. The group ended up signing a major label deal and working on their debut album. After a few years of performing and recording with the group and the failed success of an album, the group disbanded. Although the group did not work, Keithian was determined to grab his spot in the music industry so he began writing and producing songs for artist like Jennifer Hudson, Ella Henderson, Tyga, Nicole Sherzinger, Chris Brown, and etc. He was also a musician for acts like Jojo and Jessica Simpson on tour and most recently served as assistant musical director for Nicki Minaj. Today Keithian works as a songwriter/producer for many artist and has worked with several producers like Will.I.Am, Tricky Stewart, Swiss Beats, and many more. He has currently released his “…Power” (EP).

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