Vargas Conservatory of Music - Claremont

Private lessons in a relaxed and encouraging environment at the Claremont Packing House. Enjoy a fu Enjoy a fun learning approach that inspires and motivates.

Whether for relaxation or personal enjoyment, learning is rewarding for students of all ages. Intermediates improve your music theory and enhance your technique. Take advantage of private, one-on-one lessons given in a relaxed and encouraging environment. Traditional methods are tailored to fit your interests and expectations.

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Vargas Conservatory of Music's 2016/2017 Winter Piano Recital 01/04/2017

Vargas Conservatory of Music's 2016/2017 Winter Piano Recital

Hi Everyone! We had a bug with the ticketing process that didn't allow folks to buy tickets, but the problem is now resolved! Please click on the link below and get them while they last!

Vargas Conservatory of Music's 2016/2017 Winter Piano Recital The Vargas Conservatory of Music is proud to invite you to its 2016/2017 Winter Piano Recital for students! Beginner students and their families are invited to participate in the first segment, from 12:30PM - 2:30PM, and advanced students and their families are invited to attend the second segment...

06/05/2016

Michael Vargas rehearsing before the recital

Vargas Conservatory of Music's 2016 Summer Piano Recital 05/15/2016

Vargas Conservatory of Music's 2016 Summer Piano Recital

The Vargas Conservatory of Music's summer recital is just around the corner - get your tickets today!

Vargas Conservatory of Music's 2016 Summer Piano Recital The Vargas Conservatory of Music is proud to invite you to its 2016 summer Piano Recital for students! Beginner students and their families are invited to participate in the first segment, from 12:30PM - 2:30PM, and advanced students and their families are invited to attend the second segment, fro...

Vargas Conservatory of Music's 2016 Winter Piano Recital 01/05/2016

Vargas Conservatory of Music's 2016 Winter Piano Recital

If you're in or around Claremont on January 17th, come by and see the amazing talent that my brother helps to foster at the Vargas Conservatory of Music's Winter Recital!

Vargas Conservatory of Music's 2016 Winter Piano Recital The Vargas Conservatory of Music is proud to invite you to its 2016 winter Piano Recital for students. We are returning to Lyman Hall at Pomona College for our recital venue and will again have two segments of the program with an intermission in between. Beginner students and their families are i…

Vargas Conservatory of Music's 2016 Winter Piano Recital 01/05/2016

Vargas Conservatory of Music's 2016 Winter Piano Recital

Tickets for the 2016 Winter Recital are now available through Eventbrite - we can't wait to hear the great performances from our students!

Vargas Conservatory of Music's 2016 Winter Piano Recital The Vargas Conservatory of Music is proud to invite you to its 2016 winter Piano Recital for students. We are returning to Lyman Hall at Pomona College for our recital venue and will again have two segments of the program with an intermission in between. Beginner students and their families are i…

Recital 2015 06/22/2015

Recital 2015

Timeline photos 12/30/2014

Happy Holidays!!!

Mobile uploads 12/13/2014

The second location of the Vargas Conservatory of Music is now open!

Four or Eight 30-Minute Private Piano Lessons at Vargas Conservatory of Music (Up to 54% Off) 12/02/2014

Four or Eight 30-Minute Private Piano Lessons at Vargas Conservatory of Music (Up to 54% Off)

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Give the gift of music this holiday season - we are offering our Groupon again for new students and friends of existing students! Prices for the Groupon will go up next year so take advantage of this deal while you can!!!

Four or Eight 30-Minute Private Piano Lessons at Vargas Conservatory of Music (Up to 54% Off) The instructor keeps piano lessons fun by selecting tunes to fit each student and encouraging his charges to excel

Glenn Gould In Rapture 09/16/2014

Glenn Gould In Rapture

A brief glimpse into the mind of a genius.

Glenn Gould In Rapture You don't get to see this too often: a man (in this case, a very talented man) totally possessed by his muse. Watch pianist Glenn Gould deep in what psychologists call "a flow state."

Our Second Recital 05/21/2014

The Vargas Conservatory of Music's Second Piano Recital!
Photos courtesy of tracigilesphoto.com

Timeline photos 05/19/2014

Congratulations to all our students who performed so wonderfully!

Photos from Vargas Conservatory of Music - Claremont's post 04/23/2014

Photos from Vargas Conservatory of Music - Claremont's post

Timeline photos 03/31/2014

Timeline photos

Bach To The Basics

As we celebrate the birthday of one of Western music’s most influential and prominent composers, Johann Sebastian Bach (March 31, 1685), I’ve decided to catalog his pieces that I have performed. My mind has been escaping me lately; I’ve performed so many pieces I want to catalog them before I forget what I have performed. I recently began to re-learn one of his pieces that I haven’t performed in over ten years. While browsing through the Bach section of my library I discovered that I have performed more Bach pieces than any other composer – something I did not realize until just now.

Chorale prelude, Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ
(I call to you, Lord Jesus Christ) BWV 639
Invention No. 1 in C Major, BWV 772
Invention No. 4 in D minor, BWV 775
Invention No. 8 in F Major, BWV 779
Invention No. 13 in A minor, BWV 784
Sinfonia No.2 in C minor, BWV 788
Prelude and Fuge No. 1 in C Major BWV 846
Prelude and Fuge No. 5 in D Major BWV 850
Prelude and Fuge No.8 in E Flat/D Sharp minor BWV 853
Prelude and Fuge No. 10 in E minor BWV 855
Prelude and Fuge No. 19 in A Major BWV 864
Prelude and Fuge No. 23 in B Major BWV 868
French Suite No. 2 in C minor
BWV 813
Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major BWV 1068: II. Air (kind of mandatory if you ever get a wedding gig).

If your reading this, do yourself a favor and visit Youtube. Of course when it comes to performing Bach my personal biggest influence artistically is Glenn Gould. However, while I was under study my professors didn’t agree so I was forced to develop my own individual style.

As a pianist I am pleased that I had a professor in college that absolutely insisted that I dedicate so much time to learning just a few pieces composed by Bach, just a drop in the bucket – keep in mind the man composed over 1,100 serious works for all forms of music that are revered for their intellectual depth, technical command, and artistic beauty 264 years after his death!

Any pianist will gladly inform you how difficult it is to learn his contrapuntal compositions and instrumental voicing that sets the foundation for pristine piano performances by other composers. I remember I used to cringe every semester when my professor would demand that I pick a new piece by Bach to learn. Now I am grateful that I have the ability to understand the mechanical and creative side of performing – any other composer is so much easier to learn after mastering, no not mastering, but understanding Bach. What did Chopin demand that all his students learn? Take a wild guess – Bach. What composer made Glenn Gould’s career over 200 years after his death? Bach. What composer laid the biggest influence to the most influential jazz pianist to date Bill Evans? Bach.
Glücklicher Geburtstag Herr Bach, und, Ich bin Ihnen sehr dankbar mit tiefer Dankbarkeit!!! You’ve made the world a better place.

Michael Vargas

Timeline photos 03/31/2014

Bach To The Basics

As we celebrate the birthday of one of Western music’s most influential and prominent composers, Johann Sebastian Bach (March 31, 1685), I’ve decided to catalog his pieces that I have performed. My mind has been escaping me lately; I’ve performed so many pieces I want to catalog them before I forget what I have performed. I recently began to re-learn one of his pieces that I haven’t performed in over ten years. While browsing through the Bach section of my library I discovered that I have performed more Bach pieces than any other composer – something I did not realize until just now.

Chorale prelude, Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ
(I call to you, Lord Jesus Christ) BWV 639
Invention No. 1 in C Major, BWV 772
Invention No. 4 in D minor, BWV 775
Invention No. 8 in F Major, BWV 779
Invention No. 13 in A minor, BWV 784
Sinfonia No.2 in C minor, BWV 788
Prelude and Fuge No. 1 in C Major BWV 846
Prelude and Fuge No. 5 in D Major BWV 850
Prelude and Fuge No.8 in E Flat/D Sharp minor BWV 853
Prelude and Fuge No. 10 in E minor BWV 855
Prelude and Fuge No. 19 in A Major BWV 864
Prelude and Fuge No. 23 in B Major BWV 868
French Suite No. 2 in C minor
BWV 813
Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major BWV 1068: II. Air (kind of mandatory if you ever get a wedding gig).

If your reading this, do yourself a favor and visit Youtube. Of course when it comes to performing Bach my personal biggest influence artistically is Glenn Gould. However, while I was under study my professors didn’t agree so I was forced to develop my own individual style.

As a pianist I am pleased that I had a professor in college that absolutely insisted that I dedicate so much time to learning just a few pieces composed by Bach, just a drop in the bucket – keep in mind the man composed over 1,100 serious works for all forms of music that are revered for their intellectual depth, technical command, and artistic beauty 264 years after his death!

Any pianist will gladly inform you how difficult it is to learn his contrapuntal compositions and instrumental voicing that sets the foundation for pristine piano performances by other composers. I remember I used to cringe every semester when my professor would demand that I pick a new piece by Bach to learn. Now I am grateful that I have the ability to understand the mechanical and creative side of performing – any other composer is so much easier to learn after mastering, no not mastering, but understanding Bach. What did Chopin demand that all his students learn? Take a wild guess – Bach. What composer made Glenn Gould’s career over 200 years after his death? Bach. What composer laid the biggest influence to the most influential jazz pianist to date Bill Evans? Bach.
Glücklicher Geburtstag Herr Bach, und, Ich bin Ihnen sehr dankbar mit tiefer Dankbarkeit!!! You’ve made the world a better place.

Michael Vargas

Timeline photos 08/07/2013

George Duke dies at 67; keyboardist was jazz-fusion pioneer
In a career stretching over five decades, George Duke found common ground between jazz and rock.

Keyboardist George Duke, one of the pioneers of the jazz-fusion movement that merged jazz, rock and funk in the late 1960s and 1970s, died Monday in Los Angeles, where he was being treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, his record label announced. He was 67.
The Northern California native was one of the leading forces in bringing jazz and rock together, genres that not only were typically separate in the 1950s and early '60s, but whose proponents often were philosophically at odds. Duke found the common ground between the styles.
In a career stretching over five decades, Duke collaborated with a wide range of musicians, among them Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Barry Manilow, Dizzy Gillespie, Al Jarreau, Don Ellis, Cannonball Adderley, Nancy Wilson and Joe Williams.
"His 1969 date with violinist Jean Luc Ponty at Thee Experience, a club on the Sunset Strip, was attended by Zappa, Adderley, Quincy Jones and others and was one of the seminal events in West Coast fusion," jazz writer Bill Kohlhaase wrote in The Times in 1997.
The scorching performance led Duke to perform with Zappa and his band, the Mothers of Invention, for most of 1970. While writing music with Zappa, Duke was exposed to musical styles that included rock, proto-funk and European avant-garde experiments. Zappa also taught him the basics of record production and helped him see the potential of electronic music.
In 1975, Duke embarked on a solo career, recording so many of own albums he claimed to have lost track of the exact number. By one count, he released more than 30 solo works; several of his early albums, including "Faces in Reflection" and "Liberated Fantasies," are regarded as jazz and jazz-funk classics.
At first, jazz critics did not react favorably to his combinations of funk, disco and soul elements nor to the variety of musicians with whom he performed. Duke once told Downbeat magazine that Leonard Feather, a longtime jazz critic for The Times, "quit writing about me. He just chalked it up as a loss for jazz.... But an artist has to be allowed to do what he wants to do."
Duke also became a producer of note of jazz and pop artists, including the Pointer Sisters, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson and Melissa Manchester. In 2000, Duke won a Grammy Award as producer of Dianne Reeves' "In the Moment — Live in Concert," which was named jazz album of the year.
Born Jan. 12, 1946, in San Rafael, Calif., Duke started playing piano at age 7 on an upright he once said his mother bought for $15. He performed with high school jazz groups and later said the music he heard at church influenced his funk sound.
While in college, Duke played in a house band at San Francisco's Half Note with Jarreau and regularly backed big names in jazz. Duke earned a bachelor's degree in 1967 from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a master's in 1970 from San Francisco State.
Through Adderley, Duke met jazz-rock bassist Stanley Clarke and formed the Clarke/Duke Project, which had a Top 20 crossover hit, "Sweet Baby," in the early 1980s.
Duke's wife, Corine, died of cancer last year, a loss that hit him hard. He had two children, Rashid and John.
"I didn't feel like creating any music," he said, "which was odd, because normally that's the easiest thing for me to do." But after months of grieving, he returned to the studio and recorded a new album, "DreamWeaver," as a tribute to her. It was released last month.
"I don't want people to get the idea that this is a morbid record," Duke said in an interview issued by his label, Concord Records, "because it's more about celebration."

By Randy Lewis Copyright © 2013, Los Angeles Times

06/24/2013

Ah! They all performed so wonderfully. So terrifically, so fantastically, so flawlessly, so effortlessly, so wonderfully. All of them. Ah1! I am at a loss of words. So proud of each and every one. Thank you.

Timeline photos 06/24/2013

Instructor Corey with one of his students at the first annual Vargas Conservatory recital.

Timeline photos 06/24/2013

First annual recital for the Vargas Conservatory of Music

Timeline photos 06/24/2013

Timeline photos

Our First Recital 06/23/2013

Special Thanks to The Hip Kitty for hosting our recital. Also a special thank you to Enchanted Portraiture for the wonderful photographs!

Timeline photos 06/22/2013

Haven't paid for a cup of coffee all year :)

Jeremy Denk: A Life in Piano Lessons 06/08/2013

Jeremy Denk: A Life in Piano Lessons

Jeremy Denk: A Life in Piano Lessons I’ve often rolled my eyes at the music-lesson cliches of movies: the mind games and power plays, the teacher with the quaint European accent who says, “You will never make it, you are not a real musician.” But as I recalled memories of lessons I’d had, I wondered if my story was all that different.

Timeline photos 05/18/2013

Even Harry Potter appreciates the value of piano lessons!

03/03/2013

Today's Parent 2013

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Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 639

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