Second Sight Music.

Second Sight Music.

5.0 (16)
1 employee
46 years in business

About this pro

I've been teaching since 1974 and teaching other teachers since 2000.  As an experienced performer, bandleader, commissioned composer/arranger, recording artist and grant recipient, I love sharing these practical real-life tools to make a difference in my students' lives.  I'm also an author who has looked at the learning process in depth, and have developed many state-of-the-art practice tools so that their practicing at home becomes more rewarding and fun.   

I cover a broad range of instruments (piano/keyboard/percussion/flute/voice) and skills (technique/theory/repertoire/improvisation/songwriting/composition).  If you're looking to eventually (or more effectively) play in a band/ensemble or begin to create (or expand) your own pieces, you'll be very happy with my coaching. 

You can learn more about my teaching, read articles, view video tutorials, check out testimonials from absolute beginners to touring pros at:


I enjoy working with students who have different goals, strengths, and rolemodels as inspiration, so I tune into those to customize their projects and workflow.  It's also exciting to see my students form their own groups, begin to teach, and write their own material.  Finally, I love the challenge of de-mystifying the skills that surround each area that I teach, like showing that the ideal ergonomic position for piano, voice, and drum set are all the same, or that you can take apart a pop or jazz piece with just as much depth as you can a classical piece !  

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Berkeley, CA 94710
Email verified
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16 Reviews


  • Sonya Brewer (vocalist)

    "Sad but true. After eight years of voice lessons I felt less confidence than when I started. But my work with Michael was transformative! I remembered one particular piece of coaching he gave, it completely changed the quality of sound in my voice. I had never heard myself sound so good!"

  • Naomi Yu (pianist/vocalist)

    "I took both piano and voice lessons with Michael for about a year-and-a-half. Michael is extremely talented and knowledgeable about so many facets of music. His teaching methods are unconventional, but really help develop many different areas of skills towards making & understanding music. I also greatly enjoyed the workshops he held with the other private students where we were able to share our progress and develop a small community."

  • Jeff Langley, SSU Music Dept. Chair (workshop)

    "Michael's positive and insightful approach has helped many a student expand their idea of their musical identity and potential to a broader vision — often worlds removed from what they originally imagined. His 'Musical Creativity & The Art of Practicing' workshop is a life-changing event!"

  • Natalie Mack (ukuleleist/workshop)

    "Michael’s workshop was like being at a listening party where the Host really knew their stuff. I appreciated his attention to detail, and his way of holding the space for careful listening. It’s a really special thing to be able to make new meaning of The Beatles' "White Album" with the other participants. Michael seems to not only welcome that sort of collective meaning making, but also to inspire it."

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What is your typical process for working with a new student?

No matter which instrument or voice that we're looking at, I always like to begin with the student playing or singing whatever they're most comfortable doing. From there, we look at the different skills that are involved and determine which specific skill to work on first that will help unlock their musicality and confidence. This is why my first lesson with a student is always so different, regradless if they're a complete beginner or a touring musician ! 

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

I have extensive training all the areas that I teach (2 music degrees) as well as additional training in classical piano (Taubman Institute, Marilyn Thompson), jazz piano (Kenny Werner, Art Lande), composition/analysis (W.A. Mathieu, Bevan Manson), classical voice (Rocio Guitard, Jane Boothroyd), jazz voice (Mark Murphy, Dave Worm), North Indian voice (Prandit Pran Nath), West-African percussion (Abdoulaye Diakite, Momudu Kouyate), Egyptian percussion (Vince del Gado, Mark Helm) and early music performance practice (Kathleen Kraft, Bruce Wetmore). 

I've also written dozens of articles and in production for  three different books.  

Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.

Call for details.

How did you get started teaching?

I started "officially" teaching in my second year of college (1974), but I actually started teaching a decade earlier when I noticed that my fellow rock musicians had diffculty playing my songs in bands.  

What types of students have you worked with?

Everyone from complete beginners to touring pros (and everyone inbetween). It's also important identify what learning modlities are strongest for a student and which ones need more support.  In some ways, that's just as important as their technical skills . . . 

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

I recently saw an on-line concert with one of the drummers I work with who leads his own trio. I was so inspired by the Q & A part of the concert that I shared  an idea I had about how they could present a unique workshop . . .   

What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

To not worry about styles they want to do "eventually", but to just imagine a teacher who's committed to their preferred styles right now.  It's best to work with a teacher who has an intimate knowledge of the styles that a student wants to play.

What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?

Nothing in particular, but being at ease and focused during the initial phone call is a great start.