Mary - voice, piano
Mary is a professional touring vocalist and music educator. Originally a student of classical violin, she discovered a passion for singing in her youth that she followed all the way to college, adding piano studies along the way. A graduate of Connecticut’s acclaimed Hartt School of Music, Mary has a strong background in jazz singing, but also enjoys pop, musical theater and other styles. After graduating Hartt, Mary delved into a career of teaching music at two different schools (Children's Community School & Brass City Charter School) in Waterbury, Connecticut where she taught choir and general music classes. In addition to her classroom experience, Mary has also taught private voice and piano lessons for over five years. Her stage experience is impressive – she has toured all over the country with blues guitarist and Grammy winner Eric Krasno (of Soulive) and performed with Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, among other respectable artists. She has graced the stage at venues like Central Park’s Summer Stage, The Peace Center in South Carolina, and other venues throughout the country. Currently, she continues to tour with Eric Krasno, but also performs in the soulful duo, Danny and Mary. Mary teaches voice and piano for the school.
April - voice, piano, guitar, ukulele, songwriting
April has been writing songs since she was six years old and singing for as long as she can remember. In her youth, she studied piano, guitar and voice, and was also active in school choirs, music classes and her first few rock bands. When it came time for college, April earned a spot at Boston’s elite Berklee College of Music, where she majored in Professional Music and minored in Performance Poetry. There, she took classes in songwriting, harmony, ear training, pedagogy, music therapy and more, and was a student officer of ReVerb Poets, the Berklee Performance Poetry Club. She also had the chance to study stage performance techniques with Livingston Taylor (brother to James, and a successful musician in his own right) and to work closely with slam poets and other creative and musical experts. April also has extensive teaching experience: she taught private lessons for three years at the Rochester Academy of Music and Arts in voice, guitar, piano, ukulele, and songwriting. She has also spent seven summers at Appel Farm Arts and Music Camp, teaching classes from Rock Band to Songwriting. Currently, April performs throughout the region in a songwriting duo with her husband, and as part of the band Scavengers Like Me. She is still an active learner and recently tried her hand (hands, actually) at drumming. When not performing, learning or teaching, she enjoys traveling and working on the Young Adult novel she is currently writing. April teaches voice, piano, guitar, ukulele and songwriting for the school.
David - piano, guitar, voice, ukulele, songwriting
David’s lifelong love of music started early, largely influenced by his guitar-wielding, songwriting, puppeteering uncle (who boasted a true hat trick of “cool uncle skills”). David tried his own hand at singing and writing, which led to his first guitar lessons. Over the years, he became a serious guitar student, attending Berklee College of Music’s acclaimed summer Program for high schoolers, and beginning lessons with a Yale music grad and classical/jazz guitar player. It was from this teacher, who was also a songwriter and music producer, that David learned that “being a classical musician and being a pop songwriter were not mutually exclusive end goals.” For college, David continued his music studies at Eastman School of Music, where he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Guitar Performance and Literature. At Eastman, he expanded his studies to multiple instruments, received several merit scholarships, and participated in ensembles that ranged from the classical Eastman Collegium Musicum (where he played renaissance lute!) to jazz groups and the African Mbira ensemble. It was also here that David honed his teaching skills, studying pedagogy and working as a teaching assistant for a notable rock historian and department chair. He applied these skills by teaching private lessons on guitar, bass, piano, ukulele, and voice, and also at Appel Farm Arts Camp, where he was a rock band instructor and ensemble coach. Currently, David performs throughout the region in a songwriting duo with his wife, and as part of the band Scavengers Like Me. He teaches guitar, voice, ukulele, songwriting and piano for the school.
MeiLi - guitar, voice, ukulele, songwriting, piano
MeiLi has loved music and singing for as long as she can remember and was improvising her own songs at just five years old. Growing up, she studied both piano and voice, was a member of the school choir, and participated in musical theater. Later, she added guitar to her musical skills, which led her to discover a love for songwriting that she continues to nurture. After receiving a Merit Scholarship for academic excellence, MeiLi attended Ohio’s prestigious Oberlin College. While she did not major in music, her love of music and songwriting was very much a part of her education – she continued to develop her instrumental and songwriting skills and taught a peer-led songwriting workshop. MeiLi’s experience as a teacher is both extensive and eclectic. She has taught voice and coached bands at a New York City rock camp, worked as a high school art teacher in Brooklyn, and served as a dance teacher at performing arts camps and after school programs. Additionally, she received her yoga teaching certification at Solaluna Yoga in Ohio and developed a class specifically for musicians dealing with pain or tension associated with playing. Currently, MeiLi plays in several bands and is working on two upcoming albums. Outside of music, she is also a visual artist, a dancer, and a writer. MeiLi teaches guitar, voice, ukulele, songwriting and piano for the school.
Rachel – piano, voice, musical theater
Rachel’s music-minded parents signed her up for her first piano lessons at age 4, and she continued her studies all the way through college. Along the way, she also began to study voice seriously, taking lessons with university-level instructors and performing in elite choirs of both classical and jazz styles. By the end of high school, Rachel had collected an impressive number of accolades – from winning the Washington State Suzuki Competition on piano to several state titles with her vocal groups. For college, she kept her focus on music and earned her Bachelor of the Arts degree in Music from Thomas Edison State University. She is also currently working toward her Master of Music Degree from Temple University. In addition to her piano and vocal accomplishments, Rachel boasts an impressive musical theater resume. To date she has performed in over 20 musical theater and opera productions, with roles such as Princess Jasmine in Aladdin, Widow Corney in Oliver!, and Giannetta in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers. Her teaching experience is equally notable: Rachel has taught private piano and voice for over seven years, with students ranging in age from four to seventy-four. She has also served as the music director for several musical theater productions. When not studying, making or teaching music, Rachel enjoys baking, British TV shows, and her cat Tolkien. She teaches piano, voice and musical theater for the school.
Kelsey - piano, guitar, saxophone, voice
Kelsey is a multi-instrumentalist, trained educator, and active member of Philly’s DIY music scene. She “can’t remember a time when she wasn’t interested in music,” and began her musical studies with piano lessons at age six, adding saxophone lessons in grade school. Some of her most formative musical experiences happened at Camp Louise in Shickshinny, PA, which she attended yearly. It was here that she learned how to play guitar and bass, and that she first sang in front of a crowd. Kelsey’s positive musical experiences at Camp Louise led her to pursue a career in music education, earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Ed from West Chester University, where she graduated cum laude and made the dean’s list. At WCU, Kelsey added to her already extensive list of instruments; she learned and taught flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, French horn, and more. She also continued to study and play saxophone and piano, and participated in numerous music clubs, including the school’s professional music fraternity for women. Kelsey is a very active in Philadelphia’s music community. She has been performing in original rock bands since she was 16 years old, and has opened shows for Hall of Fame nominees, punk legends, and even a cast member of a hit TV show (Creed Bratton of “The Office”). Currently, she performs throughout the Philadelphia area as a solo singer/songwriter and as the vocalist/guitarist/songwriter for a rock band. Kelsey aims to giver all of her students “the tools that they need to share what they love to do with the world.” She teaches piano, guitar, saxophone and voice for the school.
Esther - violin, voice, piano
At four years old, Esther traveled to New York City, and become enamored with the city’s street musicians. She began violin lessons the next year and “hasn’t stopped playing since.” After hearing her sing at a concert, a local music teacher enthusiastically recruited Esther as a student, and added piano and vocal studies to her musical pursuits. In high school, Esther continued private lessons and participated in the Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra and jazz band, while also taking classes at a nearby community college. Because of this, she succeeded at the ambitious goal of graduating high school and receiving her associates degree in music within the very same year. From there, Esther transferred to Temple’s Boyer College of Music with a music and academic scholarship, where she is currently working toward finishing her Bachelor of Music Degree. Over the course of her studies, Esther has sung at venues like the Peabody Institute of Music and Curtis Institute of Music, and she has taught music privately for several years. She enjoys teaching and playing classical, jazz, pop, and more, and also includes ukulele in her roster of instruments. When not making music, Esther can be found knitting, reading and cooking, and is a dedicated animal lover (with a soft spot for her pet lizard, Papageno). Esther teaches violin, piano and voice for the school.
Matt - piano, guitar, voice, Songwriting
Matt credits his mom for “sneakily forming his musical taste” as a toddler by exposing him to acts like the Beatles, Queen, Billy Joel, and Elton John. He was quickly hooked on music, and his parents signed him up for guitar and piano lessons. However, his musical studies truly fell into place when he discovered songwriting. A passion for writing, matched with encouragement from his peers, led Matt to focus on guitar technique and begin voice lessons. Matt auditioned for and was accepted into the prestigious Berklee College of Music, where he strengthened his skills in general musicianship, vocal technique, songwriting fundamentals, ear training, composition techniques, and sight reading. From there, he moved to Philadelphia where he practiced furiously, gigged frequently, and completed college at Temple’s Boyer College of Music with degree in Music Production. Matt has performed at notable venues throughout the Northeast with several bands, including his current project Man Illuminated, and operates his own recording studio. In addition to guitar and voice, Matt plays piano and enjoys tinkering with keyboard synths and soldering his own DIY guitar pedals. He also enjoys woodworking and his two fantastic cats. Matt teaches piano, guitar, voice and songwriting for the school.
Gabe - piano, violin, guitar, songwriting
Gabe began violin lessons at a young age, and (after his pro-jazz-drummer neighbor gave him his first jazz albums) later added jazz guitar to his musical studies. He grew his skills in both areas while also exploring folk guitar styles and learning piano by ear. In high school, he was accepted into JazzU, a competitive program in St. Louis that “places talented middle and high school musicians in small jazz combos, which meet weekly.” The program also gave Gabe free admission to shows at the city’s premiere jazz club, where he regularly saw some of the country’s greatest musicians. During this time, he also participated in musicals, and played guitar and violin in bands of various genres. For college, Gabe headed to Temple’s Boyer College of Music, where he received a presidential scholarship and graduated cum laude with a degree in jazz performance. His teaching experience includes training in the WeBop program (a jazz program for kids), the “Every Child Can” music program, and substitute teaching at local schools in subjects ranging from rock band to guitar, piano and drums. Gabe is an active performing musician, and is the member of four local bands, including the lighthearted (and playfully titled) group Sushi From the Future. He also performs in and wrote the music for a play appearing in the upcoming Philly Fringe Festival. In addition to violin and guitar, Gabe enjoys playing piano, mandolin, bass and drums. When not making music, he enjoys eating, biking, running, and exploring Philadelphia. Gabe teaches piano, violin, guitar and songwriting for the school.
Jared - piano, voice, songwriting
Jared’s journey with music began like that of many of our own students: he attended music circle classes with his mother as a two year-old, and then started private piano lessons at six. His love of music was clear from the very start, and he continued to study music seriously through college, including ten years of classical piano studies with Dorothy Poor (a student of Hungarian composer Ernst von Dohnányi), and then Jazz piano lessons with Philadelphia educators and artists Jimmy Amadie and Orrin Evans. For college, Jared headed to business school, where he acted as music director for an all-male a capella group. It wasn’t long, though, before his educational focus shifted back to music, and he transferred to Boston’s acclaimed Berklee College of Music. (He managed to win the 2015 Contemporary A Capella Award for Best Song – the “Grammies” of a capella music – first, however.) Jared discovered his passion for teaching music during his educational experiences at Berklee, and through teaching voice and piano at his own private studio. In addition to teaching, Jared is an active performer and songwriter. He runs his own record label and publishing company affiliated with Broadcast Music International, and performs often locally. When not teaching, he can likely be found writing and recording. Jared teaches piano, voice and songwriting for the school.
Emily - piano, songwriting
Emily received her Bachelor of Music Degree from Yale University, her Masters in Composition from USC, and a post-grad Diploma in Composition from the Curtis Institute of Music. Music has been a lifelong passion for Emily: she began piano as a young child, and added trumpet studies, vocal ensembles and guitar along the way. She discovered her love for composing early as well, after writing a short opera (starring a field mouse) in the third grade, and she has been creating music ever since. Her musical abilities landed her a spot at Interlochen Arts Academy, an exclusive summer arts program that boasts notable alumni like Josh Groban and Norah Jones. From here, Emily headed to Yale University, where she received the Louis Sudler Prize for most outstanding graduate and graduated Cum Laude. Next, Emily received a full scholarship and teaching assistantship to University of Southern California, where she earned her masters degree and received the Outstanding Graduate in Composition Award. Emily boasts a range of teaching experience: she taught in the theory department at USC, at Curtis Summerfest, and with those in need through Project HOME. She has had original works played by several of the nations top orchestras, but her musical experiences extend beyond composition – she also plays guitar and sings, and performed internationally with her college a cappella group. When not studying and making music, Emily fosters dogs. She teaches piano and songwriting for the school.
Heather - piano, voice
Heather’s childhood taught her much about both the art and science of music: her mother is an otolaryngologist and voice specialist at the Medical University in Charleston, and both her parents are music lovers who exposed her to a variety of recordings and performances from a very young age. This was supplemented by formal music lessons in both piano and voice. Heather began singing in choirs at age 5, taking piano lessons at the Charleston Academy of Music at age 8, and added voice lessons a few years later. (Her musical path took a unique detour when Heather pursued figure skating for a short time.) A dedicated music student, Heather attended Charleston County School of the Arts, a competitive arts magnet high school, as a voice major. While there, she ranked and participated in multiple All-State Choirs and was awarded the Charleston Symphony Orchestra College Scholarship and the Charleston Music Club Award. Both scholarships were audition-based awards, given to exceptional academic and music students who planned to continue their music studies in college. From there, she headed to Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education and obtained her teacher certification. Heather is no stranger to teaching music: in addition to her music education studies, she gained musical theater coaching experience at Once Upon A Ballet’s Musical Theatre Center, and has also privately taught piano. Heather enjoys performing, and has had the chance to grace stages at Oxford University and Lincoln Center, among others. When not teaching, Heather actively participates in regional musical theater. She teaches voice and piano for the school.
Porter - guitar, bass, banjo, ukulele, piano, songwriting
Growing up, Porter’s mother was the classical music critic for the Dayton Daily News. This resulted in a childhood brimming with music: records were always playing, trips to the orchestra were common, and Porter was taking piano lessons by the age of seven. A few years later, he received a trumpet (a longtime wishlist item) and began lessons with successful professional trumpeter, Dave Coleman. Around this same time, Porter discovered his love of rock music and picked up the guitar. He began taking lessons from a gigging rock musician, followed by lessons on classical guitar from Jim McCutcheon, the guitar professor at Wright State University. Porter continued his music education in college, and graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Jazz Guitar Performance. He has played in several bands and ensembles, including The Rutgers Jazz Ensemble, alt-country group Horseman, Pass By, Bluegrass outfit Whippoorwill, math-rock band Spaceman Spiff, and his current band, King of Nowhere. Porter has also taught extensively, both privately and in studios, and “has enjoyed working with students ranging in age from six to seventy.” He rounds out his wide musical skill set with abilities on several more instruments, including the banjo and dobro. Porter teaches guitar, bass, banjo, ukulele, piano and songwriting for the school.
Alex - guitar, bass, voice, piano, drums, songwriting
Alex first showed a knack for music a very young age, and worked on his rhythmic skills by fashioning drum sets out of whatever pots, pans and stools he could find around the house. In elementary school, he graduated from cookware to an actual instrument when he joined the school’s percussion section, and not long after that, picked up one of the guitars that were “readily available” in his musical household. As he progressed through middle and high school, Alex built his skills on both percussion and guitar, adding hip/hop drums styles to his skill set, and collaborating with his brother in a band. While he initially intended on majoring in History at college, his love of music came calling – loudly. Alex graduated with his Associates Degree in Music from Montgomery County Community College, where he studied music theory, songwriting, choral arranging, piano, guitar and voice. He has supplemented these studies with classes at Temple’s Boyer College of Music, studying in voice, piano, and additional theory. Alex’s teaching experience includes early childhood education courses, classroom shadowing, and private music instruction on guitar, piano and bass. When not teaching, Alex is a member of The Loop, one of Philly and South Jersey’s busiest cover bands, and releases his own music as “Chop Robinson.” Alex teaches guitar, bass, voice, piano, drums and songwriting for the school.
Katie - piano, guitar
Katie is an experienced music educator who boasts degrees in both Music Education and Music Therapy from Immaculata University, as well as fifteen years of teaching experience on piano, guitar and French horn. She is a lifelong musician – she began studying piano at a young age, and soon added French horn to her studies after an orchestral performance of “Peter and the Wolf” left her fascinated with the instrument. She was classically trained on both piano and horn, and continued to study both instruments while attending Immaculata, adding studies on the guitar along the way. After graduating, Katie worked in liturgical, therapeutic, and educational settings. She applied her music therapy degree at Massachusetts Hospital School, Easter Seals of Philadelphia, and the Music School of Delaware with programs for children with special needs. She taught music to preschool through middle school-aged children at parochial schools in Delaware and Chester Counties, and also became a group music instructor for the very young. In addition to teaching music, she has also performed with local municipal bands and presents music programs at her local library. When not teaching, Katie enjoys spending time with her family and learning to play the mandolin. She teaches piano and guitar for the school.
Drew - piano, guitar, bass, songwriting
Drew’s pursuit of music has been life-long: he was singing before he could speak, studying piano by six years old, and a member of his first rock band by the age of twelve. His piano studies continued through high school, and in elementary school he also took up the saxophone and joined the school band. Drew continued to play sax in ensembles through high school, including the concert band and marching band. Around this time, he became fascinated by rock music and took up the guitar and bass, joining the school’s pit orchestra and jazz band on the latter instrument. He continued his musical pursuits in college, majoring in Audio Production (and minoring in Physics) at Washington DC’s American University. While at AU, Drew performed with the American University Jazz Orchestra, worked as a college radio DJ, and interned for NPR Music and SiriusXM's The Loft. Upon graduating, he taught youth music and private lessons in the DC area. Drew has extensive live performance experience, both on the stage and behind the sound board; he has performed extensively with his band, Boon, at venues like the Rock and Roll Hotel, Mercury Lounge, and DC9. As a sound engineer, he has recorded and done live sound for notable acts like The Antlers, BadBadNotGood, Strand of Oaks and more. Drew is a self-proclaimed “huge audio nerd” and has an extensive collection of music gear, including keyboards, synths, guitar effect pedals, amps, and recording gear. When not teaching, he still enjoys performing, recording and mixing music. Drew teaches Piano, Guitar, Bass and Songwriting for the school.
Bill - guitar, bass, piano, ukulele
Bill is a seasoned multi-instrumentalist, certified teacher, and former classroom music instructor who has founded and led multiple bands, vocal and instrumental ensembles. His musical journey began years ago – at five years old, Bill managed to pluck out the Star Spangled Banner on the piano by ear, and was immediately signed up for piano lessons. He studied piano throughout his youth, later adding rock guitar and classical guitar lessons. In high school, Bill’s guitar skills grew and he “felt compelled to shred,” so he immersed himself in the music of Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, Metallica, and others, followed by an exploration of classical guitar. At this time, he also began to write his own music, which he continues today, specifically focusing on indie-folk, finger-picking and electronic orchestrations. For his higher education, Bill attended William Paterson University, where he received his Bachelor of Music Management Degree with a concentration in Classical Guitar. He followed this with a Master of Multicultural Education degree from Eastern University, and a K-12 Music Teaching Certification. Bill taught music in PA and DE public schools for over five years, where he taught a variety of music subjects, and also led choirs, stage bands, and a drum line. Bill was formerly a member of the band, Eat Your Birthday Cake, and is currently a freelance studio and stage guitarist, working on multiple projects in DE and PA. In addition to piano and guitar, Bill plays bass, ukulele, mandolin, drums and several string instruments. When not teaching, he enjoys meditating, woodworking, and hiking. Bill teaches guitar, bass, piano and ukulele for the school.
Rachel – voice, Piano
Rachel grew up surrounded by music – her mother was a choir teacher and taught singing lessons from their home. As a result, Rachel spent most of her childhood singing, later adding cello and piano to her list of musical skills. In high school she began to pursue classical voice more seriously: studying with Eastman alumna Esther Kulp and Professor Katherine Johnson, a teacher and mentor she continues to work with. For her higher education, Rachel headed to Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ, where she was the recipient of the Rider Advantage Scholarship, made Dean’s List every semester of her attendance, and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in Music. While there, she also had the opportunity to frequent venues such as the Kimmel Center and Carnegie Hall with orchestras like the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, and the Vienna Philharmonic. Rachel teaches voice and piano in a variety of genres, and especially enjoys musical theatre, singer/songwriter/folk music, and audition prep. Currently, she is a part of the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir and is singing in the alto section of Haydn’s Four Seasons with the Philadelphia Orchestra. When not teaching or performing, she enjoys exploring language and literature, and feels that they “both meld beautifully under the umbrella of music.” Rachel teaches voice and piano for the school.
Kathryn – voice, piano, ukulele
Kathryn’s love of music has been lifelong – some of her earliest memories include jamming with her father and putting on concerts with siblings and cousins. By middle school, she moved from dabbling in music to pursuing it with fervor: she joined the choir, enrolled in music class, and began to learn piano, drums and write her own songs. She continued these studies through high school, also adding in guitar class, mallet percussion and a world drumming class. For her senior project, Kathryn composed an original piece for concert choir and arranged a Muse song for jazz band, both of which were performed at her school’s spring concert. Her dedication to music paid off: Kathryn completed AP music theory and scored a rare and impressive “5” on the AP exam. (The fact that she was a National Merit Finalist and graduated fourth in her class is also of note.) When Kathryn began college at The College of Saint Rose, her AP score allowed her to skip several levels in her Music Theory and Ear Training courses. She majored in Music Industry, where the curriculum included classes ranging from Keyboard Harmony to Record Production to the History of Rock. Kathryn also studied private voice, participated in an internship and completed a senior capstone project. For her efforts, she received the school’s highest academic scholarship, the Trustees Scholarship, in addition to making the Dean's List every semester and ultimately graduating Magna Cum Laude. A seasoned performer, Kathryn played synthesizer and sang in an alt-pop band called Callout Culture for three years, and currently writes and records her own music. When not playing or teaching music, she enjoys cooking, painting, and going for hikes. Kathryn teaches voice, piano, and ukulele for the school.
Jordan – violin, guitar, piano, banjo
Thanks to his professional banjo-playing father, Jordan grew up spending his summers at Bluegrass and Old Time music festivals. He began Suzuki violin lessons at the age of five, while also exploring and learning his father’s collection of other instruments, including banjo, mandolin, and guitar. Jordan continued to study classical violin through high school, also taking private piano lessons, private guitar lessons and attending the Pennsylvania Academy of Music in Lancaster, PA. He continued to study and perform in ensembles while studying psychology at Temple and then Millersville University for his undergraduate degree, later receiving his Masters Degree in psychology from Villanova University. Throughout all of his studies, Jordan has been an active performer. He was awarded second place in the 2016 Freshgrass Fiddle Awards, and has taken high (often top) honors at the Appalachian String Band Music Festival’s Band and Songwriting Contests several times. He currently performs as guitarist and singer for The Secondhand Suits and the Joe Hillman Band as well as his own solo and duo projects, and has performed in notable venues like Boston’s Club Passim and Brooklyn’s Pete’s Candy Store. Jordan has worked with kids and taught music in many settings, including private instruction, volunteering with Music For Everyone, and teaching music to adolescents with behavioral problems. In his spare time, Jordan enjoys traveling to national parks, and being a Philly sports fan. He teaches violin, guitar, piano and banjo for the school.
JR – voice, piano
JR’s musical interests range from traditional (participating in choirs and working toward his music education certification) – to untraditional (creating remixes of video game music and releasing them online). His first introduction to music was as a choir participant in his youth. JR went on to become an active member of his school vocal groups, winning the Chester County Choral Society's Excellence in Vocal Performance Competition and participating in Chester County Voices Abroad. All of this led to Penn State University, where he participated in more ensembles, received the Bruce Trinkley Award for Artistry, and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music. JR’s musical studies aren’t limited to voice he also taught himself piano in high school and refined those skills throughout his college career. When not practicing or performing, he enjoys composing and producing music, with projects ranging from film scores to video game soundtracks, concert music, electronic dance music, sound design, and recording. JR also enjoys performing, and a career highlight was singing with the Rolling Stones in the chorus for "You Can't Always Get What You Want" at Heinz Field in 2015. Over his career, JR has performed concert tours across Italy, Germany, France, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Iceland, and Australia. JR is currently studying at West Chester University for his music education certification, and teaches voice and piano for the school.
Carolann – violin, guitar, ukelele, piano, voice
Carolann is no stranger to strings – whether they’re guitar strings, ukulele strings, violin strings, piano strings, cello strings or even double bass strings. (And, actually, do vocal cords count too?) Carolann’s first instrument was the guitar, which she received as a gift in elementary school, but it wasn’t long before she was also participating in the school choir, taking voice lessons, studying viola, and playing in the school orchestra and jazz band. When it was time for college, she attended Susquehanna University and majored in Music with a Music Technology minor. There, Carolann participated in the string pedagogy program, teaching weekly seminars in addition to being paired with private students. All the while, Carolann continued to study viola, hone her guitar, piano and vocal skills, and teach group music classes. Her educational experience doesn’t end there; she received her Masters of Education degree from Eastern University, was trained in The New Teacher Project's (TNTP) Teaching Fellows Program, and has taught in various school programs. A recent highlight was a stint at Community Academy of Philadelphia as a Creative Expression Teacher. Carolann brings her musical and educational knowledge to the Meridee Winters School of Music as a teacher on violin, guitar, viola, piano and ukulele.
Nikki – piano, voice
Nikki’s voice has taken her all over – in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to the Rio Grande. Her journey started in Tennessee, though, where Nikki began piano lessons at a very young age. (Ever the eager toddler, a teacher agreed to take her on as soon as she could “count to five and tell black from white.”) In elementary school, Nikki joined a community choir, and upon graduating from that started an a capella group with some industrious friends. She added private voice lessons to her studies, and continued to study both that and piano through college. For her undergraduate degree, Nikki received an academic scholarship to Union University in Jackson, TN where she earned her BA in Philosophy with a minor in Music and Honors Studies, graduating Summa Cum Laude. She has experience teaching both piano and voice, and is currently working on her music education certification at Eastern University. Nikki has performed in numerous choirs and operas throughout her life, was the female lead in Mozart's Bastienne and Bastianna, and even plays harp. When Nikki isn’t making music, she enjoys hiking and camping (and could give you a few tips on how to build a yurt.) She teaches piano and voice for the school.
Peter - piano, voice
Inspiration comes in all forms, and for Peter it came from the jealousy of watching his peers learn piano. Luckily, it didn’t take long for him to begin his own private lessons at the age of 8 and fall in love with playing music for its own sake. The piano has been part of his life ever since, as he continued lessons through college, learning classical technique, theory and musical composition along the way. Piano isn’t Peter’s only instrument – he also played trumpet and baritone with the band, jazz band, and orchestras in middle school and high school and was a member of his high school choir and Eastern University Choir. From Eastern, he had the opportunity to study abroad in Uganda, received an award for academic excellence, and graduated Summa Cum Laude. As a final senior hurrah, he successfully organized a vocal quartet to perform a self-composed piece titled As Kingfishers Catch Fire, based on a poem of the same name. These days, Peter keeps busy developing software for non-profits, playing piano his West Philadelphia church and baking (he especially enjoys sourdough bread). He teaches piano and voice for Meridee Winters.
Kaitlin – piano, voice
Kaitlin is a dedicated musician, as demonstrated by her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and Voice Performance from Westminster Choir College and her Master’s of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Her interest in playing and singing began in her youth, but the decision to pursue it as a career came while performing with the Texas All State Choir in High School. This led her to Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, where she studied both voice and piano formally, and received a presidential scholarship. At the Cleveland Institute, she continued her studies, earning the Max Berman prize – the school’s largest award for a vocalist, as well as trying her hand at stage-managing. Kaitlin is no stranger to teaching music; for the completion of her Music Education degree, she taught at New Hope High School and Middle School, teaching students grades 6-12. During this time she worked with a large number of choirs, as well as the middle school cast of Grease, and gave both class and private music instruction to students grades 6-12. Her other teaching experiences include teaching music as a volunteer at the Cleveland School of the Arts, the Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility, and at several elementary and middle schools. As a performer, she’s landed some impressive roles, including Alice Ford in Verdi's Falstaff, Béatrice in Berlioz's Béatrice et Bénédict, Antonia in Les Contes du Hoffmann, and the title role in Handel's Alcina. Kaitlin teaches piano and voice for the school.
Kaylee - piano
Kaylee graduated from Philadelphia’s University of the Arts with a bachelor’s degree in Music Business, Technology and Entrepreneurship, but her passion for music started long before. Perhaps influenced by her father (who had worked as a professional musician performing in clubs), Kaylee was singing from her earliest days, and composing her own songs at five years old. Her parents recognized her affinity for music, and quickly signed her up for piano lessons. After auditioning at a local school, the studio owner decided to take Kaylee on as her own protégé, rather than assign her to another teacher, and Kaylee continued lessons through high school. Within that time, she also attended chamber music camp at Westminster Choir College, where she was coached by accomplished classical musicians, and played for small performances and master classes. In high school, she pursued music with fervor: she studied music technology and composition, accompanied her school choirs, and performed at local coffee houses. She decided to continue her musical studies at James Madison University, but Philadelphia soon called, and Kaylee completed her degree at the University of the Arts. There, she continued to pursue her instrument while studying music technology, mixing, recording, and music business. While not teaching, Kaylee composes and records for her solo project called "Cheeky," handling the vocals, synthesizers, keyboards and drum pads all on her own. Kaylee teaches piano for the school.
Tyler – piano, violin
Tyler is a seasoned pianist and string musician whose lifelong love of music (along with an inspirational orchestra teacher) led him to pursue a degree in music education. He earned this degree at Chestnut College, where he also minored in special education, made the Dean’s list, and was accepted into the Kappa Delta Epsilon honors society. While his primary instruments are violin and piano, he also boasts skills on the cello, viola and bass. In addition to his educational accomplishments, Tyler received recognition from the Westminster Choir College of Rider University for creating an original piano composition, and received a certificate of recognition for his violin performance at the sixteenth annual SEPCHE (Southeastern Pennsylvania Consortium for Higher Education) Honors Conference at Gwynedd Mercy University. His performance experiences range from classical to quirky – ranging from pit orchestras and the Chestnut Hill College string ensemble to a unique gig at Dorney Park’s Halloween Haunt playing violin in a haunted quartet and “scaring the guests.” Currently, Tyler performs in a duet known as Double Treble, a piano and violin duo, and is also a member of Sound Post, a contemporary and classical and the concert master for the Philadelphia Doctors Orchestra. In his spare time, Tyler is a film buff and dreams of playing in a symphony for movie soundtracks. Tyler teaches piano and violin for the school.
Paul - piano, trumpet, composition
Paul’s dedication to music has been present his whole life: he played piano and trumpet throughout his childhood, before moving on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Industry from James Madison University and Master’s Degree in Jazz Studies from Louisiana State University. In college, he further proved his dedication by regularly making the trek from JMU in Harrisonburg, VA to Charlottesville, where he studied with jazz great John D’Earth. (D’Earth’s talents can be found on albums ranging from the Dave Matthews Band to Bruce Hornsby.) No stranger to achievement, Paul graduated from James Madison University cum laude, and received a talent scholarship while at LSU, as well as having an original composition included in the Do Duesche German Arts Festival and earning a spot as a finalist in the North American Brass Band Association Competition. While he holds a soft spot for jazz, he teaches both piano and trumpet in a variety of styles. His performance groups are also eclectic, ranging from a wedding cover band to a funk jazz fusion group to a 1920’s swing band. Paul teaches piano and trumpet for the school.
Grace - piano
Grace received her Bachelor of Music degree in Music Composition in Korea before heading to the US to pursue higher education in music. While initially an English major, she followed her heart, switched her focus to music, and has been going full steam ahead ever since. She has studied composition and organ performance, and earned her Master of Music degree at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX. She received the Dean’s Award and scholarships for academic excellence during her undergraduate studies, and was a student staff accompanist for vocal and conducting department at SWBTS. These successes were a long time in the making – Grace, an experienced church accompanist for over 20 years, began playing piano at age seven. Her list of musical abilities is a long one: she has studied music theory, composition, piano, violin, ocarina, recorder, Danso (Korean flute), and organ. She has also taught music extensively in both Korea and the US. Grace loves kids and travel, and teaches piano for the school.
Jared - piano, guitar, bass, violin, cello
Jared first picked up the guitar in the 8th grade, and years of practice and self-instruction led him to advanced studies and a Music Education degree from West Chester University, and even to an opening spot for the hit band, Dawes. At West Chester, Jared studied not only guitar, but also aural skills, orchestral strings, advanced music theory, double bass and piano. He also performed with the West Chester University Classical Guitar Ensemble. Currently, he plays in an acoustic duo called Salient Roots. They play country, bluegrass and blues and are best known for their vocal harmonies. When not teaching, Jared is an avid woodworker, and has been teaching himself string instrument luthiery in his home wood shop. He teaches guitar, bass, piano, violin and cello for the school.
Beatrice – piano, voice
While Beatrice has had a number of notable performances, her a cappella group’s 2014 performance at the White House for President Obama definitely ranks among the most memorable. (It even included a presidential handshake and photo op.) Ever since her family plopped her in front of the piano at age five, she has been attuned to her musical calling. Most recently she studied classical piano at the Pennsylvania Academy of Music and received her Bachelor of Music degree from Temple University, where she was honored to receive the Esther M. Schulz award for choral excellence. Beatrice has performed with a number of ensembles, and boasts an impressive musical theater and acting resume – she’s landed leading roles in productions like West Side Story, Into the Woods, The King and I and a (very) long list of others. She has also enjoyed working with children as part of the Fulton Opera House children's camp. Beatrice is excited to be bringing music to mainline homes in her next adventure and will be sure to share stories of playing with her cat, Crumpet and her dog, Daisy, too. She teaches voice and piano for the school.
Logan – piano, drums, voice
Logan’s resume reads a bit like a “Who’s Who” of music and education. His musical accomplishments have included performing for the Queen of Jordan and opening for Oprah (the queen of talk), complemented by a degree from Princeton University. He grew up playing classical piano at the Oak Brook Academy of Music and Art in Illinois, and by his teen years was taking lessons with Chicago boogie-woogie/blues legend, Erwin Helfer and studying classical piano and composition with film composer Oscar Jasso. (Along the way he also took drum lessons, attended the Eastman School of Music Summer Jazz Program, and was hired for the Jazz Institute of Chicago's Jazz Ambassadors Program.) All of this hard work led him to Princeton University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in music and where he participated in numerous ensembles. Logan’s musical adventures have taken him all over the world: he was chosen as one of four Americans high-schoolers to perform as part of a global arts conference in Amman, Jordan (performing for the aforementioned queen), he has toured Japan with a blues band and Estonia with a Princeton ensemble. His educational experience is equally global. He taught music lessons at the Unwind Center in Chennai, India and established a music program for “Give and Surf”, a volunteer educational organization for indigenous and impoverished youth in Panama. In addition to music, Logan loves cartoons, chocolate and his giant orange tabby cat named Sophocles. He teaches piano, drums and voice for the school.
Rebekah - *Lead Teacher: 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. 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.
David – *Lead Teacher: 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.
Patrick – piano, composition, musical theater, vocal coaching
Patrick's musical path has led him everywhere from orchestra pits to rock battles – he recently accompanied two different groups for a battle of the bands, managing to snag both first and third place. In the musical theater realm, Patrick has graced the stage (and the orchestra pit) in many local theaters including the Media Theater, Lansdowne Celebration Theater and Hedgerow Theater. Patrick earned his Bachelor's of Music Degree from Hillsdale College, with a dual focus in both Piano Performance and Composition. He has also served as a substitute teacher for two local school districts, where he has had the chance to work with kids in grades K-12. Beyond the classroom, Patrick has also served as the musical director for two different children’s theater camps with the Media Theater. He recently began focusing on a musical pursuit of a different variety – composing original music for video games. When he’s not participating in a musical or competing on stage, Patrick loves reading, watching really good TV and movies, and hanging out with both two legged and four legged friends. (He has two dogs Abby, a Saint Bernard and Ernie a Mastiff.) Patrick teaches piano and voice for the school.
Nick - piano, guitar, bass
Nick’s interest in music began during his elementary school commute, when he would sing along to old Motown and 50’s songs on the radio. This interest led to guitar lessons, and later, the bass. His musical studies continued when he attended Bates College, where he earned a BA in Music, with Honors in Composition. By the time he completed his degree, he had already compiled almost 200 hours of student teaching in music as well as physical education classes. He later taught in smaller, private studios in Northeast Philadelphia and Washington, DC. In addition to private lessons, Nick has worked with kids, helping them form bands and prepare to compete in statewide “Battle of the Bands” performances. He currently plays in several ensembles in the Philadelphia area, earning the title of “Philly Band of the Year” at the 2012 Tri-State Indie Awards and performing at the Peach Music Festival, run by the iconic Allman Brothers. Nick has also toured with the Kalob Griffin Band and performed with a member of a popular funk-jazz group, Soulive. Nick loves to travel the US and explore the local flavor wherever he finds himself. Always looking to explore his neighborhood and discover new restaurants, he loves finding new foods that he never thought he would like.
Abhi - *Lead Teacher: piano, guitar, bass, 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.
David - piano, guitar, voice, bass, drums
David has always had a strong interest in music and art. After seeing the iconic performance of “Johnny B. Goode” in the film Back to the Future, he was inspired to pick up the guitar, and began lessons at 7 years old. David later took up percussion and bass and played in rock bands, concert bands, jazz bands, marching bands and choruses throughout school. Today David is a composer, educator, and multi-instrumentalist whose works have been performed in a variety of venues, from Bargemusic in Brooklyn, NY to the Hindemith Music Center in Blonay, Switzerland. Described by The New York Times as having “conjured a ritualistic air,” Trum’s compositions reflect a wide variety of musical influences, fusing elements of western classical music, rock, jazz, and the avant-garde into unique sound worlds that are imaginative yet familiar. His music has been performed by musicians and ensembles such as The Electrum Duo, Illumine, Nicholas Photinos (of Eighth Blackbird), Philadelphia’s Network for New Music, The West Chester University Percussion Ensemble, and the Kennett Symphony Children’s Chorus. He received his MM in Composition from The University of Cincinnati: College Conservatory of Music and his BM in Music Theory/ Composition from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Trum currently serves as an adjunct professor at University of the Arts (UArts) and is the co-host of the monthly podcast Sean and Dave Make Music. David teaches piano, guitar, voice, bass and drums for the school.
Sarah – piano, flute
A certified teacher and lifelong musician, Sarah began piano lessons at five years old, and of all her childhood interests, music is the one that “stuck.” It stuck quite well, apparently, as she continued lessons through college, adding flute to her studies along the way. Growing up, she was active in many musical groups, participating in District Band, All-Catholic Band, and the Archdiocesan Band throughout high school, even performing twice at the Kimmel Center. Her dedication and talent led her to West Chester University’s music program, where she successfully auditioned on both of her instruments, piano and flute, opting to be a piano major. A natural teacher, Sarah studied Music Education and taught private lessons through WCU’s Community Music Program before graduating Cum Laude, and going on to receive her teaching certification for grades K-12. Beyond teaching, Sarah loves working with kids through volunteering: she is a unit leader and climbing facilitator at a Girl Scout camp, and runs a Girl Scout troop in Lansdowne through the school year. Sarah teaches piano for the school.
Rachel – *Lead Teacher: 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.
Brendan - *Lead Teacher: 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.
Meg - piano, voice, songwriting
A lifelong advocate for the arts, Meg has been playing music since the age of 4, and writing her own for nearly as long. Meg attended West Chester University, where she majored in both Early Childhood Education, and Music. She is now a notable singer/songwriter in the Philadelphia area and has been featured on NBC 10’s Singing Sensations songwriting competition, played live on The Key sessions on WXPN radio, and is currently working with notable producers on her first studio album. Throughout her career, she has lent her skills to many albums and recording projects – co-writing, producing and providing vocals/instrumentation. Meg is extremely passionate about creativity and the arts, and can often be seen out and about performing at various charity events, community shows and area coffee houses. In addition to writing, teaching, and cooking, Meg is constantly working to expand her instrumentation, which includes the piano, guitar, ukulele, drums, and whatever else she can tackle next. Meg believes in the power of musical expression and strives to empower children and adults in finding positive ways to do so. She teaches piano, voice and songwriting for the school, and works with Meridee as a Creative Consultant.
Maura - *Lead Teacher: piano, cello
Maura is a life long 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 with a 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 Philadelphia 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. She has also performed with the original rock-funk band Madame Jones. Maura enjoys getting to know new students and what music they are drawn to. She has taught with the school since 2009, and is a lead teacher of both piano and cello lessons.
Mary Kate - piano
Mary Kate holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Haverford College and a dual Masters Degree from Bryn Mawr College in Social Work and Law & Social Policy. She has over a decade of experience working with children and families, and has been a teacher with Meridee Winters since 2009. In addition to piano, Mary Kate also plays the French horn. She is currently employed as a social work supervisor in Delaware County, working with children in the child welfare system. She feels blessed by the many opportunities and experiences that music has provided her, and is excited to share her love of music with her students. As for her own musical goals, she is working on teaching herself the acoustic guitar. Mary Kate loves to run, read, and spend time with her two amazing children.
Michael - *Lead Teacher: piano, guitar, 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 (Janes 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. He has been teaching for the MW School of Music since 2009 and is a lead teacher of piano, guitar, and bass.
*Our lead and master teachers earned their positions through longstanding records of high performance within the school. Learn more here.