LESSONS



Joel Jaffe

Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone

JAMS Music is excited to have Joel Jaffe, one of the premier clarinet and saxophone instructors in the San Francisco East Bay, teaching at our store. Having more than twenty years of professional teaching experience with students of all ages and skill levels, Joel’s enthusiasm and positive teaching style has produced numerous successful players who have gone on to college and professional careers. Joel specializes in classical chamber music, jazz, and Klezmer styles. He is knowledgeable and familiar with the styles and pieces of music used in elementary, middle, and high school band programs, and has extensive experience working with students preparing for university entry exams. As a fourth grader, Joel was drawn to the sound and versatility of the clarinet. He soon ventured into saxophone and other woodwind instruments as he expanded his musical interests. After attending college at Indiana University where he studied under notable clarinettist James Campbell, Joel completed a bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from Cal State University, Hayward. In addition to teaching at JAMS Music, Joel has a studio at his home in Newark, and works as a woodwind coach with a number of schools in the East Bay. A frequent performer of solo repertoire, he can also be heard with various orchestra and musical theater groups throughout the Bay Area. He’s played with Lionel Hampton, Donald O’Connor, and Natalie Cole among other respected musicians. His outside interests include theater and opera, viticulture, and model...

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Jimmy Zeigler

Guitar, Bass Guitar

Jimmy Zeigler is a well-established guitar instructor who has been teaching in the Tri-Valley for over 20 years.  He’s known for being “on the edge” of inspiration at all times, and brings his passion and experience to his students at JAMS Music. He always brings fresh energy and ideas to his lessons. His style and talent is “one-of-a-kind.” He has a bold rock style, and the skill to infuse jazz, fusion, country, and pop effortlessly and at will. Beyond those styles, Jimmy adds another dimension of expression through his breath-taking performances on acoustic guitar.  It’s through this talent Jimmy is able to help aspiring musicians of all age and skill level to bring out the best of their abilities. In addition to building student’s confidence with their playing, Jimmy focuses on music theory, sight reading, composition, and improvising to improve your playing. As a recording artist, Jimmy has worked with many artists and groups with platinum record sales, such as Huey Lewis, Brad Gillis/Night Ranger, Terry Haggerty, Tommy Castro Band, Pat-Thrall, Dave Meniketti/Y & T, Tower of Power, Mark MCBee/Allman Brothers, to name a few. His repertoire includes over 500 original songs, both alone and collaboratively, including recordings with EMI, A&M Records, Goston Music, and Cambia Records. Jimmy is excited to work with you, and looks forward to building a great musical...

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Sophie Powers

Trombone, Euphonium, Baritone, Tuba, Beg. Trumpet

Sophie Powers is excited to be aboard the JAMS Music teaching team. She welcomes students of all ages and abilities to help them in their musical pursuits. While her primary instrument is trombone, she teaches other low brass instruments including euphonium, baritone, tuba and beginning trumpet students. Whether your goal is to learn how to play for the first time, prepare for an audition, work on music for a school or community band, put on a recital, improvise, or just have fun, Sophie looks forward to helping you achieve your very best. Her musical journey began when she was 7 years old, when her parents enrolled her in piano lessons and a church choir. As she grew older and started elementary school band, she was captivated by the sounds of the trombone. She followed her musical passion throughout high school and college, earning a degree in Humanities and minoring in Music with an emphasis on trombone from San Jose State University studying under Tom Hornig. Sophie has a diverse musical foundation of New Orleans’s style brass band, brass choir, trombone choir, pep band, folk, jazz, rock, and musical orchestra pit playing, as well as classical solo trombone and symphony repertoire in educational, community, and professional settings.  She’s performed with the Jazz Mafia, Lydia Pense and Coldblood, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Black Market Jazz Orchestra, the 415’s, the Ron Gariffo Orchestra, night club jazz combos, and semi-professional musical orchestra pits, just to name a few. When you sign up with Sophie, you know you’ll be with an instructor who’s passionate about learning and helping students become the best they can be with their musical talents. Call JAMS today to set up your...

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Helen Orzel

Piano

Helen Orzel has great enthusiasm for sharing the fun and freedom of music that has been passed down to her through her family, her education, and her own experiences.  Helen pursued a B.A degree in Classical Piano Performance at Cal State University, Northridge, and then further studied at the Trossingen Conservatory in Germany.  She holds a M.A. in Music Education from San Jose State University where she completed her thesis on stress and its effects on music students. She has performed in Los Angeles, Germany, Serbia, and frequently as a freelance pianist in the Bay Area. Over the past 15 years, Helen has taught many kinds of students of different ages and abilities. She has extensive experience working with students of various special needs ranging from cognitive to physical challenges. Her positive attitude, patience, education has helped many students who normally struggle with private instruction. After extensive time studying and performing classical music, Helen expanded her repertoire into jazz and funk.  Moving into different genres allows her students the freedom to learn what appeals to them while still giving them solid fundamentals.  She feels strongly about helping students build a solid foundation of music theory and history so that they can fully appreciate what they are involved in to find their own musical style. Both Helen’s parents were prominent, professional, classical musicians in the Bay Area.  She also plays a variety of other instruments and performs in local jazz clubs. In her time off, she enjoys hang gliding and...

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Margret Scranton

Guitar

Margaret Scranton has played guitar ever since she was a young girl. With over thirty years of professional playing and performance experience, she’s taught privately for almost fifteen years to enthusiastic guitarists in the East Bay of all ages and skill levels. She’s always expanding her knowledge of guitar and music by studying under numerous instructors over the years. Her teaching style focuses on each student’s interests, technique and building confidence. She’ll work on melodies, chords, music theory, songwriting and improvisation with material that keep the student engaged in learning. Not all students learn the same way, and Margaret uses different tools to help students grasp new concepts in a way they can use. As a writer and composer, Margaret has played in multiple groups including four all female groups; Mother Earth, Crazy Daisies, Honeyshot and the Hormones (a Ramones tribute band).  In 2007, she formed her own group called, Scranton, writing and playing lead guitar. She was written up in Guitar Player magazine in 2009 for a song on her solo EP “Born Ready.” Margaret’s energy and positive attitude comes across in an encouraging environment for learning music. She looks forward to sharing her passion for music with...

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Noel Catura

Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute

Award winning saxophonist, Noel Catura has been teaching and performing professionally in the Bay Area for over 30 years. His musical knowledge and talents have helped hundreds of students ranging from beginners to professionals. You’ll get a solid foundation in music theory, sightreading, improvisation, and more. Noel makes music fun and helps you express your creativity. Noel has performed nationally and internationally at such prestigious festivals including the Montreal Jazz Festival (Canada), The Gospel and Rhythm and Blues Festival (New York), The Notoden Blues Festival (Norway), Belgium Rhythm and Blues Festival, the West Palm Beach Festival (Florida), Bumpershoot Festival (Seattle), San Francisco Blues Festival and Sacramento Blues Festival. Notable artists Noel has worked with include Verve recording artist, Joe Louis Walker and Mo’ Muscle recording artist, Sista Monica and was instrumental in the success of the critically acclaimed Chris Cain Blues Band. He has shared the stage with renowned artists such as Dave Weckl, John Lee Hooker, Wayne Wallace, Ernie Watts, Russell Ferrante, Charles Brown, Eddie “Clean Head” Vinson, Albert King, Kim Wilson of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Pat Ford, Ike Turner, Robben Ford, Bobby Womack, Ron E. Beck,  Joey DeFrancesco, Duke Jethro, Don Menza, Jeff Lorber and a host of others. Noel is a Selmer-Paris endorsing artist in the Noel Catura Band, Nineteen Big Band and San Francisco dance band, Big City...

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Dillon Vado

Drums, Drumline, Mallet Percussion

Dillon Vado’s diverse background in drumming helps guide his students through a journey of musical exploration starting at any level! He’s drummed professionally in the Bay Area since age 16. In addition to teaching drums, he teaches drumline percussion and mallet percussion. Dillon offers lessons that are fun and listening based, so the focus is on learning about music as a whole. In this way, the music informs the drumming, not the other way around. You’ll get all the fundamentals to make you a strong and confident drummer and get exposed to styles like Jazz, Afro Cuban Jazz, Brazilian music, R&B, and funk. While primarily playing the drum set, Dillon is also well versed in “Latin” percussion, and is an active jazz vibraphonist, so students can choose to study drum set and mallet percussion. Dillon marched snare drum with the Santa Clara Vanguard Winter Drumline, and also taught drumline at local high schools. Some professional groups with which he’s participated with include Alan Hall’s Rata-Tet,  The Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra, Erik Jekabson’s String-tet, The Santa Clara Vanguard, and concerts with Art Lande. He studied with a multitude of private instructors on different instruments including Marimba/Vibraphone, Drum set, and Latin percussion. He was the winner of the 2014 Jazz Search West Competition on vibraphone. He studied at West Valley Community College, Jazz Camp West, and currently completing his B.A. in Music with an emphasis in Jazz Studies at the California Jazz Conservatory in...

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Alia Thiel

Piano

Alia Thiel teaches with a focus on self-empowerment through music for young students. She encourages her students to pursue their interests and strengths while also pushing them to follow a curriculum of music technique and theory to insure growth and success in their overall musicianship. Alia offers opportunities for her students to perform by organizing recitals throughout the school year. In addition to sight-reading and classical technique, Alia enjoys teaching chord theory and pop tunes for those students with ambitions to accompany themselves while singing. She encourages students to collaborate with each other and to seek out performance opportunities at school in the form of talent shows and bands. Alia has studied piano with numerous piano instructors including Bay Area’s Joan Cifarelli. She attends courses at Chabot College in Hayward, and The Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley. Alia builds strong relationships with her students and creates a safe and enjoyable environment for them to learn. Call JAMS Music to schedule your first lesson today, and I look forward to working with...

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Michael Mullen

Violin

Michael Mullen is excited to bring his skill and wealth of expertise of violin to JAMS Music. Trained as a classical violinist since he was five years old, Michael has performed and recorded many styles of music for decades. He has more than than 25 years for private violin and fiddle teaching experience. For the past few years, Michael has taught violin at various charter schools in the Oakland School District. Though he is a fiddler by trade, Michael teaches his beginner and intermediate students violin technique from a violin method that yields results — good technique is good technique regardless of what kind of music you play. As a student, you’ll straighten your fundamentals in sight reading, theory, and composition to become a confident player. Whether you’re just starting out in your school orchestra, preparing to study classical violin in college, interested in Celtic music, or traditional Americana fiddle, Michael will give you the tools you need to grow. Learning to play a musical instrument can be both fun and fulfilling, and the violin is one of the most expressive of musical instruments. Give it a try...

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Lance Dresser

Drums

Lance’s enthusiasm for music and playing drums comes out in his teaching. Along with working on drum rudiments, learning to read music, developing proper technique, a student must have fun in their musical journey. You’ll be exposed to various styles of music to help grow your musicianship. Get ready to start your own musical journey with Lance today. Growing-up in the Bay Area in the 1960’s, Lance was exposed to many diverse styles of music. His older siblings filled the house with music from the Beatles, Hendrix, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, and many local bands that were coming on the scene. This was the catalyst for his love of music and that soon led to drum lessons at age six and the piano at age eight. Lance started in school band in the 4th grade and followed that path through High School, Santa Rosa Junior College, California State University, Hayward, and then his intensive jazz performance studies at Cal Arts in Valencia.  After graduating with a BFA, Lance landed the drum chair in Maynard Ferguson’s Big Band and toured the Bay Area and Japan. In the early 90’s, Lance returned to the Bay Area, playing as many local gigs as possible, and establishing himself as a drum teacher. Soon, he was touring and recording with Grammy nominated vocalist, Maria Muldaur, touring with Lydia Pense and Cold Blood, and performing in the production, Love, Janis – the story of Janis Joplin. Later, playing in the backing band for the Pebble Beach Pro Am, he played with Huey Lewis, Michael Bolton, Kenny G., Glen Frey of the Eagles, Darius Rucker, and T-Bone...

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Chris Barnes

Trumpet

Chris Barnes is a full-time professional trumpet instructor and player known throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. His incredible talent makes him in high demand as an extremely versatile freelance musician.  Chris’ flexibility allows him to cross over a variety of styles, so on any given day he is performing in the pit of a Broadway show, leading the brass section of a symphony orchestra, playing lead in a jazz big band or doing dance steps with a rock band.  He frequently performs with national touring acts, at concerts, festivals, churches, weddings and corporate events.  Chris’ performance versatility also keeps him in high demand as a recording musician. His extensive education in music was earned at California State University, Hayward, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, as well as countless hours of real world experience. He is as passionate about mentoring young players as he is about performing.  Chris has taught in the East Bay for many years where he’s maintained a full load of students weekly with ages ranging from nine to seventy-nine and professionally for over twenty years.  Lessons are available for beginners and seasoned pros. Several of his students are principal players in their school ensembles, and many have been accepted into local and state honor groups.  Chris frequently assists as trumpet coach for schools and youth ensembles, and frequently gives workshops throughout the Bay Area. If you’re ready to take your trumpet playing seriously, you’ll be thrilled to work with Chris just as much as he is to work with...

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Sarah Angell

Flute

Sarah Angell is an accomplished flutist who is excited to bring her passion of music to JAMS Music. She is enthusiastic about teaching students and helping them develop the necessary skills and musicianship to be successful players. Lessons focus on building music theory, sight reading, technique, and ear training. Sarah has played and studied flute for nine years and piano for three. She holds an A.A. in Music from Las Positas College in Livermore, CA. where she participated with numerous wind ensembles and showcased in solo flute performances. She is a member of the Camp Parks Chapel Musical Worship Team where she creates, performs vocally, accompanies other vocalists on piano, and plays flute. In her free time, she enjoys composing her own musical pieces. Whether it’s flute or piano, Sarah will happily guide you in becoming a great...

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Amy Kahn

Oboe, English Horn

Amy Kahn has extensive teaching and performance experience in the Tri-Valley area assisting many of the aspiring Oboists in the local schools prepare for collegiate studies in music. She brings a wealth of knowledge about double reed instruments and classical and contemporary music. Amy also teaches double reed making  seminars for students interested in making their own reeds. She studied with notable oboists Tom Nugent  (University of Pacific Conservatory of Music), Ellenore Dusté (Former San Francisco Ballet), and Lenore Gillard (Former Principal Oboist with the Oakland Symphony). In addition to teaching, Amy is a member of a number of community orchestras including Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra, Holy Names Orchestra and plays with the  Diablo Symphony Orchestra, Contra Costa Wind Symphony, Livermore-Amador Symphony Pit Orchestra and Valley Dance Company. Call today to sign up with...

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Jessica Rugani

Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jessica Rugani traces her musical development from an early interest in piano, to a focus in clarinet and woodwind performance, as well as music composition. She earned degrees in music composition from New England Conservatory (M.M. 2011) and California State University East Bay (B.A. 2006). Jessica has long been interested in music instruction, both individual and in the classroom. She taught private music lessons in the Bay Area for nearly ten years to students aging from 5 to adult, on clarinet, saxophone, flute, bassoon, piano, and composition. Each lesson is tailored specifically to a student’s needs and ability level. She is also a lecturer for the music department at CSU East Bay’s Concord Campus. Compositionally, Rugani has written for varying ensembles, from the unusual bowed piano ensemble to the more traditional full orchestra, as well as much chamber music. A recent commission by Mary Matthews entitled To Laugh Often and Much (2013) for flute and piano was premiered at the National Flute Association convention in August. Jessica has worked with members of the San Francisco Symphony and the Kronos Quartet, and studied composition with Robert Carl and Michael Gandolfi, as well as clarinet with Diane Maltester and Joel Jaffe. She currently lives in Dublin with her husband while she completes her doctoral dissertation at the University of Hartford’s Hartt...

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Matthias Montgomery

Drums & Percussion

Matthias Montgomery has had a highly successful twenty year career in drum instruction and touring nationally with famous groups. His multiple studio recordings with a list of high profile artists such as : Michael Schenker (Scorpions/UFO/MSG) and Brad Gillis (Ozzy Osbourne/Night Ranger)  . He graduated with honors from The Musician’s Institute College of Contemporary Music in 1987 in Los Angeles, and has worked extensively in the San Francisco, Chicago, and Dallas metropolitan areas. Matthias’ positive attitude advances each student’s individual needs by utilizing a unique and enjoyable comprehensive study of rudiments, basic sight reading and independence, as well as building confidence through the art of drumming. His diverse background in music enables him to help with all styles of music and all skill levels. Matthias has taught drum classes at many of the learning centers in Contra Costa County, and various clinics for the Acalanes School District. He is a Yamaha endorsed artist and Company Leader/Drummer for Bay Area Show Band, The Spazmatics. Yamaha recently asked Matthias to work along side drum legends Steve Gadd and Billy Cobham. In addition to his teaching duties at JAMS Music, Matthias owns and operates his own “Red Room Studios” where he writes, records, engineers and produces for artists...

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James Schulz

Double Bass, Electric Bass

James is available for orchestral double bass, upright bass, and standard electric bass. James works with students of all ages and is just the right person to help you advance your skills. He earned his Master in Music for Orchestral Double Bass from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and his BA in Music and Double Bass from Cal State University, East...

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Steve Kritzer

Guitar, Ukulele, Mandolin, Banjo

Steve Kritzer is a veteran of the Bay Area music scene. He has entertained audiences around the world, , recorded 5 award winning CD’s, and has been a highly-respected teacher for over 25 years, known for his professional yet friendly teaching style and ability to mold lessons to each students personal needs and abilities. His teaching abilities include acoustic and electric Guitar (specializing in folk, Travis picking, bluegrass, swing, Celtic, and classic pop and rock), Mandolin, Banjo, Ukulele, Bass, Songwriting, ensemble playing, Contemporary Christian repertoire, and theory, welcoming everyone from beginners to advanced on all instruments. He looks forward to working with you on your musical...

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Francisco Hernandez

Guitar

Francisco Hernandez is an experienced and versatile professional musician with many years of performance under his belt. He currently holds an A.A. in Music from Ohlone College and is currently studying for his B.A. in Music at CSU East Bay.  Francisco has experience playing in bands covering many different genres including jazz bands, theater pits, top 40 bands, rock and blues bands, and classical ensembles. He currently plays in The Chops Big Band based out of Fremont and also plays in various cover bands. Students can expect to learn and strengthen their reading, theory, technique, musicianship, and learn songs from many different styles of music. If you are a beginner or an advanced player, Francisco can help bring your passion and playing to the next...

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David Hawley

Guitar, Bass Guitar

David Hawley has been teaching in the Tri-Valley area for over 15 years. He brings his passion, positive attitude, and energy with him to every lesson. Whether you love rock or blues, or just starting your journey as a guitar or bass player, Dave can help you out with technique, theory, composition, improvisation, and ear training. Come in or call today to get signed up with...

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Heidi Dahms

Violin, Viola, Beginning Cello

Heidi Dahms is pleased to be the new beginning violin, viola and cello instructor for JAMS Music. Ms. Dahms holds a Master of Music Education degree from Boston University, a Master of Music degree in Instrumental Conducting, with Honors, from Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, Arizona), a Bachelor of Arts in Music (Violin Performance) and a California State Teaching Credential from California State University, Hayward (now East Bay) and an additional credential in Administration and Educational Leadership. Ms. Dahms has over 25 years teaching experience working with musicians of all age levels and abilities. She is currently the Director of Orchestras for the Castro Valley Unified School District. During her 18 year tenure her teaching duties have included conducting the Castro Valley High School Symphony and Chamber Orchestras and as Musical Director for the high school musical productions. She conducts the Canyon Middle School Beginning and Advanced String Orchestras, the Creekside Middle School Beginning and Advanced String orchestras and the Symphonic Band and teaches beginning instrumental music to Castro Valley’s fifth grade elementary school students. For three years she served as Music Director and Conductor of the Young Performer’s String Orchestra, a multi-level string orchestra training program of Civic Arts Education in the city of Walnut Creek, CA. During her tenure the groups’ membership tripled! She is currently a violinist with the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Dahms has performed as violinist in numerous ensembles throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, including the Diablo Symphony, Woodminster Theater, and the Peninsula Civic Light Opera (now Broadway by the Bay). She was guest conductor of the NAU University Orchestra, Musical Theater productions and Symphonic Band and was the Assistant Conductor and Manager of the Flagstaff Youth Orchestra. She has also worked as...

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Jason Countryman

Guitar, Ukulele, Banjo & Mandolin, Voice

Jason Countryman is an accomplished professional musician with over ten years of teaching experience. He holds a B.A. in Music Composition and Classical Guitar from Cal State University, East Bay, but has extensive experience in a variety of music genres including jazz bands, folk groups, theater pits, experimental electronica collaborations, and as a finger style and classical solo player. Jason can help strengthen your music theory, songwriting and technique in order to bring your playing to another level. In addition to his busy teaching schedule, Jason sings, writes and plays in Farewell Typewriter and Park St Trio. Come take lessons with him. You’ll have...

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Remember that First Guitar

APPLAUSE

"This is my go-to music store. My two kids have taken guitar lessons here, and both loved it...I would give them six stars if I could."

Mark K.
San Ramon, CA

"Just used JAMS Music to repair my daughter's flute. Ian, the brass & woodwind repair tech is excellent. He knows what he's doing and is very ethical. I won't hesitate to bring my future business back there!"

Linda K.
Dublin, CA

"It was about time for the Tri-Valley to get a really top-notch music store.  I have been going to JAMS Music for a little over 2 years, and the place gets better every time I go in...I am a very happy and satisfied customer, and recommend JAMS Music to all my musician friends.  It an absolutely wonderful and friendly environment, and they are very easy to do business with.  

Gail E.
Livermore, CA

"All of the staff were welcoming and always answered my questions thoroughly.  I highly recommend these guys."

Steve B.
San Ramon, CA

"I commuted here all the way from Stockton because of the high praise this place has on Yelp. From my recent experience, JAMS Music has totally exceeded my expectations."

Andy D.
Ripon, CA