Jae Deal

Music Production Faculty

DEAL is an accomplished Los Angeles-based composer, arranger, producer and orchestrator in various genres including pop, hip hop, R&B and gospel.  He has worked behind the scenes as well as on stage with artists including Janet Jackson, Lady Gaga, Snoop Dogg, Diddy, Faith Evans, TPain, Jessica Simpson and Wynton Marsalis. In addition, Deal has contributed to the works of Elton John and songwriter Diane Warren. His diverse talents and ability to create fresh sounds for any modern track have kept him busy on the road and in the studio.

Ian Vargo

Sound Design and music compositions by Ian Vargo have been heard on nationally-televised ad campaigns, award-winning short films, and viral web content. Most recently, he has worked with the Los Angeles Directing team Cousins, whose videos have amassed over 30 million views on the internet. Additionally, Ian is a Music Producer, Mix and Mastering Engineer, and Multi-instrumentalist. He has worked on numerous major label (Universal, Interscope, Hollywood) and independent records. Ian has studied songwriting and guitar at The Berklee College of Music, and has a Master’s Degree in Sound Design from The Savannah College of Art and Design.

Orlando Rashid

Production Faculty

Orlando Rashid is an accomplished audio engineer, producer, and songwriter with credits on numerous award-winning albums and songs, including Jamie Foxx’s two-times platinum album “Unpredictable”, Kanye West’s number one song “Gold Digger”, and on the Emmy Award nominated Queen Latifah song “Life Support”. Alongside those Orlando has worked with such massively popular and incredibly successful artists as , Ludacris, 50 Cent, T.I., P. Diddy, Ashanti, Tweet and many more. Orlando is also an Avid Certified Instructor and expert which teaches Pro Tools and Media Composer courses at several educational institutions in the Los Angeles area.

Mark Cross

Production Faculty

Mark Cross is an award winning Producer, Composer, Mixer, Educator and Author with an extensive discography in both film and television that spans over 2 decades.

As a Engineer / Mixer Mark has worked on numerous albums, film scores, and television episodes, including the Grammy-winning “I Am Shelby Lynne”, Randy Newman’s Oscar-nominated and Grammy-winning “CARS” and “Meet the Parents” score and soundtracks, along with mixing hundreds of episodes of the NBC prime time series: ER. Additional film credits include: Alien Resurrection, Seabisquit and Beavis and Butthead Do America.

As a composer he has created original music for the NBC Prime Time Series: Last Comic Standing as well as contributing additional music for: American Idol, Curb Your Enthusiasm and The CBS Evening News (and most recently for HBO’s: Getting On and Comedy Central’s: Key and Peele). Mark has created musical themes for Nickelodeon’s Wow Wow Wubbzy, the Seinfeld Season 8 DVD, as well as producing and performing with Grammy winner John Legend on HBO’s: Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Additionally, Mark authored the renowned book, “Audio Post Production for Film and Television”. This introduction to audio post production is based on his vast and diverse background along with the input and experience of numerous A-list professionals and addresses all aspects of working with dialogue, music and sound effects for film and television. Many of these professionals and institutions recognize this textbook as the “ De Facto / Go To” book for anyone interested in studying audio post production.

Steve Billman

Music Performance Faculty

Steve Billman attended Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship and also graduated from Musician’s Institute in 1981. Steve studied with Jeff Berlin and Bob Magnusson while at Musicians Institute. He has worked with some of the world’s finest musicians, including Brian Bromberg, Brandon Fields, Rob Mullins, Pat Kelley, Gregg Karukas, Free Flight, Alex Acuna, Tom Brechtlein, Gary Novak, Jeff Richman and most recently, Frank Gambale, to name a few. Steve also played on Tia Carrere’s 2009 Grammy-winning album Ikena. He was a member of the band “Continuum” for 15 years, and has been a member of the Academy staff since its very earliest days. For the latest information, please visit www.stevebillman.com.

Dave Hill

Guitar Faculty

Dave Hill has been around music his entire life. He started off playing piano as a young boy. He became interested in learning guitar when his 3rd grade teacher offered after school lessons. He has been playing guitar ever since. Growing up in Seattle Washington, his love of music went all directions – Pop music, country, jazz, blues rock and folk. His diverse love of music enabled him to soak up the essential characteristics of many styles of guitar playing.

To further his studies,and immerse himself in the music scene Dave moved to Los Angels in 1983. He has been on the staff at Los Angeles College of Music since 2001.

He has been active in the Los Angles music scene since 1985, playing countless recording sessions, and gigs including, Contemporary Jazz great Gregg KarukasChuck Negron of Three Dog NightMax Bennett of the LA ExpressJimmy Haslip of the Yellowjacketsand most recently a world tour with legendary British singer Englebert Humperdinck. In 2008, Dave appeared with Freddie Ravel at the Playboy Jazz festival in Los Angeles.

Dave’s music has taken him around the word on almost every continent. His music is particularly appreciated by audiences in Europe and regularly tours Italy doing Guitar Clinics and concerts. Dave has published a popular book with Hal Leonard entitled, “The Licktionary”.

He can be seen playing around the Los Angeles/ Orange county area with Contemporary Jazz keyboard player, Scott WilkieFreddie Ravel, and Pretzel Logic, “A Steely Dan Review”. In 2004 he released his contemporary Jazz CD, “Two Seasons” to critical acclaim and toured to promote it. In 2010, he followed that release with “New World”. This CD finds him in stellar musical company as he has Jazz heavy weights “The Yellowjackets” guest appear on it. The results are impressive. Dave is currently in production of his latest CD.

Dave’s classes at LACM include, String Theory, Studio Guitar, and Contemporary Guitar Styles as well as giving Private Instruction. As a professional in the music business for 35 years, Dave shares his wealth of knowledge with a blend of humor, and a lot of practical insight.

https://youtu.be/3u6atFY9c6o

Dave Pozzi

All-School Faculty

Dave Pozzi has been a Los Angeles based free-lance artist since 1979, recording and playing with artists like: Henry Mancini, Mel Torme, Celine Dion, David Foster, Johnny Mathis, Jeff Hamilton, Rich Little, Charlie Shoemake, Melissa Manchester, Marvin Stamm, Bobby Shew, Pete Christlieb, Don Menza, Roy McCurdy, Bob Cooper, Jeff Berlin, Diana Krall, Billy Childs, and others. Big band credits include Ray Anthony, Bob Crosby, Bill Watrous, Louie Bellson, Bob Florence, and Doc Severinsen. Dave is featured as a soloist on recordings with John Patitucci, Nick Brignola, Dick Berk, Bob Magnusson, Ray Pizzi, and Milcho Leviev. Other recording work includes radio and TV commercials, TV shows like The Osbournes, and numerous demos and record dates.

Dave Beyer

Drum Faculty

Dave Beyer is an in-demand professional drummer and educator in the Los Angeles area. He has toured, performed live and/or recorded with such artists as Melissa Etheridge, Christopher Cross, Jim Messina, The Motels, Wilson Phillips, America, Jewel, Joan Osborne, Gregg Allman, Michael McDonald, Loggins & Messina, Stephen Bishop, Buzzy Feiten, Jango and Debra Davis.

Dave is currently touring and recording with Christopher Cross, and played on the recently released in-concert DVD, “Christopher Cross: A Night in Paris.” Dave is also on Cross’s new CD, “Dr. Faith,” as well as the “30 Rock” Soundtrack and “Café Carlyle Sessions.” Dave is also tours with Wilson Phillips and Jim Messina. Dave has performed at major venues worldwide, including the Greek Theater, Universal Amphitheater, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Woodstock, Madison Square Garden and Royal Albert Hall.

Dave also stays busy as a studio musician, and as a producer who runs his own studio, Beyer Recording. He has played on such TV shows as 30 Rock, The Tonight Show, Late Night With David Letterman, Extreme Home Makeover and Ally McBeal; films including Princess Diaries II and Happy Endings; as well as numerous TV spots and commercial jingles. Dave has also written for Modern Drummer magazine.

Kait Dunton

All-School Faculty

KAIT DUNTON is a Los Angeles based composer & pianist with an unconventional approach to composition and to the piano trio, best expressed by her genre-pushing super group, trioKAIT. Kait has produced and released three albums of original compositions, with a fourth featuring her equally out-of-the-box arranging style. Her third record, trioKAIT, made the Huffington Post’s list of “The Best Jazz for 2015” and was featured in Downbeat Magazine as well as on JAZZIZ Magazine’s 33⅓ Anniversary CD. Her second album, Mountain Suite, features master interpreters Peter Erskine, Bob Mintzer, John Daversa and Darek Oles.

Classically trained, Kait now works primarily in jazz and contemporary genres, maintaining a balanced career of performance, composition and education. Her enthusiasm and love for music radiates as much on the stage as in the classroom. A Pasadena native and an alum of Polytechnic School, Kait holds a Master of Music degree from the University of North Texas, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from USC’s Thornton School of Music.

Find Kait on:
Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | SoundCloud

Ken Song

Music Production Faculty

Ken Song, who holds a Master of Music in Guitar Performance, graduated with honors from USC in 1998. He has studied jazz guitar with Joe Diorio and Larry Koonse and classical guitar with William Kanengiser. Since college, Ken has been working steadily in the Los Angeles music scene, playing sessions on motion pictures, TV commercials and audio recordings. In 2005, Ken was a featured performer at the Santa Barbara Jazz Festival. Ken also plays in local clubs and restaurants with his own trio. Notable artists that Ken has played with include Bruce Eskovitz, Bill Churchville, Randy Drake, the Dick Grove Orchestra, Ricky Lawson, Gregg Bissonette, John Ferraro and Todd Johnson. In late 2005, Ken recorded his first solo album Goin’ Wes, which was released in early 2006 on the Primrose Lane Music label and features Luther Hughes, Paul Kreibich and Llew Matthews. Check outwww.kensong.net for more info.

Adam Levy

Guitar Faculty

Levy has created a remarkable body of music over the past 30 years, and his talents continue to evolve today. He was recruited for Norah Jones’ recording of “Come Away with Me,” her multi-platinum, multi-Grammy debut on Blue Note Records. He remained in Jones’ orbit for several years to come, recording two additional albums and three DVDs, and touring the world as a member of her Handsome Band. He also played on Tracy Chapman’s mid-90s masterpiece New Beginning. Levy’s guitar earns the limelight in the bluesy “Give Me One Reason,” which won Best Rock Song at the 1997 Grammy Awards.

Levy is also a respected writer and educator, with the instructional courses Play the Right Stuff (book/DVD), 50 Low-Down Rhythms (DVD/online course), and Rhythm Makeover(DVD/online course) to his credit, as well as numerous articles for Guitar PlayerFretboard Journal, and other top guitar magazines.

Ralph Humphrey

Drum Faculty

Ralph Humphrey is one of Los Angeles’ most demanded studio drummers, recording for TV, motion pictures, albums and jingles. His most recent projects include Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, Charmed, Piglet’s Big Movie, Star Trek Enterprise, The Simpsons, ABC 50th Anniversary Special, Far From Heaven, Coca-Cola, and Ping golf clubs. His past touring and recording experience includes the Don Ellis Big Band, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Akiyoshi-Tabackin Big Band, Al Jarreau, Manhattan Transfer, Seals and Crofts and Free Flight. He can also be heard on album projects by Wayne Shorter, Tom Rainer, Mike Miller, Jeff Richman, The Outsidemen, and Babaghanoush, among many others.

Ralph is the author of the drum book Even in the Odds and contributes occasional articles to Modern DrummerMagazine.

See the Ralph Humphrey page at Drummerworld.com.

Tariqh Akoni

Guitar Faculty

A native of Santa Barbara, Tariqh studied contemporary classical composition at the University of California at San Diego before pursuing a performance degree at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Since moving to Los Angeles in 1997, Tariqh has amassed an extensive and eclectic resume. He has worked with distinguished artists such as: country singers LeAnn Rimes and Lee Ann Womack; jazz icons George Duke, Tom Scott, and Bobby Watson; pop artists Jennifer Lopez, Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilera and the Backstreet Boys; and classical artist Josh Groban. He has also appeared with a host of greats including Babyface, Al Jarreau, Herbie Hancock, Luther Vandross, Patti Labelle, Natalie Cole, Huey Lewis and the News, Nick Lachey, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire and many others. Most recently, Tariqh worked as Musical Director for Weezer and Josh Groban and completed highly successful tours with Bette Midler, Stevie Wonder (including a performance at the Silver Jubilee concert for the Queen of England) and super producer David Foster (appearing in his DVD Hit Man Returns). As an educator and clinician, Tariqh served as Chair of the Guitar Department at LACM for 5 years where he wrote 10 books including their pedagogical series String Theory. In addition, he has conducted master classes and clinics internationally at the Guildhall Academy in London, Fermatta Music Academy in Mexico, USC, CSUN and the Berklee College of Music. After living in Pasadena for 15 years, Tariqh returned to Santa Barbara in 2011, and while still a sought after Musical Director, studio musician and accompanist Tariqh has begun focusing his energy on production, composition and artist development.

Ricky Z

Guitar Faculty

Ricky Z, Guitarist, Composer and Producer steps out as an artist in his own right with his debut Contemporary Blues Album “The Long and Dusty Road”, featuring Bill Champlin, Lisa Kekaula (the BellRays), Walfredo Reyes Jr., Ed Roth, and Bill Lanham. He paints a landscape that encompasses the depth and scope of both traditional and modern blues with a twist of Funk & Rock ‘n Roll and a hint of Cajun. Pure and solely Ricky Z.After a rich career that has spanned from Live Shows and Touring to Recording, T.V. and Movie work, Ricky Z has worked with a myriad of stellar artists including:

 Josh Groban, Steven Tyler, Jessica Simpson, Lauryn Hill,  Steve Lukather, The Sweet, Vesta Williams, Don Grusin, Beto Cuevas, Orianthi, Gloria Estefan, andMichael Bublé.“It been a fantastic musical journey and I’ve been fortune to work and collaborate with some of the most talented musicians in the industry,” Ricky Z shares. And with influences such as Freddie King, John Lee Hooker, to Eric Clapton and Rory Gallagher “The Long and Dusty Road” is culminating in a record that both emits Ricky’s roots and the feeling of yesterday with the sound of tomorrow.

Teresa James

Music Performance Faculty

Growing up in Texas, Teresa James started singing and playing piano at a very young age and has been performing ever since. With her band, the Rhythm Tramps, she has toured throughout the US and Europe and has released 8 CDs, receiving a nomination from the Blues Foundation for Contemporary Female Blues Artist of the Year in 2008 and an Independent Music Award nomination in 2010. In addition to working with her band, she has sung for many films and TV shows, including Toy Story 3, Runaway Jury, Hole, The Simpsons, Ellen, Step By Step, to name just a few. She can also be heard singing with Reba McIntyre on the theme to her television show Reba. As a professional session singer, Teresa has also been featured on commercials (for McDonald’s, Barbie, Michelob, etc.) and works regularly in the studio with Burt Bacharach, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Steve Dorff, and many others. She has served as a studio coach for many other professional singers and actors, including Andie McDowell, Tommy Castro and the Radio City Rockettes. Some of the artists that she has toured or recorded with include Randy Newman, Bill Medley, Neil Diamond, Eric Burdon, Spencer Davis, Peter Gallagher and others (including a duet with Mickey Mouse). For more info, please visit Teresa’s website at www.teresajames.com.

https://youtu.be/aheV5KP77Hs

Marko Desantis

Music Business Faculty

Marko DeSantis is a music professional best known as the lead guitarist and co-founder of modern rock & roll band Sugarcult, with whom he has toured worldwide and sold over a million records since launching out of Santa Barbara, CA in 2001.

Sugarcult released three studio records which spawned hit singles such as; “Bouncing Off the Walls”, “Pretty Girl (The Way)”, “Do It Alone” and “Memory”.   They’ve also released a documentary DVD, a live album, a “best of”/concert DVD.

Sugarcult has headlined their own national and international tours; performed on the main stages of festivals around the world (Glastonbury, Reading/Leeds, Summersonic, Warped Tour, Soundwaves, etc); were the main support act on Green Day’s “American Idiot” USA/Japan tours, and Blink 182’s farewell European tour and countless other tours.

Prior to Sugarcult, Marko wrote, recorded & performed live with national indie/power-pop/punk bands such as The Ataris, Swingin Utters and Nerf Herder.

Marko also produces/writes for other artists and composes for film and television.

As an educator, DeSantis has appeared as a guest lecturer/adjunct professor and panelist at several music conferences and academia programs: SXSW, MI (Musicians Institute), LACM (LA College of Music), Citrus College, Kenshu (Japanese exchange), Taxi Road Rally, New Noise, Camp Jam and Power Chord Academy. Specializing in Artist Development and career opportunities in the future of the music industry.

Marko DeSantis is based in Los Angeles, CA.

LYNN FANELLI

Lynn Fanelli began her singing career at the tender age of 5 years old when she performed with her father on his record release. She has recorded and toured with Delaney Bramlett, who taught George Harrison to play slide guitar and Eric Clapton to sing and produced Clapton’s first album. She was on staff with record producer Ray Ruff at Oak Records, recording and arranging vocals for all of their country artists. While with this label, she sang background vocals and created vocal arrangements for Pat Boone’s CD Ready to Rock, among others. She toured with movie actress Connie Stevens, sang with The National In Choir on the Oasis CD Dig Out Your Soul in 2008. She has toured, recorded and/or performed with Hal David, Jon Bon Jovi, Wild Cherry, Terry Ilous, Spencer Davis, Percy Sledge, Deniece Williams, Billy Paul and Taste of Honey, among many others. She has recorded with many renowned producers, among them Jim Steinman (Meatloaf) and Giorgio Moroder (Blondie) and David Briggs (Neil Young). Her voice has been heard on national jingles and television and movie soundtracks such as Nickelodeon, Melrose Place, Days of Our Lives, and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, among others. Most recently, Lynn performed with Jackie DeShannon on the heels of DeShannon’s 2010 induction into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. She was on board in the vocal section for DeShannon’s recorded performance for the Grammy archives in 2012.