Vashon 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.
Henry Mansfield
Piano, Guitar, Bass, Ukulele

Henry Mansfield is a musician and songwriter of 10+ years experience. Getting his start learning Beatles songs by ear on an old upright, Henry’s musical journey was defined by discovery and the joy of self-direction. With no formal training beyond school choir, Henry began writing around age 12. At 13, he won a local Battle of the Bands as a solo act. After playing in several bands in high school, Henry received a formal education in music at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. He earned his degree in three years, then moved to the LA area to pursue performance opportunities with his band. Due to COVID, Henry has moved to Vashon for peace and quiet, and to create amidst the chaos. 

Henry currently plays bass and keys in Before Our Time, synth in Kyleast, and actively consults for songwriting and arranging in addition to releasing three albums and several singles under his own name. He performs on stages across the world. Henry’s journey influenced him to balance theory and sheet music with the joy of learning and creating, and aims to first find what excites the student before starting with the book. He hopes to create the same joy and excitement in his students that he felt when first learning music. 
Sarah Howard
Voice - Piano - Guitar - Songwriting

Sarah Howard began singing and playing piano in church at age 8. By 14, she was playing guitar and writing songs. Sarah was playing live in and around her native North Carolina by the time she was 18 and by 21 had traveled across the US playing music. Working as a songwriter and hired studio singer in Los Angeles eventually brought her to the NW in 2009. She has written and performed with many Seattle bands including Roxbury Pound and Carnival Knowledge. Also a dance teacher, Sarah is a self-confessed rhythm nerd and combines theory and technique with a practicality that keeps music fun and easy. Her teaching style approaches each student individually and gives them a broad picture of what music can be. She is still traveling, playing music and teaching down the west coast and Mexico.

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.