President, Artistic Director, Founder
Strings Teacher: Guitar/Violin/Fiddle/Double Bass/ Electric Bass, Projects Director
Mr. McClara teaches the Tuesday 4:15pm Violin Project, & the Thursday Guitar Projects at SPMA, including the SPMA 5 O’Clock Guitar Project Ensemble.
Mr. McClara is a Certified Teacher for Sacramento City Unified School District, & holds a Bachelor of Music Performance in Double Bass from California State University Sacramento. Aside from his private studio of string students, Mr. McClara Founded and Directs the Guitar Project, Guitar Project Ensemble, conducts the SPMA String Ensemble, and is Executive Director of SPMA.
Emily Perez is a creative based in Sacramento, CA. She studied piano at the Sara Harris Piano Studio in Concord, CA and voice at Sacramento City College where she worked as the vocal coach intern under Professor Daniel Paulson. She has worked as a pianist at Antioch Evangelical Covenant Church in Antioch, CA, St. Vincent Ferrer Parish in Vallejo, CA and Holy Rosary Church in Woodland, CA.
Emily’s teaching style is informed by her training as a sociologist and interest in exploring diverse pedagogies. She strives to teach clean technique and musicality in a creative and supportive environment.
Emily is active in the local artistic community. She has performed with UC Davis Choir, the Sacramento City College Jazz Band and the Sacramento City Vocal Ensemble. She is a performer, writer and the managing director of the sketch comedy group That Plus Chips and co-founder of the non-profit Empire Arts Collective. She holds a double B.A. from UC Davis and an M.A. from CSUS. Emily believes that musical growth and artistic exploration is a lifelong pursuit and continues her piano and voice studies with Professors Lorna Peters and Daniel Paulson.
Mr. Kuvakos began studying music and guitar in January 2007. He has been teaching private lessons since 2012, specializing in Jazz, Classical, Blues, and Pop stylings. He has performed throughout Sacramento, Minnesota, and Singapore, and is the recipient of the 2015-2016 Resh Michael Memorial Scholarship for Applied Music Students at American River College. Currently, Eric is finishing a Bachelors of Music in Jazz Studies at CSU Sacramento. He loves to teach, perform, collaborate, and spread the joy of music. Mr. Kuvakos will teach group guitar classes on the weekends at SPMA and is available for Private guitar lessons.
Gabriel Nelson has been playing music for almost 40 years, with an emphasis on electric bass, guitar, and singing. He has toured the U.S. several times, as well as Europe, Australia, Asia, South America, Canada and Mexico for 20 years as a bassist with legendary pop band Cake, performing for audiences large and small. As an arranger he has composed not only basslines, but guitar, vocal harmonies, strings, horns, and keyboard music for their self-produced albums, some of which went gold and platinum, nationally and internationally. He has had thousands of hours performing live, on television, and in the recording studio as both a musician and technician.
In 2007, in between tours, Gabriel started teaching music and discovered that sharing his knowledge and experience is something he truly enjoys. His lessons focus on proper technique, music theory, sight reading, composition, and song.
Piano/Saxophone/Composition/Improvisation Michael Dale is a composer/improviser and multi-instrumentalist based in Sacramento. He earned his BM in composition and performance at CSU, Sacramento. He also holds an MA from Mills College in Oakland, where he studied with such luminaries as Fred Frith (composer for the films Rivers and Tides and Touch the Sound) and Roscoe Mitchell (founder of Art Ensemble of Chicago). Michael has an active performance schedule in many different musical styles, both as a pianist and as woodwind specialist. Michael teaches MIDI, Pro Tools, and Music Theory at Folsom Lake College, and is now proud to join the roster of Sac Prep Music Academy. His teaching style is based on a patient, supportive approach in which he works with each student to design a technique and repertoire that fits them best. He has developed a synthesis of the insights of his own teachers combined with his own intuitive discoveries from 20 years of teaching. Methodologies such as Suzuki, Waldorf education, and Orff have also been influential. Musical style is not as important as the combination of physical experience, intellectual understanding and emotional sensitivity which leads to true mastery. As the great Jazz educator David Liebman put it: “Hands, Head, Heart … but we start with the hands.”
Ryan De Boer began his undergraduate studies at DePauw University and graduated from Grand Valley State University with a degree in Vocal Performance. He then accepted a graduate assistantship at Penn State University where he received his Master of Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy. His graduate thesis examines Yoga and Meditation as tools for reducing performance anxiety in the singer. Ryan is passionate about creating confidence in his students by providing a nurturing environment. He focuses on full body singing using the principle of appoggio and a strong connection to the breath. Ryan aims to create more mindful and compassionate humans through the vulnerable process of learning to sing.