What students are saying about
My time with Holly is a bright spot in my memory of professional training on piano and guitar. Some sessions we would split between the two and others we would focus on just one. Every lesson was heart warming and encouraging no matter how much or how little I practice that week. As an adult, learning instruments can be challenging because of life demands and also having a less malleable brain. Creating new habits can be challenging and sometimes discouraging. However, Holly always pushed past those negative thoughts and reminded you of the progress you’ve made regardless of your faults. Her upbeat mentality is not only enduring for children but it’s a firm reminder for her adult students on how anything is possible with only a little effort. I truly enjoyed my time with Holly and wish I had more.
~ Michelle Bailey, Nashville, TN
Holly’s Blues Ukulele Workshop that I took this summer at Santa Rosa Junior College (Santa Rosa, CA) was the most valuable workshop I have ever experienced. It was a four evening (two-hour per session) workshop. Holly teaches with a method that is clear, concise, fun, and moved along at a perfect pace for me. The time flew by and I wished it was a bit longer. I understood exactly each technique or concept she was teaching, now I need to put it to practice.
What makes this workshop so valuable are the 45 pages of her own written explanations, charts, diagrams and music notation. It is an easy to review summary of every point she taught in the workshop. She also includes an online appendix for more exploration. There is enough in the 45-pages to practice until her next workshop rolls around.
I have attended many workshops where all you walk away with is what’s in your head and a few pages of sheet music. You are left to try to recap the workshop on your own. Holly gives you the written tools to summarize what she’s taught. Oh, and I loved her enthusiasm! It was inspiring!
~ Carolyn Pendry
It is my delight to recommend Ms. Holly Rudin-Braschi as a wonderful music educator. As the owner of Petaluma School of Music I found Holly to be an enthusiastic, highly qualified, personable, organized, and conscientious music teacher. For over a decade our school has greatly benefited from Holly’s experience, ingenuity, and warmth. Through her years of teaching Holly has inspired and shaped musicians of all ages. She is equally comfortable instructing adults and children. Holly’s adult students have shown great achievement of skill and expressed great musicality. Her younger students have shown incredible technical progress as well as maturity and understanding of musical composition. Holly’s students demonstrate fluid knowledge of musical theory, elegant musicality, and individualism. Holly’s enthusiasm, focus, and personalized lesson plans make her music lessons exciting, informative, and inspiring.
~ Melody Caspari, Owner/Director, Petaluma School of Music
Holly is a pleasure to work with. My seven year old daughter Paula studies ukulele with Holly, loves her and looks forward to her lessons. Holly makes every lesson fun. She is very passionate about teaching and is full of knowledge about music. We could not have asked for a better teacher.
~ Evelyn Oldenburg, Honolulu Hawaii
Holly Rudin Braschi has been my daughter Isabella’s piano instructor for the last two and a half months. During this short time, Mrs. Rudin-Braschi has achieved the impossible; my daughter enjoys playing piano! My daughter is the typical pre-teen with no desire to try new activities. I challenged her to pick an instrument and learn to play, so she selected piano. I selected the best instructor I knew, Holly Rudin-Braschi. With her knowledge and jovial predisposition, Holly has instilled in my child the love for music…something that I had deemed impossible. Holly is a very warm person and approaches students with a wholehearted attitude. It is evident that she has great love and knowledge of music. She also has a great attitude towards teaching. When you put these two together you get the best teacher you could hope for. Holly Rudin-Braschi is an excellent music teacher. She is the teacher I wish I had when I was growing up. I am sure that if that had been the case, I would be a great piano player.
~ Blanca Polo, PhD. Associate Professor Information and Computer Sciences Leeward Community College, Oahu, Hawaii
I have wanted to play the Ukulele for many years, with a goal of playing one particular Paul McCartney ukulele song (Ram On). Being the type who likes to start at the beginning of any new endeavor with a through foundation of the subject at hand, a family friend presented me with Holly’s Ukulele Method book.
With Holly’s book and online videos and new ukulele in hand, I started playing the “introductory songs” immediately while getting my fingers used to changing chords strumming, and reading music. I gained enough confidence that I soon learned the more advanced chords for the McCartney song and, after only two months, I have now learned to play it.
There is a lot of information in this book, presented in an easy-to-understand format with clear illustrations and photographs. It covers everything you need to know to play your ukulele for the first time, includes basic music theory, such as how to read notes on the treble clef, rhythmic values of notes, and progresses to advanced techniques such as combining melody and chords, arpeggios and advanced strumming.
Additionally, there are 86 instructional mp3s you can access on-line, so you can hear how the music should sound. References in the back of the book include interesting facts about ukuleles, how to care for your ukulele, tuning advice, fretboard chart etc. This will be a useful reference as I progress in my knowledge and practice of the ukulele. Five stars for Holly’s Ukulele Method.
~ Greg Longfellow, Petaluma, CA
Holly is a ukulele “maven!” I have played ukulele with and taken ukulele lessons from Holly for many years. She assisted me on many occasions to master difficult ukulele passages for use in a number of professional and semi-professional performances. She is equally at home teaching both children and adults, amateurs and professionals. And such a nice person—it’s fun just to be with her. Thank you Holly!!
~ Bob Gordon, Mill Valley, California
A close friend of mine recommended Holly to us. My son, James, was only 4.5 years old when he started piano lessons with her. Holly was very patient with James, and was able to keep my son’s attention. She always encouraged and motivated James to do his best. Seeing other children playing the ukulele at one of her student recitals sparked James’ interest in learning another musical instrument. At 8 years old, James is now playing both ukulele and piano. Holly is a talented teacher. I would recommend her to anybody who wants to study music.
~ Julita Kurniawan, Petaluma, CA
My daughter, Ruby, has been studying ukulele with Holly for two years, and it has been a wonderful experience. Ruby wanted to learn the ukulele after spending time on Oahu, Hawai’i with her Great, Great Aunties, Ramona and Ethelynne Teves of the Leo Nahenahe Singers. I was thrilled when I found Holly in California. I am a professional classical harpist, and I was looking for a teacher that would provide Ruby with a well-rounded music education. I wanted someone that would teach her to play the instrument well and incorporate music theory and history. Holly has done all of that. She has developed an impressive group of workbooks that the students utilize in conjunction with their practical training. At nine-years-old, Ruby is working on chord progressions, key signatures, dynamics, and rhythmic structure. She plucks and strums interchangeably with ease, and is required to accompanying her own vocals and play duets. I could not be more pleased with the progress Ruby has made in a very short period of time under Holly’s expert tutelage. Ruby is very sad to have Holly leaving California, but is glad that she will be able to take lessons with her when we are visiting family in Honolulu.
~ Heather Paschoal, Petaluma, CA
After studying for six years with Holly, I can say for sure that my musical knowledge has flourished under her wing. She is so very patient with her students, myself included, and is incredibly passionate on all musical levels. She encourages her students with such compassion, and her ability to explain music to students of all ages is extraordinary. I thank Holly every day for being able to sit down at the piano, pick up a guitar, or listen to my sister, who was also a student of Holly’s, play the ukulele and hear the music that can now be so easily created. Holly is a wonderful teacher, and I can’t wait to see how she takes on Hawai’i. Thank you Holly so very much for these last six years. Have an amazing time in your new Hawai’i home!!!!!!!! You’re going to rock it.
~ Love, Abi Burnett, Petaluma, CA
began studying guitar with Holly at age 8 and am now 13 years old. When I first met her, she wasn’t intimidating. She loves people who have a passion for music or anything else. Holly taught me to read music and play chords. Since she will teach you any genre of music that interests you, I studied folk, rock, blues and classical music with her. In general she is a great teacher and anyone who studies with her is really lucky. She is a very high-spirited person and will always make you laugh and bring you up from the ashes. Holly is the best music teacher in the world.
~ Suraj Rajan, Petaluma, CA
I am so grateful that I studied the ukulele with Holly. I gained a strong foundation because of her astute instruction and pacing, clear and comprehensive books, energetic personality and eagerness in answering all questions. The three classes I took were rich in style and content, and gave me the confidence and knowledge to play this beautiful instrument. I would recommend that everyone should have Holly in his or her life.
~ Eszter Freeman, Petaluma, CA
I had the pleasure of taking the Ultra Beginner Ukulele Class at Santa Rosa Junior College in Santa Rosa, California with Holly. Talk about a class exceeding one’s expectations! Holly’s first class was incredible, 20 plus folks, most like me with little or no real knowledge in reading music or understanding of music theory. We got quite a workout in those 6 weeks. Holly taught us finger exercises and how to read music. We learned songs, chords, strums and fingerpicking techniques, as well as an introduction to music theory. We all realized that Holly was The Real Deal. I wanted to learn more and to keep improving my skills. I next took her 6-week Fingerpicking class, which was also quite intense. We learned multiple styles of playing, picking and strumming while we were introduced to some lovely folk songs. The content of the books that she wrote for each class is incredible. Each book is packed with so much information that I have been using them to continue studying and improving my playing.
Holly is a dedicated music teacher. Not only did she work hard to expose us to the most professional style of playing but she made it fun! I would recommend her as a music teacher no matter your age or experience. You will be in for an incredibly exciting and challenging time.
~ Claudia Di Clemente, Boyes Hot Springs, CA
Holly is a great ukulele instructor! I had the pleasure of being her student for two years. In that time I went from knowing nothing about the ukulele to feeling proficient and confident in many ways. I had played music as a child and she reignited my interest in music as an adult. Holly taught me to read music, including how to play chords and notes. I was always impressed with her energy and enthusiasm about music, as well as her ability to make our lessons fun and personal. I am a schoolteacher and she helped tailor my lessons, and the music we played, to suit my teaching needs. Holly introduced me to high-quality music and materials for playing music. When I expressed an interest in playing the piano, Holly was able to meet that need too. She also saw an interest and ability in me to sing while playing and helped work on that skill. It is clear that she has a keen ability to detect and enhance one’s own special talents.
~ Melissa Douthit, Petaluma, CA
Holly is a professional musician and music instructor who has helped me learn to play the ukulele during several classes at Santa Rosa Junior College. She is a warm, kind person who inspires her students with model instruction, encouragement and has a natural ability to help students understand lessons and correct playing technique. It is obvious that she has a deep love of music and teaching as she is very enthusiastic and concerned for her students’ progress.
~ Rich Hovden, Santa Rosa, CA
Our daughters, age 15 and 11, have been taking piano, guitar and ukulele lessons from Holly for almost six years. Not only is Holly an excellent instructor, she has been a great musical role model. Her obvious love and passion for music and teaching comes out in every lesson. Holly emphasizes reading music, music history and the bi-annual recital for family and friends. Both our kids sorely miss Holly already and we think she would be a great choice as a music teacher in Hawai’i.
~ Bruce and Jennifer Burnett, Petaluma, CA
Holly Rudin-Braschi has been an instructor for the Community Education Department at Santa Rosa Junior College since Spring 2007. She teaches all levels of ukulele. Her classes consistently have strong enrollments and she receives excellent student evaluations. She’s a talented and enthusiastic instructor dedicated to improving students’ skills and enjoyment playing the ukulele.
~ Betsy Roberts, Director, Community Education, Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa, CA
I’m a beginner ukulele student and have enjoyed studying with Holly for many reasons. She is not only easy going and enthusiastic but very comprehensive and detailed in her approach to musical instruction. Her written guidebook has been relatively easy to follow and she complements the curriculum with a fun, “don’t worry… enjoy!” attitude toward playing the instrument. I highly recommend joining her and opening up a new adventure in learning. And by the way, if you are at all interested in purchasing a quality ukulele, she’s connected to Kala and can coordinate an extremely value oriented deal for you. Have fun!
~ Steve Takemoto, Santa Rosa, CA
My daughter took guitar and piano lessons from Holly for 5 years. During this time, Holly not only taught my daughter how to play guitar and piano beautifully, but also instilled her with a great deal of confidence. Holly is always patient with her students and treats each one like a star. Her student recitals teach the kids discipline and professionalism, all while having fun and enjoying making music. Holly is a five star teacher!!!
~ Cindy Kennedy, Petaluma, CA
Holly was recommended by a friend who is familiar with the uke scene in Petaluma, CA. This recommendation was followed up by a recommendation from Tall Toad Music Store in Petaluma. Her style of teaching was helpful to me as an adult—and I saw her teach kids. I thought she was great with the children—very supportive and enthusiastic. It is obvious she loves music and teaching. She has authored a very helpful lesson book which proved helpful as scaffolding for her individual work with me. I enjoyed the lessons, learned from them, and was motivated by her enthusiasm that enhanced my learning of the uke.
~ Jane Person, Petaluma, CA
Holly has been an inspiration to me, both with the quality and versatility of her musical ability and with her emphasis on music theory as a foundation for playing.
~ Rene Chouteau, Healdsburg, CA
Holly taught me to read music—this is really exciting to me since I’m over 65 years old! So this old “Dawg” did learn some new tricks, thanks to Holly. (She told us it wasn’t rocket science even though it seemed to be at first.) Her group lessons were fun and full of interesting “asides” about the songs we were learning. I definitely learned a lot and I am continuing to learn new music thanks to the groundwork I mastered in Holly’s classes. I have no trouble recommending Holly’s methods to new and “old” uke players!
~ Ronni Madrid, Santa Rosa, CA
Whether you are a new ukulele player or simply want to continue your journey as an advanced student, you can’t go wrong with Holly as your instructor and her exclusive teaching method. Holly is energetic and more than entertaining… she is a hoot! I recommend that you try it because you will certainly like it! I am enrolling again to continue my music education. Thanks Holly… see you online.
~ Kent Swisher, Santa Rosa, CA
For the first time in my life, I understood music theory while studying piano with Holly… and it was FUN! Her piano instruction gave me the confidence to learn to play the ukulele.
~ Mary Sisler, Petaluma, CA
I enjoyed my lessons with Holly from the first day. I found Holly to be an excellent musician and teacher with a charming sense of humor—the perfect mix of professional and friendly. Now, after less than one year of lessons I can confidently play many songs on my ukulele. I would highly recommend Holly to anyone interested in ukulele, guitar or beginning piano lessons.
~ Julie Simpson, Student, Petaluma CA