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Virtual private lessons for students of all ages and ability levels

PBO’s experienced musicians teach all over the world. Why not in your living space? PBO invites you to come online with us and take a one-on-one virtual music lesson!

Whether you are an emerging professional, devoted amateur, or someone newly interested in exploring PBO’s music, exceptional musicians from the Orchestra and Chorale are available to teach you.

Music lesson rates vary by teacher, ranging from $30-60 per half hour. Payment should be made directly to musicians. For any questions, please email Director of Education Lisa Grodin (lgrodin@philharmonia.org).

Levels taught: Musical topic (no playing or singing),  Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Pre-professional

Lesson modes: Phone (discussion only), Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, open to other options

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Violinist and violist Lisa Grodin is Director of Education for Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale, Music Director for the Junior Bach Festival, and a longtime faculty member at the Crowden Music Center and The Crowden School. She has led masterclasses and workshops at institutions such as the R. Glier Kyiv Institute of Music, the Colburn School, Stanford University, and UC Berkeley, and presented lectures for organizations such as Fromm Institute for Lifelong Learning, California Music Educators Association, and numerous Bay Area community centers. She regularly performs and records with Philharmonia, Voices of Music, American Bach Soloists, and El Mundo, which earned a GRAMMY nomination for “Best Small Ensemble” in 2012.  She has also concertized as a guest artist with ensembles such as Les Arts Florrissants, Capella Savaria, La Cetra, Capella Cartusianum, Chanticleer, and Smithsonian Chamber Players. Embracing a broad variety of musical styles, Ms. Grodin’s lifelong passion for dance has infused many of her educational endeavors and informed her pedagogy. She is keen to work with any student who is eager to learn, and she enjoys coaching ensembles both large and small. 

Levels taught: Intermediate through pre-professional. Ages 14+

Lesson modes: FaceTime (preferred), Zoom

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Soprano Tonia D’Amelio has been singing with Philharmonia as a soloist and choir member for the better part of two decades, and maintains an active performing career in the Bay Area and beyond. She teaches voice at her home studio in Oakland, as well as in private lessons and group coachings at the San Francisco Girls Chorus and Ruth Asawa School of the Arts in San Francisco, where she also teaches classes on music theory and diction for singers. Outside of music, Tonia teaches alignment-focused group fitness classes at The Dailey Method. Drawing on her knowledge of anatomy and movement, her teaching incorporates various practices to energize and free the vocal instrument, including stretching, myofascial stimulation (self-massage), and yoga postures and breathing techniques. She believes that regardless of repertoire or style, singing is an expression of the singer’s entire body and state of being, and she encourages each student to grow through practicing artistic inquiry and self-compassion. Tonia holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Harvard University and a master’s degree in vocal performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and has attended several training programs for opera and Baroque music in the U.S. and Europe.

Levels taught: All levels

Lesson modes: Zoom, FaceTime, Skype

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Spanning the centuries from baroque to pop music, Maxine has played with groups ranging from Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra to Jacksonville Symphony, to Beach Blanket Babylon, to Led Zeppelin. She has performed classically across Europe and South America, played pop music in Brazil, taught violin pedagogy to violin teachers in Nicaragua, and created and performed children’s concerts in Ireland, comparing Baroque music to traditional Irish music. She enjoys and thrives on playing different palates of diverse genres and interesting “off beat” projects. Maxine can be heard on many recordings including orchestral, movie soundtracks, commercials and pop. Teaching experience includes 32 years of private instruction of all levels, past faculty of both branches of the Community Music Center, French American International School, and International High School.  Teaching has also included teaching teachers in Nicaragua pedagogy, coaching violin sectionals for California Youth Symphony, coaching chamber music for Hoover middle school, as well as various Mobil mentors for PBO.

Levels taught: All levels and ages

Lesson modes: Zoom, Google Meet, FaceTime

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Diane Heffner is an active freelance clarinetist and saxophonist and teacher on both modern and historical instruments.  Ms. Heffner is on the applied faculty at Tufts University, the Cambridge School of Weston, and the All-Newton Music School and has been a chamber music coach at both the Chamber Music Center of the East and the Wellesley Composers Conference and Chamber Music Center.  Past teaching posts include Brandeis University, The Belmont Music School, and South Shore Conservatory. She plays period clarinets with Handel & Haydn Society, Arcadia Players, Boston Baroque, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (San Francisco), and “Rumbarocco” Latin jazz-Baroque fusion ensemble, and Eudamonia, a Boston based period instrument ensemble. As a modern clarinetist Ms. Heffner performs regularly  with  Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble, Alea III, Solar Winds, the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus and various other freelance ensembles.  Ms. Heffner plays sax and clarinet as a jazz/blues freelancer and is a member of Boston’s only all women swing big band “the Mood Swing Orchestra.”She received both BM and MM degrees with honors from the New England Conservatory where she studied clarinet with Joseph Allard and chamber music with Rudolph Kolisch and Leonard Shure.

Levels taught: All levels and ages

Lesson modes: TBD

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I have taught violin and viola  students from ages 8 to 80, and teaching is one of my musical pursuits that I love the most! I began as a teaching assistant at Yale University, and I have taught at Colleges in Seattle, in Sonoma and at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. I am a viola professor at the Oregon Bach Festival every summer, and I enjoy coaching chamber music almost as much as playing it!

Levels taught: Intermediate, advanced, pre-professional

Lesson modes: FaceTime

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I love teaching! In my teaching, I seek to enable students to perceive, understand and engage physically, intellectually, and emotively with the flow that is music.  I have taught private students for 30 years.  For the past 10 years I have taught a course in Baroque style for violinists and violists at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and for the past 4 years I have taught for the Juilliard School’s Historical Performance department.  I have taught for the American Bach Soloists Festival and Academy summer course since its inception in 2010, at the International Baroque Institute Longy many times, and at the Valley of the Moon Music Festival in Sonoma County since 2015.

Levels taught: All levels. Musical topic discussion (without playing or singing) could include: vocal production, choral techniques, rehearsal techniques, performance techniques, remote teaching

Lesson modes: FaceTime (preferred), open to other options

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Private voice study is your time to ask questions about your voice, to learn the music you are working on, to develop a reliable technique, improve sight reading skills and, of course, to sing! To make the most of your lessons: Practice frequently in short intervals–daily or every other day if possible. This is more effective than infrequent marathon sessions–once a week for an hour. Training the voice is like training a specific muscle group at the gym. For best results, be consistent. If you perform or rehearse regularly, apply techniques explored in lessons to your performance and rehearsal routine. Repertoire: Choose music you like and that challenges you. If you need help making choices, I can help. Various genres, including musical theater, opera, art song, folk and pop offer stylistic differences, but the vocal technique remains constant. Maybe you’re looking for specific results: an upcoming audition, a performance deadline, vocal health when performing frequently, etc.  I can help.

Levels taught: Intermediate, advanced, pre-professional

Lesson modes: FaceTime, Zoom

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I’ve been teaching voice in the Bay Area since moving here in 1992.  My students are primarily dedicated amateurs; they sing throughout the Bay Area in ensembles such as the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, International Orange Chorale, Lamplighters, Pocket Opera chorus, West Edge Opera chorus, Marin Symphony Chorus, and numerous church choirs.  Several are professionals who are themselves music teachers and are singing solo opera and oratorio roles with local companies and choruses. Although I have taught younger students, my primary focus is on adult singers, with the current age‐range in my studio being 34 – 77.  I teach basic Bel Canto technique, with focus on developing musicianship skills alongside the vocal fundamentals.   Repertoire is chosen both by me (to further hone students’ skill and musicianship) and the student (to include areas of specific personal interest) and range from early Baroque songs and arias through newly composed music commissioned by the students from living composers.

Levels taught: Beginner (violin and viola), intermediate (violin), advanced and professional coaching (historically informed performance)

Lesson modes: FaceTime

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Maria Caswell teaches both violin and viola to beginner and intermediate students at her home in Sebastopol. She adapts her teaching to the requirements of the student, employing a variety of teaching methods. She also enjoys coaching advanced and professional musicians in baroque performance style. 

Maria has been teaching since 1994. She has been playing baroque violin and viola since 1979 in the Bay Area and beyond. She is a founding member of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale, a member of Voices of Music and Live Oak Baroque Orchestra, and also performs with the light hearted Alphabet Baroque Club.

Levels taught: Intermediate to pre-professional

Lesson modes: Zoom

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Carla enjoys teaching students from far-flung places as well as at home at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition, she has taught Baroque strings at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Northwestern University, the University of Utah, and Amherst Early Music Festival. A First Prize winner of the Erwin Bodky Competition for Early Music, she is co-concertmaster of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, concertmaster of Portland Baroque Orchestra, and co-founder and director of Archetti Baroque String Ensemble. As a chamber musician, Carla has recorded critically acclaimed CDs with the ensembles Music’s Re-creation, Valley of the Moon, Archetti Baroque Strings and Voices of Music. Her videos with Voices of Music have been viewed by millions worldwide on YouTube.

Levels taught: Beginner, intermediate (all ages)

Lesson modes: Whatsapp

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I love to teach because I love to learn. In the nearly 20 years since I’ve been teaching voice, I’ve come to appreciate that no two of my students have been alike. The most valuable lesson for me so far has been to realize how differently each student learns. And the most fun part of teaching for me is to discover what approach, what vocabulary, and what combination of suggestions brings about the best result for each individual. Above all, I believe that singing should and can be fun. My goal is to provide a safe and forgiving environment where the fear of making mistakes is minimized as much as possible. Technically, I focus on optimal posture, breathing, support, and unhindered vowel formation in order to maximize one’s vocal potential. I like to emphasize what works for a particular person, rather than dwelling on what doesn’t. My approach is one of exploration and discovery in order to bring about more joy, release, and authenticity of sound. I grew up in a household of jazz musicians, and wanted to sing musical theater when I was starting out. Although my life took a different direction when opportunities arose in the Early Music realm, I feel at home in several different musical genres. I enjoy working with students of all ages, and currently teach the age ranges of 14 to 90 years old. I look forward to our getting to know each other and to having the opportunity to work and sing together!

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