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 Honolulu Piano Teacher Association, Music Teacher National Association, and The National Guild of Piano Teachers.
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.Learn more
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.
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.Learn more
Bruno started playing drums in Brazil when he was in 7th grade. His first exposure to music came from the success of his father’s band, which would practice at their home studio. What had started out as English homework ended up as a serious project, leading Bruno’s band to win the Pepsi Contest for Best New Youth Band in South Brazil. After moving to the US, he continued his journey with music, attending Montgomery Community College to study Music and traveling to Berklee College of Music’s Drum Clinic.
Now a resident in Oahu, Bruno is interested in learning about the island’s culture and sharing his passion for music with others.
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.
Jolie Takazono was born and raised in Kaneohe, Oahu. She received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Hawaii and has over 10 years of experience teaching the ukulele to students of all ages. She recently returned from living in Japan, where she taught English. She loves teaching music and is eager to inspire the same excitement for music in her students.
"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!"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
O‘ahu native Brooke Alcuran’s first musical experiences were piano and violin lessons and singing in musical productions at school. She began studying voice at fifteen with Betty Grierson and Neva Rego, and received her Bachelor’s in Music from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa with a concentration in voice performance, under the tutelage of Dr. Maya Hoover. Ms. Alcuran has credits in opera and musical theatre; some of her favorites include Les Contes d’Hoffmann and Carmen with Hawai‘i Opera Theatre (HOT), Camelot and The Little Mermaid with Diamond Head Theatre (DHT), and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with ‘Iolani School.
Fabian has been playing piano since he was 7 years old. As a bass guitarist, he is known as a composer, and he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in both Music and Anthropology at University of Hawai'i at Manoa in 2016. An Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Composition 2015-2016 award winner, Fabian has studied music composition and theory with professors at UH, such as Thomas Osborne, Donald Womack, and Takuma Itoh. His experience includes an understanding of the variety of an instrument's potential, such as works for contemporary piano, string quartet, chamber ensembles, mixed ensembles, and cross-cultural fusion. He has also performed a few of his original piano works and world instrument works, such as the Kulintang (Filipino gong set instrument), Rondalya (Filipino plucked string instruments),and Japanese Koto for UH concerts.Learn more
Christopher Serrano began learning the piano at the age of 11. Throughout his education, Christopher studied under the instruction of Mrs. Christine D’Ambrosio and Dr. Wendy Freeland where he became an active student within the Alabama Music Teachers Association and received outstanding awards in both music theory and music performance.Learn more
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.