Brooke Kafka: Saxophone, Piano, & Vocals

Brooke Kafka: Saxophone, Piano, & Vocals

4.5 (2)
5 hires on
1 employee
16 years in business

About this pro

I have been playing piano for 22 years and saxophone for 16. I continued my passion as a Saxophone Performance Major at UMKC, studying under greats such as Bobby Watson and Tim Timmons, and have been sharing my knowledge with students since 2007. We will study music theory, fundamentals, as well as personal listening interests. I currently play in three different bands around the Kansas City area, all varying genres including alternative, classic rock, jam grass, classical, and jazz.  Music is an essential skill that creates lifelong friendships, talents, and knowledge!

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I love sharing my love and knowledge of music to others as well as continuing to grow in my own passion and talents. My musical pursuits have not only expanded my creativity, but my love for learning and connecting with other musicians. 

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Kansas City, MO 64152
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2 Reviews


  • Robert Thompson

    very nice, thoughtful, and patient. good teacher

  • Derrick Woolworth

    Brooke has a great knowledge of music theory, an excellent repertoire and a younger perspective of classical and jazz - we were only able to take a few lessons before my son became very busy with school, but while we had her, he learned to think about music more technically and it has benefited him a great deal.

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

I generally spend the first half of the first lesson getting to know one another.  I want to find out how much the student knows, how long they have been playing, what types of music or specific artists they are particularly interested in, and their personal goals for learning and playing.  The second half is spent talking about upcoming lesson plans and getting started: practice etiquette, technique, and theory introduction.  I generally spend half of the lesson on music theory, technique, and fundamentals, leaving the last half for assigned repretoire and the student's interests (learning their favorite pop song, transcribing, preferred repretoire, etc).  Each student is different; I plan my curriculum around each person's specific needs and wants, and explain new information in several approaches to ensure all of my students fully understand all aspects of music.

After the first lesson, I will organize a personalized curriculum with a common format.  The first 5-15 minutes are spent on scales and scale/key signature theory (depending on experience level of student).  For beginner students, the first month generally requires 20-25 minutes per lesson for fundamentals, technique, and theory.  This includes handouts, playing together, listening, etc.  Once a basic understanding of technique, reading music, scales, chords, and music fundamentals is achieved, the majority of the lesson is spent on songs.  I like to have at least 3 different assignments at a time.  This usually includes a song that challenges the student's technique as well as reading capabilities, a standard/well-known instrumental piece, and a song of the student's choice.

Theory education includes handouts/explanations, rhythm and counting exercises, and weekly homework: clapping and writing rhythms or counting, practicing writing music on staff paper with correct symbols and guides, and other exercises.  During ear training and transcription, the student will get to write their own music/chords/melodies through various styles.

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

I studied Saxophone Performance at UMKC from 2008-2012, playing in various groups including Wind Symphony, Jazz Orchestra, several different jazz combo groups, classical quartet, solo performances, and multiple jazz ensembles in the Kansas City metro area. I also became very proficient in ear training over the years, which gifted me with almost perfect pitch! I began teaching private lessons in 2007 as well as through a local music store for a period of time through college.  I continue to progress through teaching students and playing regularly throughout the Kansas City area and incorporating a wide range of genres: bluegrass, alternative, jam, motown, and singer-songwriter.  In the last year I began teaching myself accordion and now perform at monthly bluegrass gigs in Westport, as well as several yearly bluegrass festivals.  I also play full-time in Platinum Express: a 13-piece James Brown band. Rules I live by: always bring your axe, and never let fear stand in the way of progression!

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

I travel to the student, and charge $40/hour or $20-$25/half hour (depending on distance) for time/travel/gas.

With very young students up to age 6, a 30-minute lesson is common, but depends on their level of focus.  
Depending on personal needs, I recommend students age 6 and up to do a full one-hour lesson.  This allows plenty of time for warm up/theory/basics, so we can spend the rest of the time working on assigned materials where I can demonstrate and practice with them, helping them to remember more. I also print off all required materials so you don't have to!

How did you get started teaching?

I began helping my fellow classmates in high school, as I quickly found I effectively lead the section and was competent in communicating techniques and tips to improve sound, technique, articulation, and ensemble execution.  As my passion and skill grew, I found myself eager to share my knowledge with others and ignite their interest as much as I had for myself.  I have always had the ability to give concise and relateable explanations, and am always prepared to describe something in more than one way: and if you don't understand the topic, ASK ASK ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS!

What types of students have you worked with?

I have worked with all ages and experience levels of students, from age 4 to 56, beginners to advanced.  Music is a universal language and has no age limit.  The same fundamental practices are instilled in each student, even though the method in which I teach is personalized to each individual.

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

Earlier this year I had the joy of attending a Bela Fleck & The Flecktones concert at the Kauffman Performing Arts Center.  It was a challenge and a learning experience listening to this group, because they play in various uncommon and extremely difficult time signatures.  As I was listening, I would try and guess which time signature they were in or what they modulated to.  It was captivating and astounding to be sitting 5 rows away from some of the most talented musicians in the world!

At a recent gig I played, I performed some new songs I had been working on, as well as harmonized a very difficult song my bandmate and I had worked on only a few times.  There's nothing better than the feeling you get after performing, especially when you get as nervous as I do sometimes!  Playing in new situations, no matter how nervous or insecure I get, has taught me to always be proud of my music, as well as boosted my confidence and willingness to always try new things whole-heartedly and with a positive attitude, no matter what.

In August of 2017, I went to a music festival to volunteer and support some circus friends of mine, and ended up jamming and providing the music to their routines.  I made many friends that weekend, and connected with complete strangers with music!

Winfield Bluegrass Festival is one of my favorite events of the year.  Sept 2017 I not only watched some of the best musicians in the country, but learned, jammed, and shared my knowledge with countless talented individuals.  Typically at this festival, everyone plays bluegrass, right? Wrong! I took my tenor saxophone with me and played all sorts of great tunes all day, every day (even though I was one of the only non-string players).

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

The most important thing about finding the right teacher for you is feeling comfortable on a social level, as well as understanding what they are teaching you.  Communication is key to understanding theory technique, and finding your own personal understanding of the instrument and music.  While there are some parts of lessons that may seem boring or repetitive, every lesson should also be fun!  Think of things such as songs, genres, or activities such as transcribing or music history that really interest you, and make the effort to initiate part of your lesson plan.

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

If you don't understand something, say so right away!  There is never a stupid or weird question.  Ask as many questions as you need to so that you can fully understand what is being taught.  If you don't have a confident and solid knowledge of the basics of music, then it is hard to progress and can seem frustrating or uninteresting.  Sometimes a piece of information has to be explained more than one way, and I also like to play together slowly so that you hear the information as well as create muscle memory and ear training.  Learning things several different ways makes it easier to grasp and retain.
Practice between lessons is EXTREMELY important to grow and advance in lessons.  If the student cannot dedicate time to practice material in between lessons, then lesson time is taken the following week to do so.  Ask yourself if this is something you are willing to spend time on.  If so, then it is up to the student to practice and improve so that the next lesson only has to review what was practiced and advance to the next song/section/stage. Practicing daily also builds muscle memory, strength and endurance, and self-discipline.
Another thing to think about is personal goals and interests.  I want to know what interests you about learning to play/sing.  Interesting things are far easier to learn/practice than things I assign that have no interest to you at all.  I can teach everything you need to know to be proficient in any genre, but it's important to find what areas you are most passionate about.  These lessons are for the student to grow as an individual and learn valuable life skills.  The only thing I get out of teaching is building relationships and the overwhelming joy of passing down what I have been blessed to learn!
Students should also discuss family involvement.  I write everything down from each lesson in a notebook/folder each week, so parents can go over what was covered during the lesson, and the student can be reminded of songs and specific things to practice for the next lesson.  Sometimes it is fun and helpful to involve family members, such as making note name flash cards to study theory, having parents sign off on a practice schedule, or having the student teach the parents what they learned in their lesson each week. Practice performing in front of family and friends, as confidence and stage presence is another important skill.
For piano/keyboard players, if you do not own an instrument, you will want to discuss with me and/or parents about acquiring one.  There are several solutions, some expensive and some relatively attainable.  I have a keyboard with which I can travel to each lesson if necessary, but you will need an instrument to practice on your own.