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Staff Bios

Outstanding Instructors

Piano Play looks to hire teachers that are…

…Excited about teaching and have a desire to expose, enrich and encourage the enjoyment for music in their students. Our instructors are trained intensively in the Piano Play System for four to six months. This program is both hands on training in the classroom with another master teacher and individually. The goal of this training is to assure students and parents that their instruction will be stimulating, fun, creative and will cultivate a love of self-expression. Most of our esteemed instructors hold a minimum of two-three years of college-level courses in music theory or performance or Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Music.

Teaching Students With Disabilities

Our teachers welcome an opportunity to inspire all students. At Piano Play, we find it especially rewarding to teach students that have special needs. While each child and their disability is different, we look for practical teaching methods that can aid the student, parent and the teacher. Some of the most common methods are individualized instruction or mainstreaming into small groups. We work closely with a child psychologist, Stacy Wallington, who keeps us on the leading edge of psychological research in music as it relates to the well being of children and their education.

They are excellent educators and know exactly how to engage students with varying personalities to be their best!

Alla Arutyunan

Alla Arutyunyan was born in Armenia and started playing the piano at the age of five. She received a theory and performance degree in Armenia and continued her studies in the United State, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Music at California State University, Northridge. She is a member of the Music Teacher Association of the California as well. Her passion for music and children led her to start teaching in 1987. She incorporates new and innovative ideas and methods in her teaching to enhance her students music experience. Alla emphasizes the importance of ear training, sight reading, theory and technique. She values each student’s innate talents and differences and creates an atmosphere of growth, development and success.

MTAC Member, Private Instructor

Joey Mara

A San Francisco Bay Area native, Joey is the manager and music teacher for Piano Play Pasadena. He has extensive training in voice and choral conducting having received his music degree from Loyola Marymount University. Working with local composers, churches, and choirs, Joey joined our Piano Play staff in 2010 and teaches both group and private lessons. He is also an active member of the Music Teachers’ Association of California.

MTAC Member, Group & Private Instructor

Nicole Nale

Nicole Nale is a former student of the Piano Play Music Systems method, studying under the CEO, Sharon Shaheed. She completed the Certificate of Merit program during high school, before going off to study under Dr. Tania Fleischer at Loyola Marymount University. She started her teaching career while earning her Bachelor’s Degree and graduated with a BFA in Instrumental Studies/Piano Performance, as well as a minor in Biology. Nicole is a classically trained pianist, who specializes in sight reading, theory and performance. She has wide experience with different types of ensemble work, which she implements with her students, as well as countless solo performances. She is now both a group and private teacher at Piano Play and the President of the Music Teachers’ Association of California, San Fernando East Valley Branch. Her teaching philosophy is one of fun and self-sufficiency as she hopes all of her students will love music and carry it with them for the rest of their lives.

MTAC Member, Group & Private Instructor

Pam Prasarttonogosoth

Ms. Pam can’t remember a time before she couldn’t play the piano, or rather, she can’t remember a time before she didn’t have to play the piano, every day, for at least an hour. Although she was a very talented youngster, she didn’t think she could pursue a career in music and went to college at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) to become an engineer. While at university, Ms. Pam studied composition with John Harbison at M.I.T. and piano performance with Lisa Caliri at the Boston Conservatory. She has been teaching piano for 15 years and earned her master’s degree in music from Cal State Los Angeles. Among her many wonderful teachers were Konstantine Sirounian, Norman Krieger, Paul Van Ness and Tamir Hendelman. Ms. Pam has concertized on the piano and clarinet in L.A., Boston and Thailand. She is an active member of the Music Teachers’ Association and currently chairs the Certificate of Merit Program for the San East Valley Music Teachers Association.

MTAC Member, Private Instructor

Greg Raymond

Greg Raymond, graduate of Boston College, is not only a phenomenal jazz pianist that has appeared with or collaborated with such artists as Citizen Cope, Charlie Hunter, Chali 2na from Jurassic 5, Galactic’s Stanton Moore, G Love & Special Sauce, Ani DiFranco, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Stanley Jordan and many others… but has had great success in teaching students for over 13 years. Since moving to Los Angeles from Denver, Colorado, Greg spends most of his time teaching kids as young as 2 years old how to play piano, using group class methods as well as solfege singing techniques. Greg presently teaches 40+ private students of all ages per week. He joined Music Teachers’ Association of California in 2011 and has a high success rate coaching students at all levels of CM, from Prep to Advanced.

MTAC Member, Private Instructor

Cortlandt Jones

Cortlandt Jones, better known as Mr. Chico or Mr. Cheeks around Piano Play, began his study at Piano Play Music Systems as a child. In 2008 he passed the advanced level of the Certificate of Merit Testing (CM) and then furthered his music education at Claflin University in South Carolina. Upon graduation from Claflin University in 2013, he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Performance with a piano concentration. He then decided to return to Piano Play Music Systems to inspire and strengthen the minds of our youth. As an instructor at Piano Play he finds joy in teaching his students and guiding them through the wonderful melodies of music.

MTAC Member, Group & Private Instructor

Sharon Shaheed

Sharon Shaheed is the CEO and founder of Piano Play Music Systems. Her educational background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a minor in voice from Xavier University and a Masters in Piano Performance and Minor in Piano Pedagogy from Southeastern University in Hammond, Louisiana. Ms. Shaheed developed Piano Play’s theory based method and wrote its twenty-two classroom books and audio song CDs. These products that are incorporated in student’s weekly lessons help guide and instruct not only the child but parent or guardian as well. She is an active member of the Music Teachers’ Association of California and is branch chair of the Certificate of Merit Program for the MTAC San Fernando East Valley Branch.

Ms. Shaheed was a guest speaker for the 2007 California Governor’s Conference (hosted by Maria Shriver and other acclaimed guests) and was interviewed on Oprah & Friends radio talk show, hosted by Dr. Robyn Smith and the winner of the 2009 Stevie® Award for the Best Entrepreneur. In March of 2015, her music class was filmed to be featured on ‘Raising Whitley’ associate producer of OWN televisions and The Univision Network Television.

MTAC Member, Group & Private Instructor