Meet the talented group of teachers who instruct and inspire at Bird:
Matt Funamura: Guitar/Trumpet/Bass/Theory
Matt is a trumpeter, guitarist, composer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist raised in the Sierra Nevada Foothills near Sacramento. At the age of six, he picked up his first guitar and trumpet at the age of 8, beginning his musical journey.
He majored in music performance and jazz studies at American River College in Sacramento, California for two years, during which time he was a freelance musician throughout the West Coast. He then went on to earn a Bachelor of Performance from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA.
Matt has performed with and studied under numerous musicians in a wide range of genres including: Angelique Kidjo, Ingrid Jensen, Tiger Okoshi, Gamble & Huff, Salvador Santana, Joe Gilman, Charles Haynes, Dontae Winslow, Jerry Martini and Victor Mendoza.
He received a B.A. in music theory and history and a B.A. in psychology from Drew University, and studied drums and percussion privately in New York and San Francisco with Andrew Cyrille, Barry Altschul, Zakir Hussain, Jack Van der Wyck and Richard Perrini.
He also plays piano, marimba and guitar. Dave has toured the U.S, Canada, Europe and the South Seas and is featured on recordings by Iron & the Albatross, Jolie Holland, Sean Hayes, After the End of the World Coretet, and his own Shimmering Leaves. His first string quartet was played at U.C. Berkeley’s Center for New Music and Audio Technology and the S.F. musician’s union hall, and he has written for singers, jazz bands, dance bands, rock bands and other idioms.
Dave taught music in New Traditions, the Video Drums Clinic, and though the auspices of the S.F. Academy of Sciences. He has had hundreds of students from the ages of 3 through 70 and learns much through his teaching practice.
Photo: Andrew Carver
Ryan Shrode: Upright/Electric Bass/Piano/Voice/Theory
Ryan Shrode is an alumni of the the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he received his B.M. in Double Bass performance under the tutelage of Scott Pingel (Principal Bass of the SFS).
While at the conservatory he received master classes from some of the greatest living musicians such as, Yo-Yo Ma, Edger Meyer, and Emanuel Ax. He played in the Orchestra and chamber groups, as well as in numerous outside school ensembles ranging from Rock to Jazz and everything in between.
He currently is a Masters student at SFSU where he studies under Shinji Eshima (Associate Principal of SF Ballet) and Joe Lescher (Principal of SF Opera). Ryan taught him self Electric Bass at age 14 and one year later during his sophomore year he had started a band and won first place in his high-schools battle of the bands. He recorded his first album at 16. He then got interested in Jazz and Classical music. For his senior project he composed and performed his Concerto for Cello and Orchestra.
Sonia Mokhtari: Piano/Guitar/Ukulele/Drums/Theory
Sonia Mokhtari is a passionate Composer, Sound Designer, Music Teacher, and Musician with over two decades of extensive expertise. She plays piano, guitar, ukulele and drumsOriginally from France, her unwavering passion for all things music began early on.She received a M.A in Music & Sound Design for Visual Media and a B.A in Music Education from CFMI of Lyon. Sonia also studied jazz and arabic music at the music conservatories of Lyon and Vienne.
To date, Sonia has proudly served as the Sound Designer & Composer of a multitude of projects and Companies. She has also worked as a Music Teacher and Voice Conductor since 2005 throughout San Francisco and France and performed in multiple bands.As an avid lover of music, Sonia aims to spread her enthusiasm and appreciation to people across the globe through her artistic endeavors. Ultimately, she sees music as a universal language that brings people together no matter where they’re from.
Van Labrakis: Guitar/Bass/Piano/Voice/Theory
Van Labrakis is a professional guitarist, multi instrumentalist and music producer in San Francisco.
Since 1999, he’s been recording and performing music with many successful acts in the rock and metal genres, as well as producing albums for bands like Kvelertak and Integrity, and record labels like Metal Blade Records and Season of Mist.
Since 2003, Van has been teaching music, guitar, bass, piano, singing, music theory and music production to students of all ages. Originally from Athens, Van has performed, recorded and taught music in London, Berlin, Los Angeles and the Bay.
Art Hafen: Trombone/Piano/Guitar/Bass/Drums/Voice/Theory
Art Hafen has over 20 years of professional music experience to draw on to teach to YOU! He has performed on stages all over the West Coast where he has performed a variety of genres including Classical, Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, Hip Hop, Rock, and Fusion. Also, he holds a Music Performance degree from CSUEB. Finding the balancing points of compositional tools and using them dynamically has been inspiring music for Art; concepts he hopes to share with his students in helping them achieve their goals.
Music is a family tradition for Art. He started taking piano lessons at age 7. At age 12, he started playing trombone in the school band. Through High School, he maintained both instruments, and sang in choirs, developing the idea of becoming a music teacher. In Music School at University of Nevada, Reno, at age 20, Art picked up guitar with the specific intent of learning composition and improvisation. Finding that each instrument had elements that complimented aspects of the others, helped his original compositions to materialize. After stints of touring and living in different parts of the country, Art has rooted in the Bay Area, attracted to its beauty, variety of cultures, and musical traditions.
With all the opportunities and experiences he’s been afforded, Art has revisited a drive to share what he has learned from his performance experience with his students.