Coelho Academy of Music
We currently offer the following lessons: Piano, Vocal, Drums, all styles of Guitar, Bass, Mandolin, Banjo, Ukulele, Saxaphone, and Clarinet.
Music Instructors and Store Staff:
Jerry Coelho – Founder of Coelho Academy of Music - Guitar, Bass, Vocal, Mandolin, Ukulele, Banjo
The academy was founded in 1971. Jerry has studied with the finest of music virtuosos, including a stint in Hollywood with Howard Roberts, which eventually led to Jerry’s collaboration in the development of the Guitar Institute of Technology (G.I.T.), which is now known as the “Musician's Institute”. Jerry is the author of a series of books entitled “The Art of Playing”, designed especially for guitarists. Jerry’s students, past and present, total in the thousands, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in the music industry.
Jerry teaches classes at Allan Hancock College where he continues to inspire students of all ages to reach their musical potential. He has recorded in many venues; the Old Beach Boy Studios in Marina Del Ray, Hollywood on the “50 Guitars” albums, and many PCPA live and recorded theater productions in Santa Maria and Solvang. He continues to play music in many venues around the Central Coast, from solo to quartet.
Jim Stromberg - Percussion and Drums
My father was a professional drummer and encouraged my brother and me to be involved in music. My brother was interested in playing the guitar and I wanted to study and play the drums. My father bought me a set of drums when I was twelve years old which started my soon to be career.
At the age of 16, my brother and I joined a successful band which made it clear to me that music would be my profession. We have been performing music professionally ever since. My study and practice of music theory has given me the ability to play, write and arrange percussion and drum set music charts for all styles and genre of music. My music studies include older styles of music from the 1920’s to today’s popular music. My music skills and the ability to work in a team (band/orchestra) environment has made it possible for me to tour worldwide (US and Europe) in various bands with varying styles.
At the age of twenty-three I turned my music focus to teaching percussion and drum instruments. I enjoy nurturing students and seeing the spark light up in them, as they turn into accomplished percussionists and drummers!
You can currently find me playing weekly at the Madonna Inn.
Gilbert Bonilla - Guitar, Ukulele, Mandolin
Gilbert is a former student of the jazz legend of Howard Roberts, the founder and president of G.I.T. now known as Musicians Institute in L.A., recording artist, studio player and Jazz musician who has 32 albums and 2,000 recordings. Gilbert was also a student of Bill Thrasher, a Jazz Artist that has played with Joe Pass and helped Joe write many Jazz books.
Gilbert has experience in the studio and on the stage. He has recorded with United Artist L.A. producing commercials for both Dove and Alize H2O Company. His recording career didn’t stop there! He also recorded for the CBS Game show Marathon! Gilbert has been associated with Jerry Coelho for over 42 years and has been a full time teacher at the academy for the past 3 years. With over 11 years of private lessons and 46 years of playing experience, he is well equipped to provide all of his students with the skills they need to succeed in music.
Joe Duran – Guitar, Bass, Ukelele
Joe’s Goal with every student is to get them to reach their own potential and realize whatever their music goal may be. As a graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a Bachelors in psychology, his teaching is fine tuned to the needs of any and all personality types. As a long time veteran of the Central Coast music scene, his experience as a working musician makes him prepared to teach all levels of musicians. Joe has a long time background of playing Jazz, Rock, Funk, Pop etc. in a live environment and has an extensive music theory background and knowledge base. He can currently be seen playing live on the central coast with Steppin Out, Damon Castillo Band, Black Market Trio, as well as leading his own groups.
Koko Brown - Piano
Koko Graduated from Kyung Kee College in Seoul, Korea with a degree in Child Psychology. After her graduation she taught Kindergarten and piano for 9 years, as well as playing piano for her church during this time.
In 1972 Koko came to the United States and worked for the Los Angeles School Distrct and Band of America until she moved to the Central Coast in 1991. Once on the Central Coast, she owned and operated two Hallmark Shops ("Koko's Hallmark") until she sold the last one in 2007. Throughout this time, she played piano at her church, Christ UMC, in Santa Maria, and still does today. In 2008 she resumed teaching piano, and has been teaching ever since.
Koko has this to say, “I love playing the piano, it is my favorite activity. Also teaching young people is something that gives me a lot of pleasure.”
Alyce McKenzie Taylor - Piano
Alyce is a native of the Santa Maria Valley. She grew up in Guadalupe and moved to Santa Maria as an adult. She started taking piano lessons at the age of seven and have never stopped enjoying making music! Throughout Alyce’s school years she performed in many musical shows and played in local school concert bands.
After she married, she loved to gather people of all ages together for sing-alongs. Whe her children were young, it was so much fun for her to work with them and teach them little songs to play.
Within the past decade, she started playing piano and synthesizer in the various music ensembles at her church. She firmly believes you are never too old to learn new things about music. She now has the privilege of working with children and adults in teaching them piano. Alyce’s main purpose is to help instill a love of music in each pupil that will stay with them the rest of their lives. She knows how much it has enriched hers.
Jordan Espinoza – Retail/Repair
Jordan began playing guitar in 9th grade after his grandparents bought him a beginner guitar package. After seeing countless other guitar players he soon switched to Bass. In High-School he joined the Jazz Band where he first started playing Upright Bass. Over the years Jordan has been in different bands, playing anything from heavy metal, rock, pop punk, to Jazz and Bluegrass. He has played such venues as the Whisky a Gogo, The Key Club, SLO Brew and other Local venues. Currently he plays in a Bluegrass/Jazz trio playing Electric Bass as well as the Upright Bass.
Jordan loves tinkering with Guitars and Basses, and has been repairing them here at Coelho Academy of Music for over 5 years.
Coelho Academy of Music
Changing the Central Coast Music Community One Note at a Time