Instructors

Our Instructors

Keith Allegretti - Piano

Keith Allegretti is a pianist and composer currently pursuing his DMA at the University of Texas at Austin. He has been an active educator in Ann Arbor, Santa Fe, Houston, and Austin, giving private lessons in piano, ear training, sight singing, music theory, and composition. A frequent performer, he regularly plays old and contemporary styles of music on the piano and accompanies vocalists and instrumentalists. Recently, he has performed as a pianist in the University of Texas New Music Ensemble, and as a conductor for the Cohen New Works Festival at UT. His piano teaching focuses on musical expression, interpretation, and clean technique, with an emphasis on collaborative playing.

Brooke Lewis - Piano

Brooke Lewis is a classically trained pianist who loves to pass on her love for music to the students she teaches. She graduated from Belhaven University with a BA in Music with an emphasis in piano performance, playing for the past 18 years. She is an accomplished pianist, placing first in MFMC Student Collegiate Auditions, winning the Music Excellence Award at Belhaven University, and obtaining the Music Excellence Award at Belhaven University. She has played keyboard for various worship platforms, and performed in numerous recitals and concerts. Through teaching students how to read music to performing pieces worked on in their lessons, Brooke gives her students the skills to be lifelong musicians. In her free time, Brooke enjoys being outside, cooking, and playing piano on her own.

Benjamin Vogel - Guitar, Rock Band

Benjamin Vogel is a professional guitarist, bassist, and music teacher in the Austin area. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Composition from University of the Pacific, where he was also classically trained on the upright bass, and a Master’s Degree in Music Composition from the University of Texas at Austin, where he played bass in the New Music Ensemble and the AIME jazz group.

Ben has performed and recorded on guitar and bass all across North America with many top-notch musicians, and has experience with many different genres including jazz, funk, rock n’ roll, and even Middle Eastern folk music. He strives to create lessons that are a little bit challenging, but ultimately fun and inspiring, leaving students excited to practice and improve. He likes to focus on learning songs that the student is interested in, and then to use that music as a vehicle to approach concepts of theory and technique that will ultimately allow the student to gain deeper understanding of their instrument, and to become a more independent and confident player.

Julie Adams - Violin, Viola, Cello, Piano, and Voice

Julie has been teaching music to students of all ages and all levels for 30 years. She has taught music in the public schools and has directed orchestra and choir from the elementary to middle school level. She is also active as a professional musician playing and performing with several regional orchestras and chamber ensembles. Julie also serves as a piano accompanist for choir and individual students as well as performing on piano and organ for church services.. Her teaching style is encouraging and supportive while also maintaining high expectations of her students. She believes lessons should be enjoyable and challenging. 

Cory Abbot - Violin and Viola

Cory is a classically trained musician with over 25 years of experience on the viola.  As an orchestral violist he has been fortunate to share stages with such musicians as Randy NewmanRay CharlesMartin ChalifourZuill BaileyVadym KholodenkoTwila Paris and Branson’s Liverpool Legends.
Cory greatly enjoys teaching and also live performance and has recently discovered a love for the studio recording. His particular joy comes from film music.
Cory received his Bachelor of Music from the University of Central Arkansas and his Master of Music in viola performance form the University of Central Arkansas. He has many years of orchestral experience and chamber/solo experience.

Thomas Metz - Guitar, Rock Band

Thomas Metz is a professional guitarist and music instructor in Austin, Texas. Over the past 20 years, he has explored a wide range of musical styles, playing jazz and rock professionally all across the United States with world class artists. Thomas holds a Bachelors Degree in Music for Guitar performance and with over a decade of experience playing professionally. Over the years he has helped many artists and students with instruction, transcription and music theory and he has enjoyed teaching in Austin since 2014.

Jonathan Wayne, Piano

Jonathan Wayne earned his BA in Music from Huston Tillotson University with a concentration in Music Performance. Over the years he has worked with children ages 8-17 in education for after school programs as well as summer camps. He is a Jazz Musician who plays piano in a band and as a solo performer. Jonathan is a dedicated musician with 20 years experience in band and choir groups. Jonathan loves teaching students the rudiments of piano and he loves when his students excel and become excited to play and make music.

Elliott Dunlap, Piano

Elliott Dunlap has a colorful musical background. Although he began studying the piano at an early age,he first gained attention as a cellist. As a teenager, he became a fellow of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., performed within the orchestra at selected concerts and went on to win the H. Stevens Brewster Memorial Award. He arrived in San Francisco in 1991 and became a cello student of Bonnie Hampton at The San Francisco Conservatory of Music. After deciding to concentrate on the piano with William Corbett-Jones at San Francisco State University, Elliott furthered his studies in London at The Royal Academy of Music and King’s College.

Elliott has performed in master classes for such world-renowned artists as Neville Marinner, Lynn Harrell, Janos Starker, Karl Ulrich Schnabel and Elizabeth Powell. Elliott was selected to perform on April 27th, 2005 at San Francisco’s Noontime Concerts on a special series sponsored by the Helen von Ammon Fund for Emerging Artists. Aesthetically, Elliott identifies with pianists whose recordings date from the early twentieth century (Paderewski, de Pachmann, Cortot) and the degree of artistic freedom in their playing that is largely lost today.

Elliott writes this about his teaching: “It is a small miracle that I became a piano teacher. Working with an instructor in my youth who shouted and hit the piano caused me to quit altogether. Since 2002, I have devoted most of my time to teaching children in the opposite way. There is an old saying…’Give a man a fish and he‘ll eat for a day; Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.’ Hence, showing the student how to practice is an important part of every lesson. It’s a special delight when they grasp that practicing is a soothing, meditative experience when done slowly and methodically.”

Elizabeth Wirtz, Piano

Elizabeth Wirtz is a pianist and a teacher. She has been teaching and accompanying in the Central Texas area for over 20 years.  Elizabeth earned a Bachelor in Music in Piano Pedagogy from UT and Masters in Music in Piano Performance from Texas State.  She has taught piano at Concordia and is currently teaching and accompanying at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, TX.  Elizabeth lives in Round Rock with her husband, two daughters and two dogs.

Janelle Taylor - Voice, Piano, Latin Percussion

Janelle is very energetic and enthusiastic when it comes to teaching her students. Janelle holds a Bachelors degree from the University of North Denton in Texas.

Vocalist and songwriter Janelle Taylor is no stranger to adventure! During her youth, four states were called home, and in each one her love for cultures and language grew stronger. With her vibrant personality and the desire to learn more, Janelle decided to study vocal jazz and language at the University of North Texas (UNT). 

​Janelle has a working knowledge of the French language, as well as a growing musical repertoire in Portuguese, Italian, and Spanish. She studied Latin Percussion for two years with the Ghost Note and Pearl Drums sponsored percussionist José Aponté. While under Mr. Aponté’s direction, Ms. Taylor was featured in the UNT Afro-Cuban and Brazilian Percussion Ensembles where she performed both percussion and vocals. Also while attending UNT, this spirited young lady participated in vocal jazz ensembles and private vocal jazz lessons, with Jennifer Barnes, becoming abundantly familiar with jazz repertoire and vocabulary. 

​Janelle has also performed for such businesses as the intimate Skat Jazz Lounge in Fort Worth, TX as a guest of Tatiana Mayfield, Innovation Greenhouse, a progressive entrepreneurial organization at UNT, and the family-friendly Denton Arts and Jazz Festival, proving she can flourish in any setting. 

Janelle Taylor’s versatility in musical genres, exciting stage presence, and compelling lyric delivery are sure to create a musical experience for each audience member they won’t soon forget! 

​Janelle holds a BA in jazz vocal from the University of North Denton.

Chris Goranson - Guitar, Ukulele, Rock Band

Originally from Chicago, Chris studied at Northern Illinois University where he earned a bachelors degree in Jazz Performance. Having 20 years of experience studying and playing the guitar, Chris is proficient in jazz, rock, blues, funk, punk, and pop music. Chris gigs and records regularly with multiple bands in the Austin area, and has played at many of Austin’s premier music venues. In addition to the guitar, he is also a proficient ukulele player and teacher.  
​Chris is passionate about music and strives for his students to be passionate. His teaching style is individualized to the students personality, ability, and goals. Teaching a strong grasp on technique and theory, while keeping the lessons up beat and fun through learning songs. He strives to make each student excited about learning the instrument. His goal is to make sure the student walks out of the lesson inspired, ready to practice, and learn more.   

Susan Leach - Voice, Flute, Piano

Susan studied voice at the University of Texas at Austin where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Music with an emphasis in Choral Conducting.  She has studied music for over 30 years, and is an accomplished flutist and vocalist and is also proficient in piano.  As a vocalist, she is trained both classically and in the IVA (Institute of Vocal Advancement) Technique which aids the voice in singing in a free and natural manner.

While at UT, Susan performed in several ensembles including Concert Chorale and the Longhorn Band.  She participates in various volunteer and professional choirs and has performed in venues including the Erwin Center, Bass Concert Hall, and St. Mary Cathedral and for dignitaries including the Governor of Texas and the Bishop of Austin. 

Susan is currently the Director of Music at St. John Vianney Catholic Church.  She has directed performers of all ages with varying degrees of ability.  She is skilled in a wide range of musical genres and often sings in other languages including: Latin, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and others.  She also regularly sings and plays flute at weddings, funerals, church services, and in concerts.  In addition, Susan is a certified cantor with the National Association of Pastoral Musicians.​

Kaushalie Ranaweera, Piano

Kaushalie, a Sri Lankan by birth, has been teaching piano for the past 25 years. She started giving piano lessons at a very young age. Professionally, a certified school teacher in Math, she graduated in Geology and Physics from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, while her interests in the field of music lead her to complete her finals in Piano at the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, London, UK. While in Sri Lanka she presented candidates of all ages for the practical and theory examinations conducted by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, UK and Institute of Western Music and Speech, Sri Lanka and produced many award winners. 
​Kaushalie has varied lesson plans to cater to the needs of students of all ages and different capabilities. Her main goal is to instill a love for learning piano which, she believes, would result in amazing performances.

Marc Ruiz - Drums and Percussion (Hablo Español)

Marc has played drums for 29 years. He started playing drums in middle school and high school. He played in orchestra, marching band, and jazz band. He also played in the Texas A&M Kingsville jazz band. Since the age of 13 Marc has played for various bands from cover bands, latin/salsa bands, rock bands, and worship bands. His teaching style is relaxed and paced for the individual student. His philosophy in drum teaching is to have fun and enjoy the music you are playing. Marc teaches many styles of drum techniques to make for a well-rounded musician.

Lana Clifft - Violin, Viola, Cello

Svetlana Clifft was born and raised in Russia. She is a professional musician and music instructor with extensive education from some of Russia’s finest universities along with a decade of teaching experience. She has played with the Round Rock Symphony, Balcones Community Orchestra Austin, Rybinsk Orchestra. She holds a B.A. in Teacher, Music from L.V. Sobinov Music College Yaroslav, Russia and an M.A. from Moscow State Open Teacher’s Training University Moscow, Russia. In Russia she performed a variety of musical styles (baroque, classical, jazz,pop) for violin and piano solo, string quartet, ensemble and orchestra. As a professional teacher she was awarded a diploma for preparation of a prize-winner of the City Contest of Young Violin and Cello Players. She has been playing violin with the Round Rock Symphony Orchestra since 2008.   Ms Lana has also had great success with her students receiving “All-State” winner status at the State Festival.

Paul Zapata - Trumpet

Paul has been playing trumpet for over 30 years. He is fluent in jazz, mariachi, and classical styles of trumpet playing. While in high school, he made the Texas all state band for two consecutive years. He is currently the principal trumpet player for the Williamson County Symphony Orchestra.  Paul has a BA in Psychology.​

Zach Singer - Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, Rock Band

After graduating from Berklee College of Music in 2006, Zach returned to his
native town of Los Angeles to teach and perform for the next nine years. He is a
veteran of notable L.A. venues such as The Mint, Hotel Café, Kulak’s Woodshed
and many others. In 2007 he released his debut EP ‘Idiopathic’ with songs
ranging in style from Folk, Reggae Dub and self described “Beautiful Rock.”

In early 2015, Zach relocated to Austin Texas where he quickly became a regular
solo performer and occasional host at Earphoria and Stompin’ Grounds. During
the day he teaches numerous guitar lessons in person and online. A dynamic
performer, his live show incorporates full band style R&B/ Psychedelic loops,
straight ahead Folk and ‘Dirge Swing’ singalongs.

Request Information