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.
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
"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.
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.
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.
Sydney Branch graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a music degree focusing on vocal performance and secondary in viola. She always has had a passion for music. At age 10, she joined the school orchestra on viola, and at age 12, she joined the school choir, and has played and sang throughout her schooling. She has also performed as a church choir member.
Sydney’s interests span from classical to rock music. She performed with rock groups throughout Hawaii and has also toured on the mainland. Currently, Sydney sings for the Hawaii Opera Theater’s Mae Z. Orvis Studio Program.
Kyle has an extensive history and passion for musical arrangement and performance, and the ukulele is his primary instrument. He has been arranging, playing, and performing countless ukulele pieces since he was introduced to the instrument by his 5th grade teacher.
At the early age of 16, he assumed positions at Le Jardin Academy as both Assistant Choir Director and Hawaiian Quartet Ensemble Director, working with the teams to deliver top-notch performances. In 2017, Kyle went on to become a vocalist, lead ukulele player and arranger for the Hawaiian Ensemble at
Hawaii Pacific University.
Averilee started her musical journey at the age of 14, when she began taking vocal lessons with Rachel Gonzales. Her love for music grew as she performed in various musical productions throughout her high school years. She went on to study Music in college, beginning at Dominican University in California and then earning her Bachelor of Arts in Music - Voice with an emphasis in Musical Theatre from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she studied under Laurence Paxton.
She has experience performing as both a solo artist and member of the choral community, recently coming back from a two-week tour in Spain with the Voices of Aloha. When not performing, she spends her time songwriting and composing; her last composition was performed for a composer’s symposium at UH Manoa. Music has made a huge impact on Averilee’s life and she hopes to spread the joy of music to even more people at SoKnow Studio.
Elisabeth first found joy in music at the age of 6 when she started piano lessons. In middle school and into high school, she accompanied for church and the school choir. Determined to take steps toward her love of music, she received a BA in music from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and was recognized with a merit achievement in piano performance. Her passion for music involvement has led her to play for school plays, weddings and prison ministries.
In addition to teaching piano, Elisabeth teaches music classes at The Toddler Program and continues to accompany for church.