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Music Lessons in Menlo Park

NOTE: Due to COVID-19, we are not currently offering lessons in store. Many of the teachers below offer lessons via Zoom or other video meeting services. Please reach out to them directly for more information.

Bridgepoint Music offers voice and music lessons within the store; feel free to stop by and check out our soundproof practice and lesson rooms. Our music teachers are independent contractors; please contact them directly at the email address or phone number listed for scheduling and rates. We keep contact information for other local music teachers in the area, so if your instrument is not listed, or you would like the names of other teachers who might not teach here at the store, please don’t hesitate to call us and ask.

Cello Teacher

Thomas Shoebotham
(650) 380-6805

Thomas Shoebotham has taught and performed on the cello in the Bay Area for over 20 years. In past seasons he made solo appearances with the Oakland Civic Orchestra, Kensington Symphony, and Palo Alto Philharmonic, and gave solo and chamber music recitals in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, New Mexico, Illinois, and New York. As an orchestral player he has appeared with New Mexico Symphony, Santa Fe Symphony, Symphony Silicon Valley, the Illinois Philharmonic, and numerous other professional ensembles.

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Thomas holds a B.M. in Cello Performance from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. He continued his studies at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where he was awarded a M.M. in Cello Performance and Literature. He has taught in many public and private settings, including several elementary and high schools, colleges, the Music in Schools Foundation, and private studios, for students in a variety of age ranges. He has coached many student chamber groups, and is the primary cello coach for Golden State Youth Symphony in Palo Alto.

Also a noted conductor, he has directed performances for a number of groups, including Emerald City Opera, Opera San Jose, Berkeley Opera, Peninsula Symphony, West Bay Opera, Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra, Albuquerque Philharmonic, and Palo Alto Philharmonic.

Clarinet and Saxophone Teacher

James Pytko
(631) 365-2146

James Pytko has dedicated his life to musical performance and education. He received his artist diploma from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music in 2011, where he studied with Richie Hawley.

James currently freelances in the Bay Area and performs regularly with Symphony Parnassus in San Francisco. He currently teaches at the Community School of Music and Arts, the Veksler Academy, and the Gorin School of Music. He also maintains a private studio.

Flute Teachers

Flutist Victoria “Tori” Hauk loves exploring the beauty of music through collaboration with fellow Bay Area musicians and by sharing it with the next generation of young musicians through coaching and teaching. Tori was born and raised in San Diego, but has been performing and teaching in the Bay Area since 2013.

She is an avid chamber musician and can be seen performing with groups including: One Found Sound, The Fête Concert Series, flute duo Siroko Duo, and woodwind quintet Avenue Winds.

She is the winner of the University of Arizona President’s Concerto Competition, Arizona Flute Society Competition, award winner of the Musical Merit Foundation of Greater San Diego, award winner of the MTNA Southwest Regional Competition, and has received the Presser Foundation Award. Tori was the featured soloist for the season opener for the Sierra Vista Symphony Orchestra in 2010 performing both the Nielsen and Mozart concerti. She has performed abroad at the Charterhouse International Music Festival (U.K.) and toured in China with University of Arizona Harp Fusion. In summer 2011 she was a member of the Opera in the Ozarks orchestra performing Die Fledermaus and Le Nozze di Figaro. In the summers 2012 and 2013 she performed in Graz, Austria with the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) Orchestra alongside world-class singers such as Linda Watson.

Tori received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Arizona studying with Brian Luce, Master of Music degree from The Lynn University Conservatory of Music studying with Jeffrey Khaner, Principal Flutist of The Philadelphia Orchestra, and Professional Studies Diploma from the San Francisco Conservatory studying with Timothy Day, Principal Flutist of San Francisco Symphony.

California-born flutist Christy Kim enjoys an active career as an orchestral and chamber musician. She has performed with the Chicago Symphony, Lyric Opera is Chicago, and the St. Louis Symphony, joining them on their International Tour in 2017.  From 2016-2018, she was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, becoming the Flute Fellow in 2017-2018. She has performed alongside Yo-Yo Ma, and under conductors Esa-Pekka Salonen, Riccardo Muti, David Robertson, Han-na Chang, Christoph Eschenbach, and Leonard Slatkin. Past summers, she has been invited to the Aspen Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, and National Repertory Orchestra. Christy is currently flutist of Bay Area wind octet Nomad Session.

Christy holds a Master’s Degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Southern California. Christy’s principal flute teachers are Mark Sparks, Tim Day, Jim Walker, and Susan Greenberg.

Christy also has a 15 year background in piano. She has been trained as a pianist through the Music Teacher’s Association of California and completed the Certificate of Merit program. In 2008, she performed Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto in G Minor with the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic. She teaches piano and flute at Amabile a School of Music. Her principal teacher is Ornela Ervin.

Christy believes that anyone can enjoy learning music. Through curiosity and discipline, we gain the skills for freedom of expression. Students learn the mechanics of the instrument and fundamental building blocks of musicianship: scales, tonal exercises, and technical etudes in addition to theory, orchestral excerpts, and solo repertoire. In addition, she draws awareness to the physical demands of playing an instrument to help prevent injuries and ensure longevity in our musical journeys. Her goal is to instill a lifelong appreciation for music.

Guitar Teacher

Greg Vaughn
(650) 269-4174

Palo Alto resident Greg Vaughn has been teaching guitar lessons to students young and old in Palo Alto for over two decades. He has knowledge and passion for many types of music including: contemporary music, alternative, punk, rock (modern and classic), acoustic (especially classic and new rock), and electric blues guitar. Greg has had many young students go on to university level music schools and to careers as professional musicians themselves.

Greg has a Bachelor of Music degree from the prestigious Studio Music and Jazz Performance Program at the University of Miami. He has also studied music at Foothill College and at the Jazz School in Berkeley. Greg has studied jazz guitar privately with Sal Salvador, Randall Dollahan, Bruce Forman, Brian Pardo, and Rick Schmunk. He has taken master classes with John Abercrombie, Tuck Andress, Pat Metheny, and Pat Martino. He has studied classical guitar privately with guitarists Rene Gonzalez, Bill Yelverton and John Sayles, and has taken master classes with Juan Mercadal and Richard Provost. He also studied jazz theory and improvisation with pianists Mark Levine and Ron Miller and saxophonist Dave Rickenberg.

Greg’s professional experience has been as varied as his education. It has included big bands, rock bands, funk bands, jazz ensembles, fusion bands, and wedding bands. He has worked as a studio guitarist, composer, and producer. He has played or performed with Brad Russell (bassist-Joe Satriani band), Chip McNeil, Lori White, and Favored Nations artist Andy Timmons. Greg currently is performing a weekly solo guitar gig at a local night spot, playing jazz, pop, and rock arrangements.

Greg’s teaching style focuses on the individual student’s personal taste in music. Technique is emphasized throughout the lessons (especially for beginning students) to ensure the instrument is being played optimally and the student is using proper form. Theory and sight-reading are also offered at the student’s request but are only choices made by the student to fit his or her personalized curriculum and needs. It is important for the student to remember that they themselves set their own goals and each lesson is another step toward achieving those goals.

Greg lives in Palo Alto, California with his wife and their young son.

Piano Teacher

Originally from Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Magdalena Shumanova started her piano studies at the age of four, and attended Secondary Music School “Dobrin Petkov” from 1st – 12th grade, finishing her studies under Svetlana Koseva. After graduating with honors, she continued her studies with Dr. Carolyn Bridger at Florida State University, pursuing her bachelor’s degree in piano performance. She recently graduated with her Masters of Music in Collaborative Piano at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, studying with Dr. Tim Bach.

Through the years she has accompanied singers, instrumentalists, and choir groups at Florida State University, University of Alabama, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. As a part-time faculty at Stillman College in Alabama, she worked and toured with their choir, and accompanied the voice, woodwind, and brass studios. Magdalena has also maintained her own private studio of students ranging in ages from five to 60-years-old, with all levels of experience. She has also participated in a number of piano masterclasses under the direction of Andre Watts, Antonio Pompabaldi, Jose Feghali, Anton Dikov, Atanas Kurtev, Dimo Dimov, and Atanas Atanasov.

Magdalena has accompanied world renowned musicians at the Summer Brass Institute in Menlo Park for four years, and at the International Euphonium Institute in Atlanta, GA for seven years. Some of the musicians she has collaborated with include international brass soloists and brass members from the San Francisco Symphony, Opera, and Ballet Orchestras, as well as members from the Chicago Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra. She currently has the pleasure of working as the music director and pianist for the Musical Theatre Works in San Francisco, as well as other high profile freelancing work around the Bay Area.

Violin Teacher

David Zimbalist
(347) 495-6342

David Laurence Zimbalist is from New York, and hails from a very artistic family which includes: Efrem Zimbalist, Sr. and Alma Gluck, founders of Curtis Institute, the actor Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Stephanie Zimbalist, Grammy Award-winning musician Lisa Gutkin (the Klezmatics), and Academy Award-winning movie producer, Sam Zimbalist. Zimbalist studied viola, violin and chamber music for ten years with Olga Bloom, founder of Bargemusic, Ltd., in Brooklyn, New York.

In 1981 he moved to California to continue his studies at UC Santa Cruz with Roy Malan and Ruth Freeman, Concertmaster and First Violist, respectively, of the San Francisco Ballet. He also took advanced music theory with composer David Cope. Zimbalist attended Graduate School at UCLA in Historical Musicology to research the Viola D’Amore, and studied this instrument with Dr. Daniel Thomasson, President of the International Viola D’Amore Society. He has toured the United States and Europe as violinist with productions of The Music Of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Peter Pan.

In 1991, Zimbalist formed The Speakeasy String Quartet to specialize in his note-for-note transcription arrangements of early jazz from the 1920’s and 30’s. Their first CD, Rumble Seat Music, was produced by Academy Award-nominated sound designer Ren Klyce (Fight Club; The Game; Seven; Panic Room). The group has performed to standing ovations at the New Orleans Jazz And Heritage Festival. His arrangements and musicological research has also been featured in Strings Magazine.

As a music educator, David Zimbalist specializes in young beginners ages four and up, and utilizes a combination of the Suzuki violin method, plus other more traditional and always age appropriate approaches. Violin and viola students learn music theory including how to read and write music from the very beginning.

Voice Teacher

Deborah Levoy
(408) 800-2755

Deborah teaches voice, guitar, songwriting, and performance and recording skills. Many of her students focus on vocal technique exclusively, whereas others work on a combination of skills.

Deborah teaches a vocal method that is effective for all levels of singers, from people who claim “they can’t sing” to professionals who want to strengthen their vocal technique. Scores of Grammy Award winners, Metropolitan Opera singers, and pop music stars – Stevie Wonder, Amy Lee, Natalie Cole, Al Jarreau, Bette Midler, Liza Minnelli, Prince, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Anthony Kiedis, and Annie Lennox, to name a few – use the same method to expand their vocal range, flexibility, and strength.

As students develop a kinesthetic awareness of how their bodies work during singing, they gain confidence, their range expands, and they are able to sing with greater ease and freedom through their entire range. As singers improve their technical proficiency, she helps them develop their own style and learn how to interpret songs in their own voice.

“Deborah artfully takes you under her wing with infinite patience, positive attitude, encouragement and clear masterful understanding of vocal mechanics and takes you to where you never thought you could go.”
-Alexander Leon, student

Deborah coaches students in performance and recording skills by analyzing students’ live performances or studio sessions. Deborah has helped countless students improve their stage presence, pacing and stamina, microphone technique, and emotional delivery of live and recorded performances. Deborah helps performing artists integrate singing, playing, performance, style, and stage presence. She also advises performers on the creation of album projects and promotional packages.

Deborah teaches beginning guitar lessons to students of all ages and musical experiences. Students will learn to read and play from written music as well as understand beginning music theory. Students also focus on how to play guitar accompaniment, so they can play and sing at the same time.

Deborah teaches beginning and advanced students how to write meaningful, well-crafted songs. Learn how to write lyrics, melodies, and instrumental accompaniment that express your unique sound.