Rusty Graeff’s father was involved in music as a live sound engineer and naturally began forcing the guitar upon his son at an early age. After graduating from Curtis High School, Rusty earned a B.M. in music performance from Western Washington University, focusing on the tuba as his primary instrument in what was quite possibly an act of rebellion against his rock ‘n roll parents. During this time he played in the school’s top wind ensemble, jazz ensembles, brass quintet, symphony and pit orchestras, and assisted his professors in teaching Jazz Band II and low brass pedagogy. A highlight of his experience at WWU was working closely with Chuck Israels, a bassist and composer best known for his recordings with Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, and John Coltrane. Studying harmony, improvisation, arranging, and jazz history with Israels instilled into Rusty a lifelong dedication to the craft of music.
As a performer, Rusty has played music in over 30 states and 3 countries with many groups including the Whatcom Symphony and Washington Brass, as well as smaller groups ranging in styles from punk to R&B to indie rock and metal. As a lesson-taker himself he has studied guitar with contemporary legends John Stowell, Dave Peterson, and Steve Brown.
As a teacher, Rusty takes an individual approach customized for each student based on their needs and goals as a musician. This usually consists of blending “fundamentals and fun.” The former being a
methodical approach to sight-reading, ear training and all-around musicianship, and the latter consisting of applying the guitar to music that interests the student on a personal level. Rusty maintains a roster of 50+ students in his teaching studio and spends the rest of his time in the recording studio as the in-house engineer at Sound West Audio in downtown Tacoma.
Jason has been playing drums for 11 years, and teaching drums for 8. He has experience playing in junior high and high school concert bands, as well as marching band and jazz band. Jason has studied drums for 6 years and also has a background in piano. Currently, he plays drums professionally for a number of bands in the Pacific Northwest, including Sub-Motive (original Blues/Rock), The Ben E Band (Pop/R&B cover band), Keely (origiznal R&B), Mia Vermillian (original Blues/Jazz), JCSL Worship Band (Christian Rock), The Halyards (original Americana/Nautical Rock) and The Side Project (original Pop).
Jason teaches drums in the musical styles of rock, funk, jazz, and Latin. His lessons focus on a broad range of topics including: sight reading, ear training, hand technique, foot technique, rudiments and their practical application to the drumset, drumset tuning, understanding song structure, warm-up/endurance/speed exercises, and playing musically. His lessons are also tailored to each individual’s areas of special interest, so don’t hesitate to ask!
Dylan Dearinger has been playing music in the Pacific Northwest for over 20 years. After studying at Pierce College in Steilacoom and the University Of Washington, earning an AA in Music Performance, Dylan began teaching and playing full time.
His playing experience ranges from concert bands to big bands and jazz combos, as well as various Top 40 Dance, Rock, and R&B groups, including New Jack City and The Move. He has also played in several Live Band Karaoke groups such as Star Machine and, most recently, RockBot.
Dylan has played at many of Western Washington’s top venues including The Paramount, The Showbox, Muckleshoot, Emerald Queen, and Tulalip Casinos, as well as the Tacoma Dome. In addition, he has had the opportunity to open for such premier acts as Montel Jordan and Tony Toni Tone.
Also on his playing resume are a one-year stint with several original projects in Miami as well as a 2-month Mediterranean tour with Holland-America, which included several stops in Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Monaco, and Portugal.
Chuck loves to teach electric and acoustic guitar in the style of rock, blues, pop, jazz, classical, flamenco, fusion, metal, county, and folk. He has taught hundreds of students around the United States of all ages starting as low as 5 and the oldest so far 81. Every student is different and will be taught as unique individuals. His teaching style will change and mold to each student as seen fit. Chuck has fun teaching attitude and expects students to practice a minimum of a 1/2 hour or more every day. Students will need a folder that they bring to every lessons to put handouts and books in. They also should bring an electric guitar tuner, a set of extra strings and picks!!!
Chuck has dedicated his life to learning the guitar and loves to pass on the knowledge to his students. He has been teaching guitar for 9 years and has been playing for 15 years. Chuck has his B.A. in Music from Central Washington University where he studied classical guitar. He also went to school and received his RAP (Recording Artist Program) at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California. His focus at M.I. was music business, digital audio recording, electric guitar, digital media, and song writing. Charles has also spent many summers traveling across the United States teaching guitar for National Guitar Workshop. At NGW Chuck taught classrooms and guitar clinics in all styles and avenues of guitar playing with some of the best guitar teachers in North America. Having such a special opportunity teaching for NGW has helped push Chuck to new heights in his playing and teaching career.
I am native to the Washington area. I’ve been living up here for the last 10 years, since moving up to finish my BA at Pacific Lutheran University. I graduated with a BA in Music with an emphasis in Jazz Piano Performance. I have been teaching piano and voice at Ted Brown Music Puyallup store for two years. I have been playing around the Puget Sound area with my jazz trio for the last 8 years playing various venues, private parties, and weddings. I am also a Worship Leader with Lighthouse Christian Center on Sunday’s in the Puyallup area.
I teach piano from a method approach. Though I do try to cater to the students’ needs and goals, I want you to be able to play what you’d like to play, but also leave my teaching a better all around musician. I do stress theory, chords, and scales, and try to give you some good advice and tips on how to play in a real world setting with other musicians. When teaching voice, I have similar strategies, though voice is a very individual approach. We look at the basics of singing and work on incorporating them into the vocalist’s repertoire of songs and voice.
DiAnne began playing flute in 5th grade and quickly became a competitive flute player; participating in solo & ensemble, band contests, Illinois state contest, youth symphony, pops orchestra, and many honor groups (performing in several states and in Europe) in high school and college. She began playing and studying saxophone in 8th grade and joined jazz band in 9th grade. She continued performing and competing on saxophone at jazz festivals, competitions, and in small jazz combos throughout high school, college, and as an adult. Currently, she is playing saxophone in Pierce College Concert Band and flute for various groups for weddings, funerals, and special occasions. She is teaching at Valley Christian School (general music, band, and bell choir), Ted Brown Music (flute and saxophone), and Glacier View Junior High (band para-educator for 5th-6th grade band).
Her education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Western Illinois University and a Master of Music Education from the University of Washington. She has taught flute, saxophone, and euphonium privately and has been a band teacher for 17 years. Some of her private teachers include: Robert Webb, Gerald Carey, Mary Louise Poor, and Rae Terpenning.
Private lessons are taught using many methods. Students are encouraged in a positive manner to reach their highest potential. We work on sound production, technique, ear training, and other musical skills that will improve your overall saxophone or flute playing. Many written methods are used including Mark Thomas flute method, Rubank duets and technique books, Top Register Studies, Aebersold methods, Niehaus studies, and various play-a-long books. Each student is given a notebook with specific goals to work on at each lesson. Our goal in each lesson is to give the student tools to improve their self confidence, poise, performance abilities, and answer any questions regarding band or other needed music.
Karen Tadena is a freelance violinist and professional violin instructor. She is a native of the Pacific Northwest and holds an undergraduate degree from Pacific Lutheran University, which she earned in 1992. At Pacific Lutheran University, Karen studied violin under the tutelage of Ann Tremaine, a protégé of famed violinist Jascha Heifetz. Karen has been active in the Pacific Northwest music community for over twenty years. Currently, she is a member of the award-winning Arcobaleno Strings ensemble and the Tacoma Opera Orchestra. Karen has also performed with the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, Evergreen City Ballet Orchestra, Yakima Symphony Orchestra, Rainier Symphony, Pacific Lutheran University Symphony and Federal Way Symphony Orchestra.
Karen believes that education is not possible without student motivation and passion. She specializes in individually tailoring her teaching methods to meet the learning style and needs of each student. Through her years of teaching experience, Karen has realized that a combination of both the Suzuki method and Traditional studies have worked well for students. She teaches skills such as the importance of proper practice, self-motivation, audition preparation, and the relevance of music theory and history. Karen serves as a violin coach for the Tacoma Youth Symphony Evergreen Music Festival, taught in the University of Puget Sound Community Music program and is currently the Director of Music at the Federal Way Public Academy.
Karen teaches all ability levels from beginning to advanced, ages 6 to adult.
Jinny has a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degree from the University of British Columbia in Canada. She has many years of experience teaching music with a variety of population. She had a private studio and taught at Guildford School of Music and Dance as a piano and voice instructor before she moved to the United States. She also conducted both adult’s and children’s choirs from churches and communities.
Jinny’s goal in teaching music is to provide the students with all the skills that they need to enjoy music throughout their lives. She not only teaches how to play and sing but also makes sure that they have a good musical foundation. She works hand in hand with theory and ear training. Jinny also has a degree in Music Therapy and has adopted innovative ways to make music more interesting to the students.