Needless to say, John Graham is a specialist in the theory, performance, and physical logistics of guitar and many other stringed instruments. With a classically trained pianist, oboist, and massive Queen fan as a mother, John grew up constantly exposed to her live performances and the beauty of musical appreciation.
At the age of 11, after a very special Christmas present, the guitar had taken a hold of him, and by 16 he was already performing his first paid shows in the local New Jersey music scene. When he was out of high school he and an alumni for the Long Valley School of Rock, an after school program for contemporary music, John already held two certifications from the Berklee College of Music, and had graduated with an honors in Music Theory and Band Orchestra.
After graduation John became enrolled in the John J Cali School of Music in Montclair State University. There he studied Music Therapy and Jazz Guitar, as well as Psychology. While being well versed in theory and performance and after leaving MSU, he moved to Canada to become schooled and certified as a Luthier, studying at the Summit School of Guitar and Repair in British Columbia.
No matter where John has lived or studied one thing that has never changed is his passion to perform. He has played in more Bands than he can count, as well as hosted and performed in his own open mic’s. Always encouraging people to play, John strives to create and cultivate the same outlets that were gifted to him through playing and appreciating music.
“It is of my best and most personal intention to pass on and pay forward my knowledge and experience to my students. By doing so, I wish to share the opportunities for people to grow and achieve their personal goals, achievements, and aspirations in musicianship and guitar-works.”
Mary was born into a musical family who expressed creativity through the piano, organ, harmonica, guitar, and singing. It is second nature for her to encourage her students to bring forth their innate abilities and confidence that might not be acknowledged in traditional school settings or academic programs. Accessing areas of natural inclination that each student is drawn to can help build a strong foundation of musical skills that often springboard unique interests and goals.
It was an exciting time in Sacramento when Mary was studying jazz and classical music performance and theory at American River College and Sacramento State University. Jazz vocal and instrumental programs were taking root and expanding exponentially with the expertise of internationally renowned choir director Perla Warren and world-class pianist Dr. Joe Gilman. Mary moved to Bend in 2012 and decided to further her studies in music composition and performance. She recently attained a Bachelor Degree at Eastern Oregon University where she graduated with Summa Cum Laude Honors.
Highlights of her career include a USO Military Tour of Alaska with a country/bluegrass band based in San Francisco; featured performances in the Artist in the Schools program through the California Arts Council; Choir Director of the Children’s Conservatory of Music in Roseville, California; active leader and soloist of a professional quality church band in Bend; and seven years of solo performances at a venue in the Old Sacramento downtown tourist district.
Mary teaches beginning, intermediate, and advanced piano. Her vocal instruction emphasizes techniques which support a full and lifted tone. For jazz vocal, phrasing is highlighted in singing both lyrics and scat syllables. Guitar teaching focuses on strong rhythm and can be combined with singing and playing favorite songs in the student’s vocal key. She has been teaching for over twenty years with a special heart-felt intent of bringing out the innate best in each student.
Pat began drumming when he was ten years old, his first gig in an elementary school Jazz/Rock ensemble in San Diego, CA that allowed him to soon discover that he wanted to rock and rock hard! When he started high school, he was recruited into a longhaired, head-bangin’ rock band that performed at highly regarded local venues, some stages of which Pat’s very idols had once performed. Among his band’s many achievements, they won first place in the 2008 Southern California High School “Band Joust” put on by Volcom Entertainment. In the same year, they performed at the Sunset Strip Music Festival in Hollywood, opening for the popular hard rock band, LA Guns, likely the genesis for Pat’s love for 80s metal bands. The kids were, as they say, “on a roll!”
Pat brings that same youthful energy and enthusiasm into his lessons, motivating his clients about music, and encouraging them to express it. Having fun and expressing yourself musically feeds the human spirit. It’s also great for building self-esteem.
Pat also had the good fortune of being mentored by a family friend, the late, great Nick Menza of Megadeth. Nick told Pat to, “Play hard, play loud, and play fast. Drums don’t hit back!” This advice helped Pat develop his desired sound. From age ten to eighteen, he had weekly drum instructions from various professionals and continues lessons today, always learning and trying on new methods, and sharing worthy tips and tricks with his students.
Though Pat began giving drum lessons while he was in high school, he took a leave to attend The University of Oregon, where he attained a business degree, and soon thereafter in May 2018, moved to Bend, OR. He resumed teaching and playing with various bands of different genres. He feels fortunate to be able to do what he loves. Play hard, play loud, and play fast!
Susan is a native Oregonian growing up in Keizer, near Salem. She began singing and playing the piano at a very young age, and participated in school and church choirs, competing ensembles and soloing, pageant contestant, featured soloist and acting in drama/musical productions. She went on to study music education in college. While attending college and after graduation she was a musician for hire performing at various events and a choral director at a local church. Susan has over 30 years of experience in music education, and directing choral and drama productions in schools, colleges and churches to all ages across the country. She has taught private voice and piano lessons since 1990, operating a piano lesson school with an average of 45 students, ages 3-70 in Oregon, Washington, California, Pennsylvania and Missouri. She loves playing and teaching improvisation because of the freedom to create and play more decorative in style. She has developed her own curriculum for teaching the chord and improv method. Her philosophy of teaching piano is to establish a solid musical foundation, but to also allow students to be creative and make their own music. Susan communicates the musical concepts in an easy relaxed and fun way. “I have found that if a student, no matter what age, can play the songs they love, see progress and be creative in the process, they will be more motivated to learn and develop their skills and play for a life time”.
Susan and her husband Dwight are empty nesters and recently moved to Sisters to be near their project of restoring the historic CCC built Santiam Pass Ski Lodge on Santiam Pass. They have three grown sons, two married, and the youngest away at college.
Andy Armer is a pianist, composer, music educator and music producer. He was born and raised in Los Angeles CA by parents who were musicians and educators themselves. He was nominated for a Grammy award in 1980 for his composition and worldwide #1 hit single "Rise" as performed by Herb Alpert. He has lived in Bend OR since 1995.
Andy has been creating music and sound design for the TV, film, and video game industries since 1985. He continues his music practice and production studio and is always working on expanding and perfecting his solo piano repertoire. Andy is currently 'working up' the 12 movement piece "Iberia" by Issac Albeníz.
Andy found a passion in teaching music to his students, always tweaking his method to simplify what can be a very technical course of study with the goal being to get students to discover the language of music by unlocking its inner-workings, and to experience the joy that comes with students’ accomplishments. Andy is able to help beginner students develop a joy and motivation for playing, along with helping intermediate and advanced students overcome challenges in their playing to allow for growth in performance capabilities.
A true jazz pianist at heart, he is fluent in all styles of music - rock, blues, classical, jazz and popular standards - as well as 'ragtime', ‘boogie', 'stride' and ‘bebop’ piano jazz styles. Andy looks forward to experiencing the joys of music with you!
- Violin / Fiddle / Viola / Cello
Amber began her music education at the age of eight in Ohio, when her parents surprised her with a new piano. Before they could even save their money to begin lessons, Amber had worked out all of the major and minor scales on her own, as well as creating her first violin by holding a toy guitar on her left shoulder. After enrolling in both piano and viola lessons Amber pursued a classical music education, in high school having the privilege of performing under the tutelage of renowned Boston Pops Orchestra conductor Keith Lockhart. Amber graduated from Ohio State University School of Music, where she studied viola with Emeritus Professor and ProMusica Chamber Orchestra performer Edward Adelson, as well as working with Robert Gillespie, director of one of the most extensive string pedagogy programs in the nation. After graduation, Amber expanded her musical repertoire to include violin and fiddle, performing in various folk and rock ensembles in Columbus, Ohio and later, in Portland Oregon. Here in Central Oregon, she currently performs violin, viola, ukulele, and vocals with singer/songwriter Beth Waters. Amber has been teaching piano, violin, and viola since 1995 and has been a full-time career music teacher in classroom, ensemble, and private instruction for 13 years. She prides herself on her commitment to developing confidence in young people, understanding music education to be much more than teaching a particular skill. To Amber, teaching a person how to create music opens up a whole world of expression, creativity, and self-esteem that can aid in all aspects of life. She considers each student as a unique individual, with his or her own strengths, interests, experiences, and attitudes. And it is her personal goal to work with each student to help them achieve their personal best every day!
Seth has been playing guitar for 30 years, and teaching for 25. While growing up in Breckenridge, Colorado, Seth was inspired to pick up the guitar by listening to instrumental rock virtuosos like Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. At the recommendation of is high school band director, Seth attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. While at Berklee, he was taught by Bruce Bartlett, Kevin Barry, Tomo Fujita, and Pat Pattison, among many others. After graduating Summa Cum Laude, Seth lived in Nashville for several years, playing guitar, producing demo recordings, and working in Final Assembly at the Gibson Custom Shop. Since moving to Central Oregon in 2013, he has played in several local groups, and has played in a handful of musical theater productions, including Avenue Q, Evil Dead the Musical, RENT, and Jesus Christ Superstar. Seth is always striving to learn new things about music and how it applies to the guitar. His lessons emphasize the development of the student's ear, the cultivation of their innate creativity, and guiding them to the tools and strategies they need to become great musicians, not merely great guitar players.
Born in Bend during the early 80’s, Andy developed an intense passion for music at an early age. His parents exposed him to the oldies they grew up with, ranging from Elvis and Buddy Holly to Motown and The Beatles. In 1994, while Andy was in 8th grade, a Jimi Hendrix cover band played at his school and blew his adolescent mind. At that moment, he decided to use the money he earned delivering the local newspaper on his bike to purchase his first electric guitar. Immediately, he began to learn the instrument on his own by playing along with his favorite albums of the early 90’s. It wasn’t long before he was playing in bands and gigging out regularly. Andy has played in countless bands around town over the last two decades. ‘Goodbye Dyna’ is Andy’s solo project that has released a few albums in which he writes and plays everything on them. Andy is also an accomplished drummer and can be found playing in the local band ‘The Color Study’. He is also currently playing lead guitar and singing for the Beatles tribute band, ‘Magical Mystery Four’. Some other bands he currently plays with are 'Wild Bells', 'Weez-It', 'Natty Red', and 'Toothpick Shaker'. Previous bands include 'Juju Eyeball', 'Subliminal', 'Drunk Pilot', 'Sons of Dirt', 'Blame Amy', and 'Thought Police'. Andy has been teaching private lessons for 15 years now and has also taught the ‘School of Rock’ class at Cascade School of Music. He is also well-versed in vocal training and can offer this service as well to aspiring performers. For those students looking to approach music from a songwriting perspective, Andy is able to combine vocal coaching with other instrument instruction. He was taught voice by Don Hoxie, who studied under the same instructor for Ann Wilson of the iconic rock band Heart.
Amanda has recently moved back to Bend where she grew up. At the age of nine, music started to become a major staple in Amanda’s life. She took a strong interest in guitar, being shaped from musical influences such as Fleetwood Mac, Alanis Morrisette, Counting Crows, and Johnny Cash. Amanda then expanded her string family, adding violin/fiddle and ukulele at an early age. Recently in the last year she has also been studying piano.
Amanda loves writing and recording her own music, working with various genres such as Folk/rock/pop/indie/country/alternative and various Spanish style guitar. Sharing her love for music is one of Amanda’s absolute passions, being grateful to have had the opportunity to teach others over the past 6 years locally and internationally. The last two years she has been living and teaching music in Chiangmai (Thailand), Perth (Australia), and different areas in England offering guitar, ukulele, and vocal lessons, sharing in volunteer work as well. She loves traveling, exploring the outdoors, hiking the beautiful mountains Oregon has to offer, spending her winters at the mountain snowboarding, and enjoying the amazing summers in Bend! Amanda enjoys adapting her music lessons to the style and genre of music her students love and enjoy learning. In turn, she wants to help people find a love and joy for music, just as she does!