Did you know that we offer teachers at the lead and master level as well? This program, while perhaps one of our lesser-known offerings, has been around for over a decade. Those who do know about it love it — and the results they’ve gotten.
Our lead and master teachers earned their positions through longstanding records of high performance within the school. They have proven themselves with great results, true engagement and high-performing students. (Students of these teachers have gone on to attend prestigious music schools, become professional musicians, and even appear on national television.) We are proud to share our current roster of lead and master teachers:
Monica - piano, voice
Monica Schaffer is a Meridee Winters veteran, having joined our team in 2006 and remained an enthusiastic member of the teaching community ever since. Her musical knowledge is extensive – she earned her bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Toccoa Falls College (Toccoa, GA) and received her master’s degree in Piano Pedagogy from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Monica works as a Master Teacher for the school, as well as working in the office as a Master Pedagogue and serving as a teacher mentor/meeting leader. Among other gigs, jobs, and side projects, Monica enjoys being a part of many different musical communities, and finding various outlets for her creativity. Monica teaches piano and voice for the school at the master level.
Jason - guitar, drums, bands
Jason graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Jazz Guitar Performance and also received his Master’s Degree in Jazz Performance, both from Temple University’s Boyer College of Music. He was the recipient of both the Frances G. Lumsden Memorial Scholarship and the Temple Jazz Grant for his academic efforts there. Jason has been featured in Jazziz Magazine and one of his compositions was included in the Jazziz University Education in America Compilation to represent Temple University’s music program. He is currently performing regularly with several original and cover bands and writes, arranges, and conducts for his nine piece jazz ensemble Tap Room Nine. Although very accomplished in the Jazz world, Jason was raised on rock and heavy metal and loves nothing more than to get on stage and shred. His original rock band was recently featured on 93.3 WMMR's Local Shots Vol. 6 compilation and is in rotation on DJ Jaxon's radio program. Jason is an adjunct professor at Cabrini College where he teaches guitar and Jazz History and at Camden County Community College where he teaching an ensemble. He has been teaching for the MW School of Music since 2005, teaches guitar and drums and is a master level teacher for the school.
Abhi - guitar, bass, piano, ukulele
Veteran teacher Abhi Taranath is no stranger to music. His musical resume includes performances at Philadelphia's Theater of Living Arts and opening for the Sugarhill Gang as part of "The Ernest Goodlife Band." In addition, he is currently pursuing a degree in Media & Technology at Villanova University that he will use to explore the fields of music, recording and digital audio. This passion for music began long ago; as a toddler, his father would play Beatles and Ravi Shankar albums "endlessly" on repeat, and Abhi credits that as when his lifelong love of music began. In his youth, he received high honors for his saxophone playing and, looking to expand his musical skills, also began his studies on guitar, which has continued to study and master. Throughout his life, he has been exposed to a great variety of music genres and instruments – his expertise ranges from guitar, saxophone and piano to the Indian tabla. With a strong understanding of the traditional guitar approach, Abhi is also well versed with the more unconventional uses of guitar sound (such as soundscaping, looping and noise), and he is happy to explore all genres and approaches with his students. In his spare time, Abhi is working on his debut solo album and enjoys raising his two children. He is a lead teacher of guitar, bass, ukulele and piano for the school.
Maura - piano, cello
Maura is a life time lover of music. She began studying classical piano at age 7 and from there went on to study jazz, rock, blues, gospel, and popular music throughout the years. She took up cello at age 9 and continues to play today. Creativity and expression were always important to her and as such, she has composed many instrumental pieces and songs since her teenage years. She graduated from Temple University in 2012 with degree in music education and has taught piano classes at the Philadelphia first Charter School, the Georgia E. Greogry Interdominational School of Music, and general music classes at Immanuel Lutheran private school. She has performed as a solo act in many different venues across the city including the Naked Chocolate Cafe, The Rotunda, and The Tritone bar. She has also performed in the melodic rock driven band Whitewater Pass throughout the Philadelphia area, most notably the Trocadero and World Cafe Live downstairs and in an original rock-funk band called Madame Jones. She enjoys getting to know new students and their musical interests. Maura is a lead teacher of both piano and cello and has been teaching with the school since 2009.
Michael - guitar, piano, bass
Michael Campanile has spent the past eleven years teaching, performing, and recording music on both the east and west coasts. A graduate of the Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University, he teaches private and group lessons, guitar clinics and online lessons. Michael has helped many students discover music, with lessons ranging from beginners starting guitar to advanced players looking for a more specialized focus, as well as piano and bass students. Recently completing his 10th studio album, "More Songs No One Wanted", Michael is involved in several projects: a local metal band, a rockabilly Sun Records cover act, and various electronic music recordings. He is comfortable teaching all genres, including rock, metal, jazz, folk, improvisation, and composition, as well as electronic music, recording and production. He has recorded/produced with West Coast performer Peter DiStefano (Jane's Addiction), and the notable east coast act Infernal Opera. Some of his favorite musicians include Claude Debussy, Pat Martino, Marty Friedman, and Brian Setzer. When Michael isn't teaching or performing, he enjoys hand tool woodworking, Z grade horror, and anything Dostoyevsky. Mike is a lead teachers of piano, guitar, and bass for the school.
Rachel – piano, voice
A lifelong musician, Rachel has been singing as long as she can remember, and specifically recalls falling in love with the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack. After spending her school years taking voice lessons, singing in the choir, and tackling solos at church and school, Rachel found herself at the University of Oklahoma, studying vocal music education. With her eyes on the East Coast, she decided to move to the Main Line area, where she enthusiastically studied piano, voice, and guitar lessons, adding rock and pop vocal styles to her classical and Broadway repertoire. After receiving a music scholarship, she attended West Chester University, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education with a vocal and chorus emphasis. Rachel was also awarded an internship conducting with the Kennett Symphony Children’s Chorus. Over the years, she has used her certification as a K-12 music educator everywhere from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Philadelphia. When she’s not imparting her love of music (including creativity and songwriting) onto her students, she likes to collect interesting instruments, with a recent infatuation with world percussion. Rachel is known to keep a kite in her car "for emergencies" and is a lead teacher of voice and piano for the school.
David – voice, piano, guitar
A born performer, David has graced the stage of many well-known Tri-State area theaters, including the Walnut Street Theater and the Arden Theater in Philadelphia and Candlelight Theater in Delaware. His stage credits have even taken him abroad to places like Edinburgh, Scotland and Beijing, China. David studied music throughout his youth – beginning with the saxophone and voice, and soon adding on the piano and the guitar. His love of music and the performing arts led him to Syracuse University, where he earned his BFA in Drama. (He also has extensive training in the Linklater voice method.) David has several years of music direction under his belt in various local school and music theater programs, and is currently serving as the music director for the Wolf Performing Arts Center. While his musical theater experience is extensive, David enjoys and teaches many genres, including jazz, rock, folk, classical and recording programs like Logic and MainStage. He is a lead teacher of piano, guitar and voice for the school.
Rebekah - voice, piano, guitar, musical theater
Rebekah fell in love with music and acting at a young age, and followed that passion as it led her through music lessons and school theater all the way to professional productions and spots on commercials and TV sitcoms. The musical leg of her journey began with piano lessons, later adding voice and flute. Rebekah also picked up the guitar so that she could sing and accompany herself. Her acting experience is extensive – she has worked for professional theaters in Denver, Dallas, Virginia and PA and toured as an MC with the Radio Disney Road Crew. Rebekah graduated summa cum laude from Abilene Christian University with a BFA in acting and musical theater. While there, she was a presidential scholar, received a theater scholarship and studied abroad in Uruguay. She is currently working on MS in Speech-Language Pathology at NYU with a focus in vocal health, vocal pathologies, and child development. While not teaching or performing, Rebekah loves to play with her cats, Mischief and Echo, and enjoys nature, biking, reading and painting. She is a lead teacher of voice, musical theater, piano and guitar.
Brendan - piano, guitar, voice
Brendan grew up loving and listening to his Dad’s records. What he heard inspired him, so he started guitar lessons, formed a band with some friends, and began writing his own songs. Brendan followed this musical path to college, earning his Bachelor’s degree in Music Recording Technology from Lebanon Valley College where he studied both guitar and voice. Though he has a passion for jazz, Brendan loves playing in all different styles – rock, R&B, blues, progressive, and folk. His band, Johnny Action Figure, has performed at top venues in Philadelphia, Nashville and New York, alongside great bands like Wilco, the Get Up Kids, and Apollo Sunshine. Their music has been featured in television shows and commercials on MTV, VH1, and Comedy Central. Brendan currently sings with the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, and they have performed in many notable places including the Mann Center. He is a lead teacher of guitar, piano and voice for the school.