"Joanna Mack is a phenomenal sitar teacher that I found to be extremely encouraging and motivating as an instructor. She's not only a great teacher, but also an amazing player. Her lessons don't end at technique and repetition, she covers a good deal of the history and culture surrounding this amazing instrument. She went out of her way to help me choose a sitar when I first started playing which incredibly helpful. Although my schedule and location doesn't leave me much room to continue lessons, I really value the time I had learning sitar with Joanna. I would absolutely recommend taking her lessons to anyone."Brad Moore (Petaluma, CA)
"I have had the joy and pleasure of studying the sitar with Joanna Mack. Though trained in western music, I was pretty much a novice when it came to Indian classical music. Bhajans were sung in our meditation group, and I really wanted to learn more about this musical system. I found Joanna online and began lessons. I really appreciated her teaching style. Aside from being very knowledgeable and accomplished, Joanna is warm, friendly and nurturing. She provides an emotionally safe and comfortable atmosphere in which to grow and is helpful in every way. Many don't give much thought to this; but when one is learning something from a completely different culture, everything, and I mean everything, is different. For anyone interested in learning the sitar, I couldn't recommend anyone more than Joanna."Charlene Marchi (Piano Instruction | Martinez, CA)
"Joanna combines her great passion for Indian Classical sitar with an encouraging teaching style to create a uniquely fun musical experience."Rani Urbas
"I've been studying under Joanna for the last year and a half and I've had a great time. She has the technical skills and deep knowledge of the music that you would expect from a good teacher but she's also very approachable and was willing to adapt her teaching style to fit my needs. She's patient with me on my bad days or when I clearly haven't practiced enough (which is most of the time) but at the same time she's constantly pushing me to improve my playing and won't take no for an answer when I think a passage is too difficult. I would highly recommend her to anyone interested in learning Indian classical music."Sam Charles
"My husband and I were married on October 6th, 2012 in a beautiful garden ceremony. My husband is of Indian decent and we wanted to include some Indian elements to our celebration, specifically a sitar player as we both really enjoy traditional Indian music. After some searching we made arrangements with Joanna for her trio including a tabla and sarod in addition to the sitar to play during the ceremony and beginning of the reception.
We gave Joanna a very broad outline of the events and couldn't have been happier because the music was gorgeous, and the musicians timed everything perfectly with no on site rehearsal and made excellent song choices. To top it all off they played in traditional dress, which tied everything together. The music the trio played was a highlight of the event for both of us. We received so many compliments from our guests, some of whom came all the way from India and were not shy to inform us how authentic and wonderful the music was.
Joanna Mack comes highly recommended from my husband, myself and our 175 wedding guests."Ishan and Priscilla Amtey
"Joanna is an awesome musician, a fearless traveler, and a methodical and effective teacher. She is very helpful in translating the sometimes elusive concepts of Hindustani music to non-initiates. As a student of the Maihar gharana, she is an excellent guide to additional study at the Ali Akbar College of Music or as an independent teacher. She is friendly, creative, and patient."Andrew Snyder (UC Berkeley | PhD student in ethnomusicology)
"I am so happy to have found Joanna in the summer of 2010 when I first felt the desire to learn sitar. I had no prior musical experience or background, and Joanna has single-handedly & very patiently introduced me to the beautiful sounds, rhythms & techniques of this fascinating instrument. Joanna has always provided me with the most optimal level of challenge during learning, while ensuring that the joy of sitar music stays strong in my mind at all times.
I've been introduced to many ragas (bilaval, kirwani, hansadhwani, bhairavi, shivranjani), beat progressions/ taals (teen taal, ektaal, rupak), various string manipulation techniques & have also learned to sing in tune. Sitar has really enriched my life, providing new appreciation and understanding of classical music, and given me a wonderful new learning challenge in life that constantly engages my attention, memory & sensory integration skills. I look forward to continue learning so much more from Joanna in the future."Jyoti (Neuroscientist | Brain Plasticity Inc. | GazzaleyLab UCSF)
"Joanna Mack is a wonderful teacher. I have been taking lessons for more than a year. She's patient and kind; she also pushes me to do better and learn more! Joanna provides the right environment in which to learn. Her enthusiasm and reverence for Indian Classical music and the sitar is readily apparent. She demonstrates her skills as a musician and teacher handily. Studying this beautiful music has greatly enhanced my life and my musical perspective. It is a priceless experience."Ruth Parry
"Joanna Mack is an excellent teacher. Her technical and musical mastery of the sitar along with a great teaching skills make for very productive lessons. She is extremely patient and enthusiastic about whatever she is teaching. The lessons always feel fresh and are tailored to exactly what is needed by the student. I will never forget the day that I started to study my first Raag, Yaman Kalyan, with Joanna -- it was a thrilling moment that I will always remember! She is highly recommended!"Jason Stein
"We were thrilled to have Joanna play at our wedding at the Presidio in SF. She played so well and so passionately for our extended ceremony - it really made the evening special. We would definitively recommend her and her accompanists. Thanks again, Joanna - awesome job!"A. Keefer