Andrew Decker has been teaching music for almost 2 decades and performing for even longer. His unique and original instructional approach has helped many students over the years become great musicians and go on to perform in professional bands. He teaches guitar lessons, bass, drums, piano, singing, performance, group jam classes, recording, songwriting and several other instruments.
"Teaching music has taken me to the next level as a musician. I have learned that when you show someone music, you are rewarded by learning as well. Music has a long history and an unwritten future. I am truly blessed to be apart of it. Thanks to all the people who have shared their music with me."
Andrew is also co-owner of Downright Music.
Growing up in the greater Boston area, Jesse Combs began performing at local clubs and venues at a young age. After high school, Jesse began his studies at The Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford and offering guitar lessons. After studying with professor Rich Goldstein, Jesse graduated with a B.M. in Jazz Studies from the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz. Jesse maintains a busy gigging schedule with Hartford's own West End Blend. Recently featured on WNPR's Where We Live, the band is currently promoting the release of their debut EP. As a teacher, Jesse enjoys watching a student grow and develop a love for the instrument as well as music. All styles can be covered in lessons, ranging from rock, pop, jazz, funk, blues and more. Jesse is able to cater to a variety of students needs, stylistically as well as skill level. Furthermore, he is able to translate and communicate performance expectations to students in a relaxed and friendly environment.
Katie Smith has been a dedicated musician since she was eight years old. She has knowledge and skills in vocals as well as playing the cello, piano and ukulele. Katie aspires to be a music teacher and a songwriter after college. She has had the pleasure of playing live at many events, some with an audience numbering in the hundreds. She has learned a lot about the importance of music, and how it is necessary in order to grow up and express yourself in todays society. Katie has performed both pop music and musical theater. She has taken lessons from a variety of people that focus on specific elements of voice. In addition to this she has taken chorus at school for the past 7 years and has made it to northern regionlas. Katie has taken lessons at Downright Music for the past 3 years and has learned a lot about music theory, song writing, performing live, recording and more.
Matthew Verona is a freelance trumpet/piano/guitar player and teacher based in Hartford,Connecticut. Originally hailing from West Hartford and a graduate of King Philip and Hall jazz programs, he is a 2016 graduate of the Ithaca College School of Music earning Bachelors degrees in Music Education and Performance. He performs regularly in a variety of ensembles in the Hartford/NYC area and specializes in teaching a wide range of styles from classical, to rock to funk and jazz. Matt has studied with Frank Gabriel Campos at Ithica College, and previously with Larry Gareau of the Hartt School. Verona has performed and recorded alongside many versatile artists including Terell Stafford, Curtis Fuller, David Glasser, Rodney Whitaker, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Joel Frahm, Peter McGuinness, and the New York Voices, among others.
Zac Mulcahy teaches guitar lessons, drums, and piano. He's been working on his craft since the age of seven and does not plan to ever stop pushing himself to grow musically. Zac Mulcahy has had the pleasure of gigging with many bands since he was thirteen, and has learned a lot playing music live. He's had over a year of teaching experience now and has learned that everyone learns differently, and what works for one student may not work for another. He's learned to adapt to the students learning style and is always able to connect and give a successful learning experience. "It's truly an amazing feeling when a student plays something for the first time and then completely digs what they just heard. It's the great feeling of achievement that gets you excited to stay on your musical quest."
Music is such a wonderful journey and Zac is truly privileged to be a part of many students journeys through Downright Music, guiding them to feel the greatest pleasures of music.
Saxophonist/multi-wind artist, composer and arranger Kris Jensen is a versatile musician who has forged a diverse musical career with many well known artists. A veteran sideman to legends for nearly two decades now, Jensen has performed throughout the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, Bangkok, Thailand and Switzerland and is associated with many prominent artists in jazz and rock including the Allman Brothers Band and its individual members’ bands (Gregg Allman and Friends, Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band, Dickey Betts and Great Southern), trumpet legend Maynard Ferguson and a host of others. He studied jazz/African-American music at the University of Hartford and would later teach there under the auspices of jazz saxophone legend Jackie McLean. Jensen continues to carry on the great tradition as both a performer and educator. Recent performances of particular note have included concerts or appearances with jazz legends such as trombonist Curtis Fuller, alto saxophonist Phil Woods and pianist Larry Willis. Currently, Jensen keeps an active free-lance performing schedule in addition to touring regularly with Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band with whom he can be seen monthly at the famous Iridium jazz nightclub in New York City and at festivals and venues across the U.S. And beyond. He also serves on the music faculties of the Indian Mountain School, The Salisbury School, The Millbrook School and in Hartford, CT with the Bushnell “Jazzicians” student scholar program. He has appeared on New Jersey Public Television with Maynard Ferguson, on “Late Night with David Letterman” with Gregg Allman & Friends and on stage with The Allman Brothers Band, The Dave Matthews Band and with Warren Haynes and Govt. Mule. In 1996, Jensen was a semi-finalist in the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition.
Music Education Specialist & Concert Musician
· Violin (Classical, Jazz, Pop and Fiddle / Beginner to Advanced)
· Viola (Classical / Beginner to Intermediate)
· Piano (Classical / Beginner to Intermediate)
· Recorder (Early Childhood Music Education)
Violinist and Violist Sung-Duk is lauded the world over for the eloquence of his playing and for the superb musicianship that marks his performances. In a concert career spanning the globe for more than twenty years, he is equally at home with orchestra, in recital, playing chamber music, and in a teaching studio. Sung-Duk’s concert engagements reflect his wide-ranging musical activities. Performing on several continents, he has collaborated with many of the world’s greatest symphony orchestras as a guest concerto soloist and musicians in chamber music festivals. Sung-Duk has won many international competitions and awards. He is a prizewinner in two prestigious international violin competitions including the Fritz Kreisler and the Henryk Wieniawski. He is a recipient of the French Ministry of Arts & Culture Scholarship, a five-time Silver Medalist of the ORTF French National Music Competition and has been awarded the prestigious Robert Mott Career Grant in 2002, resulting in a recital debut at the Lincoln Center in New York City. He has performed on violins made by Antonius Stradivarius (1718), Guarnerius del Gesu (1738) “ex-Napoleon”, Nicolas Amati (1654) and Giovanni Paolo Maggini (1672) on loan from various private patrons and foundations. As a music educator and music business executive, Sung-Duk served as the Artistic Director of Tacoma Philharmonic Association from 2002 to 2005. He has regularly served on competition juries around the world and has conducted masterclasses and seminars at the École Normale de Musique de Paris, University of Puget Sound, Pacific Lutheran University, University of Washington, University of British Columbia and at various high school and youth orchestras throughout Seattle and Los Angeles. In addition, he was Artist in Residence and Chairman of String Department at Musicatto Academy of Music, and is an Affiliate Violin Instructor of the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto) and Play With a Pro Music Academy. Born in 1976, Sung-Duk has studied violin, viola and piano with the most prestigious teachers and artists. He studied at the National Superior Music Conservatory of Paris and the Juilliard School of Music. His violin and viola teachers have included Viktoria Mullova, Antoine Tamestit, Ithzak Perlman, Ivry Gitlis, Augustin Dumay, Roland Daugareil and Iona Brown. He has studied piano with Jacques Rouvier, Jean-Marc Luisada, Leon Fleisher, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet. He has also studied violin and viola pedagogy for young children with Stacia Spencer at the Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music and Mimi Zweig at the Indiana University School of Music. He is a registered Suzuki teacher and an active member of the Suzuki Association of Americas (SAA), having studied Suzuki Violin Pedagogy with Carrie Reuning-Hummel at the Hartt School of Music. Sung-Duk currently resides with his partner and dog in Farmington, Connecticut (USA).
Alex Heaton is a graduate from The Hartt School of Music/Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz, with a Bachelors in Music Performance. He has performed and toured through out Colorado and the East Coast with numerous bands in a wide variety of genres including rock, folk, funk, and jazz. Most recently, Alex spent the past two years touring with Colorado folk band, The Heartstring Hunters, who were nominated for "2017 Best Folk Band" by Denver's Westword Magazine. Alex also worked with Connecticut’s own, Wise Old Moon, and performed on their 2015 release, “Don’t Take Off”. Alex has over five years of teaching experience and has worked with all levels of players from ages 4-50. Alex’s teaching philosophy focuses on the joy of music and the drums. He has his students focus on having fun and playing along to songs, while also adding in the importance of coordination, technique, and reading.