Rags School of Music
Rags School of Music offers lessons in piano and voice. We are located in the Burbank/Glendale area, but service areas as far as Beverly Hills, Pasadena, and the San Fernando Valley. At Rags School of Music, we understand that each student has a unique learning style. Our teachers take the time to get to know our students and implement teaching methods that will best help them master their instrument and have fun doing it!
Learn more about lessons at Rags School of Music below and get in touch today!
About Michael Ragonese
FOUNDER | LEAD PIANO TEACHER
Michael Ragonese is a highly accomplished pianist based in Los Angeles, with over 25 years of experience playing the piano. With a foundation in classical piano, Michael began learning jazz in high school and went on to earn his degree in jazz piano at California State University Northridge. Through the years, he has earned recognition by winning jazz festivals, performing and recording with some of the most notable names in jazz, leading popular jazz jam sessions in Los Angeles, and releasing two original albums in 2019 and 2023. Michael has performed, recorded and toured with artists such as Barbra Streisand, Engelbert Humperdink, Dave Koz. Bennie Maupin, Charnett Moffett, Alphonso Johnson, John Daversa, Louise Cole, Darek Oles, Mark Turner, Walter Smith III, David Binney, Bob Reynolds, Bob Sheppard, Rick Braun, Aubrey Logan and Grace Kelly. In Addition to Michael's performance career, he runs "Rags School Of Music", that encourages students to study and learn how to improvise and play in the jazz style of music. Included in his program are annual concerts, summer group workshops for students looking to pursue careers in music, and helping on his team are 3 highly trained educators all with degrees in music.
Meet the Teachers
MEGAN SHULZE | VOICE
Megan Schulze has her MM in Vocal Arts from USC Thornton School of Music. She grew up singing in choirs and developed a love for opera and classical music. Now, she sings professionally as a soloist and in choirs throughout the greater Los Angeles area. Megan also has a passion for teaching and outreach. She teaches many genres of music to students of all ages. Megan teaches voice and piano at Monrovia Music Academy and is a Youth Program instructor for Pacific Opera Project. Her goal as a teacher is to provide a safe and fun environment for students to develop their musical abilities.
ELDER GINDROZ | PIANO
Elder Gindroz is jazz piano major currently studying at Cal State Northridge. He started playing piano at age seven and continued his passion throughout his school years. After starting with a classical background, he was introduced to jazz in middle and high school, and decided to pursue it seriously. He attended Hamilton High School’s Academy of Music and Performing Arts, and is now part of the CSUN Jazz A band and combos.
GREG SIM | PIANO
Gregory Sim is a multi-genre pianist residing in Los Angeles, with experience across classical, jazz, pop, rock, and funk. His performance history includes venues such as the Soraya, Gibson Amphitheater, Rose Parade, The Mint, Vitello’s, and The Baked Potato. He also performs frequently in small group settings, and was featured in a jazz combo in Downbeat magazine. At a young age, Gregory was initially focused on classical piano before picking up trumpet, where he was introduced to jazz. He continued to study both instruments before deciding to focus on jazz piano in college. Gregory has been teaching since 2015, with an emphasis on jazz piano, music theory, and ear training. From 2018 to 2021, he attended California State University Northridge under the Herb Alpert Foundation Scholarship, where he graduated with a BM in Jazz Studies/Piano Performance.
THE RAGS METHOD
About Our Lessons
Teachers at Rags School of Music are musicians who are currently active in their music careers. They are carefully vetted as musicians who are both skilled in their instrument and hold a strong passion for and understanding of teaching. Our teachers are versatile in genre and offer instruction in styles such as pop, classical, jazz, and whatever else you may be interested in. When you speak with Michael for your consultation, be sure to share what you’re interested in learning so we can pair you with the best teacher for your needs.
CURRICULUM & MATERIALS
In order to provide students with a well-rounded music education, lessons are typically split into 3 sections: practicing technique, learning songs, and mastering theory and ear training. Special emphasis is placed on learning to play songs by ear and learning to sight read music. Whether or not you plan on becoming a professional musician or are more of a hobbyist, mastering these two skills is crucial to being able to not only play your favorite music, but also to collaborate with other musicians, which is half the fun of being a musician!
Students will be asked to purchase their sheet music via Amazon (unless it’s unavailable there) and will need to bring their homework notebook, lesson book, and theory book to every lesson.
SCHEDULING & BILLING
There is no long-term tuition commitment such as year or 6-month periods, but we do require lessons to be scheduled on a monthly basis. This helps maintain consistency for both our students and teachers. Bills are sent out on the 1st of every month and will include the fee for the entire month.
While we do not encourage canceling or rescheduling, we understand that this happens on occasion and require 24 hour notice. No refunds or make-up lessons are offered for same-day cancellations.
Once we match you with a teacher, you’ll be able to work directly with your teacher to choose your lesson time. For your convenience, lessons are conducted primarily in the student’s home, unless otherwise arranged with the teacher. We offer lessons in 20, 30, 45, and 60 minute increments, and we’ll help you decide which duration is best for you.
Our annual summer concert at the M.K.M Cultural Arts Center in North Hollywood is a great opportunity for students to showcase all their hard work. Our teachers help students carefully choose their performance pieces so that they can perform their best work on stage, and have fun playing. We do everything we can to help our students feel comfortable on stage, as performance can be such an integral part of being a musician. This intimate concert event is a unique chance for students to show off their skills and be proud of how far they’ve come, and for families to see all the hard work pay off!
PRACTICING & PREPAREDNESS
Consistency is the key to successfully learning an instrument. Students are required to practice and do their homework prior to their scheduled lesson. Beginner students are required to practice 5-10 minutes a day, and more advanced students should practice 30 minutes - 1 hour a day. Though this is a minimal amount of time, the consistency makes all the difference in the productivity of the lesson, which makes for the best use of both the student’s and teacher’s time. Ultimately we want the students to get the most out of their lessons, but that cannot happen without practice. Our expectation is that the students keep up with their curriculum and if they fall behind, we’ll discuss the best plan to help the student stay on track moving forward.
RAGS SCHOOL OF MUSIC
Piano and vocal lessons in the Los Angeles area. Learn from attentive and skilled teachers and master your art!
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