About Hug Music

kana_sashaHug Music is a unique music school founded by Kana Kamitsubo-Markovic and Sasha Markovic who share a strong belief that music can lead us to self-actualization. They believe in a mission to provide a place where individuals can connect to their hearts, inspire creativity, and express themselves through creative art form.

Kana Kamitsubo-Markovic, Founder/Director, Pianist, Music Therapist

215942_824557722759_829454923_nA classical and jazz pianist as well as a board-certified music therapist born in Kobe, Japan, Ms. Kana Kamitsubo, MT-BC, has received a strong and unique music education both in Japan and the U.S., with concentrations in classical, jazz, and music therapy. Kana graduated Summa Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music in Boston, for which she was awarded the Berklee World Scholarship throughout her school years. She was recognized for her excellent academic achievements in music therapy and received a number of awards and scholarships including the Gary Burton Music Therapy Scholarship, the highest award granted in the music therapy department. In Japan, Kana graduated from Koyo Conservatory where she studied contemporary music and jazz piano, and Osaka Music College where she studied classical piano. To further and cultivate her skills as a music therapist, she has completed the certification training program at Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy, New York University.

As a music educator, Kana has been teaching piano for over 15 years to students of any ages and abilities. She appreciates and enjoys the differences of each student and respects the student’s own pace and characteristics. Because of her unique musical background and experiences as a classical and jazz pianist and a music therapist, she customizes her teaching approaches to meet her students’ needs and requirements and motivate students in learning piano. With her expertise in music therapy, she has numerous experiences in teaching music to diverse populations with special needs, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), ADHD, ADD, and Dyslexia.

As a music therapist, Kana has actively worked with a variety of populations: children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), behavioral issues, physical and emotional difficulties, and medical issues; adults with neurological disorders, psychiatric disorders, and medical issues such as cancer and or elderly with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease . She is especially recognized as an expertise in two areas. Her first specialty is in “clinical improvisation”, an essential and effective approach in music therapy. Possessing strong ability and knowledge in clinical improvisation, she has been hired by Berklee College of Music and developed their Master’s degree curriculum as a course author for “Clinical Music Improvisation” online course, which will launch in 2015.

In addition, her work with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been receiving attention from the field of music therapy and music education. In 2008, Kana began establishing her own music therapy method (now branded as Musicreative), which combines music therapy and music education and enables children with learning disabilities learn music. She has worked with countless number of children with special needs and not only successfully taught them music and piano instruction, but also helped them improve their non-musical skills such as pre-academic and cognitive skills. Her approach has demonstrated remarkable outcomes and been found effective among the families of special needs children and professionals who work with children with special needs. With the outcomes of her approach, she was invited to present at “Autism Speaks and Sings” an event sponsored by Autism Speaks. As a panel speaker, she gave her case study presentation, which received tremendous positive acclaim from several music therapy experts. Kana’s approach is referred to as a“highly significant in the field of music therapy, music education, and special education” and regarding the outcomes of her students, “they have far exceeded the outcomes typically attained by clients on the spectrum,” according to Darcy Walworth, Chair of Certification Board of Music Therapists and Co-chair of the Autism Task Force for the American Music Therapy Association. Kana has been asked to give workshops, lectures, and presentations nationally and internationally as well as to write articles about her approach. She has given lectures, workshops, and seminars in the United States, Japan, and Thailand.

In addition to her direct music therapy services, Kana has been a consultant in the development of music therapy programs at Hug School of Creative Arts in Kohn Kaen, Thailand, and at Koyo Conservatory in Kobe, Japan.

As a pianist, Kana has been performing with a variety of professional musicians in wide range of genres. Kana and her husband, Sasha, also perform under name Yagull in New York and abroad. She has composed numerous pieces of music for therapy and healing music- some of which have been recorded on the piano solo album, “Poignant Piano”(2011) and the relaxation CD, “Optimal Wellness For Every Body” (2008). Furthermore, her concerts with Umi, the famous Japanese female singer who sang the soundtrack music for the world-renowned animation movie, “Spirited Away” (2001) by Hayao Miyazaki, are always very successful and festive performances in Japan.

Sasha Markovic, Co-founder, Guitarist, Composer

sasha st 13Guitarist and composer, Sasha Markovic has been playing the guitar since the age of 13. His early love and passion for music has led him to become a professional guitarist, composer, arranger and producer. He took on an unique approach of learning guitar by trying to replicate the sounds from the vast variety of records he passionately collected and listened to, ranging from 70s rock, blues, jazz, to world music. This helped him quickly develop his musical ears, and inspire him to compose music from the age of 15.

As an active New York artist, his projects range from instrumental acoustic duets, producing, scoring for movies and theater to hard rock and blues bands. He is a founder leader of instrumental post rock chamber project Yagull. The latest albums “Films” and “Kai”(MoonJune Records) featuring his partner and wife pianist Kana Kamitsubo have earned him international recognition with over hundred excellent reviews from around the globe. Yagull is true New York project and features fantastic line up of musicians hailing from dozen different countries and was praised by such diverse publications like Time Out New York, Polish “Classical Music Magazine”, Progression Magazine (US), Acoustic Music (US).

As a guitar teacher, Mr. Markovic has been teaching guitar in New York for over 15 years. He believes that inspiring and fostering each individual’s creativity is the fundamental element of a learning process in music. He emphasizes the importance of understanding each student’s unique musical sensibilities in order to design lessons that motivate students and ignite their passion. Through his lessons, students explore and discover their own “Musical Self”.

What sets Mr. Markovic’s approach apart is the use of composition as a mean for students to grow their musical skills and musicianship. He believes that composition is a great way for self-expression and one can learn everything about music from this creative process. In his lesson, Mr. Markovic carefully observes his students’ musical strengths, progress, and preferences in order to spark their interest, foster motivation, and guide them to grow as musicians.

He refers to himself as a “mentor”, rather than a “teacher” because he believes his role is to awake every individual’s inner musical resource and nourish it. Over the years, Mr. Markovic has observed among his many students that once their creative Self is awoken, students joyously and actively participate and take charge in their learning process.

Mr. Markovic understands importance of having a music mentor and teacher, because his mentors widely influenced his musical growth by exposing him to beautifully diverse musical styles that still play essential role in his life as a musician, composer and teacher.

Yagull: www.yagull.com

The Sours: www.thesoursmusic.com