Studio Instructors

 

Heather Parks

Studio Owner/Private Piano Instructor

Bio
Heather was four years old when her fingers first touched the piano. She started playing because her family had inherited her grandmother’s piano. She discovered she could play by ear as she began to play tunes that she heard at church and on the radio without music. The first tune she played was one that she had learned at church – “Blessed Assurance”. Thus began her musical journey and from that point forward her parents saw to it that she received formal instruction in her piano studies. The piano became a huge part of her identity and she felt special when she sat at the piano. Heather began playing on a Wurlitzer console piano and a Hammond organ and at the age of 11 began playing for church, school, weddings and other special events. While in high school she competed in a regional competition and won the second-place trophy for original piano arrangement and piano performance. Her music instructors have included Bruce Greer, Stephen Neilsen, renowned pianist of the well known piano duo-Ovid and Young, Margaret Wells, and Alan Oldfield.

Heather most admires J.S. Bach and Frederic Chopin for their brilliant compositions, and Franz Liszt, Bruce Greer, and Dino Kartsonakis for their piano performances. Her favorite musical group is the Piano Guys.

Heather has performed in St. Petersburg, Russia and at numerous recitals and public events, solo piano concerts, accompanying choirs, and has performed Handel’s Messiah on a harpsichord with the Creekwood Christian Choir. She was the lead church pianist and choir accompanist at Temple Baptist Church of Flower Mound, TX for 8 years, and was the lead pianist, choir accompanist, worship leader, and praise band leader at Creekwood Christian Church. She has accompanied numerous UIL events for LISD and Denton ISD schools.

Heather has produced the album “Sacred Passion”, a collection of original piano solo material, which is available on iTunes. Her latest project is producing music videos that exhibit her solo piano works of art and they are currently being released on YouTube.

Heather started teaching piano lessons in high school by mentoring a few younger students, taught students while studying music in college, and then founded New Song School of the Arts (then known as New Song Piano Studio) in 1999. Heather’s award-winning students have consistently received one pluses (superior ratings) from festival and piano competition judges, received sonatina festival trophies and all star trophies, and have been awarded student scholarships,

Heather’s favorite pieces to play are her original arrangements and compositions, and she enjoys singing the songs that she has written. Her personal practice goal is 2 hours daily (10 hours weekly) and she plays the piano nearly every day of her life. Her practice routine is: sightreading – Bach, Chopin, Gershwin, Handel and many other composers; Jazz study (she regularly studies Jazz to keep her arrangements and compositions colorful); arranging/composition – spend time working on her own original material; songwriting – writing her own lyrics and tunes; and literature learning – regularly learning new works of literature.

Heather wants to be remembered as someone who worked daily to reach her fullest potential in every area of life; someone who took the musical talent that God blessed her with and multiplied it exponentially; someone who, through hard work, good character and discipline, inspired others to strive to reach their fullest potential; someone who passed on a passion and love for music to their students; someone who honored God and blessed others; and someone who built a legacy that touches lives for years to come. Her goal is to live a life full of purpose and make a difference in the world around her. She is most passionate about reaching her fullest potential, exposing her material so it can bless, ministering to and inspiring others, seeing her students succeed in their learning, and seeing them love music for a lifetime.

Listen on Spotify   
Purchase on iTunes

Meilin Ai

Piano Instructor

 

Bio

China-born pianist Meilin Ai has performed over three continents, including countries like

the U.S., Canada, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and China. She has been described as “one of the best young pianists in her hometown” by Yin Xiang magazine. World-renown pianist and educator Zhou Guang Ren called her a talented rising star. Miss Ai started playing the piano at the age of 5. She studied with professor Zheng Da Xin in the preparatory school of Sichuan Conservatory of Music and graduated with the President’s Award in 2010. Then she went to America to continuing studying piano performance at San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she studied with professor Sharon Mann and graduated with BM degree in May 2014. Miss Ai gained her MM degree in piano performance in Northwestern University in June 2016. She is currently a doctoral degree candidate in University of North Texas, where she is studying under the direction of Grammy Awards owner Mr. Josef Banowetz.

 

Along with studying and performing, miss Ai also devoted herself in helping students achieving their music dreams. Her private studio has been established for over 6 years, she also taught in music centers and schools. Since 2011, she has been teaching more than 50 students from age 4-18, including more than 30 beginners and young children. And more than 20 students passed ABRSM piano and theory exams in level 5-8 with great grades. Some students showed their talents in studio recitals and local competitions. Both students and parents love and admire miss Ai for her patience, passion and sense of humor. Besides, miss Ai taught 24 adult students whose ages ranged from 21-68. She was a graduate teaching assistant in Northwestern University, where she taught 10 advanced level non-major college students. She was also a teacher for the after-school music program in Northwestern University, a program that was devoted to young children and leisure students. Recently, she featured as guest lecturer at North Central Texas College for their music appreciation class. Miss Ai speaks both English and Mandarin.

Hannah Anthony

Music Education Instructor/MUSIKSCOOL Director

 

Bio

Hannah Anthony is a university trained music educator. Her experience includes but is most definitely not limited to working with different Early Childhood music programs conducted through Texas Christian University and the University of North Texas. Miss Anthony’s passion for early childhood music began when she went through the Texas Christian University’s Early Childhood Music program at age of two years old. She continued through the program until she outgrew it. She then continued onto group piano and music theory. From there she went to private piano, theory, and private voice lessons all through the Texas Christian University Music program.

Miss Anthony continued nurturing her own musical talents through her elementary, middle, and high school through her schooling at the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts. She has been educated through many professors from the University of North Texas from theory to aural skills to voice lessons to music education classes as well. Miss Anthony’s passion is in teaching early childhood music programs!

LaNell Armour

Piano/Early Childhood Music Instructor

 

Bio

A transplanted Chicagoan, LaNell Armour recently celebrated 30 years as a music educator. She has taught private piano lessons since 1988, coaching numerous competition and festival winners.  In addition, she served as youth director at the American Community Church in London, England, leading the student music department. She has also been a faculty member and curriculum specialist at Chicago’s acclaimed Old Town School of Folk Music.

LaNell is a former editor at Clavier magazine, and wrote all the content for Piano Explorer, its companion student magazine. In this role, she enjoyed interviewing numerous artists…from Van Cliburn medalists to award-winning composers and educators.  Additionally, LaNell is a seasoned arts administrator, previously holding positions with the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois; the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; and Dallas Chamber Music Society.

LaNell studied piano at the University of Evansville and University of Tennessee. She performed at Illinois Music Teachers Association (IMTA) and Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) conferences, as well as participated in numerous masterclasses. She is a certified Harmony Road instructor, receiving her training under the program’s founder, Jan Keyser. Although she instructs students of all ages, LaNell has extensive experience teaching very young children, and champions discovering the world of music in early childhood.

In addition to teaching, LaNell is a church musician, and is a soprano in the Prestonwood Choir (Plano). She also consults for a music education software application company in Dallas. When not working, practicing, or performing, you can find LaNell watching sports (especially college football and basketball), and spending time with her dogs Kramer and Farley.

Nate Ash-Morgan

Drums/Guitar/Beginning Piano Instructor

 

Bio

Nate Ash-Morgan has been teaching drums, guitar, and trombone for over 15 years, first starting on drum set 24 years ago, learning both drum set and trombone from teachers at the University of Connecticut while in elementary school. He graduated with honors from Wesleyan University in 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in music. Nate is currently in his third year of doctoral studies pursuing a PhD in Ethnomusicology at the University of North Texas, with research focused on African traditional and contemporary music.

Nate offers a balanced mixture of teaching styles, stressing the importance of reading music notation while valuing the development of a musical ear. Nate tailors lesson plans to the interests and abilities of the individual student, challenging the student to make noticeable progress while maintaining a fun and positive environment.

Sidney Barber

Piano/Voice/Musical Theatre Instructor

 

Bio

Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Sydney Barber has always been an advocate for the arts. While in Austin, he was awarded “Outstanding Musician” from the Kealing Magnet School (2007), “Outstanding Musician” from the McCallum Fine Arts Academy (2011) and “Outstanding Musician” from the Austin Chamber Music Center (2011). He’s performed in various venues around Austin including: The Paramount Theatre, State Theatre, The Frank Erwin Center, the Long Center, The Glimmer of Hope Foundation, weddings, receptions, restaurants, etc. It was during this time that he discovered his passion for teaching. At the age of 15 he started teaching students from his former private instructor’s studio run by Daphne McDole. It was through her studio, the “Keys of Life” program, that allowed him to have various performing opportunities and early experience in teaching children.

Sydney has an earned Bachelor of Arts degree in music education from University of North Texas an artist diploma from Macullum Fine Arts Academy. He is a trained pianist and vocal pedagogue. In addition to being a full time teacher at New Song School of the Arts, other job titles include: Pianist/Accompanist, Conductor, Music Director, Judicator, and Guest Artist. That being said, Sydney has worked with a number of organizations including: University of North Texas (pianist), various High/Middle School (teacher/pianist), Music Theatre of Denton (director/pianist), various theatre companies around DFW (pianist), Booker T Washington (judge), Mansfield Symphony Orchestra (pianist), various churches around DFW (pianist), etc. Since 2016, the bulk of his performing has been Musical Theatre Productions all over DFW including: Mary Poppins, Shrek, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Sister Act, Evita, Patsy Cline, Big Fish, 9 to 5, The Little Mermaid, Little Shop of Horrors, Cabaret, Will Rogers’s Follies, and many more.

Vocal experience includes: Singing in top vocal ensembles at UNT both classical and jazz; performing at Dallas Winspear Opera House; performing at the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival; teaching at various schools and churches around DFW; Performing in various theatre productions around DFW.

 

Corey Barta

Early Childhood Music/Piano Instructor/Music Therapy

 

Bio

Born and raised in the Houston area, Corey learned how to play the flute in the 6th grade. Her parents instilled a great love and appreciation for music of all types. She remembers listening to The Beatles as they cleaned, to Pink Floyd as they drove in the car, as well as orchestral music performed by the Houston Symphony. Naturally, as a flautist, she grew up with a desire to learn the well-known flute parts of popular songs.

Corey studied the flute with Jennifer Amox while attending public school in south Houston. This was a great opportunity because of the high rate of competition in the area. Participating in the University Interscholastic League (UIL) Region and Area competitions each year helped increase Corey’s technical abilities. In 2009, Corey received a band scholarship and continued studying with Jennifer Amox at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Attending school at Henderson gave Corey generous amounts of opportunities to grow as a musician, such as performing with Concert Choir, Wind Ensemble, Flute Choir, the Showband of Arkansas, and NuFusion Jazz Band. During her time at HSU, Corey grew her skills as a multi-instrumentalist by singing, playing piano, saxophone, piccolo, and guitar. She had the opportunity to perform for Henderson’s annual President’s Concert Concerto Competition in 2011 and again in 2013. In this competition, musicians are given the opportunity to perform a solo work for their instrument accompanied by performers from the HSU Chamber Orchestra as well as the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance in 2014.

After graduating, Corey moved to Denton, Texas to work on getting her Master’s degree in Music Therapy from Texas Women University. During her time here she has learned the therapeutic uses of music, and how to work with clients of varying age, demographics, and health needs. She has taken flute lessons with Pam Youngblood and guitar lessons with Carlo Pezzimenti, performing with the TWU Flute Choir and Guitar Ensemble. In 2015 and 2017, Corey competed in the school’s Honors Recital in which undergraduate and graduate students audition to perform solos in Margo Jones Hall. In 2017, she was awarded Outstanding Graduate Performer. Corey completed a 6-month internship at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in
Little Rock as part of her training to become a music therapist, studying under Andrew Ghrayeb, MT-BC. She became a certified music therapist in 2018, and now works for Wyndham Music Therapy Solutions serving adults in memory care.

Corey has been teaching music lessons since 2009. Her years of experience have equipped her with the necessary tools for teaching students of all ages. Her approach to teaching has been influenced by what she has learned in music therapy training. She sees each child as unique and understands that each student learns differently and should be approached at their level of musicianship. Goals with her students are twofold: to help eager and aspiring musicians learn how to become more comfortable with their instrument, and to engage students in music by helping them learn their favorite genres.

Debi Bullard

Ukulele/Guitar Instructor

 

Bio

Debi Bullard is a longtime resident of Denton County, first arriving as a student at TWU to complete her M.A. in Voice Performance. She completed her degree as a graduate teaching assistant, with emphasis on Opera Workshop, voice class, and choir. She also received her “Mrs.” degree and has been in the Denton area ever since marrying her one and only sweetheart, Lewis in 1976.

After a long break from the music pedagogy world to be a stay-at-home Mom to their six children, Debi returned to teaching in 1996 as an Elementary K-5 Music Teacher at Justin Elementary in Northwest ISD. She completed the national certification as a Kodaly Educator in 2001 at UNT. In her years as an elementary music teacher, Mrs. Bullard developed, directed and grew choral programs, recorder clubs, and UIL Music Memory teams. Her skills with piano and guitar have continued to grow since her retirement in 2015. She is currently teaching guitar and ukulele at New Song School of the Arts, as well as teaching in her own studio in Sanger. Her favorite pastime is being a Grammy and baking cookies with any of her 13 grandchildren.

 

Bryan Burns

Guitar Instructor

 

Bio

Bryan Burns is currently an Adjunct Professor of Guitar at Tarrant County College and a Doctoral Teaching Fellow at the University of North Texas. Bryan began studying the guitar at the relatively late age of nineteen. Having first been inspired in his formative years by the amateur guitar playing of his father, he has since spent the last decade refining his musical talent under the guidance of numerous formidable guitar minds. The foundations of his guitar playing were formed under the tutelage of many fine guitarists, most notably Robert Guthrie, Mitch Weverka, Sabine Madriguera, and Tom Johnson.

As his love for the 19th-century guitar repertoire began to blossom, Bryan sought out the Italian masters to further his interpretive understanding of their rich musical heritage. His studies with Matteo Mela and Lorenzo Micheli, both in festivals and privately, have had a tremendous impact on his musical and artistic development. In 2009, Bryan turned his attention to the world-renowned guitarist Eliot Fisk to glean some insight into Mr. Fisk’s mastery of the instrument, specifically his unique approach to Baroque transcription. His post-graduate work at the New England Conservatory focused primarily on the repertoire of Johann Sebastian Bach, Domenico Scarlatti, and Johann Froberger.

Bryan holds two music degrees from the University of North Texas (B.M. 2008 and M.M. 2009–both earned with Honors) as well as an Artistic Graduate Diploma from the New England Conservatory (2011). Bryan has won numerous prizes and awards in the field of music, both on the concert stage and academically. He has given concerts both in the U.S. and abroad, appearing as a featured soloist for several guitar Societies in America. In addition to his performance activities, Bryan is a strong advocate for musical outreach and education. In 2012, he founded the UNT Guitar Collegium and co-authored the Classical Guitar Curriculum for the University of North Texas with his friend and colleague, Stephen Lochbaum. Most recently, Bryan has authored a new method book for solfeggio applications to the guitar repertoire that will be published in 2018.

“His musical sensibility and elegance reflect a delicate soul and rare brilliance..”
-Paolo Schianchi, Artististic Director, PerCorsi Tra i Borghi -Parma,

Dallas Dillard

Guitar Instructor/Beginning Piano Instructor

 

Bio

Dallas is a University of North Texas trained musician, teacher, and composer. Upon relocating from the Washington D.C area, he is currently continuing his studies in jazz performance at UNT.

Starting his musical experiences at a young age, Dallas has studied guitar, bass, piano, and percussion with numerous teachers for the majority of his life, and has also taken on many roles teaching private students and leading ensembles. In high school, Dallas led as the president of the Tri-M music honor society, and took section chair positions in All County Jazz Band, All County Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combo, Marching Band, Orchestra, and Steel Band. Dallas also actively played in the central Maryland area, performing on guitar and bass in various jazz and R&B groups.

Currently, Dallas stays busy teaching and performing in the DFW area. He regularly performs with the UNT Super 400 Guitar Ensemble, 8:00 Lab Band, Third Street Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and the 2:00 Steel Band. He is currently writing music for his quartet, as well as multiple new collaborations in the works. On most Sundays you can find Dallas playing with the worship team at FBC McKinney, and has been actively working with the team for a year now. Dallas has twice toured the Province of Valencia, Spain with the group, playing electric and acoustic guitar in a variety of styles.

Outside of music, Dallas loves to spend time in the outdoors, backpacking and rock climbing. He avidly pursues photography on the side through these activities, traveling and exploring new places.

Wes Dziedzic

Jazz Piano/Classical Piano/Beginning Voice Instructor

Bio
Wes is a pianist and vocalist with experience in both the jazz and classical fields. Born and raised in the Chicago area, he has since relocated to Denton to study Jazz Piano Performance at the University of North Texas.
He began to study piano at the age of five, while also singing in (and accompanying for) his elementary school choir. As Wes continued his studies into middle and high school, band director and trombonist Brian Jacobi introduced him to jazz, and he fell in love. He began to take jazz lessons concurrently with classical starting in high school, where he continued to excel in musical endeavors such as chamber choir, jazz band and musical theatre. He took part multiple times in the All-State chorus at the Illinois Music Education Conference, also taking first place in the Composition Contest for his solo piano works.
Currently, you can find Wes performing in groups such as the Three O’Clock Lab Band and the UNT Jazz Singers, along with his own small jazz projects. He has a profound passion for music, which he hopes to impart on his students at NSSOTA.

Sarah Finkle

Voice Instructor

 

Bio

Sara is a vocalist and composer rooted in the jazz tradition. She enjoys modern jazz, fusion, pop, folk, bluegrass, and hip hop music. She leads and plays in multiple groups throughout the DFW area.

Sara, like many vocalists, began singing into a hairbrush when she was about 2 years old. When she reached kindergarten, her music teacher discovered she had a knack for music and encouraged her mother to put her in voice lessons and there was no turning back. She began formally studying voice at the age of 7. Since then, Sara’s passion for music was ignited and she began studying musical theater. She continued to study through high school and participated All State Choir and NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association).

Sara has received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology from the State University of New York in Oswego. After attaining her degree, she spent a year in China teaching English as a second language. She then moved to Salt Lake City and put on the hat of a fourth grade teacher. It was in Salt Lake City that she discovered her love for jazz music. She would teach during the day, then go to jazz jams at night. Her need to learn more about music became overwhelming and she decided that she would go back to school to study jazz.

Sara Is currently a student at the University of North Texas. She has studied with Anna Jalkeus, Justin Binek, Emily Merrell and Steve Lindeman.

She intends to use her eclectic knowledge to help her students find what they love about music. She believes that teaching music is an invaluable experience and hopes to instill passion in her students.

Bette Fisher

Voice/Musical Theatre Instructor

 

Bio

Bette Fisher is a graduate of University of Texas Austin, with a degree in Music Education, Voice Principal.  She also holds a Master of Arts Degree in Choral Conduction from University of Texas San Antonio. Bette has 35 years of experience in private vocal instruction, music teaching, and choir directing in Texas Public Schools from Pre-Kindergarten through High School ages.

With regard to private instruction in voice, Bette has taught private lessons to all levels and ages. In her private lessons, her teaching develops the student in areas such as vocal technique, solfege, sightsinging, audition preparation, stage presentation, commercial gig prep, musical theatre, etc.  Bette’s goal is to develop the student’s vocal abilities with a balanced approach. She takes the student’s interests into consideration while also introducing them to repertoire styles that will broaden their capabilities. Bette desires for her students to be well rounded musicians, ready for any opportunity that may come their way. Over the years, her former students have gone on to become music teachers themselves and one recently went on to explore a New York Broadway role.

With regard to her school teaching she has prepared students for regional choir, all state choir, and solo competitions, musical theatre roles, etc.

Bette also has an extensive dance background that includes being an officer in the Kilgore College Rangerettes.  She has directed, produced, and choreographed music programs and musical theatre shows for schools and churches in the Houston and San Antonio areas.  She has served as choir director for churches in both cities as well.

During her career she has directed or co-directed productions such as: Calamity Jane, Guys and Dolls, Oklahoma!, Brigadoon, Carnival, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Annie, Company, Mame, and Amahland the Night Visitors.  Her choirs have won University Interscholastic League awards and she has had numerous students in region choirs and All-State choirs.

After retiring, Bette began to write children’s musicals with a friend from her UT Austin days. One of those shows Circus Train was performed at Artsview Children’s Theater in Longview, Texas.

Bette and her husband Luke reside in the Argyle area where she continues to work in the music industry.  Bette and Luke have a son, Matthew, who lives in Dallas.

Heather Ganson

Acting Coach

 

Bio
Heather began acting at a young age and knew the very first time she saw her mother sing “A Spoonful of Sugar” on a tiny stage in Jacksonville, FL that she had found her lifelong home. She continued to act through high school and attended Martin High School in Arlington, TX where she studied under Larry Cure who remains her greatest inspiration in high school theatre. Her days in high school theatre solidified her love for acting and a deep appreciation for high school theatre everywhere. She continues to support high school theatre across the metroplex. If you are looking for a show to see…Heather can tell you where to look!
She studied at Brigham Young University and University of North Texas with an emphasis on Acting, but believes that acting training never ends. She is a lifelong student of the arts. She believes that 
acting is an ongoing study in what it means to be human. it offers the opportunity to learn more about ourselves and the world around us. 
She is an actor, director, writer and vocalist with experience in community and professional theatre as well as classrooms of all sizes. Her most recent role was as Education Director at Ohlook Performing Arts Center in Grapevine, TX where she continues to serve as Director of Publicity. 
Heather also owned a talent agency in Salt Lake City for several years prior to moving back to her home state of Texas to be closer to family. Heather has worked with several local theatre companies including Ohlook Performing Arts Center and Studio B. She has studied Stella Adler, Lee Strasburg, Stanislavski, Uta Hagen and Meisner techniques, among others, and believes that it is vital to have a full tool kit at your disposal. Some of the very best training can come from observing those around us. An actor’s training is never finished. We can always learn more about ourselves through this creative, important work.
Above all else, she is thrilled to work with students as they discover their own voice and creativity through acting. 

Lea Grant

Piano/Voice Instructor

 

Bio

Lea believes that nurturing a positive relationship with playing music is essential in music lessons. One of her main goals as a music teacher is to inspire students to become life-long musicians and music lovers. In service of this philosophy, Lea always asks which styles and aspects of music interest each student. From there, they will choose pieces and assignments that support the student’s growth towards their specific goals or interests. Lea uses humor to keep the energy in music lessons light, fun and engaging. Students will learn to sing/play piano, read music, develop a “good ear,” sight-read, and learn the fundamentals of music theory while studying with me. Interested students can also learn how to write a great song- and how to write it down!

Lea has over ten years of teaching experience, and is currently a Teaching Fellow at University of North Texas giving jazz vocal lessons. She is a Harmony Road certified piano teacher, and taught Harmony Road piano preparatory classes for over 8 years.

Leah has an earned masters’ degree from UNT in Jazz Studies, Vocal Performance where she studies with Rosana Eckert, Jennifer Barnes, and many other wonderful jazz faculty members. She is also Level 1 certified in Somatic Voicework(tm), which she studied with Jeannie Lovetri. In her undergrad, she studied classical voice at UCSC with Patrice Maginnis.

She has performed with several small opera companies including San Francisco Lyric Opera and numerous choirs, including IOCSF and Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir. For seven years, she gigged extensively throughout the San Francisco Bay Area with my band, an indie-folk-jazz piano trio, performing in a wide variety of venues including the bar at Yoshi’s Lounge, one of San Francisco’s premier jazz venues, and PLACE for Sustainable Living, an educational collective in Oakland, CA. She has written, recorded and released two albums on which she plays piano and sings. In addition to her work as a jazz vocalist and a singer/songwriter, she has sung backgrounds for various indie artists, including Derek Sup, Anita Stryker and Andy Mason. Over the years, she has also lent her voice to a few commercial and t.v. spots with companies such as Disney, Pepsi and Barbie.

Emily Guerrero

Violin (Suzuki and Traditional)/Viola Instructor

 

Bio

Emily began playing the viola when she was twelve years old when she joined the orchestra program at her middle school. She immediately grew a passion for music and knew she wanted to be a musician for the rest of her life. Ms. Emily currently attends the University of Texas at Arlington where she is studying Viola Performance with Catherine Forbes. Ms. Emily has also attended competitive music festivals in Canada, New York, and Oregon where she studied with various world-renowned instructors from prestigious schools like the New England Boston Conservatory and Eastman School of Music.

Fortunately for Ms. Emily, she shares her passion for music every week through her professional career as a performer and a teacher. She performs with every ounce of energy and elegance for every event and hopes to inspire her students to love and care for music as she does.

Tara Hunter

Voice/Piano/Musical Theatre/Early Childhood Music Instructor

 

Bio

Tara Hunter is an educator and vocalist. Her training and experience have spanned the genres of opera, musical theatre, folk and jazz. A few of her favorite roles she’s played are Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof, Clarice in A Servant of Two Masters, and Jeanette in Barbara’s Blue Kitchen.

Finding her love for classical singing at the age of 14 in West Point, New York, she began training under the guidance of soprano Catherine Flynn. There she sang with NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association) Area All State Choir and in the Boston Music Festival. Both her voice teacher and her choir director, Chris Reynolds had a profound effect on her life as they encouraged her to pursue singing and demonstrated a pedagogy rooted in the joy of music. Tara remembers her voice teacher taking her to see the St. Olaf Choir sing at Carnegie Hall and how it felt to have an educator truly invest in the growth and enrichment of their students.

In college, Tara first studied with Gerald Dolter at Texas Tech University. During her time in Lubbock, she appeared in productions with the Texas Tech Opera, Texas Tech Theatre and Lubbock Moonlight Musicals. She was a soloist for the Texas Tech Jazz Combo, Choral Scholar at First Christian Church and a soprano in the Lubbock Chorale.  Under the baton of John Dixon, she toured England with the Summer Choral Institute of St. John’s College, Cambridge University premiering pieces by
Eric Whitacre. One of her fondest musical memories is singing beneath the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral and hearing the long echoes up and down the aisles.

Tara went on to study voice at the University of North Texas with Jeffrey Snider and Inci Bashar, who was named 2009’s Teacher of the Year’ by Classical Singer Journal. While in Denton she was the music director for ‘Alice in Wonderland’ with Denton Community Theatre’s Summer Camp and has appeared in productions with Denton Music Theatre and Denton Black Box Theatre. She is currently the Artistic Director for ‘Cirque du Horror’ composed by local musician David Pierce.

After college, Tara taught voice, piano, aural skills, theory and early childhood music at the Julio D. Perfecto School of Music, a non-profit aiming to make quality music instruction accessible to lower-income students. This project of love furthered her determination to hone her pedagogical skills. She realized she enjoyed teaching as much as performing and loved passing on the excellent technique and the joy of music that had been instilled in her by her teachers.

Tara has also taught English in both Japan and Mexico and is grateful for the musical exchanges and experiences these stints abroad have brought. She was a soloist at the Jozenji Jazz Festival in Sendai, Japan and the first American to play taiko drums in the Mito, Ibaraki Summer Matsuri, a traditional Japanese festival.

Tara now lives with her husband in Denton, Texas. Her current projects include creating life-size puppets for a vaudeville style musical circus, performing with local literary and artist collective ‘Spiderweb Salon’,  and writing songs for use in early childhood education.

Anatolia Ioannides

Piano/Voice Instructor

 

Bio

Pianist Anatolia Loannides, enjoys a versatile career as a teacher, performer, collaborative pianist and coach.

Ms. Ioannides has performed in a number of national and international venues and festivals such as Voces Intimae and Opera in Concert, the Mozarteum Sommer Akademie. She has served as staff pianist for the Piatigorsky International Seminar for Cellists, UNT-Clarinet essentials, and the Banff Centre for the Arts, and has performed for the Jugend Musiziert Wetbewerb, and the Women in Music Composers’ Conference, USC-Visions and Voices and KUSC-Sundays Live with the Rick Todd’s USC Wind and Percussion ensemble.

As artistic director and founder of the chamber ensemble Cmc3+, she produced outreach programs in arts education. She has also developed multidisciplinary performances such as “Art and Hellenism” in collaboration with the Consul General of Greece and Loyola Marymount University (2004) and “A Roving Eye on Cyprus” (2008) at USC’s Fischer Museum of Art in conjunction with former US Ambassador Donald Bandler’s exhibition of photography. She was one of the lead-pianists in the world premiere of the commissioned performance and multichannel video exhibition “Piano Destructions” by the Frankfurt and London based artist Andrea Büttner, produced at the Walter Phillips Gallery and the Banff Centre in Canada (2014).

In addition to coaching and accompanying college students and performing with faculty and guest artists at UNT and SMU, Dr. Ioannides and teaches piano and the art of accompanying and chamber music to pre-collegiate music students in the Denton- Dallas metropolitan area.
She has recently developed a summer workshop dedicated to providing coaching and performance opportunities in instrumental and vocal chamber music to pre-collegiate performers; and making collaborative piano repertoire an integral part of the young piano student’s musical training and development. An active member of Music Teachers National Association, she is in strong demand as adjudicator for young artist festivals and competitions in Texas and California.

Dr. Ioannides is the pianist and co-founder of TrioPolis, an ensemble dedicated to the promotion of new works and forging innovating, interdisciplinary collaborations across the performing arts, with UNT faculty clarinetist Kimberly Cole and violinist Felix Olschofka.
She serves as accompanist and coach for UNT’s ClarEssentials Summer Workshop and is actively involved with UNT-CollabFest, a two-day festival celebration and exploration of all things collaborative piano.

Dr. Ioannides received her B.M in piano performance and pedagogy from the Universitat für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. She completed her M.M and D.M.A in Keyboard Collaborative Arts at the University of Southern California.
She is a Royal Conservatory of Music registered teacher and a member of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), Texas Music Teachers Association (TMTA).

Jamila Javadova

Piano/Organ Instructor

 

Bio

Jamila began playing the piano at the age of 5. Her oldest sister was pursuing her dream of becoming a professional pianist and she inspired Jamila and guided her first steps in piano playing. The first tune she learned to play was “The Sick Doll” from the Children’s Album by P. I. Tchaikovsky. She also plays the pipe organ and the harpsichord. Both of her parents played musical instruments as well.

Jamila holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of North Texas, majoring in Organ Performance with a minor in Music Theory under the supervision of Dr. Lenora McCroskey.  She received her Bachelors and Masters degree in Music Theory and Organ Performance from Azerbaijan State Conservatory under Dr. Tahira Yagubova.  Jamila has a Performing Organist Licentiate Diploma from the Associated Royal Schools of Music, and a Diploma from the Conservatory of Amsterdam where she was a student of renowned Professor Jacques van Oortmerssen.  She also studied with world-recognized musicians including Andrea Marcon of Italy; Jean Boyer, Naji Hakim and Michel Bouvard of France; and Hans Ola Ericsson of Sweden.

Jamila loves classical music and regularly attends Dallas Symphony Orchestra concerts. She enjoys playing music from the Baroque Era. Jamila majored in organ performance and most admires J.S. Bach because his music is considered the best for organists for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual strength.

Jamila has taught music lessons for over 30 years and is passionate about public performance and the learning process. Visit her website for more information and videos of a few of her organ performances –www.jjavadovaspitzberg.com.

Alli Johnson

Voice/Piano/Guitar/Ukelele Instructor

 

Bio

Alli Johnson is a folk singer and multi-instrumentalist.  She is the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the award-winning Dallas-based Celtic group The Selkie Girls and also serves as the director for North Texas School of Irish Music Gaelic Youth Chorus. In addition, she teaches private vocal and guitar lessons and conducts Irish and Scottish Gaelic singing workshops throughout the year.

She comes from a family of musicians and was singing harmonies with her mother and siblings for as long as she can remember. A member of several performance choirs and ensembles throughout her youth, by the age of 16, Alli began performing professionally, singing and playing guitar in venues around the Dallas area. Since then, she’s worked as a demo singer and played in numerous bands, largely focusing on acoustic-driven music.

In 2013, she became the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the popular Celtic group The Selkie Girls. In 2015, the critically-acclaimed Selkies were honored to win a Celtic Radio Music Award for their version of “The Gaelic Song.” The Selkie Girls have been featured performers at premier festivals throughout the county, including the Austin Celtic Festival, Oklahoma ScotFest, Maryville, TN Highland Games, Texas Scottish Festival, and North Texas Irish Festival, among others.  They have performed live on the Good Day Fox 4 morning show several times.

In addition to her work with the Selkies, her vocals have been featured on several instructional publications for Hal Leonard Corporation, including Guitar for Kids – Book 2, Ukulele for Kids, Bass for Kids, and How to Record at Home on a Budget.

Chad Johnson

Guitar Instructor

 

Bio

Chad Johnson has authored over 80 instructional books for Hal Leonard Corporation, including The Hal Leonard Acoustic Guitar MethodGuitarist’s Guide to Scales Over Chords, Bassist’s Guide to Scales Over Chords, Pentatonic Scales for the Guitar: The Essential GuideNirvana Guitar Signature LicksAll About BassHow to Play Solo Ukulele, and How to Record at Home on a Budget, to name but a few.

He has toured and performed throughout the east coast in various bands and works as a session guitarist, composer, and recording engineer when not authoring or editing.

He currently resides in Denton, TX with his wife and two children, where he keeps busy with an active freelance career.

Angie Jung

Piano/Voice Instructor

 

Bio

Angie grew up in South Korea, and began playing the piano at the age of 4. She and her family found that she could remember and sing the tune that she heard once at church and at school, and her mother let her start playing the piano and develop her musical ability. Her whole family is a big fan of classical music. Her father, especially, has always played musical recordings at dinner time and introduced various music and composers to her since she was very little. Her mother always sang beautiful songs to her and inspired her from an early age. Her family members are her greatest inspirers and supporters.

Music became a huge part of her life and she felt she would find her identity in music. Angie became a winner at her first piano competition, and won a silver bronze at her first singing competition. She became a member of Children’s Choir at Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC) when she was 9. Also she became a soloist and was recommended be a singer by the choir director. At the choir of the broadcasting company, she was trained very professionally and traveled internationally for their performances. At that age, she began playing the piano for church, school, and other events. She loved playing music that she wrote. Her beginning was to play for children’s ministry and since then she has served as a church pianist over 13 years.

Angie received her BM in vocal performance from Chung-Ang University in Seoul, South Korea, and her MM from University of North Texas. She is currently pursuing her doctorate at UNT. While earning her degrees, she earned many awards in competitions such as NATS Competition and Korea Baptist Theological University Competition. She has performed with many ensembles, orchestras and worked with UNT Opera.

Angie’s students have consistently got prizes at competitions, entered top-tier music colleges such as UNT, UT Austin, and Indiana University, and earned scholarships in colleges.

Angie wants her students to love themselves, love other people, love music and express their love through the music. She believes the great power of music can change not only a person’s life but also a whole world.

Spyros Karavias

Piano Instructor

 

Bio

Greek American concert pianist Spyros Karavias started to play the piano when he was 9 years old, performing his first solo recital a year later with works of Bach, Mozart and Chopin. Early musical training includes the violin, french horn, music harmony & counterpoint and conducting. Spyros is the recipient of many scholarships, prizes and awards around the world. He has performed recitals in Austria, Germany, Italy, France, England, Czech Republic and Spain. Recent American performances in Texas, Kentucky and Antigua, Guatemala.

He is equally at home with standard repertoire and new music. He enjoys composing, accompanying singers and instrumentalists. Spyros is also a dedicated piano teacher and believes in a healthy and balanced approach between technique and music interpretation. He has taught piano and theory lessons for many years with successful results. Many of his students get the highest ratings in festivals and competitions around the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

Spyros has taken lessons and participated in masterclasses and piano festivals around the world with famous pianists and renowned pedagogues such as Misha Dichter, Eliso Virsaladze, Leonid Margarius, Pavel Gililov, Andrej Jasinski, Peter Lang, Rolf Plagge, Daniel Pollack, and Alan Feinberg among others.

He earned his Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Piano Performance & Pedagogy (both summa cum laude) at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg, Austria studying with Prof. George Kern, distinguished pianist and student of the legendary Rosina Lhevinne. Currently he pursues a Doctoral degree in Piano Performance at the University of North Texas with Dr. Steven Harlos.

Spyros Karavias is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society, Alpha Chi National College Honor Society, Golden Key International Honour Society, and Music Teachers National Association.

Justin Labosco

Drums/Guitar/Beginning Piano Instructor

 

Bio

Hina Le

Piano/Flute Instructor

 

Bio

Flute professor and former Dean of the College of Music at the University of North Texas Dr. James Scott noted “Huong Thu Le’s artistry communicates warmth and genuine musicality within a framework of excellent style sense and a command of the flute that embraces beautiful tone and a consistently reliable technique. Her performances represent state-of-the-art professionalism alongside that extra dimension of refined creativity that make them engaging and memorable.” As a flute artist, she always aims for a variety of performances and colorful expressions from classical to contemporary music. In particular, she conveys the Eastern musical spirit and the spirit of traditional Vietnamese music through the classical Western flute. She emphasizes and promotes the integration of cultural elements in each musical work.

As an educator, Ms. Le had taught private and chamber music lessons for over ten years as a member of the flute faculty at the Vietnam National Academy of Music, and a flute/beginner piano teacher at the United Nations International School of Hanoi and the British Vietnamese International School, as well as teaching “Music Appreciation” class for the Troy University inter-college sharing program with the Vietnam National University. She has been working with students of all ages, from elementary to university level. The former UNIS Music Academy’s leader – professor Elizabeth Druitt claimed Ms.Le as a “very patient, experienced teacher and have a great understanding with students, especially with the young ones”.

As a performer, Huong Thu Le has been invited as a flute soloist to perform with the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra, the Hanoi Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vietnam Opera & Ballet Orchestra, the Hanoi String Orchestra, the American-Vietnamese Connection Music Festival Chamber Orchestra, and the Danish “Hafnia” Chamber Orchestra. She has taken part in several recording sessions premiering works by the American Grammy-award-winning composer Michael Daugherty with the University of North Texas Wind Symphony, conducted by the legendary conductor, Professor Eugene Migliaro Corporon. She also won second prize at the Maverick Flute Solo Competition in Texas in the U.S. that focuses on contemporary works. She was a member of the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra in Japan while studying at the Hanoi Conservatory and was flute principal of the Hanoi Philharmonic Orchestra. She has performed hundreds of concerts in Vietnam and at international music festivals in Japan, France, Germany, the United States, England, Denmark and Sweden.

Huong Thu (Hina) Le believes that music makes one’s life becomes much more interesting and colourful, and she loves listening to beautiful melodies from her favourite composers, among them are J.S. Bach, Johannes Brahms, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy.

She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree (DMA) in Flute Performance at the University of North Texas (UNT) under the instruction of professors Terri Sundberg, James Scott and Elizabeth McNutt. Her previous principle professors were Sir William Bennett, Toke Lund Christiansen, Henrik Svitzer, Asger Svendsen and Nguyen Trung Thanh.

Monika Leenhouts

Piano/Harp/Early Childhood Music Instructor

 

Bio

Monika Leenhouts is from Estonia and she started playing recorder and piano at the age of 7. Her mother inspired her to play music, because she loved to listen to classical music and play piano herself.

Monika is a professional and experienced pianist, harpist, and woodwind instrumentalist. She was awarded first price twice in The National Competition for young wind players in Estonia and the special award for the most creative young artist in Estonia.

She has performed at the Boston, Utrecht, Valencia and Barcelona Early Music festivals with the consort The Royal Wind Music and toured with various chamber music groups all over the Europe and Asia. She has performed on TV in Europe and Asia. She has also played in the Dutch National Opera and the Estonian National Theatre.

She holds a Bachelor and Master degree with teaching certificate from The Royal Conservatory of The Hague in Early Music and is currently working on her postgraduate degree in harp with Dr. Jaymee Haefner at UNT with the related field in music education.

Monika has a passion for Italian 16-17’th century repertoire and French 18th century music. She also admires the composers like, Debussy, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky and Chopin.

She practices approximately 5 hours per day. She begins with exercises to warm up, progresses to sight-reading new repertoire and then working on memorizing pieces, technique and musical lines.

Monika would like to be remembered as a caring, kind and inspiring person who is passionate about music.

Adrienne Leung

Violin(Suzuki and Traditional) Instructor

 

Bio

Adrienne believes in creating a positive teaching environment to promote the growth and development of her students. Her goal as an instructor is to guide each student to finding his or her own natural way of playing the violin. She loves music making and hopes to inspire her students to play beyond the notes written on the page.

After playing piano for three years since starting at the age of three, Adrienne made her switch to the violin at the age of six. Her innate talent was apparent to her first teacher, Achille DiRusso (former orchestral musician in the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra), as she was easily able to play in tune and memorize music. Through the following years she grew her talents and won the Outstanding Performer Award twice at the annual Texas State Solo-Ensemble Contest during her high school years. She won the first award performing the Beethoven Violin Concerto in D Major (1st movement) and the second with the Vieuxtemps Violin Concerto No.5 in A minor (1st mvt).

She is passionate about chamber music and the collaboration involved to making an engaging musical atmosphere for the audience. One of her most recent achievements was receiving the Award for Excellence in Chamber Music at the University of North Texas through her quartet’s performance of the String Quartet No.1 by Alberto Ginastera. Then after, her and the quartet members received a full scholarship to attend the annual Summer Music Institute at the University of New Mexico.

Adrienne is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance at the University of North Texas (UNT) under the tutelage of world renowned violinist Julia Bushkova. Her previous instructors include Todd Ehle and Achille DiRusso.

“I have known Adrienne Leung for many years, formerly as a student, and now as a friend and fellow teacher. She is brilliant and quick, but also kind and patient; just the combination needed in the world of violin pedagogy.” -Todd Ehle, Professor of Music, Del Mar College, (professorV on Youtube)

Sean Lynch

Drums/Beginning Piano

 

Bio

It was in third grade Sean Lynch began piano lessons continuing his studies for four years.
While in High School, Sean Lynch learned to play drum set in the black gospel churches of Dallas.It was the music of Steely Dan, The Dave Matthews Band, Blink 182, Tower of Power and later on the music of Wayne Shorter, that inspired Sean to start playing the drum set.
During high school he won several snare drum and drum set competitions.

After graduating High School in the top of his class, Sean went on to attend North Central Texas College on a full performance scholarship. In 2012, he placed second in the TCCBDA Jazz Competition. Sean was one of eight drummers of two hundred applicants in the US accepted to study jazz at the prestigious University of North Texas. He currently is still studying drum set jazz performance at UNT. Since Sean has worked on composing, arranging for various of his own jazz groups. In addition to teaching drum set, he teaches beginner ear training for beginner piano.

Sean has studied with famous drummers such as Ralph Peterson Jr., Quincy Davis, Mike Clark, Ed Soph, Steve Barnes, Mike Drake and Stockton Helbing. He is devoted to making the world a more musical place. He dedicates his life to making music worth listening to, music that provokes you to cry, laugh, shout, smile and dance.

Lessons with Sean can be described as exciting and inspiring and challenging.

Andres (Andy) Rodriguez

Drums/Elementary Music/Brass Instructor

 

Bio

At an early age, Andy always wanted to work in music either up front or behind the scenes. His favorite genres of music are rap, alternative rock, jazz, and EDM. Before moving to Denton to attend the University of North Texas, he played with local wind ensembles and jazz bands in Arlington where he is originally from.

Mr. Rodriguez currently plays drums in a local Denton band, plays tuba and sings as a tenor at the University of North Texas, and composes music for various local ensembles. He is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity as well as North Texas Music Educators Association and the North Texas chapter of the International Tuba Euphonium Association.

Mr. Rodriguez works with students of all ages but specializes in elementary and middle school music education. Mr. Rodriguez is passionate about teaching children the importance of music as well as how fun learning music can be.

Jason Schindler

Guitar Instructor

 

Bio

Jason grew up in Grapevine, TX and began playing guitar at the age of 13. Both of his parents play guitar and his mom is an exceptional singer. The first song he remembers playing is “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton. His first instrument was a Conn classical guitar.

He most admires Jason Becker, one of the greatest neo-classical guitarists of all time, for his incredible story of perseverance after his guitar-playing career was cut short by ALS by the age of 21.  Jason Becker continues writing symphonies through a program that is controlled by his eye movements since every other muscle is dead due to ALS.

Some of his favorite performers include A7X, Paul Gilbert, Zakk Wylde, Jason Becker, Joe Satriani, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Johnson, Steve Vai, Metallica, Andres Segovia, and Kiko Louriero.

Jason personally practices 3-4 hours per week in addition to his teaching schedule. His practices include speed picking, sweep picking, legato runs, and whatever musical piece he is working on at the time.

He has taught guitar lesson for the past four years and wants to be known as a great mentor and teacher. He is most passionate about soloing and that is his primary type of music performance.

Jason has a strong love for teaching. In addition to being a music instructor, he is also a HS math teacher at Northwest HS. He is a gifted communicator that knows how to make learning fun. One of the ways he shows his students that learning can be fun is by teaching them pieces that they choose to learn or helping them compose their own tunes.

Jackson desires for his guitar students to be inspired and motivated through his teaching. He hopes that they will have a lifelong love for learning music and that they will realize that dedication to practice does indeed come with great reward.

Johanna Stull

Piano/Vocal Instructor

 

Bio

Born into a family of musicians and teachers, Johanna began her formal music training at the age of five. She took lessons both at the local music school and with talented family members. In high school, Johanna studied piano with Dr. Cathy Benton, and chose to begin a career in music performance. Now, after over twenty years of studying the piano, Johanna is sharing her love of music through collaboration and education in the North Texas area.

While Johanna maintains an active career working with both singers and instrumentalists, she has a distinctive command of vocal collaboration as a trained mezzo-soprano herself. Most recently, Johanna was invited to the Bayview Music Festival where she resided as a piano fellow for opera and art song performance. In past years, Johanna has worked as a staff pianist for numerous high school programs, university vocal studios, and the acclaimed St. Louis Children’s Choirs.

A dedicated advocate of collaborative piano, Johanna helped coordinate the first and second annual CollabFest conferences. There she performed for esteemed clinicians such as Dr. Jean Barr, one of the founders of the modern collaborative piano field. Johanna also serves as vice president of North Texas Collaborative Pianists, an association committed to the professional and artistic development of student collaborators.

In addition to her collaborative career, Johanna has taught music and piano in various roles over the past 10 years. She is currently an instructor at New Song School of the Arts in Argyle, teaching piano to students of all ages.

Johanna studied with Dr. Elvia Puccinelli and Dr. Steven Harlos at the University of North Texas. She holds a B.M. in Piano Performance from Missouri Baptist University and a Masters’ Degree in Piano Performance from UNT, where she received numerous awards for performance and achievement. When she’s not at the keyboard, Johanna finds happiness in travelling, playing recreational sports, and creating new recipes in the kitchen.

Ruusamari Teppo

Piano Instructor

 

Bio

Ruusamari grew up in Finland and began playing the piano at the age of four with her mother and continued at a formal school of music a year later. Her entire family has a love for and a very close connection to music. Her great, great grandfather on her mother´s side was the great composer Jean Sibelius and she has a lineage of folk musicians from her fathers side. In Ruusamari’s mother´s family basically everybody plays an instrument. On her father´s side there are fiddle and guitar players. Ruusamari plays the piano, fortepiano, harpshichord, and organ. The piano is her first instrument, the big love of her life. She later chose other keyboard instruments of which the fortepiano she has the closest relationship.

Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Schuberts, Schumann, Sibelius, and Tschaikovsky are the composers that Ruusamari most admires. Of the great performers she loves Emil Gilels, Pinhas Zukerman, Gil Shaham and Yefim Bronfman to mention a few. Her mentors Vladimir Viardo, Christoph Hammer, and Elvia Puccinelli have been the greatest influence. Beyond classical musicians she loves Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen, Bono, Freddie Mercury, Elvis, Frank Sinatra, and Bill Evans. The first tunes that really awoke her love to music were Mozart’s Andante and pieces by J.S. Bach.

Ruusamari has received two second-place prizes in the Bradshaw and Buono piano competition in NY, NY and the Petroff piano competition in San Antonio, TX. She regularly tours with fellow musicians. She played 40 concerts with Finnish cellist, Jussi Makkonen all aroung the US in 2015. The engagements for the summer 2016 include concerts in Germany, Italy and Finland. Ruusamari has performed and interviewed on radio and television in the US and Finland. She received a NOVA scholarship from the UNT College of Music and Finlandia Foundation Scholarship as a highest ranking applicant.

Ruusamari has artist certificates from the Prague Concervatory, Czech Republic and the Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest, Hungary. Her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in piano performance is from UNT, class of Vladimir Viardo. She is currently working on her DMA in Collaborative piano performance at UNT with Elvia Puccinelli and Steven Harlos. She also has related field fortepiano studies with Christoph Hammer and Paul Leenhouts. Ruusamari has participated in master classes with Dmitry Bashkirov, Yefim Bronfman, Matti Raekallio, Natalya Antonova, and others.

Ruusamari practices from 2-4 hours every day. She uses warm ups, scales and finger exercises as a part of a daily practice routine. She regularly adds new repertoire and technically challenging spots that require extra time, repetition and new creative way of practice. She has been teaching music since she was 20 years old.

Ruusamari wants to be remembered as an honest, sensitive and passionate musician and a happy and friendly human being. The quote from Goethe – “Music starts where the words end” sums up her passion in regard to her work as a musician and teacher. Her great, great grandfather, Jean Sibelius’ words inspire her to be the best she can be – “Music is for me like a beautiful mosaic which God has put together. He takes all the pieces in his hand, throws them into the world, and we have to recreate the picture from the pieces.”