Ajda Snyder is an original singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist (flute/mandolin/guitar/keys), and voice teacher in the Greater Boston area. A native of Houston, Texas, Ajda moved to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music, where she obtained her Bachelor of Music in 1999. Since 2009, Ajda has worked with hundreds of voice students of all ages and from all walks of life, with a focus on contemporary styles. She is a member of the New York Singing Teachers Association, from whom she received a scholarship towards her completion of professional development coursework in the field of voice, for which she was awarded their "Distinguished Voice Professional" certificate. Ajda is also a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and regularly attends their conferences to periodically refresh and keep current her knowledge of singing and voice science. Far from being just an academic, Ajda has over 20+ years of real-world experience singing, playing, recording, and performing live (including national touring) with bands and ensembles of various styles, primarily rock, jazz, and metal. She appears on over 20 recordings to date, several of which contain her own original material done with bands she helped found, such as Black Fortress of Opium. Ajda is still actively performing and recording today with her group Ajda the Turkish Queen Band.
Teaching Philosophy: "Music is my life, and exploring its infinite aspects and sharing that with students is deeply rewarding. I believe working on music is an excellent vehicle for personal growth and development, and that working on the voice specifically can help a person in so many aspects of life, both personally and professionally, since we use our voices to communicate. I am big on strategies and sustainable techniques that consistently offer a desired result. My initial goal is to guide voice students in learning how to turn her/his own focus inward - increasing kinesthetic awareness in order to help dispel counterproductive patterns of muscular and mental tension and "free the voice." We explore relaxation, breathing and support, mechanics of singing, basic techniques for developing coordination of the registers and strengthening the entire range, articulation, resonance, artistic expression, language and much more. With so much to cover, and given I appreciate variety as a learner, each lesson is a little bit different. One must the respect the journey and process of learning, and work and practice patiently and steadily in order to receive and retain the gifts of knowledge."
“Part of what makes teaching satisfying isn’t just seeing my students progress every week, but also getting to know students as individuals and what they enjoy. It is always fun getting introduced to new music and fantastic players that I may not have gotten into otherwise.
In my lessons, I try to work on songs and topics in a way I believe will be interesting for us to work on, with a particular focus on developing good fundamental technique and fingerboard knowledge.There is a lot that can be learned from just about any piece of music, so mixing songs that I pick out with songs the student brings in and is already engaged with often helps to make concepts and techniques we’re working on easier to relate to."
Bennett Kealey is a professional guitar and bass player with over ten years of professional performing and teaching experience. He has performed locally in Boston since 2010 when he moved to the city to study at Berklee College of Music where he graduated with a degree in guitar performance in 2014.
Bennett is a true eclectic and has performed in rock bands, jazz bands, church groups, and university bands. Currently, he is focused on his own groups, Bop Buddies and The Blues Dream Box who perform and record regularly in Boston.
Teaching Philosophy: “I want to figure out what students are interested in and figure out how to help them apply that to their instrument. For younger students and people that are new to the guitar, it’s important to address the fundaments and physical hurdles, but ultimately I want them to have good ears, have their own voice, and be curious about all aspects of music and art. That makes it more fun and leads to lifelong good guitar playing.”
Max Freeman is a drummer, composer, sound designer and music educator based out of Boston. At Berklee College of Music he graduated with a degree in film scoring and a minor in music technology. He started out as a concert percussionist playing instruments like marimba, vibraphone, and snare drum. Then at the age of 16 he shifted his focus to writing music and learning to play the drum set. Before moving to Boston he marched in a world class WGI drum line and played drum set for various churches and groups in Fort Worth, Texas. He has performed and studied a wide variety of musical styles including rock, latin, metal, jazz, middle-eastern, and funk. When he isn't teaching he works as a freelance composer and sound designer for small film and video game projects.
Teaching Philosophy: “I believe in breaking concepts down into their most basic parts. Once a student can comprehend and execute the smaller concepts then we bring them together to learn more advanced ideas. Everything we learn will be applied to a musical context so students can start using the ideas outside of the classroom.
Even though we’re drummers I try to make sure all of my students are musically literate. Every student learns to read, write, and transcribe drum music so they can continue their education and eventually learn any song they want on their own. Students will also be given the opportunity choose songs they want to learn during lessons."
Aaron Gratzmiller is a saxophonist and pianist based in Boston, MA. His energetic playing and stylistic versatility has helped him become one of the most active performers in New England, sharing the stage with notable artists in a variety of musical settings. Aaron has 7 years of experience teaching private lessons, and is active in the artistic community through organizations such as the New England Jazz Enrichment Foundation, for which he serves as the Director of Arts and Education. He majored in music at both Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania and Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, graduating from Berklee with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance.
Teaching Philosophy: "There are many reasons for studying music; some people seek lessons with specific musical goals in mind, while others are simply looking for a fun and engaging way to spend their free time. I try to address each student’s needs by showing them how to make small improvements each week. On both the piano and the saxophone, this usually involves working on the fundamentals- tone, time, technique, and reading. I also enjoy working with students to select (or even write) real music that relates to their lessons, then helping them through the process of preparing for a performance. Beyond that, it’s all about having fun and trying something new."