"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
Piano, Guitar, Voice, Songwriting, Musical Theater
Musician/Actor Finn Douglas started as a child prodigy in music. Trained at Garden Street with Brian Lawlor, as well as Neal Tracy, Finn has extensive music theory knowledge and is a multi-instrumentalist. Finn is a professional singer, pianist and guitarist. He also plays the bass and drums. Finn wrote the hit song "Forever There" which is featured and performed by himself in the spin off of After Forever on Amazon Prime - Riley's Unforgettable School Project, where Finn plays the role of Riley. Finn was the first and only child actor to star in a one man solo musical Off Broadway - Inner Voices: The Costume. He stars on the original cast album alongside Rebecca Luker, and Farrah Alvin who were the bookend solo musicals with Finn.
Finn originated the role of Charlie Conway in Netflix hit series House of Cards (Season 4 and 5). He's been featured in film and tv, as well as Broadway workshops and projects. He was part of the School of Rock Promo Team. He was the star of Eric Kornfeld and John McDaniel's new musical, The Game with Alex Brightman as Finn's dad. He was the original Rufus in the new Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's musical, Knoxville where Finn starred with Hannah Elless, Paul Alexander Nolan and Carolee Carmello. He's performed many times at Broadway Sessions with Ben Cameron, and many Broadway guests. He starred in The Actor's Fund Broadway production of Mr Magoo's Christmas Carol with Gavin Lee and Sierra Boggess. Finn has written many songs for piano, voice and guitar and has performed all over the tri-state. Currently you can see Finn play guitar and keys on the Worship Team at Hoboken Grace, where he was one of the youngest members of their professional band. Finn excels at teaching young students and introducing them to the world of music. Young students love learning from Finn and his creative and nurturing approach to help foster not only a love for music, but also a zest for performance. Finn can't wait to work with you soon!
Nicolette (Miss Nikki) grew up in Southern New Jersey, where she spent most of her years training in voice and acting on stage. She most recently graduated from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia with a B.F.A. in Musical Theater. Before her years of training at college, Nicolette trained at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, honing in on strengthening her vocal, acting, and dancing skills. Nicolette taught for three years at Standing Ovation Theater Company, where she primarily educated children from the ages of four to seventeen in voice and acting classes. Nicolette's main goal for her students is to feel 100% confident within their bodies and to ingrain a healthy technique while producing their individual unique sounds. She loves to focus on vocal pedagogy for her students who sing, since she believes that the best singers should understand not only the art of vocal instruction but the inner workings of it as well. Nicolette encourages her students to creatively express themselves during their lessons while also understanding the practices and possibilities of music; whether that be through vocal production or physical instruments. Most importantly, she wants her students to enjoy their time and the music they create!
Catey Esler (Virtual Online Lessons)
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.
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.
Piano, Voice, Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, Mandolin
Matt Ruff is a professional actor and musician based in Jersey City / Hoboken. He is excited to be a part of the Garden Street teaching team! While working at theaters all over the country, Matt discovered his passion for teaching the performing arts. Sharing the joy of music and theatre to students has been a huge blessing in his life. He teaches voice, guitar, bass, drums, mandolin, ukulele, and piano. He holds a BFA in musical theatre from the University of Florida. Go gators and Rock On!!
Piano, Voice, Musical Theatre
LisaMarie is a pianist, vocalist, and actress living in New York City. She started her piano journey by competing in the National Piano Federation at 7 years old, and has been teaching piano for 9 years. LisaMarie has sung in choirs all through her childhood, conducted choirs in high school, studied with director Kevin Dewey, and is currently in a choir at St. Francis Xaviers Church. LisaMarie went to Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp for 3 years on a vocal major scholarship with minors in musical theatre, guitar and vocal jazz. In 2018, LisaMarie was nominated for a Sutton Foster Ovation Award as "Best Actress" for her role as Mary Poppins. LisaMarie has performed professionally in shows in New York City, including an Off Broadway show at The Cutting Room. LisaMarie's passion for music drives her to help her students dig deep into their own passion and wants to continue to inspire them to be the best they can be.
Piano, Voice , Musical Theatre
Savannah Rutherford holds a Masters in Music from New York University with a concentration in Musical Theatre Performance. She also holds the Post-Graduate Certificate of Advanced Vocal Pedagogy and previously held an Adjunct Voice Instructor position at NYU. She is an active member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and took 2nd Place in the Northeastern Division Adult Musical Theatre Competition in 2022. Savannah also holds undergraduate degrees in Classical Voice and Theatre from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, making her a multi-disciplined performer, technician, and teacher. She founded the Musical Theatre program at Musicology School of Music in Madison, AL where she helmed the Sinister Singers full length cabaret concert which featured the songs of famed Broadway and Disney villains. As an award winning stage manager and performer, She has worked on professional theatrical productions across the country, from Hawaii to NYC! Her favorite roles include Caroline in Lauren Gunderson's I & You and The Madame in Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Currently, Savannah enjoys teaching above all else, as well as exploring every nook and cranny of NYC.