Meet Our Teachers
Director and founder of Musication, Jeremy Zmuda, has been a music educator for almost 20yrs. Jeremy graduated Berklee College of Music with a Music Education degree in 1998. Over the years his work has included: being special music consultant to Sesame Street, (yes THE Sesame Street), early childhood director of many schools including, The Maple Street School, The Ft Greene Coop School, The Garden House School, The Brooklyn Free Space School, and many others. Jeremy also ran a non profit organization in NYC that brought free music classes to children in need. He is an award winning children’s music composer, winner of The John Lennon Songwriting Award, The Kids Music Award, and Parent’s Choice Award. Jeremy has been running Musication’s music camps and private lessons program for over 10yrs. His love for music and children’s music education has made his Musication program one of the best in the NYC area.
Brooklyn-based Canadian Singer-songwriter May Cheung is a performer and an educator. A graduate of McGill University in Performance Jazz voice (2007) and Music Education (2010), May loves to share her passion for music with people young and old. As an educator, she has been teaching piano and voice since 2010, to children ages 3 and up. May brings exceptional patience and fun to her students, through playing songs, music games, note reading, and student song writing. She brings her skills as a piano player, singer, and guitarist to the Musication program. May has studied with Juno award-winner Ranee Lee, Madeleine Palmer and Jeanie Lovetrie. In 2009, she was awarded a prestigious grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to study with Peter Eldridge in New York City. Diverting her focus towards the singer-songwriter genre. May has sparked the attention of publications and radio stations as she was featured on the cover of Richmond Review’s 2014 Edition of “Top 30 Under 30”; she has been interviewed by Girth Radio station, a notable online radio station from Toronto, and has been interviewed by Andrew Choi from New York’s Big City Folk Collective blog. May brings her wide experience of her studies, teaching experience, and performance experience to the Musication program.
Pianist, Eva Novoa, was born in Barcelona, Spain and has been a piano teacher since 1999. She is a jazz pianist and composer but was classically trained as a kid. Her broad teaching experience has made her work with kids and students all ages. Although teaching young children is what Eva loves best, she has also taught at the college level, at the Royal Conservatoire of The Netherlands -Koninklijk Conservatorium- where she was a jazz piano teacher in the Jazz Department.
Her teaching method is very comprehensive but most of all, fun! Eva always adapt as much as possible to the student and his/ her needs. She can teach improvisation with the more advancing student or beginning songs to the younger ones. With little kids she works a lot by ear, imitation (me playing at the piano), listening, transposing (playing a popular song in different keys and/ or modes making use of the “black keys”), performing and learning rhythms/ polyrhythm with claves or shakers using different hands, singing, making use of dynamic range (soft and/ or loud), repetition and composing. “I like to use their ears as much as possible and have them experiencing the whole range of the piano. Kids can make and compose their own music at my class. From my own experience that is the best way they learn: when they feel they are involved in the process and being creative. Creating music and not just following instructions.”, says Eva.
Pianist and composer Vickie Yang was born in Victoria, Canada where she studied classical piano from the age of four through the Royal Conservatory of Music. She completed a Bachelors degree in Jazz Performance at Humber College with honors, and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Master of Arts Degree in Composition from New York University where she studied with Vijay Iyer, Justin Dello Joio, Ralph Alessi, Gil Goldstein and Jim McNeely and participated in ensembles with John Scofield and Dafnis Prieto.
Vickie has worked as a composer and arranger for documentary films and various projects produced by Means of Production and her music has been recorded and/or performed by: the Seamus Blake Group, Reeds Ramble (Seamus Blake, Chris Cheek, Ethan Iverson), Toronto Jazz Orchestra, United States Navy Band, and the NSU Jazz Ensemble, among others. In addition to collaborating with other artists, she is currently writing for her own projects, Vickie Yang Orchestra, Boptarts and Kodiak Dream. For three years, she was a participant in the BMI Jazz Composers’ Workshop led by Jim McNeely and Mike Holober in New York City. Most recently, she was one of eight composers selected to participate in the Metropole Orchestra Arrangers Workshop directed by Grammy award winner, Vince Mendoza.
Vickie has taught at music schools in Toronto and New York as well as having her own private students of all levels and ages. She is a passionate and enthusiastic teacher that is dedicated to making each lesson fun and productive. She believes a technical foundation is important, but also encourages learning a wide range of repertoire of all musical styles.
German/American singer, composer, writer, lyricist, pianist, and educator Kristiana Roemer is now based in Brooklyn and pursuing her Master’s of Music at the Aaron Copland School of Music (Queens College) focusing on Vocal Jazz and Jazz Composition. Born in Frankfurt, Germany, Kristiana began piano instruction at the age of six and performing as church and choral soloist at the age of 9. After receiving a scholarship from Concordia College (MN), she spent one year of study in the U.S. where she deepened her study of classical, choral, and vocal ensemble music as well as voice and piano. Kristiana began giving private lessons in piano and voice in 2011 while pursuing her Bachelor of Science at Frankfurt University, Germany. She then moved to Paris, France, where she completed her B.Sc. while simultaneously enrolling in Vocal Jazz at the Paris Conservatory and began working with Lepic Music teaching piano and voice as well as leading vocal groups and singing circles. With her students, Kristiana loves to explore both music theory as well as personal creativity and incorporates her vast experience in performing, composing, and teaching into each lesson. Most importantly, Kristiana insists on making music fun for young children.
Shawn Farrar is a Brooklyn-based singer and music teacher who hails from the Midwest. She obtained her Bachelor of Music degree from Simpson College in Indianola, IA. While there she majored in Vocal Performance and Music Education and minored in piano, studying piano performance and pedagogy with Dr. Michael Patterson. She began teaching private lessons in piano and voice while she was an undergraduate, and teaching music lessons has been an important part of her life ever since. Shawn worked as a professional opera and choral singer in Chicago for several years, and while there taught a number of private students voice and piano. She went on to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where she obtained a Master of Music in Voice Performance and worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in Voice.
After graduating from the University of Tennessee, Shawn taught private voice to undergraduate students at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee while maintaining a private studio in Knoxville. In 2006, Shawn came to New York City, and has been working as a professional musician and music educator with various organizations throughout the city. Locally, Shawn was the founding music teacher at Lefferts Gardens Charter School, where she taught K-5 music, conducted 4th and 5th grade choruses, and directed and conducted a production of The Music Man, Jr. with her elementary school students.
Along with teaching in the Musication program, Shawn is a first year Teaching Artist with the Metropolitan Opera Guild, and works both with the Students Compose Opera and the Urban Voices programs. Shawn teaches children ages 3 and up and bring both a firm grasp on technique as well as a fun a creative energy to her lessons.
Michael Beckett is a Pianist/Organist based in Ridgewood, NY. A Maryland native, he studied classical piano from a young age and expanded into other styles in adolescence. He came to New York to study at The New School for Jazz in 2012 and started working as gigging keyboardist in the city. He is the Organist and Musical Director at Union Congregational Church in Harlem where he also runs a music education program for the youth of the Church.
Teaching has always been a part of his musical career, whether it was teaching private lessons to adult learners and child beginners or tutoring fellow students throughout college. His approach is centered on working closely with a student to understand their personal needs as opposed to following any one prescribed system and that training the ear is just as important as teaching traditional reading or te-chnical skills. Lessons will include time spent at the instrument, and some time spent away, working on rhythmic fundamentals and pitch recognition. Finally he teaches to encourage students to have a positive and productive relationship with their instrument, one that allows for a wide range of expression and understanding.