Meet our Teachers:
Rachel Howe Mixon : Founder and Primary Vocal Instructor
It all started when I begged my parents for piano lessons. I've always loved to sing and I wanted to accompany my voice. Too expensive for them at the time, I had to make due with the 3 piano songs my big brother taught me. (One of them was Heart & Soul, of course.) Later, I began trading babysitting and yard work for piano lessons and voice lessons. Not only was I increasing my musical ability, I was working hard to do so! What a great lesson from my amazing Mom & Dad.
High School lead to many more performance opportunities. I was singing in top choirs and at solofests, performing in musicals, soloing in church, and playing piano for everything (pep rallies, homecoming, other school choirs, more musicals, church meetings.) At one point, some of the kids in my choir class asked me for help singing. I'd already had 3 or 4 different vocal coaches at that point, so my head was swimming with info. I already had musical theatre training, jazz training, and classical/opera training all by age 15. And by helping my classmates, I was becoming a teacher.
I became an official teacher with my first post-college job. As Musical Director for a children's theatre camp doing Footloose: The Musical, I was able to put my BA in Theatre to work. Not only did I land a gig in LA doing what I loved, the gig payed actual money! That was 2004. One of my students asked me if she could stay after camp to receive additional piano and vocal instruction. Then 2 students. Then 4.
It's over 11 years later, and I've taught literally hundreds of children, some of them all in one room! I landed many gigs with adults, too. As a musical director, piano accompanist, and instructor, I've been lucky to teach children and adults of all ages, proficiency levels, and personalities. Teaching is my favorite thing to do. I've had many jobs in the Musical Theatre world. I've performed in countless shows to different audiences. There is no better job than mine as teacher. There is no better audience than my wonderful students. I am so happy to share what I know.
Sara Araya is a musician and instructor with more than 12 years of experience teaching both children and adults. She began her musical journey in her hometown of Los Angeles, CA where she received over 15 years of private instruction in piano and music theory. Her training allows Sara to teach many styles of music, including classical, contemporary and jazz.
At the start of her teaching career, Sara attended the Musicians Institute (MI) in Los Angeles where she earned a professional training certification in Keyboard Technology and Recording Engineering. This training affords her special skills in improvisation, playing by ear and music theory. During this time at MI Sara served as a keyboard player for many bands, with genres varying from funk and R&B, to jazz and Afro-Brazilian.
While living in New York City from 2009-2015, Sara was able to continue her teaching career throughout boroughs such as Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan at various music schools. She also had numerous private students that she provided instruction to. Sara places a high importance on teaching music theory and ear training during musical development lessons and makes it a point to find innovative and fun ways to teach these fundamentals to her students.
A note from Sara:
“Contrary to what some believe, ear training is a skill that can be taught. And while having “perfect pitch” is a gift some are born with, training your ear is absolutely possible! The key is repetition of the sound. Such as, repeating a major/minor sound until one can recognize the differences between the two in a simple sound. I incorporate creative and fun ways of training the ear, such as extensive interval training using your voice and your ears, and improvising in a song that we will jam on together. This way students can explore the different pitches in a particular key, then learn to transpose the key using the theory practices in congruence with the ear training.”
Dylan Gorenberg started playing guitar at the age of 10 and by the age of 15 Dylan was performing weekly throughout the San Francisco / Bay Area. While in the Bay Area, Dylan performed in countless venues ranging from clubs such as the famous Rickshaw Stop and DNA Lounge to the San Francisco’s Bay to Breakers where he performed in front of an audience of 15,000 people. Before moving to Los Angeles, Dylan studied guitar with renowned jazz guitarist Randy Vincent.
Dylan is now pursuing a degree in Studio / Jazz Guitar from the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. At USC, Dylan has studied with some of LA’s finest musicians such as Richard Smith, Frank Potenza, Nick Stoubis, Adam Del Monte and Alphonso Johnson, bassist for Santana and Weather Report. Dylan is also quite knowledgeable in many genres including jazz, classical, rock, funk and many more and is also a performing bassist and pianist.
Maria Elena Altany is an opera singer in Los Angeles who was born in San Francisco and learned to sing gospel music in New Orleans. She sings opera with such companies as LA Opera, Long Beach Opera, The Industry LA, Pacific Opera Project, Heartland Opera Theatre, New Orleans Opera and others. She sings gospel and classical music every Sunday as a staff soloist at Wilshire Presbyterian Church in Koreatown.
She started singing in middle school choir, and by high school was performing in school musicals and was asked to sing the national anthem at events around San Francisco. She studied piano and received her Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance from Loyola University New Orleans, despite the meddling of Hurricane Katrina. Maria Elena moved to Los Angeles to get her Masters of Music in Vocal Performance from California State University Northridge, and started teaching private voice lessons in Beverly Hills right after graduation.
Maria Elena gives weekly coaching sessions on vocal technique to the choirs at South Pointe Middle School and Chaparral Middle School. She has also served as the Music Director for the Diamond Bar High School productions of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance and Sondheim’s Into the Woods, as well as cabaret shows and fundraisers. She is constantly inspired by her students, and hopes to nurture and ensure their lifelong love of music.
Emily Kollars is a singer, pianist, and songwriter with nine years of teaching experience with both children and adults. Her passion for music stems from 13 years of classical piano training, as well as formal vocal study. She holds a Bachelors degree in music from Sarah Lawrence College in New York, where she immersed herself in jazz studies and songwriting. Her approach to teaching encompasses music theory, technique, and expression tailored to the individual student. Along with teaching, she works as a professional singer in a variety of genres including jazz, R&B, rock, and classical.
Olivia Morreale is a pop/jazz vocalist and pianist from New York with 5 years of experience teaching adults and children. She studied jazz voice and English at the University of Southern California with a minor in music industry and has been performing at venues and clubs in New York City And Los Angeles since the age of 15. Since moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music, Olivia has also recorded background and lead vocals for several pop artists and big bands in Los Angeles and is also currently a vocalist with the Satin Dollz, a touring LA-based act.
As a teacher, Olivia emphasizes a student’s personal journey through music by emphasizing a well-rounded approach to the mind, the body and the soul. The voice is the most personal instrument there is, and by cultivating a student’s confidence and understanding in music theory, their physical wellness in relation to the voice, and their emotional connection to the material, she believes that singing has the power to make a profound impact on a student’s life.
Spencer Danielson began taking piano lessons at the age of 6. He then picked up the clarinet, saxophone, and flute along the way at the ages of 10, 12, and 16 respectively. He went on to study music at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah where he got his degree in clarinet performance. Spencer has traveled abroad performing in both the Philippines and Australia in BYU’s Chamber Orchestra and Wind Symphony playing Bb and Eb clarinet. Spencer’s primary focus in teaching revolves around the importance of both music theory and aural skills. He is trained in both classical and jazz styles of performing.
Adelynn Delarosa Mejia is Mixon’s Media Manager. She has been managing pages and group affiliates in every aspect of her life, whether it be her church group’s social medias, conducting member photo shoots and interviews for her college honor society Alpha Iota, and especially recording for her family band Fireflies and later Delarosa Duo.
It all began with family. She was raised in a family of seven children. Being “number 5,” she watched her older siblings practice with her musical dad and eventually joined the family band as the drummer and lead female singer at 8 years old. From there, she seized every opportunity to learn and be involved with music. She interrupted high school classes to sing Valentine grams for her choir; she played second bass in drum line; and she competed in vocal competitions winning “Best Soloist” at Six Flags Choral Competition and “best soprano” throughout her high school years. This encouraged her to continue her music studies in college, where she learned operatic singing techniques as an Applied Music major and how to record with industry-grade equipment from her Commercial Music classes. She loved performing weekly at the local Farmer’s Market where she could network with small businesses and sing to passersby. However, the greatest feat to date was her “100 Day Challenge” with Delarosa Duo, which consisted of her and her sister uploading a new video every single day for 100 consecutive days. This gave her the skills, confidence, and enthusiasm to move south to Los Angeles.
Now she resides in West LA with her husband and two guinea pigs. She’s excited to utilize her skills in photography, video editing, studio recording, and web design for the betterment of Mixon Music. In 2019, she will help direct Paul Revere Middle School’s musical production of Newsies and produce Mixon Music’s new Youtube channel. Wherever you see a camera, it’s probably her filming.