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Our Teachers

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Kaori started taking piano lessons from Ritsuko Watanabe when she was 3 years old. After graduating from Senzoku Gakuen in Japan, she moved to Minnesota to study Piano under Yakov Galfand at the Mac Phail Center of Honors, University of Minnesota. She received 1st place for Mac Phail Center of Honors Audition Performance for Piano Symphony.

Kaori is an active member of the Music Teacher National Association (MTNA), American College of Musicians / National Guild of Piano Teachers (Piano Guild), and certified Piano Marvel instructor.


Guitar & Ukulele Instructor

Chris began his musical journey at the age of 14, when he picked up a guitar passed along to his family from his grandfather. He was primarily self-taught until his acceptance into the music program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he studied under the tutelage of local guitar virtuoso, Ian O’Sullivan.

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Violin Instructor

Sean has been surrounded by music for as long as he can remember. At age 5, he had the chance to play on a practice violin, and has loved the instrument ever since. Starting at age 8 he began learning the Suzuki method of violin with Pamela Wiley at Hungry Monk Music in Charleston, SC. His desire for music continually grew, and he began to learn fiddle as well.

Thanks to a military upbringing, he was able to travel all across the United States and learn many different methods and styles, from classical and contemporary to bluegrass and gypsy jazz. He has had many different instructors and was lucky to learn from and meet some of the greatest players in their styles, including bluegrass fiddle composer and artist Andy Reiner, and the founder of the Mark O'Connor American Fiddle method. He has played with over seven different youth orchestras and now sits as concertmaster of the Hawaii Pacific University Symphony Orchestra.


Piano & Music Theory Instructor

Nina Martinez was filled with awe and appreciation for the piano when she began her musical journey with Kaori Beniek. Her studies continued with world-renowned pianist Bichuan Li and has since persisted in maturing her musical tone, technique, and prowess.

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Yu Xu
Violin Instructor

Jia Yu Xu is a classical orchestral and solo violinist, who has performed in over 40 concerts and recitals in avenues such as Blaisdell Center and Pearl City Cultural Center. She was classically trained by members of the Honolulu symphony, namely, Jean Michel Jaquon and Iggy Yang.

Jia Yu is a certified Suzuki teacher, trained under Kathleen Spring. She enjoys implementing fun creative ways to teach difficult concepts to children and adults. She believes that talent is the result of careful training and countless hours of practice.

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Piano Instructor

Ben Trusnovec began playing piano at age 9 in the studio of his local teacher, Paul Story. It was clear early on that Ben had an affinity and love for music. He played for his first local church service at age 11, and he has been teaching lessons since age 18.

Ben received his Bachelors of Music degree from Long Island University in New York under the mentorship of Classical pianist Stephanie Watt and Jazz pianist Richie Iacona. Ben’s main focus is Jazz piano, but he also enjoys classical, reggae, ragtime, blues, and anything in between. He has taught piano to over 100 students and prides himself on his ability to teach any age and skill level. He has sung at Carnegie Hall with his University Choir twice, and has been involved with his college Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combos, and even toured Costa Rica with the Jazz band. When Ben isn’t teaching or playing music, he is hanging ten with his new favorite hobby-surfing.

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"We are so lucky to have had you & SoKnow Studio play an important part of our daughter's life. My daughter Isabelle came there not knowing anything about music & piano. She was also such a quiet & shy girl. When the opportunity for a recital came I was surprised she agreed to do it. On her last recital I was even more shocked she wanted to sing & play the piano at the same time!

Thank you Amanda for your patience & showing that you truly care for your students. Isa has truly blossomed under your guidance. She is so much more vocal & confident from that first day she stepped into SoKnow.
Keep up the good work!"



Piano, Vocal, & Music Together® Instructor

Amanda started her musical journey at 3 years old under the tutelage of Mrs. Beniek; she continued to strengthen her skills for 11 more years in piano instruction. During this time, Amanda also pursued vocal training while in Elementary through High School. During summers, she attended and studied at Diamond Head Theater, which also built her vocal abilities and skills. Amanda continued to search for other venues to improve her talent and found opportunities to perform on a worship team for 5-1/2 additional years as head pianist and vocalist.

By way of SoKnow Studio, Amanda has attained over two years of instructional experience, and received her teacher certification with Music Together® in August 2016, allowing Amanda to bring additional value to younger student lessons. She also provides educational musical development to parents and students to assist families in incorporating music in their everyday lives. Amanda trusts that by providing these developmental behaviors, it will help her further facilitate instruction to children throughout her piano & vocal classes.


Cello Instructor

Mr. Hamano has been studying and performing on the cello for over 25 years. He graduated from Kalani High School and received his Bachelors Degree in Music from the University ofHawaii Manoa where he studied Cello under professor I-bei Lin. He has performed with the Maui Symphony, the Honolulu Symphony, Keali’i Reichel, and other various artists in concerts here in Hawaii, as well as on the mainland and Japan. Mr. Hamano currently performs as a per service member of the Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra. He has participated in the National Orchestral Institute in Maryland, as well as the Brevard Music Festival in North Carolina.

In addition to teaching cello, Mr. Hamano also conducts beginning level string orchestras for the Moanalua Elementary School as well as the Summer Strings programs for the Hawai'i Youth Symphony. He is a member of the Music Teachers National Association, the American String Teachers Association, and the Suzuki Association of the Americas.

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Bass Instructor

Pierre Hernandez is a musician with 19 years experience on the fretted and fretless 4, 5, and 6 string bass guitar. Pierre’s music background is a story of its own and with much experience with live shows, studio recordings, performing solo, building and designing basses to include a few. He is an adept bassist with a deep passion for the instrument.

Pierre studied music theory and performance skills with professional bassists Patrick Lavery and John Shaugnessy. He focused on jazz/fusion fundamentals, tone, improvisation, compositions and ear training. The innate ability Pierre Hernandez demonstrates with the electric bass has allowed him to stand out amongst other bassists. Pierre has been performing since the beginning of high school in North Carolina with many bands in many genres as well as a soloist. From then, he moved and performed in Chicago, San Diego, ultimately ending here in Honolulu where he has made his home on the beautiful island of Oahu.


Piano Instructor

At the age of 10, she started piano lessons with Mrs. Wong. As her interest in piano grew, she started with Brian Iwai. After high school, she continued her studies in piano with Aileen Hirota and Dr. Allen Issac. Before working at Soknow Studio, she taught piano for over 20 years.

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Vocal, Piano, Music Together & Japanese Instructor

Rachel has always been intrigued by the intersection of music and language. She began studying - and singing! - Japanese in high school, eventually going on to graduate with degrees in Japanese Studies and Linguistics from the University of Hawaii at Hilo. She is currently certified at level 3 of the JLPT. Rachel began playing piano at age 5. At age 9, she began studying under the instruction of Vanlapa Boon Long, continuing until her acceptance into UH Hilo. She has always loved to sing, and has been in and out of choirs for most of her life, most notably the UH Hilo Kapili Choir. Rachel was certified as a Music Together teacher in August 2016.


Drum & Percussion Instructor

Raised in San Diego, Matt launched his career in the high school marching and later studied drum set and classical percussion. He has performed nationwide with the award winning Big Band Jazz or “A” Band & Jazz Combos at California State University Northridge in Los Angeles.

He had the honor of recording and performing live with artists of several different genres such as pop, jazz, rock, latin, and funk music, several of the groups have been nominated with prestigious honors at the San Diego Music Awards. He has also opened up for Dave Matthews, Johnny Winter, and won second place at the battle of the bands at the world famous Roxy nightclub on the Los Angeles strip with Colombian, Latin rock star Alfonso Espriella.

Matt Anoche is currently performing live in Waikiki and enjoys teaching drums and percussion.

Drum teacher
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Est. 2014
Get in touch with us. You can call us at (808)859-3933 or visit us at 1151 Mapunapuna st. suite D2 Honolulu, Hi 96819
or Click here to schedule classes