Teaches:Piano, Keyboards Specialty: Beginner to intermediate
For over twenty years, Amy was employed as the preschool, kindergarten and ECE music director, music teacher and music therapist for multiple locations of the Kensington Schools and for the LaGrange Highlands Elementary School. She was also employed as the director of children’s choirs and as an accompanist for the Spirit Worship Band of the First Congregational Church of Western Springs. A strong advocate of life-long learning, she has added the ukulele and banjo to her repertoire and took a little time off from teaching music to earn a Masters in Teaching Elementary Education from National Louis University, becoming an IL State Certified K-9 teacher with special endorsements Language Arts, Music and Math in 2013. She also became an Interactive Metronome Certified Provider through Dr. Terbovic of Clocktower Psychological Associates of Lake Zurich in 2013.
Born into a musical family, Amy began teaching herself to play the piano with her brother’s and sister’s John Thompson Book, Teaching Little Fingers to Play, at the age of five. Since then, she studied piano with Alice Cummings of Hinsdale for many years and with John Strauss at Luther College. Her father taught her to play “Skip to my Lou” on her great grandfather’s tenor banjo, and she began teaching herself to play guitar with the guitar she “bought” with hundreds of S&H Green Stamps at the age of ten. After earning her BA in French, with minors in Music and English, at Luther, she studied piano, classical guitar and piano pedagogy at Concordia University and earned Level 1 Orff Schulwerk Certification at Drake University while teaching many to play piano and guitar. Amy’s piano students have been International, National, State, District and Local Winners in the National Guild of Piano Teacher Auditions, held in Barrington each spring.
Specialty: Contemporary Vocal Styles
Brandy has been teaching voice, piano, and flute for 14 years. She studied at NIU and in Europe. As a performer, Brandy has worked all across the United States, including singing of the national anthem at Comiskey Park. Her other performance experience includes multiple rock/pop bands and stage musicals. As a singer/songwriter, Brandy has tunes on iTunes, Napster, and Rhapsody. She is well versed in many vocal styles and above all, Brandy loves to teach.
Teaches: Drums & Percussion
Specialty: Rock drum kit
Don Yurisich (stage name Devereaux) has been teaching drums and percussion for 14 years in the Chicago area. Several of his students have gone on to successful performing and teaching careers. He prides himself in giving all drum students an idea of how to play drums in a band.
After earning a degree at Roosevelt University, Don began pursuing his performance career. Over the years he has toured the country with local and regional acts performing a wide variety of music. The highlight of Don's touring to-date has been a performance with Billy Childers at Soldier Field in 2009, as well as a yearly performance in Las Vegas with Country Singer Susie Dobbs. In 2006 he continued his music education by studying with world renowned jazz drummer Isham "Rusty" Jones, whom he credits with helping "[his understanding of] jazz drumming with all its intricacies and nuances."
Teaches: Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Electric Bass
Specialty: Rock, jazz and pop
Chicago native Rick Rattner teaches guitar and bass guitar. He has been performing in various bands and composing music for almost 30 years. Rick attended Oakland University Music School and has a degree in Computer Science.
Rick is a session player and has composed music for numerous national commercial advertisements in television and radio, including Buick and Kelly Services. He teaches all styles and levels, but prefers students six years old and up.
Teaches: Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet
Specialty: Jazz improvisation
Vince Salerno has been playing and performing music for over 40 years. He has been teaching for nearly 30 years. Vince is a graduate of the American Conservatory of Music, with extensive coursework in Jazz Studies. Vince has studied music with such greats as Joe Daley, Ron Dewar, and Bill Sears.
Vince has performed in various jazz, country, and society bands. He has also performed with famous blues artists, among them Luther Allison, Eddie Clearwater, Vanessa Davis Band, and Liz Manville.
Vince also teaches and performs harmonica. He studied harmonica with Howard Levy and Jerry Portnoy. Aside from Alto and Tenor saxophone, Vince teaches flute, and clarinet. He welcomes all ages and skill levels. Please visit Vince Salerno's website for more info.
Teaches: Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Specialty: Metal and Hard Rock, Bass Fishing
Dan is our resident metal and hard rock expert. He relates particularly well to young players and beginners. Daniel enjoys helping beginning and intermediate students develop proper left and right hand technique on the guitar and to learn how it relates to making music.
Specialty: Beginning string students
Virginia has taught violin to students ranging from 4 years old to adults for over a decade. In addition to private lessons, she has taught in public schools, grades 4-9 in the United States and Germany.
Her professional background includes orchestral experience with symphonies in Omaha NE, Syracuse NY, and with the North Carolina Symphony. She has been a chamber musician as well, with the David Majors Players and various professional chamber groups.
Virginia has a Bachelor of Arts with honors from Syracuse University, where she studied with world-renowned concert violinist Louis Krasner. She also studied at the Robert Schumann Konservatorium in Dusseldorf, Germany under the direction of Sandor Vegh.
Virginia is the most recent addition to our team of excellent music teachers. She replaced Malorie LaVine in September 2015.
Teaches: Acoustic Guitar & Electric Guitar
Specialty: Improvisation and Music Theory
Ryan Budyak is an area native enriched by the local districts' music progams. A strong presence in youth choral and a capella programs at Cary Grove High School led to his love of the guitar. Ryan now works full time as a musician and has 15 years of teaching experience.
Teaches: Acoustic Guitar & Electric Guitar
Specialty: Blues and Classic Rock
Jeff Baugh has been playing guitar since 1967 and teaching since 1972. He has played in numerous bands, often working up to 300 dates per year. Jeff has experience studying advanced theory and stresses ear training. This helps students hear their music and allows them to piece their own songs together. Jeff specializes in blues and classic rock.
Teaches: Acoustic and Electric Guitar
Ever since Alex picked up a guitar at age 12, he knew that he had a passion for the instrument. He has turned his love of music into a career of performing and teaching. Alex has a music degree and is a certified audio engineer. He has shared the stage with acts such as: Bret Michaels, Candlebox, Filter, Hinder, Uncle Kracker, Puddle of Mudd, and the Outlaws. He has performed at some of Chicagoland's most popular venues including: The House of Blues, the Rave, and the Taste of Chicago. Alex is a well-rounded guitar player who has studied classical and jazz guitar, as well as music theory and composition. However, his favorite type of music to perform is blues-based rock.
He has been a guitar instructor for 7 years and has taught all ages, from young children to senior citizens - including those with disability. Alex provides a fun atmosphere to learn the guitar while stressing the unique goals of each student.
Teaches: Piano, Voice, Uke, Beginning Guitar
Katy is a professional singer-songwriter and classical composer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Composition from Carthage College. Katy is extremely versatile in her knowledge and ability to teach many different styles of music. Her music training began with classical piano and opera. As she progressed she learned jazz/rhythm guitar, flute, viola, bass guitar, ukulele and music theater/commercial voice. While in college she trained in all styles of vocal performance and vocal pedagogy. She's performed in several musical theater productions, operas, and has written for/performed in rock bands around Kansas City and Milwaukee. Most importantly Katy loves to teach! She comes from a family of educators who have shown her the joy that can be found in helping others learn, grow, and reach their goals.