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Meet our Director: Raffia

Raffia is an R&B Soul/Jazz Artist who has performed with recording artists such as Christina Aguilera, Toni Braxton, Blake Shelton, The Jacksons, Bastille, and many more! Visit www.raffiamusic.co for more info on Raffia!

Raffia is a graduate of the prestigious Berklee College Of Music where she obtained a Bachelors Degree in Music Education. Raffia also has experience teaching in both public and private institutions. Her professional experience and success, combined with her love for teaching, has given her an outlet to share the gift of music with others. Schedule your lesson with Raffia today!

About Us Who We Are

Raffia Music Studio provides all year round Voice, Piano, Guitar, Drums, and Bass Lessons, along with Studio Recording opportunities and more! Lessons are provided at our fully equipped school which is located in Lomita, California.

Mission

Raffia Music Studio’s mission is to provide each student with a solid musical foundation through the study of music while increasing self expression, creativity and excellence!

Our Team

Our Teachers have worked with some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry! Our world class instructors are ready to help you take your skills to the next level! 

Meet Our World Class Instructors!!

C.C. Thomas Jr. is a professional musician who has worked in the music industry for over 35 years. He has a vast amount of experience in many different areas of the music business such as production, arranging, programming, editing, mixing, composing, sound design and live performance. C.C. has performed with artists such as Babyface, Jeffrey Osborne, Dave Koz, Patty Austin, Howard Hewitt, and is currently the musical director for Diana Ross in addition to several other local and regional artists in the Los Angeles area. C.C. is also an Emmy nominated songwriter , yet his primary instrument is bass guitar. C.C. is the co-founder of Sound Vision Entertainment Inc., which is a music production company that provides studio recording, production and engineering services to recording artists and musicians.

C.C. Cecil Thomas Jr. - Co Director of RMS • Bass Instructor/Studio Recording

C.C. Thomas Jr. is a professional musician who has worked in the music industry for over 35 years. He has a vast amount of experience in many different areas of the music business such as production, arranging, programming, editing, mixing, composing, sound design and live performance. C.C. has performed with artists such as Babyface, Jeffrey Osborne, Dave Koz, Patty Austin, Howard Hewitt, and is currently the musical director for Diana Ross in addition to several other local and regional artists in the Los Angeles area. C.C. is also an Emmy nominated songwriter , yet his primary instrument is bass guitar. C.C. is the co-founder of Sound Vision Entertainment Inc., which is a music production company that provides studio recording, production and engineering services to recording artists and musicians.
Emily has been playing the violin for 21 years.  As a high school student she played with the Iowa All-State orchestra and the Des Moines Youth Symphony.  She received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Northern Iowa, studying violin.  During college, Emily played a number of concerts with the Cedar Falls/Waterloo Symphony in addition to performances with the UNI Symphony Orchestra.  Emily then attended Southern Methodist University and received a Master of Divinity degree.  She now serves as a pastor and continues to enjoy playing violin in worship settings and for weddings.

Emily Miller-Todd - Violin Instructor

Emily has been playing the violin for 21 years. As a high school student she played with the Iowa All-State orchestra and the Des Moines Youth Symphony. She received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Northern Iowa, studying violin. During college, Emily played a number of concerts with the Cedar Falls/Waterloo Symphony in addition to performances with the UNI Symphony Orchestra. Emily then attended Southern Methodist University and received a Master of Divinity degree. She now serves as a pastor and continues to enjoy playing violin in worship settings and for weddings.
Christi Lao was born and raised in Lomita, California and has been singing all of her life. At age 13, she began playing guitar, writing music, and performing in her high schools musical theater program. Christi is currently a student in the Jazz Program at El Camino College. She has sung with groups such as Hedgehog Swing, the Big Butter Jazz Band, and the El Camino Chorale Ensemble. In addition to Jazz, Christi sings most styles including R

Christi Lao - Voice & Guitar Instructor

Christi Lao was born and raised in Lomita, California and has been singing all of her life. At age 13, she began playing guitar, writing music, and performing in her high schools musical theater program. Christi is currently a student in the Jazz Program at El Camino College. She has sung with groups such as Hedgehog Swing, the Big Butter Jazz Band, and the El Camino Chorale Ensemble. In addition to Jazz, Christi sings most styles including R&B, pop, hip hop, rock, folk, and oldies. Playing the guitar has been a lifelong endeavor for Christi and is her choice method of accompaniment for solo gigs. She would be an ideal guitar teacher for any beginner interested in playing while they sing. She works well with people of all ages including children. Christi is always working to further her own skills and musical career and can be seen playing various gigs in Long Beach and Los Angeles. She is committed to helping her students succeed and learn in a way that is both fun and straightforward.

David Cowan - Drum/Ensemble Instructor

Drummer/Percussionist, David Cowan has performed and recorded with a wide range of great artists like Lalah Hathaway, Brian McKnight, Frank McComb, Tomo Fujita, TC Carson, Patrice Rushen, The Fifth Dimension, Howard Hewitt, Delfeayo Marsalis, Sheila E, Abe Laboriel Sr, The Boston Pops Orchestra, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr., Shirley Caesar, Jennifer Holiday, Yuko Mabuchi, Tom Coster, Barbara Morrison, Les McCann and many others. David got his Bachelor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music, where he studied drums and percussion with Tommy Campbell, John Ramsay, Dean Anderson, Ed Kaspik, Joe Hunt, Ed Uribe, and Ed Saindon. David is also a former Instructor at Berklee College of Music where he taught some of todays respected touring and session players such as Nikki Glaspie (Beyonce & Maceo Parker, Dumpstaphunk), Willie BamBam Parker (Faith Evan’s, Lauren Hill, Salt & Peppa, Joe, Jaheim), Geoffery Drumadict Morgan (Bobby V), Sean Winchester (Buckcherry & Everclear), Kevin Camp (Israel & Newbreed), Kyle Crane (Brad Mehldau, Kurt Rosenwinkle). And, in 2009 David was awarded The Japan Foundation’s Genko Uchida Fellowship which enabled him to travel to Japan where he did a small tour, taught some private students, and did a workshop for Yamaha. In addition, David is a session player and composer/producer whose music has appeared in hundreds of television shows in the US and abroad. David “Young Professor” Cowan Call me! I don’t bite! 818-414-2292 youngprofessordrums.com Click my picture if you’d like to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter!
Phillip is a native of Columbia,SC where he started playing saxophone at the young age of 11. He studied music and saxophone at Brevard College in Brevard,NC. As a professional he has shared the stage with a wide array of artists from many genres such as Lenny Kravitz,Fantasia,Jennifer Holliday, Aretha Franklin,The Temptations,The Ojays,The Four Tops, Fred Wesley,The Average White Band and many others. He has a vast wealth of recording and performance experience and has toured all over the U.S as well as overseas in Canada, Asia, Africa, and Europe

Phillip Whack - Saxophone Instructor

Phillip is a native of Columbia,SC where he started playing saxophone at the young age of 11. He studied music and saxophone at Brevard College in Brevard,NC. As a professional he has shared the stage with a wide array of artists from many genres such as Lenny Kravitz,Fantasia,Jennifer Holliday, Aretha Franklin,The Temptations,The Ojays,The Four Tops, Fred Wesley,The Average White Band and many others. He has a vast wealth of recording and performance experience and has toured all over the U.S as well as overseas in Canada, Asia, Africa, and Europe
Garett Dahl is an experienced audio engineer specializing in live and studio recording and mixing. He is based in the greater Los Angeles area and has a music degree from Cal State University Long Beach. Being that he is experienced as both an engineer and a saxophonist he inherently understands the needs of performers as well as the processes and mixing techniques required to produce high quality sound.

Garett Dahl - Music Production Instructor Sound Mixing, Logic Audio, Ableton, Garage Band

Garett Dahl is an experienced audio engineer specializing in live and studio recording and mixing. He is based in the greater Los Angeles area and has a music degree from Cal State University Long Beach. Being that he is experienced as both an engineer and a saxophonist he inherently understands the needs of performers as well as the processes and mixing techniques required to produce high quality sound.
A veteran in the music industry, Valerie Pinkston started her career as a vocalist/songwriter and producer in Detroit, Michigan. She began recording professionally with Detroit’s own, Anita Baker and Soul/R

VALERIE PINKSTON - Vocal Coach Instructor

A veteran in the music industry, Valerie Pinkston started her career as a vocalist/songwriter and producer in Detroit, Michigan. She began recording professionally with Detroit’s own, Anita Baker and Soul/R&B self-contained group Chapter 8. After recording several albums as lead vocalist with Chapter 8, she was recognized as a consummate vocalist/songwriter/ arranger and performer. With over 20+ years in the industry, Valerie has appeared on many nationally syndicated shows such as, The Grammy Awards, The American Music Awards, The Emmys, The NAACP Awards, American Idol along with many film, TV, and theater productions. In addition, Valerie has had the opportunity to perform for two sitting Presidents, Bill Clinton & Barack Obama.
Gerry Brown is a world class master drummer. His musical journey started in Philadelphia with fellow schoolmate and legendary bassist Stanley Clarke. Together they crafted the revolutionary "School Days" recording that perennially inspires drummers and bassists worldwide to this day. Since those early days, Gerry’s reputation has only expanded as the “groove master” while playing with legendary artists including Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Ritchie, Chick Corea, George Benson, Larry Coryell, and many many others. In addition to teaching the fundamentals to beginners Gerry can teach advanced playing techniques and specialized styles that seasoned players can appreciate. In addition to that he can share a lifetime of knowledge and insight in regards to touring, recording and performing!

Gerry Brown - Drum Instructor

Gerry Brown is a world class master drummer. His musical journey started in Philadelphia with fellow schoolmate and legendary bassist Stanley Clarke. Together they crafted the revolutionary “School Days” recording that perennially inspires drummers and bassists worldwide to this day. Since those early days, Gerry’s reputation has only expanded as the “groove master” while playing with legendary artists including Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Ritchie, Chick Corea, George Benson, Larry Coryell, and many many others. In addition to teaching the fundamentals to beginners Gerry can teach advanced playing techniques and specialized styles that seasoned players can appreciate. In addition to that he can share a lifetime of knowledge and insight in regards to touring, recording and performing!
George Mitchell has been pop superstar Diana Ross’ pianist for almost 40 years and he  continues to tour with her musical ensemble performing before audiences worldwide.  He has played at every conceivable venue across the globe including her famous 1983  Live in Central Park mega concert before a massive crowd of 400,000 fans! He has  recorded and performed on various TV shows like the Today Show, David Letterman  and Oprah. From an early age he displayed a musical maturity and talent that landed  him engagements with jazz legends such as Sonny Stitt, Philly Jo Jones, Richie  Cole,Eddie Harris, Jon Hendricks and Kirk Whalum. As one of our educators George is  capable of teaching beginners to advanced piano and modern keyboards in jazz, pop  and much more.

George Mitchell - Piano & Keyboards Instructor

George Mitchell has been pop superstar Diana Ross’ pianist for almost 40 years and he continues to tour with her musical ensemble performing before audiences worldwide. He has played at every conceivable venue across the globe including her famous 1983 Live in Central Park mega concert before a massive crowd of 400,000 fans! He has recorded and performed on various TV shows like the Today Show, David Letterman and Oprah. From an early age he displayed a musical maturity and talent that landed him engagements with jazz legends such as Sonny Stitt, Philly Jo Jones, Richie Cole,Eddie Harris, Jon Hendricks and Kirk Whalum. As one of our educators George is capable of teaching beginners to advanced piano and modern keyboards in jazz, pop and much more.
John Scarpulla is a professional musician who has worked in various capacities with some of the biggest names in music. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the prestigious Berklee College of Music and holds a B.A. in Saxophone Performance. He has orchestrated, arranged, recorded, conducted and performed with and for major artists such as Billy Joel, Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez, Paul Simon, Mariah Carey, Steven Tyler, Barry Manilow, Hall and Oates and the legendary band Tower of Power just to name a few. As an educator John is able to teach the fundamentals to beginners as well as advanced techniques to students who are much further along in their studies. In addition to that he can share a wealth of knowledge and experience in regards to touring, recording and performing at the highest level.

John Scarpulla - Saxophones and Flute Instructor

John Scarpulla is a professional musician who has worked in various capacities with some of the biggest names in music. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the prestigious Berklee College of Music and holds a B.A. in Saxophone Performance. He has orchestrated, arranged, recorded, conducted and performed with and for major artists such as Billy Joel, Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez, Paul Simon, Mariah Carey, Steven Tyler, Barry Manilow, Hall and Oates and the legendary band Tower of Power just to name a few. As an educator John is able to teach the fundamentals to beginners as well as advanced techniques to students who are much further along in their studies. In addition to that he can share a wealth of knowledge and experience in regards to touring, recording and performing at the highest level.
Srimal de Mel is a professional musician from Torrance, California. His primary instrument is piano. As a composer and producer, he is better known as “Dynamic De Mel” with three albums to his name. He has performed across the nation, including appearances at the Reno Jazz festival, the Washington Women in Jazz Festival, and the Central Avenue Jazz festival. He is currently a Jazz Studies major at Cal State Fullerton. Srimal’s approach to teaching is straightforward and optimized. He can teach piano at any style and level. His studies in the Jazz, Pop, and Classical idioms are backed up by over a decade of experience. Srimal performs regularly around the South Bay with various bands. As a student himself, Srimal loves to teach and share his knowledge with others.

Srimal De Mel - Piano Instructor

Srimal de Mel is a professional musician from Torrance, California. His primary instrument is piano. As a composer and producer, he is better known as “Dynamic De Mel” with three albums to his name. He has performed across the nation, including appearances at the Reno Jazz festival, the Washington Women in Jazz Festival, and the Central Avenue Jazz festival. He is currently a Jazz Studies major at Cal State Fullerton. Srimal’s approach to teaching is straightforward and optimized. He can teach piano at any style and level. His studies in the Jazz, Pop, and Classical idioms are backed up by over a decade of experience. Srimal performs regularly around the South Bay with various bands. As a student himself, Srimal loves to teach and share his knowledge with others.

Our Youth In Action! Check them out!

Host

RMS's Annual Winter Concert

Host & Hostess of RMS’s first annual winter concert (December 3rd, 2015) Bishop Jonathan Ferriol, Pastor Tess Ferriol of the PMCC 4th Watch Church, along with RMS music school owners Raffia & C.C.