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5373 E. Village Rd. suite A

Long Beach, CA 90808


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Penny:s picture

Penny Watson (Saxophone, Guitar, Ukulele, sectional coaching)

Penny Watson started paying a lot of attention to music at the age of 7, when she first heard Crosby Stills and Nash sing on her pink transistor radio. Very quickly she was trying to figure out all the voices that were not the melody. It was always the music inside the music that held her interest.

Penny started on guitar and vocals at 10, and in middle school moved to the saxophone. Because her ears were good she did not ever learn to read music well until college. At Fullerton College she committed to learning the written language of music, and became a music copyist as a result. She graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in music with an emphasis in saxophone.

In 1991 Penny was hired as the music coordinator for The Arsenio Hall show. She has copied and arranged music for Chaka Khan, The Jackson 5, Natalie Cole, Steve Tyrell, Frank Sinatra Jr., and many others. In addition she has played on recordings and television shows for 25 years, as well as playing with live bands throughout Los Angeles and Orange County and acting as a private instructor and coach for music students of all ages. From 2008 to 2013 she sang with the award winning acappela group Down 4 The Count, sandwiched in the middle of the harmony (just where she likes to be!)

In 2008 Penny returned to Cal State Long Beach to earn a teaching credential, and is a Vocal and General Music teacher for Long Beach Unified School district. She divides her time between performing and teaching, and spending time with her friends and family. Along with the other teachers at The Lesson Lab, she is eager to share the love of music with the community.


Freddie Dilsdale - Guitar and Ukulele


Freddie Dilsdale has been teaching guitar, bass, and ukulele for 10+ years. He’s also been known to jam on the drums, harmonica, banjo, and mandolin. After training with blues, rock, and folk musicians in his younger days, he decided to branch out into other styles including funk, soul, R&B, jazz, metal, hip-hop, mariachi, country, and traditional Irish music. By staying open to other genres he hopes to help students diversify their musical tastes and enrich their playing.


Freddie received training not only from Cypress Community College and Cal State Long Beach, but from jumping right into jam sessions with experienced musicians. This sink or swim environment taught him to not only play well with others, but to listen and create on the fly in a group setting. While attending CSULB he was able to apply his discipline and free flowing style to many creative projects, including the theater company WHITE LOTUS: a dynamic and daring exploration of theater, and shows like Exhibit Freida: an exploration of the works of Frida Kahlo, and Salome: where his ambient landscapes and compositions landed him more work in the theater world.

On top of spending hours practicing over computer screens and music books, Freddie can be found all over southern California playing with bands like The Barrelhousers, MOVE, The Humble Hooligans, and many other local Long Beach Favorites. He has even graced the stage with one of his favorite bands, WEEZER, on several occasions over the years, including an appearance on Yahoo Launch, a performance at The Forum in LA, and a private performance Fingerprints in Long Beach. When not playing shows he can also be found organizing events to support the Long Beach music scene through the organization Long Beach Compilations.


Malila Hollow ( Piano)

Malila Hollow began her musical career by studying piano with Marcia Smith at the age of 5 in 1996. She studied classical repertoire and technique up until the age of 17. In the later years of her study, she participated in various adjudications and solo/ensemble competitions as an accompanist. Throughout high school she participated in choir, vocal jazz, jazz band, and school musicals, which earned her the Ella Fitzgerald Well Rounded Musician Award. Beginning in college, Malila studied jazz piano and vocals under the direction of Kirk Marcy. During her 3 years at Edmonds Community College, she performed and toured with Soundsation vocal jazz, and performed and worked with various schools in the state of Washington, recorded 2 albums with the group, and participated and ran the annual Frank DeMiero Jazz Festival. After graduating, Malila transferred to California State University Long Beach to pursue a degree in Piano Performance, where she studied under Mark Uranker and earned a Piano Performance Scholarship. Currently she is studying under Craig Richey and participating in multiple collaborative opportunities at the university.







Greg Paxton (Steel Drum, Drums, Bass)

Greg Paxton holds as his earliest memory of music The Beatles first Ed Sullivan Show appearance in 1964 when he was six years old. Soon after, he  held his first performance playing air guitar and singing “I Want To Hold Your Hand” for his parents. For years, on most afternoons after school, you could find him holed up in his bedroom, shirking his chores, and playing and singing to records. 


Greg started taking drum lessons at age 14. In 1982, he moved to Northern California to attend Humboldt State University to study percussion. He finished his degree at Long Beach State in 2001. He has been playing drums professionally in Southern California for 25 years. In recent years he has been performing quite extensively on steel drum. In 2010 he released a CD of all original, Caribbean style music. One of the songs from the album was placed in the Paramount Pictures release “The Social Network”.  He also composes music for educational audio books, and has just started his own audio books production company.  


Greg is thrilled to be a part of The Lesson Lab as he hopes to give to students what music has given him. 





Anthony Lopez (Piano, Voice)

Anthony is a graduate of Orange County High School of the Arts and Cal State Long Beach, where he received his Bachelors in Piano Performance with an option in Jazz Studies. He has taught privately for many years, and has been a volunteer at Arrowbear Music camp. He is currently on staff at Fullerton Union High school, where he acts as an accompanist and vocal coach for the Choral Department. He is an exceptionally patient and focused instructor, and his students appreciate his thoughtful approach to instruction. He is a fine pianist in his own right, and performs with various ensembles in the area. Mr. Lopez is a great teacher and a fine musician.










Angela Wells (flute, oboe, reedmaking, beginning clarinet)

Angela completed her Bachelor of Music degree at California State University Long Beach in 2006 and the Band Instrument Repair Diploma program at Red Wing in 2007. She has twelve years of experience teaching all ages from 8 to 83 and loves helping students improve while having fun.  In addition, Angela has a varied career as a woodwind repair specialist and is an active performer on oboe and flute in the greater Los Angeles area. She holds the principal oboe position at the Orange County Symphony in Anaheim and also performs regularly in musical productions, community bands and orchestras, the Vietnamese American Philharmonic, and much more. Angela also owns and operates a small woodwind repair business, The Reedery, which handles expert repairs for flutes, oboes, clarinets, and bassoons. 




Ann Louise Thaiss (Voice, Piano, Guitar)


Ann Louise Jeffries Thaiss holds a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach. She performs in Honey Whiskey Trio, the winners of the 2013 National Harmony Sweepstakes, along with fellow Lesson Lab teacher, Christina Wilson. Ann Louise also teaches Pre-k and elementary music classes at preschools all around the South Bay through Music Rhapsody, a Redondo Beach based music school.


Outside of teaching, Ann Louise is an active solo performer and composer and sits in with several Long Beach bands. She has also been an active concert/event coordinator, developing and hosting open mics and concerts such as The Next Generation of Folk concert, The CSULB alumni concert. She is also on the developmental team of The Long Beach Folk Revival Festival.








Hannah Yim (violin, piano)
Hannah has been playing the violin since the age of six and the piano since the age of 4. She has studied with Yuval Yaron at the University of California, Santa Barbara and currently studies with Moni Simeonov at the Cal State University, Long Beach on scholarship. Hannah has been a featured soloist and the concertmaster for the Fullerton College Symphony Orchestra. She also has played for the Italian Opera Festival and is currently in a free jazz band called Imaginary Flower. Hannah plays all genres of music including classical, jazz, and pop. 




Tim Struven (Saxophone, Clarinet)

Tim Struven is currently finishing up his undergraduate degree at CSULB in the Jazz Studies Program. Tim is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, specializing in various saxophones and doubling on flute and clarinet. While at CSULB Tim has studied under Jeff Jarvis, Sal Lozano, Jay Mason, and Jimmy Emerzian. During his time at CSULB Tim has performed with various groups, such as the Saxophone ensemble and the Studio Jazz Band.

Tim got his start in music playing piano in elementary school. After finding out he had a love for woodwinds he switched to Clarinet, and then picked up Alto saxophone and eventually Tenor saxophone and flute. Tim realized he wished to pursue music as a profession at age 16 while attending the Stanford Jazz Workshop in Palo Alto, California, studying under Jimmy Heath, Dayna Stephens, and Matt Marantz as well as many other workshop faculty members. During High School Tim played saxophone in his school’s jazz band, while studying classical clarinet outside of school playing in the PYO (Peninsula Youth Orchestra).

Tim currently lives in Long Beach, and balances his time between school, teaching, and performances the Los Angeles area.


Desirae Hafer (Vocal and Piano)

Hailing from the unique jazz community of the Pacific Northwest, now Southern California based singer Desirae Hafer approaches both her work as an educator and solo artist in a fashion reflective of her diverse background and distinctive passion for jazz and education. Desirae is currently a student at California State Long Beach’s Bob Cole Conservatory, where she is finishing her undergraduate degree in Jazz Studies, where she currently studies under Christine Guter.

As an educator, Desirae believes that music should be, and is, accessible to everyone. Recent scientific studies have shown that everyone CAN in fact sing, and it is with this sentiment that she approaches teaching both piano and voice- it is not a matter of whether the student is capable or ‘talented,’ but rather, what that student needs in order to realize their potential. She has been teaching voice (jazz, classical, pop/contemporary, etc.) and piano (classical, contemporary, & jazz) in the greater Los Angeles area since her arrival two years ago, and enjoys the time she gets to spend with her students immensely.

As a performing artist, Desirae does duo and solo gigs throughout the Los Angeles area, and is a member of the up-and-coming women’s trio ‘The Neopolytones,’ having shared the stage with the likes of Inga Sweringen and Moira Smiley & Voco. She also participates in multiple performing ensembles at the Bob Cole Conservatory that have received national and international acclaim.

Before her time in California, Desirae was a featured soloist in Edmonds Community College’s Soundsation jazz choir (2009/2010 & 2010/2011), was an active volunteer and participant in the Frank DeMiro Jazz Festival, and had the privilege of working with and learning from other great Pacific Northwest artists, such as Sara Gazarek and Greta Matassa.