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Meet the Teachers

Meet Our Talented Teachers

DeRock Tucker

Derrick “DeRock” Tucker is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer from Long Beach, CA. He began inspiring music students with piano, voice, guitar, ukulele and bass lessons in 2006, and teaching music has been his long-time passion ever since. He received training in both classical and jazz bass at LB Polytechnic High and then continued on to the University of Southern California, where he pursued studies in vocal jazz and psychology, as well as piano & guitar....

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Tyler Nuffer

Tyler Nuffer is a talented musician and passionate music teacher who loves to inspire children to explore the world of music. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Music with an emphasis in Jazz Guitar from the University of Redlands, which has helped him develop a solid foundation in music theory and performance.

 

With over a decade of professional teaching experience, Tyler has gained a reputation for being patient, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic. He teaches a variety of instruments, including guitar, bass, drums, piano, lap steel, and ukulele, and he is well-versed in many different genres of music. He knows how to make learning music fun and engaging for children, helping them develop their skills and confidence.

 

In addition to teaching, Tyler is also an accomplished freelance musician. He is particularly interested in mastering the pedal steel guitar, and has been studying Hawaiian and Country music in-depth. Over the years, he has collaborated with a wide variety of artists and musicians in Los Angeles and beyond, further expanding his musical knowledge and abilities.

 

When teaching young music students, Tyler's top priority is always to create a positive and nurturing learning environment that encourages children to express themselves through music. He loves to incorporate fun activities and games into his lessons, and he even knows how to play the lap steel music from the Nickelodeon television show “Spongebob Squarepants” - a talent that children always find amusing and engaging. Tyler's passion for music is contagious, and he is dedicated to helping children discover the joy of making music for themselves.

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Adrian Bañuelos

Adrian Bañuelos is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and composer born in Los Angeles. He began his music studies in a rock and roll setting which eventually led him to study classical music at California State University of Northridge and California State University of Fullerton. He has been teaching music since 2010 and enjoys teaching what he’s learned over the years to students who share the same passion for music.

 

Adrian has performed in various types of productions such as rock bands, church choirs, operas, wedding and funerals; just to name a few. His passion lies in composing and performing new music. Adrian is a very talented and passionate teacher, and Music Junction is thankful to have him on the team!

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Grace Freeman

Miss Grace is a singer-songwriter, pianist and guitarist who has been teaching for 8 years. Her teaching experience is built between her position as a classroom general music instructor of transitional kindergarten through 6th grade- as well as private lessons to all ages on instruments including piano, guitar, ukelele, and bass. Her students have gone on to pursue music in college, write and record their own songs, and join bands over the years! With her musical project Gal Musette Grace has recorded two full length records, and has opened the show for renowned acts such as Macy Gray, The Magnetic Fields, and Suzanne Vega.

 

Miss Grace's expertise in teaching are in the areas of performance, creativity, and theory. Grace's goal as a teacher is to guide her students in finding their passion for music, sustaining their excitement about their instrument, and giving them the confidence to try new things and grow.

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Sevana Abramyan

Sevana Abramyan, a professional violinist with over twenty years of experience, has participated in a myriad of concerts, competitions, and special events throughout her career. Highly skilled in chamber performance, classical music, and modern adaptions, she is an accomplished musician who has demonstrated the ability to perform contemporary and classical pieces as a participant in both ensembles and orchestras. A member of the Ani String Quartet, she has studied scores to develop suitable interpretations of pieces written by J.S. Bach, Handel, Armenian composer Komitas, and various other composers from different musical time periods....

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Jack Krimmel

Jack Krimmel is very excited to be part of the Music Junction team! After graduating with a degree in Music Education in 2015 from Grove City College in Pennsylvania, Jack began his teaching career as a high school choir director in Loudoun County Public Schools (Leesburg, Virginia). For six years, Jack taught choir/musical theatre to students grades 9-12. He also served as Music Director for the award-winning spring musicals each year. In July of 2021, Jack moved across the country to Los Angeles to pursue more music performance/teaching opportunities on the west coast. In December, he sang with Kira Alvarez Productions as a Holiday Caroler.

 

In addition to his passion for music, Jack enjoys graphic design, writing, and trying out as many coffee shops in LA as he can.

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Reese Massey

Reese Massey is a recent music education graduate from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. Having grown up in Los Angeles, Reese spent her childhood singing in every choir she could find. She started taking vocal and piano lessons at a young age, but soon learned that her passion was singing with others. At Berklee, Reese performed in countless shows as a soloist, background vocalist, choir member, and accompanist.

 

Additionally, she spent her time arranging a cappella music, songwriting, and directing numerous choirs. With vast performance experience, Reese enjoys singing and performing all genres from classical to jazz! However, her biggest passions lie in teaching music.

 

Reese has a focused and engaging teaching personality. She strives to be genuine in everything that she does and believes her teaching reflects that. Being a preschool music teacher at Small World Child Care helped her to become comfortable teaching younger ages and meeting students where they were. She learned how to balance making music class fun while also making sure the students were learning important skills. Additionally, during her time at Berklee, Reese focused on vocal pedagogy where she learned vocal anatomy as well as how to communicate vocal concepts and techniques to a variety of different ages. She prides herself in her ability to teach the same concept in a multitude of ways, an essential skill for a voice teacher.

 

To Reese, teaching music is not a back-up, but her goal. The more she learned about music education and vocal pedagogy, the more she fell in love with teaching. In fact, Reese comes from a long line of music teachers. There has been a music teacher in every generation of her family starting with her great great grandparents! Reese truly feels a passion for teaching and showing children the joys of music as an art as well as sharing the socio-emotional benefits of music with her students.

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Thomas Graeff

Thomas GraeffThomas Graeff is a multi-instrumentalist originally from the Pacific Northwest. He holds a Music Performance degree from Western Washington University after studying jazz with Chuck Israels and the tuba with Dr. Carla Rutschman. He has been teaching music professionally since 2011 and in that time has helped hundreds of students learn the guitar, bass, ukulele, piano, drums, and brass instruments.

In addition to his passion for music, Jack enjoys graphic design, writing, and trying out as many coffee shops in LA as he can.

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Andrew Heavelin

ndrew Heavelin, a California-based classical guitarist, pianist and teacher contributes to the excellence of Music Junction’s education team. Born and raised in LA's San Gabriel Valley region, Andrew began his music studies at Pasadena City College, where he received honors for his contribution to the program. As a member of PCC's resident quartet, he performed regularly in the area.

 

In 2014, Andrew relocated to Humboldt State University and received a Bachelor's degree in classical guitar performance. While there, Andrew performed regularly in the area, and received various academic and musical honors.

 

In May 2018, Andrew received a Master of Music degree in guitar performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he studied under Marc Teicholz. While at the Conservatory, Andrew had the honor of working with some of the top professionals in the field, including playing in master classes for Meng Su of the Beijing Guitar Duo and Gaelle Solal. He has performed alongside John Dearman of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, and in studio recitals with Marc Teicholz. Andrew has been featured as a guest soloist with the LIKHA Pilipino Folk Ensemble at San Francisco's iconic Palace of Fine Arts, and has performed widely in the Bay Area.

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Oleksandra Slominska

Oleksandra Slominska is a multilingual music teacher originally from Ukraine, fluent in Ukrainian, Russian, and English. In 2016, she completed her degree at the Odesa National Academy of Music, specializing in Musical Art. She then began her career as a violin teacher at the National Theater of Opera and Ballet in Odessa in Ukraine. Her passion for teaching children has made her an excellent teacher, and she loves to share her knowledge and experience with them.

 

In 2018, Oleksandra furthered her studies and took private lessons with various musical professors in Europe, including Julia Bassler, Key Märkl, and Ingolf Turban. She has performed in orchestras in Germany, such as Gärtnerplatztheater in Munich, Munchen Symphoniker, Darmstadt Theater, and Ulm theater. She has also had the privilege of playing in Hans Zimmer and Thilo Wolf's orchestras. Despite her vast experience, Oleksandra remains committed to growing and developing in her professional field every day. Oleksandra's extensive musical background, creativity and sense of humor make her an exceptional and engaging teacher.

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Melina Ruais

Melina Ruais is a skilled voice coach and piano instructor with a strong passion for teaching young people. Her love for music began at a young age, and she has been performing live and in studio projects, refining her vocal and piano skills ever since. With more than 12 years of experience in vocal coaching and studio recordings, Melina has a comprehensive understanding of the art of singing and the techniques required to develop a person's vocal abilities. Her commitment to inspiring and teaching young people is evident in her work with students of all levels. Melina takes pride in helping her students develop their skills and motivation to achieve their musical aspirations.

 

As a musician, Melina is a talented singer-songwriter and music producer. She writes and produces her music, collaborating with other musicians on various projects. Melina's dedication to her craft and her passion for music are apparent in everything she does. Her goal is to help students discover their love for music and support them in unlocking their full potential.

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Liz Knickerbocker

ABOUT

Liz Knickerbocker is a multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter in Los Angeles, CA. She grew up studying violin at the Flint Institute of Music in Flint, MI, and started assistant teaching in group string classes at the age of 14. Liz has performed in orchestras, quartets, bands, and as a solo artist on tours in Ireland, France, and around southern California. She’s facilitated private lessons and group classes for violin, viola, cello, guitar, ukulele, voice, piano, trumpet, and trombone around the San Diego and Los Angeles areas..

 

LESSONS

Liz is currently studying Music Therapy at California State University in Northridge with her primary instrument of classical voice.

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Michael Paik

Michael Paik is a guitarist from Chantilly, VA, who teaches piano, guitar, ukulele and voice at Music Junction! Michael grew up in the Northerrn Virginia area and first began studying classical guitar at the age of 12. Growing up he was inspired by his fathers love of blues and jazz; in his own time he studied and transcribed the music from records. After high school music decided to study music at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University with a focus in Jazz Guitar where he was able to study with guitarist Dave Stryker. Michael also was a part of the university ensemble known as the IU Soul Revue; one of the nations oldest college led Motown Tribute Bands that dates back to 1971....

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