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424 Route 46 Rockaway, NJ US

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Teaching Staff

Ben Mchugh - Drums

Ben MchughBen McHugh has been studying drums since he started in elementary school. Today he is a member of several bands, and his drumming can also be heard in many local theater productions in his home county of Sussex. His students receive a well rounded education in all of today's popular drumming styles, with an emphasis on proper technique, and creative improvisational skills.

Sean Meyers - Drums

Ben MchughSean has been studying drums for over 14 years, most recently graduating from Montclair State University with a bachelor's degree in Jazz Performance. Sean has been recording and gigging regularly since 2004 with notable performances at B.B. King's in Times Square, The Bitter End, and Lincoln Center among many other venues throughout the east coast. Sean has a strong background in music theory and offers lessons in all styles from Jazz to Metal and everything in between. Emphasis is placed on proper form and technique while still keeping things fun and applicable.

Mark Stewart - Bass, Guitar, Piano

Mark Stewart Mark Stewart is a multi-instrumentalist, arranger, composer and music teacher based in the New York / New Jersey area. Since attending Berklee College of Music as a winner of its World Scholarship Tour, Mark has toured all over Western Europe, Russia, and the Middle East with the likes of Nell Bryden and the Good Morning Squad. Mark is highly active on the New York and New Jersey club scenes, as well as playing bass and synthesizer in his original band Gyroscone, and arranging/composing monstrosities of sound for various groups of all sizes

Ted Smith - Guitar, Banjo

Ted Smith Ted has been teaching guitar at Ritchie's Music Center since 1983. He has also taught at several other stores in the Northern New Jersey area, with a total of over 32 years of experience. Ted served in the US Marine Corps and holds a B.A. in Sociology from Montclair State University. A member of the American Federation of Musicians Local 177 since 1973, Ted studied guitar with Bill Brandon, Eddie Berg, and Harry Leahey. Ted's performance experience includes work with members of Tommy James and The Shondells, The Crests ("Sixteen Candles"), and various rock and club date bands.

Victoria Warn - Guitar

Victoria Warn Victoria is a guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter who has performed extensively in the New York Metropolitan area. She has recorded with Danny Gottlieb, Spyro Gyra's Julio Fernandez, and even shared the stage with legendary jazz great Billy Eckstine. She has headlined at the prestigious JVC Festival in NYC, along with the "55" Bar, renowned world-over for its guitarists. Most recently, she was featured at the Rory Gallagher Tribute in Glasgow.

She has recorded 2 CD's as a leader, "Live At The Savoy", and "Fluorescence", an all original collection which blends elements of blues, rock, and jazz into a unique musical style that is adventurous and passionate.

Andy Rimer - Voice, Guitar

Andy Rimer Andy Rimer is a professional performing musician and songwriter with over ten years of experience. Over the last 5 years he has branched out into teaching. Although his main focus is singing, he also plays and teaches guitar, bass and piano. Vocally, Andy has studied many styles including opera, rock, soul/r&b, country and hardcore/death vocals. Andy plays locally so if you're considering a voice instructor, go see and hear him for yourself.

Dan Traglia - Drums

Andy Rimer Dan Traglia began studying drums at Richies Music Center in Rockaway, NJ at age 9 under acclaimed drummer and educator Joe Bergamini. He is a 2011 graduate of the Jazz Studies program at William Paterson University where he completed a degree in Jazz Performance on Drums. During his time at William Paterson, he studied privately with the likes of great jazz drummers such as Horace Arnold, Bill Goodwin and Kevin Norton. He was also an active member of several different large and small ensembles under the direction of current jazz icons such as, Paul Meyers, Chico Mendoza, Cecil Bridgewater, Bill Mobley, John Mosca, Rich DeRosa, Bill Goodwin and the late great Mulgrew Miller.

Dan can be found freelancing both nationally and internationally with a number of different artists in various musical settings. In the studio, Dan enjoys a blossoming career as a session drummer for several independent artists, TV and Film. Dan has been involved teaching and writing for high school drumlines as a Drum Instructor/Arranger since 2008 with Wayne Hills, Ridgewood, and Morris Hills High Schools. Traglia's most recent experiences include a Latin American Tour opening for The Jonas Brothers as a member of Deleasa & The Foundation, as well as making appearances on major television networks such as E!, E! Latino, and Fox 5's Good Day New York.

With Dan's wide variety of playing and teaching experiences he provides his students with several different angles and perspective tailored to each individual student's needs. He instills students with the importance of good practice habits and work ethic, which enables a solid grasp of fundamentals. Each student develops a well-rounded understanding of the drums while also having fun in the process.

Matt Van Dongen - Guitar, Classical Guitar, Piano, Theory, Composition

Matt Van Dongen Matt began playing music in High School, and has since graduated Summa Cum Laude from both, the County College of Morris and the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University with a concentration in Classical Guitar Performance. As a classical musician, Matt has performed chamber and concert solo works from many notable composers as Johann Sebastian Bach, Manuel Ponce, Frederic Chopin, Johann Kasper Mertz, Joaquin Rodrigo, Leo Brouwer, Franz Liszt, and Toru Takemitsu.

Matthew Van Dongen is the recipient of The Andrew Phillips Award for his solo violin composition, Three Nocturnes. He has been professionally instructing students in a variety of musical disciplines since 2004; past students include Chris Pennie (ex-Coheed and Cambria, ex-Dillinger Escape Plan/Fight Mannequins) and award-winning composer, Adam Kennaugh. Matthew's students have gone on to become college music majors and teachers themselves.

Matthew is a select winner of the Vox Novus competition, "Fifteen Minutes of Fame." His compositions have been performed and conducted by professional musicians in the New York Metropolitan area, including Ruotao Mao, Yumi Suehiro, Shannon Roberts, Katie Lipow, Colton Martin, Michael McDonald, Eric Roper, Lucy Hole, Chloe Elszey, Ruth Ochs, and David A. Poli. Matthew has premiered his own works on classical guitar, and has made numerous recordings as an electric guitarist and session musician. As a classical musician, Matthew has performed works from Rodrigo, Takemitsu, Brouwer, Giuliani, J.S. Bach, Berio, Liszt, Mertz, Chopin, Tárrega, Ponce, Villa-Lobos, Barrios, Mozart, Puccini, Schubert, and Holborne. Matthew's 2015-2016 season as a member of the Westminster Symphonic Choir culminated in performances of Mahler's 8th Symphony with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center; these performances were recorded by Sony Music.

Matthew Van Dongen holds a Master of Music, with distinction in Composition from the Westminster Choir College; a Bachelors of Music, Summa Cum Laude in Classical Guitar Performance from Montclair State University; and an Associates of Arts, Summa Cum Laude in Classical Guitar Performance from the County College of Morris. He has studied Composition with Joel Phillips and Amparo Fabra-Crespo; Keyboard Harmony with Stefan Young; Schenkerian Analysis with Anthony Kosar; Post-Tonal Analysis with Ronald Hemmel; Medieval Music and Notation with Carolann Buff; Piano with David Leifer, Joseph Bilotti, and Yuka Yanagi; Classical Guitar with Ana Maria Rosado, Steven Gibb, Darren O'Neil, Dennis Cinelli, and Carol Hamersma; and Traditional Music Theory with Joseph Bilotti and Richard Gradone. He is a self-taught electric guitarist.

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