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About Our Instructors

Our Instructors' Credentials

All of our instructors hold at minimum a Bachelor's degree in music. Most hold multiple degrees in music, including Master's in many musical fields such as performance, education, and jazz studies. Among our teachers one can find public and private school teachers, college professors, professional musicians who have toured and recorded worldwide, and seasoned music educators who have a wealth of knowledge to share with their students.

Besides insuring that our instructors are qualified, we realize that a big part of a successful student-teacher relationship is building a rapport between the teacher, student and parent. All of our instructors are friendly, knowledgeable, and always encouraging to their students. In addition, they continually provide weekly feedback to parents and strive to maintain open lines of communication and a good working relationship with parents and students alike. We truly have a wonderful group of teachers who care for their students and work very hard for them.


 About Our Instructors

Dr. Peter Coco, President

Bassist and educator Pete Coco has been a musician for as long as he can remember. At an early age he studied piano, and as a teenager he began the electric bass, playing at a local church and in rock bands. It wasn’t long before he found his voice on the double bass and decided to pursue music full time.

Pete has had the great fortune to study and perform with many of the finest musicians in the world. He has studied jazz with bassists Todd Coolman, Doug Weiss, Dennis Irwin and Bob Bowen, and classical with Kurt Muroki and Rachel Calin. He has shared the bandstand with Jane Monheit, Bucky Pizzarelli, Frank Vignola, Matt Wilson, Dave Lalama, Steve Salerno, Ray Anderson, Tony Tedesco, vocalist Janice Seagal of Manhattan Transfer, and guitarist extraordinaire Tommy Emmanuel, to name a few. Pete has also toured extensively and performed at many noted venues in New York and around the world.

Pete graduated from Hofstra University with a Bachelors in Jazz and Commercial Music and soon after completed a Masters in Jazz Studies from SUNY Purchase College. After taking a few years off from school to perform, tour, and teach, he went back in order to focus on classical repertoire and graduated in 2013 with a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Classical Performance from Stony Brook University.

No stranger to the classroom, Pete is also an Adjunct Professor of Music at Hofstra University where he teaches private lessons, co-directs jazz ensembles, and teaches History of American Music. In 2006, Pete co-founded the Music Academy of Garden City. Since that time, the Music Academy has become known as Long Island's premier music school, and home to the best music education available in our area. Currently, Pete is responsible for implementing and directing all Music Academy programs, as well as teaching lessons and ensemble classes.

Pete’s diverse musical background has given him the opportunity to perform in a variety of settings and genres. He has played in everything from orchestras and Baroque ensembles to wedding bands and jazz bands. He has also performed much of the solo repertoire for double bass including works by Bottesini, Koussevitzky, Bach, Hindemith, and more. He is accomplished on both the electric and upright bass, and currently plays on a German bass built circa 1850 that formerly belonged to jazz bass luminary Milt “The Judge" Hinton.


 About Our Instructors

Emma Ente, Staff Accompanist & Music Director of Musical Theatre

Emma Ente is a classically trained pianist of over 20 years. She holds both a B.A. and M.S. in Music Education from the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College with a concentration in Piano Performance. While at Queens College, Emma performed as a soloist in studio recitals and served as an accompanist for vocalists, instrumentalists, and ensembles. She has trained extensively in both piano and vocal pedagogy and holds NYS Teaching Certification in Music. She has adjudicated and accompanied soloists and school groups at NYSSMA festivals in the NYC area. Currently, Emma is a piano accompanist in the Great Neck School District and NYC schools. In addition to teaching piano and voice at the Music Academy of Garden City, Emma serves as a piano accompanist for student performances and as Music Director for the Musical Theatre program.


 About Our Instructors

Benny Reid, Ensembles, Rock Bands and Camps Director

BENNY REID, saxophonist, composer, and teacher is a Concord Records Recording Artist and endorser of Selmer Saxophones, Vandoren, Novation, Focusrite and Applied Microphones.  He has played with numerous acclaimed artists and bands including Frankie Valli, Bon Jovi, Fergie, The Temptations, Buddy Rich Band, Chico O’Farrill Band, Max Weinberg, among others.  As a composer, his music has been featured in the Major Motion Picture “Get On Up” (2014) and on major networks including CBS, NBC, FOX, HBO, Showtime, Netflix, Esquire, and USA. Reid has composed and performed music for major brands such as Gevalia Coffee, Mercedes, Panera Bread, Dunkin’ Donuts, Sprint, 76 Gas, Blackberry,, Snyder’s Pretzels, Quiznos, USPS,, Fidelity and Happier Boston. He currently leads his own group around the world and has released two albums on the Concord label to critical acclaim. 


 About Our Instructors

Natalie Fabian, Musical Theatre Artistic Director

Natalie Fabian graduated from Hofstra University with the B.S. in Music Education and a specialization in Vocal Performance. At Hofstra, she was awarded for her performance excellence as the winner of the William Rosencrans Endowed Music Scholarship, a solo honors recital in classical voice, as well as membership to Pi Kappa Lambda’s National Music Honor Society. Natalie was active in Hofstra’s performing arts opportunities. A highlight was singing the role of Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni on the Adams Playhouse stage. She was a four-year member of the Hofstra Chamber Singers and Hofstra Chorale, both select choral ensembles. The Chamber Singers embarked on a professional tour of the New England states and had its own featurette on the web series, “Great Performances at Hofstra.” After graduating, Natalie continued her love for choral music by becoming a member of eVoco Voice Collective, a professional ensemble of singers of the highest musical, technical, and expressive abilities. In addition, she is the proud co-founder of the Hofstra Vocal Jazz Quartet (HVJQ), in which she sang Soprano and arranged for. The members of the HVJQ were National Anthem soloists at Nassau Coliseum. She has continued her career in vocal jazz and as a cabaret soloist performing at prominent New York City music venues such as Rockwood Music Hall, The Living Room, Cornelia Street Café, the Metropolitan Room, Don’t Tell Mama’s, Cleopatra's Needle, and the Solar1 Stage. This includes singing with world-renowned jazz pianist Lee Musiker and the prestigious big band, New York City Swing. Natalie has also performed in Jim Caruso’s Cast Party at Birdland in NYC, where she was reviewed in their newsletter as a “thrilling singer” who “set the bar high.” As a music educator on Long Island, Natalie has worked as an elementary school Chorus and General Music teacher, a private Voice and Piano coach, and a Theatre instructor. Her extensive training includes Stage and Screen Acting, Operatic Acting, Classical and Musical Theatre Voice, as well as Theatre, Tap, and Butoh Dancing. For four years, she served as Assistant Director of the CPSM Musical Theatre Summer Workshop at Queens College. Currently, she teaches "Acting The Song" for the Pre-College Musical Theatre Summer Workshop at Adelphi University. In addition to her passion for education, she is an avid performer in the Musical Theatre industry. Past performance credits include: The Zimmer Girls (Zena) at The Actor’s Temple in NYC; Tess, a new rock opera (Nancy) at the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity in NYC; Cabaret (Fräulein Kost) at Adams Playhouse, Hofstra University; Grease! (Sandy), Gypsy (June), Big (Cynthia Benson), Bye Bye Birdie (Kim MacAfee), Fame (Carmen), and Titanic (Kate Mullins). Natalie has appeared on the television show Long Island Medium as a featured singing caroler. She was also highlighted as a vocal contestant on the FOX network television series, Live in Hollywood. Currently, Natalie is a Voice and Piano Instructor at the Music Academy of Garden City, where she specializes in excellent preparation for auditions, performances, and vocal and piano NYSSMA. 

 About Our Instructors

Kelly Miller, Summer Theatre Director

Kelly Miller, mezzo soprano, recently completed her first successful year at Binghamton University as a Master’s student in their Opera Studies program. Previously, Kelly appeared in both opera and concert performances in New York City as well as on Long Island in Sands Point, Northport, Oyster Bay and the Bronx. Kelly graduated from Adelphi University with a degree in Music in 2013 and in the same year came back to perform as a soloist with the Adelphi Symphony as the Narrator in their performance of La Damoiselle Elue by Debussy. She then traveled to Vienna to further her training with “Vienna: Language of Lieder.” She sang the role of Cherubino in an abridged version of Marriage of Figaro with Bronx Opera Company in 2015, and also attended Songe d'été en musique in 2016 to study with her current teacher Thomas Goodheart. Since studying at Binghamton University Kelly won third place at the Finger Lakes District level of the National Associate of Teachers of Singing. Kelly co-directed the Music Academy Summer Theatre Intensive, and wrote an original play which utilized new and existing songs. Additionally, she has taught voice lessons, sight-singing classes, and theatre classes at the Music Academy since 2013.

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32 Nassau Blvd South, Garden City, NY 11530
| Phone: 516-292-2777
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