Jon Colston – Guitar (Hixson & E Brainerd)
Jon has been teaching music three decades. His focus is on practical music theory and improvisation. Jon has taught guitar and non guitar students his approach to improv. He has toured professionally throughout the U.S. Has recorded with Michelle Young on her Marked For Madness album and toured with Leah Seawright. Jon is currently the lead guitarist for the band Voodoo Slim. Check out Jon’s website.
Linda Price – Piano & Voice (Hixson)
Linda graduated from Grand Rapids School of Bible & Music in Michigan. She has 25 years of experience in directing choirs (adult and children, working with ensembles and many small music groups. She has taught piano and voice both privately and in a performing arts school. Linda likes to focus on teaching correct and basic vocal and piano techniques, while developing an individual’s style and confidence in their performance. She has experience working with young adults in the area of music competition (i.e. Riverbend and other local contests.) She helps individuals select their music and also works with them on presentation and delivery of their music. Linda also performs as a soloist in the Chattanooga area and is a member of a southern gospel mixed quartet.
Rachelle Steele – Piano, Violin, Cello, & Viola (Hixson & E Brainerd)
As a young person, Rachelle Steele enjoyed playing violin, viola, and cello in various school and church orchestras. She attributes much of her ability to concentrate and excel in what she does today to those early music education experiences. For this reason, Rachelle is a passionate and encouraging teacher, with a heart to see every one of her students excel. She began accompanying church and youth choirs at only sixteen years old, while touring much of the West Coast, including outdoor arenas in the beautiful Redwood forests of California, where she was able to hone her acoustic folk guitar skills. After graduating from Biola University in La Mirada, California with a major in Christian Education and a minor in Piano, Rachelle went on to accompany and lead various children’s, youth and adult choirs in California and Colorado. Aside from Tennessee, she has taught music in San Jose, California and Colorado Springs, Colorado, where one of her violin students took first chair in the Children’s Symphony Orchestra. She is currently a member of Abba’s Army, the adult choir at Central Baptist Church of Hixson. One of her passions is to join with other church choir every year in an annual Worship Chattanooga event sponsored by the Nehemiah Project. Rachelle has found this event to be a marvelous way to connect with the community through music dance, and other creative arts.
Kelly Ballard – Piano & Voice (Hixson)
Kelly has had a deep love and passion for music her entire life. She began playing the piano at age four, and began singing at age 10. She played the flute in her junior high and high school band, sang in her junior high and high school choirs and was also a member of the Roanoke College Children’s Choir in Roanoke, Virginia. Kelly studied vocal music at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and was a piccolo player in the “Pride of the Southland” Marching Band. In 2005, she was selected as the first and only female Drum Major of the “Pride.” She graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music in the fall of 2008. She has since then substitute taught for many musical ensembles in Hamilton County Schools for 2 years and currently works as a teaching assistant at Big Ridge Elementary School. She believes that no one is too young to begin learning an instrument and with that in mind, she is currently learning the guitar. She enjoys bringing the joy of music to all of her students and loves what her students bring to her life.
Paul Porceddu – Violin (Hixson & East. Brainerd)
Paul has been teaching violin since 1986. He was Concert Master of an orchestra during the years he lived in Sarasota FL. As a child and early adult he won several state and national level fiddle contests, and appeared with the cast of Hee Haw twice, later he played in different bands of various styles as well. Classical, bluegrass and fiddle music, jazz, blues, folk, improvisation.
Jeanni Highlander – Piano, Guitar, Voice, Ukulele and more (Hixson & East Brainerd)
Jeanni earned her BA in Music Education from UTC in 1981 as a clarinet/instrumental music major. In 1982 she began her career with Chattanooga Public Schools and then later with the merged system of Hamilton County. She spent 30 years in Elementary General Music as a certified teacher of grades 1-8 with responsibilities that included teaching beginning band, classroom percussion, Orff instruments, and hand bell ensembles. During this time she has directed numerous musical theater productions and choirs. Jeanni earned her Master of Arts in Education from Tusculum College in 2003. She teaches clarinet, flute, piano, beginning guitar and voice with Music Instruction Studio.
Melissa Griffis – Voice, Piano (Hixson & East Brainerd)
Melissa is originally from Jackson, TN, and began taking piano lessons at an early age. While in her early teens, she added voice and musical theater to her list of interests. As an undergraduate student at Birmingham-Southern College, in Birmingham, Alabama, Melissa served as a soprano soloist for a variety of chamber choirs, including The Cathedral of the Advent Episcopal Church, Canterbury Methodist Church, and Temple Beth-El. While working towards her Bachelor of Music in vocal performance, Melissa was a vocal coach and piano accompanist for the students of highly acclaimed performers Andrew Gainey and Mildred Allen. Her duties included providing piano accompaniment for other students’ voice lessons, coaching the opera workshop, and serving as accompanist for senior voice recitals. During her junior and senior years at B-SC, Melissa also taught piano to students at the Birmingham-Southern Conservatory of Music (an extension of the College). Upon graduating from Birmingham-Southern College, Melissa attended graduate school at San Francisco State University, where she pursued her lifelong strong interest in the music of other cultures. Melissa was teaching assistant to Dr. Sharon Girard, who mentored her throughout her ethnomusicology courses. Melissa completed her Master’s degree at San Francisco State University in the area of traditional Irish music. Other areas of interest include the Javanese gamelan music of Southeast Asia and the vocal music of South America. Melissa’s initial background is performance-based, but teaching is where her true passion lies. Previous engagements include teaching choral music, simultaneously at Happy Valley Elementary School and Stanley Middle School in Lafayette, CA, and at Carondelet High School in Concord, CA. One of Melissa’s favorite teaching roles was that of musical director for the productions of “Annie” and “Wonderland,” for Bay Area Educational Theater Company. Melissa is excited to offer piano and voice instruction at Music Instruction Studio. Her philosophy is that music should be fun, and that music should enhance all aspects of a person’s life.
There are two ways to play the piano or keyboard. The traditional way to play is by reading music. The alternative way to play is by using chords and lead sheets. Ideally, a musician will learn both ways to play the piano or keyboard. John Cook, who recently joined our teaching staff, utilizes both methods to play. He learned the traditional method by taking nine years of piano instruction. He learned the alternative method by playing in bands and by accompanying singers throughout his life. After retiring from his career in the legal field, John is now teaching students piano and keyboard using both the traditional and alternative methods of playing. For those adults who took piano lessons when they were young, but never learned to simply sit down at a piano and play, John encourages those adults to learn the technique of playing the piano using chords, lead sheets, and improvisation. If you would like to learn how to play a piano or keyboard for singers or for enjoyment without having to read a complicated piece of music, John can teach you how to do that. John played in rock bands when he was young, and in later years led a church band playing contemporary Christian music. He has studied music theory at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and he plays for groups who want to enjoy singing a myriad of different songs in what John calls his “live Karaoke.” John also plays guitar, accordion, and saxophone, and he is available to teach accordion in addition to piano and keyboard.
Laura Beth Wilkerson is a private piano and voice instructor from the Chattanooga area. A Signal Mountain-native and senior at UTC, she is to receive her BM in Vocal Music Education this December. Miss Wilkerson is trained to sing classically, but has since fallen in love with musical theatre. For more than three years, Miss Wilkerson has worked closely with area high schools, teaching private lessons and directing musicals (including “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “Next to Normal,” and “The Addam’s Family Musical”). She has also taught musical theatre workshops, ages ranging from 6-18.
Brandon Wade – Guitar (Hixson)
More to come
Colleen Reilly grew up in Nashville TN and has been involved in the arts since childhood. She has taught guitar, voice, bass and begginer piano since 2004. Her training was at Berklee College of Music as a World Scholarship student for Jazz Guitar. She attended University of the Arts Philadelphia with an Artists Merit scholarship for Jazz Guitar. In addition, she studied jazz and classical guitar privately with several Mel Bay authors in NYC/NJ . Performance experience has spanned several years in Nashville with recording sessions and many performances as a side lead guitarist.
David’s formative years were spent playing and recording rock and pop guitar in various groups around the southeastern United States. Intending to broaden his musical perspective, David enrolled at Chattanooga State Community College to study piano and music theory and quickly fell in love with the classical guitar, studying with Adam Hale. David moved to Baltimore to study with renowned pedagogue Ray Chester at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. He worked with the entire guitar faculty at Peabody, and has had private lessons and ensemble coachings with Serap Bastepe-Gray, as well as performing in master classes for Julian Gray and Manuel Barrueco.
David teaches a wide variety of styles of music and is excited to be a part of Music Instruction Studio. The skills one uses learning and playing music are beneficial to the student the rest of his or her life. Beyond that, music is life-changing and fun!
Jerry Haynes started playing guitar at the age of 8, after receiving an acoustic guitar as a present from his grandfather. Now, at 50, he is an accomplished musician and teacher with a Professional Certification from Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA and a BA degree in Music Composition and Theory from UTC. He has been teaching private lessons for 27 years. He started out teaching guitar and bass, and now teaches piano, drums and ukelele as well.
Zachary Carpenter finds himself teaching violin to beginners and advanced students alike. Having grown up in Crossville, Zac took violin lessons from Becky Bull for 13 years and was able to play with the Children of Crossville Chamber Orchestra (COCCO) for 5 years including 2 years as Concert Master. During highschool, Zac was able to play in a competition called “Solo and Ensemble” coming away with over 12 medals before attending Lee University in Cleveland, TN at the age of 18. At college, he was able to perform with the Lee University Chamber strings enhancing his ability in String Chamber music in which he was able to hold principal second for 3 years. Also, he performed with Lee University Symphony Orchestra for 4 years, holding principle second for 2 and 1/2 years. Now, after graduating from Lee University in Spring 2016, Zac is teaching private string lessons as well as ensemble music in the Crossville and Cleveland, TN areas and performing violin for churches and private businesses across Tennessee. On the side, he is enjoying arranging and performing video game and movie music.
William Edmundson is a multi-instrumental musician and teacher with over thirty years of performing, writing, recording and teaching experience. In his teenage years, he was upright bassist in the Hixson High School strings group, which led to his love of classical music. in 1997, he received his bachelor’s degree in world history from Middle Tennessee State University while participating in the university’s jazz band as bassist. He would later work overseas as an English language instructor, during which time he studied drums, piano and violin with top instructors in both Japan and Thailand, where he also taught electric guitar. In August 2015, he earned five guitar teacher’s certifications through the Guitar Teacher’s Super Summit International (GTSSI) program held in Crystal Lake, Illinois. William believes in an exponential approach to teaching music, and focuses on elements such as sight reading, ear training, rhythm, proper technique, composition, theory (chords, scales, etc.) along with repertoire. Known for his out-of-the-box approach to music, William plays a 9-string Ibanez guitar in a Chattanooga-based rock group featuring top players from three states.