Nichole Boaz is a jazz pianist, composer, and teacher residing in the South Bay Area. She received both her B.M. and M.A. in Jazz Studies from San José State University, where she studied piano with Frank Sumares and Dahveed Behroozi. In the past, Nichole has taught at San Jose Jazz Summer Camp and Harker Lower School, and she currently teaches at San José State University. She performs regularly throughout the Bay Area with a variety of different musical ensembles, including 7th Street Big Band and The Killer Queens.
Tim Burke is a professional drummer and instructor, having received a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from San Jose State University in 2014. He has 15 years of performance experience and a large repertoire in Rock, Blues, and Jazz with shows varying from restaurants corners to weddings to the main stage. In addition to performing, Tim teaches drumming and music to students of all levels. Lessons include chart reading, technique, independence, and playing with recorded music. Tim takes great pride in professionalism and dependability.
Founder/Private Piano Instructor
Amir has been playing Piano since he was just two-years-old. Before his Piano lesson, he was able to play full pop songs on his father’s Yamaha PSR70 keyboard. He began lessons at age 6 with Jane Sherman, learning basic notation, fingering and different playing styles. After just 2 years, Ms. Sherman determined that she had taught Amir all she could, and recommended him to Ray Mcintyre, a classically-trained Pianist who taught private lessons out of his home. Amir mastered the works of Beethoven and Bach while with Mcintyre and slowly made the transition to Jazz Music under Martan Mann. During his instruction with Mann, Amir also became the lead Pianist in Monta Vista High School’s main Jazz quartet. During his Senior year, Amir won 1st place in both the Monta Vista school talent show as well as a district-wide award, performing instrumental Piano pieces.
After graduating High School, Amir began composing music for many artists around the Bay Area and released several instrumental songs of his work, some of which are available on iTunes. He’s also been recognized for his contribution to Silicon Valley based company, NEC Electronics, of which he provided original music for many of their company wide events and presentations.
Jennifer Ridout is a professional flutist and teacher, having received a B.M. in flute performance from San Jose State University with honors. While at San Jose State she was principal chair flute in the school’s top Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Ridout’s senior recital was acclaimed by SJSU faculty as having been one of the best student recitals ever held at the school. She has received instruction from and performed in master classes with a number of today’s top flutists, including Catherine Payne, Keith Underwood, Jim Walker, Christina Jennings, Leone Buyse, Isabelle Chapuis and Robert Stallman.
Distinguished as a “natural performer,” Ms. Ridout has a great passion for music and performance and enjoys passing along the art of performance and a thorough understanding of music to her students. Her students show improvement very quickly, noted in their success in band and orchestra programs. Ms. Ridout teaches beginning, intermediate, and advanced students.
Guitarist and music teacher Daniel Yarritu has been teaching and performing throughout the Bay Area and abroad since 1995. Trained in classical guitar and equally proficient in jazz, rock, and popular styles, he’s been in demand as a teacher for both beginning and advanced musicians and as a performer. He has held a regular gig with Favored Nations recording artist and guitar virtuoso James Robinson at Cascal in Mountain View, CA since 2004 and has appeared solo and with various ensembles in San Jose at the City Hall opening gala, the Center for the Performing Arts (with Kathleen Battle and the SJSU Choraliers, the Civic Center (with pop/opera group Il Divo and Orchestra) and Le Petit Trianon and headlined the 2004 Monterey First Night Festival with the Unknown Jeromes. As a member of the James Robinson group, he has also opened for Lee Ritenour in Livermore, CA for Guitar Player Live and for Keiko Matsui in Los Banos, CA. He recently was filmed playing guitar for an episode of “Total Divas” for television in Big Sur Park in CA in 2013.
Daniel received his early lessons in piano from the South Bay School of Music. His early lessons in guitar came from his sister Linda and he then moved to studying with James Robinson, Bahraam Behroozi (SJSU), Ken Schoeder, Pepe Haro (Spain), Antonio Calogero (Italy) and Peppino D’Agostino (Italy). He studied briefly in France with Belgian guitarist Johan Fostier and Argentinean guitarist Silvina Lopez. He has also performed in master classes with Lily Afshar, Denis Azabagic, Martha Masters and flutist Jill Felber and has participated in numerous classes with other instrumentalists at SJSU. Daniel graduated from Independence High School in San Jose and received his degree in English Literature with Honors at San Jose State University in 2004.
Daniel has taught at the South Bay School of Music and Independence High School and currently continues to teach guitar privately, for the San Jose Youth Symphony’s Music Matters program, at the Leffler academy, and we are now excited to welcome Daniel to the Tavan Music Academy family!
Diana Rey has played piano since she was four, and her love of music has since expanded into bass guitar and vocals. She’s been featured on keyboards/piano in a variety of projects and she’s played piano at notable venues such as NAMM 2015 in LA, The Hard Rock Casino in Tahoe, and the Fox Theater in Redwood City.
In addition to her love of music and teaching, Diana loves working with kids of all ages. She enjoys figuring out how to best teach and encourage each individual student to shine in their own way. Students can expect to learn how to read music, sightread, understand music theory, learn a repertoire of different musical genres, memorize chord progressions to play in an ensemble, and figure out what direction to go in future musical endeavors.
Callie Welch is a violinist and violist studying music at San Jose State University. She has experience teaching children and adults privately and in a classroom setting through Community Music School in Santa Cruz and the Strings Project in San Jose.
She plays both classical and folk music and loves sharing the joy of making music with others.
Arnie Sainz Co is a student at San José State University pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Music, with a dual emphasis in Music Education and Jazz Studies. He currently performs with the SJSU Jazz Orchestra and Symphonic Band, as well as coordinates the Music Educator’s Workshop Ensemble (M.E.W.E.). Arnie has been under the instruction of Dahveed Behroozi for jazz piano, Dr. Frank Levy for classical piano, Dr. Aaron Lington for Jazz Composition, and Dr. Diana Hollinger for Music Education. He has performed venues throughout the North America and Europe including Carnegie Hall, the North Sea, Montreux, Umbria, and Monterey Jazz Festivals – all under the direction of Keith Johnson from El Cerrito High School – and currently, performs with jazz groups all around the South Bay as a freelance musician. In his free time, Arnie composes music, performs with his jazz group TEHYA at venues in downtown San Jose, and enjoys photography.
Ren Geisick grew-up in Los Gatos, California and graduated with a degree in Jazz Vocal Performance from The Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at Cal-State Long Beach. In 2010, Ren was a recipient of an Ella Fitzgerald Scholarship and was awarded Outstanding Undergraduate Jazz Vocalist by Downbeat Magazine. Ren returned to the Bay Area to pursue music in her hometown. Over the past five years, she has had opportunities to perform at some excellent South Bay venues like Café Stritch, San Pedro Square Market, The Fairmont, The Hedley Club and The Continental Bar and Lounge. In April 2015, Ren had the rare opportunity to sing on Yoshi’s stage for the Living Jazz, Jazz Search West Finals, where she placed in the top four artists.
In September 2016, Ren recorded her debut album with producer and Grammy award winning songwriter, Jesse Harris. Her album will be released in 2017 and explores and combines her love for Americana, blues, and jazz.