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- NOTES n BEATS -

TEAM MEMBERS

We started many years ago in 2005 by teaching music to children of family and friends in the neighborhood.  Seeing the amazing development in those children unleashed the passion in us for teaching music in a way that resonates with children the most.  Over the years, we have developed a program that is fun and engaging to our students - children and adults alike.

 

We feel a responsibility to keep music education alive and accessible to all.  We believe that music is crucial to one's development and growth - most importantly, we believe music grows to become one's soul mate for life.  Many research centers have published studies on how music improves cognitive abilities in children in other subjects like mathematics.

We also find ourselves in the unique position to bring the best of 2 rich worlds of music - Indian and Western.  Our teachers come from varied backgrounds and with the world growing flatter by the day, we find ourselves responsible for bringing the 2 worlds of music together.  We believe in a strong foundation of Classical music but we also have a courageous will to experiment and arrange and perform music that is inclusive of Rock, Pop, Bollywood or the blend of the 2 worlds of music - Western and Indian.  We challenge the traditional methods of teaching to the children of today and have developed ways that keep the connection between the student and music alive.

We are humbled and proud to be able to bring music to you and have you become part of the community of music lovers.  If you agree in our belief, we would love to hear from you.

Veena Pandiri (Indian Voice)

Veena is the founder of Notes n' Beats.  She is a passionate musician and teacher.  

Veena has always been a neighborhood Indian woman doing a technology job in a software company until she discovered her passion to teach music to children.  To her, music speaks to everyone - with NO language or geographical barrier.  Veena is passionate about bringing the best of both the Western and Indian worlds of music to her students.  With a strong foundation in Classical Music and a WILL to take on bold experiments and arrangements that blend the Western and Indian music, Veena and her staff teach and train young students to perform big in Western Classical, Indian Classical, Rock, Pop and Bollywood music.  Veena and her staff trains students to perform on Chorus arrangements for Indian Classical music, Solo performances as well as prepare students for competitions.

Veena came to the US to pursue her Masters in Computer Engineering and worked at large corporations and startups before she took up Notes n’ Beats as her full time passion.  With a strong sense of project management, her obsession is to keep the students engaged in music by providing structured lessons but in diverse music styles.  Her passion is to bring music to every single family that she meets and share the feeling of soulfulness, peace, happiness and healing that music brought to her and many others.

Alvin Smithson (Piano and Voice)

Alvin is an established pianist, composer, arranger, musical director and teacher.  With a Bachelor of Music degree from Kansas University and Master of Music from the Catholic University of America, he specializes in piano performance with emphasis on performance physiology.  Alvin specializes also in Voice and Guitar.  His biggest strength is creative composition and song writing.  Over the years, he has won top prizes in national competitions and was a bronze medal winner in the International Piano Recording Competition.

Alvin and his students can be seen and heard regularly in various area theaters like the Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, Strathmore, and many other local and national performing arts venues.  He finds great satisfaction in, teaching and working with young performers in choral and theater programs.   He composed numerous piano pieces, choral arrangements, and songs for piano and voice and teaches at several high schools.  In his free times, he loves to surf.

ParthaSarathy (Parthu) Nemani

Popularly known as Parthu, Parthu is an Indian Telugu Playback singer with rich classical music background.  Parthu rendered more than 100 film songs and sung more than 2000 private songs in Telugu, Hindi and Kannada.  Parthu won several awards including the National Level Award in All-India Radio competitions.

He teaches online and trains several budding artists to compete in tough competitions like Paadutha Theeyaga and he himself is the winner of the Paadutha Theeyaga competition from 1996.

Parthu worked as an associate to the lead music director Sri Mani Sarma, for more than 50 films. Parthu has done playback singing for a majority of leading movie heroes as ChiranjeeviVenkateshKamal HasanSrikanthJagapathi Babu and so on in about 90 films.

Parthu has more than 500 stage performances to his credit in India and abroad. Parthu is one of the very few playback singers to perform in five continents across the globe in many countries like US, UK, Australia, Kuwait, and is the first Telugu playback singer to perform in Botswana and Nigeria. Parthu gave performances together with all the legendary singers like S P Balasubrahmanyam., Smt. S. JanakiMano and Smt.Chitra.

Joe Carbone (Guitar and Piano)

Joe began playing the guitar at the age of 14. His eclectic taste in music has allowed him to become fluent in many styles of music such as: rock, pop, blues, jazz, folk, funk, and classical. Joe has a Bachelor’s degree in music performance from Rowan University focusing on classical guitar.  Joe is currently his Doctorate degree in Classical guitar at the Shenandoah Conservatory studying under world-renowned pedagogue Julian Gray. Joe has performed in master-classes with artists such as: Jason Vieaux, Richard Provost, and Ruben Gonzales. In 2010, Joseph was a semi-finalist in the Philadelphia Classical Guitar Competition.

Gopika Sinha (Hindustani Classical)

Sri. Gopika is a B. Muse (Sangeet Prabhakar) in Classical Vocal from Prayag Sangit Samity, Allahabad.  A disciple of Pt. Jagdish Prasad of Patiala Gharana and later, Guru Ustad Ghulam Akbar Khan of Rampur Sahswan Gharana, Sri. Gopika Sinha performed on many stages with demonstrations of Kheyal, Thumris in and around Calcutta.

He has utmost dedication to laying a strong foundation of classical fundamentals in students and putting them through a rigorous training program.

Veronica Kokas - Voice

Austin, Texas native Veronica Kokas is currently a Master of Music in Vocal Performance candidate at George Mason University, studying voice with Professor Patricia Miller. While at George Mason, she has been seen as Gretel in Hansel & Gretel, Celia in Lolanthe, and has performed the roles of the Sandman and Yum-Yum in the Mason Opera Scenes program. Last summer, she traveled to Portland, Oregon to perform the roles of Sandman and Dew Fairy in Portland Summer Opera’s production of Hansel & Gretel. Additionally, she has been named a finalist at both the Mid-Atlantic and Virginia NATS competitions. Previously, during her undergraduate studies at Texas State University, she premiered the role of Luci Johnson in Henry Mollicone and Sheldon Harnick’s new opera, Lady Bird, and held roles in other productions such as Dialogues of the Carmelites, H.M.S. Pinafore, and Speed Dating Tonight. Veronica holds Bachelor degrees in both Vocal Performance and Political Science from Texas State University.  She is passionate about bring Voice education to the young and adult and indulge them in Chorus arrangements and solo performances.

Ramaa Pusthakam (Carnatic Classical)

Pusthakam Ramaa hails from.a Musical Family.  She is a Top Graded Artiste of All India Radio.

Ramaa's intuitive excellence in concert with a vibrant professionalism, admirable approach enriched with devotion and dedication has carved out an artist with an artist of exception.  For her contribution towards music and dance field, Sangeetha Nrithya Academy has conferred KARNATAKA KALASHREE award on her.  Life time Achievment Award from JEEVA Foundation and The Mayor of Louisville has honored her with Honorary  citizen of Louisville.

Ramaa is dedicating her time and money for promoting art through her organisation SANGEETHA SAMBRHAMA. Every year she conducts an International music and dance festival showcasing artists of high caliber and provides opportunity to upcoming artists. 

Ramaa's rich mellifluous voice with the effortless reach through the Octaves has charismatic blend of unique melody, depth of understanding of classical music is what she bring to her students.

Juan Sossa (Guitar, Piano)

Juan is thoroughly versed in the classical guitar repertoire as well as Colombian and Latin styles, performing with salsa and jazz bands in Colombia.  As a classical soloist, he has performed in master classes for Eduardo Fernandez, Celin Romero, and Leo Brouwer at Bogotá’s Festival Compensar.  Juan also performed for Eliot Fisk, Jorge Caballero, Scott Tennant, Alvaro Pierri, Tal Hurwitz, Rene Izquierdo, Zoran Dukic and Marija Temo in the 2007 and 2017 Guitar Foundation of America Convention and Competition. 

 

Juan is currently pursuing his doctorate at Shenandoah University with Professor Julian Gray. As an ensemblist, he has received numerous recognitions including Best Bandola Player and Best Ensemble in the band Torneo Internacional del Joropo in Villavicencio, Colombia in 2011 and 2014 respectively.  The ensemble performed internationally in China, Canada, Chile, Mexico, and Brazil. He is also part of the Baroque ensemble, Como era en un principio, where they have performed in Perú, France, Switzerland and Germany.

 

Juan is also well versed with different types of percussion and string instruments from Colombia, such as tiple, cuatro, bandola, mandolin and bass. An avid soccer enthusiast, his favorite team is Santa Fé from Bogotá.

Purvaa Sampath (Western and Indian Voice)

A graduate from Berklee College of Music, Ms. Purvaa holds a dual degree in Western Music Performance and Therapy. Her extensive training in Carnatic Classical music along with her studies in Western Classical makes Ms. Purvaa a traditional yet contemporary music educator who builds on the practice techniques of Carnatic music with the voice techniques of Western music.  She is well versed with Kannada and Tamil.

 

She was part of the well-known Berklee Indian Ensemble and has performed with A. R. Rahman, Vijay Prakash, Raghu Dixit and Shankar Mahadevan in the last few years.  She is passionate about teaching music to children and adults alike.  As a music therapist, she works with clients who have autism, traumatic brain injury, stroke rehabilitation.

Christina Ortiz - (Voice, Piano, Choir)

Certified in the Kodály method of teaching, Christina is well versed in a diverse array of vocal styles including classical, Western pop and opera.  She is currently working on her Master’s degree in Vocal Performance at George Mason University under mezzo-soprano, Patricia Miller.
 
Christina studied with soprano, Cheryl Parrish, at Texas State University where she was a performer and educator in the central Texas area.  She continues to be an active member of the Texas Music Educators Association, Kodály Educators of Texas, and the Organization of American Kodály Educators.
 
In addition to being a film buff, Christina likes to listen to podcasts and read autobiographies.  She also has a cross-eyed tabby-point Siamese cat named Chicken Strip who likes to listen to Christina play ukulele.

Aswathy Vijayan (Indian Voice - Online)

A playback singer, lyricist, composer and a stage performer  in Kerala, Ms. Aswathy has become well-known for her Carnatic AND Hindustani Music performances and Playback singing in South Indian movies.  Her  own compositions are refreshing and creatively unique.  Check out her youtube channel for songs in Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi.

 

Ms. Aswathy teaches students ONLINE and brings an incredible amount of patience and freshness to her lessons.  She teaches Carnatic Classical, Hindustani, Light/Movie Music and arranges compositions and harmonies for students at Notes n' Beats.

Steven Velasquez (Percussion, Piano, Guitar, Band)

Born and raised in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, Steven grew up among a diverse and dynamic music scene, which acted as a catalyst for his music inspiration. As time went on and his love and appreciation for music grew, he became more and more attached to his favorite instrument: the drums. In both middle school and high school, he was awarded the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award for his musical achievement and dedication to the schools music programs.

 

After graduating, Steven was awarded the Berklee World Tour Scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, where he would further his music studies in Drum Set Performance.  While studying at Berklee, he was also able to work professionally as a session drummer, recording and touring internationally with many different artists of varied stylistic backgrounds. This, coupled with the high paced environment of the Berklee music community and the professional music industry, contributed greatly to his highly versatile playing style. Presently, Steven resides in Northern Virginia, and is dedicated to giving back to the music community through teaching as a drum instructor.

When Steven is not teaching or sitting behind a drum set, he enjoys cooking, hiking, swimming, traveling, and playing video games!

William Sperrazza (Piano, Brass, Voice)

Versatile in keyboard, brass, and voice, William has over 10 years of experience as a performer and conductor in the styles of classical, jazz, and rock, with 8 years as an instructor in the classroom and private setting.

 

A graduate of the University of Lynchburg, William completed his Bachelor of Music Education studies and earned his Master of Arts in Music with an emphasis on conducting under Dr. Cynthia Ramsey, Dr. Chris Sharp, Dr. Johnson Scott, and Dr. Ouida Hatcher.

 

An active performer, conductor, and teacher in the greater Washington D.C. area, William is a member of Virginia Music Educators Association, National Association for Music Education, and the Virginia Choral Union.

 

William always looks forward to creating new and eclectic ensembles.

Matthew Harris (Percussion and Piano)

Recipient of the prestigious Duke Ellington Jazz Award, Matthew is versed in the styles of rock, jazz, hip-hop, and gospel.  He has performed in high profile events such as the Rose Parade and toured across the country with church groups and vocalists.

 

A self-taught percussionist, pianist, and organist, Matthew received percussion instruction from the renowned Alan Johnson.  He is an active recording artist, with the debut single “Hang On” available on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon.

 

Matthew is also an ordained Christian minister and Founder & CEO of the nonprofit, Matt Harris Music LLC, which endeavors to spread the positive impact of music throughout the greater Washington D.C. area.

 

He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Gabriel Evangelista (Guitar and Piano)

Gabriel has been involved with music throughout his life, starting with the piano at the age of 5. Throughout high-school, he has been involved with many musical projects ranging from classical ensembles to rock bands.

 

He studied music at Shenandoah University focusing on the Rock and Classical styles of guitar and Music Therapy.  Gabriel enjoys exploring different music and it's history, listening to at least one new record a day.  One of his personal beliefs is that music is a universal language that can reach people far better than words, and that it should be cherished and celebrated with others.

He is currently active in the local music community, coordinating and hosting shows throughout Northern Virginia with original musicians and bands.

Thomas Creek (Guitar, Piano)

As a classical guitarist, Thomas has performed in masterclasses for renowned artists such as Matthew Slotkin, Valerie Hartzell, Martha Masters, Frederic Zigante, and Gohar Vardanyan.

 

In 2014, Thomas received the Christopher Beg Award, which “is given annually to honor the undergraduate guitar student that best exhibits qualities of creativity, humility, perseverance, and improvement in their study of the guitar and music performance.”

 

After completing his undergraduate studies in University of South Carolina, Thomas was awarded a teaching assistantship at the University of Missouri where he earned his Master’s degree.  Thomas is affiliated with the music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and is currently a doctoral candidate under the direction of pedagogue Julian Gray at Shenandoah Conservatory.

 

Beyond guitar, Thomas has a passionate interest in history through podcasts, book, and documentaries.

Curtis Park (Guitar, Piano, Voice)

With over 19 years of experience on the guitar, Curtis emphasizes applying proper vocal and instrumental technique tailored to the student’s individual needs.

 

Currently pursuing his Master's in Music Therapy at Temple University, he considers the development of a student’s personal relationship with the instrument as an essential factor in achieving creative and technical goals.  Curtis places a high importance on developing music theory and aural analysis skills as well as keyboard fundamentals.

 

Curtis completed his undergraduate studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he performed with the VCU Guitar Ensemble as an ensemblist and soloist.  He also played with various pop and rock bands in Richmond, touring the southeastern United States and performing at the 2012 SXSW Music Festival in Austin.

Curtis is finding ways to play multiple instruments simultaneously as a one man band.  When he has time, he enjoys an immersive video game.  He is currently playing “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” and “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.”

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What is

MUSIC TO US?

MUSIC is the language of expression.  We make a conscious effort to bring the emotion (mood) out in all our learnings and express ourselves - whether it is a feeling of happiness or otherwise.  Music pumps up or calms us down.


We bring the diverse cultural influences of the East and the West and unite with the power of music.  We are inspired by the work of great bands and artists like Ravi Shankar, Rolling Stones, Beatles, Doors, A.R. Rehman and many more.  We want to bring both the musical worlds to our children and let the young minds absorb the nuances.

What does 

MUSIC DO TO YOU?

"It bring 'inner peace'"

- Viju

 

"Gives me life-long companionship"

- Dave

 

"Provides entertainment"

- Shiv

 

"There's this unifying force that comes from the music, and we don't get that from other things."

- Bill Clinton

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UPCOMING EVENTS:

Winter Recital: Jan 11th

Brambleton Middle School

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