voice teachers


christopher nicholas - voice

Christopher has taught privately in the Bay Area since 2010, focusing on grounding young singers in practical techniques for careers in diverse genres of music. He has a dual BM from Berklee College of Music in Vocal Performance and Songwriting and an MM in Jazz Studies for voice from the University of North Texas. His biggest joy as a voice teacher has been researching and implementing methods on restructuring the voice when there are clear vocal deficiencies. He has investigated the techniques of the late Cornelius Reid, has studied under Dr. Stephen Austin, and under Kathryn Wright. Outside of his classical training, he has studied with R&B singer Marlon Saunders, a background singer for notable pop giants such as Sting and the late Michael Jackson, as well as acclaimed Jazz educator Paris Rutherford. He is confident he can offer vocal students more than just technical study but also illuminate paths in navigating their careers in the music business. Upon completion of his MM in 2010, Christopher moved to the Bay Area and co-founded a non-profit performing arts organization, Ensemble Mik Nawooj (EMN) where he currently serves as the executive director. A diverse Hip-Hop orchestra comprised of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, bass, piano, drums, 2 MCs and a lyric soprano, EMN samples Western European classical music and Hip-Hop aesthetics to create something completely new. As the executive director of the ensemble for the past eight years, he has worked with classical musicians of the highest caliber nationally, have organized and oversaw successful PR campaigns with Wall Street Journal, NBC, ABC, NPR, SF Chronicle, SF Weekly, East Bay Express, SF Examiner, and more. He has co-produced all of EMN’s music as well as sang most of the background vocals. EMN has been featured on Pitchfork Media, ESPN, and most recently, produced a theme song for the Global People’s Summit in partnership with the United Nations Office of Partnership. http://bit.ly/2DOSF17


Clif Payne - voice

Clif's strength as a teacher is rooted in his musical diversity, experience, patience, encouragement and passion for sharing what he has learned in performance and study to his students. "Sing not just to be heard, but to be heartfelt and believed. Sing to inspire!"  Clif teaches from his years of experience as a pro singer working alongside the world's finest performers. As an Los Angeles resident, he studied voice with Seth Riggs (voice teacher to Michael Jackson and others) vocal coach assistant Chip Hand and Roger Burnley (vocal coach to James Torme). In the San Francisco Bay Area, Clif studied voice with Jane Sharpe. He studied music and performance with David Baker and Margaret Strong at Bloomington's Indiana University. Clif has performed with Freda Payne, Evelyn "Champagne" King, Norman Connors, Bobby McFerrin, Ellis Hall, Sheena Easton, American Idol judge & vocal coach Peggy Blu, Four Play drummer Harvey Mason, jazz fusionists Hiroshima and former Chicago vocalist Bill Champlin. Clif has opened for Dan Siegel, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis and Dionne Warwick. Clif was born in the Harlem Sugar Hill area of Harlem and now resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. His eclectic vocals span the genres of jazz, R&B, gospel, blues, rock, folk, pop and classical.


dana salzman - voice, piano

Pianist, singer, composer, producer and musical director Dana Salzman creates funky, flavorful tunes that re-imagine jazz, funk, hip-hop, soul, Latin and R&B music and illuminate her sultry voice, fine-tuned piano technique and talent for composition and arrangement. An enthusiastic collaborator and mistress of improvisation, she blends together fresh beats and lyrics into vivid arrangements that ignite all five senses and explore the intense dimensions of raw human emotion. Salzman began to study piano at age four with her mother (an internationally renowned classical piano teacher) and then went on to earn a degree from the New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City. Salzman has had the opportunity  to work closely with many celebrated musicians and songwriters during her career, including Mike Marshall (Timex Social Club), Samuelle Prater (Club Neaveau), Tony Flores (Marvin Gaye,. Bobby Womack), Pete Escovedo, Rappin 4Tay, Valerie Troutt, Tiffany Austin, and more. Now based in Oakland, CA, Salzman does all her own production, writing and arranging and is also an in-demand piano and voice teacher.

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glenda bates - voice, piano, ukulele, oboe, english horn, little notes

Glenda is a multi-faceted musician and teacher whose specialties include chamber music, orchestral repertoire, jazz, historical performance, and contemporary classical. She plays modern and Baroque oboes, English horn, ukulele, and is a jazz vocalist. She is an active freelancer in Baroque, Classical, Contemporary, and Jazz ensembles, and frequently collaborates with contemporary composers to perform new works for oboe and English horn. She has performed with California Bach Society, New Opera New York, Festival Opera Oakland, Symphony Napa Valley, Eldad Tarmu, Ray Anderson, Jazz Mafia, Evanescence, and more. She also curates the cross-genre and multidisciplinary Crossing Over Series at Center for New Music, San Francisco. A well-rounded performer, Dr. Bates is also an enthusiastic and creative teacher.  Bates has been a Teaching Artist at Performing Arts Workshop for five years, designing and teaching preschool music curriculum in San Francisco. She is also a teacher with Music for Aardvarks, and is thrilled to begin teaching Baby Notes classes at Notes Academy. She also teaches oboe, piano, ukulele, and jazz voice lessons. She taught undergraduate oboists at the University of Maryland from 2008-2010, and has university classroom teaching experience in several areas of instruction including music appreciation, music after 1900, rock music, and jazz ensemble. Her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Oboe Performance is from Stony Brook University.


mae-elisa jean salvador - classical voice, classical piano, clarinet, flute, saxophone, trumpet, french horn, xylophone, vibraphone, marimba

Mae-Elisa Jean Salvador graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.A degree in music. Her main focus was specifically music education. She was involved with her high school marching band and drum line for all four years of her high school career. After graduating from high school, she performed with the Santa Clara Vanguard Winter Percussion playing the marimba. In college, she began to study piano under Dr. Teri Yumae from Solano Community College then later, Dr. Roger Woodward at San Francisco State University. While attending SFSU, she participated in the University Chorus Ensemble and Chamber Singers Ensemble as a Soprano, while also participating in the Wind Ensemble playing concert percussion and clarinet.

Mae-Elisa has been working with children since she was a junior in high school, first starting off as a volunteer teaching music at Oakbrook Elementary School. She continued working as a front ensemble instructor with Crystal Middle School, then John Swett High School, and now Rodriguez High School. Mae-Elisa wishes to be as inspiring as her past music mentors and continue sharing her passion for music with students. She aspires every day to learn more so that she can teach more through her musical journey.


sage waters - voice

Sage has been singing for as long as she can remember. she deeply treasure memories of her mom teaching her to harmonize behind Paul Simon. she has been involved with the music industry for over a decade now and is currently working as co-host of The Brownmark Show. sage has collaborated with the likes of Narada Michael Walden, The Legion (formally known as The Slapboyz), Skyler Jet, Matt Blaque, & The Scribe Project. The opportunities therein enabled her to record countless demos for Pussycat Dolls, Toni Braxton, Jessica Simpson, and Disney. Sage has been composing, writing, and producing along with singing since 1999, and in 2004 she came in Second Place in the Bay Area Big Shot song writing competition on 106KMEL. In addition to singing background vocals for a wide variety of artists, she had the privilege of singing on a compilation album that included Narada, Sting, Santana, and Stevie Wonder. Sage loves singing and writing music that people can relate to. she has written well over 100 songs and is constantly adding to that list as she keeps evolving in her writing and singing styles, while continuing to be inspired by the experiences and people in her life.


shana dinha - voice

Shana Dinha’s identity is a passionate artist, one who grew up invested in her craft. An Assyrian-American born into a musical family, Shana’s parents took her to see the play Phantom of the Opera in London when she was 5 years old. It moved her, and she couldn’t stop singing once it ended – which turned out to be a good thing.

In 2008 she was awarded The Superior Command Solo Performance from California Music Education Association. A year later she claimed an Outstanding Vocalist Award from Music in the Parks. In 2015 Shana won competition Jazz Search West, followed by a sold out “Rising Stars” performance at the iconic California Jazz Conservatory in 2017. She achieved her second consecutive sellout at Piedmont Piano Company in 2018.

Shana carries a tune with angelic excellence, showcased on her EP The Seasons We Carry. Proven to captivate audiences, she’s embraced the spotlight, and has used her talent, faith, and the love in her heart to achieve award-winning acclaim.