WHO WE ARE

Rachel Lipson is the founder of Blue Balloon. She was a preschool teacher at St. Ann’s School in Brooklyn until 2010 before starting the company. She is also an accomplished performer and songwriter. Her own music is defined by WNYC as “stripped-down, understated, dream-like songs which have one foot in Woody Guthrie territory and the other in the avant garde.” Rachel has toured Europe and the UK and recorded twice at BBC Radio One in London following the UK release of her album “Pastures”. Her latest album “Tip Top” features some of our Blue Balloon students!

Extremely Personalized Service

Rachel is your main point of contact and interacts personally with every single parent, working to align the styles of our arsenal of 30+ teachers with the goals you and your child have for their music lesson experience. We call this “musical matchmaking”. She personally hires and vets every single teacher and has set the bar super high, only hiring the most incredible musicians and teachers in NYC.

Below is a sampling of the extraordinary teachers we have on staff. Rachel will work to match you with a teacher that is, quite simply, a perfect fit for your child based on availability and skill set. All Blue Balloon teachers specialize in a particular instrument and also teach songwriting.

Lily Chapin can teach you songwriting with guitar, piano, voice, or all three!  As a child, music was the landscape of her family, from her grandfather, a revered jazz drummer, to her dad and uncles, all three singer songwriters.  She is keeping the family tradition alive with her band, The Chapin Sisters (with her sister Abigail Chapin).   She has performed and toured with She and Him, Music Go Music and Harper Simon, and has appeared on recordings for artists including Lavender Diamond, Gary Loures, Will Oldham, Vetiver, and her father, grammy award winning troubadour Tom Chapin  

Lily Chapin

can teach you songwriting with guitar, piano, voice, or all three!  As a child, music was the landscape of her family, from her grandfather, a revered jazz drummer, to her dad and uncles, all three singer songwriters.  She is keeping the family tradition alive with her band, The Chapin Sisters (with her sister Abigail Chapin).   She has performed and toured with She and Him, Music Go Music and Harper Simon, and has appeared on recordings for artists including Lavender Diamond, Gary Loures, Will Oldham, Vetiver, and her father, grammy award winning troubadour Tom Chapin

 

Laura Brenneman can teach songwriting on voice, piano, guitar and ukulele. She is a composer with over 10 years of teaching experience in the NYC area. She has been a teaching artist for Theatreworks! USA, Packer Collegiate Institute and the Berkeley Carroll School. Recent theatrical projects include arrangements and accompaniment for “The Threepenny Opera” (Atlantic Theatre Company) and music and lyrics for “Fox versus the Kingdom” (St. Ann’s Warehouse). Laura garnered her undergraduate training in composition at UCLA, and is currently pursuing an advanced degree in music education at Hunter College.

Laura Brenneman

can teach songwriting on voice, piano, guitar and ukulele. She is a composer with over 10 years of teaching experience in the NYC area. She has been a teaching artist for Theatreworks! USAPacker Collegiate Institute and the Berkeley Carroll School. Recent theatrical projects include arrangements and accompaniment for “The Threepenny Opera” (Atlantic Theatre Company) and music and lyrics for “Fox versus the Kingdom” (St. Ann’s Warehouse). Laura garnered her undergraduate training in composition at UCLA, and is currently pursuing an advanced degree in music education at Hunter College.

Evan Taylor can teach you drums, piano, guitar, bass, and ukelele. He served as the producer, drummer, and band leader for Bernie Worrell of Parliament Funkadelic and the musical director and multi-instrumentalist for Jimmy Destri of Blondie. Evan has produced albums in New York and Los Angeles. He enjoys teaching and inspiring the next generation of talented musicians.

Evan Taylor

can teach you drums, piano, guitar, bass, and ukelele. He served as the producer, drummer, and band leader for Bernie Worrell of Parliament Funkadelic and the musical director and multi-instrumentalist for Jimmy Destri of Blondie. Evan has produced albums in New York and Los Angeles. He enjoys teaching and inspiring the next generation of talented musicians.

Lauren Balthrop can teach you songwriting on guitar, piano, ukulele and voice! Lauren started taking piano and voice lessons when she was 8 years old and learned how to play the guitar in high school. She has three bands of her own, Dear Georgiana, Balthrop, Alabama and The Bandana Splits, and has done extensive touring with Elizabeth & the Catapult, Ximena Sariñana, Dawn Landes, and Sara Bareilles. Lauren is currently pursuing a degree in Music Education at Hunter College. She’s worked with kids for many years and loves interacting with and engaging their young creative minds!

Lauren Balthrop

can teach you songwriting on guitar, piano, ukulele and voice! Lauren started taking piano and voice lessons when she was 8 years old and learned how to play the guitar in high school. She has three bands of her own, Dear GeorgianaBalthrop, Alabama and The Bandana Splits, and has done extensive touring with Elizabeth & the Catapult, Ximena Sariñana, Dawn Landes, and Sara Bareilles. Lauren is currently pursuing a degree in Music Education at Hunter College. She’s worked with kids for many years and loves interacting with and engaging their young creative minds!

Michael Leviton can teach you songwriting with guitar, piano, and ukulele! Michael has released three albums, contributed music to HBO’s Bored To Death, toured the U.S. with They Might Be Giants, and worked as on-set ukulele coach for movie stars. Michael is the author of the children’s picture book, MY FIRST GHOST (Disney Books), about how to be friends with ghosts, has been published in The New York Times MODERN LOVE and featured on NPR’s THIS AMERICAN LIFE. Michael also teaches at Avenues: The World School and The Gotham Writers Workshop and writes and performs in his own band, A Man Of Ideas.

Michael Leviton

can teach you songwriting with guitar, piano, and ukulele! Michael has released three albums, contributed music to HBO’s Bored To Death, toured the U.S. with They Might Be Giants, and worked as on-set ukulele coach for movie stars. Michael is the author of the children’s picture book, MY FIRST GHOST (Disney Books), about how to be friends with ghosts, has been published in The New York Times MODERN LOVE and featured on NPR’s THIS AMERICAN LIFE. Michael also teaches at Avenues: The World School and The Gotham Writers Workshop and writes and performs in his own band, A Man Of Ideas.

Maia Friedman can teach songwriting on voice, guitar and piano. She has been singing since she was a child, and has been writing original music since middle school. Maia has a degree in music composition from Bennington College. She has sung and played in many bands and ensembles, and writes, sings and plays in her own band based out of NYC called Uni Ika Ainamed after a favorite Japanese dish she loved to eat with her father. Maia has been working with kids for more than fifteen years, and loves their creative, inquisitive minds, and unique ways of looking at the world!

Maia Friedman

can teach songwriting on voice, guitar and piano. She has been singing since she was a child, and has been writing original music since middle school. Maia has a degree in music composition from Bennington College. She has sung and played in many bands and ensembles, and writes, sings and plays in her own band based out of NYC called Uni Ika Ainamed after a favorite Japanese dish she loved to eat with her father. Maia has been working with kids for more than fifteen years, and loves their creative, inquisitive minds, and unique ways of looking at the world!

You can also check out our Instagram and Facebook pages for more teacher profiles.