West Side Music Academy Music Teachers

Music Teachers

Sean Barker : Teacher

Sean Barker


Sean Barker

Instruments: Piano, clarinet, bass clarinet, oboe, bassoon, saxophone, flute,

Students: Beginning to advanced

Preferred pronouns: he/him

Sean Barker was born and raised in Spokane, WA, where he began piano lessons at the age of 8 and clarinet at age 10, working with a number of fine teachers in the Spokane area, including Mary Wilson, Debra Greagor-O’dell, Mary Simpson and Margie May Ott on piano and Carol Kowzan on clarinet, and performing with the Spokane Youth Symphony as Principle Clarinet. Sean holds undergraduate degrees in Piano Performance and Clarinet Performance from the University of Montana, class of 2002, where he studied with Dr. Jody Graves on piano and Dr. Maxine Ramey on clarinet.

In 2002 Sean began work as a music teacher and free-lance musician in Seattle, WA, where he ran a successful teaching studio, seeing over 40 students each week. An active performer, he worked regularly with local orchestras and collaborated with other musicians on various projects, including an annual Mostly Mozart concert held in the courtyard of his apartment building. While in Seattle Sean studied piano with Dr. Peter Mack of Cornish College of the Arts.

In 2008 Sean returned to the University of Montana to pursue a Masters Degree in Music, where he also served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. For the 2008-2009 school year he was awarded the UofM Graduate Assistant Teaching Award for excellence in teaching, awarded to only one graduate student each year at the University.

From 2010 to 2018, Sean lived in Berlin, Germany, where he taught private students, co-chaired a musical theater department at Die Etage Performing Arts School, and his alto ego, “Shomo the Bearded”, was the karaoke pianist extraordinaire at Monster Ronson’s Ichiban Karaoke. He worked primarily with singers in Berlin, performing unique weekly programs at Sally Bowles Art Café. In 2016 Sean also premiered his first major composition, a song cycle setting of Wallace Stevens’ poems “13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”, sung by soprano Danielle Simpson.

In the Summer of 2018 Sean returned to Seattle where he is rebuilding a teaching studio and is looking forward to working with local musicians as both a pianist and clarinetist.

Matthew Benham : Teacher

Matthew Benham


Instruments: Guitar, Bass.
Students: Beginner to Advanced.
Styles:Rock, Blues, and Jazz with an emphasis in Folk and Fingerstyle
Preferred pronouns: he/him

At age six, Matt’s life changed forever the moment he first saw Bon Jovi on MTV. Richie Sambora’s stadium size guitar playing was a gateway for Matt to discover Vernon Reid (Living Colour), Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), Jimi Hendrix and countless other bands and guitar heroes. Matt specializes in rock, blues and jazz guitar; he has 15 years of recording and performing experience within the Seattle music community. Matt has played with several groups and artists including Argo, Black Swedes, Flat 5, A Breakthrough in Field Studies, Hand of the Hills, The Nom Noms, Jjjacob Jjjames and Joe Gregory. His music has appeared on MTV’s The Real World, and has been downloaded in more than 100 countries. Matt has been playing for 25 years; he has 10 years of experience teaching a variety of styles to students of all ages.

On Matt’s Stereo:
I usually listen to jazz, Avant-pop and some classical. David Bowie, Bill Evans, John Coltrane, Jim Hall and Sonny Sharrock are a few of my favorites.

Favorite Gig:
One of my favorite gigs was playing in an ensemble of four guitars and viola for Andrew Smith's composition Topology at the Good Shepherd Chapel for the Wayward Music series in 2014. The piece is composed for just intonation and running time was close to an hour. The guitars droned on with odd meters and tunings, while the viola traveled around the room, improvising as the sounds shifted underneath. It was a great experience to be a part of a performance that combined elements of new music and free improvisation in such a wonderful, acoustically rich setting.

Why Matt Loves West Side Music Academy:
Some of my favorite memories are from the Beginning Rock Band and Advanced Rock Band performances during the summer camp weeks. Seeing the students fearlessly performing on stage to the delight of their friends and family is one of the great joys a music teacher can have in his or her career. I'm so proud of all the students who are brave enough to perform in front of an audience in this way!

Milky Burgess : Teacher

Milky Burgess


Instrument: Guitar - Online Only

Milky Burgess is a professional guitarist with 30 years of experience playing a wide variety of styles.

A patient teacher that blends music theory into every lesson while keeping time with students fun.

Milky has worked with players from the very beginning of their musical journeys as well as a number of recording artists wishing to further hone their skills as soloists & writers. As a recording artist he has been involved on over 20 releases and shares what he’s learned from working with those artists.

Keeping the student creatively inspired above all is the focus while teaching. Students learn music theory, alternate tunings & scales with a creative instructor helping them build a repertoire unique to their interests.

Jonah Byrne : Teacher

Jonah Byrne


Jonah Byrne has been playing violin for over 30 years, teaching, performing, recording, and composing in a wide variety of styles. He started playing the violin at age six when his mother inherited an old violin from her great uncle and wanted to keep a family tradition alive. Jonah grew up taking lessons and playing in school orchestras, youth orchestras and string quartets throughout his young life. He spent a year studying music composition at University of Colorado, and has been active in the Seattle music scene since moving here 15 years ago. In that time he has been a DJ at Seattle’s eclectic Hollow Earth Radio, played fiddle and violin in country bands, experimental bands, indie bands, post-rock bands, and more. He currently plays with country bands Country Lips and Gus Clark and the Least of His Problems, and with pop/r&b singer Sphie, and has performed live with acts including the Breeders and Jamie Wyatt. 

David Dimmit : Teacher

David Dimmit


Instruments: Trumpet, Trombone, Baritone, Euphonium, Tuba.

Students: Beginner to Advanced.

Styles: Classical.

Preferred pronouns: he/him

David Dimmit is a euphonium player and teacher from West Seattle. He received a master’s degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and and a bachelor’s degree from Truman State University. He is currently pursuing a DMA from UMKC. His principal teachers have been Thomas Stein and Steven Seward.

David is proud to be a member of the internationally-acclaimed Fountain City Brass Band where he can usually be found playing second baritone. With FCBB, he has competed and performed across the United States, as well as in England, France, and Belgium.

Along with his performing experience, David loves sharing his expertise with his students, having maintained a thriving private studio and being a tutor and conductor with the Fountain City Youth Brass Academy.

When he is not teaching, performing, or practicing, David is often cooking or playing electric bass or guitar.

Sphie Holman : Teacher

Sphie Holman


Instruments: Voice, Piano

Students: Vocals -- Intermediate to Prodigy; Piano -- Beginning and Advanced

Preferred pronouns: she/her

Sphie is a singer, multi-instrumentalist, performer and recording artist. One of her works, an EP called “Limitless Extraordinaire”, explores many diverse spectrums of rhythm and instrumentation. Music is her love language, one that she began speaking at an early age.

When Sphie was a little girl, she listened to her favorite singers and wanted to discover her own unique expression. Piano helped her understand the fabric of music theory and technique; it began to compliment her dreams and influence her goals as a vocalist. Music also helped Sphie explore her body as a resonator of art, inspiration, and connection.

Sphie was trained from an early age in classical opera, musical theater and piano; she also had a thriving curiosity in improvisation, songwriting and pop performance, crafts that she nurtured on her own. The the McNally Smith College of Music in the Twin Cities, Sphie studied under many renown musicians, including Judi Donaghy (jazz vocalist), Lori Dokken (singer and pianist), Sean Turner (composer), and Chopper Black (producer).

Today, Sphie helps students explore all channels of their creativity, in song, performance, and multimedia. She loves intertwining improvisation, jazz and ear training while also offering knowledge in pop performance from an entertainment perspective.

In addition to private vocal, piano and performance lessons, Sphie generates curriculum for inner-city music programs. Her goal is to enhance and enrich creativity within young minds and nurture compassionate creativity in people of all ages.

On Sphie’s Stereo:

“I listen to a lot of production, cinematic and orchestrated music. However, I love all music of all varieties and feel inspired by the creativity expressed by all. “

Favorite Gig

“I enjoy playing festivals and have several memories of playing various festivals nationwide that resonate. I love sharing the stage with other conscious artists and being a part of the journey and transformation that can take place in that time.”

Why Sphie Loves West Side Music Academy

“I love the family-like atmosphere of WSMA. It is a professional environment where I feel that I am building roots in my community. I love being a part of an intimate environment that encourages love, nurturing and compassion while building a solid music foundation. I love feeling respected for my talents and what I offer in music education while being able to offer the best of me to my community.”

Cami MacDonald : Teacher

Cami MacDonald


Instruments: Piano

Students: All ages; Beginning to Advanced

Styles: Country, Jazz, Blues, Classical, Pop

Preferred pronouns: she/her

Cami and her husband Chris are the founders and managers of West Side Music Academy. The school started with the two of them; Cami teaching piano and Chris teaching guitar. Cami has been teaching piano since the late 1980s, all the while performing in various rock, jazz and big band groups. She studied music at Skagit Valley College, Western Washington University and Northwest University. Her classical teachers/mentors include Ford Hill, Sonya Hanke and Mizue Yamada-Fells. For jazz, she studied under Dick Cady and Bogey Vujkov.

Cami is currently playing with several local bands, including Mannequin BBQ, Collapsible Rodeo, the Loose Heels and the ABBAgraphs.

Cami’s ideal student is anyone who wants to learn. Chances are, if you don’t come with a big desire, she will likely change it. She says, “I love music so much, it usually rubs off on my students. “

On Cami’s Stereo:
I love old timey country like Hank Williams and Bob Wills, plus the piano styles of Bobbie Nelson and Floyd Cramer. I listen to Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jack White, Ray Charles, Oscar Peterson and so much more. On the local scene, I love The Pornadoes, The Stevendone, PromQueen, The Polyrhythmics and Cecil Moses & The S.G.s. my good friends play solo or in duos, combos and bands. I love listening to their music at home, seeing their concerts and discovering new local talent along the way.

Favorite Gigs:
Singing alto in a Western Washington University performance of Mozart’s Requiem – it was so huge and powerful. Playing with a swing band at the San Sebastian Jazz Festival in Spain – it was a beautiful day, beautiful city and my biggest audience ever. Playing at Darrell’s Tavern with “Caleb and Walter” and “The Suffering F@*k Heads”: two local bands I love; they inspired me to start my own projects.

Why Cami Loves West Side Music Academy:
My favorite memories here are the ones when students have that “Aha” moment. They’ve listened, practiced, studied – and then it comes together all at once and they realize they’ve jumped up a notch. There’s nothing better than the satisfied look a student gets when they are genuinely and rightfully proud of themselves.

Matt Moore : Teacher

Matt Moore


Students: Saxophone (baritone, tenor, alto), clarinet, flute, drums, guitar, piano, ukulele, and beginning bass - Online Only

Styles: Jazz, Rock, Classical

Preferred pronouns: he/him

Matt Moore is from Austin, Texas. He picked up guitar at the age of 7. In middle school, he began with the saxophone. During high school, Matt learned piano and drums. Through college, he learned to play the clarinet and flute as well as perfected the rest of his instruments. Matt graduated cum laude from the University of North Texas at the Music School with a B.A. in Jazz Studies. From then, he has performed in many professional bands and formed his own groups, such as Circling Drones. Matt has a lot of experience in all the instruments he teaches.

Matt likes to combine what the students wants to learn with his knowledge of that particular style of music. He likes to integrate music theory lessons as well as teaching to read and write. Matt gives homework to allow the students to practice on their own at home. Most importantly, he wants the student(s) to enjoy learning everything they can about music.

Cheli O’Bannan : Teacher

Cheli O’Bannan


Instruments:Piano and Voice.

Students: All Ages.

Styles: Classical, Gospel, Country, Rock and Pop.

Preferred pronouns: she/her

Cheli grew up in a home where music was always being played. Whether it was her Mom or Grandma playing the piano, or someone listening to and singing along with one of their favorite albums, music was a source of joy and connection. After her second grade teacher taught her the song “Heart and Soul”, she begged her mom for piano lessons. From the age of 8 on, piano has been part of her daily life. She will happily contribute harmonies to any song, at every opportunity.

On Cheli’s Stereo:
I love anything with awesome vocal harmonies. Stevie Wonder, I never get tired of him. I really enjoy listening to Motown, jazz, indie pop, old country, 70's punk and glam rock also some hip-hop & techno.

Favorite Gig:
I once played a show with Mannequin BBQ; the gig gave me the opportunity to teach at WSMA. I love it here!

Why Cheli Loves West Side Music Academy:
I love it when my students play a piece or sing a song and excitedly ask, "What are we gonna learn next?!"

Sarah Perlman : Teacher

Sarah Perlman


Instruments: Violin

Students: Beginner through Advanced, Age 6+

Styles: Classical, Celtic, Klezmer, Swing, Blues

Preferred pronouns: she/her

Sarah Perlman grew up studying classical music. By the time she reached 4th grade, she was already playing piano. On her first visit to the local string store, she woke up and smelled the rosin. Sarah soon gravitated to fiddle and musical improvisation. She now plays and performs a wide variety of styles from Classical and Celtic to Blues and Swing. Sarah studied violin performance at the Oberlin Conservatory; pedagogy with Margaret Pressley in Seattle; Suzuki teacher training; and a specialized course for violin and viola teachers at Indiana University.

On Sarah’s Stereo:
My listening is usually focused on whatever I'm learning at the moment, the gamut that includes classical, Celtic, Swing, Klezmer! Bonnie Raitt, Alison Krauss, any blues I can find, and lots of recommendations from other musicians.

Favorite Gig:
A guitarist and I play in a duo called RedPerl, which is based on Vashon Island. My parents were visiting from Ohio and came to one of our first concerts, so we played a vintage classic called "Alice Blue Gown". My mom's name is Alice, and her dad sang her that tune when she was little. Hearing the song again, she became teary. It was a sweet moment.

Why Sarah Loves West Side Music Academy:
I appreciate that WSMA fills a niche in West Seattle; giving kids and adults a place to learn music in the styles they love. The variety of programs -- private lessons, group classes and clinics, summer camps -- creates a great resource.

Emily Ravenscraft : Teacher

Emily Ravenscraft


Emily Ravenscraft
Instruments: Violin - Online Only
Students: Beginning to advanced

Who have you studied with?

I studied at the School For Creative and performing Arts and had the opportunity to be coached in ensemble playing by Norman E. Johns of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Why did you take up this particular instrument?

I have always had a love of making music and making up melodies. The versatility of the violin has kept me coming back for more.

Are there recommended natural abilities a student should have?

Just the love of music and the willingness to learn. That's all anyone needs to play.

What musical styles are you versed in? Which ones are your favorites?

I play classical, pop, rock, and blues. I can't pick a favorite - they all such different elements that they don't even compare.

What levels?

Beginning intermediate, advanced, prodigy...

Everett Sarono : Teacher

Everett Sarono


Instruments: Guitar and Ukulele.

Students: All ages.

Styles: Jazz, Rock, Funk, Reggae, Hawaiian, Contemporary.

Preferred pronouns: he/him

Everett Sarono is an active working guitarist and bassist with more than 25 years of experience playing in rock, jazz, funk, reggae, Hawaiian and contemporary bands across the Puget Sound. At the age of twelve he saw his first rock concert and was convinced that there was nothing cooler than rocking the guitar onstage. As he mastered his craft, he gravitated towards jazz and studying with notable musicians including Brian Kirk, Erik Hansen, Chris Spencer, Milo Peterson and Gene Ess (of the renowned Rashied Ali Quintet). Everett constantly strives to improve as a musician and teacher. His teaching style provides a fun and supportive learning experience while encouraging students to develop their own unique musical voice. In his spare time Everett enjoys taking his pet goldfish scuba diving at Alki Beach.

On Everett’s Stereo:
Anything and everything; if it moves me in some way regardless of the style I appreciate it. Some of the older cats would include Mississippi John Hurt, James Brown, Hank Williams, The Rolling Stones, Waylon Jennings, The Grateful Dead and John Coltrane. On the newer tip I enjoy Kendrick Lamar, The Alabama Shakes and Chet Faker.

Favorite Gig:
I once hired out as a stage musician for a musical. That was really cool to be a part of. Playing Folk Life was also a really memorable gig.

Why Everett Loves West Side Music Academy:
I really get a kick out of when students achieve a goal or acquire a new skill on their instrument. I also love to learn from my students, whether it’s a new artist/song that I hadn't heard before or learning their unique approach to music.

Andrew Tjandra : Teacher

Andrew Tjandra


Instruments: piano, cello

Andrew Tjandra is currently a Music Therapy major at Seattle Pacific University, and as both a pianist and cellist, has performed in multiple ensembles such as the Madrona School Plays, Shorewood HS Pit Orchestra, Edmonds Driftwood Players Pit Orchestra, and the Seattle Pacific University String Ensemble, among others. He has also accompanied church services at the Indonesian Presbyterian Church, Logos Presbyterian Church and the First Free Methodist Church in Seattle. He is currently working with a freelance gig quartet, Vilachel, and also works as a private Piano and Cello instructor at the Puget Sound Music academy as well as the Westside Music Academy.