All ages will get an opportunity to learn from four successful musicians who will join the faculty members. The musicians have experience in various music genres, from classical to jazz, and have toured with symphonies and won awards for their crafts.
In the past, the school has brought in instructors such as a pianist from Russia and a drama teacher from South Africa.
“Over the years, when we’ve had the opportunity to bring in someone special, we’ve gone as far as sponsoring people for visas to come over here and teach,” Regina Gil, founder and executive director, said. “We like our students to have the best opportunities and to be exposed to people who are still doing the work that they’re teaching in the real world.”
Finland’s Tuomo Uusitalo, a jazz pianist, composer, arranger and educator will teach an advanced piano class at the school. Students will learn about piano, harmony and rhythm while being introduced to different styles of music such as jazz, pop and classical. Uusitalo will also teach the students about building repertoire, collective improvisation and ear training.
Jan Kus is a trained saxophone and clarinet player who also served the head of the Education department at the Slovenian-based institute Boben in Lajna. After years of working with students abroad, he feels like he could help budding musicians in Great Neck with classes from beginner piano, clarinet and saxophone to music theory.
“As an active, international working musician with a strong passion for music on one hand, and a two-time main organizer of an international summer camp of music on the other hand, I believe I possess the necessary qualities to help the students find their own paths, and reach the maximum of their musical and creative potential,” Kus said.
Taiwanese violinist Hsinwei Chiang has collaborated with various artists, from jazz to dance to world music and theater, after falling in love with the practice of improvisation. She also has extensive touring experience with symphony orchestras in Malaysia, Italy, Hong Kong, Berlin and California.
Chiang’s class will teach students aged six and older to learn basic violin and music training through games, stories and movements.
For students 14 years old and upwards, Maya Nova, a trained vocalist, will be leading a teen and adult jazz class. After spending 10 years teaching in Europe, Asia and America, Nova will teach students how to learn jazz standards form, how to choose the right key and making lyrics swing.
“All of these instructors have a real love of music and desire to share their passion with their students,” Ellen Schiff, director of the School of the Arts, said. “We are very fortunate to have these new, exciting international talents instructing at the Gold Coast Arts Center.”
From opening up in 1995, the center has influenced thousands of students whether it’s through music, Broadway, fine art or film programs.
The success of the teacher is if students remain or become interested in what they’ve been taught, Gil said.
“The real applause that they’ll get is the return of the student,” Gil said. “If they come back year after year until they graduate high school, which happens often, that’s the ultimate compliment.”