Ashley Keiko
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Ashley Keiko

Borough of Queens, NY | Established. Jan 01, 2010

Borough of Queens, NY
Established on Jan, 2010
Solo Jazz Adult Contemporary

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Jun
02
Ashley Keiko @ Keiko Studios

Queens Village, New York, United States

Queens Village, New York, United States

May
10
Ashley Keiko @ Milton G. Bassin Performing Arts Center

Jamaica, New York, United States

Jamaica, New York, United States

Apr
01
Ashley Keiko @ Winners Church, INC

Rosedale, New York, United States

Rosedale, New York, United States

Mar
23
Ashley Keiko @ Keiko Studios

Queens Village, New York, United States

Queens Village, New York, United States

Mar
17
Ashley Keiko @ Crest Hollow Country Club

Woodbury, New York, United States

Woodbury, New York, United States

Mar
10
Ashley Keiko @ Antun's

Queens Village, New York, United States

Queens Village, New York, United States

Feb
21
Ashley Keiko @ Nassau Community College

Garden City, New York, United States

Garden City, New York, United States

Feb
18
Ashley Keiko @ Albany Capital Center

Albany, New York, United States

Albany, New York, United States

Feb
15
Ashley Keiko @ New York City Hall

New York, New York, United States

New York, New York, United States

Feb
14
Ashley Keiko @ Lighthouse Guild

New York, New York, United States

New York, New York, United States

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Music

Press


June 23, 2011 -
When Ashley Chambers isn't wielding nunchucks on the practice floor of Zen Masters Martial Arts Academy in St. Albans, she's in a back room giving piano lessons to children. That's because the 18-year-old tae kwon do black belt is also a dedicated pianist and alto saxophonist with a passion for performance, teaching and community involvement.

Ashley grew up in Cambria Heights with her sister Brittany, 21, and brother Kyle, 12. She was raised by her Jamaican-born father, Dennis, and Harlem-native mother, Sharon. Her music-loving parents, who together run Zen Masters, exposed her to martial arts training and music at a young age.

Ashley's first foray into music — organ followed by piano lessons around the age of 8 — was not by choice. "My mother forced me to play," said Ashley with a laugh, "until I actually really enjoyed playing."

As her piano skills developed, her desire to play and her ear for classical music gradually did too. She grew to love the "romantic" sound of Chopin, especially his "Fantaisie Impromptu." She's also a fan of Mozart. One of her favorites is his 12 playfully intricate variations on "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."

"I really enjoy playing that because people are familiar with it, but they also get very surprised to hear all the different ways it can be interpreted," Ashley said.

She started teaching piano lessons six years ago. Her mom inspired her to start the business, which she now calls "Keiko Studios" and operates out of the martial arts academy. Keiko is her middle name.

As for alto saxophone, Ashley adopted the woodwind at IS 25 in Flushing when she wanted to join the band and playing piano was not an option. She was reluctant to play sax at first, but her father encouraged her. In high school, she began to embrace the instrument much as she did piano.

Ashley attended the Academy of Music at Bayside High School, playing in the concert and jazz bands.

In her third year, she became lead alto in both bands and received the school's Juniors Oscar Award for highest scores in music class. As a senior, she was president of the Chamber Music Club.

Ashley's jazz study and performance extended beyond Bayside. She was awarded the Sean Cheesewright Queens College Jazz Scholarship to study at the Lawrence Eisman Center for Preparatory Studies in Music. For three years, she also performed extensively with the York College Blue Notes, a jazz big band of high school musicians.

She loves music's ability to transcend language barriers and touch people. "To be able to share something with people that don't even speak the same language as you. I think it's very powerful," she said.

Ashley got a glimpse of how her music touches others when she played sax June 12 at the Broad Street Ballroom for a Real Dads Network-hosted event celebrating fathers. To her surprise, after she dedicated a song to her father, who was in the audience, it brought him to tears.

"It really made me happy that I was able to affect my dad that way," she said.

Ashley starts her second year at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in manhattan in the fall. She plans to keep performing and to become a musical advocate. "I want to go to schools and show children how they can express themselves through music," she said. - The Queens Chronicle


May 18, 2016 -
Life Before TC
Ashley Chambers’ first encounter with a musical instrument wasn’t the most auspicious. As an elementary student, Ashley became inspired by some friends who could tap the keys of a piano and make real music happen. “I just wanted to play like them, so badly,” she recalls. So her parents signed Ashley and her sister up for lessons on the pedal organ – which turned out to be an instrument neither of them felt particularly inspired by. “It was a bit harder,” Ashley recalls.

“My sister and I did not enjoy those lessons, and my parents strongly encouraged us to practice.”

Over time, the Chambers sisters made the switch to piano, and finally the musical magic was there. “After that, my parents didn’t have to say, ‘Go practice, Ashley,’ because I was doing it on my own. And I grew to love it,” she recalls. Of course, you can’t play piano in the school band, so in middle school Ashley took up the saxophone at her father’s suggestion (he had played the sax as a student), and she soon found yet another instrument to love. In high school, she played with the York College Blue Notes, a group of New York City public high school students who participate in the Summer Jazz Institute sponsored by the College Now program at CUNY’s York College.

Why TC
Ashley studied jazz saxophone at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in Manhattan. She loved performing, but also realized that she loved teaching others to appreciate music as much as she did. In high school, she began giving piano lessons to the son of a family friend out of a practice room at Zen Masters, Inc., her parents’ martial arts studio in Queens. While performing with the York College Blue Notes, she says, “I was part of a musical family, and I wanted to be able to give people back that experience.” TC seemed like the perfect place to get the teaching experience that would help her share her passion, especially with children.
TC Takeaway

At TC, Ashley says she has found the kind of collaborative community she didn’t necessarily find as an undergraduate, where she felt the atmosphere was a bit too competitive. “I feel like we have a family here, a community of people who always share thoughts and ideas and give advice and help,” she says. Last summer, she traveled to China with a group of students and Associate Prof. of Music Education Randall Allsup, where she found working with Chinese music students both challenging and rewarding. “We had to overcome different battles,” she says. “There was the language barrier, and our styles of music were very different. I learned a lot from that trip, not only musically, but more generally as a person,” she says.

What’s Next

Ashley has now amassed 22 students (including her mom) at her own Keiko Studios, and soon hopes to expand her music school into a new space and hire additional teachers who can offer lessons on multiple instruments. She credits her parents for their continual support of her musical efforts – something she fully recognizes every student does not always get – even if it meant insisting she practice on the pedal organ. “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be doing music,” she says. “They encouraged me from the beginning.”

—Ellen Livingston - Teachers College, Columbia University


2017 -
Ashley Keiko Chambers, Founder and President of music school Keiko Studios, Inc., is an up and coming musician who has studied classical piano for fifteen years, the alto saxophone for ten years, and has been teaching piano for ten years. Ashley recently received her master’s in Music Education at Columbia University, in May 2016. Through Columbia University, Ashley studied abroad at The Arts College at Xiamen University, Fujian Province, China, where she studied music and reflected on the ways in which culture, language, and the arts intersect in an increasingly polyglot and trans-cultural world. She received her bachelor’s degree in Jazz Performance at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. Ashley has participated as a member of the York College Blue Notes, playing as the lead saxophonist for venues such as Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem, Live at the Gantries, and the Louis Armstrong House Museum to name a few. She has also been featured on the game show Family Feud where she played for host Steve Harvey. In the future, Ashley hopes to not only be a performer but a music educator and advocate, especially to children, exploring the importance of music and how they can express themselves through it.

Ashley believes that her determination and undying passion for the youth and their musical education is what makes her PurposefullyPretty. Ashley goes great lengths to provide musical opportunities for the youth in her community. “It is such an important cause for because when I was young music pulled me through some tough times. Music was, and still is, my number one outlet to express myself and be creative in ways that no other activity allows me to be”, Ashley states. She desires to give this experience to a younger generation who doesn’t have the same access to music programs as she did growing up. Ashley believes that inspiring young people to go into music is her purpose and she won’t stop until she can do just that.

Ashley is working on a major project in order to expand her reach of musical opportunities to young people in her community. Ashley is working on creating her very own musical studio in Queens, NY. In order to successfully do so, she needs your help. Please feel free to click the link below to help Ashley provide even more musical opportunities for young people. Please support! - Purposefully Pretty Inc.


February 14, 2017 -
What up, Drooble people? Don’t answer that, I’ll tell you what’s up. Ashley Keiko Chambers is an amazing musician, a great music teacher, an awesome human being and a real friend to her many and, as the title clearly states, adorable students. She’s been teaching for some time now, but Keiko Studios, her music academy, is currently operating from the back room of her parents’ martial arts school in NYC. Now stop reading for a few seconds and imagine trying to teach the piano to a little girl while in the next room a bunch of people are punching, kicking and throwing each other around, screaming at the top of their lungs. On top of that, the space triples as a girls’ changing room. Not cool, right? Well, the good news is that Ashley is not only beautiful and talented but also has the spirit of a real entrepreneur. She’s moving to a new location soon and needs some financing to renovate the place and turn it into a dream school for herself and her students, which are – I can’t stress this enough – the most adorable things you’ve ever seen. Seriously.

Ashley has created a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to spread the word and help make that new space exactly what it should be – a place of music, fun and love. I think it’s become quite obvious by now how big a deal this is, but if you still need convincing that Keiko Studios are worth your time and attention, maybe I should just show you this:

See what I mean? ADORABLE! Now, I know all of you are reaching for your purses and wallets at this very moment so I’ll tell you what to do next: support the campaign. Obviously.
Click here to go to the campaign page.
Good. Now that you’ve done the right thing and have helped a talented and ambitious young lady and her little angels bring more music into the world, it’s time to introduce you to Ashley herself, which did us the honor of answering some questions for you guys.

~

Hey Ashley! When and how did your relationship with music start?

My relationship with music started in elementary school when I saw a friend of mine playing the piano in the auditorium of P.S 107. I was inspired and wanted to play the piano just like her. I asked my parents if I could take music lessons and they put my sister and I into organ lessons. I actually hated it when I first started because it was very hard, but once I began to understand it more I loved it! By the time I got to Junior high school I had developed a skill on the piano and wanted to play it in the band. Piano wasn’t option though, so I chose to play saxophone.

What instruments can you play and do you have a favorite one?

I can play the piano, saxophone, and flute. My two favorites are the piano and saxophone. They are two very different instruments and I love playing them both equally, but for different reasons. I love the piano because I can do so much at one time; bass, treble, melody, harmony, etc. I love the saxophone because it is so easy for me to improvise on it! Also, the timber is comparable to the human voice and I can evoke so much emotion through my horn because of that.
What’s the most important thing you want your students to remember?

The most important thing I always try to instill in my students is the importance of expression through music and having fun. Sometimes music can be frustrating when you can’t get something right, and the music field can be very competitive. I never want my students to be turned off because of these things. I want them to express themselves freely through music, have fun, and not worry about what people think.

What have you learned from your students?

I have learned so much from my students; a majority of it non-musical! I not only learned that patience is a virtue, but it is something that is learned and can get better with practice. I also learned how to be a better teacher. Over the years, while teaching many different children I’ve picked up on what they respond to and what not to do.

Has music changed you? How?

Music has changed me into a person who is confident, expressive, and outgoing. Although I’ve been playing since I was a little girl, I wasn’t also this way, but through performing, composing, and becoming a better musician I have learned a lot about myself and figured out how to open up and express myself in new ways.

How is a musician different from a non-musician?

I believe a musician is different from a non-musician in the way we use our brain. We are so used to multitasking and using all parts of our brain in creative ways that when it comes to everyday tasks we approach things differently.
Why did you want to build a music school?

I want to build a music school because I want to give back to my community which lacks music programs. Music is such an important part of everyone’s life. Whether you’re a listener or a practitioner, music affects everyone’s life in some way. Music programs are unfortunately being cut from schools and children are not getting exposure to this important art form.

How did music education impact your life?

Music has been a driving force in my life since I was a little girl. If I didn’t have music I don’t know where I would be! Although it may have seemed like a small decision for my parents to “put the kids in piano lessons” along with the other various activities we were enrolled in, that decision completely shifted the course of my life. That small decision led to bigger opportunities, gave me an outlet to express myself and break out of my shell, (because I’m a very shy person!) and to not only make a living, but touch the lives’ of others.

How do you feel about music education being taken out of schools?

It is such a tragedy that music programs are underappreciated and therefore being cut from schools. The education system is doing a disservice to our children who would benefit from it so much! Music is one of the very few activities that activates, stimulates, and uses the entire brain. Not to mention it can be such a great break from the academic classes that the students take, and gives them a chance to be creative and use their brains in a different way.

How do you feel your music school would help your community?

I think having a music school in my community will give the children another avenue to explore themselves and their creativity. There are not many places in the community where children can go after school to participate in extracurricular activities, let alone music lessons. My school can be a place for children to spend their time constructively.
Do you think a place where musicians from all parts of the world can connect, support one another and exchange ideas is truly missing? Can Drooble be that place?

I think Drooble is an amazing platform for musicians to connect in an increasingly technologically advanced world. With Drooble I can easily find musicians to play with, speak to, and learn from. In some communities in the U.S this is not as easy as it sounds. I have been very fortunate to have many musicians around me in NYC, but not everywhere is like that. And even though I’m in NYC, Drooble allows me to connect to people around the world who are playing different styles of music that can influence my music in really cool ways! - Drooble


March 29, 2017 -

Ashley Keiko Chambers, a jazz saxophonist and classical pianist, is going to live out her dream to have space for a full-fledged music school in Queens Village.

At just 24, Chambers, who obtained her degree in Music and Music Education at the prestigious Teacher’s College, Columbia University, could have simply pursued a career in music for herself after performing for the likes of Steve Harvey, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and at several R&B, pop and hip-hop music festivals.

Instead, she will spread her love of music to the rest of southeast Queens.

“I just want to give back to the community that I’m a part of,” Chambers said. “I just know that in my neighborhood and in my community that there is just not that many opportunities for music or music education and a lot of the schools don’t have music programs.”
According to the Annual Arts in School Report (2014-2015), only 38 percent of elementary schools provide art instruction in New York.

“The school right across from my parents’ martial arts studio, they don’t have a music arts program at all,” Chambers said.

A representative at PS 36 confirmed that there is no music program at the school.

Before Chambers had her own space for a music school, she used a small spare room at her parents’ gym, Zen Masters Martial Arts.

For seven years she taught only classical piano, but with the new space she will be able to teach a full range of musical styles and instruments, thanks to meeting her fund-raising goals through Kickstarter.

“We surpassed our fund-raising goals, so that was really exciting. We started construction already and we hope to be open by May or June,” Chambers said.

With a goal of $10,000, she raised an additional $3,000 within the late January to February timeline she was given.
“Kickstarter is all or nothing. So if you don’t hit that goal you don’t get anything at all. I was so ecstatic that we reached the goal. When we reached, it there were six days left,” Chambers said.

With the new space Chambers will be able to give her 30 students a bigger space to practice, and through the fund-raiser she has already signed up new students. She will also be able to conduct ensembles, provide lessons for adults and teach private lessons now that she has attracted 20 instructors from varying disciplines to her school.

“We’ve been expanding, and that is one of the reasons I wanted to move. We are outgrowing the space,” Chambers said. “I want to do instruments from every category — string instruments like violin and guitar. I want to do woodwinds, which is like saxophone and flutes. Percussion, like the drums and brass like the trumpet.”

Within the sound-proof rooms, Chambers and her instructors will teach classical, jazz, pop, hip-hop and R&B music.

“I also want to do music technology, because that is where a lot of the music is going nowadays,” Chambers said. “I want the children and adults to be able to perform and do competitions. That is definitely a huge goal that I have.”

Although she is nervous about going it alone as a businesswoman without having her parents nearby, Chambers is prepared for the challenge, thanks to what they have taught her.

“I’ve really just been learning through their experience and their example. One big key that I learned from my mom is organization and how important that is,” she said. “I see myself having a music school that can do it all.” - The TimesLedger Newspapers


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Ashley Keiko Chambers, founder and president of Keiko Studios, music academy, is an up and coming musician who has studied classical piano for fifteen years, the alto saxophone for twelve years, and has been teaching piano for ten years.  Ashley recently received her Master’s in Music and Music Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Through Columbia University, Ashley studied abroad at The Arts College at Xiamen University, Fujian Province, China, where she studied music and reflected on the ways in which culture, language, and the arts intersect in an increasingly polyglot and trans-cultural world. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Performance at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. Ashley has participated as a member of the York College Blue Notes, playing as the lead saxophonist for venues such as Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem, Live at the Gantries, and performed for Steve Harvey on Family Feud to name a few. In the near future, Ashley hopes to not only be a performer, music educator, and advocate, but to expand her music academy for adults and children to explore the importance of music and how they can express themselves through it. 

Band Members