WESTBURY Instructors

We take pride in our team of university-trained instructors, who use their professional experience as both educators and performers to foster each student’s music education. They are qualified to teach students of all ages, from toddlers to adults. Our instructors are versatile in all styles of music, from classical to jazz to rock and everything in between. Whether you are a novice or have been playing for years, we will help you achieve your musical goals.

Alex Martinez

Piano/ Voice/ Guitar

Long Island University, CW Post

Alex has been teaching piano, voice and guitar for the past 5 years. As a performer, he has played across Long Island starring in musicals and plays. Alex has also had the honor of performing in exclusive venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Tilles Center and the 50th Anniversary Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland. Alex is also a proficient accompanist, often working with colleagues and students for jazz shows and cabarets. Alex has prepared his students for all levels of NYSSMA. Although he specializes in Musical Theatre and Jazz, Alex accommodates all of his student’s interests in pop, rock, and opera, while also exposing them to new influences. Alex has taught students of all ages, applying his knowledge and experiences to each lesson. Alex is very passionate about helping people achieve their goals, and has a high sense of pride when he can help his students achieve those goals. Above all, he wants his students to feel confident in what they do and for them to learn how to interpret the music they are passionate about. 
This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than 
ever before. – Leonard Bernstein  

Alyssa DeGuzman

Piano / Voice

New York University / Adelphi University

Alyssa is a talented multi-instrumentalist with a Bachelor’s degree in Music and Computer Management from Adelphi University, and has recently received her Master’s degree in Music Technology from NYU. Her love for music began in the first grade with the start of her piano lessons. Just a few short years later, her passion grew as she began singing and performing on stage. Alyssa was involved in NYSSMA, All-County, and All-State all through out her years from elementary school to high school. While being classically trained in both piano and voice, she also enjoys singing other genres like pop, musical theater, and jazz. She has been involved in many ensembles at school, such as, a select Vocal Ensemble, Opera Workshop, and the Jazz Ensemble. She has also performed as a soloist for several years at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall alongside fellow musicians who share a passion for performing as well. She participated in the Music Talent Competition of the Morgan Park Summer Festival, and won first place! She also sang the National Anthem at the Nassau Coliseum for an Islanders hockey game, and for Event Power’s various triathlons held at Eisenhower Park, Nickerson Beach State Park, and the Nassau County Aquatics Center. As an instructor, she has been teaching piano and vocal students for many years, helping each student achieve their own personal musical goals. She has also assisted the Select Children’s Choir of the Manhasset School of Music. Alyssa hopes to inspire and help students cultivate their talents, while instilling a passion for them to be motivated to pursue their goals.

Carmela Benvenuto, Piano today at Center Stage Music Center

Carmela Benvenuto


Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Australia/ The University of Queensland, Australia

Carmela has been playing the piano for over twenty years and has spent several years teaching general and instrumental music at a remote Indigenous community in Australia. She was responsible for creating and implementing musical programs as none previously existed. While working at this school in Australia, Carmela was fortunate enough to be mentored by the renowned jazz drummer, bandleader and music educator, John Morrison. With his guidance she was able to further develop her teaching strategies, as well as her own music skills. She also has experience teaching private piano lessons to students of various ages, abilities and interests. Carmela enjoys getting to know her students and sharing with them her passion for music. She believes that learning an instrument is a skill that will bring you great joy for the rest of your life.


“Never stop learning, because life never stops teaching.” – Unknown.

Chris Savarino Drum Teacher at Center Stage

Chris Savarino


Berklee College of Music

Chris has been playing drums for 18 years and teaching for the past 5 years. As an avid studio musician and performer, he is currently a part of two studio projects: “MMune” and “Moving Paintings.” When he is not recording drums for these projects, Chris is also writing and recording for his own solo project. Along with being a proficient drummer, Chris also composes his own original music, which ranges from jazz-fusion to progressive metal. As a teacher, Chris likes to find what inspires his students to play and want to learn, as well as introducing them to new styles of music and drumming to help expand their knowledge. He believes that playing music should be a fun and exciting experience, and enjoys helping each student become comfortable in different styles, while nourishing their musical creativity. His aim is to not only teach his students proper technique, but to help them become self-sufficient on their instrument. He wants each of his students to be able to express themselves musically behind the drum kit. 

“Drumming was the only thing I was any good at” – John Bonham

Christina Fileas, Voice and piano teacher at Center Stage Music Center

Christina Fileas

Voice/ Piano

Adelphi University

Christina, now a graduate of Adelphi University with a concentration in performance, began studying the piano when she was seven years old and voice when she was thirteen years old. Growing up, she had attended conservatory training at Cap 21: America’s Musical Theater Conservatory and Theater Company, Theater Arts Center Summer Program, and the Broadway Dance Center. She found her passion for musical theater after having trained with multiple professional Broadway performers. In the last few years, she has taught Sunday school and Greek dance at her church and has directed her high school’s performance of West Side Story. Christina is proficient in different vocal genres ranging from musical theater to classical. Aside from teaching a strong classical foundation in piano, she inspires her students to explore all genres of music. She believes that everyone is capable of learning music and loving music. Her goal is to inspire students to find their passion and to share with them her love of music and performing.

“Music is what feelings sound like.” – Unknown

Christopher Quintana, piano and voice teacher at Center Stage music Center

Christopher Quintana

Voice/ Piano

Adelphi University

Christopher has taught music lessons for 5 years now, including music theory along with vocals and piano. In addition, he has been the musical director of the Middle School Show at West Hempstead Middle School for 4 years. Christopher is currently studying Music Education and has attended several conferences in Rochester and Buffalo regarding the teaching of music to children, and has even presented work from his own experience interning at an early learning center. As a performer, he has experience singing and playing piano in recitals, performing in several musicals, and is a member of a jazz band that he helped create. When it comes to his teaching style, he is incredibly friendly and makes sure the student enjoys their time, alongside learning valuable music and using it to express themselves. While keeping classes entertaining, Christopher will go in depth on proper technique and how to give the best performance for an audition or recital. He adapts greatly to his students and forms lessons keeping each one of their learning styles in mind. He understands well that music is an important part of life, and will gladly show his students how to use music to not only get over rough times, but to join with others and form life-long connections

​​“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” ― Confucius

Daniel Passadino, piano guitar and drum teacher at center stage music center

Daniel Passadino

Piano/ Drums/ Trumpet/ Guitar/ Bass Guitar

Queens College, Aaron Copland School of Music

Daniel has been playing the piano for over fifteen years and is finishing his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education at Queens College; Aaron Copland School of Music.  Experienced in many genres of music, such as classical, jazz and musical theater, Daniel is able to offer his students a comprehensive education. A multi-talented instrumentalist, Daniel is also proficient in the drums, guitar, bass and trumpet. Daniel has played piano, bass and guitar in various rock bands across Long Island, and also plays the drums and trumpet in the Queens College Wind Ensemble. He has also worked in various theaters across Long Island for over six years as a musical director and pit musician. Daniel believes that the teacher is the most important factor in whether or not a student continues pursuing music. A teacher has the responsibility to make learning music fun and enjoyable for all students and Daniel hopes that he can instill a passion for music and learning in every student he has.

“Music, of all the arts, stands in a special region, unlit by any star but its own, and utterly without meaning…except its own.”–Leonard Bernstein

David Morales, Piano & voice teacher at Center Stage Music Center

David Morales

Piano/ Voice

The New School

David Morales is a pianist and singer, currently attending his sophomore year at The School of Jazz and Contemporary Music at The New School, in Downtown Manhattan. Although his focus is in Jazz and Contemporary Music, David is also a classically trained pianist and vocalist. David has participated in the Afro-Cuban Orchestra at The New School, and has been a guest pianist and singer for the All-School Jazz Orchestra at NYU. As a musician, David has been member of several bands, performing at famous venues such as The Bitter End and S.O.B.’S, as well as the Bronx Music Heritage Center and the Frederick Loewe Theater. As an instructor, David encourages his students to learn the endless possibilities of playing music and to find joy in playing, regardless of their age or experience level.

Eric Annibale, guitar teacher at Center Stage Music Center

Eric Annibale

Guitar/ Bass Guitar/ Ukulele

Stony Brook University

Eric has been playing the guitar for over twenty years and has been teaching private guitar, bass and ukulele lessons for about five years. An avid performer, Eric has been playing guitar in various blues, country and rock bands for the past fifteen years. His current band, The Grand Central, has performed over 1000 gigs in 27 states across America, including being the first NY based Country band to become the House Band of the world famous Bill Bob’s in Texas. As an educator, Eric prides himself on being able to motivate and inspire his students to develop a passion for performing while helping them master technical skills. He is patient and believes that learning music should be a fun experience. He hopes to instill a passion for music in each of his students that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Esther Chung

Piano/ Voice/ Violin

Adelphi University

Esther began her musical studies with piano from the age of three, violin at age seven, and voice at age fourteen. Her love for music continued to grow throughout college and she graduated with a double major in Music Performance and Business. She has performed at renowned music venues such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, both solo and with ensembles. She has been concertmistress of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra Principal Orchestra directed by Scott Stickley, and first soprano in the Chamber Chorale with Edward P. Norris III. Throughout her musical career, Esther has had the privilege of working with musicians such as Ola Gjeilo, Molly Mustonen, Darla D. Diltz, and Keith and Kristyn Getty. Aside from preforming, Esther loves teaching students of all ages and enjoys bringing music into everyone’s lives.

Evan Seickel Piano teacher at Center Stage Music Center

Evan Seickel


SUNY Fredonia

A pianist, composer, and conductor, Evan has earned his Bachelor of Music in Composition from SUNY Fredonia.  His musical journey began in 1999 with studying piano, eventually going on to explore many musical avenues including pipe organ, composition, and conducting.  Evan is an active performer, singing weekly with the St. Rose of Lima choir, and leading high mass congregations on piano.  Through the LI theatre company, Eastline Productions, he has found the opportunity and privilege to compose and perform solo incidental music and direct the pit orchestra for musical productions.  Evan also has experience as one of USDAN’s lead piano teachers.  In his time at Usdan, he was challenged to compose and teach piano duets for young musicians, while simultaneously using a contemporary musical language that maintains the interest of the young players.  Evan also had the honor to compete as a finalist with Bach’s Concerto in D minor BWV 1052 in the 2014 Concerto Competition at SUNY Fredonia.  As an instructor, he encourages his students to explore the full sound potential of the piano, in-turn unlocking the musical potential of each student.

“Music touches us emotionally, where words alone can’t.” – Johnny Depp

Gwyneth Fernandes Voice Teacher at Center Stage Music Center

Gwyneth Fernandes

Voice / Piano

Adelphi University

Gwyneth Fernandes is a voice and piano instructor at Center Stage and is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance, with a concentration in Vocal Performance, at Adelphi University. She has been singing since the young age of 4 years old and, since beginning her musical career, has performed in multiple Broadway revues, opera performances and jazz/choral concerts. Gwyneth has had the privilege of working with renowned musicians such as Violetta Zabbi and Priscilla Owens. Gwyneth understands the importance of music in life and seeks to teach her students not only to enjoy music, but also to be confident in their music making and to use music as a means of self expression. In her lessons, she caters to each student’s unique learning style and interests while also instilling in them proper technique. Gwyneth believes that a well-rounded education is essential, and she ensures that her students can read, notate and perform music to the best of their ability.

“Music begins where the possibilities of language end.” – Jean Sibelius

John Loffredo, Piano & Guitar teacher at Center Stage Music Center

John Loffredo

Piano/ Guitar

Nassau Community College

John has been teaching guitar and piano for the past five years. Learning the piano himself at the age of 5, and guitar at the age of 8, John has more than 15 years experience playing music as he regularly performs throughout the NYC area. John is a qualified NYSSMA teacher and has achieved high level rewards for both himself and his students alike. His passion for music has been passed down to him by his great grandfather, and his goal is to continue to pass on the gift of music to his students. He is extremely patient and caring to each and everyone of his students. John tailors each of his lessons to his students goals, and always keeps it a top priority to make sure the lessons are fun. John believes that it is important to continue to inspire his students by teaching them how to play in their favorite genres and styles. With a wide variety of musical styles, John’s goal is to help you become the musician you want to be, while also helping students become well rounded musicians and versatile in multiple genres. Music is like building blocks, once you have the material you can build any masterpiece you want out of it.

“Where words fail, music speaks.”  Hans Christian Andersen

John Potocnik, Drum, Guitar & Band teacher at Center Stage

John Potocnik

Drums/ Guitar/ Band

Five Towns College

John has been teaching drums for over five years and has been playing for a decade. As a performer, he currently plays with several original bands and artist: Crash The Calm , Boxer, Phil Firetog, and Salina Solomon. Also a proficient guitarist, John has a bachelors degree in performance for classical guitar with a concentration in audio recording technology from Five Towns College. John is a qualified NYSSMA instructor and strives for exceptional success with all levels of snare drum, drum set, and guitar. John believes in a balance between progress and entertainment, having his lessons consist of: reading, listening, writing, and improvisation. He is extremely patient, friendly, and relates well to children and adults alike. He aims to not only expand student’s horizons and technique, but to also connect them with other musicians so that they may further submerge themselves in the world of music and its joy.
“Choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” – Confucius
Karina Aristy, Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass Teacher

Karina Aristy


Long Island University, CW Post

Karina has been playing the violin since she was nine years old. Throughout the years she excelled within various performing groups and was given the title of Concert Mistress from grade 7 through grade 12. Throughout the years, she was a member of the Gemini Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the Usdan Orchestra IV. During her time at Post, she furthered her studies in violin, viola and cello and received her Bachelor’s in Music Education. Karina has been teaching students of all ages for over seven years. She highly believes in the value of a well-rounded education and makes sure that all of her students can read, write and perform music to the best of their ability.

“Without music life would be a mistake.” – F.W. Nietzsche

Liz Livingston, Voice, piano, guitar and ukulele teacher at Center Stage Music Center

Liz Livingston

Voice/ Piano

Westminster Choir College

Liz  is a recent graduate from Westminster Choir College of Rider University, where she received her Bachelor of Music in Music Education. From a young age, she has pursued her passion for music by studying voice, piano and guitar lessons, in addition to actively participating in musical theatre and choral programs. She is a well versed performer, as she applies her skills to various genres including classical, musical theatre and pop, as well as her original compositions. As an educator, Liz hopes to foster a positive learning environment in which students can have a joyful and transformative experience through music.  

Marc Lambert, Instructor at Center Stage Music Center

Marc Lambert


The Conservatory of Music at SUNY Purchase College

Marc is a professional musician and instructor with a Bachelor’s Degree in Performance from The Conservatory of Music at SUNY Purchase College in New York, where he graduated at the top of his class. Proficient in both the guitar and drums, he has been studying both instruments for over 20 years. Marc began his musical studies with the percussion/drums in school ensembles, and moved on to pursue private lessons in the guitar. As a multi-instrumentalist, he also teaches beginner bass as well as beginner piano students. Marc teaches students from all over the world as a result of his band, Painted In Exile. He excels in teaching a wide variety of differing styles, from beginner to advanced students. He always concentrates first and foremost on the interests and needs of each individual student.

Michelle Hromin, Clarinet & Saxophone teacher at Center Stage Music Center.

Michelle Hromin

Clarinet/ Saxophone

Mannes School of Music

Croatian-American clarinetist, Michelle Hromin is in her second year of her Bachelor of Music degree at the prestigious Mannes School of Music. She studies with Jon Manasse, who is the principal clarinetist of the American Ballet Theatre Orchestra. She was named the 1st Prize Winner of the 2019 Sidney Forrest Clarinet Competition. Michelle is also the principal clarinetist of the Mannes Orchestra, and was formerly a clarinetist in the New York Youth Symphony. In addition to her love of orchestral playing, she is a passionate solo and chamber musician in the clarinet and saxophone. Michelle has performed in Masterclasses with renowned musicians Victoria Luperi, Stephen Williamson, Dan Gilbert and Pierre Genisson. She is an avid arts educator, and has visited various schools as a performing artist. She presented instrument demos, performances, and has curated her own concert as part of the Neighborhood Classics concert series in collaboration with PS 234 in Tribeca this past year. As a teacher, she believes in the power of a positive mindset, hard work, and having fun. Music means something to each and every one of us, and all of her students carry a uniqueness that she wants to build and cultivate into a love and passion for music.


“Music is the social act of communication among people, a gesture of friendship, the strongest there is” –Malcolm Arnold

Oscar Martinez, strings instructor at Center Stage Music Center

Oscar Martinez

Viola/ Violin/ Cello/ Bass

SUNY Fredonia

A music educator and active performer from Brentwood NY, Oscar received his Bachelor’s Degree in Viola Performance from SUNY Fredonia. Proficient in all string instruments, he currently works with the Harmony Program at the Ella Baker school in Manhattan teaching 3rd-5th grade strings. Furthermore, he works at USDAN Summer Camp for the Arts, and is the program editor for LISFA. Oscar also teaches private lessons throughout Long Island. Within his teaching, he strives to make sure all of his students learn responsibility and always reach their goals, such as partaking in All-State. In regards to performance experience, he is an active chamber musician who plays throughout Long Island and NYC. He is currently a member of the Long Island Symphony Orchestra, and is the Principal Violist of the North Shore Symphony Orchestra.

Ricky Jacoby Guitar and Saxophone Instructor at Center Stage

Ricky Jacoby

Guitar/ Bass/ Saxophone

Five Towns College

Ricky began playing guitar around age 11, and has grown up playing in a variety of different musical groups. Furthering his musical interest, Ricky picked up the electric bass and alto saxophone in middle school, and has since gone on to proficiency in the tenor and baritone saxophone as well. He currently studies at Five Towns College in the Jazz/commercial music program.  At Five Towns, Ricky has become involved in the Jazz studio orchestra, with which he has traveled across the country, most notably to New Orleans for the GEN Jazz conference. As an instructor, Ricky has mentored students of a variety of ages, levels and styles, from rock to classical to jazz.

Bob Snyder drum teacher at Center Stage Music Center

Robert Snyder


Stonybrook University

Bob has taught and played professionally for 45 years. He has had great success with instructing both main stream and special needs students. His experience includes, touring the states with several top 40, rock and R&B bands, appearances on the Joe Franklin show in the 90s, and playing in one of Long Islands longest running Drum Corp. “The L.I. Ambassadors.” Still an avid performer, Bob currently performs with The Key 3 Trio. He enjoys teaching students of all abilities, ages and experiences, from beginner to professional, and has successfully prepared students for NYSSMA, as well as concert and Jazz band performances. Bob is well versed in many genre’s such as Swing, straight ahead Jazz, R&B, Funk, Latin Afro Cuban, Rock, Reggae, Hip Hop, Metal and Pop music. He brings his love for music and passion for imparting his knowledge to his students, and encourages them to be their best and enjoy the journey.

“Is your head in the book, or is the book in your head?” -Stanley Spector

Ryan Keyes, guitar teacher at Center Stage Music Center

Ryan Keyes

Guitar/ Bass/ Piano/ Band

SUNY Fredonia

Ryan has been playing the guitar and bass for nearly fifteen years and recently graduated from Fredonia’s School of Music with a concentration in classical guitar. As an avid performer, Ryan had many years of experience playing in the band TurnKey, which began in 2010. Switching his focus from rock to classical proved to him that many different styles can be explored within the field. Being able to combine the rock style he was familiar, with the new classical skills he was being taught, Ryan found that combining styles and genres can make the musical experience very exciting. He brings his knowledge and experience to every lesson and is able to provide his students with many different avenues to explore the instruments. His vast exposure to all different styles of music has given him the drive to teach students the mechanical works that underly their favorite music, and to help them express themselves through their own creative musical output.

Syed Hassan, Brass and woodwinds teacher at Center Stage Music Center

Syed Hassan

Brass/ Woodwinds

Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College

Syed received a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College in May 2017, where he focused in brass. Syed has also received a NYS teacher certification in Music K-12. During his time at Queens College, Syed has performed in renowned venues such as Lefrak Concert Hall, David Geffen Hall (formerly Avery Fisher Hall), Bohemian National Hall, and Flushing Town Hall. Syed is also a 2016 recipient of the Sol Kroll Award for Music Education and a 2017 recipient of both the Brass Alumni Award and the Student Teacher Award at Queens College. Since 2016, Syed has spent his summers teaching private music lessons in brass, woodwinds and keyboard for the Town of Babylon Summer Camp.

Syed is a qualified NYSSMA instructor, which he has achieved great success with all levels of brass and woodwinds. Syed believes that every person should come out with a positive experience when learning music. He stresses the importance of making sure that everyone is in a friendly and comfortable environment for a music lesson and that everyone deserves to hear positive feedback from their instructor. Syed believes that when people learn something they enjoy, they want to teach others as well as share that experience to others. This is why it is important to Syed that every student deserves a positive experience with learning music.

Tristan Gonzalez, Piano teacher at Center Stage

Tristan Gonzalez


Hunter College

Born and raised in Queens, New York, Tristan is a classical pianist and scholar who began studying piano at the age of eight. He graduated from Hunter College in 2018 with a B.A. in Classical Performance, while also being awarded both the “Anders Emile” award for outstanding instrumental performance, and the SAF Grant for performance research. He frequently performs as both a soloist and accompanist throughout New York City, having played in venues such as the Soapbox Gallery, Steinway Hall, Saint John’s, and Lang Recital Hall. He participates in the International Keyboard Institute and Festival in New York City every year, and has participated in the Porto Pianofest in Portugal. Tristan is currently pursuing a M.A in Classical Performance at Hunter College while researching the interpretation and performance practices of Latin American classical repertoire. As a teacher, he strives to help his students explore their musical interests while nurturing their creativity and developing their technical abilities. By helping students learn pieces and songs that resonate with them, and by introducing them to music they may have never been exposed to before, he hopes for all of his students to develop into skilled musicians with great a appreciation and passion for music.

“Music begins where words are powerless to express. Music is made for the inexpressible. I want music to seem to rise from the shadows and indeed sometimes to return to them.” – Claude Debussy

Ulises Amaya

Ulises Amaya

Bass/ Guitar/ Drums/ Band/Writer for Center Stage Magazine

Hofstra University

Ulises Amaya is a New York State certified K-12 music educator and multi-instrumentalist from Long Island, New York. As an active educator for over six years, Ulises is well versed in both classical and jazz pedagogy. He has worked with elementary and middle school orchestras/choruses, and has had the pleasure of teaching PreK-8th grade general music in the Bronx. In addition to his time in a formal school setting, he has taught private bass, guitar, and drum lessons for many years. Alongside his years of teaching, he continues to be an active performer and has played numerous NYC venues and east coast music festivals. Ulises uses his performance knowledge and leadership skills to direct our Rock the Stage band program. As a lead writer for Center Stage Magazine, Ulises brings his creativity and vast musical knowledge to write articles that are thought provoking and sure to spark any music lover’s interest. He brings an infectious enthusiasm for music to his teaching and seeks to instill strong musical foundations in all of his students.

Veronica Nguyen, Voice and Piano Teacher at Center Stage

Veronica Nguyen

Voice/ Piano

Long Island University, CW Post/ Longy School of Music

Veronica Nguyen is a classical singer, voice and piano teacher based on Long Island, NY. After completing her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at LIU Post, Veronica moved to Boston to continue her education at Longy School of Music, where she earned a Master of Music in Opera Performance. Veronica is an active performer and enjoys a varied career singing opera, choral and concert work. She is also an accomplished pianist and has been playing for almost 20 years. As a teacher, Veronica works with students of all ages and skill levels, focusing on building healthy technique and cultivating individual sound. While she specializes in classical singing, Veronica is well-versed in all genres and values providing her students with diverse repertoire. Veronica is dedicated to providing an educational experience that is not only fun and challenging, but one that can establish the roots for a life-long love of music.

“In this modern society, art may be the only force that invites expression from the inside out, where the pure light of the wisdom of the soul is realized.” – Jessye Norman

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