Excellence, Fun, Convenient
Principal Instrument: Piano
Secondary Instruments: Saxophone, Euphonium, Guitar
Music has always been interwoven into my life. I was born and raised in the Napa Valley to a 5th generation piano family. 10 minute piano sessions would be sprinkled in between my races on Mario-Kart.
Throughout middle school and high school, I continued to be involved with music of all varieties; trumpet in bands, saxophone in the jazz ensemble, and euphonium with the World Champion Concord Blue Devils. In college I pursued a Biochemistry degree, and loved expanding my scientific mind, but finally discovered my true passion in piano. It BECAME my thing which is when I decided I would devote my life to music and education.
With roundabout fashion, I returned to the Napa Valley after college graduation in June 2015 to get serious about my piano career.
At present, I am happily teaching piano and growing a fantastic community of fellow teachers to share the magic of music because I believe pursuing mastery to make great art can change the world.
Principal Instruments: Piano
Location: Coastal OC and Long Beach
Ai Vo is currently studying at CSULB with the faculty in the piano department to earn a B.A. in Music with a concentration in piano. Ai began her studies in piano at the age of 5, and is currently continuing her studies under the private instruction of Dr. Samuel Grodin.
Outside of academic endeavors, Ai began private violin study at the age of 15 under the instruction of Khanh Hong Nguyen, director of the Vietnamese-American Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. She often collaborates with other musicians and music ensembles. Ai works and performs as the main pianist, organist and choir director across multiple different church organizations. As a prominent feature of church services, this leads to Ai's frequent exposure on channels such as VBS television, the world’s largest Vietnamese network. She especially enjoys sharing her love for music, running several prominent music social media accounts, amassing a total of 250k followers. With her platform, she hopes to inspire more people to learn and experience the joys of music.
Sam Sohmer is a classically-trained pianist, vocalist, producer, and composer who was raised in Wheaton, IL. He now lives in Newport Beach, where he spends the majority of his time writing music for films, teaching classical piano and voice, and spending time with his friends and family.
After taking classical piano lessons from ages 5-15, he began teaching piano himself, while pursuing more of a vocal track in high school; along with enjoying sports like Football, Track, and Basketball, Sam discovered a passion for Music Theater, and performed in shows through his high school and community theater; his favorite roles include “Link” in Hairspray, “Bert” in Mary Poppins, and “Riff” in Westside Story to name a few. He also participated in Wheaton North High School’s show choir, and found success as a soloist for the group, along with acting as the team’s Male Voice and Dance Captain. Additionally, he received the ILMEA All-State honors for choral vocalists twice, placing in the top-four tenors in the state. After high school, Sam attended Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he studied Contemporary Voice and Music Education, before leaving school to move to California and participate in ABC’s American Idol, where he placed in the Top-48. After filming the show, he decided to stay in California and attend Vanguard University to further his Music Education training, as well as study film-scoring and composition. Finally, after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down in-person learning, he transferred to Liberty University, and finished his degree, receiving a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies, focusing on Music, Business, and Religion.
Principal Instruments: Piano and Voice
Location: Coastal OC and Long Beach
My love of music began at home where I watched my dad spend every evening sitting at the piano after dinner. As the youngest of four who never wanted to miss out, I found my place playing alongside him soon enough and it’s that same passion for music that my dad shared with me that fuels my own love of teaching now. Nothing is more thrilling or exciting than seeing the joy of music sparked in someone else!
My dedication to teaching is rooted in my own love of learning, which began with piano lessons and school band and has continued well into my adulthood where I am continually seeking out new instruments and education to further develop my musicality. I have an Advanced Diploma in Songwriting from Hillsong International College in Sydney, Australia and recently spent 6 weeks in an intensive study of flamenco guitar with Joaquin Herrera in Barcelona, Spain. My education and travels have afforded me the opportunity to perform in arenas around the world, meet my heroes, and work in production on award winning albums. I know the power of not only a personal love of music, but just how far it can take you in life! It’s my honor to share that same opportunity with each of my students right there in the same place it began for me—the piano in the living room.
Emerson is studying piano performance at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at Long Beach State under the instruction of Craig Richey. She recently earned 2nd place at the George and Beverly August competition in October of 2022.
She studied piano at the Pasadena conservatory of Music and California School of the Arts San Gabriel Valley where she was awarded the Chopin Award and Department Director’s award. She has performed in masterclasses with artists such as Alex Shapiro, Eugene Asti, Bernadene Blaha, Dmitry Rachmanov, Andrew Park, Samuel Grodin, Ning An, Sarkis Baltaian, Raymond Erickson, and more.
Emerson loves to teach and share her love of music. She was awarded her Black belt in Taekwondo in 2020 and enjoys staying active and being outdoors.
Yitong Ding began studying piano since the age of 4 in his home country of China. He is a junior at CSULB as a piano performance
major. He is a recipient of a Cole Scholarship and a Keyboard Foundation
Yitong is a student of Dr. Shun-Lin Chou, and has previously studied with Professor Manami Kawamura in Pasadena City College. He has performed under numerous
capacities, including solo, collaborative, and various chamber ensembles. He was also a member of the PCC orchestra. In 2017, he won exceptional awards including PCC Concerto Competition, first place in Bertrand's Old Town Music Award for Piano Performance Scholarship
Competition, Franklin Tzeng Piano Award for Excellence in Music Studies, and the Collaborative Piano Award in Honor of Betty Dandy for Excellence in Music Studies. Yitong attended the 2019 Credo Music summer festival in Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio for further chamber music study. In his first year studying in CSULB, he was chosen to perform in the Conservatory showcase, and won 2nd place in Beverly August Piano Competition. He has performed in master classes taught by Stewart Gordon and Angela Cheng.
9921 Trower Ct, Fountain Valley, 92708