The award-winning Senior Staff at Music Notes Academy is comprised of artist teachers, performing musicians, college professors and public and private school teachers who all have unique and specialized musical backgrounds.

Our Senior Staff of private music teachers work with each student to become proficient in their preferred instrument and area of musical study. Students may pursue a love of music through our in-studio music lessons at our East Brunswick or Whitehouse Station Academy locations.

Brandon Kurzawa, B.M., M.Ed. Founder | Director
Brandon Kurzawa started teaching music since 2000. Mr. Kurzawa has successfully prepared students for Jazz Band auditions, NJ Regions and All-State Auditions, music evaluations, student performances, and has instructed percussion ensembles, rock bands and university master classes specializing in percussion. Brandon was an adjunct professor of music production and audio engineering from 2007-2009.

Brandon studied music at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Rutgers University and a Masters of Arts in Education, specializing in curriculum, instruction and computer education from University of Phoenix.

Brandon recorded with singer Amanda Avila (2005 American Idol contestant, Smokey Robinson), acclaimed singer-songwriter Anthony Krizan (Lenny Kravitz, The Spin Doctors) and performed regularly as a freelance musician throughout the New York metropolitan area from 1998 through 2008 with singer-songwriters, Jazz musicians and rock bands.

In 1995 Brandon appeared in Promark Drumstick’s “Not Yet Famous Drummer” promotional advertising campaign which appeared internationally in Modern Drummer magazine and The Music Paper. Mr. Kurzawa, an award winning musician, was an adjudicator for student evaluations and New Jersey’s Teen Arts Festival and is an educational endorsee and contributor for Vic Firth, Inc., the largest manufacturer of drumsticks and mallets.

Recording credits include drums on Ansel Matthews’ Raised From The Dust and drums and percussion on John Sonntag’s 2006 critically acclaimed release Chasing Stars, which was number four in New Jersey’s Top Ten 2006 Releases by Courier News. As a member of Indie-Rock band Violet Truth, Brandon recorded drums and percussion and toured nationally in support of their 2000 release Candy Coated.

Brandon’s publications “Teaching Music, Teaching Percussion: A Balance in Curriculum” appeared in Tempo Magazine’s October 2006 issue and “Teaching Music: Music Majors, Choose Education” appeared in Tempo Magazine’s May 2007 issue. In 2007, Music Notes Academy and Mr. Kurzawa were recognized by Metropolitan Who’s Who for excellence, leadership and achievement in the profession of music education.

Mr. Kurzawa has instructed music at Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ), Kean University (Union, NJ) and was an adjunct professor of audio engineering and music production at Gibbs College (Livingston, NJ) from 2007-2009. In 2009, Brandon became a sponsored artist for Shine Custom Drums and a REMO HealthRhythms trained facilitator for drum circles. In 2012, Brandon and Music Notes Academy were presented with New Jersey’s Small Business Development Center’s Small Business Success Award.

Stephen Agnew, B.A., M.A.T. Director of Education
Stephen, Senior Staff music teacher, has been playing piano since he was five years old and guitar since he was eleven. He holds a B.A. in Music from Hamilton College and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Montclair State University. Besides playing piano and guitar, he is also well versed in music theory, composition, music technology and recording.

Stephen has over a decade of experience working with children. For the last six years, he has specialized in early childhood education, working for three years as a music enrichment instructor for infants through kindergarten and the other three years as a teacher for children ages 3-4. He frequently incorporates music into his teaching, providing children with opportunities to sing, dance, make and play instruments, create original songs, read musical notation and listen to music from various cultures.

A member of The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Stephen is particularly interested in introducing young children to the joys of music. He passionately believes that appreciating and understanding music is essential to leading a well-rounded life, and he incorporates this passion into his teaching.

Stephen has been teaching piano, guitar and music theory at Music Notes Academy since January 2011, created and developed our LittleNotes Early Childhood Music program and teaches our Music Notes In Your School program which offers private schools in New Jersey with a music program. In September 2014, Stephen became our Director of Education for our East Brunswick, NJ Academy. In 2015, Stephen re-launched our Rock Band program at our East Brunswick Academy and started teaching music at our Whitehouse Station Academy location.

Sean Ryan, B.M.Chairperson of Band & Orchestra Instrument Studies
Sean, Senior Staff teacher, graduated from The College of New Jersey with a Bachelor’s of Music Education. Sean is a member of the Music Educators National Conference (MENC) and New Jersey Music Educators Association (NJMEA). Sean has taught instrumental music in New Jersey public school districts including Paramus, Ridgewood, Hackensack and Morristown.

An experienced teacher of saxophone, clarinet, strings, piano and music composition, Sean is also a conductor and is the music and artistic director of The Glen Rock Pops. A composer of merit and with seven completed symphonies, Sean has additionally composed, transcribed and arranged repertoire for bands, orchestras and various chamber ensembles and solo compositions.

His compositions and arrangements have been performed and recorded by the Paramus High School Orchestra, community bands in Bergen County, New Jersey, including the Teaneck Community Band and The Glen Rock Pops. A distinguished member of ASCAP, Sean has written various scores for several independent films such as Save and Once in a Full Moon and recently completed the music for the independent film One Angry Man starring legendary comedian Jackie Mason. Sean began teaching music with Music Notes Academy in 2009.

Learn Today, Play Tomorrow®

Contact us to get started with your music education at our East Brunswick or Whitehouse Station Academy. (732) 238-2828.