Benjamin J. McClara
President, Artistic Director, Founder
Strings Teacher: Guitar/Violin/Fiddle/Double Bass/ Electric Bass, Projects Director
Mr. McClara teaches the strings studio, focusing upon beginning Fiddle, classical violin, cello, and double bass. He teaches a lot of guitar, electric guitar, electric bass, percussion and basic musicianship. Mr. McClara is a Certified Teacher for Sacramento City Unified School District, & holds a Bachelor of Music Performance in Double Bass from California State University Sacramento. Aside from his private studio of string students, Mr. McClara Founded and Directs the Guitar Project, Guitar Project Ensemble, conducts the SPMA String Ensemble, and is Executive Director of SPMA.
Piano/Saxophone/Composition/Improvisation Michael Dale is a composer/improviser and multi-instrumentalist based in Sacramento. He earned his BM in composition and performance at CSU, Sacramento. He also holds an MA from Mills College in Oakland, where he studied with such luminaries as Fred Frith (composer for the films Rivers and Tides and Touch the Sound) and Roscoe Mitchell (founder of Art Ensemble of Chicago). Michael has an active performance schedule in many different musical styles, both as a pianist and as woodwind specialist. Michael teaches MIDI, Pro Tools, and Music Theory at Folsom Lake College, and is now proud to join the roster of Sac Prep Music Academy. His teaching style is based on a patient, supportive approach in which he works with each student to design a technique and repertoire that fits them best. He has developed a synthesis of the insights of his own teachers combined with his own intuitive discoveries from 20 years of teaching. Methodologies such as Suzuki, Waldorf education, and Orff have also been influential. Musical style is not as important as the combination of physical experience, intellectual understanding and emotional sensitivity which leads to true mastery. As the great Jazz educator David Liebman put it: “Hands, Head, Heart … but we start with the hands.”
Brennen Milton – SPMA Vice President/Treasurer & Woodwinds Teacher: Clarinet, Woodwind Coaching & Chamber Master Classes. Mr. Milton holds a Masters of Music Degree from the California State University Sacramento School of Music. Brennen is very warm hearted teacher, true musician and a southern gentleman; we are so very happy to have him teaching woodwinds at Sac Prep Music Academy. SPMA is working with Brennen to expand our Band Music Program. His expertise will be an asset to future Band Students at the Academy. He is available for private lessons, beginning group lessons, and will head the SPMA Woodwind Project & Workshops.
Gabriel Nelson has been playing music for almost 40 years, with an emphasis on electric bass, guitar, and singing. He has toured the U.S. several times, as well as Europe, Australia, Asia, South America, Canada and Mexico for 20 years as a bassist with legendary pop band Cake, performing for audiences large and small. As an arranger he has composed not only basslines, but guitar, vocal harmonies, strings, horns, and keyboard music for their self-produced albums, some of which went gold and platinum, nationally and internationally. He has had thousands of hours performing live, on television, and in the recording studio as both a musician and technician.
In 2007, in between tours, Gabriel started teaching music and discovered that sharing his knowledge and experience is something he truly enjoys. His lessons focus on proper technique, music theory, sight reading, composition, and song.
Cello/Violin/Viola & K Street Orchestra
Cellist, conductor, and educator in Sacramento, Taylor studied performance at CSU, Sacramento & discovered a love for improvising and playing in non-classical genres. Taylor has recorded on over 40 albums & is the creator and conductor of The K Street Orchestra. Krystyna has been teaching in Sacramento for over 15 years and especially loves bringing the joy of learning an instrument to adults. She has a private teaching studio of over 50 students and teaches children through adults.
Violin/Beginning Piano Studies
At the age of 5 Miss Dzik began her studies on violin. Classically trained by Anna Presler, her violin teacher and professor at CSUS School of Music, Joanna will graduate with a Bachelors of Music in Violin Performance in Spring of 2017. Miss Dzik has enjoyed performing a wide variety of classical music in both chamber settings and the CSUS Symphony Orchestra.
Guitar Lessons & Group Guitar Classes
Mr. Kuvakos began studying music and guitar in January 2007. He has been teaching private lessons since 2012, specializing in Jazz, Classical, Blues, and Pop stylings. He has performed throughout Sacramento, Minnesota, and Singapore, and is the recipient of the 2015-2016 Resh Michael Memorial Scholarship for Applied Music Students at American River College. Currently, Eric is finishing a Bachelors of Music in Jazz Studies at CSU Sacramento. He loves to teach, perform, collaborate, and spread the joy of music. Mr. Kuvakos will teach group guitar classes on the weekends at SPMA and is available for Private guitar lessons.