Brooklyn Music Factory Teachers (Listed alphabetically by first name)

Alex Kerckhoff - Guitar, Bass & Ukelele

Avinoam Ettun - Exploration Band, Community

Benjamin Healy - Piano, Club Keyboard & Director of Private Lessons 

Benny Woodard - MiniKeys, Jam Band 101, Drums, Piano & Camp

Calvin Hitchcock - Club Keyboard, Piano, Voice

Dan May - Drums & Piano

Davis Rowan - Drums

Elora Aclin - Bands, Voice, Piano, Guitar & Camp

Hilarie Spangler - Voice, Piano & Camp

Jerry Murphy - Voice, Piano, Guitar, & Bass

John Russell - Bands, Guitar, Voice, & Camps

Josh Kinney - Bands, Piano, Winds

Lesley Barovick - MiniKeys, JamBand 101

Mal Best - Bands & Camp

Michelle Zilles - MiniKeys & Jam Band 101

Natalie Young - Bands, Voice, Piano, Guitar & Camp

Paul Madigan - Drums

Perry Smith - Bands, Guitar & Bass

Sienna Sears - Bands, Piano, Voice, Guitar & Camp

Our Co-founders  

Nate Shaw - Co-founder & CEO

Peira Moinester - Co-founder & Camp Director

BMF Admin 

Bethany Faubion - Marketing & Enrollment Systems

Jessica Tolliver - Director of Families & Communication 

Alex Kerckhoff - Guitar, Bass & Ukelele

Where did you grow up?

San Francisco Bay Area

Do you hold any degrees? From where/in what?

BM from USC’s Thornton School of Music in Studio/Jazz Guitar

When did you start playing music? Why? Who are your inspirations?

I started teaching myself around 12 or 13 when my father pulled his old guitar out of the closet because my older brother was in a school production of “Grease”. I started taking lessons about a year after being heavily influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Tom Morello and Jeff Beck.

What was one of your coolest gigs/musical experiences?

I released my first album in 2012 and got to tour with it in Japan. It was less than a year since the horrible earthquake and tsunami had hit the country. We arrived in Sendai to an entire town that had been completely leveled and was still recovering. My friend and I spent the afternoon teaching free guitar clinics to the locals, most of whom were total beginners. In the evening we played a free concert of our original music. The kindness and the gratitude we received from the locals despite the awful situation they were in was truly remarkable. It was a very humbling and eye opening experience to say the least.

What are your passions aside from music?

I love cooking, watching movies and sending animal memes to my wife.

If you could give one piece of advice to students what would it be?

One of my teachers told me “The most important thing in music is whatever just happened.” So, don’t judge anything too harshly, don’t worry too much about what you practiced or rehearsed, just keep your ears open and roll with it!

Fun fact! Share anything else about yourself that you'd like to share with the BMF community.

I build my own guitar effects pedals with a friend of mine.

Avinoam Ettun - Exploration Band, Community

Pronouns - he/him/his

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the beautiful city of Jerusalem, Israel.

Do you hold any degrees? From where/in what?

I hold a Bachelor's in music composition from the Jerusalem Music Academy and pursued a Master's in Music from the New School.

When did you start playing music? Why? Who are your inspirations?

I started playing guitar at 10, strumming Green Day songs and Israeli folk tunes. I had an Eric Clapton obsession. By 15, I got into a music school and started delving into Jazz Guitar and classical composition at a music school. Music began as a social interest and developed into being also an intellectual pursuit.

What was one of your coolest gigs/musical experiences?

Last summer I toured to a gut-strings manufacturer in Italy. It was a unique experience. Everything there was crafted by hand! Though I must admit it didn't smell too pleasant!

What are your passions aside from music?

I enjoy hiking, reading, exploring new art, running in the park, and cooking for my friends:)

If you could give one piece of advice to students what would it be?

Keep your ears open!

Fun fact! Share anything else about yourself that you'd like to share with the BMF community.

I collect postcards:)

Ben Healy - Director of Private Lesson Department, Piano

Brooklyn Music Factory Piano Teacher Ben Healy

Ben grew up in St. Paul, MN and has a M.F.A in Jazz Piano Performance from The New School for Jazz. Music has always been a part of Ben’s life: “Both my parents play piano and I started taking lessons at age 3. Over the years I had a number of teachers who helped to instill the joy of making music. One of them, who I met around age 12 to begin studying jazz, was Nate Shaw. Much of what I do today can be traced back to my parents discovering Nate’s business card on the bulletin board of a coffee shop across the street from my junior high in St. Paul, Minnesota. I took private lessons with Nate and participated in a few summer jazz camps organized by a local band he played in called the Motion Poets. Those experiences inspired me to pursue a degree in music, which eventually led me to The New School for Jazz and later to work for Nate as he founded Brooklyn Music Factory.” 

Ben gets to share that inspiration with his students during Club Keyboard classes. “We love being able to see students every day and really build a relationship with them and camaraderie in the group. Since we play a lot of games and act out the storyline together the classes are so much fun it doesn’t feel like “practice,” but they really do learn a lot in a short period.”

Ben would like to offer one piece of advice to his students: “Never stop learning, exploring, studying, striving and creating. Always have a teacher, coach or mentor. Whatever your interests are, wherever they take you, seek out others who inspire you and develop relationships with them.”

Benny Woodard - Bands, Piano, Drums & Camp

Benny grew up in South Hadley, MA and has a BFA in Jazz performance from New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. He started playing music at 6 years old. “My dad is a singer and blues harmonica player, my grandfather was a guitar player, my uncle is a drummer, and my brother is violinist. We would play music together at my grandfather’s house and I would sit on my uncle’s lap while he played drums.”

Aside from music, Benny has a passion for Environmental Activism, Collaging, Climbing Trees, Hiking, Biking, and Eating. Anything else that he’d like to share with the BMF community? “I capsized in a canoe last week and lost my Crocs.”

Most importantly, Benny would like to offer one piece of advice to his students: “Give yourself permission to make mistakes.” 

Calvin Hitchcock - Club Keyboard, Piano, Voice

Where did you grow up?
Outside Pittsburgh, PA

Do you hold any degrees? From where/in what?
I have a BM from Cedarville University and an MM from Mannes School of Music/The New School, both in Music Composition!

When did you start playing music? Why? Who are your inspirations?
When I was 5 years old, my mom put me in piano lessons after noticing I kept playing our old upright piano as an emotional outlet. She asked my first teacher to gear those lessons towards writing music, and that quickly expanded from piano to violin lessons and joining a boys choir, and eventually to composing my own music – and now here I am! (Thanks mom!)

What was one of your coolest gigs/musical experiences?
Some of my best performance memories have been singing and playing keyboards at theme parks, covering classic hits like Boston’s “Foreplay/Longtime”, “Africa” by Toto, or Van Halen’s “Jump”. Another favorite experience was my 2022-23 Artist Residency with the cell theatre in Chelsea, during which I wrote, produced, and performed in an original opera-theatre work called PROPHET$.

What are your passions aside from music?
I love reading about philosophy, religion and technology; my cat Elizabeth Bennett; cooking; HBO shows; musical theatre; and weird experimental performance art!

If you could give one piece of advice to your students what would it be?
Trust your instincts – originality stems from the unique intersection of your particular interests, and you never know how they will come together!

Fun fact! Share anything else about yourself that you'd like to share with the BMF community:
When I was 13, I won an international short story writing competition and took an all-expenses-paid literary tour of the UK!

Bethany Faubion - Marketing and Enrollment Systems

Bethany grew up in Indianapolis and has a B.S. in Marketing Management. “When I was 5, I started hanging out with an older lady named Alice who had just retired from teaching piano... and my mom mowed her grass in exchange for lessons. It was such a unique experience because my piano career started by learning big band jazz/swing. My first song was Glenn Miller's In the Mood."

Aside from music, Bethany... doesn't exist. "All I do when I'm not teaching or working is attend music festivals and concerts, or jam with friends. Or watch live shows on YouTube. There's rarely a moment when I'm not doing something music-related (I guess if you count the hours I'm logging into Zelda: Breath of the Wild, that's something)."

Most importantly, Bethany would like to offer one piece of advice to BMF students: “The music you're creating is worth something. Don't ever hold on to the idea that anything you do isn't 'good enough'... it absolutely is, and if you're creating, you're doing it right!" 

Dan May - Drums & Piano

Dan grew up in the South Suburbs of Chicago and has a degree in Percussion Performance from McNally Smith College of Music. Dan started playing drums in 5th grade after seeing his friend Raj bring home a snare drum. “I went over to his house and saw it on a stand in the middle of their kitchen - it was like a monument, and I had never seen something cooler. To this day, the snare drum is my favorite part of the drumset."

Dan's inspirations? “I love the jazz fusion and funk drummers of the 70's and 80's... these days, I draw a lot of inspiration from the electronic music that was being produced out of bedrooms in Detroit and Chicago in the 1990's."

When he’s not playing the drums, Dan is rock climbing, playing video games, board games, and learning new things.

Dan's ONE piece of advice to his students: “Investigate your curiosity. When you find something that is worth learning deeply, it will give back to you in abundance!”

Davis Rowan - Drums 

Brooklyn Music Factory Drum Teacher Davis Rowan

Davis grew up in Annapolis, Maryland and has a degree in Drum Set Performance from Berklee College of Music. Believe it or not, Davis began his musical journey on piano at a young age. “My parents made me. When I was 9, I found a drum set in my neighbors attic while we were looking for legos. That’s when the real magic started to happen.” 

Davis’s coolest gig? “I’ve toured around the world with actor turned musician, David Duchovny (yes, the dude from the x-files.) Last spring we played a show in Moscow and I played a drum groove while 3,000 Russians sang some famous Russian song. It was very strange and very cool.” 

When he’s not playing the drums, you might find Davis taking care of his physical and mental health with activities such as rock climbing and running. Anything else he’d like to share with the BMF community? “I found a dead bird inside of my very first bass drum.” 

Most importantly, Davis would like to offer one piece of advice to his students: “Never stop exploring.”   

Find Out More Here:

Elora Aclin - Bands, Voice, Piano, Guitar & Camp

Elora grew up right on the border of Long Island and Queens and has a BFA in Vocal Jazz Performance from The New School, where she also minored in Psychology.

“I started playing bass guitar when I was 12 after reading the comics Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Soon after I got into singing musical theater, opera, and jazz!"

When she's not teaching music, you might find Elora crocheting, drawing, cooking, or spending time in nature.

Most importantly, Elora would like to offer one piece of advice to her students: "Never doubt the importance of something that interests you! If you are curious about something, pursue it with passion." 

Hilarie Spangler - Voice,
Piano & Camps

Hilarie grew up in a small town in Eastern Kentucky, right at the base of the Appalachian Mountains, also known as the Cumberland Gap. Her hometown, Middlesboro, is hilariously known for being placed right in the middle of a crater! 

She holds two Bachelor degrees from Western Kentucky University, one in theater with a minor in music theory and performance and the other in Community-Based Arts, with focuses on storytelling, community songwriting, and social justice. She is also currently working on a Masters Degree in Arts and Cultural Policy/Management from Pratt Institute, and will be finishing up in April 2021! 

Hilarie started playing music at a young age. “When I was little, I wanted to do EVERYTHING my older sister did so I started taking piano lessons at age 4, to follow her lead, and just fell in love with music after that. My family has always appreciated music. My grandpa, who sang tenor in a southern gospel quartet, filled my ears and mind with musical stories. That was the beginning of my desire to find my own songs and ways of expressing them. He has always been an inspiration to me.”

Carole King was one of the first artists that really got Hilarie interested in songwriting, and she grew up listening to King’s music with her parents. She is also deeply moved by the words and music of Florence Welch, Rhiannon Giddens, Maggie Rogers, and Joni Mitchell. When not teaching at BMF, Hilarie enjoys playing Bluegrass music, so these types of artists are inspiring her a lot right now! 

What was one of Hilarie’s favorite and most rewarding musical/theatrical experiences? Working with TimeSlips Creative Storytelling in Morgantown, KY on an immersive theatre piece called Wendy’s Neverland. The piece took place in Morgantown Care and Rehabilitation Center. “I was able to be both a choral leader and make music alongside the coolest elders you’ve ever met and their care buddies, fabulous musicians, and  artists from around the U.S. The piece was all about embarking on a journey of belief and how when we, collectively, believe in ourselves and in others, we can accomplish anything! Which is a lesson I’ll carry with me forever!”

When not making music, Hilarie loves to travel, spend time in the mountains, learn new languages, and play with her perfectly adorable and fluffy black cats! She also loves to do anything and everything that involves a community of people. Fun fact about Hilarie: she spent a summer living in a barn in Northern Ireland as an apprentice to a storyteller, who is now a dear friend and mentor. She also plays the Celtic harp and speaks Italian! 

Hilarie would like to offer one piece of advice to her students: “The most powerful tool you have is your voice. Your voice can create change, it can make waves, it can be expressed in so many ways and is so unique to you! When you believe in your voice, you can create extraordinary things!”

Jerry Murphy - Voice, Piano, Guitar, & Bass

Where did you grow up? I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY (Bedford-Stuyvesant). Cheers to the greatest city in the World!

Do you hold any degrees? From where/in what? I studied for my High School Diploma at Brooklyn High School of the Arts in Theater, Band and Musical Theater. I studied for my BFA in Musical Theater at Columbia College Chicago.

When did you start playing music? Why? Who are your inspirations? I began my journey in music in the 3rd grade! I played a recorder for a month and then, I was handed a trombone and a passion was ignited.
My inspiration knows no bounds. I am inspired by all that I’m grateful for, by legends we all know and love, and for the opportunity to create whenever I can.

What was one of your coolest gigs/musical experiences? One of my coolest performances to date, is when a chorus I performed with- in High school- got the chance to perform on live T.V. for the NYC tree lighting at NBC studios for the holidays. I got a pretty cool sax solo in.

What are your passions aside from music? Outside of my Music work, my other true passion is the theater. I adore language and how beautiful it can be. For me, watching a play or musical is like “watching a book”- in its manipulation of language- and, I love being a part of the story. Of course amongst many other things within that regard.

If you could give one piece of advice to your students what would it be? For every mistake you think you make, you are always another step closer to getting it right.

Fun fact! Share anything else about yourself that you'd like to share with the BMF community. When I was younger, I sort of used to play the piano backwards due to my Left hand preference and lack of fine motor skills at the time.

Jessica Tolliver - Director of
Families & Communication

Brooklyn Music Factory Jessica Tolliver

Favorite part of your job: I try to make sure the whole BMF community has what they need to create awesome music together every day.

When and why did you discover you wanted to be a musician, or work closely with music?: Nate and I were in a heavy metal cover band together in college. I played the drums!

Fun fact: A movie--"Trail of the Lonesome Pine" starring a young Henry Fonda--was made about a (real!) family feud in Kentucky, involving my Tolliver ancestors. Henry Fonda played a Tolliver!  

Bands/groups/projects: Annual family holiday video!

John Russell - Bands, Guitar,
Voice & Camps

John grew up in the California Bay Area and received a BA in Narrative Studies from the University of Southern California - where he wrote his thesis on the narrative properties of music.

"I got my first beat machine when I was 15 and spent years trying to produce like Kanye and Pharrell and Timbaland. In college I bought a guitar and discovered I loved writing songs as much as programming colossal 00’s R&B drums and began a quest to meld those things together."

Aside from music, John has a passion for reading and playing soccer… "I am always either juggling a deflated soccer ball in my house or reading one of the 5 books I’m halfway through if I’m not making music."

One of John's coolest musical experiences... "Far and away the most powerful experience I have had in music is exploring the voice as an instrument. Potent social, emotional & spiritual lessons are unavoidable in the pursuit of singing with freedom…"

Josh Kinney - Bands, Piano, Winds

John grew up in Binghamton, NY and holds a BMus in Jazz Studies from Purchase College and an MA in Music Education from Hunter College.

"I grew up in a musical family and started playing guitar when I was 8 years old, saxophone when I was 10 years old, and bass, drums, piano, flute and clarinet later on in my journey. Some of my inspirations include Maurice White, Patrice Rushen, Michael McDonald, and Donald Fagen."

One of Josh's coolest gigs/musical experiences... "My first time playing in Atlanta was to a crowd of around 600 people who had never seen our show before. The set was going alright at first. Halfway through, we did a mashup that included “Candy” by Cameo–a song folks often do the electric slide to at weddings and parties. Immediately, every single person in the room stepped into line and danced in perfect step. The rest of the show from there was a total hit."

Aside from music, Josh loves reading, running, and cooking.

If Josh could give one piece of advice to their students, it would be: Find YOUR sound. From there, life is a never ending source of inspiration.

Mal Best - Bands & Camp

Mal Best Headshot

If you could give one piece of advice to your students what would it be? Once you start something you enjoy, don't stop. Keep getting better. Keep learning. Keep growing. Keep having fun. Keep sharing that passion with others. Be yourself and love everything you create!

When and why did you discover you wanted to be a musician, or work closely with music? I started around age 8 singing for fun and it wasn't until I got to high school that I started learning and studying more about being a vocalist because of my desire to be a professional vocalist. My inspiration was the many great music teachers I had in high school. Specifically my Gospel Choir and Mixed Choir teachers who helped me become a more competent musician.  

Fun fact: I did a 3 day camp wilderness trip in the Adirondack Mountains when I was 15. It was one of the best experiences I had and I'd love to do something like that again.  

What are your passions aside from music? I enjoy health, fitness, and mental health. You can always find me cooking something in my house, training at the gym, or meditating when I'm not practicing or teaching. I'm also very passionate about early childhood education and fostering children to become creative thinkers and be free to use their imagination.

Michelle Zilles - MiniKeys &
Jam Band 101

Brooklyn Music Factory MiniKeys teacher Michelle Zilles

Favorite part of your job: I cherish being a child's first music teacher. In MiniKeys, I love creating a playful, successful experience that will lay a foundation for their lifelong love of music.

When and why did you discover you wanted to be a musician, or work closely with music? Everyone was singing in house growing up. My Mom sang in MGM musicals and Broadway and my Dad sang Opera. I was a shy kid and as a teenager loved The Smiths as much as Stephen Sondheim. Music gave me confidence and a sense of belonging. Fast forward years later, I was performing with a theatre company in hospitals and shelters. It hit me how deeply music can reach any population with any ability. I studied my Master's in Music Therapy at NYU and worked in early intervention and with dementia patients. I love leading group singing and building community through song.

Fun fact: I sang on The Grand Ole Opry stage but surprisingly not country music.  

Bands/groups/projects: Raising my daughters is a big project right now. Slowly working on a collection of lullabyes. These have been passed down and a few are original.  

Nate Shaw - Co-Founder

Brooklyn Music Factory Co-founder Nate Shaw

Favorite part of your job: Absolutely it's building a sense of self in my students.  

When and why did you discover you wanted to be a musician, or work closely with music? I was playing piano in a blues band in Hong Kong (of all places).I was 21 yrs old & living abroad studying Chinese for 3 hours a day. Digging the food and the massive culture shock. It was a Sunday night gig that I did every week. I was just a wide eyed kid who saw everything as a possible. And then one song (a minor blues in E...I remember it perfectly) I played a chord on the piano and all of a sudden felt something shoot through my body that I'm not sure I had ever felt before. It was bliss. It was joy. It was totally real and physical and emotional. That one moment was when I realized that I needed to keep doing music for the rest of my life. My life has continued to be finding ways to feel that daily through music.

Fun fact: I have been to Bali twice to play with a friend who lives there. I'm always willing to travel for adventure.  

Bands/groups/projects: Gowanus Reggae And Ska Society & J Granelli's trio: Mr Lucky  

Find Out More Here:  

Natalie Young - Voice, Piano, Guitar & Curriculum Designer

Natalie Young

What do you teach at BMF? I teach voice and beginner piano! I’m also a curriculum designer for BMF.

Where did you grow up? I grew up in Hershey, PA. Before the chocolate factories moved when I was 10, the entire town smelled like chocolate!

Do you hold any degrees? From where/in what?

I hold my Bachelor of Music in Music Theatre Vocal Performance from New York University. I minored in Applied/Educational Theatre and Mathematics. 

When did you start playing music? Why? Who are your inspirations?

My parents are both theatre performers, so I started singing before I could form full sentences! I was inspired by the powerful vocals of musical theatre legends like Audra McDonald, Judy Kuhn, Stephanie J. Block, and Sutton Foster. I performed in my first musical at the age of 6, and began taking formal voice lessons at age 11. I first learned to read music through musical theatre and choir, which led me to study piano and guitar. 

As my relationship with music has grown over the years, I’m now inspired by musicians who break the boundaries of genre, like Anais Mitchell, Moses Sumney, and The Staves. 

What was one of your coolest gigs/musical experiences?

During my senior year of high school, I booked a gig as a primary soloist in a concert showcasing the music of Stephen Schwartz. I got to sing “Morning Glow” from Pippin as a duet with Stephen Schwartz himself- that was pretty cool!

What are your passions aside from music?

As a disabled musician and educator, I’m extremely passionate about access and equity in artistic environments. On a slightly less serious note, I’m passionate about animals (mainly my rescue pup, Mocca!), plants (I have 85 house plants!), and experimental theatre. 

If you could give one piece of advice to your students what would it be?

Enjoy the human moments of music-making! Your journey with music will bring about so many feelings- joy, frustration, surprise, defeat, curiosity, determination- and they are all important! Embrace the challenges and feel the beat. :)

Fun fact!

My dream in life is to create a residency space for new work development in music and theatre. I’m passionate about making space for new voices to thrive!

Paul Madigan - Drums

When did you start playing music? Why? Who are your inspirations?
I began my drumming career when I was seven years old, driving my parents crazy by banging on pots and pans. This eventually prompted the purchase of my first drum set at the age of twelve. As a young child, I was moved by the rhythms of John Bonham, Neil Peart, Keith Moon and many other rock legends that I listened to on my stepfather’s records. In high school, inspired by the school’s music director, I joined the Jazz Ensemble, Pep Band, Wind Ensemble, and Concert Band. I broadened my horizons by listening to inspirational drummers like Max Roach, Philly Joe Jones, Tony Williams, Steve Gadd, and Dave Weckyl.

After high school, I performed in bands around Southern California, North Carolina and the southeast, and New York City. I also performed and taught on the island of St. John, USVI. Over the course of my performing career, I toured in bands that played clubs and shared festival stages with many great performers, such as Train, Bob Weir, G-Love and Special Sauce, and Melissa Etheridge. While in North Carolina, I taught beginner drumming at the Raleigh Music Academy. I also instructed young drummers at the St. John School of the Arts during my time in the Caribbean.

Now that I’ve settled back in Carroll Gardens with my wife and daughter, a P.S. 58 graduate and Red Hook Harbor School student, I am excited to share my passion with aspiring Brooklyn drummers.

What was one of your coolest gigs/musical experiences?
Opening for Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead and his band Rat Dog. The crowd was amazing, and the stage physically shook from their applause. Following the performances that night, my band and I had the opportunity to meet and pose for a picture with Bob and the band.

What are your passions aside from music?
I really enjoy traveling with my family as we are trying to get our daughter to all fifty states by the age of eighteen. I enjoy watching sports, playing games, and also playing golf.

If you could give one piece of advice to students what would it be?
I always tell students that “practice makes progress” because I don’t believe in perfection. Perfection implies there is a stopping point for growth, but we are always learning and developing new skills–that’s the most exciting part of the musical experience!

Fun fact! Share anything else about yourself that you'd like to share with the BMF community:
I’ve always loved humor and stand-up comedy. My hope is to one day take a comedy workshop and perform a stand-up routine at an open mic here in NYC!

Perry Smith - Bands, Guitar & Bass

Perry grew up in San Francisco, CA and received a Bachelor of Music in Studio/Jazz Guitar from USC, and a Master of Music in Jazz Studies from NYU.

He was 10 years old when he started playing his Dad’s acoustic guitar. Major inspirations of Perry’s are Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Joni Mitchell, Ella Fitzgerald, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Bill Frisell and Wayne Shorter. 

One of Perry’s coolest gig experiences was playing the main stage at Montreal Jazz Festival for 20k people. 

Besides playing music, Perry enjoys yoga, sports, cooking, hiking and camping. And pizza! Perry says, “Bay Ridge has the best pizza in all of Brooklyn.” :) 

Most importantly, he would like to offer one piece of advice to his students: “It’s okay to try new things in music and feel challenged on your instrument. That’s how you grow as a musician.”

Find Out More Here:  

Peira Moinester - Co-Founder & Camp Director

Brooklyn Music Factory Peira Moinester

Peira is Co-founder and Camp Director of Brooklyn Music Factory. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Peira started playing music at a very young age, and loved to play the piano in her family living room. She began voice lessons at 9 years old, and started writing her own songs in middle school. “Once I discovered the power of writing your own music, I never looked back!” 

Peira’s most treasured musical experiences have been when she’s had the opportunity to see artists she loves in small, intimate venues. “There’s nothing like being in a small room, watching a performance of an artist you admire, and feeling like the music is right on top of you. I love that.” 

Aside from music, Peira is passionate about the environment and making our planet a better and cleaner place. “I love that saying, There is no Planet B. Feels like there’s no better way to sum it all up.” Peira lives with her awesome husband who she met playing in a band 25 year ago. They now have two amazing kids and love playing music together as a family. 

One piece of advice Peira loves to share with her students: “Create without limits. Creativity is hindered by rules. Allow yourself to be free and you’ll be amazed at what you can create.”

Sienna Sears - Bands, Piano, Voice, Guitar & Camp

Sienna grew up in St. Louis and received her BFA in Musical Theater from Seton Hill University. She started playing music as a kid with her brothers and sisters in their sibling band. "I loved being on stage as a kid; we had fun creating shows."

Her inspirations are Nina Simone, Norah Jones, and Joni Mitchell.

Sienna's coolest gig? "My coolest musical performance recently was performing with my brother, Christopher Sears at Rockwood Music Hall for a lovely, lively crowd. It was our first live show back in person after almost 2 years and it felt magical."

Aside from music, Sienna has a passion for theater, art, dancing, and yoga.

Most importantly, Sienna has an important piece of advice for his students: “Stay curious, keep playing, and keep creating!"  

We like it here :) 

Our team comes from all over the map from California to Nebraska, Florida to Texas, Australia to Sweden! We are not just a music school; we are a mission-driven company intent on growing a body of 100,000 students worldwide with the tools needed to connect with others and build something bigger than themselves through music. Playing & performing in bands. Writing & sharing songs. Jamming around the campfire or around the world. We grow musicians for life and are changing a generation of music-making families.

music teachers at brooklyn music factory

"The most fun thing about being a part of the BMF community is all the opportunities they offer to engage kids. They are really good at it. It’s a really high quality & well run operation, and has sparked something special in my child. And they’ve been amazing during the quarantine with the switch to online lessons & other opportunities for remote learning. Highly recommended!"

- Andrea, a Brooklyn Mom

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