Ukulele Lessons

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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.

VENMO: @Gianni-Aiello PAYPAL:

Blake Madden (he/him) - Online only
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.

VENMO: @SoupIsLove

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.

VENMO: @nathaniel-rogers-2 PAYPAL:

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.

VENMO: @Maximilion-Mondale PAYPAL: CASHAPP: $StickyRixky

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.

VENMO: @Brian-Spenser

Rachel Ewen (she/her) - West Seattle
Voice - Piano - Guitar - Ukulele - Flute

Rachel Ewen is a Seattle based vocalist, songwriter, and educator. She has taught voice, piano, and guitar for 6+ years, and strives to nurture confidence and creativity in her students. She is a classically trained vocalist who specializes in a variety of vocal styles such as pop, jazz, R&B and musical theatre. Rachel has performed with various bands and musicians throughout her career such as Mary Lambert, Jimmie Herrod, Baby Jessica, and Maiah Manser. Let's make music together!

VENMO: @Rachel-Ewen

Bashar Balleh (he/him) - West Seattle
Flamanco Guitar - Classical Guitar - Guitar - Violin - Ukulele - Oud

Bashar’s been playing and teaching music for over 12 years. When he left Syria for Turkey before settling in Seattle, he founded the band Country For Syria to raise awareness of the overlap between Western and Eastern cultures amid the refugee crisis. Bashar is a multi-instrumentalist specializing in all stringed instruments.

As a teacher Bashar takes a personalized approach to meet each students’ need, and is very invested in his students’ success. 

VENMO: Bashar-balleh

Max Cobb (he/him) - West Seattle
Guitar - Piano - Bass - Ukulele

Max is a professional musician based in the Seattle area. He studied jazz theory and guitar performance at Gonzaga University, and has performed professionally at events in and around Seattle and Austin, TX for over 10 years. Max has taught guitar, bass, keys, vocals, and ukulele to students of all ages - he's been teaching private lessons for over 10 years with kids as young as 5, to adults, seniors, and neurodivergent students. In addition to MODE he teaches privately through his own business Max Cobb Music, and with a nonprofit, The Cobb Foundation NW, where he is on the board of directors and provides music lessons for scholarship students.

Jesse Stern (he/him) - West Seattle
Bass - Guitar - Ukulele - Voice - Piano - Production

Seattle native Jesse Stern is a bassist and multi-instrumental producer, engineer, podcaster, audio professional, and educator. Over a 20-year career in Los Angeles, he has performed and/or recorded with Gloria Gaynor, Sly Stone, George Clinton, Save Ferris, Jordin Sparks, Weezer, Hanson, Chad Smith (RHCP), Andy Vargas (Santana), and hundreds of other incredible artists from around the world. He also practices and teaches meditation, yoga, self-defense, show/performance coaching, and facilitating vocal & musical instrument body health through breathing and movement.

Scott Langdon (he/him) - West Seattle
Piano - Drums - Ukulele - Guitar

Scott is a multi-instrumentalist with over 20 years experience on drum set, mallet percussion, hand percussion, piano, guitar, bass, ukulele, and various percussion instruments. A native of Bremerton, Washington, he was exposed to music early in childhood, thus developing a deep familiarity with music from day one. After high school his musical passion led him to Washington State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Music: Percussion Performance with a Jazz Emphasis degree.

After a year teaching and performing in the countryside of central California, Scott returned to the Puget Sound to continue pursuing his career. He’s been an instructor for the Northwest Percussion Festival, a clinician at the Northwest Percussion Project, and a clinician for the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Idaho. He has played throughout the northwest with The Gods Themselves, Purple Mane, Nowsterday, Halley Greg, and Trick Candles, as well as freelance work.

Venmo: @Scott-Langdon-2

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.

VENMO: @ej_viola

Craig Suede (he/him) - Online only
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.

VENMO: @CraigSuede

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.

Venmo: @nowsterday PayPal:

Veronique Littlefield (she/her) - West Seattle/In-Home
Piano - Ukulele - Voice

Veronique was introduced to the piano at the age of 7. She was born and raised in Marseille, France. She was trained classically and attended her city conservatory from 11 to 17 years old. She moved to Seattle at age 22 as an Au Pair to become fluent in English.

Veronique eventually met her husband Chris Littlefield, a professional, local musician. She’s always been passionate about early childhood education and taught preschool for the last 20 years. As well as continuing to play the piano as an adult, she learned to play the ukulele and enjoys singing in French, English and Portuguese.

She is currently tutoring French to students of all ages and is passionate about teaching, connecting with her students, and finding ways to teach each student (young and old) in their best learning styles.

Ken Jacobson (he/him) - Vashon
Guitar - Classical Guitar - Bass - Oud - Piano - Ukulele - Production - Theory - Cello - Dulcimer - Mandolin - Banjo

Ken Jacobsen is a guitarist, cellist, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer who currently lives in Tacoma WA and teaches there as well as Vashon Island. He has a degree in classical guitar performance and has performed and recorded many different classical styles including Renaissance, Baroque, Spanish/Flamenco, Brazilian guitar, Tango and modern music. He performs regularly as a solo guitarist and with various ensembles including Tacomas's Verde ensemble and the Vashon-Maury Island Chamber Orchestra.

He also loves playing Jazz guitar, everything from Duke Ellington to Miles Davis and John Coltrane, Bossa Nova, and Cuban Son. Ken has been playing cello as well for many years, beginning in college with an irresistible urge to learn the Bach Cello Suites, and currently performs regularly on electric cello with loops and effects, creating multi-layered ambient soundscapes. His love of world and folk music led him to the Middle Eastern Oud, Hammered Dulcimer, Mandolin and Djembe. Ken's first real instrument was a Fender Stratocaster, and he's always ready for a funky throwdown, having played with bands such as Vashon funk powerhouse Blue Monster. He has more recently been involved in electronic music production and performance, with unique live performances combining hardware synthesizers and drum machines with cello, guitar and percussion. Ken is the Executive Director of Destiny City Music Collective, a Tacoma non-profit dedicated to providing quality, affordable music education and performance opportunities to students or all ages and income levels.