Music Educator, Composer, Pianist, Writer

Mark Christopher Brandt

Piano Lessons.  All Ages.  All Styles.  Affordable Rates.  27 Years Experience.  Also offering beginner, intermediate and advanced lessons in music theory, composition/arranging.  Improvisation in all styles for all ages and all instruments.  In Studio or Online Lessons Available.

ADVENT TO EASTER

It is my personal belief that God does not place children under us so that we may become as gods to them. God places children under us that we may bow before Him as we stoop to serve them. I look forward to serving you with my gifts of song.

JOIN MY WAITING LIST!

EASTER TO THANKSGIVING

Come and see why I have maintained a steady stream of satisfied students and families for over 27 years based solely on word-of-mouth advertising.

JOIN MY WAITING LIST!

WELCOME

Welcome to the wonderful world of music lessons! I hope the time we spend together will be a truly uplifting experience that will unfold new layers of joy over the course of your entire life. I have former students who still come for visits and even brush up lessons dating back to 1993! My private instruction studio has remained at capacity since I first opened it in 2000. Before that I taught in a music studio where I developed my personal style and approach to teaching which has resulted in a non-stop stream of students based solely on word-of-mouth advertising for twenty years. I have not advertised my studio or my teaching skills in any trades, magazines, or newspapers since the first year of my opening.

 

I believe that each person is created by God in a unique and individual way so I do not use a cookie-cutter approach or method with my students. While some method books have proven to be tried and true in their presentation of musical material, no two students learn the same way. This is where I excel as a musical guide. I study and celebrate the different creative talents, gifts and abilities in every single person and then I apply the appropriate method book or books.

 

I do not offer recitals for my students. While the pandemic has stopped activities like that I actually never did offer recitals. My focus is on the joy of music within the artist and the validation which comes from conquering one’s self while growing in self esteem and self awareness. The personal rewards which occur when a musician is alone at his or her instrument pursuing self discipline, self denial, and accomplishing his or her personal goals of self improvement far outweigh the roar of applause or the empty compliments which are dying away in the heart of the artist even as they commence.

 

I welcome you and I look forward to our first lesson together! Everything you need to get started is right here at my website.

INFO

TRADITIONAL PIANO LESSONS

ADVANCED PIANO LESSONS

IN STUDIO LESSON POLICY

For students ages 6 or older. One half hour lesson same time each week. Four lessons per month. One monthly payment $95.00. Scheduling is based on teacher availability. Monday thru Thursday only.

Call my landline to inquire: (703) 369-0965

Email: BrownScapularRules@gmail.com

ONLINE LESSONS

Email me and we will set up lessons and payments using Paypal or Venmo. FaceTime and Zoom lessons are available.

In Studio Policy

For committed students ages 7 or older. One hour lesson same time each week. Four lessons per month. One monthly payment $200.00. Scheduling is based on teacher availability. Monday thru Thursday only.

Call my landline to inquire: (703) 369-0965

Email: BrownScapularRules@gmail.com

PAY-AS-YOU-GO LESSONS

For professional musicians, college students, theory and arranging students and adult students (from all walks of life) ONLY! One hour lesson is $50.00. Scheduling for pay-as-you-go students is based on the goals of the student and teacher availability. Monday thru Thursday. Fridays and Saturdays are available for these students upon request and subject to teacher availability.

Call my landline to inquire: (703) 369-0965

Email: BrownScapularRules@gmail.com

 

Please specify "Music Lessons" in the subject line of your email.  I look forward to hearing from you!

BIO

Compiled from verified, reliable sources, multiple articles and interviews.

 

Mark Christopher Brandt (born February 2, 1961) is an American composer, pianist, bandleader and writer.  HIs middle name Christopher comes from the Greek name, Christophoros which means “bearing Christ.”  It is derived from Christos combined with phero and translates literally as “Christ bearer,” or “one who carries Christ.”  Since December 25, 1991  Mark has been an unapologetic follower of Jesus Christ and His teachings, as found in the Catholic Church.  He considers the use of his middle name crucial to both his public and private life.

 

Mark has operated a successful private instruction studio, built solely on word-of-mouth advertising, since 1991.  In 2011, he received the Virginia Governor's School Award for exemplary service and dedication to education.  Many of Mark's students have achieved high honors and scholarships at both the high school and the collegiate level. Many have successful careers in the music industry as performers, educators, producers, and engineers.

 

Mark’s first musical performance was during his sixth grade year at an assembly for his elementary school.  At the request of his music teacher, Mark performed an original composition, Heartbeat, and there discovered his desire to share what was occurring within him musically.  Like all accomplished composers and instrumentalists, Mark honed his skills performing as a side man and an accompanist for many years.

 

Since his first professional performance in 1977, Mark has shared the bandstand with a variety of artists, from the famous to the obscure, in performances on television, in theaters, large and small venues of every kind and in in every genre of music.   Mark’s experience as a composer spans classical to country and includes a Rap and Hip Hop piece he was commissioned to create for the Ramada Renaissance Hotel’s “We’re Somebody Special” Corporate Ad Campaign that took place in the early 1990’s.

 

Before graduating high school in 1979, Mark was already an experienced performer and had appeared at some of the major venues in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia, Maryland area, including the Main Stage at Wolf Trap in Vienna, Virginia. The United States Navy Band Commodores sent a recruiter to Mark but he respectfully declined their   offer hoping for a deeper artistic freedom than a career in the military would ultimately provide him with.

 

Mark studied classical composition and piano performance at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. (1979-1982), and jazz composition at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts (1983-1984).  While attending Catholic University, Mark was actively performing with many of the East Coast’s most reputable musicians in almost every jazz club that was open for business.  The group with which Mark regularly performed opened for several nationally recognized groups, including Tim Eyermann and the East Coast Offering, and Maynard Ferguson’s Big Band.

 

While attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, (Upon arriving in 1984 Mark tested out of their entire undergrad harmony and theory programs), Mark’s talents were noticed by the faculty, who invited him to sessions with them as well as sessions with other students who, like Mark would go on to achieve successful careers in music.  Upon completing his education at Berklee Mark left the Boston area, settling in central Florida.

 

While playing in Florida, Mark became a member of a prominent group playing Top 40’s hits and country music.  As the group grew in popularity (1985), the opportunity to sign with a label in Nashville appeared.  Mark passed on the offer, remaining focused on his personal dream of being a composer and a performer of his own music, free from category and genre.  In an attempt to gain objectivity, Mark left that group and moved to Georgia, where he packed up his musical gear and worked odd jobs in order to gain a fresh view of his artistic options. It was during this time that he met his future wife Ramonie.  They were married in April of 1989.

 

When Mark’s long-time friend Geoff Thaler (woodwinds) discovered that Mark was not attached to a group, he invited him to come back to the Northern Virginia area, which Mark did in December of 1986.  The two immediately began working together professionally and started to collaborate in the realization of their life-long dream of playing and recording their own music.  In March 1987, they debuted compositions from both their portfolios at Blues Alley, Washington D.C., in a fusion/funk group, Syncron.  Shortly after this performance, Mark and Geoff replaced their rhythm section with two phenomenal musicians (Dallas Smith, electric bass and Stan McMullen, drums) who would work with them for the next eight years.

 

By 1991, Mark again became known as one of the top jazz musicians in the tri-state area and was starting to gain national attention.  Hoping to breach the fear of launching himself as an artist under his own name, Mark released a recording of his jazz trio (Warmup 1994) for limited circulation.  The hint of success it brought was all he needed to move forward with his own music.  By 1995, Mark’s first recording of originals - a duo project with longtime friend and woodwind master Geoff Thaler - was completed and titled Veritas.  This became the catalyst for two more projects and multiple performances with Geoff.

 

As well-known jazz labels, and national artists began to take notice of Mark and his music, he began studying his options and learning more about the music business.  Mark ultimately decided to start his own independent record label and produce, release, promote and sell his recordings under that banner.  Before the Internet became the glut of music that has been since the late 90’s, Mark’s music was selling all over the globe.  To this day he is still selling his music online under his own label, Lionheart Music East, with sixteen projects to his name.

 

After his 1999/2000 New Year’s performance at the Cosmos Club in Washington D.C., Mark decided to step away from performing so that he could be close to his wife and to his children during their young years.  During this break, he built one of the most reputable teaching studios on the East Coast, regularly placing students with scholarships into the top music colleges and universities in America.

 

In these first few years of the new millennium, Mark was asked to lead the Holy Rosary at his home parish of All Saints in Manassas, Virginia on Saturday mornings.   He has been leading the Rosary in his parish every Saturday morning since he was first asked to do so, and in 2016 his Rosary meditations were approved by the Catholic Diocese of Arlington and published in a book titled A Year of Favor.  This book was followed with a book of Mark’s meditations on the Stations of the Cross, also published with ecclesiastical approval, titled His Footsteps Your Calvary.

 

From 2008 until 2014, Mark was a sponsor for the annual Chantilly High School Invitational Jazz Festival. The festival, which for over 35 years took place at Chantilly High School in Virginia, was, at the time of Mark’s arrival and his departure as sponsor, the largest of its kind on the East Coast.  Mark remains at the top of the list as the “go to” instructor for piano, composition and improvisation lessons for all instruments. His students include many of the Washington, D.C. area's professional musicians, seeking him out for polish and refinement of their improvisational skills.

 

In 2008, Mark returned to the world of performing with a new jazz trio, and began to use his middle name, Christopher, professionally, wishing to be known, not just as an artist, but as an artist who carries Christ.  After the release of Worth The Wait (2010), Mark and bassist Shaun Jurek became the East Coast Duo, moving successfully into the club, hotel, and private party circuit that Mark trafficked as a young jazz pianist in the late 70’s and early 80’s, and again in the late 90’s before his 2000 hiatus.  Adding a drummer for a second trio CD, this one of Christmas classics, December Moment (2014) received a glowing review from Downbeat Magazine.  Mark and Shaun began to fill the calendar year with performance after performance, becoming one of the most respected and most working jazz groups on the East Coast.  The duo remained active until the spring of 2020 when the pandemic caused the two musicians to amiably disband.

 

While collaborating with multiple artists and performing with the East Coast Duo, Mark released a double CD of piano solos, This Side of Forever (2012), and two completely Improvised solo piano recordings, Seven Moons (2015) and Seven Gifts (2016), which feature the music he created on the spot with cameras rolling in his educational DVD series on improvisation.

 

Between 2013 and 2016, Mark collaborated with well-known guitarist Dan Leonard in a group they called No Explanations.  Together, they produced three CD’s and a documentary DVD: Round Trip, The Making of an Artist, which has premiered in film festivals all over the world and been translated into both Italian and Polish.

 

In 2017, Mark began composing music for flutist Yana Nikol, and cellist Katherine Colburn in a programatic collaboration titled The Nightingale (2018).  Mark and Yana followed up The Nightingale a year later with both a duo CD, Sunflowers and Roses, and a DVD, Structure and FreedomStructure and Freedom is the third DVD in Mark’s series on Improvisation.  The collaboration between Mark and Katherine Colburn continued into 2019 with the release of The Butterfly, which also featured the Manassas String Quartet of which Colburn is a founding member.

 

In February of 2021 Mark suspended his performance career so that he could devote more time to composing.  He is still accepting music students privately through word of mouth referrals.

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“We get one life. It’s up to us to find our purpose. It is our duty to find the reason for our existence, and to bring joy and light to those around us who have not yet discovered theirs.”  Mark Christopher Brandt

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