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BEST MUSIC EDUCATION IN HOUSTON – LEARN FROM TOP INSTRUCTORS

We help people of all ages and skill levels achieve their music dreams. Ready to get started?

Meet Our instructors

BILL ALLISON - Banjo, Bass, Guitar, Ukulele

Teaching Since: 2005
Education: North Texas University

Bill Allison, a professional musician since 1986 and a graduate of North Texas University teaches guitar, bass, banjo and harmonica. He began his teaching career at Houston’s House of Guitars, where he taught until 2005 when he began teaching at Memorial Music. In addition to teaching, Bill has collaborated with many professional bands and musicians, appearing as a guest artist and composing music for filmed performances of well known bands – (see youtube videos: “Sonny Boy Terry 95“ with Bill as a featured guitarist and “Sonny Boy Terry at The Artery” where Bill is the bassist).

Bill is also featured guitarist and co-writer on several tracks of the Sonny Boy Terry CD: Breakfast Dance. He appeared in the book Texas Blues by Alan Govenar. Bill is also a featured guitarist on the soundtrack for the upcoming film Double Bayou by Heather Kolb, who also directed the documentary film Third Ward Blues. He is fluent in several musical styles including rock, blues, slide, country, bluegrass, gospel, contemporary praise and worship, acoustic finger-style, classical and flamenco. His teaching emphasizes a strong foundation encompassing technique, theory, reading, ear training and the fundamentals of performing. He brings his great talent and vast experience to the classroom and is a well-qualified mentor of students aspiring to learn all they can about playing and performance.

BILL SOLLEY - Bass, Guitar

Education: BA in Classical guitar performance from the University of New Orleans 1980

Winner of the “Louis Panzera scholarship 1977”. Winner of “Louisiana Composers competition 1994”.Bill has performed at numerous clubs and festivals around the world. Bill is well versed in Classical guitar,Jazz,Fusion,Blues,Funk and Brazilian music but, his forte is accompanying many of the fine Jazz singers across the country including his wife Kim Prevost. Bill has over 30 years teaching experience! His credits include 1999 B.E.T on Jazz discovery winner, Featured artist in “ Finger style Magazine”.Performances and or recordings with Arturo Sandoval, Terri Lynn Carrington, Bobby McFerrin, Bill Summers (Head Hunters),Amina Figarova, Dave Valentine, Stanley Jordan, Will Kennedy(Yellow Jackets) and Allen Toussaint.

Bill was proud to take part in the blockbuster film “RAY” in which he was guitar instructor to Oscar nominated actor Terrence Howard.

ELLEN JOHNSTON - Violin

Ellen Johnston is a Texas born classically trained violinist, teacher, and performer. She first started the piano at the age of six and picked up the violin at age nine, and has been teaching and performing for well over a decade. She went on to study at Loyola University, New Orleans, on a music scholarship where she studied violin performance with Nadja Salerno-Sonnenburg and Amy Thaiville.

Ms. Johnston concentrated her studies in chamber music and solo performance, as well as college-level piano. In 2019, she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelors in Music Performance. Ellen has performed with the Romero Quartet, the Loyola Strings orchestra, and the Chamber Orchestra of Music In the Mountains.

She has taught all age ranges of students and believes music is an essential part of education. During her time in New Orleans, Ellen worked with the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra to spread her love of music to the community and taught privately. She now resides in Houston, Texas, where she continues to teach and perform.

ERNESTO VEGA - Clarinet, Flute, Saxophone

Teaching Since: 2014
Education: Higher Institute of Art, La Havana Cuba

Ernesto Vega is a graduate of the Higher Institute of Art, La Havana Cuba, Bachelor of Music – 2005. He also attended The Music Conservatory “Jose M. Ochoa” Holguin, Cuba. He is an exceptional musician and composer of various works on clarinet, flute and saxophone. Ernesto performs regularly with the well known jazz musician, Chucho Valdez. His recently released CD – Venir al Mundo is a masterpiece that showcases his great musical talents and versatility on the woodwind instruments. Ernesto is currently collaborating with Joe Sample and is awaiting the release of yet another album. He will be performing much of this music at venues across the United States.

He formed The Ernesto Vega Quintet in 2011 and was a 2010 Young Cuban Master, Cuba – France. He has performed with bands and orchestras worldwide and been a featured performer in many notable events and festivals such as the Joe Sample Orchestra – Houston, Texas, Havana Jazz Collective, The Trinity Jazz Festival – Houston, Texas, Jazz in Marciac – France, North Sea Jazz Festival – Rotterdam, Holland, and Lausanne Jazz Festival in Switzerland. His accomplishments are too numerous to list and he continues to write, record and perform what he does so very well. Here in Houston Ernesto teaches the piano, teaches saxophone, and teaches clarinet. He offers instruction and mentoring of students from beginner – age 5 to adult and all levels of proficiency.

GABE BRAVO - Drum, Guitar, Mandolin, Ukulele

Teaching Since: 2010
Education: University of Houston

Gabe Bravo, a veteran of the local underground music scene, got his start at music singing for his church and a local boys choir. Gabe is a multi-instrumentalist, playing guitar, drums, bass guitar, mandolin, various brass instruments, and ukulele. His accolades include being nominated individually and with his various bands for 9 Houston Press Music Awards, winning Best Rock in 2012, and Best Drummer in 2012 and 2013.

IRENA MITOVA - Piano

Teaching Since: 2010
Education: Leipzig Conservatory in Germany, University of Houston

Irena Mitova began her musical studies with piano music at the age of five in her native country of Bulgaria. In 2001 she was accepted at the Leipzig Conservatory in Germany where she studied Music Theory and Piano for six years. Just recently, in June of 2018, she earned her second music degree in Composition under the supervision of Dr. David Ashley White, Rob Smith and Marcus Maroney at the University of Houston.

During her studies in Texas she wrote for different music ensembles, prepared recitals, and participated in numerous competitions. In 2017 she won second place in the Sarofim Composition Contest with one of her string quartets while playing the piano. While at the Moores School of Music, she also joined the piano studios of some of Houston’s most distinguished piano professors and pedagogies.

Mrs. Irena teaches piano technique, teaches classical piano repertoire, teaches piano composition, and teaches piano music theory. As a piano teacher with the benefit of more than ten years of experience, she is particularly dedicated to providing her piano students with different aspects of piano performance, music appreciation, and general knowledge of musical forms and classical piano repertoire. Last but not least, Irena enjoys teaching piano students of all ages and different backgrounds.

Israel Sanchez - Clarinet, Flute, Saxophone

Teaching Since: 2008
Education: Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León
Israel Sanchez is a distinguished musician and dedicated educator with roots deeply planted in Monterrey, Mexico. His journey in music began at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, where he honed his skills and deepened his love for the saxophone. With a career spanning over 15 years, Israel has not only mastered his instrument but also shared his passion with a broad spectrum of students, ranging from PreK children to adults. Since 2008, he has been inspiring and educating aspiring musicians, bringing a wealth of experience gained from collaborating with renowned artists in Mexico. His commitment to the art of music and education makes him a valuable asset to any music academy.

JAMES NAPIER - Bass, Guitar, Ukulele

Teaching Since: 1996
Education: University of Houston

James fluently plays the piano and the guitar. Well-versed in a variety of styles on the guitar and piano, he is currently performing classical guitar programs at various venues. Also his rock/blues band, Kindred Spirits recently released a new CD, featuring all original works on acoustic and electric guitar. They are gigging around town and rocking their audiences with great music and entertainment. James has several CD’s to his credit and continues to perform and work in the studio to write and record new music.

He teaches guitar for all ages and all levels of playing from beginner to advanced; styles include rock guitar, blues guitar, jazz guitar, classical guitar, country guitar, gospel guitar, contemporary Christian guitar, and finger-style acoustic guitar. Guitar classes include a combination of guitar theory, guitar technique, guitar reading, guitar composition, and performing with the guitar. James is a very popular teacher and has influenced many aspiring musicians through the years with his unique style of mentoring.

JORDAN HUDSON - Bass, Guitar, Ukulele

Teaching Since: 2002
Education: University of North Texas

Jordan Hudson has been teaching guitar at Memorial Music since 2002. He studied music theory at the University of North Texas and has been playing guitar for over 20 years. Jordan has played in local bands for the past 10 years and his own rock/blues band, Buffalo Bayou has several recordings to their credit on their album released in 2010, featuring original music that he composed and collaborated on.

He is proficient in a number of styles including rock, blues, pop, jazz, country, folk, finger-style, and contemporary praise and worship. His popularity as a teacher is tremendous, due to his exceptional ability to communicate and demonstrate musical concepts and techniques, instructing and tailoring the lessons for the individual’s needs and goals. Whether you want to learn specific songs, learn to perform, music theory, composition, site reading or acquire a certain style, Jordan is an excellent teacher and mentor of students of all ages and all levels of playing.

JULIAN MARQUEZ - Calculus, Math, Tutor

Teaching Since: 2016
Education: Master of Science in Mathematics and Bachelor of Science in Mathematics (Sam Houston State University)

Julian began tutoring math in his undergraduate sophomore year and has been tutoring ever since. Although he loves teaching any level, his favorite classes are Calculus 1 and 2. Julian has experience teaching from 1st grade to 12th, and most recently has been an instructor at Sam Houston State University. In his personal time you can find Julian is either cooking new recipes, watching new anime shows, or training for kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitions.

Karenia Garrido - Clarinet, Flute, Piano, Saxophone

Education: The Higher Institute of Arts, La Havana, Cuba
Karenia Garrido was a member of the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba playing clarinet and bass clarinet from  2010 to 2012. She joined the Houston Latin-American Philharmonic in 2013 until 2017. She is a member of the Houston Repertoire Ballet Orchestra, 2023.

Karenia is a 2006 honor graduate of The Higher Institute of Arts, La Havana, Cuba. She began her career as a member of the Holguin Symphony Orchestra, where she was appointed Pricipal Clarinet in 2004. She appeared as a soloist in 2005-2006 performing the Carl María von Weber Clarinet Concerti, No.1 and No.2.Her rich experience as a clarinetist allowed her to join the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba participating at The World’s Symphony Festival of Moscow, Russia 2010, The International Ballet Festival of La Havana and the National Symphony Orchestra first tour in the United States, performing over 22 concerts in different universities and important venues such as: Kauffman Center of the Performing Arts, Kansas City, MO; Symphony Hall, Allentown,PA; Mechanics Hall, Worcester, MA; Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, Bronx, NY; Mahaffey Theater, St Petersburg,Fl.

LENDYS DIAZ - Music Theory, Piano, Voice

Teaching Since: 2010
Education: University of Arts, Cuba

Ms. Lendys was born in Cuba and began her musical studies at the age of 7 in vocational schools of art. She studied for 15 years in the specialties of piano, voice and music theory. Lendys has a degree in Music Education, and also a Bachelor’s Degree in Musicology from the University of Arts. Her love for education started very early with teaching neighborhood kids, and she eventually became a professor in the subjects of theory and piano at the Nola Saigh Sainz School of Music in Ciego de Avila, Cuba. Since then, she’s always had a passion for teaching and helping others develop their skills. Lendys started teaching music lessons in 2010 with goals to make every lesson fun, to let the students explore music, and to give them great experiences through music. She achieves this by adapting each lesson in accordance with the student’s interests, skill level, personality, and learning style. In Houston, Lendys teaches piano, voice, and theory to children, teenagers and adults in both the public and private sectors for 8 years in Cuba and the United States. In her music classes here at Memorial Music Lendys works to accommodate all levels of musicians. Ms. Lendys is fluent in English and Spanish!

ONIS YISSEL RUIZ HERNANDEZ - Piano, Voice

My name is Onis, I am a singer, pianist and music teacher. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Musicology, graduated with honors from the University of the Arts ISA in Havana, Cuba. I´ve been theaching music as a professional teacher since 2009, teaching Musical Analysis, Harmony and Music Theory at the Amadeo Roldán Conservatory of Music of Havana (Pre-University), teaching at the University of Arts while coursing Master Degree in Musicology, and teaching music in serveral schools from Cuba, Mexico and United States.

I have been teaching music for more than thirteen years and during this time I have had the opportunity to teach professional and amateur students, from 4 years old children to 65 years old adults. I´ve taught from Piano and Voice, Choir and Vocal groups performance, Polyphony and Counterpoint, Harmony and Solfeggio, Music Theory and Music History and Musical Analysis.
I started studying music at the age of 7 and since then I have performed diverse genres and styles of international music in several stages, bands and shows, perfoming salsa, cumbia, merengue, cuban son, chachacha, bachata, bolero, jazz, bossa nova, samba, reggae, disco, pop, country, blues, ballad, reggaeton, korean pop, hindi, smooth jazz, soundtracks, Disney, etc. My musical influences range from the great performers of Classical, Cuban, Brazilian, American and International music singers and musicians such as Elena Burke, Argelia Fragoso, Elis Regina, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Freddy Mercury, Diana Krall, Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé, etc.

All that influence is reflected in my personalized teaching methods adapted to the needs and musical tastes of my students. I love to experiment with my students and take their interpretation of music to the next level, on the piano or with their voices, together we create a space where their essence, their personality and their unique voices can be heard; what is authentic in them can be expressed, made visible and listened through their performance from the scene at Memorial Music School to the stages of the world.

More about me? I love to learn, read, travel, eat!, listen to music, play and sing music from all over the world, study the phonetics of the languages I sing, I am passionate about world history and culture, and music allows me to know all that diversity, all those essences.

SONNY BOY TERRY - Harmonica

Blues Harmonica man “Sonny Boy” Terry Jerome earned his moniker gigging, touring, and recording the past 40 years with Houston Blues icons Johnny Clyde Copeland, Grady Gaines, Joe Guitar Hughes, and Calvin Owens. Terry is featured in the 2007 book Texas Blues: The Rise of a Contemporary Sound (Alan Govenar). No stranger to success with two well received CDs on Doc Blues Records that introduced him on the International Blues scene as a front man, Terry has appeared on over 27 albums as a session Harmonica player.

As a music teacher, Sonny Boy Terry has been teaching private lessons for 40 years. He has worked with a variety of non-profit organizations teaching Harmonica at colleges, and at both public and private schools. He has also taught at corporate retreats for major oil and gas companies and at various music stores in and around Houston.

Terry shares responsibility for developing the acclaimed Blues ‘N’ Kids Blues in schools education program when he founded the Houston Blues Society and served as president for 3 years. With public and private donations, plus grant funding from the Cultural Arts Council of Houston, they brought Blues, Harmonica, and music education to children in community centers, schools, colleges, and places like Project Row Houses, the Eldorado Ballroom, and the Shape Community Center. In his final year as President, the Houston Blues Society won Keepin’ the Blues Alive award for the world’s best Blues organization presented by the Blues Foundation out of Memphis, TN. He has also produced several Harmonica festivals offering performances and teaching seminars that included quite a few of America’s finest performers and instructors.

Rich with experience, Terry is adept at teaching beginner lessons for all walks of life including retirees, parents with children, group or family settings, or even for Guitarists who wish to add Rack Harmonica to their repertoire. You can learn common Folk songs, Blues, Soul, Country, Gospel, or some of your favorite Rock songs by Tom Petty, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and Neil Young. Even if you are a seasoned performer, Sonny Boy can teach you Harmonica so you can add a new twist to your showmanship.

Harmonica is an easy instrument to learn with practice, but difficult to master. Sonny Boy Terry can help you achieve your goals and inspire you to reach higher.

Thien Truc - Piano, Violin

Education: Master of Music degree in Violin Performance from the University of Houston, Violin Performance Degree from the Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory of Music, Bachelor of Music and Certificate in Music Performance from the University of South Florida

Violinist Thien-Truc Nguyen is distinguished not only as a dynamic and sensitive performer, but also a caring and passionate teacher. Thien-Truc earned her Master of Music degree in Violin Performance from the University of Houston under the guidance of Kirsten Yon. In addition to the Violin Performance Degree from the Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory of Music, Thien-Truc holds a Bachelor of Music and Certificate in Music Performance from the University of South Florida.

While working on her BM and MM degrees, Thien- Truc received several scholarships, awards, and honors from a variety of organizations such as the Delta Epsilon Iota Academic Honor Society (2015), the Presser Undergraduate Scholarship Award (2016), the Green Mountain Music Festival scholarships (2015 and 2016), the National Music Honor Society Pi Kappa Lambda (2017 and 2018), the scholarships from University of South Florida String Department (2017 and 2018), the fellowship from Texas Music Festival (2019), and the Melcher Violin Scholarship from the University of Houston (2019 and
2020).

As a versatile musician, Thien-Truc has traveled internationally to Italy, Korea, Vietnam, and across the United States to perform solo recitals and chamber music concerts. One of her notable appearances was as solo performer to represent Vietnam at the 14th International Youth Fellowship – World Culture Camp in Korea. In 2016, Thien-Truc was featured as the first violinist in the string quartet for the CD “Light of the Midnight Sun,” recorded and released by the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay. Ms. Nguyen has also collaborated with several composers to record movie soundtracks for various films being produced in Vietnam and the US.

Thien-Truc is also an active orchestral musician. She has performed with several orchestras in Vietnam and the United States, including the Ho Chi Minh City Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera, the Ocala Symphony Orchestra, the Imperial Symphony Orchestra, South Shore Symphony Orchestra, and the Brazosport Symphony Orchestra. At the University of Houston, Thien-Truc led the Moores Opera Orchestra and the Moores Symphony Orchestra as concertmaster and principal second violin respectively.

Thien-Truc has a deep passion for teaching music. As such, she maintains a busy teaching schedule, working with violin and piano students of all ages and levels. Through her personal and nuanced methods, Thien-Truc is able to not just nurture unique talents, but also develop vital skills such as confidence, concentration, patience, and dedication. Her teaching methods vary to meet each individual at a level to help them accomplish the best of their ability. In her many years of experience, Thien-Truc has prepared students for countless recitals, orchestral seating auditions, and competitions. She is committed to guiding her students toward healthy and beautiful playing while at the same time, highlighting the fun and expressive aspects of music and violin playing.

ZANE ARMSTRONG - Piano

Education: Sam Houston State University

Zane began playing music at the age of 10 in the band program playing the trombone. That pursuit quickly branched out to other instruments. After getting involved in jazz band and learning some keyboards on the side, he began to play in bands and write music with friends outside of school.

Zane went to Sam Houston State University to study music, and brought his studies back to Houston to continue playing and sharing knowledge locally. His musical interests range from pop to rock, jazz, and hip hop. Zane currently plays synth and keyboards with Mantra Love.

Zane has enjoyed teaching music lessons for the last several years. He teaches students of all ages and experiences from young beginners to adults. He is comfortable teaching styles from classical to popular repertoire. Zane teaches guitar and piano as well as various band instruments such as trumpet, trombone, baritone, and euphonium.