The Story behind The SPAA
What do an ex-financial analyst, an ICU nurse, and a strength and conditioning coach have in common? We’re all musicians, and we’re all at The SPAA.
Music and performance is about creating something fresh yet familiar. That’s how our team members live their lives.
Terence Ma, vocalist, pianist, and founder/CEO of The SPAA
I was settling into the financial sector even after many years of musical training in both voice and classical piano. Despite performing on stage from an early age, I was unable to admit to myself that I longed for a life of music and performance.
What I did do was put my entry into the workforce on hold in order to find out what a “career” meant to me. I left my cushy commuter life on the East Coast and traveled through the states by plane, train, bus, car, and foot. I fell into the roles of vagrant farmhand and cob mason apprentice where I met people who were also dividing their lives: the sushi chef by day and busker across the street by night, or the lawyer who was struggling to write songs on his guitar. I just couldn’t forget about this universal obsession called music.
I was determined to take full control of my voice, my body, and my mind. I trained day in and day out with experts in music, fitness, and science until I was able to clearly see where they all related. It was only then I was able to step off the painful path of least resistance and pursue a life of performance that led me to knowledge and rewards beyond most performers’ dreams.
It wouldn’t be long until I realized my calling was to give performers the confidence and voice to unlock their true potential.
Stella Xu, classical piano 10+ years; specialty - late Classical & Romantic
Judy Hages, Vocal training, 6+ years
2nd place, NJMTA Young Artist Competition; High Honors, MEA-NJ
Carnegie Hall - Weill Hall & Main Hall
Lincoln Center - Alice Tully
The Bitter End
Pizza & Barns
Jor-El Pamintuan, vocalist, guitarist, and registered nurse
I had always dreamed of being that normcore-indie-folk musician, but it really wasn't on the menu for me growing up. I finished school and after years of working a richly rewarding, yet terribly taxing job in a hospital, I found myself asking "What now?" at every corner. Music seemed to come up over and over again.
My mother always told me that I was always so concerned about helping others that I never thought to help myself. The years I worked at the hospital during the hours I wasn’t sleeping, I spent training my voice. I also picked up the guitar and in no time at all I was hosting musical events and performing at multiple venues across New Jersey and New York. Committing to the double life of music, performance and songwriting brought therapy to me and at the same time to those who listened.
I’ve been trained extensively on how to keep people going in any condition to meet any challenges. For the fragile larynx, this is crucial experience. Being an RN has also given me the patience, empathy, and intelligence necessary to show people from all walks of life how to sing.
Judy Hages: 8+ years
Independent study: guitar, 8+ years
W Hotel, Hoboken NJ - Host at Sessions
Movies & Leather phone cases
Mike Guadango, drummer, movement specialist, and founder/CEO of Freak Strength
I was on the road to a promising life in music, a Juilliard bound drummer. But my father wouldn’t allow it for an instant. He insisted on me sticking to baseball and getting the ‘practical’ degree.
I did just that and now I train athletes to achieve peak performance over their careers. I have kept in touch with the drums with full faith in the cognitive benefits of music, and seek new creative outlets in music every day.
My father’s insistence did pay off. Now I am able to combine both practical athletic peak performance training to musical training to keep our clients the strongest and longest lasting in the business with full command over their bodies.
DeFranco’s Gym: 10+ years
Buddy Morris: 4 years
James Smith: 4 years
Clientele: Chris Hogan, Devin McCourty, Pat Dean, and other professional and collegiate athletes
Classical music & Motorcycles
Rocco Vitolo, vocalist, producer, and recording engineer
My love of music has been a constant in my life for as long as I can remember. Working 6 long years as a paraprofessional in various schools only confirmed for me that music was my true course. And that my best teaching would have to be done without the politics. Growing disenchanted with the traditional workforce, I found myself escaping further into the detailed aspects of music and sound.
After years of tinkering and learning all sorts of sound gadgets and programs on my own, I decided that a career in audio engineering was right for me. It also helped that it complimented my second career as a singer/songwriter and performer. I studied at the Institute of Audio Research, earning honors that'd eventually help me solidify positions at various recording studios around NYC
Following my education there, I turned my attention to training my voice to maximize my self-sufficiency as a musician. With the crafts of sound, music, and education under my belt, I'm excited to help others build and learn how to place the stepping stones that will launch them into their careers.
Institute of Audio Research, Honors
Judy Hages Vocal Studio: 3+ years
Creative Media Design
Mercury Lounge, The Bitter End
Lofi Hip-Hop & Cosplay