What to Expect from Lessons

Never taken music lessons before? Don’t worry, we bring in lots of brand new music students every year. Here's how it works...

Each week, you’ll see the same instructor, at the same time, most likely for 30 minutes. Your instructor will review what you worked on last time, correct any mistakes, and assign new material. Then, you take your new assignments home and practice them on your own. Your teacher will guide you as to how to practice and for how long, but most teachers recommend at least 5 practice sessions a week, even if each one isn’t that long. It’s always best to do more practice days for shorter periods of time than it is to cram long practice sessions into only a couple days!


As you progress week to week, your instructor will start to suggest supplemental material or activities to round out your training. He/She may suggest taking our Music Theory class, or participating in a summer program. Perhaps they even think you’re ready to take the stage and tell you to sign up for The Den! As you go along, your instructor will also be looking to you to set personal goals, so that you’re always working towards what you want to do with music!


If you get to the point where you feel that you want look into the music industry as a career choice, we will schedule a sit-down meeting with you (and your parents or guardians, if applicable) to help you get started. The New York School of Music network is far-reaching, and includes professionals throughout the Hudson Valley and at performing arts colleges. No matter what part of the music industry you’re interested in, we will do our best to connect you to relevant professionals in our network, arrange for work experience opportunities, and prepare you for entering the field.

Scroll down to meet our wonderful instructors!

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Sinclair Avramis - voice

Sinclair Avramis has a Bachelor of Music degree from Westminster Choir College where she majored in vocal performance.  She has studied with Maestro Franco Bertacci and concert pianist and vocal coach David Leighton. Sinclair has performed with the Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of world renowned conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin. It was during her four years at Westminster that Sinclair 's vocal coach, Dr. Kathy Kessler Price started her on the path to teaching. Sinclair has always enjoyed singing but found her passion when she was asked to join the acclaimed Kingston High School Choir and began working with her mentor, director Lawrence Lohman. Sinclair is also a songwriter who plays piano, guitar and ukulele.  Nothing makes her happier than hearing her students voices grow.

Amy Cutter - voice

Amy Cutter has been a Licensed Massage Therapist for more than 20 years and is also a vocal performance coach. Music has been a huge passion for Amy her entire life. She has had recording studio experience and is uniquely comfortable on both sides of the studio and stage. She studied Musical Theatre at NY City's American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA). Amy became a massage therapist in 1997 and currently runs a private practice which includes Cold Laser Therapy and Veterinary Chiropractitioning. Her background includes teaching as an adjust instructor at SUNY's Orange County Community College. A unique background in anatomy and kinesiology compliments her background in musical theatre and provide the insight between structural muscle integrity and sound production to create a memorable performance.

Amy's vision for her students is to develop tools to strengthen the muscles that support the voice, eliminate tension that limits the voice, and discover strategies to help connect to a song and translate it to the audience. The amount of time a student selects to dedicate between lessons determines the growth that we will experience. The ultimate goal is to outgrow the teacher and move on the the next! (Just like everything in life... you get out what you put in.) Above all, Amy strongly believes how important it is to love what you do and facilitates that in every student at every age to determine their goals, set a game plan, and take action to achieve those goals.

Emily Anginoli - voice

Emily Anginoli graduated from SUNY Orange with an Associates in Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, with a concentration in anatomy and music. Emily has had extensive professional vocal training over the years as well as being involved in the Classic Choral Society and other community singing groups. Being a Licensed Massage Therapist in NY State for the past 10 years and a Holistic Vocal Instructor/Coach at New York School of Music for the past 6 years has allowed for incorporating a unique holistic “mind, body and spirit” approach to her lessons. Music has always been Emily's passion and she finds much excitement and fulfillment in teaching voice which encompasses proper breathing/posture practices, proper vocal technique, musical theory and confidence building. She does this all while creating a light hearted,positive energy-filled space for her students to learn and grow to be the musician they strive to be. One of her most joyful experiences at NYSM has been organizing and coaching the annual summer A Cappella workshop. On a personal note, Emily enjoys the outdoors with her husband and dog, along with quality time that usually involves singing with family and friends! She is currently lead vocalist in an acoustic band that plays at local venues around the Hudson Valley. So whether you're interested in becoming a better singer for yourself or if you are looking to take singing to a professional level, you will find a second home at NYSM with Emily as your vocal coach to help you maximize your true potential. Music has the wonderful ability for us to grow, heal and express ourselves in ways we never dreamed of. In the words of the great Victor Hugo "Music expresses that which cannot be said,on which it is impossible to be silent.”

Casie Snow-Hebel - voice

Throughout her life, Casie has always had a strong passion for singing and all things related to music. Starting in high school, she has received vocal and instrumental lessons to start pursuing her desire for teaching music. Having studied at SUNY Ulster and The College of Saint Rose for her undergraduate degree, Casie is currently a middle school choir/music teacher at Crispell Middle School in Pine Bush. Always eager to learn and improve, she is pursuing a masters degree in vocal pedagogy to further understand the innate workings of singing, and to help others improve as well. 


“Singing connects the mind with the heart and the heart with the soul. So sing. I dare you!”
— Neale Donald Walsch

Rory Quinn - guitar, piano, ukulele

Rory began to study music at the age of 5 with piano lessons and quickly developed a passion for it, eventually expanding to play guitar, bass and percussion.  As a teenager, he performed with numerous bands throughout the Hudson Valley and Long Island.  Rory decided to continue his music education at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY earning a Bachelors of Science in Music Industry.  While there, he began instructing local children in both piano and guitar at the local Salvation Army, teaching them technique, theory and how to perform live.

When not teaching, Rory spends time writing music and recording albums, as well as acting as a freelance live sound engineer through the American Northwest.

Matt Field - guitar, bass, ukulele, banjo

Matt has been playing guitar for 16 years and bass for 14 years. He studied both classical guitar and jazz guitar at the University of Tennessee (Knoxville). He has been in numerous bands and is currently working with several groups. He has toured throughout the United States and most recently, has been playing shows around the Hudson Valley area. His varied musical interests find him playing rock music ranging from metal, alternative and classic rock, as well as a wide range of jazz music and classical.

Matt has been teaching guitar and bass for the last 10 years and has seen that anyone, young or old, that has an interest in music can be taught to play and find their own "voice".

Danny Silversmith - guitar, ukulele

Danny Silversmith holds a degree in Jazz Studies from SUNY New Paltz. He draws influence from many different genres including rock, jazz, classical, folk, and world music. He plays frequently around the Hudson Valley with his band, Shy Spy.

Upcoming gigs can be found on his website at www.dannysilversmith.com.

Don Riker - guitar

Don is an animated and friendly guitar instructor who's played in many bands covering a very eclectic range of styles. He has studied popular and classical guitar at East Stroudsburg State Teachers College and has studied alongside Arnie Berle, a jazz player, columnist, and professor at Mercy College. Don has also performed with Harvey Brooks, a bassist who's played with The Doors and was a member of Bob Dylan's backing band.

In total, Don has played guitar for forty-seven years. He has also played bass guitar and fiddle for about twenty years each. One of Don's most emotional and greatest experiences was playing aboard the aircraft Carrier Intrepid as part of a Vietnam Vet tribute band; performing for over 100,000 people. At New York School of Music, Don has coached Rock Camp for ten years. He personally devotes time to his community and religion as a worship leader at a local church.

Edie Duncan - violin, viola, cello, bass

Edie has introduced elementary music to thousands of K-6 students in the Wallkill Central School District for over 20 years as a general/vocal music teacher and “enrichment liaison.” This year, however, she’s out and about the district as the string director of the “Wallkill Wire Choirs.” She received her BS in Music Education from Penn State University (1985) with dual concentrations in instrumental and elementary classroom music, an MS from Long Island University in education/edu technology (1990.) Since then, she completed Orff levels I, II, and III certifications at UNLV with DelellesKriske/McCrae and Master Class training with Jos Wuytag at the University of Memphis. For giggles, she graduated Kindermusik University and has been working on “geekdom” with many music technology classes-the most recent being at the Music Tech. Retreat in Carson, WA. Feeling too guilty to travel for vacation, she chooses distant locations for the the purpose of continuing her own education and enjoys spending time in Spanish Immersion programs in Costa Rica. Professional memberships include MENC, NYSSMA, AOSA, and Technology Institute for Music Ed.

Edie became a string instructor at the precursor to the NY School of Music over a decade ago, when her husband, seeking guitar lessons, volunteered her for the position. Pedagogically, she employs a combination of rote and reading (symbolic to traditional), following the elemental style of Orff. She received an instructor of the year award in 2005, and has been named in the 2002 and 2005 editions of "Who’s Who Among American Teachers." Going under the business name of "Yee-Haw Music," Edie knows her purpose on earth is to provide amusement for children, but does play recreationally and professionally as a violinist.

Analise Reed - violin, viola, cello, bass

Analise Reed is a graduate of SUNY @ New Paltz and attended the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.  She obtained her master’s degree from Cambridge College, with a concentration in the role music plays in brain development and education.  As a string bassist, she has studied with Janet Conway-Barbour, Barry Green, and Francois Rabbath and regularly plays with Rockland Symphony, Newburgh Symphony Orchestra, Westchester College-Collegium, Classic Chorale Society, and freelances with other area groups and orchestras.  Conducting studies have been with David Rudge of the Fredonia School of Music and the Labon conducting technique.  She is a member of the NYS chapter of the American String Teacher’s Association and the NYS School Music Association.  As a member of NYSSMA, she is a certified adjudicator, traveling the state for solo and small ensemble competitions.  In between juggling her teenagers’ many activities, Analise currently teaches in the Newburgh School District, conducting the orchestras of Meadow Hill Global Explorations Magnet School, and has conducted numerous All County and All District Orchestras.

Dan Walker - brass & woodwinds

Dan has been working at NYSM since 2015 as a brass and woodwind instructor. Dan is also on his 4th year of teaching music and drama at Valley Central High School, where he runs classes and clubs like Concert Band and Pep Band. He has a special connection with these institutions, as he is an alumni from both schools. Dan graduated with a bachelors in music education from The College of Saint Rose in 2015 and continues to volunteer as an instructor for the college as well. 

Kristin Dockery - piano

Kristin Dockery started piano lessons at the age of seven. Studying with Diane Miller, she participated yearly in many piano adjudications including The Piano Guild, National Federation of Music Clubs, and NYSSMA. Kristin went on to earn her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music with a concentration in Classical Piano in 2009 under the tutelage of Dr. Ruthanne Schemp. While at SUNY New Paltz, she performed in many groups including Collegium Musicum, the College Youth Symphony, student chamber groups, and as an accompanist for other musicians. She was also a keyboardist for weekly masses at her church from 2006-2016.


Kristin has been teaching piano since 2008. She has taught students of all age ranges and tailors lessons based on the individual's needs. She tries to make lessons as fun as possible, incorporating games and many terrible puns! When not teaching, she enjoys playing board games, reading, and taking care of her 3 rambunctious cats and very patient dog with her other half, Ryan.

Dave Miele - drums, piano

Dave Miele is a drummer and pianist from Middletown, New York who has worked with many Hudson Valley musicians. Dave holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Theory and Composition, a Master of Music in Jazz Studies and a Master of Arts in Teaching (Childhood Education, as of December 2012). Dave is certified to teach grades 1 through 6 and hopes to add certification in music (grades K-12) to his credentials soon.

Since 2005, Dave Miele has been an adjunct professor at Orange County Community College, where he teaches History of Jazz Music and History of Rock Music, as well as directing the SUNY Orange Jazz Ensemble. He holds the rank of Assistant Professor.

Dave has been published in Modern Drummer Magazine and Jazz Improv Magazine, for which he wrote four cover features. He has been a private music instructor for twenty years and has taught at the New York School of Music since 2000.

Sal Santana - drums

When I started playing I immediately began taking lessons and found it saved me a lot of time and hassle by preventing bad habits. My teachers throughout my playing have stressed learning a variety of music, so I always make it a point to find out what a student enjoys to get them started playing the music they love. Because drumming can be physically demanding, I put a lot of emphasis on technique to maximize endurance and ensure consistent progress. I currently play in 3 bands locally covering a variety of styles and absolutely love playing and teaching! Check out my bands; Sass & Brass, Lucky House, and Top Hat to see where I’m playing next!

Sean Walker - drums

Sean Walker has been drumming for 20 years and teaching privately for 10 years.  Sean is a dedicated drummer advanced in many styles with a solid academic background in music.  He holds a BM in Jazz Performance from the University of the Arts.  He has performed with many Hudson Valley artists such as The Slam Allen Band, Chris Raabe Band, Jacks and Heroes, Chris Cemak, Different Elements and the Matt Gould Trio just to name a few.