Music Instructors

 

"My son has been studying piano with Brian since kindergarten. He's now in high school and is an accomplished musician, with a solid understanding of theory, reading and writing music. He loves to play, compose, and improvise. My other son — a reluctant piano student — has been encouraged with tremendous patience and understanding by several Garden Street teachers. He now reads and plays fluently, in spite of himself. The staff at Garden Street is exemplary, and takes an individual approach to each child, to find what works. As a former professional dancer, I must add that the ballet and tap teachers for adults are amazing!" -A Delighted Parent

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Brian Lawlor  

Piano, Bass, Guitar, Composition for teens and adults.

 

Brian Lawlor is a composer/multi-instrumentalist/conductor living in Jersey City, NJ.  After skipping a year of high school, he subsequently finished his college degree in 3 years. He received a B.M. in Composition from Cornish College of the Arts, an M.M. from SUNY Purchase, and studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music (Koninklijk Conservatiorium) in Den Haag, Netherlands. Mr. Lawlor has received grants from Jack Straw Productions, Atlantic Center for the Arts, and his music has been performed throughout North America, Europe and China.

A fervent collaborator, Brian is the composer for Seattle experimental theater group Saint Genet. He has conducted, composed and performed with a variety of ensembles -- from chamber orchestra to synth trio -- while working with the collective. Recent engagements include On the Boards, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, DonauFestival, New Island Festival, and Works & Process at the Guggenheim (curated by Robert Wilson). Lawlor also frequently collaborates with a variety of choreographers -- most notably Princess Grace fellowship recipient Olivier Wevers and the Whim W'Him dance company.  

 

As an instrumentalist, Mr. Lawlor is frequently working with recording artists in the NYC area. He has recorded guitar and/or piano for Beyonce, Los Inquietos del Norte, Winds of Plague, and Folly. Brian was the bassist for Texas bluegrass/metal outfit Uncle Fudger and is a frequent guest bassist for Brooklyn surf-rockers Slim Wray.

From 2005-2010 Mr. Lawlor was Music Minister at Fordham Lutheran Church in the Bronx -- serving as organist and conductor of the Voices of Victory Gospel choir.

 

Brian teaches piano, guitar, bass, composition, and instructs various ensembles -- kids rock band, composers workshop, and hip-hop ensemble. In addition to teaching music, Mr. Lawlor spent a year teaching English and Chess at Daxing School of Petrochemical Technology in Beijing, China.

 

 

Savanna Kenny

Piano, Voice Instructor

 

Actor/Musician and Circus artist Savanna Kenny was born and raised in Lanark, Scotland amongst a thriving traditional music scene. From age 5 she started competitive fiddle (violin) and piano and transitioned from violin to French Horn at age 10. With a top Celtic traditional music father and Classical pianist and flautist mother, music is a core part of her lifestyle. At the age of 12 she joined the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland as a horn player and then went on to play in wedding bands and various professional performances at age 14. With intensive training, Savanna has very advanced music theory qualifications (ABRSM and Trinity) along with trained listening skills and was top in her class in practical and listening/theory tests. She is professional trained in the French Horn and Piano by world class musicians such as Broadway’s Audrey Flores, Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s Stephanie Jones and Concert Pianist Robin Hutt. She was previously trained by top traditional fiddle player and teacher Andy Kain and multiple teachers in guitar. Later she travelled to various locations in Europe such as Venice, Florence, Verona, Monticantinni Terme etc as part of a classical choir, later developing this work into an A Capella group. Later she moved to New York to study musical theatre and learned more modern vocal techniques from some of Broadway’s best vocal coaches. Through dance training and circus/gymnastics techniques, she has a thorough understanding of how physicality is connected to musical performance.

 

When students learn with Savanna, they will most importantly learn the foundations of music theory, the proper techniques to use their voice safely and play piano, horn, guitar, violin etc properly. The lessons will be tailored to each individual student’s strengths and goals to make sure that, wherever they wish to take music, their skills will be transferrable. Students should aim to work hard but most importantly have fun with whatever instrument they decide to use!

 

 

Spencer Camacho
Piano, Voice, Song Writing

 

Spencer is an educator/performer/songwriter/producer living in Jersey City, NJ. Spencer holds a Bachelors of Music Education (graduated 2020) and minors in music production, communication studies and civic & professional leadership from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Spencer is currently completing his Masters of Music Technology at New York University.

 

Under Vincent Craig and Regina Armao, Spencer has studied classical piano for 15 years.  Spencer’s vocal experience ranges from music director of a competitive contemporary a cappella group, classical ensembles, theater productions, and pop-adjacent indie songwriting.  Spencer has led various songwriting camps and started a songwriting program at the Oscar Lasko YMCA in West Chester, PA. Having produced 3 albums so far, Spencer is currently working on completing 3 new original music collaborative albums.

 

During the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, Spencer founded a 501c3 non-profit, Music Service Learning, to support music educators, collegiate and grade school music students alike. Over a year later, MSL is providing service learning and support across the east coast.

 

From teaching individual lessons, to small groups or 60 person classes, Spencer enjoys helping students find passion in music.  Spencer aspires to foster critical thinking and problem solving skills alongside self ownership and responsibility so students can utilize these skills outside of music too. 

Mariana Gomez

Voice, Piano, Guitar

Mariana Gomez began her musical path under the instruction of Dan McLoughlin, the owner, and Brian Lawlor 15 years ago. Ever since then, she has devoted herself to writing original songs for guitar and voice. In the past 3 years, she has taken up operatic training as a part of her Music Education Program at Montclair State University. Mariana has grown extremely passionate about developing her classical technique and going to the Metropolitan Opera. She specializes in classical repertoire in Italian, French, German, and Spanish. She has performed in various choir ensembles and opera scenes. 

 

In addition to attaining her bachelor of music education, she is attaining a special education certification and her Master's in Teaching at Montclair State University. Currently, she teaches piano,guitar, and voice. 

 

Meghan LaFlam

Voice, Piano, Guitar

Meghan is so excited to join the Garden Street team! She is a graduate of The Boston Conservatory at Berklee. As an actor, she has performed professionally in theaters all over the country. She has also performed as a singer, pianist, and guitarist with her band in all the best venues in NYC and Asbury Park. I have been singing and  playing piano for ten years, and I have worked with students of all ages. We will work on reading music, learning songs by ear, and putting chords together to play all your favorite songs! My approach is simple, fun, and always stress-As an instructor, some of her students have gone on to star in productions on Broadway, Radio City, and in national tours. 

 

 

 

Catey Esler

Voice, Piano, Songwriting Instructor

Vocalist, pianist, and songwriter, Catey Esler, was born in Chicago and raised in the suburbs. At the age of 5, she began studying classical piano, singing in choirs and eventually found a love for jazz and writing music. After graduating high school, Catey moved to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music with scholarship. There she earned her Bachelor of Music in performance with a minor in theory and composition studing primarily under Peter Eldridge of the New York Voices. Since graduating in 2016, Catey formed a band with fellow Berklee grad, Jan Esbra, called Jade Collective and released their debut album, Clarity, which was successfully crowd-funded through Indiegogo. With Jade Collective, Catey toured supporting singer-songwriter/guitarist, Becca Stevens, as part of the “Beyond the Lyrics Tour.” Aside from Jade Collective, Catey has independently released her own EP titled Onward and has performed with Becca Stevens, Peter Eldridge, and Women of the World. In August of 2018, Catey moved to Brooklyn, where she is based now, to continue to pursue her music career.

As a voice and piano teacher, Catey strives to create an environment where students can be confident in their personal authenticity while making sure lessons are productive, fun and engaging. Catey emphasizes healthy technique and understanding basic music theory so that students can easily dive into any genre. Her strong classical foundation on piano and voice combined with her performance experience in contemporary styles such as jazz and folk will help students become well-rounded musicians.

Kelsey Thompson

Voice, Piano, Musical Theatre, Early Childhood Instructor

Kelsey is a performer and teaching artist here in NYC and she holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Montclair State University. Her home was always filled with music and dancing and she fell in love with it at a very young age. She started studying piano at age 6, and continued her classical music training with the flute and voice through college and into her professional career. Kelsey fell in love with theater in high school when she realized she could combine her passion of music and dance together in one place. She has been lucky enough to travel the country performing. Some of her favorites include Les Miserables, A Chorus Line, Hairspray, and Damn Yankees. Kelsey also works as a director/choreographer, and recently returned from her second summer teaching musical theatre intensives and producing full stage productions in China. Kelsey loves teaching and allowing children to experience the magic and joy the arts can bring!

 

Frankie Keane

Voice, Piano, Songwriting Instructor

With influences in Gospel, R&B, rock and classical, Frankie Keane’s imaginative and distinctive interpretation of music and song are what make her a singularly unique gift. Frankie started off both her singing and acting roots in Chicago. She is a multiple threat as singer/songwriter; composer; lyricist; instrumentalist and accomplished stage/film actress.
 
Since moving to New York in 2003, she has performed at legendary venues asThe Bitter End among many others. Frankie made her debut Off-Broadway in director David Tobin’s acclaimed review, Pure Gospel America and toured with the musical If This Hat Could Talk directed by Tony Award winner George Faison. In Chicago, Frankie was chosen The Cotton Club’s “Best Young Vocalist” and has been featured solo artist at numerous venues.

 
As a soloist, Frankie has shared the stage with artists such as, Danny Boy (Death Row Records), Chanté Savage (MCA), Isaac Hayes (honoring R. Kelly), Mighty Blue Kings, Youth Edition and David Josias (imi Records), Ashford and Simpson and more. She was opening act at Gospel Fest ’99 and a regular featured guest on The Bernie Mac HBO Showcase. Her band opened for the legendary Koko Taylor and Dennis Miller at The House of Blues. She has also performed the National Anthem at several NFL and NBA games.
 
In front of the camera and on the boards, Frankie has made her mark. 
Most recently, her musical, “Hereafter Musical” has received a wonderful welcome in the New York theatre community. Co-written with well -known CBS and Howard Stern Producer, Vinnie Favale, it continues to grow and is currently in production in Argentina with a South American tour to follow in 2020. “Hereafter Musical” the film is currently in production starring Danny Aiello & Frankie Keane, Sondra James and more scheduled for release next year.