TEACHER OF THE WEEK - KAYLEE BONATAKIS!!!

Rebecca McDade.png

RiverCity Rock Star Teacher
Percussion, Drums and Guitar

When did you start playing music and what was/is your influence for playing music? 
I’ve been playing music since elementary school, but I settled on percussion as my primary instrument when I entered the 6th grade. I have older sisters who were in the high school band when I was in elementary school and as a family we’d go to the high school football games to watch my sisters in the marching band. My favorite thing was the drum line. I remember fantasizing about being on the drum line when I was a young child and I worked really hard until I finally was part of it.

What is/are your favorite song(s) you’ve help direct at RiverCity?
My favorite songs I’ve helped direct at RiverCity so far have been ‘Maps’ by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and ‘Black Math’ by The White Stripes.

What do you like about RiverCity?
I love that RiverCity feels like a big musical family. As someone who is relatively new to Salem, RiverCity has given me a community where I feel like I belong, and am able to do the things I love most, play and teach music.

What are your favorite bands/artists right now? 
Right now I’m really into the bands Sylvan Esso and The Slits.

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians? 
The advice I would give to aspiring musicians is to practice your butts off! Listen to your favorite songs and try to figure out how to play them by ear. Don’t let what is too hard right now discourage your music making. Be nice to other musicians (and people), work hard at what you do, and be reliable.

What’s something unique or funny about you? 
This is a little embarrassing, but when I was in the 4th grade I was OBSESSED with the boy band Hanson. I was in love with the drummer, Zac Hanson. I was convinced we were going to get married. Anyways, my decision to play drums may have been a bit influenced by Zac Hanson.

What things do you do when you’re not at RiverCity? 
When I’m not at RiverCity I can be found cooking, running, hiking, making art, playing with cats, playing in Salem and Portland bands (MARC & the HorsejerksMr. Frederick's product production co.Center Mass String Quartet, and Clawfoot Slumber), exploring Salem, practicing an assortment of percussion instruments in my basement, practicing guitar, going to see live music, and teaching private percussion lessons to high school students.

Kaylee is available for drum, percussion or guitar lessons. Contact RiverCity to schedule your free trial lesson and tour.