West Seattle Music Teachers

All of the teachers at Mode Music Studios are working musicians getting paid to write, perform and record. Our teachers also have a passion for what they do. We feel fortunate to be able to pass that down to the younger generation and get them excited to play music in the same way we have been throughout our careers. All Mode teachers have passed a Washington State background check.
Erin Rubin, Founder and Owner (she/her) - West Seattle/Vashon
Piano - Guitar - Ukulele - Voice

Erin has been playing music since the age of four. At twelve, she was on stage with the local working musicians at The Scarlet Tree every Tuesday night. She has written music for and performed with many Seattle bands including: Wesafari, The Exploding High-Fives, People Eating People, and “Nouela.” Erin has worked as a hired studio musician since the age of 17 in Bellingham, Seattle and Los Angeles. Erin found her calling as a teacher in her early twenties and dedicated over three years at Westside Music Academy. She believes a healthy balance of technique, theory and arranging songs the child loves is the fast track to any student’s success in music lessons.

Erin started teaching music lessons out of her home in 2010. She opened Erin Rubin Piano Studios and then made the leap to owning her own music school, when she opened Mode Music Studios in 2014. She is not only passionate about music education, but strives to create an accepting and inviting environment for all of the students and teachers who come to Mode. Erin also started the non-profit Mode Music and Performing Arts with the goal to reach kids who may not have access to quality music and performance instruction.

Daisy Sky (she/her) - West Seattle
Cello - Voice - Violin - Viola - Piano - Ukulele - Songwriting

Daisy Sky grew up immersed in music. Her father, George Shangrow, was a prominent figure in Seattle’s classical music scene and there were always rehearsals, auditions, and post-concert parties happening in her home. Her mother, Julie Reed, is an active cellist and singer, so Daisy Sky was enveloped in the vibrations of cello and voice before she was even born. Daisy Sky started on violin and piano before she even started kindergarten, but realized within a couple of years that she was truly born to play the cello. She studied privately with Mara Finkelstein for nearly ten years, and she played in the Seattle Youth Symphony, Young Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Seattle, and in several school orchestras and chamber ensembles growing up.

After a series of mental and physical injuries that she incurred through competitive classical playing, Daisy Sky shifted her attention to the healing potential of playing music, which is a primary focus in her teaching. Daisy Sky received her BA in Psychology from The Evergreen State College and she applies her learning to create an environment for students that is developmentally appropriate and nurtures continual growth. Daisy Sky is committed to teaching students to play their instruments in a way that supports positive mental and physical health as well as greater mindfulness, self-expression, emotional intelligence, and confidence! Daisy Sky is passionate about using music as a tool for empowerment with her students of all ages, and brings an encouraging, uplifting attitude into the lesson room.

Daisy Sky also is an avid singer and songwriter! She has led sections in Northwest Girlchoir and the Amherst College Choir, and was a singer in the Seattle Chamber Singers and various church and school choirs. From a young age, she studied music theory, ear training, music history, performance, and creative expression at the Seattle Conservatory of Music. Since 2019, Daisy Sky has been singing and playing cello with Wolfchild, a Seattle-based indie band. She hopes to support her students in developing a foundation to fully express their creativity in any style of music they want to play.

Ricky Claudon (he/him) - West Seattle
Piano - Guitar - Ukulele - Bass Guitar

Ricky brings together his background as a tutor and paraeducator with his lifetime experience in music for an individualized approach to music education that focuses on memory, fluency, and music appreciation. As a working musician he has spent time developing his skill by adapting and learning a variety of styles on piano and guitar.

In piano, he specializes in theory, memorization, performance, and improvisation, has a deep knowledge of classical style and teaches popular Baroque and Romantic repertoire. Ricky also teaches Blues, R&B, and Rock & Roll styles, and in general encourages his students to explore a diverse range of music.

In guitar/uke/bass, Ricky enjoys teaching finger picking style, improvisation, and basic theory. He also teaches students who want to learn to sing+play, and write their own music. He specializes in combining rhythmic and lyrical styles and teaches techniques on how to effectively memorize lyrics and changes in songs.

Dick Cady (he/him) - West Seattle

In 1978 Dick Cady attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, in the 2-year diploma program for writing and arranging. On returning to Seattle in the mid 80's, he studied with the storied jazz piano teacher Jerome Grey for 3 years. Since the late 90's he has attended many of the Golandsky Institute summer seminars, first at Williams College and later at Princeton, and studied with many of the staff including John Bloomfield and Kendall Feeney. In 2004 he began studying with Charlie Banacos for several years.

He was a regular on the Seattle music scene for many years doing club dates with his own group and many other instrumentalists and singers including Ernestine Anderson and Pete Seeger. He was the music director for the Orion Street Youth Theater. Dick has been providing instruction steadily for over 25 years to all ages and levels.

Natasha Lumba (she/her) - West Seattle

Natasha started playing piano at age 4, before getting a scholarship at age 8 to the French-American Conservatory of Music. There she studied classical piano for 10 years, performing at many prestigious venues across New York such as Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall, Weill Recital Hall, The Colony Club & The Ukrainian Institute of America, to name a few. Her classical training was very structured, but she was always a rock & punk musician at heart. While attending college in LA, she picked up guitar, and started playing in bands.

Functioning primarily as a lead vocalist & keyboardist, she has performed in bands in Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Seattle. Currently, Natasha plays keyboard and synth for local Seattle band, Razor Clam ‒ a 5 piece femme band, described as "goth glam" and "mermaid dream punk" whose ethos strives to increase inclusion and representation for women and marginalized communities in a male-dominated music industry.

Natasha uses both her childhood background in a rigorous musical setting, and her experiences in adulthood as a performer to inform her teaching style. She aims to marry the necessary musical skills and knowledge with the freedom of expression that is not always present in classical schooling. Most importantly, she wants to foster a love of music in her students, and empower them to create. But she also wants them to practice. A lot.

Brandon Bermudez (he/him) - West Seattle
Drums - Music Production - Bass Guitar - Ukulele - Piano - Guitar

Brandon has been a working musician, producer, and engineer in the Seattle/Tacoma area for the past decade. He regularly plays in and around the Seattle area and sometimes tours in other countries. Brandon frequently collaborates with many professional musicians in the area. Recently, he's played bass with prog-rock band Bone Cave Ballet and alt-rock band Starry-Eyed Samurai, and drums with both new-wavers Trick Candles and pop-fusion band Nitrogen Lion Society.

Brandon believes that consistency, versatility, and attitude are the traits that make great musicians. With his interactive-guidance teaching approach, the student controls the pacing of each lesson, which alleviates classroom anxiety and helps the lesson material become more comprehensible. With a heavy emphasis on creativity and technique, Brandon will improve the understanding of rhythm and the ability to perform in many styles of music by sharing from his 20+ years of composition and performance experience.

Lucas Van Linden (he/him) - Online Only
Piano - Voice - Guitar - Ukulele - Violin

After being asked to sing with a contemporary music ensemble at church, an 8-year-old Lucas learned the thrill of performing. His first ventures into music were mostly at other churches, where he gained the confidence he needed to audition for community musical theater. Known for his singing ability, he won roles in a variety of productions and joined the Repertoire Touring Company, a musical theater troupe that performed for local schools. After many years of performing in musicals and with his school's choral ensembles, he began writing his own songs, eventually performing them for local talent shows and showcases.

Lucas graduated from DePaul University in Chicago with a B.M. in Vocal Performance. This degree program included four years of classical voice training as well as music theory, music history, ear training, piano study, and music composition. Out of undergrad, he continued to sing classically, eventually coming back to songwriting. A new addition to the Seattle music scene, he has been frequenting open mics and finding opportunities to perform his music while also teaching here at Mode. He has years of experience teaching beginner to advanced voice students of all ages, and has developed his skills with teaching beginner to intermediate piano students.

James Squires (he/him) - West Seattle
Drums - Piano - Audio Production - Songwriting

James has been playing music since the age of six, starting with the piano. A Seattle local, he participated in the renowned Garfield High School Jazz Ensemble and continued to study music privately. James attended Berkeley School of Music and studied drum performance. He plays locally with Maiah Manser (a favorite Mode Music alum), blues-rock band C-Leb & The Kettle Black, psych-rock band Supermother and local country acts. James also has been working as a producer and engineer for the last five years and teaches production using Ableton Live and other programs.

Brian Spenser (he/him) - West Seattle
Guitar - Ukulele - Drums

Brian is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter who grew up in Seattle. He has been playing drums since he was 8, and learned from legends including Michael Shrieve and Jerry Garcia. He has been touring for a dozen years with bands including Isenordal, Impulse Noise, Endorphins Lost, Wilt, and Asymmetric Warfare, among others. Brian volunteers at local all-ages DIY venues, and loves encouraging and empowering young people to build their own joy, freedom, and culture through the egalitarian DIY approach that has always been so important to him. He is fun-loving, non-judgmental, and has worked with students from the ages of 4 to 64.

A lesson with Brian usually focuses on a song (or some parts of it) that the student has identified or expressed interest in. Brian loves the opportunity to help students connect not only with what an artist played, but also the music theory and culture that informs how and why they played it that way. During lessons, he often makes quick observations about the theoretical structure or cultural tradition of the song so his students are able to naturally pick up important music theory concepts from multiple different examples without feeling lectured. Brian has great success relating to and working with students who have attention disorders or learning disabilities.

Brian has a broad taste in music ‒ he likes everything from Brutal Deathgrind to Funeral Doom. Sometimes he even listens to music that isn't some obscure subgenre of heavy metal! Actually, Brian loves all kinds of music and is happy and able to dive into any style students are interested in. Some of his favorite styles include post-punk, black metal, '70s jazz fusion/prog, and modern opera.

Josh Russell (they/them) - West Seattle
Drums - Ukulele - Piano - Bass Guitar - Guitar - Flute - Trumpet

A Southern California native, Joshua Russell is a multi-instrumentalist, session drummer, and songwriter. Having started on piano at the age of 3, Josh has a firm and structured musical history background. During their primary education years, they learned the trumpet and flute and then decided to ardently dive into percussion. In their Junior year of high school, they earned a 3rd Place SCSBOA championship with the Lancaster High School Marching Band as well as taking fourth in Percussion overall, despite having no instructor at the time. Continuing with instruction from Tony Capko's School of Drumming and session artist Noah Hecht, Josh began instructing professionally in 2015 and began formally teaching in 2017 out of Mel Booker Music. In 2018, Josh began frequenting and playing music in Washington state, eventually moving to Seattle the following year to further their musical endeavors. Josh has been performing in live concerts and shows for over 10 years.

Pursuing art and music during their youth brought forth plenty of creative ventures and outlets, including planning live shows and concerts, theatrical productions, as well as record engineering and production. Josh has experience teaching students with symptoms of autism and attention deficit disorder and other neurodiverse populations. They emphasize patience and self-confidence during lesson time. Joshua is a Type 1 Diabetic and firmly believes that playing instruments is a healthy source of physical and mental exercise.

Craig Suede (he/him) - West Seattle
Guitar - Voice - Ukulele - Piano

Craig is transplant from San Diego where he played music for a living in casinos, bars and restaurants between tours, travel, and shows. He got his musical start singing in various audition choirs, competing in vocal competitions, and performing in musical theater. He started playing guitar in 8th grade and that began shaping his future path of songwriting and singing/playing guitar in a variety of bands. He currently fronts and tours with the indie rock band Happy Heartbreak, sings harmonies and plays lead guitar for local pop-soul/ R&B singer Young-Chhaylee, and plays lead guitar and performs harmonies/alt-voicings for emo-revival/post-hardcore band, Dearheart.

After several years of running education programs for students and teachers around the World, Craig has decided to settle in Seattle and re-focus his efforts on music and its local educational impact. He bases his teaching strategies in brain-based learning and finding simple connections between music theory and the joy of playing music. The ability to connect and express through music increases confidence and critical thinking. Strengthening these skills can also increase retention of information in other areas and improve quality of living. Music and learning should both be joyful experiences that encourage us to continue moving forward to connect, create and share.

Nick Mendonsa (he/him) - West Seattle
Guitar - Bass Guitar - Piano

Nick Mendonsa (stage name: Nick Nihil) has been playing, writing, and performing for over 25 years, most recently with cinematic art-pop band Hotels, the Prince tribute band Purple Mane, classic soul band The Highsteppers, as well as producing electronic dream pop project Julie Dune and releasing his own material. He also studied jazz and composition and has a deep history with shred and metal. An electric guitarist through and through, an unashamed gearhead, a lover of angular rhythms and melodies, unorthodox sounds and techniques, and the marriage of rigidly regimented funk with hair-raising sonic anarchy and improvisation. Through intimate knowledge of the fretboard, harmony, rhythm, and tone, with focus on arrangement and musicality, Nick will foster creativity by helping the student to learn all the rules and then break them.

Natalie Colvin (she/her) - West Seattle
Voice - Piano - Ukulele

Natalie is a Pacific Northwest Native who honed her crafts at Central Washington University where she earned her BFA in Musical Theatre. Natalie has also studied with The Actor's Movement Studio Conservatory in New York City.

Natalie has performed in award-winning theatres across the country, most notably, Village Theatre and Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre. More recently, she embarked on AIDA Cruises (Carnival), a German cruise line, where she performed 10 various shows, (some of which were in German and Italian) all over the world for 7 months. Natalie has also gone on tour in Bulgaria and Italy with Varna International in the iconic opera: Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute).

Natalie most recently released two original singles on all streaming platforms and is excited to help students with their own compositions if they have an interest in composing! Natalie learned to play the piano from her mother at a very young age and has taught and been around education for most of her life. Natalie’s teaching style is warm and inviting and allows for vulnerability. She is passionate about making a safe space for growth and development. “Let’s make mistakes and make it big! Sometimes there’s nothing scarier than baring your soul, but we can build a space together to create safety; that is my top priority for my students.”

Mischa Yolleck (he/him) - West Seattle
Classical Guitar

Mischa Yolleck is a classical guitarist originally from Montclair, New Jersey. Having grown up in a musical family, he began cello lessons at the age of 6 years old. He began his classical guitar studies under the tutelage of Brett Grigsby at Skidmore College, where he participated in masterclasses with Dale Kavanaugh, the Brazilian Guitar Duo, and the Brazilian Guitar Quartet. While studying abroad in Valparaíso, Chile, he continued his studies under esteemed performer and pedagogue, Esteban Espinoza. Throughout his undergrad education, Mischa performed as a chamber musician and soloist, which, in 2017, culminated in a Senior Recital program consisting of Bach, Roland Dyens, Manuel de Falla, Manuel Ponce, Andrew York, Juan Antonio Sánchez, and Augustín Barrios. Upon finishing his undergrad, he served in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic, where he continued his music studies with Rubén González Avila, professor of the National Conservatory of the Dominican Republic. While in the Dominican Republic, he was invited to perform in the International Guitar Festival of the Dominican Republic, and subsequently participated in masterclasses with Jorge Luis Zamora, Andrew Zohn, and Congyi Zhang. He continues his studies with Mark Delpriora, faculty at Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music. He has since taught in class settings and private lessons.

Kevin Slota (he/him) - Online Only
Trumpet - Trombone - Flute - Clarinet

Kevin has been teaching at Mode Music Studios since 2014. He teaches trumpet to all levels as well as beginning trombone, clarinet, and flute. In addition to teaching at Mode, he also works with the non-profit Michael J. Owen Music Education Fund coaching band students at several Title 1 schools in the Seattle Public School district.

Since trumpet can naturally elevate almost any style of music, Kevin actively seeks out the most diverse performance opportunities trumpet can offer. He plays principal trumpet with the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra with additional orchestral performances including Sammamish Symphony Orchestra, Thalia Symphony Orchestra, Puget Sound Symphony Orchestra, and the Seattle Rock Orchestra, who he performed with at the Sasquatch Music Festival, Capitol Hill Block Party, and Summer Meltdown, as well as several other summer festivals, large local venues, and a special performance with Devotchka at The Moore.

He has performed musical theatre shows with Studio East, Driftwood Players, and Twelfth Night Productions. He also plays solo trumpet in the non-profit Geetanjali Tamil Band/Orchestra, performing many Bollywood soundtrack favorites to raise money for education in India.

Kevin has performed and/or recorded with several Seattle based bands including Vicious Petals, Knathan Ryan, Emily McViker, Okham’s Razor, Family Worship Center, Seattle Rock Orchestra Street Band, Twilight Motel, Wind Up Bird, Kithkin, Ravenna Woods, and Exohxo. He has participated in events for Musicares, Artist Home, and the annual Tom Waits tribute at Conor Byrne Pub. Kevin also performs yearly for Easter, Pentecost, and Christmas services at various churches in the Seattle area. He also offers brass and orchestral arranging services for any style of music.

Matt Moore (he/him) - Online Only
Saxophones - Clarinet - Flute - Guitar - Bass Guitar - Ukulele - Piano - Drums

Matt Moore is from Austin, Texas. He picked up guitar at the age of 7. In middle school, he began with the saxophone. During high school, he learned piano and drums. Through college, he learned to play the clarinet and flute as well as perfected the rest of the instruments he teaches. Matt graduated cum laude from the University of North Texas at the Music School with a B.M. in Jazz Studies. From then, he has performed in many professional bands and formed his own groups, such as Nowsterday. Matt has a vast amount of experience in all the instruments he teaches.

Matt likes to combine what the students want to learn with his knowledge of that particular style of music. He likes to integrate music theory lessons as well as teaching to read and write music. Most importantly, he wants his students to have fun during lessons and gain a deep love for music and their instrument.

Kevin Murphy (he/him) - West Seattle
Guitar - Ukulele - Songwriting

Kevin Murphy picked up the guitar when he was 10 years old. At the age of 14, he formed his first band and performed around Seattle opening for established local bands, including Mudhoney. In 2006, Kevin formed the rock/folk band The Moondoggies which led to 4 full length albums on Sub Pop subsidiary Hardly Art. The Moondoggies have toured and performed alongside bands such as The Lumineers, The Cave Singers, The Head and The Heart, Blitzen Trapper and Dawes. Kevin has also shared the stage with legendary artists Robbie Robertson, CSNY, Brandi Carlile, Dave Mathews, and more.

Kevin’s teaching philosophy is based on learning the instrument in a fun, creative and personalized way connecting to each individual student and their own mode of expression. He believes there are songs to be learned and songs to be written. Kevin’s goal is to ignite a fire in one’s self expression and a confidence in playing that will remain with them during their whole life, whether it’s onstage or in their living room. He feels music is incredibly valuable to communicate the feelings we can’t always put into words and that it has the ability to rewire our brains for the better, especially in the minds of young students. Kevin is the father to two wonderful young girls, Sonnie and Zuma.

Gianni Aiello (he/him) - West Seattle
Bass - Guitar - Piano - Drums - Ukulele

Gianni Aiello is a Burien born multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and performer. He is driven by a strong musical curiosity which has taken him from learning Beatles tunes on the piano as a child to touring across the country in his rock band Naked Giants. In addition to his bass work with Naked Giants, he has played guitar and piano with Car Seat Headrest on such stages as Madison Square Garden, the Tonight Show, and Primavera Sound in Barcelona, and he also plays drums in the Seattle-based band Pablo’s Legs.

The desire to be a lifelong student of music keeps Gianni reaching for the next steps, and he believes that same desire can be found in anyone. His lessons focus on exploring what excites each student about music - whether it’s personal expression through songwriting, intellectual development through theory and analysis, or just the sheer fun of jamming! While basic techniques are fundamental to any field, Gianni seeks to create a low-pressure learning environment where a student’s progress is determined not by their technical skill but by their enthusiasm for music.

Kate Olson (she/her), (they/them) - West Seattle
Saxophone - Flute - Clarinet

Kate Olson is an improvising saxophonist and music educator based in Seattle, WA. Since moving to Seattle in 2010, she has done her best to infiltrate the local, regional and international improvised music scenes. She can be heard performing with her own projects KO SOLO and KO ELECTRIC, and as a collaborator with the Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble and Electric Circus (led by Wayne Horvitz), the Seattle Jazz Composer's Ensemble, 13 piece funk/afrobeat band Battlestar Kalakala, and with such Seattle staples as the Seattle Men's and Women's Choruses, cabaret producers CanCan Presents, and Verlaine & McCann. She has appeared on stage at Act Theater, Book-It Theater, and Seattle Repertory Theater, and has been a regular performer at the Earshot Jazz Festival. Kate has a BA in Music (Jazz Emphasis) from the University of Wyoming and an MM in Improvisation from the University of Michigan.

Kate’s international resume continues to grow, including performances in Russia, Latvia, Turkey, Switzerland, South Korea, Cuba, and Slovakia. She has appeared on stage with Terry Riley, Stuart Dempster, Pauline Oliveros, Allison Miller, Bobby Previte, Skerik, Patricia Barber and pop music icons Elvis Costello, Brandi Carlile, Sir Mix-a-lot, Matt Cameron, and Big Star's Third (featuring members of REM, the Posies, and Nada Surf) among others. Kate was nominated in 2011 and 2013 for the Earshot Golden Ear Award in the Emerging Artist category, and in 2014, 2016, and 2020, she was nominated for the Best NW Instrumentalist Category, and in 2016 her band KO Ensemble was also nominated as best NW Alternative Group, and won the award for NW Acoustic Ensemble for 2019.

Emily Jensenius (they/them) - Online Only
Viola - Violin - Piano - Ukulele

Emily Jensenius was born in Issaquah, WA, into a family of music lovers that includes several pianists, an opera singer, and a zither player. As a teen, Emily played viola in the Seattle Youth Symphony and also performed on Classic King FM radio with their string quartet. Emily went on to study viola performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Rice University, and Florida State University. Their major teachers were Jeffrey Irvine and Lynne Ramsey, James Dunham, and Pamela Ryan. At FSU, Emily received assistantships to coach viola and chamber music, as well as to play with the College of Music's Eppes String Quartet, which collaborated with student composers on new works. The Eppes was coached by cellist Greg Sauer and mentored by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.

As an orchestral musician in Florida, Emily played with many professional ensembles, including the Tallahassee Symphony, the Columbus Symphony, Sinfonia Gulf Coast, and the Albany Symphony. After graduation Emily was fortunate to live in Oxford, England, for a few years, where they taught privately and performed as a member of the Oxford Chamber Orchestra and the Oxford Sinfonia. Emily currently lives near Washington, D.C., and teaches for Mode online.

Emily encourages students to be self-directed, and will follow each player's musical interests while also fostering healthy technique and critical listening skills. A lesson with Emily will typically focus on physical setup, pitch and rhythmic awareness, style and phrasing, and strategies for efficient practice. Emily's goal is for every student to enjoy being a musician and to feel increased self-confidence as they improve. Some of Emily's other interests are distance running, watching video essays, listening to oldies, folk, or pop music, and baking pies.

Tylo Gardner (she/her) - West Seattle
Voice - Guitar

Music has always held a special place in Tylo’s heart. Some of her earliest memories are singing all the wrong lyrics to classic rock songs that her dad would play in the car. She has been singing since she was able to speak, but only started performing and seriously considered music to be her long-term career since graduating high school. The moment she played a show with her first band was the moment being a musician was solidified in both her head and her heart. She now attends Cornish College of the Arts, where she studies music with a focus on composition, and is set to graduate in the spring of 2021. Cornish is also where Tylo honed her love for playing guitar. She has been in several bands since high school, but now considers her Seattle heavy rock band “Dogpatch” to be her main focus of interest. They bring a heavy, dark, and energetic vibe to every venue they play. She also has a solo project by her own first name that is more experimental and calm than the music that she writes for her rock band. Tylo’s favorite type of music is most genres of rock, but she listens to just about anything! She plays guitar, sings, and would consider writing music to be her strongest point of interest, with lyrics being the most fun to work on.

Tylo likes to have fun creating, listening to, and playing any type of music, with any type of person! She believes if you’re not having fun making music, you’re doing something wrong. Musicians should support and lift each other up, and Tylo hopes to do just that for any person she teaches, performs with or encounters during her musical journey.

Nimm Lefcourt (they/them) - West Seattle
Voice - Piano

Nimm Lefcourt is a classically trained vocalist who has been singing and training for 13 years. They graduated with a Bachelor's of Music in May 2021, and have experience singing various kinds of music. Half of their BA was done through the lens of musical theatre, where they performed in various musicals and recitals, and the other half of their BA was done with a focus in opera and modern classical composing. Now, alongside practicing opera, Nimm enjoys learning different renditions of video game and movie scores on the piano. They also enjoy writing music for tabletop role playing games, and will often do custom themes and songs for various characters. Their interests outside of music are video games, animals, and crystals.

Nimm’s hope is to always help students enjoy music as much as they do, and make sure they are always excited to learn more. They always endeavor to strike a balance between learning music the student has interest in, and focusing on the building blocks of music. Nimm is also always open to changing their teaching style based on the student’s needs, goals, and learning style.

Jordan Brawner (she/her) - West Seattle
Guitar - Ukulele - Bass Guitar - Drums - Piano

Jordan Brawner has been playing guitar for 15 years and has been a professional working musician for over six years, completely steeping her life in guitar and music theory. She has worked in the Grammy-award winning studio Orbit Audio as an assistant engineer and session musician. Jordan has also toured and recorded with her own bands Meanderthals and Hurry Up Snufkin.

Jordan attended Shoreline Community College's music program, and has worked with artists of every genre and skill level. Possessing a background in childcare, Jordan has had many opportunities to work with young children and has experience working with musical students of all ages. She has been devoted to developing her guitar chops through years of practice. Jordan has a personal fondness for jazz fusion and punk rock. She currently lives in Bothell with her cat Paul. She teaches guitar, ukulele, bass, drums, piano, theory, composition, and music technology.

Jonah Byrne (he/him) - West Seattle
Violin - Viola

Jonah Byrne has been playing violin for over 30 years, teaching, performing, recording, and composing in a wide variety of styles. He started playing the violin at age six when his mother inherited an old violin from her great uncle and wanted to keep a family tradition alive. He grew up taking lessons and playing in school orchestras, youth orchestras and string quartet throughout his young life.

Jonah spent a year studying music composition at University of Colorado, and has been active in the Seattle music scene since moving here 15 years ago. In that time, he has been a DJ at Seattle’s eclectic Hollow Earth Radio, played fiddle and violin in country bands, experimental bands, indie bands, post-rock bands, and more. He currently plays with country bands Country Lips and Gus Clark and the Least of His Problems, and with pop/r&b singer Sphie, and has performed live with acts including the Breeders and Jamie Wyatt.

As a teacher, Jonah believes strongly in creativity and exploration in music. He teaches a broad array of genres and styles, and encourages his students to follow their own musical interests. He has worked with students to arrange and play songs like the Star Wars and Harry Potter themes, music from Minecraft and Five Nights and Freddy’s, and songs by Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, ABBA, and the Beatles. Jonah is a lifelong learner of music, and is thrilled to be able to share his knowledge and enthusiasm for music.

Grant Mullen (he/him) - West Seattle
Guitar - Drums - Bass Guitar - Ukulele - Piano - Voice

Grant is a multi-instrumentalist musician who grew Seattle. He has years of professional experience touring and recording in both his rock band Naked Giants, and as a member of indie rock band Car Seat Headrest. Holding down the guitar and vocals as well as songwriting, he has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, toured through the USA, Europe, and Australia, and played notable festivals and venues such as Primavera Festival, Bumbershoot, Austin City Limits, SXSW, Sydney City Limits, Firefly Festival, Madison Square Garden, and many others. Grant takes a personalized approach to each student and their individual needs. He chooses to prioritize their growing relationship with their instrument of choice, and meet them where they are at while giving them the skills to steadily progress as their own autonomous musicians.

Isaac McDonald (he/him) - West Seattle
Bass Guitar - Double Bass - Guitar - Ukulele - Piano

Isaac has been playing bass for 15 years and graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in American Music Studies. His own instruction has involved many talented and renowned local musicians. He enjoys working with all ages of students and has 10 years of teaching experience. Isaac has a background playing in a wide range of musical genres.

Pablo Melcher-Ordonez (he/him) - West Seattle
Double Bass - Bass Guitar - Piano

Pablo Melcher-Ordonez is a native Seattleite who began studying classical piano at age five and was later introduced to his primary instrument, the double-bass, through the Seattle Public Schools' music programs. With the encouragement from his supportive music teachers such as Anna Doak, Jordan Anderson, and Marcus Tsutakawa, Pablo attended San Francisco Conservatory of Music and later transferred to University of Michigan Ann Arbor to complete his BA in Double-Bass Performance. His teaching method is influenced by his own teachers Margaret Brink, Anna Doak, Jordan Anderson, Scott Pingel, Max Dimoff, Dianna Gannett, Joe Gascho as well as many others encountered in workshops and masterclasses such as Matthew McDonald, Herbert Meyer, Tim Cobb, Doug Balliett, David Allen Moore, Ranaan Meyer, Artem Chirkov, Stephen Tramontozzi, Jeff Bradetich, and many more. Pablo is currently a teacher and freelance musician living in Seattle.

Although he has primarily been an orchestral player focusing on the standard symphonic repertoire, Pablo enjoys variety in music and has played with ballets, musicals, operas, free improv groups, chamber ensembles, baroque improv groups, baroque dances, waltzes, concertos, and more.

If you were to look in Pablo's personal listening playlist right now you would find Mahler, Ladytron, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Franz Ferdinand, J.S. Bach, Bjork, Jason Becker, Beethoven, Gojira, Iron Maiden, Mingus, Pat Metheny, Pink Floyd, Schumann, Couperin, Interpol, Green Day, and even a little My Chemical Romance.

Apart from teaching and performing music, Pablo loves to compose, garden, walk, cook, exercise, meditate, play Starcraft, go to local coffee shops, and of course, spend time with family and friends.

Amanda Armstrong (she/her) - West Seattle/In Home
Piano - Guitar - Ukulele - Voice

Amanda is a music teacher from Bend, Oregon now living in the beautiful West Seattle area. At the age of nine, music started to become a major staple in Amanda’s life. She took a strong interest in guitar, being shaped from many well known musical influences. Amanda expanded her string family, adding violin/fiddle and ukulele at an early age, as well as studying classical piano. Amanda loves writing and recording her own music, working with various genres such as folk, rock, pop, indie, country, alternative and various Spanish and classical style guitar. Sharing her love for music is one of Amanda’s absolute passions. She has been grateful to have had the opportunity to teach others over the past 6 years, locally and internationally. In 2015, she spent a few years living and teaching music in Thailand, Australia, and different areas in England offering guitar, ukulele, piano and vocal lessons. Amanda enjoys adapting her music lessons to the style and genre of music her students love and enjoy learning. In turn, she wants to help people find a love and joy for music, just as she does!

Angelica Gue (she/her) - Vashon
Violin - Piano

Angelica Gue grew up in West Seattle and moved to Vashon Island at 16 years old. She has had twenty eight plus years of violin studies and almost a decade of piano as well as two years of guitar and ukulele practice. She graduated with her Bachelor’s from the University of Washington in 2013 and is a current student at Seattle Pacific University studying Music Therapy.

Angelica is currently a violinist in the West Seattle Community Orchestra, and played in Seattle Youth Symphony orchestras for all four years of high school. As a student studying the Suzuki Method, she participated in sixteen years of summer chamber music camp, group lessons, and various Suzuki camps. Growing up she was around music and watched her sibling go through music school and then start teaching their own music students. As an avid fan of all music, Angelica likes to incorporate a variety of popular songs into the practice repertoire that the student can choose from to learn.

Drew Brady (they/them) - West Seattle
Piano - Voice - Trumpet - Euphonium - Melodica

Drew Brady (they/them) is all about keeping music lessons fun. They graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Music Theory, but they’re innate musical curiosity led them to become a singer, pianist, trumpeter, euphonist, guitarist, producer, and occasional gamelan player. They believe that music theory is a valuable resource that can do anything from helping people learn how to play their favorite songs to helping people learn how to write their own songs. They are well-versed in compositional techniques from various styles and time periods; from Beethoven to Webern, from Miles Davis to Thundercat, and from the Beatles to Olivia Rodrigo.

Drew wants to emphasize that playing music is just that, play. A student’s relationship with music shouldn’t be one dominated by feelings of stress or inadequacy, and Drew knows those feelings because they have had those feelings from music lessons before. While studying children’s musical cultures with Dr. Patricia Campbell at the UW, Drew learned that children are profoundly and innately musical, and Drew’s goal is to foster that musical relationship, regardless of age or experience.

Blake Madden (he/him) - West Seattle
Electric Bass - Upright Bass - Guitar - Music Theory - Songwriting - Ukulele

Blake Madden has twenty years of experience composing, recording, and  performing music in New York and Seattle. He is the bass player and musical director for the Prince tribute band Purple Mane, and the bassist, lead singer, and principal composer for his own noir pop group, Hotels. Blake has performed live on KEXP, studied music theory and composition through the Pacific Northwest Film scoring program, and studied electric bass with Todd Kovell at Seattle School of Strings.

Celeste Felsheim (she/her), (they/them) - West Seattle
Voice - Songwriting - Guitar - Piano

With experience in both professional orchestras and rock bands, Celeste is a lover and appreciator of many different musical genres. Celeste is a Seattle native who got her musical start at the youth summer program, Rain City Rock Camp as well as the global year long program School of Rock. (yes, it’s just like the movie!)

Celeste currently attends Cornish College of the Arts, pursuing a Bachelor's of Music in composition and songwriting, and she also plays all around Washington under the stage name King Sheim with a band of rotating Seattle musicians. She loves to teach the passionate beginner and the weekend musical-lover alike!

Nate Rogers (he/him) - West Seattle
Piano - Guitar - Ukulele

Nate Rogers has a diverse background in the arts, having worked on professional film sets and for literary journals, but music has been the constant throughout his life; his musical endeavors (and teaching) are informed by that multitalent background. His first and primary instrument is the piano, which he studied classically starting in the first grade and continued to do so actively through college. He also began playing in jazz combos and rock bands starting in middle school, the age at which he also picked up guitar and saxophone.

An occasional DJ, Nate listens widely and loves drawing connections between diverse styles of music across the world, in his own playing and his teaching. He has played in numerous bands in Seattle, including Friends and Family, Pampa, ANDY, and The Quiet Ones, and they have played alongside such notable groups as The Polyphonic Spree, The Moondoggies, and Blitzen Trapper, both in the Northwest and on tour. He loves to instill the same diversity of interest in students that his own teachers gave to him.

Jacqui Sandor (she/her) - Online Only
Double Bass - Bass Guitar - Voice - Piano - Violin - Cello

Jacqui is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist whose teaching mantra is "I am a coach, and I will help you grow into the musician you want to be at your pace." She has been a teacher for over 15 years, is an advocate for LGBTQIA+ and gender equality, and has worked with neurodiverse students. She loves helping people work through their performance anxiety - getting past that has been a challenge of hers as well, and she knows all the tricks.

Growing up in Renton she was the principal bassist of the Renton Youth Symphonic Orchestra and studied bass with Chuck Israels and Ben Musa at WWU. In New Orleans she got her degree in String Bass Performance from the University of New Orleans. While there she studied with Harold Battiste who encouraged her vocal career, and has graced the stage both as a bassist and as a vocalist with many of New Orleans' best musicians on many of its biggest stages. She was the principal bassist of the New Orleans Civic Symphony for many years, and played bass in the pit orchestras in every musical theater house in New Orleans. She also held the bass chair at the Tacoma Musical Playhouse.

She has performed professionally in various settings on violin, mandolin, tenor banjo, bouzouki, viola, and cello. Her folk music career, where she plays guitar and sings Irish and American folk and traditional music, has taken her on tours and residencies around the country. She currently lives in the beautiful mountain town of Morton and only teaches remotely for Mode.