Meet our teachers:
Joni Clare, Norman Hamilton and Sarah Collins. Each have degrees in music and/or education plus extensive teaching experience and they couldn’t be happier to be here!
And we have THREE new teachers joining us in the next two months! Stay tuned!
Joni Clare | Voice, Piano, & Songwriting
Joni Clare is a performing vocalist, songwriter and vocal coach also training to be an Alexander Technique teacher. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her early vocal training included classical, jazz, musical theater and gospel repertoires while performing in the University Choir, Women’s Choir and Jazz Ensemble. She later specialized in extended vocal techniques, experimental improvisation, composition and vocal pedagogy with performances in the Contemporary Music Ensemble, Experimental Improvisation Ensemble and a collaborative vocal-dance piece.
Clare’s early singing and performances took place in church, home and school. She developed a passion and meaning for music singing with her mom and dad in many positive, loving communities that she remains grateful for today. She took every opportunity to sing solos and lead characters in show choir, musical productions, class choir and solo and ensemble events. It is very clear that early on, Clare carried strong ambition and no fear to sing out and these characteristics are still streaming in her performances and teaching practice today.
Clare began performing professionally before college, first as a backup singer and then as a soloist. She began writing music in 2011 and released her first solo album, “Dividing Silence” in 2012. Soon after she started performing regularly in the most sought-after venues in Milwaukee as well as private weddings. She released another EP “Harvest” (2015) while an art-in-resident at the Wormfarm Institute in Reedsburg, Wisconsin. She has recorded vocals in many collaborative projects and has been an active member of the improvising communities. Portlanders can regularly see Clare perform with her current band, The City Pines.
Sarah’s first experiences with piano involved learning simple classic duets with her Mom like “Chopsticks” and “Heart and Soul.” She began piano and voice lessons as a small child and continued to study, play and sing through college, focusing on musical theater and classical techniques. She simultaneously explored other musical interests by taking dance lessons, writing songs and performing in musicals, show choirs, and a variety of other singing groups.
After graduating from Sam Houston State University with a BFA in Musical Theater in 2003, Sarah began performing in musicals and with bands professionally in Austin. She also started teaching voice and piano lessons to the kids she was performing with. She quickly discovered a passion for teaching that outweighed anything she’d experienced as a performer and dove into teaching piano and preschool.
These days Sarah loves infusing all the wonderful teaching ideas she’s learned from preschool, musical theater and classical training into her lessons. “I never lose sight of the student’s enjoyment, and work hard to find music that each student loves to play. And I find consistently that the more my students learn about piano, the more they love it!”
Norman Hamilton | Guitar, Ukulele, & Banjo
Norman learned to play guitar from his father who taught classical guitar at a University. His mother was also an active musician who played piano and worked at a music store. Music was highly valued by both parents so it played an important part of family life.
In college Norman earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Utah. He then completed post-graduate work to receive a teaching certificate in Special Education for grades K-12 at Utah State University. After graduating he taught at several elementary schools, working with students who were struggling academically. During this time he continued his music education by studying classical guitar and clawhammer banjo with Rene Berblinger.
In 2003 he started teaching music lessons and was soon teaching full time. He offers lessons to children as well as adult beginners and more advanced students. He believes that playing music has lot to offer to everyone and strives to make lessons fun, challenging and a positive experience. Lessons are structured and tailored fit to meet the interests and abilities of each individual.
Norman enjoys playing a wide variety of music in his spare time. His current projects include playing tangos for classical guitar, adding to an ever-expanding playlist of clawhammer banjo tunes and writing arrangements of traditional music from the British Isles.