Piano Faculty

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Akaylah Kothman Piano

Santa Clarita, CA | Studio, In-Home Lessons

Originally from North Carolina, Akaylah has resided in Santa Clarita for the past three years. She graduated from the Master’s University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Pedagogy and Traditional Worship, studying primarily under Lauren Mason. 

Akaylah started taking piano lessons at the age of five. She also studied guitar and voice, and grew up singing in youth and adult choirs. Akaylah has accompanied beginning to advanced instrumentalists in recitals, student evaluations, and collegiate concerts. Besides her senior recital, Akaylah has performed several concerts at both the Master’s University and in churches across the country.

Akaylah hopes to instill in her students a love for playing the piano and studying the lives of great composers. She believes that every student is unique and has different goals, and wants to help them accomplish those goals.

In her free time, you can probably find Akaylah with a great cup of coffee in one hand and a good book in the other. 

Olga Day Russian concert pianist

Olga Day Piano

Santa Clarita, CA | Studio, In-Home Lessons

Olga was trained in music in Russia, receiving Bachelors and Masters Degrees at the Musical College of Russia, and the Magadan Educational University, respectively. Before moving to the United States, Olga was a full-time piano teacher and an accompanist at music schools. She wrote an award winning series of articles giving a new, progressive method of teaching piano.  Olga has also been active in educating other piano teachers. Her students participate in piano competitions, festivals, and other events, including the MTAC Certificate of Merit.

Many of her students have graduated at the top of their class and have gone on to become professional musicians and piano teachers themselves. 

Olga combines traditional, progressive, and her own methods in her teaching, using classical pieces, jazz, folk songs, and standard exercises. With more than 30 years of experience, she has become an effective teacher for all ages and ability levels.  She believes,  "Learning piano should not be boring!"

Olga has been an active performer throughout her musical career -- as soloist, as accompanist, in Russia and the San Francisco Bay Area.  She now lives in Stevenson Ranch, CA with her husband, also a musician (singer). 

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Evan Grahek Piano

Santa Clarita, CA | Studio, In-Home Lessons

Evan Grahek started playing the piano at the age of twelve. He developed a passion for performing, and by seventeen he was performing some of the most difficult repertoire written for the piano.  He has performed in master classes for such names as Sam Rotman, Robert Ward, Professor Adam Wibrowski, and Dr. Robert Lehrbaumer. Evan has performed in international festivals and venues in locations including Russian, Austria, Albania, Croatia, Israel, Italy, Canada, and many states in the U.S. He is currently finishing his Bachelors Degree in Piano Performance at the Master’s University.

Besides Evan’s passion for performance, he loves teaching and understands the joy that comes to students when they can make music at a high level and share that music with others. More importantly to him, however, is that his students develop a passion for music that they can enjoy for the rest of their lives. He tailors music lessons to fit both the students' goals and his goals for the student. 

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Lippincott Piano, Voice

Santa Clarita, CA | Studio, In-Home Lessons

When Ayla began learning piano at the age of 7, she had already long discovered her love for singing and music in general. It is her genuine hope that every child will have that same love for music in some way.

Ayla Lippincott received her Bachelor’s of Music degree with an emphasis in Composition from The Master’s University in 2014. In her time at Master’s, Ayla enjoyed performing as a mallet percussionist in the Wind Ensemble, and she participated in “Opera Scenes” performances all four years. Her favorite role was “Zita” in Gianni

Schicchi. For fun, she studied piano under Dr. Katherine Kelly, she studied voice under Dr. Kimberlyn Jones, and also performed in the Master’s Chorale under Dr. Plew. She studied composition under Professor Sarah Wallin- Huff, and her favorite performance ever is her senior composition recital. Upon graduating, Ayla received the “Musician of the Year” award from the music department. Since, she has

arranged an entire musical score (small ensemble) for an original musical review.

One fun fact about Ayla is that she also competed for TMU’s Track & Field team. She qualified for the NAIA National Track meet three years in a row, and Received All-American honors her Junior year for placing 7th nationally in the 400m low hurdles. She also loves ice cream.

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Kate Bode Piano

La Mirada, Fullerton, La Habra, Buena Park, Cerritos, Downy, Whittier, and surrounding area | In-Home Lessons

Kate is passionate about not only performing but also infusing her love of music into her students. Beginning lessons at age four, she entered the competitive scene at age 11 and her accelerated success brought her name to the public music scene in the Washington, D.C. area. For three years she was the principal pianist for the National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute and Youth Fellowship Programs in Washington, D.C.  She has performed numerous times at the Kennedy Center and also for the National Symphony Trustees (by invitation) at the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C.  She was a national finalist for the MTNA Piano Duet Competition (Las Vegas), a Guest Artist at George Mason University, Guest Keyboardist for the Patrick Henry College Orchestra, and has won many awards including the first place state winner for the James Bland Music Competition in Virginia. She is currently a sophomore at Biola University on a full music and academic scholarship.  

Kate has taught piano lessons for 4 years.  She focuses on teaching excellent technique and beautiful musical expression and she presents her students with repertoire that will not only improve their pianistic abilities but she also takes their personalities into account and selects music that they will enjoy learning and perfecting.  

Some of her recordings include:



“Kate Bode is a wonderfully sensitive and enthusiastic chamber musician who rigorously strives for the highest level of musical excellence. Her recent performances of Brahms, Mendelssohn and Hindemith were compelling for their emotional sensitivity, technical brilliance, beauty of tone and imaginative collaborative empathy. She has the passion, patience, discipline and joy to rehearse chamber works to the highest level. Her chamber performances each semester are inspiring musical high points for our conservatory.”
Marlin Owen, Head of Strings Department / Conductor of Biola Symphony & Opera Orchestras

C. Bray: “My daughter loved her piano lessons with Kate! Her enthusiasm was contagious and she sparked a love for music and the piano in my daughter. Kate always made sure to expose my daughter to a wide variety of composers from different time periods as well as introduce her to music theory. We are so grateful for Kate!!!”

Special Needs Piano Teacher Patricia Wadjaja

Patricia Widjaja Piano

La Mirada, Fullerton, La Habra, Buena Park, Cerritos, Downy, Whittier, and surrounding area | In-Home Lessons | In-Home Lessons

Patricia Widjaja is currently a piano performance major at BIOLA University, where she studies under Professor Manami Kawamura, a former student of the renowned pianist Menahem Pressler. There, she also participated in masterclasses with distinguished pianists Dr. Sandra Wright Shen, Dr. Asaf Zohar, Norman Lee, and Dr. Jooeun Park.  Now a college senior, Patricia plans to graduate in December 2017. 

Although she is passionate in performing, Patricia also values the significant role of good piano pedagogy. She loves to help students attain a higher level of music appreciation through her love of teaching. Beginning in high school, her passion to teach music had allowed her to experience teaching students from different backgrounds and different needs; which includes (but are not limited to) students in Indonesia, alongside students with special needs and hearing impairment. Her teaching experience ranges from teaching group ensemble for children to private piano lessons. 

Patricia understands that everyone learns differently, and therefore strives to tailor her teaching to help each student's needs. She also is a firm believer that learning piano should be fun and enjoyable. Both visions combined, Patricia prioritizes good technique and musical artistry, as well as providing a positive and supportive learning environment for her students. 

Spurgeon Rice Burbank and Glendale

Spurgeon Rice Piano

Santa Clarita, Burbank/Glendale | In-Home Lessons

Spurgeon Rice travels to homes to teach in the Santa Clarita Valley and Burbank/Glendale. He values connecting with students on a one to one basis and engaging with them in the process of learning music. He seeks to find a way to teach them about music by going over the technical approach but at the same time encouraging their own path for musical expression.

Spurgeon started in Piano at the age of fifteen and studied privately for three years with Adam Bendorf. After getting a BA degree in Liberal Studies at Thomas Edison State University, he began to study with Dr. Robert Ward at California State University, Los Angeles. He is currently in the Master of Music program for Piano Performance there. Spurgeon was a finalist in the 2014 Southern California Junior Bach Festival, and he was selected to perform in Europe at the 1st International Piano Week.

Tiffany Gibb, flute & piano instructor in Santa Clarita, CA

Tiffany Arnone Piano, Flute

Santa Clarita, CA | In-Home Lessons

Since the age of 5, Tiffany has exhibited a passion for making music.  She began teaching piano and flute in high school, and loves passing on her passion to the next generation of music makers.  Tiffany has her degree in Music Education from The Master’s University, specializing in flute studies.  Throughout the recent years, she has enjoyed traveling as the pianist for two ensembles nationally and internationally, including France, Switzerland, Israel, and Croatia.  She also has enjoyed playing the flute in wind ensemble, jazz ensembles, as well as solo performances and orchestra—her absolute favorite.  Tiffany loves helping others bring music appreciation to the next level by teaching them to make music themselves.  

Jenny Thomas Piano, Voice

Reseda, Santa Clarita, CA | In-Home Lessons

Jenny grew up in a family of musicians and has been singing and playing piano for most of her life. She began taking piano lessons at age six and by age fifteen was working as a church musician accompanying the choir and playing for Sunday services.  She spent much of her childhood in local stage productions, including The Nutcracker, and also sang in a cabaret-style group called the East Side, West Side Revue.  She performed in a number of classic productions such as AnnieThe Sound of MusicSnoopy, and The Music Man, playing the role of Marion the Librarian.  Jenny received a Bachelor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance at the University of Michigan where she took part in Opera Workshops, a production of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute”, and had lead roles in a number of Gilbert and Sullivan productions.  In 2004 she recorded a vocal CD of new hymn arrangements.  In recent years, Jenny has been involved in a wide variety of church music ministries, both in the United States and internationally, where she has sung, accompanied choral groups, and organized concerts. 

Jenny has taught piano and voice for over 18 years.  As a vocal coach, she has prepared students for auditions and performances, honing their skills by helping them understand the human vocal instrument and how to increase its potential through proper breathing and vocal exercise.  Jenny has taught piano to children of all ages and at all levels and especially enjoys working with beginners, both young and old, introducing them to the joy of music.  Being a mother to four children, she understands that everyone is wired differently and therefore learns differently.  She enjoys working with each student individually to maximize their potential and to motivate them to keep growing as a musician.  She is very grateful for the gift of music given her by her parents and others throughout her life, and she finds great pleasure in passing that gift on to others.

Jenny has been happily married to her husband Jeff for over 18 years. They’ve lived in Portugal and Ireland and have a love for travel, ethnic foods, and other cultures.

Brianna Marra | Piano

Antelope Valley, Santa Clarita, CA | In-Home Lessons

Brianna Marra teaches piano lessons in her students' homes in Santa Clarita area, Antelope Valley area, and in her Palmdale home studio.  She recognizes the need to be flexible to meet students' different learning styles and she loves motivating her students through repertoire that interests them and challenges them to be better musicians.

Brianna received her Bachelor's of Music degree in Piano Performance with an emphasis in Pedagogy from The Master's College in 2014. While in school, Brianna received a scholarship for piano and studied under Dr. Katherine Kelly and Dr. Ken Mays. She also performed in The Master's College Piano Extravaganza duet concert and the piano duets at The Master's College Come Christmas Sing show.

Brianna has enjoyed studying the piano since the age of nine and began teaching piano during high school. Brianna now enjoys serving in the music ministry at her church through playing on the worship team and directing the children's choir. She also loves being with her family and reading a good book. 

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Madelyn Smith | Piano

Santa Clarita, CA | In-Home Lessons

Madelyn Smith lives in Newhall, CA, and is currently a high school senior taking classes at L.A. Mission college. She hopes to graduate with her AA within the next year, and enroll at Master’s University as a Music and Communications major. Madelyn has twice been a finalist in the Southern California Junior Bach Festival competition, and she has been invited to perform for the CAPMT Southern Festival. She also completed the CAPMT Level 10 Student Evaluations Exam (the top level) in which she demonstrated complete mastery of theory, ear training, technique, and repertoire. 

Madelyn loves her seven ducks, p-jays, coffee, ice-skating, friends and family, and reading the Bible. She often plays with her youth band, and enjoys experimenting with many different instruments including guitar, ukulele, and singing.  

Jeremy Smith piano teacher newhall, CA

Jeremy Smith | Piano

Santa Clarita, CA | In-Home Lessons

Jeremy Smith, Jr. (no relation to Madelyn, above) is currently a piano performance major at The Master's University, where he is scholarship student for both academics and music. Musical highlights for Jeremy include being twice invited as a performer in the CAPMT Southern Festival for high achievers in the Piano Auditions program, and being selected as a third-round finalist in the 2015 Southern California Junior Bach Festival. 

Jeremy may be busy with music and school, but he can always carve out time to watch his beloved Seattle Seahawks. 

Charlotte Bendorf | Piano 

Harvard, IL | Studio, Digital Lessons

Charlotte Bendorf began teaching piano lessons when she was 16. Since then teaching music has been her ongoing passion.  She earned a B.A. in Piano Pedagogy from Northeastern Illinois University (magna cum laude), where she was the recipient of the school's Scholarship for Pianists.  There she studied under concert pianist Mikhail Yanovitsky and renowned piano pedagogy pioneer, Elise Mach.  

Charlotte is a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, the National Guild of Piano Teachers, Music Teachers National Association and the Illinois Music Teachers Association.  

She has more than thirty five years of experience as a private piano instructor. Her students range from early beginner through advanced, and she has prepared students for competitions at all levels. She has been a judge for National Guild of Piano Teachers, Wisconsin Music Teachers Association, and American Guild of Musicians. She has been a piano workshop clinician at Rockford College, and for Illinois Association of Christian Schools.

Live FaceTime piano lessons are simple! All you need is a piano, any internet-capable device (computer, tablet, phone), and a desire to learn.  FaceTime is easy to use and doesn't require any specialized equipment.  Charlotte is an experienced FaceTime piano teacher and will walk you through the live online lesson process.