Teacher Spotlight: Allison – Piano Teacher in Dallas, TX

Allison is currently earning her Bachelor’s degree in Music Composition at Southern Methodist University. She loves being a music student almost as much as she loves teaching and sharing her passion for piano, music theory, and composing. She has traveled throughout America and Europe sharing her music, even spending a semester at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and attending the International Music Festival of the Adriatic in Italy. She always looks forward to coming back home to help teach the next generation.

Allison expects her students to work hard and practice diligently, but believes that the learning process should be a fun and positive experience for everyone involved. She is committed to helping students learn any kind of music they are interested in – classical, film music, video game music, pop, etc. – while still establishing a basis of good technique.

Allison teaches all ages and all levels, from beginner to professional. Lessons with Allison are engaging and fun, and Allison’s hope for her students is that they develop to be great musicians, not just great pianists.

Here’s what others are saying about Allison:

I had the distinct honor and pleasure to serve as Allison’s piano teacher for 10 years. I taught her from the very beginning until the time she left for her University studies at SMU in Dallas.

Allison is a fine musician. She is very detailed and thorough. She is always punctual in arriving for appointments. She always steps up to meet the challenge in front of her. She has a strong sense of determination. She puts forth whatever level of effort is needed to learn a piece of music and excel at it.

I invited Allison last summer to meet with one of my current students who is also considering a major in Music Composition. Allison did a lesson with this young lady and I was very impressed with her down to earth interest in my student along with the practical advice she gave. Allison assisted my student in playing a song she was learning. Allison was very patient and kind as well as being very thorough.

I have taught for many years and I am preparing to retire from teaching. I have thought many times that if Allison would be doing her Master’s work in San Diego, I would gladly and proudly transfer all of my students to her. I’m convinced they would be studying with the very best! I would recommend Allison to my students and friends!

Music Teacher, San Diego, CA

Allie has wonderful interpersonal skills and relates well with students and their families. She always has a smile on her face and never complains about any task. Her demeanor and character are what you want to see in a teacher. She is considerate, kind, and compassionate. It is clear that Allie loves music and she’s enthusiastic in any music endeavor she faces.

Allie is very bright and has such a delightful personality. Allie loves music and her love of music is infectious! She makes you excited about whatever she’s working on. Allie’s training at SMU combined with her natural engaging personality makes her ideally prepared to be a music teacher.

I would enthusiastically recommend Allie to anyone I met who was looking for a private teacher.

Associate Director of Music Admissions, SMU Dallas, TX

If you are looking for a fabulous piano teacher in Dallas, TX, look no further! Contact Starlight Music Lessons today to schedule a trial lesson with Allie!

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Teacher Spotlight: Lenia – Flute, Voice, and Piano Teacher in Denton, TX

Lenia, a native from Havana, Cuba, has excelled throughout her musical career as much as a flutist in the classical genre as she has ventured into the jazz world. At the age of fifteen years old, she participated as a soloist with the symphony orchestra of the Conservatory Guillermo Tomas, Cuba in the second festival of symphony orchestras in Cuba. Her professional journey as a flutist started when she joined the jazz band of the famous cabaret “Tropicana” in Cuba, accompanying the show for 4 years while also serving as an alternate flutist in the National Band of Cuba. During this time, she made several international trips abroad as a jazz flute player and vocalist with different ensembles which allowed her to gain experience in performing a wide repertoire of traditional Cuban music, Latin jazz, and standard jazz. Ms. Bolano obtained her most recent contract as flutist and vocalist in 2010 in the United Arab Emirates for 2 years, after which she decided to move definitively to the United States to continue her studies in music.

In 2016 Lenia was one of the winners for the Austin Flute Society Masterclass Competition. In 2017, she was the principal flute of the Mississippi Intercollegiate Band (Honor Band event), and a guest artist at the Louisiana Flute Festival teaching a jazz class entitled “Thinking Outside the Box”. Also, the same year she was selected as an alternate for the NFA Jazz Flute Masterclass and one of the winners of the NFA Flute Choir Competition.

She was the principal flutist of the 41st Army Band in Mississippi when Lenia performed exclusively with the Jazz Combo of the unit which was given the highest possible certification by Army Music Officers. CW2 Casey Kirk, Chief of Command of the unit quoted “Due to her incredible musical ability, they were selected to perform at the 2018 Army Music Leaders Conference”. Lenia has also been awarded the coin of recognition of the Army Band Excellence of the Army National Guard.

Her interests in composition have led to two of her most recent works being premiered at the University of Southern Mississippi; “Nostalgia” for flute choir and “Trio for Two Friends”. Besides, “Trio for Two Friends” was accepted to be a performance by the Music by Women Festival which was performed in March 2018.

Lenia graduated from the Conservatory of Cuba “Guillermo Tomas” with honors.  In 2012, she was awarded a generous scholarship at the University of Southern Mississippi where she culminated with honors her bachelor studies in music performance with Dr. Mezzadri. At USM, she earned the opportunity to perform in masterclasses with flutists like Richard Sherman, Jim Walker, Raffaele Trevisani, and others. She is currently doing her master’s degree in Music Performance at the University of North Texas, and she remains as a teacher of flute, piano and voice lessons.

Here is what others are saying about Lenia:

I would characterize Lenia’s teaching style as passionate and energetic. She has a way of reaching all students despite what instrument they play. Lenia has a strong knowledge of the history of the music, styles, and techniques… Knowing these things are great when trying to explain music/rhythm to students, its origin, and ways to play it using a different style/technique.

Music Educator, 41st Army Band

I would recommend Lenia to anyone. She is a wonderful person. Lenia works very well with others and has a very agreeable and nice manner about her. Lenia is an amazing musician – really not any weak points. Any student would be greatly enhanced by her teaching. She is very good about being places on time and an effective communicator with all. She has a willing attitude to do any task that is asked of her.

Commander of the 41st Army Band

Beginning in 2007 Lenia has gained extensive teaching experience, working with students of all ages on the flute, piano, as well as vocal. If you have the privelege of working with Lenia, you will not regret your choice!

Contact Starlight Music Lessons to schedule your trial lesson with Lenia!

Teacher Spotlight: Barbara – Piano Teacher in Grand Prairie, TX

We are pleased to introduce Barbara, an extraordinary musician with training in piano and violin.

Barbara is a graduate of Virginia Union University, where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree with a full four-year scholarship from the music department.  She was the traveling accompanist for the University choir under the direction of the distinguished Dr. Odell Hobbs.  Additionally, she studied piano with John Probeck.  Barbara continued her musical training on full scholarship at Southern Illinois University (SIU) where she studied with Dr. Steven Barwick.  She received her Master’s in Music Education from SIU.  Barbara also worked in professional Opera musical productions such as “Treemonisha” directed by Kathren Dunham.

Barbara taught vocal, music, and theater at Hixson High school, and she taught and conducted Chanticleers at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga (UTC) Cadek Music conservatory in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Her musical endeavors also include working as the minister of music at Reisterown Bible Church in Reisterown, Maryland. 

After moving to Texas Barbara opened a piano studio which offered technique, music theory, music history, some ear training and elementary compositions designed to show their understanding of theory, and other musical concepts of composition.  In 2018, 20 student compositions were compiled and published.

Barbara uses musical principles to relate to life skills such as goal setting, time management, commitment, problem solving through music analyzation, and self-confidence building are hallmarks of the program’s curriculum.  A variety of musical genres (classical, praise & worship music, easy jazz, and some Asian music) is incorporated into the program. Students are taught knowledge of chords and their progressions, transposition, and ear training. Students are encouraged to aspire to excellence.

Through her music lessons, Barbara offers a unique musical experience for children, youth, and adults who are serious about perfecting their musical prowess and reaching their maximum capacity as musicians. 

If you are interested in inviting Barbara into your home to teach music lessons, enroll in Starlight Music Lessons today!

Teacher Spotlight: Ashley – Piano and Voice Teacher in Denton, TX

Ashley is a native of Houston, Texas. In 2019, she received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from McNeese State University. In 2012 she attended the University of Houston where she sang in multiple productions at the Moores School of Music. Credits include The Magic Flute,The Italian Straw Hat and Moscow, Cheryomushki. In 2012 she premiered the Houston Grand Opera song cycle, Pieces of 9/11 by Jake Heggie.

While attending the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Ashley participated in productions such as Simply Grimm at Lone Star Lyric Music Festival and Sondheim’s  A Little Night Music as Mrs. Nordstrom. In 2012 she was the first place winner of the On Your Way- Classical Voice Competition. Ashley was also a part of the prestigious Houston Grand Opera High School Voice Studio in 2012. She made her musical debut as Kate in Legally Blonde with Fort Bend Theatre. Ashley then went on to take on the role of Irene in Footloose, Hattie in Kiss Me Kate, Waitress in Rock of Ages and Johanna in Sweeney Todd.

In 2019, Ashley competed in the National Association of Teachers of Singing- Southern Region in 2019 where she won first place. Ashley is a recipient of the Juliet Hardtner Endowed Music Scholarship. She has also been featured as a soloist for Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Handel’s Messiah, and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass.

In addition to her extensive performance experience, Ashley has taught privately for over two years. In 2017 she took on the position as the primary voice instructor at Southwest Louisiana Music Studios. She loves teaching children of all ages and levels as well as adults, and her teaching style can be best described as loving and caring. Ashley’s success as an educator is largely due to her ability to communicate well with her students.

What others are saying about Ashley:

Ashley has many strengths. She is a very talented singer and performer. She is also very personable and has a wonderful, upbeat personality and approach. Her perseverance as a student and young professional has always been very impressive to me as well.

– Music Director of Westminster United Methodist Church, Houston, Tx

Ashley is very outgoing and personable. She relates very well to students of different age groups/levels.

– Lake Charles, LA

Ashley is currently pursuing her Master of Music in Voice Performance at the University of North Texas. She hopes to continue to inspire young musicians as much as they inspire her. 

If you would like to have a trial lesson with Ashley, enroll in Starlight Music Lessons today!

Teacher Spotlight: Dana – Piano Teacher in Plano, TX

We are pleased to introduce Dana, our newest piano teacher in Plano, TX!

Dana began learning piano at the age of 8 and in the following years continued her education in classical piano resulting in a grade 5 for ABRSM, the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music based in London. After high school she continued to pursue her musical career and now holds a Bachelors of Music in Piano from West Texas A&M. In addition to a degree in music, she is a registered music therapist in the state of Texas.

Dana is passionate about working with students of all ages. With her extensive knowledge of piano, she is able to not only teach classical but has also had experience in accompaniment and jazz.

Dana believes that the best way for a student to learn is for the student to understand and love what they are doing. She understands that each student learns differently and incorporates the student’s interests into her teaching to help the student reach their full potential. Dana wants each of her students to reach their goals, but believes that it is important that the student enjoys learning in the process.

Dana has extensive experience in piano performance and therapy. She encourages her students to grow musically through her music therapy and educational skills. With her music therapy certification, she brings a unique and adaptable approach to each student and is passionate about watching her students flourish in a musical setting.

If you would like to have a trial lesson with Dana, enroll in Starlight Music Lessons today!

Teacher Spotlight: Trevor – Guitar, Violin, and Voice Teacher in McKinney, TX

Trevor has been engaged in music from a very early age, when he was first enrolled in beginner’s piano lessons at age six. While this training gave him some preliminary skills in reading music and playing very basic scales and children’s pieces, his true, feverous passion for music wasn’t fully ignited until he started taking guitar lessons at around age eight. What swiftly followed was a strong love for most sub-genres of alternative rock that endures to this day, and inspired him even while he was still in elementary to begin to attempt to write his own songs for guitar and vocals.

Between the sixth grade and his senior year in high school, Trevor was further instructed in guitar by Warren McDonald, a widely acclaimed private teacher in Allen, TX who is a graduate of the University of North Texas’ highly renowned, competitive, and skilled College of Music.

Simultaneously, also starting during his time in the sixth grade, Trevor joined the Faubion Middle School orchestra in McKinney, TX, and began private lessons as a violist. These lessons continued with various different instructors all throughout the remainder of middle school, his time as a member of the McKinney High School orchestra, and his time in the Southwestern University String and Wind Ensemble in Georgetown, TX, where he served as the first chair violist during his Junior and Senior years. At the same time, during these final two years of college, Trevor also started viola training with local Austin Symphony Orchestra violist Blake Turner.

In addition to all of this guitar and viola education, Trevor, initially seeking to simply improve his ability to sing rock music, took formal solo vocal lessons between his Sophomore and Senior years of high school with fellow McKinney resident, Luann Ewbank, a regular private teacher for many local choir students. Not only did all of this instruction greatly improve his singing skills and unlock his full tenor range potential (gotta be able to howl for those rock songs!), but Luann also trained Trevor in opera arias. Both of these newly gained skills later allowed Trevor to perform in his university’s highly praised acapella group “Sailors and Sirens” for about a year. 

Trevor is a friendly and easy-going instructor. He desires to foster not only a strong teacher/student relationship, but a friendship that will allow the student to feel comfortable enough to be honest about where they’re currently at with their skills, how much they practiced and how the practice went, ask questions, articulate their ideas, play their best when asked, etc. Having been a music student in some form or another for around fifteen years, Trevor understands frustrating practice can be and wants to balance making sure that the student is genuinely enjoying the lessons and their instrument while also still improving their skills.

Trevor is available to train students in practically any form of pop/rock or folk on guitar, viola/violin and vocals and can teach more classical styles and techniques on viola/violin and vocals.

Trevor attained his Bachelor’s of Music in Music Theory/Composition from Southwestern University, where he spent several years taking courses in music theory, solfege/ear training, music literature, orchestration, music technology, conducting, etc., and studied composition for around two and a half years with Dr. Jason Hoogerhyde and Dr. Michael Mikulka for just over four months. Trevor is a passionate singer/songwriter/composer and is highly qualified to also teach songwriting/music composition to any interested students.

Teacher Spotlight: Mai – Piano Teacher in Denton, TX

Mai began piano lessons when she was 4 years old. She received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. She is currently pursuing her doctorate at the University of North Texas under Gold Medalist of the prestigious Van Cliburn Competition, Vladimir Viardo.

Mai has appeared in various venues throughout the world, from Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage in Washington, D.C., to Miyama Conseru in Japan. Her performance of the Saint-Saens’ Second Piano Concerto with the Eastern Music Festival orchestra was praised for “dominat[ing] the music from the start, with a strong technique and unflagging energy” (Classical Voice of North Carolina). She has received many awards in competitions, including the Eastern Music Festival Solo and Concerto Competitions, Carmel Society Piano Competition, MTAC Solo and Concerto Piano Competitions, among others.

Mai has experience teaching music to wide ranges of ages and levels. While at Indiana University, she was an Associate Instructor for two years, teaching university level class piano and private lessons for music and non-music majors. Mai has taught many pre-college students as well, ranging from age four up to high school.

Mai’s goal and passion is not only to show her students that making music is fun, but also to help them discover that working hard towards a goal can be enjoyable and well worth it. What we can achieve through dedication will be beyond just playing the correct notes at the correct timing; that’s where the real fun of music making starts! Mai has a very friendly personality and always strives to put herself in the students’ shoes.

Mai believes that a great teacher also needs to be a great performer. As an active performer and a doctoral candidate in piano performance, she can teach from the perspectives of a musician and a student. Having studied with teachers from the United States, Japan, Belgium, France, and Russia, she also enjoys having a variety of approaches to piano playing.

What others are saying:

Mai works with my four children, ages 6, 8, 9, and 11. She is wonderful! My kids love her and look forward to lessons each week. She has the perfect balance of patience and push. She is sweet with each of my kids, but she pushes them to their potential. They practice and are making great strides musically. I couldn’t be more pleased with a piano teacher.

– Providence Village, TX

If you are looking for a great piano teacher, look no further! Enroll in Starlight Music Lessons today and meet Mai!