Our Teachers - Music Lessons Sunset Learning Studio

"Sharing the Joy of Music"
piano lessons, singing lessons, voice lessons, guitar lessons
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Our Teachers

Instructor: Michelle Valenzuela
Teaches: Piano and Voice
Styles: Classical, pop, R & B, etc.
Background: Michelle Valenzuela began singing and playing the piano at an early age. She studied both piano and voice while attending a performing arts High School in California. Her training continued at California State University, Fullerton where she studied Music Education and continued piano and vocal training. It was at California State University, Northridge where she earned her BA in Music Industry Studies. She is currently the Producer, Songwriter and Co-Owner of Monophonic Entertainment where she develops young talent in the Pop, R&B, and Hip-Hop genres. As a vocalist, Michelle has sung back-up for artists such as Sheila E, All-4-One, Jamie Jones, and gospel singer Jonathan Butler. Most of Michelle’s creative work is spent behind the scenes composing music, writing, and coaching artists. She has been teaching beginners and professionals for 10 years and not only provides students with great vocal and piano technique, but also helps build their confidence, self-esteem, stage presence, and overall musical knowledge.

Availability: As an instructor, Michelle Valenzuela is in EXTREMELY HIGH DEMAND.
Instructor: Alison Acaster
Teaches: Voice & piano & Baritone Ukulele
Styles: All styles.
Background: Born and raised in England, Alison was bitten by the performing bug at an early age. She grew up watching musicals and sang in the school choir from age 6. She played the violin in the school orchestra, unable to read the music instead playing by ear. She dabbled in many instruments from recorder, guitar to piano but singing has always been her passion. Once a teen she enrolled in singing lessons and competed in local music festivals before moving to Los Angeles at age 22 and forming a band. She played the clubs of Los Angeles for 10 years before shifting into acting gear. Alison's music was featured in the movies Soul Mates, Geoff Shot His Car and in the MTV show Undressed.

"My daughter's voice has already improved a lot since we started but most importantly her confidence has really grown. I am very grateful!!" K.A

"Thanks so much for being so good with Tegan. She loves (loves, loves, loves!) her voice lessons and she always has a lot of fun, and I think you strike a great balance between having her learning "how" to sing and still having her feel like its just a really fun time." J.A

Availability: As an instructor, Alison Acaster is in EXTREMELY HIGH DEMAND.
Instructor: Camara Kambon

Teaches: Piano - Intermediate and Advanced students only
Styles: All styles.
Background: . Camara is an Emmy Award winning, Grammy-nominated composer, who’s spent the last 20 years writing and producing music for records, film and television. He initially began to study piano at the Peabody Preparatory School of Music and after graduating with honors in musicianship, classical and jazz piano, went on to attend and graduate from Berklee College of Music with a BA in Music Production & Engineering and Film Scoring.

While in college and for the next 20 years, he composed music for tv and worked with a variety of recording artists, from Mary J. Blige to Dr. Dre and Eminem. He has written and performed pieces for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, as well as studio movie scores and television themes for shows like the CW Network, “Girlfriends” and many more.
Availability: As an instructor, Camara Kambon is in  EXTREMELY HIGH DEMAND.  
Camara is not taking new students at this time.
Instructor: Charissa Saunders

Teaches: Piano and Classical Voice
Styles: Classical and All Styles
Background: Charissa Saunders is 3rd generation in her family teaching piano.  She is a California native who grew up with a love of classical music. She began taking lessons from her mother, who was a piano teacher, at the early age of 4. By the time she was 7 the whole neighborhood knew she had a natural talent for singing. Her father loved to listen to opera and as most children do she imitated the sounds she heard. At age 15 she discovered the organ and began taking lessons. In high school she had many roles in operas and musical theater performances as a soloist and ensemble member. She is a regular soloist and pianist for numerous churches in the South Bay and has been hired to sing and/or play for weddings, funerals, and other social events all throughout her life. She attended college at Bob Jones University in South Carolina as a Voice Performance major.  She has been teaching piano, coaching voice and performing for the past 10 years.
Availability: As an instructor, Charissa Saunders is in HIGH DEMAND.
Instructor: Kristina Seelert

Teaches: Piano
Styles: All Styles
Background: Kristina Seelert began taking piano lessons at the age of 6 from her Aunt who teaches piano and has followed in her footsteps. By the age of 18, Kristina started teaching piano privately at a music studio in Alta Loma and has been teaching ever since! She has experience performing with concert bands, jazz bands, orchestras, musicals and even on stage with a local Cumbia band.  But her passion remains in teaching more than performing. Although her teaching style primarily focuses on reading comprehension, theory, and classical repertoire; she always enjoys teaching pop, ragtime, cumbia, montunos, hymns and music from films.  "Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo  A quote that Kristina lives by and shares with her students.
Availability: As an instructor, Kristina is in HIGH DEMAND.
Instructor: Catherine Gardener

Teaches: Piano
Styles: All Styles
Background: Catherine began playing the piano at the age of 11 while studying under Ruth Morton of Chicago, a Carnegie Hall alum. Catherine studied music in college where she began tutoring students as a Teaching Assistant. She is very personable, fun and enjoys working with children as well as adults. Her mission is to nurture the love of music in students, spark their desire and strengthen their talents to grow to greater levels.
Availability: As an instructor, Catherine Gardener is in  HIGH DEMAND.
Instructor: Mary Pimentel

Teaches: Voice & Piano
Styles: All styles.
Background:  Mary Pimentel has been playing piano since the age of 9, and has earned a B.A. in Musicology from UCLA. She currently is the lead vocalist in a LA based cover-band, and also regularly performs as a solo vocalist at live events. Her love for singing originated from her college choir voice training during her time in school, where she also gained experience playing the clarinet, as well as participating in marching band and orchestra. To Mary, music is one of life's greatest avenues of expression, that can be both free and structured at the same time. As such, she believes that music can be enjoyed by all people of all ages, and loves to share her knowledge of the fundamentals and enthusiasm to see music students grow.
Availability: As an instructor, Mary Pimentel is in HIGH DEMAND.
Instructor: Gina Pedone

Teaches:  Voice & Piano
Styles: All Styles
Background:  Gina Began taking piano lessons at the age of 4 and singing lessons at the age of 7. She continued formal piano lessons through high school until being accepted into the University of California, Santa Cruz where she studied classical voice and music theory. She has been teaching and working with children ever since . She has also completed a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Communicative Disorders and uses her love of music to help treat children with language disorders as well.
Availability: As an instructor, Gina Pedone  is in HIGH DEMAND.
Instructor: Elena Chapovalova  

Teaches: Advanced Piano
Styles:  All Styles and Levels
Background: Elena graduated with her bachlors and masters from the prestigious Tchaikovsky Moscow Conservatory of Music in piano, vocal music and choral conducting . Her teaching experience includes piano, vocal, choral and music theory.   She is dedicated to enthusiastic and dynamic teaching as a means of creating and nurturing a lifelong love of music in children.
Availability: As an instructor, Elena  is in HIGH DEMAND.
Instructor: Dan Jenks

Teaches: Piano, Guitar, Flute, Sax, Trombone and Euphonium
Styles: All Styles.
Background: Dan Jenks is the founder of Sunset Learning Studio.  You can read more about him under 'Our Founder'.
Availability: As an instructor, Dan Jenks is in EXTREMELY HIGH DEMAND
Instructor: Tod McLeod

Teaches: Piano, voice, guitar
Styles: All Styles
Background: Tod McLeod is a teacher, composer, songwriter, session guitarist, vocalist and producer based in the Los Angeles area. He has composed and produced music for a number of companies, including Hyundai automobiles, Phantom 4 Music, MOD Entertainment, Level 5 records, and Surface and Dream Music.  Tod has performed professionally in major Las Vegas theatre productions, and has shared the stage with and opened for many musicians and artists, including The Black Crowes, KISS, Mishka, Darius Rucker, Melissa Ethridge, Matthew Sweet, Filter, Sugar Ray, Phil Jones (Tom Petty), Fritz Lewak (Jackson Browne, Melissa Ethridge), Jimi Paxson (Stevie Nicks, Ben Harper, Alanis Morissette), Francis Buckley, The Barenaked Ladies and many more! His enthuasiam for music and for LIFE is contagious!
Availability: As an instructor, Tod McLeod is in HIGH DEMAND.
Instructor: James Kennedy

Teaches: Voice, Guitar, Bass & Ukulele
Styles: All styles.
Background:  James earned a Bachelors degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Iowa in 2014.  While pursuing his degree, he played bass and guitar with several prominent Iowa artists including The River Monks and Katelyn Epperly (American Idol: top 10) and opened for popular rock group Manchester Orchestra.  He now sings and writes songs for his band Big Slumber.  James is equally patient and passionate about teaching and loves sharing the joy of music with others.

Availability: As an instructor, James Kennedy is in HIGH DEMAND.
Instructor: Ian Rico

Teaches: Guitar and Bass.
Styles: All styles.
Background: Ian Rico has been a guitar instructor since 2009, has been playing electric guitar and bass since 2006. As a student at Long Beach City College, Ian is majoring in music and has experience playing venues such as The Roxy, Saint Rock, and The Can Club. He currently plays guitar and sings for his band Carbonine. He can teach any style and enjoys teaching anyone and everyone. All the kids and parents LOVE Ian!

Availability: As an instructor, Ian Rico is in EXTREMELY HIGH DEMAND.
Instructor: Steve Ornest

Teaches: Guitar, Bass, Uke
Styles: All styles.
Background:  Steve attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston on scholarship, and has since had the privilege of working with artists such as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Pepper, Don Dokken, and many others. Along with being a high demand session player in the Los Angeles area, Steve also writes and produces music for television, as well as for other artists. His love and passion for contemporary music makes Steve a great fit for any student with a desire to learn subjects ranging from harmony/theory, composition, reading music, learning by ear, improvisation, finding a unique sound, and songwriting.
Availability: As an instructor, Steve Ornest is in EXTREMELY HIGH DEMAND.
Instructor: Juan Zuniga

Teaches: Guitar, Bass, Uke
Styles: All styles.
Background:   Juan Zuniga is a graduate from the Bachelor of Music program in Guitar Performance at the Musicians Institute College of Contemporary Music. He was given the Outstanding Student 2016 Award. He has studied with jazz icon Russell Ferrante (of the Yellowjackets), as well as Wayne Kramer (of MC5), Christopher Spilsbury (Hiromi), Ian Robbins (Get Out) and many more. In summer 2011, he studied at the California Institute of the Arts receiving the award of California Arts Scholar. Having been a part of the  Santa Monica College Jazz Band has given the opportunity to perform at the Broad Stage Performing Arts Theater. He has performed for KXLU 88.9FM being a member of The Unending Thread, a jazz rock group based out of the San Fernando Valley. He is also an active performer, arranger and guitarist in the Los Angeles area.
Availability: As an instructor, Juan Zuniga is in HIGH DEMAND.
Instructor: Eddie Robles

Teaches: Guitar, Bass, Uke
Styles: All styles.
Background:    Eddie started playing guitar at 14 and performed in bands through out high school.  He studied music at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria and  then moved to Hollywood to study Music Theory at L.A.C.C. In 2012 he joined "The Dead Notes", a Hollywood based band.  And In 2015 he  attended the Musicians Institute of Contemporary Music to study Guitar Performance and Sound Production. At MI he has had the pleasure of playing  along side some industry professionals  like Brent Harding ( Bass, Social Distortion) and Ritchie Ramones (Drummer, The Ramones).
His guitar idols are John Frusciantes from The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jimmy Hendrix, & Eric Clapton. He is very versatile playing blues, rock, funk, jazz and even bossa nova. And he is currently part of a 11 piece band called "The Live Heavy Water Project".
Availability: As an instructor, Eddie Robles is in HIGH DEMAND.
Instructor: Joe Turner

Teaches: Drums
Styles: All Styles
Background: Joe has been playing drums for over 25 years.  He started taking private lessons in 4th grade.  During his pre-college years, he was involved in every music program offered at his school in Michigan.  This included Marching Band, Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, Pit Band, and back up for the Choir.  After high school, Joe turned his focus to writing and performing original music while attending Michigan State University.  After working with many different groups and multiple nation wide tours, he moved to California to pursue music full time. Joe's positive energy and enthusiam for music and playing the drums is contagious with all of his students!
Availability: As an instructor, Joe Turner is in  EXTREMELY HIGH DEMAND.
Instructor: Michelle Packman

Teaches: Cello, violin, viola, guitar, double bass, and piano
Styles: Traditional Studies, All Styles
Background: Michelle Packman is a cellist and music teacher with over a decade of orchestral, chamber, pop, rock, and jazz experience.
Her music degree was fulfilled at the Cole Conservatory of Music on the campus of CSU, Long Beach, where she studied with Dr. David Garrett of the LA Phil. Her musical education includes mentorships with Dr. Maggie Parkins, Joseph Mendoes, the revered late jazz cellist and pianist, Fred Katz, and masterclasses with Peter Marsh, Alexander String Quartet, and Turtle Island's cellist, Mark Summer. In 2006, Michelle received the National Orchestra Award for excellence in cello, and she was also given the "Semper Fidelis" Award for Excellence in Music from the US Marine Corps. In 2007, she had the privilege of traveling to New York to play in Carnegie Hall. In 2009, Michelle was a featured in a solo recital for the Orange County Philharmonic Society. Recently, Michelle's playing can be heard in the audiobook of  Ellen Kushner's "The Privilege of the Sword", and also cues in Riot Games' video game, League of Legends.
Her formal training is in cello, but Michelle also teaches beginning violin, viola, guitar, double bass, and piano. Her curriculum for students seeking an education in both classical and contemporary music is centered around the Suzuki Method, which fosters both technical ability and ear training.
Availability: As an instructor, Michelle Packman is in EXTREMELY HIGH DEMAND.
Instructor: Bianca Lara

Teaches: Violin & Viola
Styles: Traditional Studies.
Background: Bianca Lara recently received her Bachelor’s degree in Viola Performance at CSU Long Beach. Although a violist, she teaches beginning to intermediate violin, as well as beginning to advance viola. Along with the other string instructors Sunset Studios, Bianca is experienced in the Suzuki method but will cater to each student’s needs by using other resources. If the student wants a more challenging program, Bianca is also trained in teaching The Royal Conservatory curriculum.
Availability: As an instructor, Bianca Lara is in  EXTREMELY HIGH DEMAND.
Instructor: Al Pimentel

Teaches: Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute, Euphonium, Tuba
Styles: All styles.
Background: Alfonso Manuel Pimentel Garcia (Al Pimentel) grew up in a family of musicians. He was exposed to many kinds of music such as Classical, Jazz, Pop, and Folk music. By age 12, music became his passion and he decide he wanted a career in the music industry. In high school he performed in several small venues from Santa Monica to Venice beach.  He also started teaching part time during the summer. He completed his formal musical studies at El Camino College. He studied other instruments as well that were not in the woodwind family such as trumpet Euphonium, Trombone, Tuba and Vocals. His primary instructor is renowned jazz saxophonist, Ann Patterson. He studied both Jazz and Classical saxophone and thanks to Patterson  is recognized as one of the best gigging Saxophonists to come out of El camino college.  Besides teaching, he can also be found playing not just Jazz, but other popular styles of music all over Los Angeles.
Availability: As an instructor, Al Pimentel is in VERY HIGH DEMAND.
Instructor: John Vandenberg

Teaches: Trumpet
Styles: All styles.
Background: Known to the Music-loving community as Johnny V, John Vandenberg has been hittin' the notes and playin' the riffs for more than 30years all over the world in the hottest clubs and concert halls with the likes of: Bill Medley, Otis Brown, Slash, Sam Moore (Sam & Dave) Percy Sledge, Eric Clapton, Ernie Watts, The Daddy O's,  Drifters, Coasters, Boxcar 7, Chevy Chase, Other musical accomplishments include: Musical Director for Otis Brown (formerly of The Drifters),TV commercial for Zima (Adolph Coors Corp.), solo performance on Film soundtrack ("Saturday Night Special"), and TV's "Guiding Light". Johnny can also be heard in MATTEL TOYS BARBIE'S “My Size Throne”
John Vandenberg’s musical journey began at the young age of 9. Although He’s always loved to play and practice the trumpet, he credits his parents with helping him to stay committed to lessons by providing him with the tools he needed to succeed. Johnny Is from Long Beach Ca. and attended Cal State University of Long Beach.
Availability: As an instructor, John Vandenberg  is in EXTREMELY HIGH DEMAND.
Instructor: Colleen Montgomery

Teaches: Art Classes.
Styles: All styles.
Background: Colleen Montgomery has a Bachelors in Fine Art as well as a Teaching Degree from Alfred University School of Art & Design in New York.  She has experience teaching both Elementary and High School.  Best of all, she's fun, personable, and great with kids!
Availability: As an instructor, Colleen Montgomery is in EXTREMELY HIGH DEMAND.
Sunset Learning Studio  
(310) 749-7099
1203 S. Pacific Coast Highway, Redondo Beach, CA 90277
612 Meyer Lane #9B, Redondo Beach, CA 90278
Our Online App is HERE
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