Our Teachers - Music Lessons at Sunset Learning Studio

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

Instructor: David Morales

Teaches: Piano and Voice
Styles: All Styles.
Background: David Morales is an active vocalist performing music across a variety of genres and styles. He has experience singing background vocals for folk-artist and composer Moira Smiley’s 2018 EP release and indie-band Tune-Yards’ 2020 performance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. As a choral and ensemble performer throughout Southern California, he currently performs with groups such as Tonality, Pacific Chorale, and L.A. Camerata Baroque. He is a dynamic church musician serving as the music director at Casa de Oracion church where he leads the contemporary worship team in addition to being a soloist and section leader with the chancel choir at Bay Shore church. Throughout his undergraduate career David has had the privilege of touring with the internationally award-winning Bob Cole Chamber Choir and performing roles in operas, scenes, and musicals. Such roles and scenes include le Duc from Chérubin, Nanki-Poo from The Mikado, and Count Almaviva from Il barbiere di Siviglia.

David Morales graduated from the USC Thornton School of music with an MA in Early Music and the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at CSULB and holds a B.M. in Vocal Performance and a B.M. in Music Education. David began teaching in the midst of completing his undergraduate degree and has classroom experience, being a temporary assistant choir director at Bellflower Middle School. He believes that each of his students have the opportunity to become better musicians and in turn, better people. His teaching philosophy is rooted in promoting success for each student by having small achievable goals. He is delighted to be working with Sunset Learning, teaching and inspiring students about the art of voice, piano, and music.
Instructor: Marcy Hokama

Teaches: Piano
Styles: All styles.
Background: Marcy started training in classical piano at the age of 4. She won her first major piano competition at the age of 7, and since then has won many awards and competitions onregional, state, and international levels. She completed her bachelor of arts degree in Piano Performance from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a concentrationin classical music.

She has been teaching for over 20 years, giving private as well as group lessons in which she has received certified training in giving group lessons for students from the age of four through nine at the Yamaha music school in Los Angeles. She has also taught at the elementary campus at Le Lycee Francais de Los Angeles for several years. Although a southern California native, she has also lived in Brooklyn, NY for ten years where she had founded her own piano school, and played in a band, Oh Halo, performing at venues all throughout New York City. She has also been involved inprojects composing music for short documentaries.

Her philosophy in teaching is by following the child's lead, learning their personalitiesand their abilities, and to support and guide them in a way where they can understand and flourish in their own unique way. She believes that being able to relate to each child on a personal level is just as important as teaching them piano skills, and strive for them to look forward to their piano lessons every week because they feel supported and safe intheir learning environment.

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'.

Instructor: Anthony Hernandez

Teaches: Piano & Violin
Styles: All styles.
Background:   Anthony Hernandez  is a collaborative pianist, organist, composer and teacher who earned his Bachelor of Music in Music Composition from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2009. Hernandez was awarded several collegiate honors as a solo pianist, including first place in the MMTA Collegiate Piano Upper Division in 2008, and as a composer, including first place in Webster University's Young Composers Competition of Missouri in 2009.

He has worked as music director, rehearsal accompanist, assistant music director and/or pit keyboardist for over 20 musical productions, including Jesus Christ Superstar, A Man of No Importance, Into the Woods and The Wizard of Oz, with numerous production companies, including Lyceum Arrow Rock Theatre, University of Missouri Theatre Department, Columbia Entertainment Company, PACE Children's Theatre, among others. He has performed extensively as collaborative and solo pianist throughout Missouri, the midwest and in Brasília, Brazil. As a composer, he has had orchestral works premiered by the Columbia Civic Orchestra and the 9th Street Philharmonic Orchestra and continues to premiere new works, including a piano concerto
at the latest Strange New Worlds 4 exhibition at Talking Horse Productions.

Hernandez was accompanist for the Columbia Chorale and Columbia Chamber Chorus of the Chorale Arts Alliance of Missouri, the Quorus (Columbia's LGBTQQA-Z community chorus, since it's founding in November 2016), and regular on-staff collaborative pianist for Stephens College of the Performing Arts and Columbia College of Missouri. He was ballet accompanist with Columbia Performing Arts Center, playing for their summer intensive programs since 2015. He served as pianist and organist at First Church of Christ, Scientist of Columbia since 2012 and at Missouri United Methodist Church, since 2007.  Hernandez also has maintained a full piano studio, teaching students of all ages, all styles of music from pop and rock to classical, musical theatre and jazz.

In the summer of 2018, Hernandez transplanted to Los Angeles, CA. He currently is providing service music for the Twentieth Church of Christ, Scientist, in Venice, and is piano accompanist for the Culver City Middle School choirs.  He also continues to freelance as a pianist, accompanist and organist. He is thrilled to be teaching at Sunset!
Instructor: Shannon Howard

Teaches: Piano & Voice
Styles: All Styles
Background: Shannon grew up just north of Pittsburgh, PA, where she discovered her love for music at a very young age. As a teen, she was an active singer and piano accompanist in her school’s music programs and was accepted into the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music Summer Music Program for piano and voice. She went on to study music at Westminster College, where she earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree with an emphasis in vocal and piano pedagogy. Although she has performed extensively as a vocalist and pianist for the past 21 years, her heart’s passion lies in teaching. Shannon has taught private voice and piano for 14 years to students of all ages and abilities. Prior to relocating to California for her husband’s work, she also taught K-12 music for 9 years in the public school setting where she served as the director of choirs, directed musical theatre productions, and taught piano, voice, and theory. Her choirs consistently received superior ratings and awards at music competitions and many of her private students have gone on to successfully pursue careers as performers themselves. She continues to be an active member of the National Association for Music Education.

Shannon’s teaching philosophy is rooted in her belief that all students are unique with distinct goals. She strives to build students’ self-confidence while providing a fun learning experience tailored to each individual’s needs and aspirations. Her goal is to encourage every one of her students to sing, play, perform, create, grow, celebrate, and shine as their own unique self!

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.

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!

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.

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.

Instructor: Nailah Middleton

Teaches: Piano & Voice
Styles: All Styles
Background: Nailah Middleton is a Caribbean-American musician, writer, and educator from Los Angeles, CA.

Graduating with a degree in vocal performance from the Herb Alpert School of Music at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), she sings in a variety of languages and styles, including classical, jazz, musical theatre, and pop. She has performed at venues such as Carnegie Hall, The Troubadour, and the House of Blues Hollywood.

She grew up singing in church, and after beginning her studies as a piano student at the age of four, Nailah continued on to study harp, guitar, and drum set. She discovered her passion for teaching music in high school and has been teaching private piano, voice, and guitar lessons ever since. She also teaches beginner harp lessons with her Harpsicle Harp.

You can find her playing shows and special events throughout the LA area.


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.
Instructor: Josie Boyer

Teaches: Cello, Violin, Piano
Styles: All Styles
Background: Josie has been playing cello since she was six years old.  With the  help of her mother, a musician as well, she picked up violin and piano  along the way.  She studied for her Masters of Music in cello  performance at the Chicago College of Performing Arts after getting her  Bachelors of Music from CSULB.  While in Texas, Josie won a section  cello position with the Round Rock Symphony.

She has been teaching for  nine years throughout California and Texas.  She is particularly  interested in teaching young children as she feels she has a personality  that would engage and inspire a young beginner.  However, she is  capable and willing to teach all ages.

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.

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".

.Instructor: Pat Shroll

Teaches: Bass guitar
Styles: All styles.
Background: Pat started playing Bass guitar at the age of 12, playing in bands and high school stage shows. He studied music at Long beach City and Cerritos College.

And he was the recipient of the coveted Professor Erjavic theory wheel from the Cerritos College Music department.

He  has played in numerous bands and has composed music for Movie and multi media projects. Pat has played bass on many music projects and was on contract with an Indie record label.  He has been teaching bass and guitar for many years.

Instructor: Gabriel Feldman

Teaches: Drums, Guitar, Bass, Uke
Styles: All styles.
Background:    Gabriel Feldman was born in Chico, California in 1997.  He started playing music as a toddler, sitting on his big brother's lap at the piano keyboard. At the age of four years old, he began playing drums and has been passionate about music ever since.  Starting in the 8th grade, Gabriel was able to get specialized music education through the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), first at Milliken Middle School in Sherman Oaks then at the Ramon C. Cortines School for the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) in downtown Los Angeles.

It was at VAPA that Gabriel discovered and developed a passion for playing jazz music.   During high school, Gabriel had the wonderful experience of participating in the LAUSD Beyond The Bell music program, with both the LAUSD Honor Marching Band and the LAUSD Honor Jazz Band.  This included marching in the Rose Parade twice as well as performing at the Hollywood Bowl twice!  After graduating from high school, Gabriel was accepted to the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at CSU, Long Beach.  

He majored in Jazz Studies and graduated from that program in May of 2020. During college, Gabriel learned to play guitar and developed a mastery of the instrument.  During college, Gabriel began working as a private drum and guitar music teacher with the Sunset Learning Studio in Redondo Beach and has continued to teach there during the COVID-19 pandemic via remote learning opportunities. He developed and now runs a YouTube channel (Gabriel Feldman Music) which he uses to provide short, free music lessons for any interested musicians. Gabriel looks forward to a career in music, doing what he loves which is creating/playing music and sharing that passion with others.

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!
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.

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.

.Instructor: Ralph Watkins  

Teaches: Trumput, Trombone & Tuba
Styles:  All Styles and Levels
Background: Ralph Watkins is a long-timeresident of LA. Growing up in Torrance, Ralph began playing all forms of music, styles, and genres at 9.

He then attended El Camino for jazz applied studies as well as general music and taught for 7 years. He has been a part of marching bands, orchestras,
jazz big bands as well as combos on top of many other ensembles that garnished national recognition as well as worked with many well known artists such as Kamasi Washington and Ryan Porter of the West Coast Get Down, Aloe Blacc, Lenny Goldsmith of Tower of Power, Earth Wind and Fire and many more under the study of the great George Bohanon (of Motown fame).

Ralph’s emphasis is not only on the technical aspects of playing brass instrumental music, but also to expose students to the joys of music on the soul and
mind as an art, creativity and history to many cultures and backgrounds.

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!

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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