Classes & Lessons


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Fall 2017 - Spring 2018 Private Lessons and Classes

1. Developing Deep Rhythm in Your Music: When we play music with others, whether be classical, folk-based, or jazz, it is often the rhythm that becomes the most subtle layer that we need to work with. When we listen to the masters, we notice their attention placed on every note. This is what I describe as “deep rhythm,” being; attention placed with conviction and space toward and around each note, chord, and rhythmic gesture in alignment with the human breath and its physical language of the body. Deep rhythm is a layer of practicing often left to the “rhythm section” players, (often called, “the groove” or “the zone”), but even working on our rhythm with solo strumming a guitar or playing a melody with a certain conviction can be a deeper part of our independent practice that can offer an unending stream of joy. When the lead player or vocalist commands a sense of deep rhythm, it draws along the rest of the ensemble with its current. This class will be an exploration and practice of these aspects of solo and ensemble music-making. For individuals, pre-formed groups of all genres, or new groups forming. Please call 415-663-9176 for exact time, schedule, and fee.

2. Learning to Read Music: This class will be divided into two levels: those who are complete novices in the skills of reading music and those who wish to improve their confidence in their fundamental knowledge of music reading. Fun exercises and rhythm games will include ear training, “eyes-closed” note identification games, discussion of the beautiful system of scales we use in Western music, learning simple tunes with reading and writing, and eventual songwriting in the genre of your choice. Take a step toward opening your entire world to the literature of written music! Please call 415-663-9176 for exact time, schedule, and fee.
3. Improvising Music and Poetry from the Heart: This class is for complete novices as well as those who have sung or played instruments over the years. In the past, this class became a four-year odyssey of creative expression for people with many levels of experience. Picture an experienced piano improviser, a new person to small percussion listening for a place to make a subtle sound, and another person spotting a source of creative sound - a piece of paper to tear at the just the right second. The entire practice is about attention and sensitivity to rhythmic timing, with musical sounds as the medium. Poetry will also enter in to our pieces to add a verbal and vocal level of expression. Please call 415-663-9176 for exact time, schedule, and fee.

4. Hand Drumming: How do we express ourselves from the heart to the hand to the skin of a drum? How do we learn to play with the kind of gentleness and subtlety that will consistently bring out the deep resonance of a beautiful African-style hand drum? How do we pay attention to our own rhythm part as well as our fellow drummers to create a sound of “one drum” in musical unity? These are some of the major issues we address in this class. Authentic rhythm patterns of Senegal - experienced over 30 years by the instructor after learning them with the master drummers of the National Ballet of Senegal, West Africa - will be our palette for learning. This is an ongoing class. We welcome newcomers who will be given “easy parts” to play after a private session or two with the instructor. Please call 415-663-9176 for exact time, schedule, and fee.

Private Lessons in Piano, Guitar, Cello, Percussion, Composing, Ear Training and Musicianship, Improvisation in jazz and "free" style (please see more below)

Summer 2017 Classes

Daily music lessons for intensive individual work or play in a group we design! 
Rock, Blues, Jazz, Classical Chamber Music, World Music! 
Two locations: Magic Flute Music Store & Point Reyes Music Center! 
Two or four hours each day. Two to five days in a row. Lift your music to an entirely new level! 
Intent to register for summer due by May 1, 2017. Payment by May 15, 2017. Call 415-663-9176.

Classes and Lessons During Academic Year (i.e., not summer)

  • Guitar Class for Adults, Thursdays, 6:30-7:30p.m., Point Reyes Music Center, upstairs at Tomales Bay Foods. Basic chords, melody reading, rhythmic strumming, songs for singing. Sliding scale $15-$25. Starting Oct. 8, call 415-663-9176.
  • Guitar and Rock Band Class for Ages 10-13, Thursdays 3:30-4:30p.m., Point Reyes Music Center, upstairs at Tomales Bay Foods. Basic chords for rock guitar and playing songs. Bass guitar and drum set instruction included. Sliding scale $12-$20. Starting Oct. 8, call 415-663-9176.
  • Music Play for Infants and Parents
  • Music Play for Ages 3-5
  • Exploring Music for Ages 5-7
  • Beginning Guitar Class for Children
  • Beginning Guitar Class for Adults
  • Cello Choir for Adults
  • Chamber Music Coaching for all ages
  • Gentle Ear Training Class for Adults
  • Instrumental Improvisation and Exploration for Adults, all levels
  • String Quartets for Music Lovers, a focussed listening class
  • African-style Drum Class

Private Lessons

  • Piano (beginning, intermediate, and advanced coaching and analysis)
  • Guitar (pick style and classical)
  • Cello (training with players from the Boston Symphony)
  • Drum set (training with three jazz masters in all aspects of jazz)
  • Congas and Djimbe (training in Senegal, West Africa and with drum masters from that region for many years)
  • Improvisation (all instruments) 
  • Song-writing
  • Instrumental Composition

More Info

Contact to describe your particular interest. Please include your phone number for an introductory call.

Point Reyes Music  Center Announces a new rigorous hands-on musicianship and ear training  program for all ages! This is a basic Harvard College course (and children's prep course) in music skills made available to everyone, uniquely designed for each student's goals and pleasure!


Rolling registration and interviews in progress now for the Youth &

Adults Musicianship and Composition Program ("YAM Comp") offered in two locations: Magic

Flute music store in Terra Linda, CA and Point Reyes Music Center, Point Reyes, CA. Skype lessons may also 

be arranged for distance learning.


What is the program?


A rigorous and exciting program for college-prep students (ages

13-18) as well as for adults who want to understand the mechanics of

music at the molecular level.


How much time will it take?


This program takes a minimum commitment of three school years of

intensive lessons and/or classes uniquely designed for each student

and requires 30-60 minutes of attention each day.


When will it happen?


 90-120 minute sessions twice monthly in private lessons or classes, scheduled according to the teacher's and

 student's availability.

Location will be either at Magic Flute music store, San Rafael, CA or at Point Reyes

Music Center, either during the week or on weekends to allow for 

long classes.


What will it do for me?


Students may use it to strengthen their reading skills on their

instrument of choice, become a stronger choral member, chamber music

player, orchestral musician, conductor, accompanist, music

instructor, prepare for a college music program, or just enjoy the

mental challenge of musical gymnastics.


This program will also to make what is sometimes thought of as dry

material into an exciting journey of developing a keen musical ear

which will make every listening experience come alive with new



Specifically, what will I learn?


Program includes private and semi-private classes (depending on sign

ups and scheduling) in ear training, including hearing and singing

intervals, learning and understanding keys, sight singing (reading

music with the voice without the help of an instrument) using "fixed"

Doh and scale degree numbers, sight reading on an instrument, reading

simple to advanced rhythm notation accurately with counting,

conducting gestures, and on an instrument, harmonic analysis,

counterpoint, aural composition "in the moment" using the above

skills, and score reading while listening to recordings and without

recordings. Additional topics will be added if the student is

oriented toward jazz.


What will it cost?


Tuition will depend on how many topics will be under study. For

example, each topic will take place over a number of weeks. For

example: "Hearing,Reading, Singing, and Creating Intervals" Sept. - Dec.

2012 or Jan. - May 2013, 10 sessions @ $120 per 90 minute session= $1200." A student may

choose to take more than one topic each semester. If that is done,

each topic will be discounted. For example "Intervals (as just

mentioned)" @ $1200 plus "Sight-singing" (a good partner topic) would be 10

sessions @ @$60 per 45 minute class for the added "Sight-singing" class ($600). Each topic would have its

own time length according to the topic. (For example, it is rare that

a person could sit and do sight-reading for 90 minutes, but hearing, reading, singing, and creating intervals

 could be suited to the longer session.)


Each student's program will be uniquely designed with its own scheduling and fees.


Who is the instructor?


Joyce Kouffman is an award-winning past Harvard University instructor

(after receiving a magna cum laude degree in multi-disciplinary music

studies as an undergraduate there), who has lived and taught in the

Greater Bay Area since 1987. She moved west to study and collaborate

      with eclectic, Academy award nominated composer, Mary Watkins (, with whom she has recorded two

jazz CDs, one of which won a "Top Ten Picks" on KCSM radio, the Bay

Area's main jazz radio station. Joyce has recently written and

performed compositions inspired by and read in-person by

world-renowned poets Robert Hass, Linda Pastan, and Jane Hirshfield,

which Hass described as "startlingly intimate..." In the early

1980's, Joyce went to Senegal, West Africa to augment her six years

of study of traditional African drumming with Ibrahima Camara to seek the roots of

American jazz. She studied jazz drums with Alan Dawson (Dave

Brubeck's drummer for 9 years), and big band performance and leading with tenor sax

master Illinois Jacquet. Classical cello was her main instrument in

her early days with teachers from the Boston Symphony. Her classical

music theory, musicianship, and harmonic analysis studies took place

at Harvard under the instruction of Professor Luise Vosgerchian (a

protege' of Nadia Boulanger and acknowledged mentor of Yo-Yo Ma) and in opera analysis seminars with

Leonard Bernstein.


If I have more questions, how do I contact Joyce Kouffman?


Call Joyce at 415-663-9176 to set up an initial interview.

Registration can be sent by email, after a phone conversation and an initial in-person

session to explore musical background, level of commitment,

financial design, and scheduling.


If I (or my child) does not quite read music with ease and fluidity

yet, will he or she qualify?


Not yet, but he or she may sign up for Joyce's "Beginning

Musicianship Program." These sessions will also be weekend intensives

with age appropriate lesson or class length to help children (ages

9-14 or older) feel more confident with reading music. They will

serve as a supplement to instrumental lessons and will cover topics

that instrumental teachers rarely have time to focus on at length.

When possible, Joyce will collaborate with the instrumental teacher

to set up the best curriculum for each student.


When may we start?


Rolling registration throughout the school year, but

the best time to enroll is in August and December, one month ahead of

each semester.


What will the homework consist of?


Worksheets, workbooks, audio Cds, emails, YouTube viewing of music

examples, and listening assignments. Average time will be about 30

-60 minutes per day, depending on whether it is written or vocal work.


Will I get to compose my own music?


Yes, the act of composing will be used as one of the numerous teaching

tools with any given topic. Original compositions will also be called

for each semester.


Are there any other advanced programs available?




"Music Arranging, Especially for Overdubbing Recordings on Digital

Home Composing Software"


  "Recording Your Original Music onto CD or other Media Using Logic

Audio" includes personal coaching and consultation on microphone

placement, recording overdubs, and mixing.


Also, "Setting Music to Video using iMovie on Mac."


More announcements will be forthcoming regarding these new programs,

however, it is expected that students will be either completely

finished or taking concurrently the YAM Comp. Program before

commencing into the "music with film" program. The instructor strongly

believes in the highest skill levels for creating music for film.

Erudite, playful, deeply intuitive, Joyce Kouffman is a 

masterful, creative teacher/facilitator who listens to you

and follows your creative energies in a special way.