El Cajon Music Lessons

Meet a couple of our instructors in the El Cajon area!

Michael S

Piano, Clarinet, and Saxophone, performer and instructor with over 27 years of experience. Hundreds of performances with the 296th Army Band in Japan, and Navy Band Southwest: tours all across Japan and the southwest region of the United States. Performing for dignitaries: diplomats, ambassadors, and high level military officials at numerous venues such as Japan’s Budokon Hall, Sapporo Snow Festival, Hiroshima, Kobe, Kure, Shimoda, American Consulate in Tijuana, Mexico, Las Vegas. Performed for President Barack Obama on the USS Carl Vinson(2011)The 60th Anniversary of the Bataan Death March in the Philippines, to name a few. Winner of numerous competitions. Paul and Lilian Petri Award Competition, Mu Phi Epsilon woodwind division, honorable mention Oregon Symphony’s Corbett Competition. Concerto performances of Claude Debussy’s “Premiere Rhapsodie” with Portland State University’s orchestra and Cavallini’s “Adagio and Tarantella” with Naval Band Southwest at the Escondido Performing Arts Center. Winner of the 2008 University of Arkansas Concerto Competition. Member of the Armed Forces woodwind quintets, show bands, Dixie and marching bands. Performances on all family of clarinets and saxophones. Classically trained pianist of 20 years, accompanies students in recital. Latin pianist for Navy Band Southwest for 2 years. Former member of the Portland Youth Philharmonic under Jacob Avshalomov, and Huw Edwards. Performances with Tito Puente Jr., Miss America 2010 Caressa Cameron, Mike Bogart Tower of Power Trumpet, Manny Cepeda Latin percussionist, Japanese Ground Self Defense Force Bands, Keith Clark conductor, Oliver Mercer Tenor, Brian Jagde Tenor. Graduate of the Armed Forces School of Music with an outgoing score of 3.2 “Outstanding”.
Michael holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from: Purchase College–State University of New York (SUNY), and my Master’s Degree in Public Administration from: National University in La Jolla.
Currently on faculty with Sally Music, and the Chula Vista Academy of Music and Dance.
Clarinet Studies under: Dr. Nophatchi Cholthitchanta(University of Arkansas), Ayako Oshima (Purchase College/Juilliard), Dr. Thomas Stanford (Portland State University), Harold Vreeland (Pacific University). Master Classes: Dr. Robert Spring (Arizona State University), David Shifrin (Yale University), Charles Neidich (Juilliard)
Piano Studies: Jura Margulis (University of Arkansas), Daphne Spottiswoode (Purchase College–SUNY), Sarah Watkins (Purchase College), Cynthia Gerdes (Portland State University).
Saxophone Studies: Stan Morris (University of Arkansas)
Japanese Koto Studies: Yoko Kawasaki (Camp Zama, Japan)

Ben D

With over 18 years of experience , Ben Specializes in technical high-speed electric guitar. He has played in bands all his life whole life and he’s constantly working on writing new music. Ben had studied classical and flamenco under Fred Benedetti at San Diego State University, He feels well rounded stylistically in addition to the staple genres of rock/blues/pop. His goal as a musician is to create something that lasts forever, and his goal with students is work individually with each in finding their paths with the instrument!