Excellence, Fun, Convenient
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 great art can change the world.
Justin is from Denver, Colorado and has been playing piano since age 6. He received a BA in Classical and Jazz Piano Studies from MSU Denver and loves nothing more than sharing his passion for music with others. He has over 28 years playing and 10 years of seasoned teaching experience, much of which has been with kids.
He strongly believes in helping his students have fun and realize their fullest musical potential, with lessons being tailored to the individual student. Having perfect pitch, he specializes in ear training and improvisation, modern piano styles and advanced music theory. Justin mentored with Classical pianists Tamara Goldstein and Peter Friesen, as well as critically acclaimed jazz piano greats Art Lande, Eric Gunnison, Peter Martin and Dennis Hamm from the grammy-winning band Thundercat. His originally composed jazz EP received world-wide radio airplay on Denver’s own 89.3 FM KUVO jazz radio station. He teaches all levels and all styles including Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, Blues, Gospel, Latin and Contemporary piano styles. He also teaches beginner acoustic and electric guitar. Having spent time in both the Denver and Los Angeles music scenes over the years being involved in multiple bands and recording projects, Justin is a versatile and adaptable keyboardist, composer and educator who loves teaching students of all ages and levels. Outside of music he enjoys chess, golf and traveling.
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.
After graduating from the University of California, Irvine with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Social Behavior, I decided to pursue a career in conjunction with my passions and work towards getting a Master’s degree in music.
My passion for music has translated into an aptitude for learning and integrating concepts and ideas related to music as demonstrated by my success in musicianship, music theory, performance, and composition classes at Saddleback College. Previous work at the UCI Early Childhood Education Center have helped me to develop strong communication skills with both parents and children. I am excited to combine my experiences to help every child learn!