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!
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.
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.
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.
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.