Our Teachers

Meet the Teachers of Music Together 916 Valley 

We are passionate about sharing the joy of music with children and families in the Elk Grove/Sacramento area!

All teachers have successfully completed the live Music Together® Teacher Training, which is built on research in early childhood and music development. We keep our skills fresh through workshops every semester and advanced trainings offered by Music Together Worldwide.

photo Katy Porray
Katy has been interested in Music Together for years, and is thrilled to share her joy of music with families in Elk Grove!  
 
Katy's favorite memories are from making music with her family when she was growing up.  Her dad had a bag full of rhythm instruments from around the world.  Her parents would sing any song they could think of, and Katy and her brothers would sing and play along.  For her, music has always been something that people make together - not a performance, but something to participate in.  As a Montessori teacher, first in China and recently in Sacramento, Katy loved incorporating music and movement activities with children every day.  Katy is a registered and trained Music Together teacher.  She is looking forward to creating joyful spaces for families to make music together in Elk Grove!
 
 
 
 
     
photo Alfredo Aguayo

Born and raised in San Diego, CA, was surrounded by a music driven and dancing family and community. He learned  traditional rhythms carried over by his family at a young age. Having a founded love for cultural arts, he became a professional dancer and performer in Mexican Ballet Folklorico Ixcuintla, participating in prominent city, televised and annual events.

While studying at SFSU in the field of Sociology, he began a career in youth advocacy and development, working in summer camps, group homes and Afterschool programs. Exposure to San Francisco counter culture and arts scene, he found himself in collaboration with music artists in vasts of genres including the blues, jazz, son cubano, son jarocho, hip hop and rock.

     
  East Bay Music Together Staff

Class will be taught by one of the many experienced teachers at East Bay Music Together 

     
photo Anna-Maria Viollich-Olivier

Anna-Maria loves music and sharing in with others. She began singing at an early age in Venezuela where she grew up.  Anna-Maria graduated from UCLA with a degree in Ethnomusicology.  In 2004 she became a Spanish Bilingual classroom teacher and since then has worked in San Francisco, where she enjoys working and learning with her students and their families. 

She completed her Music Together training in September 2014, and has been apprenticing with Ryk Groetchen during the Winter session. She also attends classes with her one year old twin girls. In addition to her MT training and teaching experience,  Anna-Maria  completed Level 1 Certification in the Orff Schulwerk method of teaching music to young children.

She currently performs with the Venezuelan Music Project as a vocalist and percussionist.  In her spare time she loves to dance Salsa and watch her  daughters Isabel and Cataleya joyfully discover the world around them.

Anna-Maria is excited to bring her own joy and love of music and dance into her classes. She looks forward to meeting new people and with them creating a fun environment full of music!

 
     
photo Alice Lancefield
Alice Lancefield became interested in teaching Music Together when she began taking classes with her then 11 month old, now 2 year old daughter. Alice comes from a musical family, singing with her mother in the church choir and studying piano from age 8 on into high school. Alice further studied vocal music in college and always managed to play music though her main field of study was fine art (painting). In addition to music, she has informally studied many dance forms including ballet, belly dancing, flamenco, and Cuban salsa. Music has always called to her, and now she performs locally with the Solstice Ensemble, an offshoot of the California Revels (with whom she has also performed). 
 
Alice's passion for Music Together has steadily grown as she has witnessed her own daughter's growth and development as a little singer and dancer, and as she has seen other people creating joyful connections and deep bonds through music and play.
 
Alice is excited to bring her own joy and love of music, dance and theater into her classes. She looks forward to meeting new people and helping to create a playful and fun environment in which to share the magic of music!
     
photo Jade Jossen

Bio and Parent Comments:

Jade Jossen has been a Music Together director and teacher in Bologna Italy since 2003. She studied piano, music harmony and theory at the Conservatory of Bologna and graduated in 1985 at the "Duke Ellington School of Performing Arts” High School in Washington DC. Later she studied at NYU at the Gallatin School of Individualized Studies as an undergraduate and at the Interactive Telecommunications Program as a graduate student. She discovered Music Together in 2000 when living in NY and fell in love with the program immediately. She started teaching in 2003/4 at Artsetcetera in Booklyn, NY and later for Music Together of Paris and later then her Music Certification certification 1 and 2 from the Center for Music and Young Children di Princeton in 2008 and 2011. In 2009 she completed the first level of Dalcroze at Longy School of Music in Boston. She has taught classes also at "La Piccola Scuola Italiana” and at the JCC in San Francisco and obtained the first and second certification in Orff at the San Francisco School. She also has done several internships with Mary Knysh from Music for People during in school residency programs and organized community building musical events with Mary as well. She plays piano, guitar, saxophone, digiridoo, djembe and has recored three albums with her band Frida X.  Building community through music is what gives Jade the motivation and joy to continue experimenting and teaching in various parts of the world. The power of human connection that music brings to families around the world continues to be a source of inspiration and magic in her life. 

“After three years of Music Together I see in my daughters the amazing and unexpected effects of growing up with music and dance. Jade is for us a point of reference, steady, professional, precise, attentive, very authentic and so joyful and fun!” 
 
"Her smile is my energy, her evening classes take all my worries away at the end of a long day. Music also helped me when my child was in the hospital with heart problems, I was crying and he was laughing to music… What more can one ask for?” 
 
“I have known Music Together for 10 years and I would never pick any other teacher for my kid than Jade. We like her because she is a little crazy and full of joy, for her beautiful voice and her spontaneity”> 
 
“Jade sometimes speaks funny but I like it” says Leo a little child when I speak different language. 
 
“My child has been in class with Jade for year and her ability to comunicate and pass on her love for music while respecting each child’s ability to learn is definitely unique and impressive. My child is in love with Jade, her friendliness and skills with which she teacher music make her a very loved teacher. She is a very good musician, constantly keeping up to date with new education methods and techniques, she knows how to merge discipline and sweetness and always puts the respect of children as her first value. Between her and the little ones there is true reciprocal love. 
 
“This is my fifth term with Jade and I have always seen her with a big smile. I can tell that she loves teaching and knows how to pass on her positivity and love for music to our children. She is patient, bright and knows how to teach us adults how to help our little ones develop their musical abilities with clear explanations of why we are doing certain activities. This helps me build a better relationship with my child’s music development while having so much fun and relaxing at the same time. Thank you for your professionalism and dedication.” 

 

 
     
photo Lisa Bush Finn

Here are some family comments about Lisa, along with her bio:

"We have attended Lisa's class in Alameda for more than 6 sessions since my daughter was 14 months old. We keep taking Lisa's class! Lisa always greets us with a big smile which makes us feel welcomed. She is very enthusiastic, good with children, gives parents helpful musical development advise. We really enjoy her class!" ~Y.R.

"We love Lisa because she is very energetic, friendly, makes the music very lively for the babies and gives info or tips about the music in between the songs for parents!! We (me and 18mnth old girl) were "big musicians" in her classroom." ~ S.L.

"Our teacher was Lisa from the Alameda classes. She is wonderful, gentle, welcoming, engaging, all inclusive . She made a life long impression on our daughter, who took her classes from 9 months to 2 and a half and still sings the songs every day. Ella's love of music stems from Lisa's gifts as a teacher." ~M.A.

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Lisa Bush Finn grew up bi-coastally, in Cambridge, MA & Sacramento, CA. She received her B.A. from Bennington College in Vermont. During the ensuing 15 years, while living in New York City, she was a member of the Wendy Perron Dance Co. and also performed and toured nationally and internationally with several other choreographers and performance artists, including as a singer in a cabaret production and at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center. She discovered Music Together in Brooklyn with her first child.

After moving to the Bay Area in 1996, Lisa attended two other early childhood music programs with her two kids, until 1998, when Music Together was first offered in the Bay Area by Julie Tanenbaum. She became a Registered Music Together teacher in 1999 and, in 2006, was awarded Certification Level 1.

Lisa still performs, appearing in the works of several Bay Area choreographers, including Carol Kueffer, Dana Lee Lawton, Randee Paufve, Jill Randall, and Alisa Rasera. She is a founding member of Nina Haft & Company, with whom she was on-tour in the Middle East in April 2010. She has also done choreography for Virago Theatre’s productions of Candide, The Threepenny Opera, The Death of Ayn Rand, and Mankind’s Last Hope, for Jasper Productions’ Anatomy, as well as for Alameda Children’s Musical Theater’s productions of Alice and High School Musical.

Lisa also teaches movement for actors at the Virago Theatre Conservatory, and is a dance and theater teaching artist in local schools through the Creative Education Institute.

     
photo Riki Juster

I was curious to see how my 2 year old son would respond to Music Together, which is the first structured activity he's been involved in. After the first class I wasn't sure of he liked it, but, after two classes when I realized he was likening things we did at home to things we had done in class ("...'ike 'Icky did in mugit cass!!"), I knew we were onto something. Riki has a wonderful way of inviting kids to participate without putting any pressure on them. She seems to have a really good sense of where each kid is and meeting them in their comfort zone, and gently drawing them out. At our first class she noticed my son's affection for his stuffed dog, Puppy, and added a verse for him in the farewell song--a small gesture that made a huge impression. She finds a way to include each person and celebrate what their doing--whether it's an infant leaning on a drum, a grown up trying to come up with a new dance move, or a toddler venturing to join in something they had been watching others do in previous weeks. She also struck a really nice balance between building ritual, doing some things the same way every week, and keeping it fresh. These things, combined with her relaxed and fun nature and her musical gifts made for a fabulous class. We certainly felt lucky to have Ricky as our son 'a first teacher." ~ Maggie H.

 

Riki Juster is thrilled to be part of East Bay Music Together! Riki spent her early childhood living in Long Island in New York and was lucky enough to have been taken to Broadway shows and operas at the Met at quite an early age. Her mother was a voice teacher and both her parents performed in musical theater. Singing at home or in the car was second nature. At age 11, her parents decided to move the family (and the Baldwin piano) to Israel. Upon leaving her parents home, Riki lived on a kibbutz for 4 years where she worked as the head childcare giver at daycare center. At the same time, she studied Education at Haifa University for 2 years. In 1999, Riki returned to the US and chose the wonderful Bay Area as her new home base. She managed large scale events such as KFOG Kaboom! and the ESPN X-Games. A few years later, she decided to try her hand at childcare once again and became a nanny. When Riki isn’t teaching Music Together or being a Nanny, she performs at various community theatres (mainly musicals) and volunteers with Nourishing Our Children.

Riki says “I first experienced Music Together in Rockridge when caring for two toddlers and immediately fell in love with the program. I was having just as much fun as they were, if not more! I knew that by teaching Music Together classes, I would be combining two of my greatest passions and hopefully make a difference in children’s lives through movement and music.”

 

"Riki is great! She has boundless energy and is always fully prepared and ready to engage. She takes cues from the kids and that guides different movements or songs she chooses during the class. She's very warm and personable, paces the class really well, and clearly gets much joy from what she does!"
--C.L.

     
  Megan Dey-Toth

Megan loves teaching Music Together.  After being a professional opera singer for 13 years, she was so happy to make music again in an informal, fun way.  She also considers it a great privilege to be a part of the lives of young children and their families.

Megan grew up in the Bay Area, where she studied piano and cello and sang in the San Francisco Girls' Chorus.  She got her Bachelor's of Music from UC Santa Barbara.  She then focused on studying opera during a year in Italy on a Fulbright grant and at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.  She worked as a mezzo-soprano singing leading roles for 13 years.  She sang with Los Angeles Opera, San Diego Opera, Minnesota Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Glimmerglass Opera and many others.  She also appeared as a soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Esa-Pekka Salonen's baton and at Carnegie Hall.  

Her life changed dramatically and wonderfully with the birth of her first child, Oliver. And then again with his little sister, Maeve.  This was around the time that Megan, living in Princeton, NJ, started teaching Music Together.  Last year Megan and her family moved back to California to be near her family and to enjoy California!  Her interests include meditation, brain development, folksongs, the music of Bach and Richard Strauss, Native American culture, history and spirituality, family, singing rounds and walking on the beach.

     
photo Ryk Groetchen

Messages to Ryk from families, and Ryk's bio:

"What a fabulous teacher you have been! Because of your fun and thoughtful style, great musical abilities, and creative teaching, C__ has really taken to music and dancing. We have watched him evolve from his 3 months old passive listener to his nearly 6 months old engaged wiggler and bouncer (sometimes even in time). Thank you for the wonderful introduction to music." C.V.

"You’re the man Ryk! ”Want to go sing with Ryk and the gEEE-t-AAAArrr” is a regular refrain chez nous….we can’t thank you enough for being such a wonderful musical presence for all of us." K.G.

"dear ryk, thank you for making my wednesday mornings so fun. i love to play guitar at home because i see you having so much fun every week with your guitar. thank you for letting me help you play your guitar during the hello and good-bye song, it makes me feel so special and i learn a lot too, and thank you for dancing with me during the free dance when i reach up for you. We hope to take many more classes with you. love, b___" R.H.
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Ryk Groetchen is a multi-instrumentalist (voice, flute, guitar, bass), composer and lifelong music lover. He has always had a strong desire to contribute in some way to musical culture. His performance experience includes rock bands, free improvisation ensembles, jazz big-band, vocal ensembles and multi-media/spoken word performance groups. He has participated in a variety of community art- and music-making activities with young children, middle- and high-school students and adults. He enjoys working with children, and has composed a number of children's songs.

Ryk is a perpetual student, committed to continuing his own music and movement education while sharing his understanding and his learning process with the community. He founded the East Bay Community Music Project in 2012, and teaches classes for K-3 families. His awards and certifications include Certification Level I from the Center for Music and Young Children in Princeton, NJ; and Orff Schulwerk Certification Level I, from the San Francisco International Orff Course.

Ryk also enjoys making music with his two sons, Henry and Harlan, and his many musical friends.

     
photo Julia Mcleod

To Julia from our families, and Julia's bio:

""I want to thank you for the fun we had in class on Wednesday. My daughter asked me today if we were going to class after school, and was upset that we didn't have it again today! She sings all the time now, and my son does too. I think that the way you keep the kids involved and the pace of the class is great - you really put a lot of thought into it. I also love how respectful, loving and joyful you are with the children." S. C.

"Julia's teaching style is warm and engaging. Her knowledge of child development and music is apparent in her ability to both entertain and teach the children and adults. Both my girls are extremely enthusiastic about our time together making music." D. B.

""A__ was so excited when I re-registered,that he ran to his instrument basket, pulled out the accordion, and started dancing around the house." Y. K., returning for our fourth semester.

Julia has been teaching Music Together in the East Bay area since 2002. She is a registered Music Together teacher and has also been awarded Certification Level 1 and Level 2, for demonstrated achievement in musicianship, movement, parent education, and teaching the Music Together program.These awards were granted by the Center for Music and Young Children in Princeton, NJ, Kenneth Guilmartin, Founder/Director.
Julia also has Level 1 Certification in the Orff Schulwerk method of teaching music to young children.
 

A violinist since the age of 8, Julia also plays ukulele, recorder, harmonica, melodica - and more! - in class. 
Julia says "I discovered Music Together with my first baby daughter in New York City; I was once a parent in class too! It's a joy for me to offer families a repertoire of songs to sing, and to share playful ways of making Music Together".
 
     
photo Rana Rines

Originally from the Bay Area, Rana began her creative career in junior high with The Belasco Theatre Company, a youth musical theater group that became her second family. She went on to graduate with honors from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where she earned a BFA in Acting. Studies included acting, dance, song performance, and many other facets of theatre, television, and film arts.

In tandem with pursuing a creative career, Rana has been teaching voice, acting, dance and music, coaching singers and actors one-on-one, and directing both youth productions and adult theatre for over a decade.

Rana feels that introducing young children to music is of the utmost importance to the future of the planet, and to each individual's growth and well-being. She is a trained and certified Canta y Baila Conmigo® teacher, as well as a Certification Level One Music Together teacher.