Teacher Katie Linza Jazzes It Up!

As a head of the Pinewood Performing Arts department and the teacher for various Pinewood music classes, Katie Linza has been guiding and teaching young singers at Pinewood for about eight years now. However, she also has a background immersed in music outside of school.

Prior to teaching at Pinewood, Linza owned a private music studio, teaching singing and piano to both kids and adults. Although she enjoyed coaching students privately, Linza found that she especially loved teaching in a classroom environment.

“I love putting on concerts and plays [at Pinewood],” Linza said. “I still [work] with my students individually. It’s just that I prefer the bigger picture.”

Linza’s love for music stemmed from a young age. At just four years old, Linza was already discovering her passion for music on the piano. This passion only grew when she began to sing the pop songs that played on the radio.

Jazz is Linza’s favorite genre of music and her forté; she began listening to jazz in high school and studied it in college.

“I like [jazz] because . . . people think of a certain swing to music from a certain era [when thinking about jazz], but jazz is infused in so much music today,” Linza said. “There’s a complexity to the rhythm and harmonies in jazz that’s just so beautiful to me and so challenging . . . I love the dissonances, the harmonies and the rhythm.”

Linza’s jazz career further extended when she became the director for the Oakland Jazz Choir, an adult choir, for a couple of years. She also taught at the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley. While it was fun teaching adults, Linza said that she finds teaching music to high schoolers more enjoyable.

To Linza, music is like a language that she can use to connect with people.

“[Music] helps me process emotions and say what I can’t say,” Linza said. “It’s like a common language that [people can] use to express something together, and I think that’s super powerful.”