Our Teachers 

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David Paonessa

Piano

David is a musician from Phoenix, AZ.  After playing in piano and trumpet in grade school, David continued his passion for music at Mesa Community College and Arizona State University, studying with acclaimed pianists Nick Manson and Mike Kocour.   He can be found teaching and playing regularly at local venues throughout the Valley of the Sun. Career highlights include Orchestra musician for Phoenix Theater’s Production of Mama Mia, Orpheum Theater’s Director’s Choice Ballet, and sharing the stage with  nationally acclaimed musician Chris Mann at the Musical Instrument Museum.

Christina Lafferty

Voice, Piano

 Christina Lafferty began her musical career at Mesa Community College and continued her undergraduate at Grand Canyon University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Music. She has studied voice with Dr. Cathy Hauan and Carol Jennings. Christina continues to perform as a Soprano in Dr. Craig Peterson’s Canto Vivo Chorale. As an instructor in piano and voice, Christina focuses heavily on music theory and healthy technique. It is her goal as a teacher to help students realize that music theory is fun and exciting! Christina’s areas of interest are in music theory, vocal pedagogy, and ethnomusicology.

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Eric Cureno

      Guitar, Bass, Ukelele, Piano      

Eric Cureño is a multi-instrumentalist, teacher, composer and ethnomusicologist with a concentration on Arabic and Balkan music. Eric’s attraction to world music began at Santa Fe University of Art and Design in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He received his BFA in contemporary music with an emphasis on ethnomusicology in 2016. Eric has participated in many world music and contemporary music ensembles ranging from African drumming, Latin American, Gamelan, Arabic, Jazz and Metal groups. He directed the United World College Latin Ensemble in Las Vegas, NM in 2016-2017.  Eric has also collaborated with the Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museums for the Smithsonian Latino Center. Eric is a very versatile instrumentalist who is proficient in many popular genres such as rock, pop, classical and metal.  He is currently a second-year master’s student at Arizona State University where he will be receiving his MA in ethnomusicology.

Suzanne Harper

      Voice      

Suzanne Harper is a professional vocalist and musician who recently relocated from Nashville to Phoenix. Her musical journey began at the age of 10 when she began training with vocal coach Tersila Romero in her home town of San Diego. As she grew into her artistry she took her voice to Nashville, Tennessee where she was fortunate enough to perform at iconic venues (such as the Ryman Auditorium) and work with world-renowned musicians (such as John Carter Cash) as she honed her songwriting and performing craft. She began teaching music 15 years ago and loves passing on her love of singing by helping her students gain confidence in their voices and in themselves. As a preschool teacher and mother of two daughters, she learned that the best way to inspire improvement in a student is through helping them see their own potential and guiding them as they develop into their own artistry.

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Amethyst Stark - music teacher

Amethyst Stark

   Piano

Amethyst Stark has been a musician for over 25 years composing, performing, and accompanying regularly. She has studied in upstate New York with Mark Evans and at ASU with Dani Shraibman as well as attended masterclasses with John Kamitsuka. Her lessons emphasize safe, proper technique, music theory, composition, music history, performance, and ear training. Her teaching style is light and playful and she urges students to explore their own voice, the lives of our famous composers, and to generate a life-long love and appreciation of music. A mother of two, she is emphatic about family needs and dynamics which has helped her create strong and lasting relationships with her students and their families.

Louisa Gonzales

   Piano

Louisa began her college studies for Piano Performance at Scottsdale Community College in 2014. Under the direction of Dr. Andrew O’Brien, she studied various types of music theory, aural perception, and studied many classical works such as Bach, Chopin, and Liszt. She received her Associates in Arts in 2017 and decided to pursue a Music Business degree. Louisa will be attending Arizona State University to pursue an interdisciplinary degree with the concentrations of Music and Business, Class of 2021. Originally a self-taught musician, Louisa learned styles of music from classical to rock on piano and cello. She enjoys learning and teaching music through theory and rote.

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Kevin Wilcox

  Viola, Violin, Piano

Kevin Wilcox is a music educator and violist native to the East Valley. He has played violin and viola throughout his entire musical career and started teaching privately in his high school years. He earned his bachelor's degree in Music Education with an emphasis in Instrumental Music and graduated cum laude from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ. Kevin has studied to teach both traditional and Suzuki formatted instruction for strings and piano, and focuses on a balanced curriculum of tactile instrument performance skills, music theory, aural training, and musicians’ wellness. As a performer, Kevin has served as the Principal Violist for the NAU Symphony, Chamber, and Lyric Theatre Opera Orchestras, as well as a violist/violinist for the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Northern Arizona, and the Scottsdale Philharmonic. He has studied under Jacquelyn Schwandt, Louise Scott, Karin Hallberg, and Michelle Wachter and has attended masterclasses by violists Margaret Miller and Hsiaopei Lee. Outside of his professional obligations, Kevin is also a freelance composer and amateaur novice conductor.