Sofia Avery

Composition, Jazz Voice, Mandolin, Music Theory, Voice

Lesson Fees
from $25.00 / 30 Minutes


My inventive approach to harmony and technique is influenced by a manifold musical background - I grew up learning and hearing Brazilian choro, tropicalia, Eastern European folk, Son-Cubano, klezmer, jazz, pop, rock, bluegrass, Americana, classical/art music, and everything in between. I began performing as a vocalist and stringed instrumentalist in New Orleans when I was six. In my fifteen years of experience as a musician, I’ve enjoyed a spectrum of duties: bass/thumb position specialist for hard rock cello quintet Liquid Cello, vocalist for hot club jazz band Swing Soleil, gigging original music as a mandolin/vocal soloist, big band vocalist, oft-time pop-up bandleader, worship musician, ceremony musician, et cetera. I have three years of experience designing and facilitating interdisciplinary music workshops for teens. I’ve arranged for the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and written multiple commission works. In 2018, I won The Gift Of Jazz Award for jazz voice. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Composition with a jazz voice emphasis from Metropolitan State University of Denver. 


I believe in developing the whole musician. I have had the privilege of studying privately with a long list of prominent & decorated musicians and composers over the years, (cornetist Ron Miles, composer R.J. Miller, clarinetist/arranger Don Byron, classical bass-baritone James Butler, and many others). A common thread in the teaching methods of all these luminaries is variety. Musicians of all levels benefit immensely from a strong foundation in aural skills (identifying musical elements by ear) and comprehensive music theory in harmony with their technical and repertoire studies, no matter what age, level, or genre. 

I prefer to tailor lesson content to the individual, so we will spend a portion of our first lesson discussing your particular goals and challenges and craft a suitable course of study together. In general (except for theory/composition students*), between lessons, you can expect to work on 1-3 assignments each from all or most of the following categories, depending on your lesson length and type: repertoire, technical exercises, theory/sight reading/ear training, listening, and improvisation. Even the youngest of musicians can comfortably learn and love all these skill areas. Whether you’re five or fifty-five, we will work together to find music you like to play, and make sure you have all the tools you need to play that music beautifully. We will begin each lesson with a warmup, spend half of the lesson addressing issues that came up in your practice, and the other half on new concepts. 

*Theory and composition lessons vary drastically depending on a student’s needs, but writing, score/excerpt study, and listening will be central in all cases.

Please note: I am not offering guitar or ukulele lessons at this time


B.M. Music Composition, Metropolitan State University Of Denver

All students who would like to study jazz, especially beginners, will benefit from owning a RealBook and the iReal Pro app. If cost is prohibitive, however, there are some materials available for free online which we can use if needed. 

Vocalists of all types are strongly encouraged to own or purchase a keyboard for long-term online lessons. If you don’t have access to a keyboard, a chromatic pitch pipe will suffice . They can be purchased for about $10  online or at a music store.

Mandolinists will use a variety of instructor-provided materials. Expect to move away from tab-reading, but if you have a book of sheets you like to use (e.g. fiddle tunes, a bluegrass songbook, etc) I’d love to know. Gig-bag chord books can also be useful, but they can be limiting or misleading. Take them with a grain of salt.

Theory and composition students should purchase or print out manuscript paper.

Composition students: many (but not all) orchestration books written in the last 10 years will make your study much more effective. I recommend Contemporary Orchestration by R.J. Miller. I am always happy to provide advice on finding/purchasing reliable books on composition and orchestration. 

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