Jazz/Pop Expressions

Jazz/Pop Expressions

5.0 (1)
5 hires on Lessons.com
1 employee
42 years in business

About this pro

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Palo Alto, CA 94303
Email verified
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1 Review


  • Michaelyn Maniti


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

I will always start by asking you what your goals are and what you wish to work on or accomplish.

My teaching style is flexible; Rather than subscribing to a particular method, I follow your lead, teaching to what YOU  want to learn. I cater my teaching materials, including books, musical selections, warm-up exercises, etc., to your particular needs and interests.

I enjoy teaching children, teens, adults and seniors. I specialize in teaching jazz, pop, blues, R&B, Motown and other modern styles, with theory to understand what you are doing.  I emphasize improvising, composition, transposition, ear training, accompaniment, rhythm, song interpretation, chart reading and writing, transcribing, and other important components of good musicianship.

I teach both piano and voice (song phrasing and interpretation, as well as technique).  If you don't want to pay twice for two types of lessons, you can get a two-fer with me! I am also particularly adept at teaching students whose insecurities, anxieties or shyness seem to be getting in the way of their musical desires.

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

I started playing the piano at age 5, then learned to play the recorder, guitar and flute while in elementary school. I learned to play the guitar and the recorder from my mother, who taught music lessons to many children in town. I taught my first piano student at age 17. I was born with a good ear, and as a teen-ager, I loved to play all the popular songs on the piano while my friends and I sang along.  I studied jazz piano with the great Ed Kelly at Laney College, and spend 5 years soaking in the amazing jazz program and honing my chops at Cabrillo College, in both piano and voice. I studied music theory, jazz arranging and improvising, performance, jazz and chamber choir, songwriting, jazz singing and classical voice and others. I used my good ear and knowledge of jazz modes and theory to specialize in scat singing.

I have provided piano accompaniment for small-scale theater productions and taught group classes in Jazz and Popular Solo Voice. I have been the pianist and lead vocalist in several bands, playing and singing jazz and popular music across the country and abroad.

I have a BA in Liberal Arts with Music Emphasis from Cal. State East Bay, and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with a Special Authorization to Teach Music in grades K-8 from National University. As a classroom teacher for grades kindergarten through 3rd grade, I provided an arts-integrated curriculum, and taught several workshops for other classroom teachers on brain-based education and arts integration. As a certified Orff Schulwerk teacher, I piloted a two-year program for the Palo Alto school district teaching kindergarten classroom teachers how to integrate music and movement into the classroom curriculum. I wrote grants so that every kindergarten classroom would be equipped with xylophones, glockenspiels and hand-held percussion instruments. 

I began teaching in 1994 as a classroom teacher, first in Redwood City and then in the Palo Alto school district. I joined the P.A.U.S.D. music department in 2001, teaching grades K-4.  I took two years off to launch and direct Creative Expressions Preschool, a music, movement and art-based, Spanish Bilingual program for 2-5 year olds. I also directed the 6th Grade Honor Choir at J.L.S. Middle School. I am an early retiree, and I am thrilled to be focusing on private teaching again!

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

I have lowered my rates to help make lessons affordable this age of COVID, when so many people are struggling financially.  If we feel that I am a perfect fit for you, I can be more flexible.  Talk to me!

$60 for 1/2 hour (was $75)

$70 for 45 minutes (was $85)

$75 for 1 hour (was $90)

How did you get started teaching?

Read above


What types of students have you worked with?

Toddlers, children, tweens, teens, young adults, middle-aged adults, oder adults.  (Did I leave anything out?)


Describe a recent event you are fond of.

I loved playing the piano and singing in harmony with my daughter over the winter break!

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

Think of what type of music brings you joy.  When you go to listen to music, what over-takes you, draws you in, relaxes you or excites you?  Try to find a teacher who also connects with the kind of music you love.

Also, do you get a good "hit" from the teacher's written description of themself? Does something they have written make you smile or pique your interest? This might be a hint that you should give them a call.

When you interview them, do they put your mind at ease? Are they easy to talk to? Do they address all your questions honestly and thoughtfully? 

USE YOUR INTUITION! Does the person feel like the right teacher for you?  

Be sure to take two or three 'trial' lessons before making a final decision. Sometimes it takes a few weeks to get into a 'flow' with a new teacher.  

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

*What styles do you teach?  Which is/are your favorite(s)?

*How do you define 'success?' How do know if your student is progressing?

*What ages do you enjoy teaching?

*What type of practicing schedule do you recommend?

*What makes you stand out as a piano teacher?

*Does it seem like we would be a good musical match?