Studio Owner/Private Piano Instructor
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.
Music Education Instructor/MUSIKSCOOL Director
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!
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,
Piano Instructor/Guitar Instructor
Dallas is an experienced musician, teacher, and composer residing in the Denton – DFW area,
and is currently studying Jazz Performance at the prestigious University of North Texas
College of Music. He is making Texas his new home, after relocating from the Washington
D.C area two years ago.
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 is studying music full time in Denton, and is also actively playing in the DFW area. At UNT, he has performed with the 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
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.
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.
In May 2018 she anticipates earning her master’s 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.
Ben grew up in Waverley, Nova Scotia, Canada and began playing the guitar at about the age of 12 along with other kids in his neighborhood. Over the years of his development he also began playing the slide guitar, classical guitar, piano, and harmonica. His first guitar was one he found in his grandmother’s basement. It had been his uncles when he was a kid, had only 4 strings left, the bridge was lifting off the body of the guitar, and the tuners were broken so the guitar was stuck out of tune. Ben loved the guitars unique musty smell and would play songs on only the lowest strings.
The musician Ben admires most is jazz guitarist John Scofield due to the way he blends jazz with genres like funk, gospel, R&B, and country in his improvising and composing. The first album that he really “got into” was Paranoid by Black Sabbath. He also enjoys Paul Simon, Miles Davis, Henry Purcell, and Grant Green.
Ben’s great aunt studied harp at The Julliard School and was one of Canada’s lead harpists for many years. Now in her late 90s she still teaches harp, violin and piano, and gives recitals.
He earned First Class Honours on his undergraduate degree from Saint Fancis Xavier University and attended the University of North Texas on a competitive music scholarship
Ben performs regularly around the Dallas/Fort Worth area. He is a member of the Enablers (top 40), the Freeloaders (jazz/blues), Fingerprints (smooth jazz), the Nick Mclean Jazztet (jazz) and his own jazz group. He also freelance performs with various country singers (most notably Jamie Richards), and other jazz groups.
He is very methodical about recording the exact amount of time he practices and on average practices two hours each day. When preparing for a new performance he frequently practices 8 hours or more. Ben’s ideal practice day would be broken into four one-hour sessions – Technique (scales etc), Reading music, Vocabulary (licks/solo transcriptions), and Repertoire.
Ben has been teaching formally since 2012 and participated in a peer mentorship program while an undergraduate student where students taught and took lessons from one another. His favorite thing about teaching is seeing his students get inspired and develop a love of music. He also appreciates how teaching helps him to organize his own pedagogical thinking pushing him to develop an explicit understanding of the things he is already doing musically.
Ben would like his students to understand that music is for everyone and that anyone reach an amazing level of skill if they put in the work. He is a professional performer who loves music and wants to bring that experience back to his students. He has a unique vantage point because music was never easy for him and he was never the “best” guitarist. He failed his first audition to get into community college, but was accepted after a callback audition when too few people registered for the program. After years of hard work and dedication he is now living his boyhood dream of being a professional guitarist in the United States. Ben wants to break through the myths surrounding music and show people that with some hard work, dedication, and a solid plan they can do whatever they want with music.
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 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.
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.
Carol grew up in Richland Center, Wisconsin and began playing the piano at the age of 3. Her mom taught piano in their home and she would hide behind the couch and listen to the student’s as they practiced. She begged her mother to teach her how to play and finally was allowed to begin lessons when she turned 3 years old. Her first recital included two pieces from the Francis Clark series. In addition to the piano, Carol also plays the clarinet, flute, oboe, bassoon, and saxophone. Both of her parents have master’s degrees in music and her uncle was the original band director at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL.
Carol’s favorite musician is Mozart. She fell in love with his music while in high school when she played one of his clarinet solos for a contest. She continued to play his pieces in small ensemble groups while in college. Carol most enjoys listening to a group called Pentatonix.
Her mom’s piano was an Everett spinet piano and that piano to Carol as a college graduation present. The first clarinet Carol played was actually her dad’s amazing Buffett. He let her play it for a couple of months and then bought her a shiny new student line Evette. She did not enjoy playing the Evette clarinet, so he allowed her to play his amazing Buffett from the 1940’s until he bought a Buffett for her.
While Carol was in high school it became a sort of game to see how many different solos and ensembles she could join. She participated in many contests including vocal—solos and ensembles, and instrumental—flute, clarinet, and saxophone solos and ensembles. She started in Wisconsin School Music Association’s solo ensemble contests in 6th grade and began accompaniment contests in 8th grade. When she was a senior in high school she had 20 solos, ensembles, and accompaniments at the state level. Her abilities and level of involvement earned her a full scholarship to play clarinet at the University of Wisconsin. Carol has a Bachelor’s Degree in pre-k-12 Vocal Music Education, a Bachelor’s Degree in pre-k-12 Instrumental Music Education, and a Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
Carol has taught music lessons since 1980 with an emphasis on piano and vocal studies. She fits time in her schedule to practice daily so that she can continue to improve her own skill set. She is most passionate about expression through music. She wants her students to learn how to allow music to speak through them as they play and perform.
Huong Thu Le
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.
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.
Drums/Guitar/Beginning Piano Instructor
Justin started playing drums at the age of 10 when he received a drum set for Christmas. Shortly after that he began learning guitar. In further years he also learned to play the piano and the bass. The first tune that he learned was When I Come Around by Green Day and his favorite musicians are Our Lady Peace, Stone Temple Pilots, and 30 Seconds to Mars.
Justin fronts a rock band called Quiet on the Set. He has also toured in various rock bands as the drummer (Admiral Grey being the most recent). Justin is a professional actor and has performed at Dallas Theater Center, Uptown Players and many other theatres around the DFW area.
Justin grew up in Sarasota, Florida and was trained by Reverend Horton Heat and the Burden Brothers drummer, Taz Bentley.
Justin is passionate about creating music. His experience with various instruments has helped him to improve and advance in all of them.
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.
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.
Guitar/Beginning Piano Instructor
Aaron has been playing guitar for about 30 years. Music was something that he was able to connect with and it became a lifelong pursuit. Aaron started out playing the acoustic guitar. His first guitar was a cheap one that he never put down. He began playing the piano to make his mom happy and he also plays the bass guitar. His family is also musical and their musical abilities have been used and developed in their church. His early childhood years were spent in Texas and Oklahoma, and his jr. high and high school years in Pennsylvania.
Musicians that Aaron admires include Bach, for his simple, yet brilliant composition; Charlie Christian and Freddie Green, for bringing guitar to a new level and introducing new techniques in the Big Band era. He also admires the playing of Joe Pass, Scottie Moore, and Jimmie Hendrix. Some of his favorite musicians include Wes Montgomery, Elvis, Hank Williams, and Johnny Cash.
In high school Aaron was in a state jazz competition and was runner up for solo performance. He also received the national Woody Herman music performance award while in high school. In college he won the on-campus competition – Battle of the Bands.
Aaron has played publicly on many occasions. He frequently plays for weddings and has been privately hired for studio sessions. He has played the opening act for Sanctum Real and the Afters, played along with Nathan Cochran of MercyMe, and has co-written songs with Nashville songwriters.
Aaron enjoys playing jazz and his practice times include chromatic runs as well as playing instrumental pieces to continue working on his melodic technique. He has been teaching guitar for nearly 20 years and wants to be remembered as someone who gave it his all and inspired others to do the same. He is most passionate about playing and performing right, which makes him an excellent teacher.
Karina began playing the violin when her family moved to Moscow, Russia in 1999. Her mother is a piano teacher and began teaching her music lessons when Karina was 5 years old. The first formal music school she attended was Gnesin Moscow State Music School. From the beginning of elementary school she was required to take an additional instrument on a performance level, and she chose the piano.
She participated in different competitions and festivals in Russia as a piano performer. After finishing the middle school she went to Moscow State Academic Music College of Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory and as a violinist she participated in college competitions and international festivals in Austria, Greece, and Turkey.
In 2011 Karina participated in the International Competition in Ukraine for the young performers where she received a diploma of recognition. The following year she won second prize in the International Competition in Italy “Music XXI Century”.
She has performed several concertos with the Baroque Orchestra as a soloist. In the fall of 2015 she won a Concerto Competition at UNT. In March of 2016 she performed the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the UNT Symphony Orchestra.
Karina practices daily for at least three hours beginning with exercises, scales before moving to her performance pieces. She is currently a TA at UNT with a Early Music Instruments field of study.
During her undergraduate program she began teaching at an elementary music school. Since that time she has enjoyed teaching as a way she can impart her knowledge to the students and allows her to see them improve and develop. She wants the students feel happy, encouraged, and inspired by her instruction. She tries to inspire the students by making them feel encouraged and interested in the process. She hopes the music will make the students be more creative and improve their lives.
Karina holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin performance and pedagogy and also a master of music degree in violin performance from University or North Texas. She is currently studying to obtain her Graduate Artist Certificate from UNT.
In addition to teaching violin, Karina has taught piano for many years. Being that she began studying piano in her childhood and has continued her piano studies she has chosen to pass on her love for the piano to other students. She often will do a blended lessons for students teaching both piano and violin.
Katelin Smathers was born in Colorado Springs and was adopted by a loving family from birth. Her interest in violin began at the age of 3 when she played a computer game where mice played tiny instruments. When she heard the violin for the first time it was love at first sound. Although she begged her parents to play the violin at the age of 3, they wanted her to start at the age of 8. Katelin waited five years to start playing the instrument that caught her soul. One of her first memories was as a newborn when her mother sang a lullaby to her by the window as she rocked her back and forth in her arms. While Katelin was a toddler she listened to lots of classical music on cd’s and remembers not being able to sleep because the music was too beautiful for her to sleep through.
Her first teacher Vanessa White taught her the basics of violin as well as bringing her through half of the Suzuki Method. It was clear from the beginning that Katelin would go far with the violin, and she knew from the first few lessons that she wanted to be a professional.
After a couple years with Vanessa, Katelin began lessons with Jeri Jorgensen, a bachelor holder from both Eastman School of Music and Julliard, as well as a masters from Julliard. Jeri accepted Katelin after a trial lesson and began finishing up some pieces in Suzuki as well as beginning more advanced repertoire. From the age of 12 Jeri encouraged Katelin to attend summer intensives to progress her playing even farther. The first camp she attended was at Denver University, and after DU, she attended the 4 week intensive at Indiana Jacobs School of Music where she studied with world renowned faculty and practiced 6 and ½ hours a day. During the summer of 2013 at 16 years old she was allowed as an exception to attend the college-age and up Magic Mountain Music Festival with Burton Kaplan. Over some of the next summer’s Katelin attended the Manitou Chamber Music Festival with her private teacher Jeri Jorgensen (the founder of the chamber intensive) as well as pianist Cullan Bryant. She has worked with several professional chamber groups including the Borromeo String Quartet during the Colorado State High School Chamber Music Festival, as well as a performer in a masterclass with the Aeolus Quartet from Julliard.
Some awards she has received include taking first prize in the 2012 Concerto Competition with the Colorado Young Sinfonia, and second prize with the Colorado Spring Youth Symphony Concerto Competition in 2013. As a current award, she is a scholarship holder at UNT College of Music as a violin performance major. In future Katelin desires to be part of many more competitions, but so far, she has been enjoying studying violin with world renowned violinist and Professor of Violin at UNT, Julia Bushkova. Over her next years as a student earning her bachelors degree of violin performance, Katelin hopes to compete in the UNT Concerto Competition, as well as cultivating students who enjoy learning about and playing the violin. Once she has earned her bachelors she plans on working towards a masters as well as a doctoral degree. Katelin adores every aspect of the violin, including teaching kids how to play, performing as a soloist, playing in groups, and she absolutely adores exposure to every genre and style of music.
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 currently studies 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, 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.
A rising jazz talent from Hong Kong, Jackie Yin captivates the hearts of her audience with her charismatic tone and warm timbre. A versatile singer with an impressive range, Jackie takes listeners on a ride through a variety of styles, from the Great American Songbook to Brazilian classics to the modern and popular hits of today. She can bring you to the beach in Bahia with a bossa nova beat and then turn around and touch your heart with a ballad like an old friend. A master at improvisation, Jackie uses her voice like an instrument, delivering exciting solos while exploring the harmonic possibilities of the music. Jackie is also multi-lingual, able to reach out to a global audience who love to hear her sing in English, Portuguese, French, Italian, Mandarin and Cantonese. Her unique repertoire includes her many original songs which blend lush harmonies with refreshing grooves, creating a cool yet sophisticated urban sound. Lyrically, she delves into the world relationships and seeks to represent feelings, desires and thoughts of modern people. Also an accomplished pianist, Jackie is traveling the musical path of legendary singer/pianists that went before her, like Shirley Horn, Nina Simone, Eliane Elias and Diana Krall. Her self-accompanied performances showcase the organic unity of her smooth vocals and skillful playing. As an arranger, Jackie not only specializes in small jazz ensemble writing, but she also has a knack for large vocal group adaptations. Her vocal arrangements are often distinguished by vibriant colors through reharmonization and intriguing rhythmic interplays, while always placing the lyrics in the spotlight. In addition to her performing, composing and arranging, Jackie is also an adept educator who enjoys sharing her knowledge of jazz and contemporary music with students of all ages from around the world.
Jackie received her Master’s degree in vocal jazz from the University of North Texas. She currently travels between Hong Kong and the United States, writing, performing, and teaching.
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.”