Marco Cerrillo, Availability Monday-Friday
Having spent the last 25 years as a professional musician, Marco Cerrillo has worked up quite the repertoire of musical achievements, including sharing the stage with such musical greats as Santana. With fifteen of those 25 years spent teaching, Marco has gained a mountain of knowledge with regards to piano students, young and old, beginners and advanced. Hailing originally from Mexico City, Marco is a recent transplant to the Austin area and is excited about the teaching and gigging opportunities Austin has to offer. Marco attended the Mexico City Conservatory for six years, learning various styles of music from classical to jazz. After much experience playing and teaching, Marco considers himself primarily a jazz pianist, though he continues to teach other styles in his lessons, including blues, classical, and pop.
Payton White, Availability: Monday-Thursday
Payton White is a Jazz Studies Major with a concentration of piano at Texas State University. He enjoys playing any genre that catches his ear. Whether it’s rock n roll, jazz, classical, R&B, or any other array of genres, Payton enjoys jamming out behind a piano regardless of what he’s playing. He started college with a wide arrangement of musical experience. His past band, Dead Swagger, was involved in many gigs in Austin and around Texas including playing at the Moody Theater, as well as Mardi Gras in Galveston, and on “My Band Rocks Fox Contest” on Fox News. As a well-rounded musician, he played piano or percussion in many theater plays. As a percussionist, he was involved in many drumline events at Lake Travis, playing the tenor drums. After high school, Payton was apart of an international drum corps called “Spirit of Atlanta” where he played as a featured piano soloist, performing in front of thousands of fans in football stadiums, and placing 11th a the DCI world championship in the colts stadium in Indianapolis. After touring the Midwest and playing a show every other day, he decided to pursue his jazz career at Texas State University and is now a proud member of the Woodshed Team.
Tricia Cook, Availability: Thursdays
Tricia Cook is a classically trained pianist, available to teach all skill levels. She has been a piano instructor on and off since she was 15 years old and has been playing since she was 5 years old. She comes from a long line of musicians, piano teachers and songwriters. Tricia has performed with various types of bands and loves to jam with her family and friends any time she has a chance. Tricia teaches a strong foundation in music theory, but also teaches ear training, creativity, improvisation and song-writing. Her favorite type of music to play is Southern gospel and praise and worship music, but she has studied classical, jazz, modern and pop. While her goal is for her students to be excellent sight readers, more than anything she wants to make music FUN for students!
Randy Dennis, Availability: Monday-Thursday
Randy is a professional Pianist/keyboardist with over 30 years of performance experience. He was the Keyboardist with the popular Austin professional band, Duck Soup and toured for 12 years with country-western singer Tracy Byrd; performed twice at the nation’s White House. Randy played stadium tours with George Strait, Reba McIntire, Kenny Chesney, Brooks and Dunn and was a recipient of five gold and platinum records. He is now the praise band leader at his local church and teaches students to play by ear from a wide variety of genres, including jazz, country-western and contemporary. He specializes in coaching students with piano background to play their favorite songs or to compose original music straight from their hearts. With Randy as your teacher, you’ll be learning from a top drawer performer with lots of Nashville experience who not only can play and teach, but who can provide a healthy dose of insider piano “secrets” used by the pros.
David Adams: Piano & Other Instruments, Availability: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday
David teaches a number of instruments, including guitar, bass, piano, violin, viola, and voice. Always drawn to sound and music, David’s ears have led him on a lifelong adventure through all things auditory. He picked up a little bit of trumpet, recorder, and piano before diving into the viola section of his 5th grade orchestra, where he continued to develop through high school, leading the section his senior year. By then, he had found the guitar, which came easily to him.
Leaving his university studies of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering, Dave struck out on a journey of self-discovery and musical exploration that included performing and recording as a lead guitarist, bassist, pianist/keys player, violinist, violist, cellist, and singer, both as a sideman and as a frontman. After a few years, David realized he could no longer teach himself quickly enough to satisfy his thirst for musical growth, and went back to school to study composition. Turning down a generous offer from the New England Conservatory (home to the #1 composition department in the country), he elected to stay in Austin to work with the wonderful composition and vocal faculties at UT’s Butler School of Music, where he recently graduated.
Now, having jammed original funk-rock onstage at Antone’s, premiered works written by himself and others in halls from Austin to Chicago, performed the symphonic music of Mozart in Vienna, and sung Fauré’s Requiem in Carnegie Hall, and while maintaining an active performing and recording career, and working on multiple commissions for new classical compositions, David turns his talents and attention to teaching, a vocation he has long enjoyed. A fun and engaging teacher, he is excited to foster in others the joy that animates his life, that joy of learning to create something beautiful.
James Blair - Piano, Guitar, Drums, Ukulele, Voice, Availability: Fridays
Introducing James Blair, music teacher extraordinaire! With a Bachelor of Music degree in Classical Piano and years of teaching experience on multiple instruments, James knows how to motivate students to reach new heights in their playing. When he’s not making piano arrangements for everything from the Beatles to Springsteen to Sinatra, he’s writing songs on an acoustic guitar or playing drums at a jam session with friends. James has several original releases for sale worldwide on iTunes, and is a regular performer around Austin. He incorporates music theory into lessons regularly, using music theory as a guideline to keep track of musical ideas and not as a “set of rules.” He emphasizes both traditional sight-reading, and playing by ear to encourage students to make their own arrangements of popular songs. James is a well-rounded musician whose experience on stage, in the classroom, and in the recording studio pays off big time for his students.
Additional Piano Instructors:
We have other teachers that teach multiple instruments. Here are their bios below:
Bryan Breaux: Piano
Bryan teaches drums, guitar and piano at the Woodshed. Originally from Port Arthur, TX, Bryan toured nationally and in the Austin music scene for many years. Bryan can play almost any style and groove with complete authority. He currently plays in many Austin bands including Dr Zog, Kevin Daniel Smith, Marco Landa Jazz Trio, and Todd Phelps, just to name a few. Click here to view Bryan’s website.
Taryn Stafford: Beginner Piano
Taryn is a vocal coach and a beginner piano instructor. She is a soprano with a background in opera, musical theatre, and dance. She performed in both show choir and varsity choir programs throughout middle and high school. In high school she participated in theatre, receiving training in school musicals and UIL productions, Civic Amarillo Summer Youth Musicals, as well as The Amarillo College Theatre School. Taryn’s favorite roles include “Belle” in Beauty and the Beast, “Gertrude McFuzz” in Seussical, and “Laetitia” in the opera The Old Maid and the Thief. Taryn continued her education receiving her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Southwestern University in Georgetown. She was an intern/artist-in-training for two summers with the Amarillo Opera where she worked with underprivileged children, bringing musical theatre into their lives, as well as performing with fellow interns. She also served as assistant stage manager for Civic Amarillo’s productions of Les Miserables and Oklahoma!; and also was assistant choreographer for Oklahoma! She enjoys all aspects of production including working backstage building sets, dressing sets, scenic artistry, and costuming. Overall, she is a very well-rounded vocal teacher and with her performance experience, she will also educate Woodshed students on stage presence techniques.
Nicholas Nolden: Piano
Nicholas Nolden teaches a wide array of instruments: guitar, bass, piano, violin, drums, cello, upright bass, trumpet, trombone, tuba, French horn, and euphonium. One can say he is rather proficient at picking up instruments. Born to two artistic parents–one a band director and the other a music theater teacher–Nicholas was immersed in music from the beginning. He started piano and drums at age 8. He later moved on to trumpet in 6th grade and low brass, guitar, and bass in high school. In college, he picked up string instruments and began teaching private lessons his freshman year. He graduated from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas with a Music Education Degree. Throughout his time there, he played with a Jazz band and at the Liberty Opry House in Liberty, TX. After college, he continued playing gigs with rock bands and on cruise ships traveling all over the world. If you ask him what countries he has been too, it is easier for him to list countries he has not visited! He moved to Austin in 2006, and continued his career playing shows, teaching, and producing.
Matt (“Mo”) Moore: Piano
Matt Moore teaches a multitude of instruments such as guitar, piano, drums, flute, clarinet, and saxophone. Matt was born in Lowell, Massachusetts and found an interest in music even before he was born: His mother is responsible for his musical pursuits, as she played songs for him through headphones over her belly. He moved to Austin at the age of three where he continued to experiment with toy pianos and banging pots and pans.
At ten years old, he discovered an enthusiasm for guitar and saxophone. Picking up those instruments sparked his interest in others. He began playing drums, jamming with his brother and friends, and listening to all sorts of music. His experience advanced in high school where he joined the school jazz band and performed at various venues and concerts.
When he graduated from high school, Matt decided to pursue his musical career by enrolling in The University of North Texas. While attending he developed his craft on saxophone, drums, guitar, and worked on his technique with clarinet, flute, and piano. He also played in various ensembles and lab bands under the direction of Jim Riggs, Stefan Karlsson, and John Murphy. Receiving a Bachelor’s in Music in 2009, he remained in Denton for a few years where he played in a variety of projects such as Bubba Hernandez y Los Super Vatos, Warren Jackson Hearne and Le Leek Electrique (nominated for best group in The Dallas Observer), and simultaneously gained experience in teaching. He returned to Austin where he now teaches at the Woodshed and works on other musical pursuits.