Mack Leighton- Mackenzie Leighton is a bassist, composer, and educator from San Diego, CA. He has been playing acoustic/electric bass and guitar for 16 years, and has been teaching for the last 10 years. He can teach bass at all levels and guitar from beginning to high level intermediate. While primarily a jazz player, Mackenzie has experience playing and teaching a wide range of styles including classical, latin jazz, rock, bluegrass, and avant garde. He works regularly with Southern California jazz heroes Peter Sprague, Gilbert Castellanos, and Kamau Kenyatta, and has worked with jazz legends such as Donald Brown, Geoffrey Keezer, and Sammy Figueroa. He has performed at the Carlsbad Music Festival, Ensenada Jazz Festival, Tijuana Jazz and Blues Festival, and Idyllwild Jazz in the Pines. He is adjunct faculty at California State University San Marcos, Palomar College, and Miracosta College, and holds a Masters in Music from San Diego State University.
Ben Abada- Ever since the age of 5, music has been the epicenter of Ben’s life. He began playing piano at age 5 and continued taking piano lessons for 7 years before deciding to focus his efforts on learning and mastering the trumpet. Ben has been playing trumpet for 8 years and is currently majoring in Trumpet Performance at San Diego State University, where he studies under John Wilds, 2nd Trumpet of the San Diego Symphony. Ben aspires to continue his education through at least a Master’s Degree in hopes of one day being a high school band director or a college music professor.
Ben has a variety of experiences playing in different ensembles. Most recently, Ben has played in the San Diego State Symphony Orchestra and Brass Quintet. During the summer of 2017, Ben marched trumpet in the world class Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle corps as well as the open class champion Vanguard Cadets Drum and Bugle corps in 2015. Ben has been teaching trumpet for 1 year and is excited to share his passion for music and trumpet playing with beginning to intermediate level trumpet students! He specializes in classical trumpet playing and also teaches beginning level jazz. Ben likes incorporating a variety of trumpet exercises and techniques into his teaching as well as repertoire that his students enjoy playing. .
Lei Wang- began playing piano at age six and started teaching private lessons when she was attending university. During her last year as an undergraduate, she taught general music class in high school for a year. Upon coming to the United States, Lei earned both a MM degree and Performance Certificate degree from Northern Illinois University. As a pianist, she worked with Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra in 2014, and became a member of Wind Symphony in 2014. Lei also won several piano solo competitions in China and performed numerous concerts as a solo pianist and chamber ensemble member. She served as the official accompanist at St. James Catholic Church.
Lei’s passion is teaching. She has been teaching private piano lessons to students of different ages and backgrounds. Lei believes that every student is unique and learns different so she teaches directly to the individual needs of each student. Lei’s teaching style includes music theory, sight reading, ear training and technique. Depending on the individual, she can help with many different genres of music including classical, jazz, and pop music.
Keith Greenwood- has been a professional musician for over 20 years with a passion for everything guitar. He started playing music at age 4 and plays many instruments including: guitar, ukulele, bass, drums and piano to name a few.
Keith has toured and played with some of the greatest musicians in the world including: Steve Vai, Tony MacAlpine, Jake E. Lee, Andy Timmons, Mike Keneally, Michael Angelo Batio, Uli Jon Roth, Craig Goldy, Gary Hoey and the band Tesla. Keith has done session work for many artists as well as a few original releases. With his musical experience and his knowledge about musical theory, Keith can teach to any level and take you as far as you want to go.
Emil Luxemburg- holds a MM degree in Violin performance and Orchestral Conducting from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance and BA degree from AMTAP in Europe.
He began playing violin when he was six years old attending a special school for music. Emil continued his musical studies at Neaga Music College, in the former USSR where he studied violin with Victoria Neaga, viola with F. Balan, and chamber music with O. Shraiberman.
With over18 years of teaching and performing experience, Emil teaches students the music they want to learn including Classical, Jazz, Pop, and R&B styles. He uses Russian & European Violin, Viola and Piano methods with Suzuki Books incorporating Scales and Etudes for technical development of the student.
Lauren Jones- is a singer and pianist in her second year of graduate school at UC San Diego studying Vocal Performance. She has studied piano for 17 years. She has also sung for most of her life, although decided to seriously pursue classical voice training starting at age 18 at the University of Montevallo. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Choral Music Education there, where she also began to teach voice and piano lessons to beginner and intermediate students. She has continued to teach beginner and intermediate piano and voice lessons for the past 3 years. She has also had 2 years of experience directing elementary and high school choirs. Her background and training is in classical music, and in addition to that she is a proficient songwriter. She wrote music for and performed in the Birmingham, AL based folk band, The Steele Sisters, for 3 years. During that time, she also played keyboard for Nina Rat!, an improvisational rock band. She still enjoys writing music for voice and guitar. She enjoys delving into many types of music and has had experience singing in many genres, including opera, contemporary classical, jazz, folk, musical theater and improvised music.
Chenelle McClain-Barrett- a San Diego native and alumna of San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts, began her musical training in piano at the age of three. Soon after, she took an interest in string instruments such as violin, viola, cello, and bass. McClain-Barrett studied and performed with the San Diego Youth Symphony and East County Youth Symphony throughout her secondary school career under several conductors, including: Jeff Edmonds, John Ramirez, Miguel Ramirez, and Alexandra Keegan. She currently attends San Diego Mesa College, majoring in music, and has aspirations including earning a master’s degree in music education, with a minor in music theory and composition.
The formation of her band “Aliceity” in 2011, allowed her to explore different genres of music such as pop, rock, folk, and hip-hop. Always working to expand her range of knowledge and musical abilities, she currently experiments with and is learning to play new instruments such as drums, guitar, and bass guitar. In addition to instruments, she explores the usage of music software to record her work.
Armando Silva -is originally from Phoenix, AZ and had played trumpet for over 24 years. In 2003, Armando joined the United States Marine Corps to serve his country and to play in the Marine Corps Band. During his 9 years as a United States Marine, Armando was a featured trumpet soloist, arranger, conductor and director of small ensembles, such as the Brass Quintet and Brass Band. Armando was a runner up nominee for Marine Musician of the Year in 2010, while deployed in Afghanistan, Helmand Province. Once exciting the U.S. Marines, he made San Diego his home and had been playing as a freelance trumpet player. He is currently enrolled at San Diego State University to fulfill his requirements to become a Music Education Major. Armando has taught trumpet for 10 years and teaches beginning brass basics to low brass instruments. Armando currently plays all genres of music to include school ensembles and professional groups. Mr. Silva has played with the Gaslamp Quarter Jazz Orchestra, The Manny Cepeda Orchestra, Afro Truko and the Seaworld Brass Band. You can currently find Armando playing in the late night Latin Jazz scene with Orquesta Tropical San Diego and Black Mambo. You can also here his smooth jazz sounds on Joe Garrison’s “The Night People: Veranda” lp, 2009.
Josh Hochman- is a guitarist with more than fifteen years experience. He has been teaching private lessons for more than a decade, with students ranging from 8 to 55 years old. Josh’s diverse background and repertoire have been best showcased in his work with Queen’s Musical Theatre, where he demonstrated a command of rock, blues, funk, and country (performing in Hair, The Rocky Horror Show and Reefer Madness). He has acted as music director and band-leader for the Queen’s Players’ sketch-comedy revue. Josh is also a veteran of punk and indie-rock scenes, where his group Team: Mookie had the opportunity to record with Mike Turner (Our Lady Peace) and Amir Epstein (Crash Karma, Zygote). Currently, he is completing his PhD in Music at UCSD, where he teaches courses on punk history (as well as other topics in popular music). In his academic career, he is a published author, as well as an award-winning teacher and composer. Josh’s music career has placed him in the roles of performer, composer, band-leader, instructor, researcher and radio DJ; he has a wide palette, with a competence and versatility to cater towards a diverse student body and their specific interests.
Andrew Acquista holds a BM in Education with a concentration in Percussion from CSU Humboldt and an MM in Performance with a concentration in Percussion from CSU Long Beach. He has studied all forms of percussion including conga drums, hand percussion, Brazilian percussion, Ghanian music, Djembe and Dunun, drum set, vibraphone, steel drum, Mbira as well as the wide range of orchestral percussion. He has studied with teachers such as Michael Spiro in Afro-Cuban music, Mark Lamson, a Brazilian music specialist, Brad Dutz (a top call LA studio percussionist), C.K. Ladzeko (Master Drummer and Professon at UC Berkley), Dramane Kone( Master Djembe player), Aboubacar Kouyate, (Master Drummer), Lansana Kouyate (Master Drummer), Eugene Novotney PHD, Michael Carney DMA, Ray Holmon, and Michael Cox. He is lead drummer for the West African dance classes and accompanist for modern classes at CSULB. Andrew Acquista also travels the USA playing gigs for Drum Cafe. Styles of Drum set include Rock, Reggae, Ska, Funk, Afro-Beat, Hip-Hop. Calypso, Soca, Brazilian, Afro-Cuban and Jazz.