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

DROP-IN MUSIC CLASSES - 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 classe
s.

     
photo Janna Bruene

PIANO LESSONS:  

Janna has enjoyed teaching piano to children and adults for many, many years, focusing on creating beautiful melody, strong rhythm and meaningful harmony in all kinds of music. Classical music is her first love, but she listens carefully for what appeals to her students and how they learn, often using improvisation to deepen their skills. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music, and has done work in Dalcroze Eurhythmics, choral conducting, and vocal coaching. Janna grew up on a Midwestern farm and loves the out-of-doors and wild animals. Curling up with a good book is another joy!

     
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 Madeleine Hall

MUSIC TOGETHER - Madeleine was raised in a musical family and her earliest memories include singing along at age three with her father’s jazz band in the living room. By age seven, her favorite pastime was writing songs and constructing her own “album covers” out of paper plates. Madeleine studied privately for years with some of Boston’s premier vocal coaches, and in her twenties formed her own band “The Rhythm Hounds.” Shortly thereafter, she was nominated for a Boston Music Award. She went on to perform her bluesy brand of R&B in nightclubs and private functions for years, but shifted her focus to children’s performing with the birth of her daughter in 2001. Since then, Madeleine has been featured in the Boston Arts Festival, at the Boston Children’s Museum, and at various branches of the Boston Public Library where she performs regularly in the Reading Readiness Program. Madeleine has a degree in Early Childhood Education and has worked for two decades as a professional nanny and certified preschool teacher. She brings her creative energy and love of music into her work with children and families. She is thrilled to be part of the Music Together team!

     
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 Julia Priest

RHYTHM KIDS, MUSIC TOGETHER: Julia Priest has been teaching Music Together and directing Music and Movement of Newton since 2001. She came to early childhood music and movement teaching through her own son's toddler years when she discovered that the Music Together curriculum was richer and more satisfying than any other mommy-and-me class she could find.  She has degrees from Yale, Boston University, and Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions, including a Masters of Music and a Masters of Science; she also holds certifications in Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Orff Schulwerk, and Music Together Teaching Mastery, Level II. She trained in the HealthRhythms(R) protocol for therapeutic drumming in 2017 with its founder, Christine Stevens. In class she plays guitar, recorder, or drum; voice is her primary instrument. As Julia keeps on improving her Spanish language proficiency, she also periodically subs for Canta y Baila Conmigo®® classes. For fun, Julia knits baby hats and dances Lindy Hop, Blues, Argentine Tango, Salsa, or any other social dance that presents itself. Just ask, she'll teach you to knit or drag you out dancing too.

     
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.

     
  t.b.a.

Teacher t.b.a.

     
  Christy & Taylor

This class will be taught by both Christy & Taylor.

     
  Christy & Sophie

This class will be co-taught by Christy and Sophie.