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OUR TEACHERS

Skilled and seasoned (and awesome) instructors can help you understand, play and perform music.

We’re proud to have such a strong group of powerfully talented teachers who can literally rock your world. Better yet, they have the patient and supportive personalities that can inspire you to reach your dream of playing an instrument. Whether it’s through our Private Lessons program or our Music Makers LIVE performance school, you can count on these amazing teachers.

 
 
  • My daughter absolutely loves Music Makers. Everyone is so friendly and very patient with my daughter, who has autism. The studio is very appealing and is full of fun music knick-knacks to check out while waiting.
    — Jamilyn Lucero
  • Amazing staff! Mr. Robert is amazingly patient with my son and incredibly talented! Highly recommend!
    — Stacey Seeley
  • Great energy and support for beginners right through to advanced skills. The bands that form together really gel, perform well and have a blast. Music Makers really delivers fun learning and builds confidence in kids and adults.
    — Mark Vollmer
  • These people go the distance when it comes to customer service, passion, creativity and sheer energy! They inspire and encourage our musicians of the future; they are really, really AWESOME! I wish more businesses had their commitment and drive.
    — Bobbs V.
  • Mr. Robert makes piano fun for my seven-year-old. My son is learning a lot and enjoying it. He may not love to practice, but he loves his lessons. Music Makers is very flexible. They have been great with schedule conflicts and last-minute changes. I highly recommend them!
    — Vinita Folck
 
 
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Robert Smith

Piano, Voice, Guitar, Bass, Drums

Robert is the owner and operator of Music Makers. He teaches piano, voice, guitar, bass, and drums (beginner/intermediate/advanced and all ages starting as young as 5). He is great with kids and adults alike. He's had ample experience in music performance - touring around the world playing concerts in countries like Indonesia, Australia, Russia, and Japan - was a touring member for the Norfolk based rock group, MAE (Capitol Records, Tooth & Nail Records). Currently he performs regular gigs around Hampton Roads, solo (MUSICPLAYER) and with bands (LADADA and DEJA). His expertise is piano and singing but he has a multi-instrumental understanding of music (proficient in piano, guitar, drums, bass, etc).

"My goal with each student is to help instill a desire and passion to explore the deeper side of music. I try to keep my lessons fun, exciting, and interactive. Music theory is crucial to understanding music, but I also teach you how to sense the emotions in music as well as using your ear. I believe that each student has his or her own personal musical journey. I'm sensitive to that and want to give each student a head start on that journey. Teaching another person how to play, understand, and feel music is something that makes me come alive."

 
 
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Drew Thow

Drums

Drew is one of our band coaches. She has taught percussion in the Norfolk and Virginia Beach school systems and performed and recorded with Glenn Campbell - her bands have opened for national recording artists including – The Beach Boys, Toto, Firefall, Edgar Winter, The Romantics, The Kingsmen, Kansas, etc. Currently she performs in DEJA, Hampton Roads best epic songs tribute band. Having marched in and taught Drum Corps International (D.C.I.), Drew developed techniques that make reading music easy and fun. She also teaches/plays bass and guitar.

 
 
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Jay Rakes

GUITAR, BASS, UKULELE, BANJO

Jay is a seasoned professional musician and has been teaching and performing for over 25 years. His band, the Jay Rakes band, has recorded 4 CDs of original songs. He teaches ALL styles of guitar (rock, country, blues, etc…). He works great with beginner and advanced students alike.

 
 
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Addy Hockman

VIOLIN, VIOLA, Piano, Ukulele

Addy is a professional violinist and wonderful choice for the beginner violin or piano student. She studied music education at Old Dominion University. Her warmth and patience in the lesson room keeps the student at ease.

 
 
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Joe McMurray

GUITAR, BASS, DRUMS, UKULELE, SAXOPHONE

Joe is a perfect choice for any beginner, young and old. He has an all-around comprehensive understanding of music in all genres and instruments specializing in jazz and blues guitar. He studied at Duke University and George Mason University. You can find him performing regular gigs around Hampton Roads and helping coach our MMLIVE bands!

 
 
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Cody Thornton

Drums

Cody is a well versed drummer and percussionist. He has been drumming since he was 8 years old. Currently, performs regularly in The Jay Rakes Band. If you want to start off on the right foot (no pun intended) Cody is your man!

 
 
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Lisa Sinibaldi

Voice, Piano, Flute, Ukulele, Saxophone

Lisa is an active performer and teacher in the Hampton Roads area. She completed her Music Education degree from ODU in 2009 and was the band and chorus director for Virginia Beach City Public Schools. From 2009 to 2017, she was a member of the 380th Army Reserve Band in Richmond, VA as the lead vocalist in their rock band. She serves as the Director of Contemporary Music at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church. Her passion continues to remain teaching students one-on-one, where she can watch them develop and share in their celebrations and successes.

 
 
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Rob Oliver

Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, Harmonica

Rob has been spreading the joy of music through private instruction to people of all ages for many years. His lessons are geared towards the individual with a focus on making the journey of learning as fun as possible. He has been performing original and cover music in Hampton Roads for over twenty years with bands like Two Foot Small, Softstone, The Retailers, Departure, and The Grifters. You can find Rob currently performing solo acoustic shows with his harmonica and singing with The Groove Cats. You’ll also see him around town sitting in with many of his talented local friends such as Cole Stevens and The Delta Daggers, Karl Werne, the Billie Joe Trio, and many others.

 
 
 
 
 

Come and join our team

Share your expertise with our students.

Music Makers is always looking for other enthusiastic professionals looking to teach our students. if you think you might be a good fit for our team, get in touch with us.

 
 
 
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