Children’s Music Workshop Teaching Faculty

Larry Newman is the Founder and Director of Children’s Music Workshop. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education, cum laude degree from Temple University’s College of Music, a California teaching credential and a Master of Arts in Music Performance from Eastern Illinois University. (In 2012, Mr. Newman received the “Outstanding Graduate Alumnus Award” from EIU.)

Formerly an instrumental music teacher in the Philadelphia School District, Los Angeles Unified School District, and Santa Monica-Malibu Public Schools, Mr. Newman has supervised music programs in more than eighty public and private institutions from the Kindergarten through college levels.

Larry Newman is the recipient of four Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards presented by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for Children/Youth Programming. Mr Newman wrote, directed and produced the shows which have aired nationally and feature students from more than two dozen Children’s Music Workshop school programs.  Most recently, Mr. Newman was awarded an Emmy on July 23, 2016 at the Television Academy in North Hollywood, CA for his production “Music Matters: L.A. Kids and their Music”.  Visit the Emmy page for video and photos.

In 2009, Mr. Newman was honored by the Los Angeles City Council at City Hall for his contributions to music education in Los Angeles (See photos and video.) He was also featured on CityView’s Channel 35 series, “Faces of LA” (See video.)

Mr. Newman received the Lori Petrick Excellence in Education Award from the Palisades Charter Schools Foundation. The award is underwritten by the Boone Foundation – a philanthropic group whose mission is to support “passionate people who provide excellent programs to youth”.

Larry Newman was nominated for the 25th Annual BRAVO Award, established by the Music Center of Los Angeles County to recognize individuals for innovation and excellence in arts education.

Mr. Newman served on the Leadership Committee for the 2009 NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Music Education Day at the NAMM Show in Anaheim, California.

Larry Newman formerly was the trumpet instructor at Glendale College and also taught in the jazz studies department of Eastern Illinois University as a graduate teaching assistant. At Eastern Illinois, Mr. Newman directed the University Jazz Lab Band, taught private undergraduate studio trumpet and was also a member of the EIU Faculty Brass Quintet and solo trumpet player in the EIU Faculty Jazz Combo.

As a professional trumpet player, Larry Newman has toured The United States, Canada and Japan with The Glenn Miller Orchestra® under the direction of Larry O’Brien  performed in The Claridge Hotel Casino Orchestra in Atlantic City under the direction of Jack Six and sailed the Caribbean and Northwest with the S/S Norway Big Band and other cruise ship orchestras.

He has backed such star entertainers as Dizzy Gillespie, Jack Jones, Florence Henderson, Jerry Lewis, Billy Eckstine, The Fifth Dimension, Al Martino, Shirley Jones, The Lettermen, Jim Nabors, Jerry Van Dyke, Jim Stafford, Michel Legrand, Clark Terry, Ed Thigpen, Cab Calloway, George Kirby, Margaret Whiting, Benny Carter, The Four Aces, The Modernaires, Bobby Rydell, Joe Williams, Roger Williams, Slide Hampton, The Smothers Brothers, Fred Travalena, Rita Moreno and others.

Mr. Newman worked as a trumpet instructor on the 2004 Universal release, Ray, starring Jamie Foxx as well as the 1999 movie, Anywhere But Here, starring Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman.

Mr. Newman is the author of more than one hundred music books – including The Recorder Fun Book which is used in hundreds of elementary schools throughout the United States. His string, woodwind and brass group method books are used in all Children’s Music Workshop music programs. All of Mr. Newman’s books are available at

Larry Newman is leader of The Pacific Palisades Brass Quintet and is a freelance trumpet player in the Southern California area.

Gregory Alper

Gregory Alper received a BA in Jazz Improvisation from Indiana University and studied orchestration and film scoring at Mannes College. As a composer, he has scored for film, television and a number of classic video games. He is professional woodwind player in Los Angeles and teaches woodwinds, brass, music theory and jazz improvisation.

Will Alvarado

Will Alvarado has been a music instructor with the Burbank Unified School District for the past nine years and is currently the Assistant Director of Music at Burbank High School and John Burroughs High School. Will is also the founder and director of the Burbank Young Musicians (BYM) – a non-profit out-reach program bringing music education to the local community.

Lyn Bertles

Lyn Bertles graduated from Bennington College in Vermont with a Bachelor of Arts in Music. She holds a California teaching credential from Cal State Northridge. Ms. Bertles teaches strings, woodwinds, brass and choir. She is also a professional violinist and maintains a private teaching studio in Studio City, CA.

Charles Carswell

Charles Carswell holds a Master of Fine Arts in Music from the California Institute of the Arts and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Texas.  Charlie performs bass in many local orchestras and maintains a private teaching studio for students of all ages.

Desiree’ Deasy

Desiree’ Deasy teaches woodwinds, brass and strings. While majoring in violin performance at the University of Wisconsin, she studied under the tutelage of the internationally acclaimed Fine Arts Quartet. She recently returned from a world concert tour with the Yanni Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Deasy is also a certified Musikgarten® instructor and is in demand as a freelance violinist in the Los Angeles area.

Brenda Etterbeek

Brenda Etterbeek received her Bachelor of Music Degree from Miami University and her Masters of Music Degree from the University of Southern California. She has toured Europe with the Camerata Wind Quintet has been a featured performer with the Echternach Festival Orchestra in Luxembourg. In addition to Children’s Music Workshop, Ms. Etterbeek maintains a private teaching studio.

Dave Etterbeek

Dave Etterbeek received his Bachelor of Music Degree from Northwestern University and a Masters of Music Degree from USC. Mr. Etterbeek has performed trumpet with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Sacramento, San Diego, and San Francisco Symphonies, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and the Chicago Symphony. (Click for photo.)

Mandy Fey

Mandy Fey holds a Masters of Music degree in clarinet from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Illinois State Universtiy. Before moving to California, Ms Fey taught elementary, middle and high school instrumental music in the Joliet (Il) Public School System and has served as a music instructor at Northern Illinois University. She has performed with the New World Symphony, the Santa Barbara Grand Opera and others.

Amanda Fuerst

Amanda Fuerst holds a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Illinois Wesleyan University and a Masters in Music degree from Northwestern University.She has been on the faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago as well as a music education methods instructor at Illinois Wesleyan University. Amanda loves teaching elementary age students and is a professional flute player in the Southern California area.

Morgan Lee Gerstmar

Morgan Lee Gerstmar holds a Master of Fine Arts in the Performer/Composer program from the California Institute of the Arts; a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience, Musical Studies and East Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of Southern California and precollege training from the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA. Morgan’s diverse career in Neuroscience and Music has provided her with unique tools for teaching her music students.

Suzanna Giordano Gignac

Suzanna Giordano Gignac studied at the Hartt School of Music, and then CSU Northridge earning a Bachelor of Music degree cum laude. She is a professional violinist and violist and is co-director of the Angeles Consort. She regularly performs with the L.A. Opera, Pasadena, Santa Barbara, Long Beach and Pacific Symphonies. Suzanna is an enthusiastic teacher with more than twenty-five years of teaching experience.

Leah Jacobson

Leah Jacobson attended University of Georgia where she received a Bachelor in Music Performance in Violin, a Bachelor of Arts in Piano and a Masters of Music Performance in Violin. She is Suzuki trained in all ten levels, maintains a large private studio and plays regularly for TV and film.

Leah Katz

Leah Katz received her Bachelor of Music degree in viola performance at Indiana University. Leah has performed professionally with numerous symphony orchestras and has recorded with artists such as Brittany Spears, Eve 6, Christina Aguilera. Leah regularly performs on the Fox hit, American Idol as well as on NBC’s top-rated show, The Voice.

Debbie Klak

Debbie Klak received her Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance at DePauw University. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Violin Performance from the University of California, Irvine.  She is a professional violinist in the greater Southern California area and maintains a private teaching studio for students from age four to adult.

Margaret Kocher

Margaret Kocher holds a Bachelor of Arts in Hispanic/Music from Illinois Wesleyan University. She has taught throughout the United States and Japan as both a music teacher and ESL instructor. Margaret loves teaching music to students of all ages. She wrote and produced CMW’s  Introduction to the Cello video tutorial for elementary students.

Nicholas Lyman

Nicolas Lyman holds a Bachelor of Science with a Major in Music Education from York College of Pennsylvania.  Nick holds a Teaching Credential in Music Education and has taught elementary through high school level music.  Nick is also a professional instrument repair technician and repairs woodwind and brass instruments for students and professional players all over Los Angeles.

Oscar Martinez

Oscar Martinez is a professional violinist and teacher in the Los Angeles Area. He has played with groups such as YMF Debut Orchestra, Los Angeles Youth Orchestra, Inner City Youth Orchestra Los Angeles and the CSUN Symphony. He has performed in Walt Disney Concert Hall, Ford Theatre, and the Valley Performing Arts Center. Oscar teaches privately in the San Fernando Valley and the South Bay areas.

Wendy Mazon

Wendy Mazon holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from the University of Arizona in music performance with a minor in music education as well as a Master of Music degree and Bachelors of Arts degree in music education from Cal State Northridge. Dr. Mazon has a strong commitment to quality education and a great passion for teaching young students. She is a freelance performer and chamber musician and on the music faculty at Pierce College.

Eric Patterson

Eric Paterson graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Humanities with an Empahsis in Music. Eric loves working with young students and is very involved in the music eduation field.He is a featured clinician on and is a professional jazz musican in Los Angeles.

Raquel Ravaglioli

Raquel Ravaglioli graduated from the University of the Pacific with a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy and a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance.  Raquel completed her Master of Arts degree in Creative Arts Therapies, emphasis in Music Therapy, at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. She is a Board Certified Music Therapist, a music instructor, and a professional violinist.

Victoria Sabonjohn

Victoria Sabonjohn graduated Summa Cum Laude from Stetson University in DeLand, Florida with a Bachelor in Music Education. She also holds a music performance degree from the New England Conservatory of Music. Ms. Sabonjohn comes from a musical family, with both her parents members of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. She has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and is a dedicated music educator.

Bianca Samaniego

Bianca Samaniego is a violin specialist. She holds a BM in Music Performance from Cal State Northridge. Ms. Samaniego’s violin students range from young beginners to college students. She has exceptional organizational and people skills and Bianca loves working with elementary-age students.

Meet the Outstanding Teachers of Children’s Music Workshop

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