Teacher Profile: Erika Gersten

Erika Gersten

Erika Gersten

Instrument(s): Guitar, Piano, Voice

City: Seattle

University of Washington

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About Erika Gersten

Everyone has diverse musical taste, but this is often neglected in conventional music lessons. Erika is dedicated to a "choose your own adventure" teaching style that invites students to select their own songs and set their own goals. Her extensive experience as a cover artist has enabled her to learn songs within minutes. She uses this skill during lessons to quickly create song arrangements tailored to any student's ability level. She also teaches this skill to her students, utilizing a unique linguistic approach that focuses on listening and improvising before learning to read and write notation, similar to how babies learn to speak their first language. In her five years of teaching, Erika has implemented this method with individuals and groups from preschool to adult. Erika also shares her passion for performing by providing performance opportunities for her students including recitals, karaoke nights, open mic, and busking.

Erika has been musically inclined for her whole life. She started taking piano lessons at 8 and voice lessons at 10. At 15, Erika became a professional solo artist playing along the west coast from California to BC. She specializes in private and corporate events and weddings. Her 4 hour set consists of original songs and covers that she learned entirely by ear. She has also taken music theory and audio engineering classes in college. She graduated with her Bachelors in Environmental Studies from the University of Washington, but hopes to return to school and study Music Education.

Erika is a prolific songwriter and has recently shifted her focus to starting her own band. Her project, Vanilla Abstract, features prominent local musicians including members of Car Seat Headrest and Thunderpussy. Her songs are often alternative, indie rock, or acoustic songs with jazz, ragtime, and soul influence. Some of Erika's favorite artists include Queen, Fleetwood Mac, Fiona Apple, Lizzo, Vulfpeck, Tuneyards, Hiatus Kaiyote/Nai Palm, Alvvays, Sidney Gish, Pickwick, and Naked Giants.

Erika loves working with self-motivated and passionate students, particularly those who sing and play. She's excited to work with you!

University of Washington

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