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San Marcos Music Academy

565 North Arizona Avenue

Chandler, AZ 85225

(480) 292-7955


565 North Arizona Avenue

Chandler, AZ 85225

(480) 292-7955



Artha studied under Dorinda Nyland of Alameda, California, for ten years, taught privately for a period, and then taught for nearly 10 years at Brindley’s Music in Chandler, Arizona, before joining the San Marcos Music Academy. She teaches traditionally using a variety of piano methods, such as Alfred, Piano Adventures, and the standard A Dozen A Day, Hanon, and numerous others.

Artha encourages new beginners, both young children and adults, to commit to piano lessons for a minimum of two years. Most of her students continue beyond three years and those that continue after that play quite well at a comfortable 4-5+ level. Many of her teen students have received music scholarships to the colleges and universities they attend.

Artha is a very patient and gentle teacher. However, she maintains a standard of high commitment with her students, where they know they must practice daily in order to learn and advance. Practice time is recorded with a 100-hour goal to receive a composer statuette award. She encourages her students to attend at least one concert of their choice per year, where they can view and hear piano music at its finest.

Artha Jackson

"Miss Artha's kind and gentle manner in teaching my son works well with his personality and sensitive nature. He loves reaching his practice goal of 100 hours of practice to earn his composer statuettes. He's earned two already and looks forward to his lessons. She keeps him motivated and always comes home with a happy attitude."

Ginger R. (parent)

"Artha Jackson has been a steady teacher for my daughter. Before we found Artha, my daughter went through 5 teachers at the tender age of 8 because these teachers either moved away, cancelled the classes, or had other reasons for not showing up to teach.  Now my daughter is finally progressing nicely and looks forward to coming to her lessons. She is looking forward to the recital and showing off her piano skills."

Beverly M. (parent)

Karen Burns

Karen has been teaching music for 15 years. She studied piano as the only piano student chosen to work privately under a Julliard professor while growing up. She continued studying music as much as possible in college. Karen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications, and has slowly pursued a degree in music performance since moving to Arizona. Karen worked professionally as a dancer, singer, actor in New York and Los Angeles for 10 years.

For piano instruction Karen tailors the method of study based on an individual’s learning style, musical preferences and amount of time available to devote to playing the piano. Included in Karen’s classical approach is an emphasis on “playing” the piano versus “practicing” the piano. This philosophy brings about more joy in the learning process and therefore more time is spent actually sitting at the piano. She is most comfortable teaching beginning to intermediate/advanced levels and loves to work with all ages.

For voice, Karen sang with a rock band and studied musical theatre while in college, then later studied opera while living in New York City from a  singer with the Metropolitan Opera. Musical Theatre is her personal preference for singing and teaching. However, she does love pop and rock music and working with aspiring singers in these genre’s to help learn how to safely expand range and power. In teaching voice, Karen’s focus is on breathing techniques, relaxing and bringing the voice forward. Primarily, she finds teaching an individual to like the voice they’ve been given and how to confidently let it out to be the most rewarding. For actor’s who sing, Karen works on the song as a monologue and approaches the lesson looking for the character and story behind the song. Many of her students have gone on to professional work in Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix and Disney Worlds in Florida and Japan.

Pat Neff

Pat Neff has been teaching music and performing for more than 25 years, directing Sunshine Generation for nearly 10 years. Pat has been teaching for 15 years at New Vistas Center for Education in downtown Chandler, teaching 1st through 6th grades and the Notations and Notation-etts Show Choir groups.

Pat studied piano and vocal performance at Chandler Gilbert Community College, studying under Marcus Denton. She also studied the Vocal Toning Method under master vocal teacher Debra Bonner. Pat was a charter member of the AZMO Choir from its inception until it ended and is still a member of the Arizona Deseret Choir. She has been featured as a soloist in several productions and with the Tempe Symphony with its former director Dr. Richard Strange.

Pat is excited to use the Piano Ninja Practice Incentive Program and enjoys using jumbo marshmallows and tennis balls to develop the correct curvature of fingers. She teaches “dropping” of fingers like a waterfall to ensure correct striking of keys.

"My 5-year old son Jaxson started piano lessons with Pat Neff at the beginning of this year and he is loving it! Pat’s kind and loving personality has allowed my son to love piano. Her unconditional patients (sic) … is key to his success. Pat Neff is immensely talented at piano and teaching. Her love for music truly comes through in how she teaches. She is a blessing to my son and our family. We would recommend her to anyone young or old looking to learn piano."

KaSaundra D. (parent)

"My son started taking piano lessons this past summer from Mrs. Neff and really loved it. Gavin is 13 and had the option for taking a musical instrument in Jr high, however we went with private lessons which worked out much better. Getting one on one instruction I believe makes a big difference. Furthermore, not only has he learned how to play the piano, Mrs. Neff has been teaching him to read the music which will help him in the long run. Gavin really enjoys going to piano and loves working with Mrs. Neff; she is very patient and makes sessions extremely positive! Now that summer is over, Gavin wants to continue with his piano lessons with Mrs. Neff and get as good (as) she is one day!"

Michelle F. (parent)