Children's Music Center
of Jamaica Plain
Our Teachers

Below are biographies of all of our teachers so you can get to know us a little better!

photo Christy Zarlengo

CENTER DIRECTOR, Music Together®, YOUNG PIANISTS, MUSIC MENAGERIE, UKULELE. An Early Childhood music educator since 1999, Christy has been the director of Urban Music Together since 2001, and founded the Children's Music Center of J.P. in 2006. Christy has taught piano lessons, Suzuki piano and early childhood music classes at ZUMIX, Brookline Music School and the New School in Cambridge. She has an undergraduate degree in Psychology, and is an alumnus of the Berklee College of Music, where she studied voice, piano and songwriting. Christy has also studied at the summer Dalcroze Institute at the Longy School of Music, and has completed Certification training with the Center for Music and Young Children in Princeton, NJ. Christy is co-creator and featured teacher in "Little Virtuoso: Music's Everywhere," an interactive music DVD/CD for children infancy-5 years. Available at: cdbaby.com/littlevirtuoso

     
photo Lucy Bocchiaro

MUSIC TOGETHER - Lucy is a local singer-songwriter who has been performing at local Boston venues for over 20 years. She grew up in a family where dancing and singing were a part of her every day experience. She and her siblings are all musical and she believes it's because music and speech were both presented as equally important to the family experience. Lucy studied music at a young age playing clarinet for 15 years and later switching to guitar and eventually adding tenor banjo and percussive instruments.

Lucy loves engaging with families and children through music and dance, and her wealth of experience as a singer-songwriter enriches her Music Together classes.

     
photo Sophia Cocozza

IN-STUDIO PIANO & HARP LESSONS - Sophia is originally from Philadelphia, PA and is now a Junior at Boston College. Playing both classical piano and harp since a young age, Sophia’s passions for music run deep. Additionally, Sophia has received scholarships for the arts including the Vincent Cullen Scholarship for the Arts, Ancillae-Assumpta Academy’s Virtuoso Award for Musical Excellence, and Mount Saint Joseph Academy’s Scholarship for Piano. Studying English, Music, & Art History, Sophia aspires to have a career in arts education post-grad. Open to working with each child on an individual basis, Sophia hopes to tailor each set of lessons to suit each child’s needs. Sophia believes that music lessons should be a fun and inspiring time for children! She feels that music truly has a soul-nurturing quality that should be cherished. Believing that every child should be afforded the opportunity to explore the expressive and inspirational qualities of art and music, she aims to spread the joys of music! No child is too small to feel the happiness that music cultivates — and no adult too old to feel the child-like joy that music inspires!

     
photo Itai Gal

IN-HOME PIANO LESSONS -Itai Gal is a pianist, singer-songwriter, and educator. He graduated from SUNY Purchase with a Bachelor's Degree in Music Composition in 2007, and from Hebrew College with a Master's Degree in Jewish Education in 2016, and has been teaching piano since 2007. As he discovered that he likes teaching, Itai continued his career in education in other settings, such as after-school programs, religious school, and summer camps. Aside from piano instruction, Itai's music teaching has taken other forms, particularly leading groups in song. In his musician life, Itai plays various styles including jazz, klezmer, blues, folk, and rock. At piano lessons at all levels, Itai combines classical methods with musicianship skills such as ear training and improvisation, giving students independence from the page. His goals when teaching piano are to empower students with the ability to improve their playing on their own by instilling effective practicing habits. He hopes to give students the tools for self-expression and connect people through the universal language.

     
photo Manuel Garcia-Baro Huarte

PIANO LESSONS - Born in Madrid (Spain), Manuel is a pianist and composer with a long background as an educator. He studied Piano and Classical Composition in the Katarina Gurska Music School and the Royal Conservatory of Madrid. In 2010 he was awarded with the Berklee/Sgae scholarship to study at the Berklee College of Music. He has recently graduated from Berklee with a degree in Contemporary Writing and Production, and Film Scoring. His career as a piano teacher started more than fifteen years ago, and since then he has taught students of all ages, imparting lessons in piano, ear training, harmony, composition and music history.

     
photo Taylor Holland

MUSIC TOGETHER  - Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Taylor’s backgrounds in education and folk music meet in her work at CMC and as the music teacher for HomeBASE Afterschool Enrichment. Taylor’s education in the Waldorf school system and her ongoing love of folk music influence her belief that making music is an essential component of the human experience. She writes and performs in New England solo and as part of the duo Hawthorn, singing and playing guitar and violin. Taylor holds a BA in International Affairs and History from Northeastern University.  She started at CMCJP as a Music Together® intern with Christy, and completed her Music Together training in March, 2017.

     
photo Anitra Little

MUSICAL THEATRE & STORYBOOK THEATRE -Anitra Little is a Texas girl who has recently moved to Boston. She grew up in a big family of singers and musicians. She began singing at the age of 4 in church. By 14 she was the onlyyouth in the adult choir. She received her Bachelor’s in Theatre at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. She is currently pursuing her Master’s at Emerson College, studying Theatre Education. She has a heart for fine arts and loves working with children, especially preschoolers. She was a Teaching Artist at The Magik Theatre in San Antonio and one of her favorite memories was helping a boy overcome stage fright. In her free time she enjoys hosting game nights at her house, going to the park to play her guitar, and watching movies. She is thrilled to be a part of this great team!

     
photo Guy Mendilow

DALCROZE - Guy's bio coming soon.  For now, check out Dalcroze School of Boston

     
photo Rosa Elena Rivera

CANTA Y BAILA CONMIGO® - Rosa Elena Rivera, Mexican soprano and teacher has ample experience as a teacher and performer.

Graduated from New England Conservatory with a Masters in Vocal Performance, as well as, second Master in Vocal Pedagogy with a concentration in Music in Education. She Holds a Kodaly level II and a Music Togetherand Canta y Baila  Conmigo training.  As a teacher she has ample experience with large groups of children of different needs; having taught in the Private and Public Sector (Somerville and Cambridge).

She currently is a voice instructor at The Passim Music School and recently performed as a featured artist with In Good Company’s production of the Golden Door.

Teaching music to young children is her passion and loves to share her culture through music and song.

     
photo Zaray Rodriguez

IN-HOME PIANO & VOICE - An accomplished opera singer & pianist, Zaray has  recently performed main stage roles with the Boston Opera Institute, Seagle Music Colony, and the Aspen Music Festival. Zaray holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music with a piano concentration and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance, and is a recipient of various music grants and competitions. She currently performs regionally and locally in the Boston area. Zaray has taught piano and voice for the past five years, and is looking forward to working with students in the Boston area.

Teaching Philosophy: I believe that every human being has an innate musicality. I help my students develop an understanding of music and composition while also having fun learning about the art and  preparing a piece for performance. Every student has different strengths and goals when it comes to lessons and I strive to help my students achieve them.  Whether they may want to learn a classical piece, contemporary song, or develop their musicianship skills, I target my lesson planning according to their personal goals. 

     
photo Jens Sweeting

IN-STUDIO PIANO LESSONS - Jens Sweeting is a keyboardist from Freeport Bahamas. Inspired by great improvisers like Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Miles Davis and Robert Glasper, he moved to the US to study jazz and gain exposure in 2010. In addition to studying jazz piano at The Players School of Music in Clearwater FL, and earning a BA in Professional Music from Berklee College of Music in Boston, he has in the last ten years worked with a variety of local Boston artists such as Mighty Mystic, Selah Poitier, Melissa Bolling and James Calandrella as well as his own projects. Performing in styles from rock, funk and blues, to jazz, neo soul, rnb, gospel and reggae, he is a prolific and passionate musician in the Boston scene.

Teaching philosophy: Jens is a natural teacher and has taught private piano lessons for over ten years. His approach to teaching is very organic, customizing his teaching style to the needs and desires of each individual student. Recognizing that while learning the mechanics and technique of playing the desired instrument are important, ultimately learning to play music is to develop ones POWER OF EXPRESSION! Great care must be given, then, to achieving the balance between practicing technique, learning harmony and theory, and developing the ability to play what one hears in the "inner ear". Jens is capable of teaching beginner to advanced piano, intermediate classical piano, and musical improvisation.

     
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