Alliance Music Academy

At Alliance Music Academy, it’s all about that bass—and piano, clarinet and guitar, just to name a few. For academy owners and musicians Paige and Earnest Jackson, everything revolves around their love of music.

Earnie holds a degree in jazz performance, and Paige earned her degree in music theory and performance. Between them, Paige and Earnie have decades of experience playing and teaching music.

The Jacksons have both logged teaching time in Texas schools, but Earnie started giving music lessons from home and before he knew it, he had enough students to necessitate a dedicated teaching space. The duo opened Alliance Music Academy in 2006 out of a shared passion for teaching people of all ages and experience levels how to play musical instruments. At Alliance, they lead a team of top-notch instructors who are all performers in their own right, offering students a wide variety of instruments and vocal specialties to study.

The instructors create lessons based on each student’s needs and abilities, and it’s this ongoing assessment of students’ strengths and weaknesses, this tailored approach, that positions Alliance Music Academy as a premier music school. All students leave with a well-rounded musical theory education suitable for any musical endeavor.

Students participate in a few special events throughout the year, including impromptu jam sessions, spring and fall recitals and twice yearly volunteer recitals at local nursing homes. They get experience performing in both small and large venues and in front of audiences of all sizes.

Each instructor’s style is different, largely a result of the varying experience they bring to their job. Each one has a story and a reason for loving music and spreading that love through teaching. Here’s a taste of who they are and what they bring to the classroom.

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Teachers Earnest Jackson, Paige Jackson and Diane Pruett // photos by Jennifer Shertzer

Earnest Jackson teaches upright bass, electric bass, guitar and piano and has around 20 years of experience with each instrument. He often incorporates technology into his lesson plans and has authored several method books, which he uses in class. He and wife Paige play in a jazz band, though he admits their two young boys, Gio and Nico, now take precedence over gigs.

Paige Jackson started singing as a toddler and now teaches voice, piano and flute. She’s been teaching flute for 21 years and voice and piano for 15. She juggles raising her and Earnie’s boys with teaching and taking care of administrative work for the school, as well as the occasional jazz performance. If she could take a music lesson from anyone, dead or alive, it would be jazz vocalist/pianist Shirley Horn.

Diane Pruett teaches piano and voice at Alliance academy but also gives lessons through her personal studio. Her musical experience is over 35 years; she’s been teaching piano for 7 years and voice for 4 1/2 years. Her musical idol is Bach, but she thinks Thelonious Monk and Herbie Hancock are pretty awesome.

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Teachers Sara Rodriguez, Carl Wagner and Matt Larks

Sara Rodriguez has played violin for 18 years and has been teaching for 10. Originally from Honduras, Sara now calls Plano her home. She’s played with the Las Colinas, San Angelo and Waco symphonies and has performed with Placido Domingo, Itzhak Perlman and Joshua Bell.

Carl Wagner has 14 years’ experience teaching piano and saxophone. He integrates technology into his lessons to aid in the exploration of music. He is a full-time musician who performs, produces and writes, and he hopes to teach his students to be lifelong listeners and learners. He personally enjoys the music of Cannonball Adderly, Miles Davis and Charlie Parker.

Matt Larks teaches bass and guitar and has been playing for 10 years. He enjoys seeing his students make progress and find their inspiration. His musical idol is Maxim Vengerov.

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Teachers Andy Pruyn, Lavanda Davis, Kelsey Carpenter and George Bond

Andy Pruyn teaches drum set and has been playing for 28 years and teaching for 17 years. He’s played with Lee Greenwood, The Katinas, Steve Hindalong, Steve Archer and more. He’s an equal opportunity music lover, with a penchant for jazz, funk, soul, R&B, Latin, SKA, reggae, orchestral and worship.

Lavanda Davis, originally from North Pole, Alaska, teaches voice and beginning piano. She has 20 years of experience in teaching and directing choirs and also teaches private voice for Garland ISD at Sachse High School. She loves seeing her students gain confidence from their improvements.

Kelsey Carpenter teaches clarinet, piano and saxophone. She uses mirror drilling in her lessons, where she plays a complex rhythm or passage for students to play back to her. She would love to take a lesson from Benny Goodman, as she thinks the world could use more jazz clarinet.

George Bond teaches guitar and has been playing for more than 36 years and is the 1992 Texas Music Educators Association’s All-State Jazz Guitar winner. He’s learned through teaching that there are always two students in his studio—he learns as much from his students as they do from him. His musical idol is Bach, but he’s been playing a lot of “Human Nature” by Michael Jackson lately.

Come join these virtuosos. Your first lesson is free at Alliance Music Academy.

Alliance Music Academy Website >
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