James McCrone

Teaching Specialties: Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, Drums, Music Theory
Style Expertise: Classic Rock, Grunge, Pop, Punk, Modern Funk-Rock, Modern Blues Rock

When he was just 10 years old, James put on a record to listen to because of the cool album cover. That record was Led Zeppelin I and it changed the course of his life. Today, after years in the music business as a professional guitarist, bassist,
 recording engineer and teacher, James calls Westwood Music home.

A graduate of Musicians Institute (Guitar), UCLA Extension’s Film Scoring Department and with an Associate of Arts degree in music from Santa Monica College, James happily shares his knowledge and experience with students from the beginner to the advanced in guitar, bass, ukulele and drums. His style expertise includes classic rock, grunge, pop, punk, modern funk-rock and modern blues-rock. In addition, James teaches music theory, as applied to guitar and bass, and loves helping students discover their own personal creativity on their instrument.


Jonah Rivera

Teaching Specialties: Guitar, Beginner Guitar, Beginner Ukulele, Piano
Style Expertise: Blues, Classic Rock, Fingerstyle, Pop

Jonah Rivera has been a Westwood Music staff member and music instructor since 2006. His guitar playing, songwriting and singing can be heard on Seneca Hawk’s 2010 album, which charted on the CMJ Top 100. He has a background in classical piano and trumpet, and played professionally as a drummer while studying creative writing at Cornell University.


John O'Kennedy

Teaching Specialties: Guitar, Bottleneck, Mandolin, Lap Steel/Dobro Ukulele, Banjo, Music Theory

John is Westwood Music’s utility teacher. He knows his way around a variety of stringed instruments. Whether you are a beginner or a pro, John can take you through the fundamentals, and all the way to the specific styles and techniques. He also has a formidable knowledge of applicable music theory, otherwise known as “on the job smarts.” His over 30 years of experience includes: film and TV music composer, arranger, producer, multi-instrumentalist, session player, sideman, and music director for a long list of bands and singer-songwriters in the LA area.


Abe Lagrimas

Teaching Specialties: Ukulele, Drums, Vibraphone
Style Expertise: Jazz, Pop, Rock, Hawaiian

Abe Lagrimas, Jr. is a versatile multi-instrument and professional musician on the drums, ukulele, and vibraphone. The Hawaii-bred 2012 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Drums Competition semi-finalist attended Berklee College of Music as a drum set principal.

As a ukulele player, Abe has performed at ukulele and jazz festivals throughout the world and released multiple albums in the United States, Japan, and Korea. His album “Solo Ukulele – The King of Pop” pays tribute to the music of Michal Jackson and has been awarded in 2011 by the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts (HARA) Na Hoku Hanohno Music Awards.

His ukulele repertoire include jazz, Hawaiian, pop, rock, and original music. An active educator, Abe has written instructional ukulele books for the Berklee Press and Consonus Music Institute.

In addition to teaching privately and presenting workshops locally and internationally, he is also an educator with the Los Angeles Music Center for their annual programs “Ukule-Along” and “Ukulele Christmas Orchestra”. Abe endorses Koolau Ukuleles, Kaminari Cables, and Fusion Bags.


Toni-Lynn Chaco

Teaching Specialties: Vocal Technique, Piano, Performance
Style Expertise: Musical Theater, Pop, Voiceovers

Toni-Lynn serves as a Vocal Technique Teacher, Piano Teacher and Performance Coach following an extensive performing career since the tender age of 6. She has appeared in Off-Broadway, Regional theatre, featured in daytime and prime-time television, commercials, voiceovers and in film.

Toni-Lynn has trained with the Orange County High School of the Arts, The Young Americans and has obtained her University credentials in Music Performance. With students appearing in countless Off-Broadway shows, National Tours, Film, Television and music industry projects, she desires to continuously inspire this generation to be the best story-tellers through the art of singing, acting and playing music.

Toni-Lynn is dedicated to helping singers, musicians and actors of all levels achieve their goals by de-mystifying the act of singing and playing piano from basic technique-building to meeting the challenging demands of rigorous rehearsal and touring/playing schedule. Specific approaches to repertoire and performance practice techniques are explored in both private lessons and group classes.


Cuni Besic

Teaching Specialties: Guitar, Advanced Theory, Theory Harmony
Style Expertise: Rock, Blues, Funk, Balkan Music

A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Cuni has had the privilege of sharing the stage with a number of amazing artists such as Gloria Estefan, Robby Krieger (The Doors), The Edge (U2), Jennifer Holiday, Christopher Guest, and Jeffrey Osborne, to name a few. Last fall, Cuni was picked up in Los Angeles by an Australian band, Evol Walks, to help them on their European tour where he played "Woodstock" in Poland to over 750,000 attendees. He is currently the lead guitarist for RIVVRS, an up-and-coming band with songs featured in the television shows Bates Motel and About A Boy. He recently began recording guitar for the soundtrack for John Travolta's new movie, "I Am Wrath".


Dave Martin

Teaching Specialties: Guitar, Bass, Mandolin, Banjo, Ukulele, Vocal Accompaniment
Style Expertise: Classic Rock, Finger-Style Solo Guitar, Classical, Flamenco

Dave Martin teaches all levels, ages, and styles of guitar, including Classical, Rock, and Flamenco. He also teaches other stringed instruments, such as banjo, mandolin, and ukulele. Dave specializes in Classic Rock and finger-style solo guitar. He also teaches vocal accompaniment, stage performance, as well as reading all levels of music. Students include Selena Gomez (Wizards of Waverly Place), Dom Delouise (Wizards of Waverly Place), Rob Gossett (The Closer), David Hayter (Spiderman & X-Men), Nick Everson (House, Hell Raiser)

Education:
Musicians Institute, Hollywood, CA.
Certified guitar program, 1983
Bass program, 2002
Luthier Program, 2006
University of New Mexico.
Graduate of Classical guitar program under Hector Garcia
Sitar lessons under Ravi Shankar
Guitar lessons under Andres Segovia
Guitar construction, and repair under Lorenzo Piemental


Stan Ayeroff

Teaching Specialties: Guitar
Style Expertise: Gypsy Jazz/ Swing Guitar, Solo Guitar, Blues, Classical

While studying composition at the California Institute of the Arts, Stan fell in love with swing music, especially Django Reinhardt and the Hot Club of France. He went on to write books on Django, Charlie Christian and Benny Goodman. He has performed with Texas R&B singer Delbert McClinton and was co-musical director (with Danny Elfman) of the original “Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo”. Stan served as Orchestral Supervisor for Rod Stewart, Page and Plant and The Who. He conducted a chamber orchestra for Heart’s concert video “The Road Home” on Capitol Records. He has been the musical director for a series of projects featuring Roger Daltry of The Who, and has worked as arranger for songwriter David Baerwald (David+David, Sheryl Crow). Stan also accompanied Monkee Mickey Dolenz at The Rock ‘n Roll Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.

Stan is the leader of “Dream Street”, a contemporary jazz chamber group featuring violinist Sid Page and vocalist Bobbi Page. He was also the leader of “The Snapdaddys”, a modern swing group.


Sam Small

Teaching Specialties: Guitar, Banjo, Lap Steel, Classical Theory, Jazz Theory
Style Expertise: Blues, Country, Folk, Rock, Latin, R&B, Funk, Soul, Classical, Jazz

Sam is a graduate of Berklee College of Music with a Bachelor's of Music degree with a major in guitar performance. He has a strong understanding and deep appreciation of both classical and jazz theory and an excellent ear, all skills that he hopes to share with students to widely expand their musical abilities.


Max Sindermann

Teaching Specialties: Guitar, Music Theory
Style Expertise: Rock, Metal, Classical Fingerstyle, Sight Reading

Max Sindermann is a guitarist and composer from Los Angeles, CA. Trained in classical music, beginning with the occasional piano trifle from a very young age, Max went on to formally study Music at Cal-State University Northridge.

Being initially drawn to the heavy metal genre, Max began studying modern guitar as an adolescent, where he went on to play with several local bands around Los Angeles. A few years into his studies, Max took a strong interest in classical music, which he used to develop a unique hybrid style of playing which blends contemporary guitar with classical fingerpicking techniques. His passion for heavy metal and classical guitar led him to start his band Event Horizon, a local progressive metal act that fuses both styles by utilizing Max's innovative approach to the instrument.

In addition to his band, Max acts and plays guitar in Bataré, a theatrical performance that brings together traditional Japanese taiko drumming and modern progressive rock. He currently works as a professional musician around Los Angeles, contributing to many projects as well as teaching and inspiring young students.