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 studying cello, guitar and clarinet, 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 (and a minor in Psychology), 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!”
She’s also quite passionate about creating a wonderful space for both students and teachers in Mount Tabor Music School, which she founded in 2018 and manages full time in addition to teaching.
“Sarah, with her sense of humor, grace and nerves of steel took on our football playing, rough housing, tough guy 9-year-old and taught him to sit down, play piano and love it .” -Eamon, parent
“Sarah is one of those rare people who can connect with a child (and adult) and allow them to open up to learning and creativity.” –David, parent
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.
“Norman has a very patient and calm way about him that has helped our son become confident in playing and comfortable working with his teacher.” -Nick & Stephanie, parents
“We started her with lessons thinking we’d explore it for a few months, but Norman’s kind, teacherly approach and his easy-to-follow lesson plans made continuing a good investment of our time and money.” -Aimee, parent
Eleni was born and raised in Greece, where she got her music education. She knew she wanted to be an opera singer since the age of 11 when she first listened to Maria Callas. Since then music has been her life. In Greece, she studied music research and pedagogy in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. She then attended the Music College Conservatory where she majored in Classical Singing and Piano and attained music theory degrees in Harmony, Counterpoint and Fugue. She was a soloist and professional choir member for many years and began her teaching career there in 2008. Then life brought her to Portland. 🙂
Eleni believes in the importance of music not just as an art form, but also as a tool for personal well-being. Her lessons are geared towards the Classical style of singing but she also teach contemporary genres such as Jazz, Blues, Rock and Musical Theatre. Her main focus is helping students with physical, emotional and mental blockages, anxiety and stage fright. In her lessons she teachers her students breath support, correct posture and movement, annunciation, lyric expression and interpretation. She also teach students how to successfully prepare for auditions and competitions.
“Eleni has changed my life. I have always wanted to sing, and she has helped me progress so much farther than I ever thought possible. I’ve recommended her to a couple people, and they have all loved her too!” -Aaron, student
“Awesome teacher, I had to put a capo on the fourth fret because my range has gotten so much higher!” -Christian, student
Adam started playing the guitar in middle school. At the age of 12, his enthusiasm for the guitar accounts for his perfect attendance in guitar class. He discovered a love for playing music and spent every spare moment practicing. When the time came to join the high school orchestra, Adam had already added the violin to his instrumental capabilities. Throughout high school he thoroughly delighted in the challenges of inter-changing the violin and guitar and the diversity of performing in the orchestra, jazz band, and several rock bands. At age 18 he taught a guitar/ukulele class at Bellehaven Elementary School. He was inspired by the young students and decided to pursue music in college.
Adam’s journey through the academics of higher education spanned several schools before graduating from Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA with a degree in Audio Engineering. It was at the Conservatory of Music at the prestigious University of the Pacific where Adam first learned about Irish fiddle music. He was later chosen to present a lecture on Irish music in the Conservatory’s “Music of the World’s People” class. Adam went on to study jazz at San Francisco State. He is quick to recount how performing with Hafez Modirzideh in the Creative World Ensemble was a personal highlight. It’s no surprise that, by this time, Adam had expanded his instrumental proficiency beyond the guitar and violin to include piano, fiddle, mandolin, and percussion. This phenomenal background comes with Adam in every lesson he teaches.
Whether inherent or acquired, Adam’s skill set also includes the ability to hear the progression of chords and harmonics within a song as it is being performed. After more than 20 years of teaching students of all skill levels, Adam’s calm and pleasant demeanor still lights up when a casual conversation provides an edge of new understanding that he can share with his students. Adam customizes his lesson plans to fit the goals of each student. He believes in a well rounded musical education including technique, theory, and repertoire. This method gives his students the tools to learn and play for the rest of their lives! His musical knowledge and passion inspire students and keeps them interested in playing. Adam always shares his joy in playing and performing and that comes through in his fun lesson style. Students do a variety of musical activities like reading music, jamming, and exercises.
You can see Adam perform with Portland’s premier Celtic fiddle group, the Katie Jane Band where he plays guitar, fiddle, and mandolin. He also enjoys arranging and recording on their albums.
Texas-born Beth Wood is an award-winning songwriter, a modern-day troubadour, and believer in the power of song. Her exceptional musicianship, crafty songwriting, powerhouse voice, and commanding stage presence have been winning over American audiences for over twenty years. Beth’s performances and songs have won accolades from the Kerrville New Folk, Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, and Telluride Troubadour Contest. Beth has released eleven independent albums and two books of poetry and has a forthcoming duo album with Ara Lee James and a book of stories from the road to be released in Spring 2018.
There have been incredible and surreal moments in the spotlight: opening for Steve Winwood, Michael McDonald, Shawn Colvin, Chris Whitley; being a four-time featured artist on Cayamo, a week-long Caribbean songwriters’ cruise along with most of her living musical heroes; singing the national anthem for 42,000 people at a major league baseball game; discussing guitar tunings with David Crosby backstage at a festival; being featured on “Troubadour, TX”, a nationally syndicated documentary-style singer-songwriter reality television series airing in almost 40 million households and 140 U.S. markets. What matters to Beth more than awards or sales or big spotlight moments is connecting with people through music night after night. Her dream is move something with her music, whether it’s a swirling emotion or a curious mind or tapping feet. Her mission is to communicate joy. That may not be the glamorous part but it is the engine that keeps this stubborn and determined artist on the road year after year. It’s what keeps the songs coming and the words turning. It’s what keeps her dreaming in music at night.
Beth’s work has expanded to include teaching voice and song coaching as well as leading workshops at festivals, songwriting retreats and beyond. Beth believes that engagement in the process of creation is as important as its outcome. Her musical philosophy is that there are no wrong notes.
Beth is thrilled to join the team at Mount Tabor Music School! She will be offering one-on-one songwriting coaching, beginning guitar, and voice and performance coaching. One of Beth’s passions is helping people unlock and effectively deliver the stories that lie within.
“A woman with the heart of songcraft in her blood and the exceptional musicianship to back it up.” — The Corvallis Advocate
“Wood manages to capture the essence of a Dolly Parton or Guy Clark with relative ease.” –Pop Matters