Samantha Arizmendi is a pianist, violinist, vocalist, and guitarist, hailing from Waukegan. Born into a family of musicians, she started studying piano and violin at age five and grew up singing at family parties. She later received pre-collegiate classical training in piano and voice from the Zion Conservatory of Music, where she learned the value of hard work and regular practice. Sammie obtained her bachelor of science in nursing, with a minor in music, from Marquette University.
Sammie is the music director of St. Anastasia Parish in Waukegan, where she has continued the development of the choral program for the last five years and started the parish’s first Teen Choir. Sammie is also the accompanist for the Swedish Glee Club of Lake County and the Filipino Choir of Lake County.
Sammie’s favorite aspect of teaching is fostering her students’ curiosity, and watching their faces light up when new skills click.
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Originally from small-town Wisconsin, Jacob is an exciting addition to the Chicago music community. Jacob’s father, also a piano teacher, gave him a lifelong passion for the arts at a young age. After growing up with a background in piano, Jacob began developing his percussion skills, earning his bachelor’s in percussion performance at University of Wisconsin (Madison).
Jacob’s skills as a recording and performing musician have taken him to Europe, Asia, Australia, and Latin America. Throughout his travels, he became well-versed in many styles of music. He loves playing and teaching everything from jazz, Afro-Brazilian, and Afro-Cuban, to rock and R&B, to symphonic and musical-theater repertoire. He has shared the stage with amazing musicians like Freddy Cole, Charles Bradley, Lukas Nelson, Tedeschi Trucks, and legendary James Brown collaborator Clyde “Funky Drummer” Stubblefield.
With nearly a decade of teaching experience, Jacob instills above all else a passion for music-making. He employs a warm, personal, and creative approach that makes his students want to learn, helping them realize their musical goals. He looks forward to working with more great students in the year ahead.
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A native of Glenview, Andrew holds a bachelor’s of music from the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music, where he majored in jazz guitar performance. Andrew has been a lifelong musician, beginning both cello and guitar instruction at an early age. While studying at the New England Conservatory, Andrew was an active member of the Boston music community, in addition to appearing on several commercially-released recordings.
Andrew’s teaching experience includes directing a high-school jazz band, and structuring lesson plans for legendary pianist and educator Ran Blake. Andrew believes in the importance of embracing the individuality of each musician. Provided with the right tools, each student can thrive and contribute a unique perspective. Andrew is thrilled to be a member of the Piano Power team.
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Alex started playing music at five years old, and he has never wanted to do anything else. As he progressed, he explored numerous instruments and genres. He naturally found himself participating in improvised and rehearsed groups, teaching lessons to peers, and honing his sight-reading skills as a church organist.
Alex continued his musical growth at the esteemed Berklee College of Music, where he earned a degree in jazz composition. Since graduating, Alex has played with touring groups across the world, as both a writer and instrumentalist.
With over a decade of teaching experience, Alex aims to cultivate creativity while building technique. By incorporating his students’ interests in a comfortable setting, he fosters structure, routine, and confidence.
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Casey is a musician with a rich and varied background. He began playing piano at five years old and quickly found a passion for music (especially boogie-woogie!). He grew up studying classical music, playing piano and guitar in church, performing with his high-school jazz band, and taking on a brief stint as a lead guitarist in a metal band. He later earned his bachelor’s in music from the University of Central Oklahoma, and a master’s in piano performance from the University of Washington. But that was only the beginning of the fun.
While studying, Casey discovered a love for musical theatre and ballet. With a firm grasp of classical and contemporary technique, he spent several years as a vocal coach, in styles ranging from opera to modern Broadway. He has been a music director and conductor for multiple university and regional-theatre productions. Casey further developed his improvisatory skills as a ballet accompanist, a lead pianist and choir director in the Episcopal church, and a dueling pianist. Currently, he works as a class pianist with Ballet Chicago, and as a music director and audio engineer with Roosevelt University.
Casey is also an accomplished composer and arranger. He has written scores for two short films, is developing a feature-length score, and is a freelance arranger, composer, and producer for recording artists and singer-songwriters.
Moving among varied disciplines and instruments, Casey finds that passion for music isn’t genre-specific — it can come from anywhere. That level of engagement is what he seeks to foster in his students. The combination of open curiosity and inspired instruction can produce true magic.
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Henry began his piano studies on a classical track, receiving multiple awards from the National Guild of Piano Teachers and the International Piano Duo Competition. After discovering jazz in high school, he was admitted to the renowned College of Music at the University of North Texas. There he received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in jazz studies, while also serving as a teaching fellow. After graduation, Henry toured the United States, Canada, and Japan as pianist for the world-famous Glenn Miller Orchestra.
Henry began teaching with Piano Power upon relocating to Chicago in early 2019. With nearly a decade of teaching experience, a warm and gentle approach, and an easy-going sense of humor, he communicates the benefits of music education to all ages and levels.
Outside of music, Henry enjoys learning about foreign languages and cultures. He speaks English and Spanish fluently, and he also knows some German, Mandarin, Japanese, and French. He is an avid traveler and enjoys meeting and connecting with individuals from all over the world.
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Jacob was born and raised in Lake Forest, where he started playing music at the age of eight. While receiving his bachelor’s in music performance at Lawrence University’s Conservatory of Music, he was principal bassoonist in the university symphony orchestra and wind ensemble. With his woodwind quintet, he was a winner of the Neale-Silva Young Artists’ Competition and performed live on Wisconsin Public Radio. Along with his classical endeavors, he also regularly played guitar in jazz ensembles, improvisational groups, and funk bands.
Jacob frequently collaborates with musicians in Chicago and Minneapolis, performing in modern classical chamber groups and his own experimental rock band, Perennial. He also composes and records music for multiple podcasts, including his own show, Wake & Jake, for which he improvises ambient music on a weekly basis.
Jacob aims to share the joy he gets from music with his students through a positive and enthusiastic teaching style. He loves teaching music of all genres and is especially passionate about discussing the theory behind songwriting.
When not teaching or making music, Jacob enjoys walking his dog, McBain, around the boulevards of Logan Square and watching a lot of movies with his wife and cats.
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An Indianapolis native, Egan has studied at both the University of Toronto and Columbia College Chicago. While hailing from a family of performers, Egan has focused in his own work on original composition. During his college years, Egan also coached youth soccer all over the greater Chicago area. He’s excited to combine his passion for music with the joy of teaching students.
Egan is well-versed in multiple genres, with experience composing and performing jazz, blues, pop/rock, and musical theatre, to complement his native classical background. Egan is active in the composing and freelancing scene in Chicago, currently concentrating on musical theatre.
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Noah began his life-long love affair with music at an early age, singing every word to “Hey Jude” while still in diapers. From there, he spent most of his childhood playing various sports (in a mediocre fashion) until a guitar landed in his lap around age 10. Immediately, the world began to make sense in new and different ways, and he traded in the baseball diamond for the stage.
A background in classic rock and folk music merged with a developing love for musical theater, and, somehow, someway, over a decade later, he finds himself as a full-time teacher, composer/lyricist, and music director! Noah now has a couple handfuls of original theatrical musicals under his belt, and a career highlight of an original show playing in an NYC off-Broadway theater.
A gifted, personable, and committed teacher, Noah has an enduring love for helping his students find the stories and feelings in every note they play.
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Andrew completed his master’s in music at Concordia College-Chicago, and he holds bachelor’s degrees from University of Wisconsin-Madison and Columbia College Chicago. His rich training in pedagogy allows him to work with all ages and levels, and to develop a unique lesson plan for each student. An active participant in the local music scene, Andrew has performed at such venues as Millennium Park and Soldier Field. He currently plays with a number of prominent cover bands throughout Chicago.
Andrew is a true musical polymath. From Bach to Bela Fleck, from Gershwin to Goo Goo Dolls, he loves crossing genres to help his students learn their favorite tunes.
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Joe is committed to instilling a lifelong creative spirit within his students, catering to their individual interests while also introducing new and exciting ways to approach music-making. In addition to fostering technical skills, he also emphasizes “thinking like a musician,” giving his students real-world applications for what they learn. He holds a bachelor’s degree in composition from the University of Illinois.
A pianist, guitarist, composer, and producer, Joe’s original music covers many genres. In 2015, he premiered his concerto for rock band at the prestigious Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, taking home a BMI Student Composer Award. He has also received awards from the Wisconsin School Music Association and the National Federation of Music Clubs, and he was a finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Awards.
He is an active performer, playing everything from folk, pop, and rock, to soul, R&B, and hip-hop. On weekends, he can be found playing in Chicago or traveling to play across the Midwest. His band Boycut was recently featured in the Chicago Tribune. Joe looks forward to sharing his love of music and creativity with more great students in the year ahead.
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Gabe fell for music early. Growing up in Ithaca, New York, he studied piano from the age of seven, later exploring guitar, bass, drums, and mallet percussion in his teenage years. Gabe became interested in jazz in high school, and he began to draw more on improvisational styles in arranging and performing. He studied classical piano performance at Goshen College before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in sustainable food systems and journalism. Gabe is now a pianist, teacher, and arranger based in Chicago.
Gabe’s genuine care for others makes him a kind, supportive teacher for students of all ages. In his teaching and playing alike, he explores questions about right relationships between people and the earth. Gabe provides his students with the foundation for a lifelong love of music and learning.
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A Waukegan native from a musical family, Frankie was classically-trained on piano throughout his childhood, teaching himself drums and guitar along the way. Frankie studied commercial music at Millikin University, where he participated in symphony, percussion, jazz, and world ensembles. He also logged many hours in the recording studio, working on his own projects and playing on his colleagues’ tracks. Frankie then enrolled at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned his masters degree in jazz performance.
Equipped with an enthusiastic approach, great people skills, and a love of music, Frankie brings out the best in his students with a flexible, fun approach to repertoire. He believes that music should be used as a tool for self-expression.
Outside of teaching, Frankie continues to enjoy performing live and recording in the studio. In addition, he loves playing covers of songs from anime, TV shows, and video games. He looks forward to sharing the joy and fun of music with new students in the year ahead.
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Born and raised in Chicago, Ben Sullivan is a pianist, guitarist, composer, arranger, and teacher. Ben received his bachelor’s in guitar performance from DePaul University, and his master’s from Northwestern University. Well-versed in classical duo and ensemble music, Ben performs with his wife as a guitar-and-violin duo. His versatility extends to rock, blues, funk, and jazz, and he plays regularly in rock bands as a pianist and lead guitarist.
Ben shows his students that music is a lifelong journey, strengthening character and preparing them for everyday life. Having taught students of all ages for a decade, Ben exemplifies the patience and openness that create a welcoming learning environment. Join Ben in the beautiful adventure into musicianship, where students develop life skills and learn awesome songs along the way!
To see Ben’s current availability, click here.