All of us teachers at the Uptown Music Collective are passionate about sharing our love of music with our students. We are experienced in the art of engaging, guiding, inspiring, and setting free, the inner music of students of all ages. Getting as much out of watching our students perform and succeed, as we do out of performing music ourselves.
“Each of us begins with the idea that everyone has music in them waiting to come out. We are dedicated to doing the work and demonstrating the patience that is required to bring our students music out.”
We succeed by following a thorough, well thought out curriculum. Each of us striving to guide our students along the path of learning, while adjusting our method and tayloring our teaching style to the students needs. All the while holding all students to the highest standards. This is our formula for teaching success.
Our teachers are the epicenter of everything we do, and the secret behind all of our past, current and future success.
Vocal & Keyboard Instructor
I began to sing in the church choir at five years old. When I turned seven, I began taking piano lessons. As music became more and more prevalent in my life, I added drums, clarinet, and writing to my list of musical talents. Through the years that followed, I have immersed myself into the constructions of many styles of music. I was a member of elementary, middle school, and high school bands, as well as the lead singer of a community choir.
Currently, I am a piano and vocal instructor for The Uptown Music Collective.
As a recording artist, I have performed at various venues such as The Apollo Theater in NY, Memphis Grizzlies NBA games, BB Kings Memphis, and many other venues throughout the United States. I am also the lead singer and musician of Kimberly Adair and Soulful.
I studied the guitar with Ben Sher (NYC) and local guitar legend Dave Brumbaugh (Uptown Music Collective Founder). I am a graduate of the PA Governor’s School for the Arts. I am also the instructor of guitar and music technology at Lycoming College.
Over the past few decades, I have shared the stage with many diverse artists: from the Monkees’ Davy Jones, to American Idol’s Clay Aiken.
I have also played in orchestras backing people like: Olivia Newton-John, Buddy Rich, Chuck Mangione, and many others. Currently, I play, and sub with many of the area’s jazz, rock, and country groups that keep me busy traveling between PA, New York, and New Jersey. I also make frequent trips to New York City to back up “up and coming” guitarist Michi Egger.
Guitar Instructor & Executive Director
Hi, I’m Dave. I’m the Uptown Music Collective’s founder and Executive Director. Aside from running the business, I teach private guitar lessons and many of the workshops and classes that we offer. I also direct the school’s Performance Program, and produce all of our Major Performances.
As the Executive Director, it’s my job to oversee all of the school’s operations. In our business dealings, just like in our music education, we strive as an organization for excellence. We work hard to keep our staff and expenses lean, while focusing our attention on supporting our high impact programs.
As a teacher, I work mostly with intermediate and advanced guitar students, although I do like to work with beginners and students of other instruments when I have the time.
I’m also the guy that wrote a lot of the curriculum that we follow, as well as teach a lot of the higher level classes and workshops.
As a student, I graduated from the Berklee College of Music in 1984, and have studied music and the guitar for over 38 years. For the last 25 years I have also taught extensively and have helped produce a great deal of highly skilled professional and amateur musicians.
In my lessons, classes and workshops, my goals are always the same: I want my students to become musicians, not just guitar players, drummers, vocalists, etc. To accomplish this they must:
Develop great “ears”, because music is sound.
Develop great technique because great technique leads to a great sound.
Learn to demonstrate “musicality” in all situations, which simply put, means playing appropriately in all musical situations.
Develop a real practical understanding of music’s theoretical concepts so students can express their musical thoughts on paper and in words; and so they can communicate and understand the thoughts of others.
Learn to use theory and all of the other skills to amass a large amount of music materials (patterns,
scales, chords, arpeggios, etc.) so they have the means to express themselves in any and all situations.
I love to teach music and have been blessed with an incredible amount of great students over the past 25 years.
They will tell you that being a student of mine requires discipline, commitment and hard work. All of which is hopefully worth it in the end.
Guitar Instructor & AMP Program Instructor
I am the Director of the Uptown Music Collective’s adult music program (AMP). Along with guitar and bass instruction, I also conduct lectures on music theory, applied harmony, and improvisation. An early Alumni of the UMC, I have been training and guiding musicians since the early 2000s. I Graduated Suma Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh and was honored to receive the Mellon Jazz scholarship in 2004. Whilst at Pitt, I studied with former Jazz Messenger Dr. Nathan Davis and Guitar Great Joe Negri. After graduation, I moved to Philadelphia for nearly a decade where I taught guitar and bass while participating in a variety of original music projects. My next move was to Austin Texas where I studied blues and soul music and acted as the bassist and musical director for Garrett Lebeau’s band all while collaborating and performing with many musicians in the city’s rapidly growing scene. The newest Chapter in my musical life brings me back home to share what I have gathered from my years participating in the field.
Hello and thank you for your interest in my music instruction. I am honored to have the opportunity to participate in the development of the Uptown Music Collective. Informing the AMP program, I am reaching out to those that have reached their creative limits or those that haven’t yet had the chance to properly explore their artistic side. Whether it be songwriting, Guitar and bass performance, or Music theory knowledge I believe that I can help students grow and meet their goals while upholding the standards of an environment as venerable as the Uptown Music Collective.
Recent Video of Ben Geise playing at the Uptown Music Collective:
Discovering Music Program – Instructor
The Uptown Music Collective’s Discovering Music program is under the direction of Aegina Leidhecker.
I have been teaching music to children since I graduated from Mansfield University in 1982 with a degree in Music Education. I started my career teaching music to Pre-school & Kindergarten aged children in a daycare setting. I then continued my career teaching elementary instrumental and classroom music in the public school system for 27 years in both the Loyalsock Township and Bloomsburg Area School Districts.
I am now returning to early childhood music instruction offering small, group music workshops at the Uptown Music Collective. The workshops will offer an array of musical activities designed to inspire musical enjoyment and musicianship for children ages 3 and up.
I am also a professional flutist, performing both free-lance and with the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra for over 30 years.
I perform both as a concert and jazz percussionist throughout the region. Appearing with the world renowned Empire Brass Quintet from 1986 to 1994, I have performed with the Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Detroit, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Cincinnati, Rhode Island, and Rochester Symphony Orchestras. I have also performed at the South Street Seaport and Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Boston Esplanade, two tours of Japan, as well as with the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
My recording credits include Empire Brass- “Greatest Hits”, Empire Brass –“On Broadway”, Andy Otto-“Fully Known”, The Buzz Jones Big Band – “What’s Up In The Attic”, and The Rooke Chapel Choir with Linda Russell-“Civil War Songs of Stephen Foster”.
I recently retired from teaching instrumental music and digital audio recording in Loyalsock Township School District for over 32 years. I also served on the Jazz Faculty for the annual Mason/Dixon summer jazz camp at Gettysburg College from 2001-2010. I have been principle Timpanist with the Williamsport Symphony for the past 33 years and am a founding member of the Williamsport City Jazz Orchestra. I am a YAMAHA regional performing artist and clinician and have presented at PMEA sponsored events in schools throughout Pennsylvania.
iOn Uptown Program Director & Instructor
Colin Beatty and I had a desire to learn music theory and the classes were not offered at our high school. Fortunately, Dave offered music theory at the Uptown Music Collective. Through taking theory classes with Dave, I learned what the Collective was all about and decided I wanted to be a part of it. Meeting Dave was the equivalent of Luke meeting Obi-Won; a mentor was found.
Since then I have participated in nearly every show and recital the Collective has put on and in 2006 was given the opportunity to direct the show The Wall. I graduated from Lock Haven University in the spring of 2007 with a BA in Communications Media. After graduation, I was offered a position at the Collective to help out with the day-to-day running of the school.
Currently I am the front man for local band, 44MAG.
Guitar Instructor & Tech Monkey Director
I was inspired to play guitar at a young age after watching my dad play a smoking rendition of Malaguena. My desire to play guitar was only intensified by listening to my sister’s Led Zeppelin records and my Dad’s CCR tapes. By the age of twelve, I had my first guitar and had begun taking lessons.
After graduating from high school, I enrolled at Bloomsburg University where I earned a degree in music with a concentration in A/V recording. While in college, I studied blues, jazz, and theory at the Collective.
I currently play in multiple bands and continue to sharpen my skills in the pursuit of musical excellence. I’m excited to be teaching at the Collective and am looking forward to helping young fledgling musicians on their way to rock stardom.
I have been playing drums for 14 years. I started at the age of 11, taking lessons from Robert Morrision, who worked with the Williamsport Symphony, and Joseph Hauserman, who has worked with Tommy Cash.
My first musical projects were with the Montoursville Jazz Band and Marching Band. For the past 10 years I have been playing in the local hard rock band 44Mag. I have also worked with various country and classic rock bands. I am schooled in the styles of rock, blues, country, funk and pop drumming.
Vocal Instructor / Beginner Guitar Instructor / Discovering Music Program Instructor
I grew up in the Williamsport area and was a student at the Uptown Music Collective in the early days of the organization. I was one of a small group of female students in what was at the time mostly a “boys club”. I lent my leadership skills, powerful voice and strong guitar work to many Uptown Music Collective projects, most notably, the first Uptown Music Collective major performance, Dark Side of the Moon: A Theatrical Presentation.
After high school I attended the Berklee College of Music for a few years as a vocal student, where I was awarded a Songwriting Scholarship. I graduated from Penn State University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science-Art Education degree.
Since that time, I have been substituting in local school districts and performing in the local area as a solo singer-songwriter, and with her band Mal Scoppa and the Tall Tales.
“I have been involved with the Uptown Music Collective for 11 years, beginning as a 10 year old guitar student. Even then the Collective had an atmosphere of camaraderie and friendly competition that reached me. I discovered my life onstage during performances like The Unforgettable Fire and Killer Queen. Yes, I learned to play guitar but even more than that, I learned about the importance of practice and perseverance. I came to understand that achievement was my decision and that success would come from my own efforts. In my last year as a student, I led the Collective’s Youngblood’s Blue’s Band to the International Blues Challenge Youth Showcase where I won a monetary award for my knowledge of Blue’s music, thanks to the Collective’s music education program. Participating at the top levels in the Collective today continues to demand this excellence and I am proud to be back as a faculty member, teaching guitar lessons and music theory classes.”
I am a 2013 graduate of Williamsport HS and received my Bachelor of Music degree magna cum laude from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA in just 27 months. I currently perform the blues throughout PA and NY with the Gabe Stillman Band. I recently represented the Billtown Blue’s Association at the IBC in Memphis, TN in January 2017. Find me at gabestillman.com and on Facebook as gabestillmanmusic.
Music Business Instructor
I am a farmer’s daughter, and therefore love to watch things grow. When I look back on the work of my adult working life which began in 1967, it seems I was always drawn to watching things grow. I spent 12 years in Microbiology at the “then” Williamsport Hospital. The Docs would send various specimens to the laboratory and I would “grow” them out in culture for identification and recommended treatment. Then I moved on to the corporate world becoming a sales representative for a medical diagnostics company in New York…during my tenure there I became a regional manager with responsibility for 10 sales people covering ¼ of the USA. I LOVED guiding these sales people from where they were when I first hired them, watching them grow professionally and personally.
From there I went to a start up company, literally from an idea on a napkin which grew to a full fledged major pharmaceutical company, in the exciting new biotechnology field just taking off in the late 1980’s. Every day was filled with new ideas, new challenges and the company grew by leaps and bounds nearly every day!
Then in 1994 I started an artist management company – -managing the careers of professional musicians. I loved talking to musicians, but there was always a common thread – they had no idea how to “plan”, how to set goals, how to manage their tours and their finances. Forget a 5 year plan – many had no idea where they were going the next day! So I took all that I had learned in my past experiences and applied it to helping musicians “grow” from wherever they were on their career path to some place greater and closer to their dream.
And here I am now, retired, but at the UMC as a volunteer instructor teaching the business of music, where once again nothing beats seeing a perspective student come in on an open house day or an enrollment day – barely giving any eye contact, or saying more than 2 words, to embrace their instrument or their voice and evolve not only musically but let their personalities sparkle and grow into responsible young adults.
When I was a kid, going to Grandma’s house was always a blast because my Uncle Leon played drums and had a kit set up there. I’d bang away as long as they would let me! When I was 10 and the Montoursville school system offered instrument lessons, I jumped at the chance and embarked on a life-long obsession with music and drumming. I also took private lessons with local legend Bob Morrison, and I had a great marching band drum instructor in Mike Ferlazzo, who led our drum line to many High Drum Awards at TOB competitions and currently writes for Drum Corps World Magazine.
I played in every band I could throughout high school, was involved in 7 musicals, sang in the choir for two years, and even took sax lessons for a year, earning the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award my senior year (not to mention the Music Merit Badge on my way to Eagle Scout). During the summers of 1988 and 1989 I was accepted as a member of the United States Music Ambassadors, which consisted of a concert band, jazz band and a choir of students from the tri-state area, and toured through Europe those two summers. After high school I enlisted in the Army and attended the Army/Navy/Marine Corps School of Music, where I took Music Theory and Ear Training classes as well as play in concert, jazz, rock, and marching bands and percussion ensembles. I served three years, including a six month tour in the Middle East during the first Gulf War, and then returned to home in 1992.
Since then I have been a member of several local bands, most notably, Lyonnesse(who won the WZXR/K&S Music Battle of the Bands in 1998, and played at the legendary CBGB’s), Williamsport’s rock/dance/party favorite Flu Shots for 14 years now, and the hard rockin’ Aftermath for their last two years. I have enjoyed sub drumming on several occasions with Pepper Street, Random Axe, Dirty Mojo and other local bands. I have recently taken on some new projects that I am excited about, including Rattletrap Jack, and Sons of Billtown. Through the years I have also worked as a Sound/Light/Stage Technician for other bands(including some international artists) in many different venues from bars to theaters and arenas.
In 2008 when I was approached by the Uptown Music Collective, I was flattered and honored that the prestigious organization wanted to add me to such a talented group of staff and teachers. As each year at the CoIlective passes I see more and more what a great program we have here, and I love watching the kid’s talents progress as they grow and enjoy sharing my 35 plus years of musical experience with them.
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