Meet Our Instuctors

YACM aims to bring the highest quality music instructors into the life of your child. We are a group of musicians who care deeply about how each young person experiences personal success in their music lessons and home practice time. Our instructors are selected to teach at YACM because of their understanding of the comprehensive music education and their demonstrated outcomes in developing successful confident musicians. 

Tabitha Lewis

Private (Core Arts) Weekly | Suzuki Group String Instructor

Lesson Price Coming Soon

Soprano and violinist Tabitha Lewis is a recent transplant to California. She formerly served as Lecturer of Voice and Theory at Georgia College and State University. She holds a Doctor of Music and a Master of Music from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Music from Wheaton College. Favorite opera roles include Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Lily in The Secret Garden, Josephine in HMS Pinafore, and Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance. Her love of Gilbert and Sullivan led her to make her directorial debut in 2017 with the Bloomington University Gilbert and Sullivan Society’s production of Patience. Also in 2017, she was honored to be a Marc and Eva Stern Fellow at SongFest in Los Angeles, where she performed the world premiere of Juliana Hall’s song cycle When the South Wind Sings (the topic of her doctoral dissertation). She enjoys singing and teaching a variety of styles, including classical art songs, musical theater, and jazz. 

 

Ms. Lewis is also a certified Suzuki Violin Instructor. She worked as an assistant with the Suzuki violin program at the Community School of the Arts in Wheaton Illinois. You can learn more about her at www.tabithalewissoprano.com. 

Voice Instuctor, Suzuki Certified Violin Instructor, Solano Music Conservatory

Casey Ellis

Private (Core Arts) Weekly

30 min $155.73 mo | 60 min $253.91 mo

Lyric Mezzo-Soprano Casey Ellis completed her studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance under the tutelage of renowned Tenor and vocal pedagogue, Cesar Ulloa. She has performed lead roles in professional theaters all over the San Francisco Bay Area and has been nominated and received local theater awards for several roles portrayed. Favorite roles include- Cherubino in Le Nozze Di Figaro, Lily in Secret Garden, Liesl in The Sound of Music, Johanna in Sweeney Todd, Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar, Nerone in l'incornazione di Poppea, The Witch in Into The Woods, and Jo March in Little Women. Although trained operatically, Casey found her true passion to be with musical theater and loves teaching vocal students healthy and proper ways to get a Broadway sound using operatic techniques. She is a member of the National Association of Teaching Singing and is a Yoga Alliance certified Yoga Teacher. She uses yoga techniques with vocal students for proper posture, breath control, performance anxiety and all around body awareness. In addition to teaching private voice with Solano Music Conservatory, she is the resident Music Director and Co-Director for Solano Youth Theater, vocal director for YACM's rockbands TNT and M80's, and teaches in Vallejo for YACM's Music Matters programs. In her free time, Casey performs regularly in the Bay Area, teaches yoga in Vacaville and loves to write music and improvise with other local musicians.

Voice, Music Theatre, Choir - Solano Music Conservatory, Solano Youth Theatre, Music Matters - Vallejo

Jaymes Kirksey

Private (Core Arts) Weekly

30 min $188.45 mo | 60 min $253.91 mo

Jaymes Kirksey, a native of Oklahoma, and a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, has won numerous prizes for both violin and piano at several national and international competitions including the Margaret Gutthman Piano Competition in Atlanta, the Baylor University Music Competition and the Juanita Hubbard Invitational Piano Competition. He is an active performer around the US and Europe.

Jaymes made his professional Oklahoma debut at the age of 13 performing Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic.

The Daily Oklahoman described Jaymes as having an "outrageously mature playing style with exceptional control" and "a truly unstoppable future." He later performed Rachmaninoff's 2nd Piano Concerto with the Hays Symphony Orchestra of Kansas.

Jaymes made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2006 with the National Festival Orchestra led by Maestro Benjamin Zander and became the first African American and Oklahoman chosen to perform with the orchestra in its history. Jaymes studied piano with Dr. James Breckenridge, Valery Kuleshov and Nellie Asaturyan and violin with Bettina Mussumeli, Peter Nguyen, Robert McDuffie and Kare'n Khanagov.

He is currently the Music Director and Maestro of the Young Musicians Choral Orchestra in Berkeley, the only choral orchestra in the country. He has guest conducted the Golden Gate Symphony in ther performance of Brahms Fourth Symphony and has performed Beethoven's Violin Concerto and Lalo's Symphonie Espagnol with the orchestra. For more information, visit youngmusiciansco.org/teachers.

Piano, Violin - Solano Music Conservatory

Wanda Cook

Private (Core Arts) Weekly

30 min $204.82 mo | 60 min $303.00 mo

Wanda Cook, founder and Artistic Director, has been teaching piano for over 30 years. As a fourth generation piano teacher, she brings a heritage of pedagogy and tradition into the present. Mrs. Cook received her piano training from her grandmother, Helen Genevieve Pinkstaff Spillenaar, a Julliard graduate from whom she learned to appreciate the way in which technical control empowers artistic delivery.

 

She graduated from Simpson college with a degree in Business Administration and Biblical Literature. Although, at that time, she did not choose to study music, she taught piano lessons in her mother's studio and found employment as a music and theory tutor in the Simpson music department.

 

With strict application of tradition but with a fresh and inspiring manner, Mrs. Cook is credited with transforming hundreds of children into fluent and proficient pianists. Her students perform at the highest levels throughout Solano County and go on to pursue professional careers and college music degrees. She has trained teachers to apply her methods with the aim to create pianists from a developmental model that addresses informed practice, applied technique, musical phrasing, tonal control, and empowered performances.

Piano, Theory, Artistic Director – Solano Music Conservatory

Lee Bob Watson

Private (Core Arts) Weekly | Guitar

$155.73  30 min Private | $274.11  60 min Private

Lee Bob Watson is a teacher, songwriter and performer based in Northern California. He has taught for o ver 15 years in private individual and group settings, as well as in private and public schools. He has produced 10 albums of original music and has performed extensively in the US and in Europe. He is well versed in popular, rock, jazz, soul, country and folk forms. At YACM, he will be teaching guitar at all levels (non-classical). 

Music Teacher, Guitar Instructor

Berkeley Rousseau

​Private (Core Arts) Weekly

30 min $155.73 mo | 60 min $204.82 mo

Berkeley Rousseau attended California State University, Fullerton where he received his Bachelor of
Music in History and Theory. There he studied Classical Voice under baritones Julian Fielder and James
Schaefer and Composition under Pamela Madsen. While at Fullerton, he performed in a number of large
scale pieces including Mozart’s Requiem, Vivaldi’s Gloria, and he was the soloist in Rzewski’s Coming
Together. He has performed, directed, and arranged for several choral and a cappella groups in
Northern and Southern California. Berkeley’s love for music extended into musical theater and he has
performed in a number of musicals such as Mary Poppins, RENT, Oklahoma!, Guys and Dolls, and A
Chorus Line. He has also Music Directed shows such as My Fair Lady, Cinderella, 9 to 5, and Xanadu. As a
teacher, he believes that each student should learn more than just the notes on the page. The history,
the theory, and the meaning should all be part of the piece’s study to help influence the student’s
performance.

Voice - Solano Music Conservatory

Edward Halbach III

Private (Core Arts) Weekly

30 min $155.73 mo | 60 min $221.18 mo

Ed Halbach earned his Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance at San Jose State University in 1982. He has studied with mezzo sopranos Irene Dalis, and Edna Garabedian, baritones John Robert Dunlap, Dr. David Rohrbaugh and David Burnakis, as well as soprano Jean Garson. He has sung in master classes with Giorgio Tozzi, Sherrill Milnes, and Jess Thomas. He has extensive professional experience in operatic theatre where he has sung leading baritone roles in Cosi fan Tutte, Le Nozze di Figaro, La Boheme, Gianni Schicchi, Manon, Don Carlos, La Cenerentola, Prince Igor, Tartuffe, The Scarf, and numerous other leading baritone roles in English, French, German, Italian, and Russian. He has performed many recitals in the same languages and has extensive knowledge of the classical art song repertoire. He has taught private voice for over 35 years, and has taught both choir and theatre arts for the Vacaville Unified School District. He embraces all forms of music with an understanding that the classics have the power to stretch and empower the student to become an artist of poise and dignity in any genre of music or theater.

Voice - Solano Music Conservatory

Pei-Jen Tseng

Private (Core Arts) Weekly

30 min $172.09 mo | 60 min $253.91 mo

Pei-Jen Tseng began playing piano at the age of four, which then led to playing cello at the age of ten. After completing her Bachelor of Music degree in Cello performance from Taiwan, she moved to the U.S. to pursue her graduate studies from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music receiving a Music of Master degree in Cello performance. Ms. Tseng also holds a Professional Studies Diploma in Cello performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She has performed as an orchestral player and chamber musician throughout the years. As a chamber musician, Ms. Tseng believes that ensemble playing builds confidence, teamwork, and leadership abilities while developing every essential musical skill: sense of pitch, rhythm, and tone. These skills will cross over to every aspect of a student’s performing experience, making them a much better musician overall.

 

Ms. Tseng teaches the importance of fundamentals. This includes intonation, ear training, performance technique, and how to practice efficiently. She believes that every student is different and brings with them various personalities, and inspires them to find their own voice, giving them confidence and developing a love for music. 

Cello - Solano Music Conservatory

Eric Woodcock

Private (Core Arts) Weekly

30 min $155.73 mo | 60 min $253.91 mo

Eric Woodcock is a trombonist and music educator. After growing up in Vacaville and participating in local, regional, and statewide honor bands, he moved to the South Bay to pursue a double degree in trombone performance and music education from San Jose State University. While at SJSU, Eric has performed with some amazing bands, orchestras, and conductors, including Donato Cabrera, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Sir Simon Rattle with SFSYO, Joana Carniero with the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, and Ed Harris with the SJSU Wind Ensemble. He has also worked in an educational capacity with several highly-regarded organizations, such as the San Jose Youth Symphony, Cazadero Music Camp, and Silver Creek High School, where he was a contracted conductor for the school's Concert Band.

Trombone, Trumpet, Concert Band, Orchestra, Theory – Solano Music Conservatory

Farida Isayeva

Private (Core Arts) Weekly

30 min $188.45 mo | 60 min $286.64 mo

Farida Isayeva graduated the Music College, Music Conservatory, and State University in Russia. She has a Doctorate Degree and speaks English, Russian, Turkish, and Azeri. She has been teaching  piano and music theory for all ages and all levels since 1984. Ms. Isayeva was Principal of a music school in Russia, but moved to the US in 1998. Since then, she has continued to teach piano privately, and has taught at music academies and music conservatories. 


Ms. Isayeva's style of teaching is creative and challenging. Her teaching methods are geared according to each student's needs. She builds a lesson plan to create success in each of her students, and her students consistently achieve high scores in assessments. She uses a combination of lesson books and individual plans for each student. Ms. Farida encourages preparing students for a variety of performance opportunities such as recitals, competitions, festivals. Many of her students have won awards.

Piano – Solano Music Conservatory

Lany De La Campa

Private (Core Arts) Weekly

30 min $123.00 mo | 60 min $172.09 mo

Adriana De La Campa is a violinist, violist, and teacher, and has held the concert mistress position for Solano Community College Orchestra for the past three years. Adriana works to seek out various opportunities for her major passion, performance, and enjoys performing in local productions for various opera and theater houses. She values the importance of local productions and hopes to continue to be a part of making accessible the artistic beauty of music to Northern California.
 

She believes there is as much to learn from teaching as there is from being a student, and aims to teach problem solving and empowering students to find solutions independently, as she values problem solving as a life skill.

Violin, Early Suzuki Strings – Solano Music Conservatory

Joseph Galamba

Private (Core Arts) Weekly

30 min $155.73 mo | 60 min $221.18 mo

Joseph is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Gregory Fulkerson and David Bowlin. He graduated from Oberlin College with honors in physics, and the Jacobs School of Music under the instruction of Sigurbjorn Bernhardson. He is currently a member of the Stockton Symphony and is an active performer in Northern California. As a teacher, he is interested in applying an analytical approach to the repertoire, using a correct setup with the aim of preventing injury later in life. 

Violin – Solano Music Conservatory

Kim Feeney

Private (Core Arts) Weekly

30 min $172.09 | 60 min $253.91 mo

Kimberly Cole Feeney holds a Bachelor of Music in performance from California State University, Sacramento, and a Master of Arts in Music Education and Cello Performance from California State University, Long Beach. 

 

She recently retired from 35 years of service as a string specialist in the public schools,   including 31 years with the Davis Joint Unified School District and previous years with the San Juan and Sacramento City Unified School districts. In Davis, she taught an average of 300 students per year, serving multiple schools and directing the “Davis All-City Elementary Orchestra” which she created in 1995. 

 

In 2015 she was presented with the “Outstanding Music Educator Award” from the Capitol section of the California Music Educators Association (CMEA) and in 2002 she was presented with the “Outstanding String Educator Award” by CMEA, Capital Section. 

 

Kim is currently serving her second term as State President of the California Chapter of the American String Teacher’s Association (ASTA).  She also serves as the California ASTA webmaster and liaison to CMEA. Over the past thirty-five years she has held numerous leadership positions with both CMEA and ASTA/NSOA (National Schools Orchestral Association) at both the local and state levels. 

 

In her spare time, Kim freelances on the cello, playing in her own quartet and with various orchestras in the Sacramento and Bay areas. She also serves as an adjudicator at both local and state events.

 

She is looking forward to a return to private teaching and expanded cello playing.

Cello – Solano Music Conservatory

Melinda Packer

Private (Core Arts) Weekly

30 min $155.73 mo | 60 min $221.18 mo

Melinda Packer is a multi-instrumentalist and educator, originally from New Jersey, and currently residing and teaching in Solano County, CA. Melinda is a full-time music teacher in the Vacaville Unified School District, teaching strings and winds at the High School as well as beginning Elementary strings at five schools in the district. She is the director of the Solano Symphony Orchestra’s yearly Young Artists’ Concerto Competition, as well as a member of the Symphony, sitting as Principal Violist. Melinda also performs actively as a Violist and multi-instrumentalist with Bay Area orchestras and local theaters as well as with the Solano Winds community concert band. 

 

As a vocal percussionist and a cappella educator, Melinda is a regular clinician in the a cappella festival and music education conference circuit. She has presented at the National A cappella convention for the past two years as well as at the California, Massachusetts, and Florida State Music educators association conferences and other regional and national a cappella festivals. This year, Melinda will also serve as the education coordinator for the 2020 Los Angeles A Cappella Festival, curating all of the educational offerings. Melinda Packer holds degrees in Music Education and Viola Performance and teaching certifications in both Massachusetts and California.

Viola, Solano Junior Strings – Solano Music Conservatory

Matt Thomas

Private (Core Arts) Weekly

30 min $155.73 mo | 60 min $253.91 mo

Matt Thomas graduated Cum Laude from Ball State University with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education. He received the Young Artist Award each year he attended Ball State. He went on to receive an MM in Music Performance from Northern Illinois University.

 

He accepted a position with the United States Air Force's Band of the Golden West, located at Travis Air Force Base. During his 11 years stationed with the band, he performed in venues throughout the West Coast and for many high-profile events, including 4th of July at the Hollywood Bowl with Vince Gill and the LA Philharmonic, President Reagan's Interment Ceremony, and the Rose Bowl Parade. 

 

His teaching philosophy is focused on mastering fundamental techniques while also enjoying music performance. He believes that music should move the soul -- and that goes for the performers too.

Drums, Percussion, Theory - Solano Music Conservatory

Wayne Gross

Private (Core Arts) Weekly

30 min $172.09 mo | 60 min $221.18 mo

Wayne Gross plays saxophone in the regionally acclaimed band, The Time Bandits. He has been with the Conservatory since its beginning and enjoys teaching band and piano as well as Saxophone. Mr. Gross received his education from Sacramento State, and is associated with Jazz bands from throughout Solano County. Mr. Gross conducts YACM's performance concert bands. He has been teaching for 15 years and is passionate about positive performance experiences.  

Saxophone, Clarinet, Concert Band, Piano, Theory - Solano Music Conservatory, Music Matters – Solano

Harry Stoddard

Private (Core Arts) Weekly

30 min $155.73 mo | 60 min $221.18 mo

Harry Stoddard began playing music as a violist but at sixteen switched to electric guitar. Always somewhat dissatisfied with the restrictions of the pick, he discovered through Matthew Grasso the clarity and independence that the 7-string classical guitar offers, and since 2010 has studied under him. 

He now plays with the Trio Seven, an ensemble of three guitarists who play on seven-stringed guitars. His solo transcriptions include Bach’s Sarabande in Bm and Ravel’s Prelude (1917).

Classical Guitar, Theory - Solano Music Conservatory

Michael Santoni

Private (Core Arts) Weekly

30 min $188.45 mo | 60 min $270.27 mo

Michael Santoni was raised in a very musical family where his parents and siblings played one or more instruments. In college he studied music theory, beginning piano, voice, and jazz improvisation, and has studied privately with many great drummers including John Xepoleas, Ken French, and Frank Giguere. With an impressive professional resumé, including tours with RMS and RWP and working numerous television and music studios in California, Michael comes to the Conservatory with a plethora of music education experience in the Vacaville area: the Will C. Wood High School Drum and Bell Corp earned 3rd place in the 68-school California State-Wide Drum Corp Competition competing a personally scored cadence, he plans to publish a drummer's handbook in the near future, and he has coached 600+ drum students, some of them reaching international acclaim. 

Drums – Solano Music Conservatory

Shari Hendrix

Private (Core Arts) Weekly

30 min $172.09 mo | 60 min $221.18 mo

Shari Hendrix holds a music teaching credential. More about Shari coming. 

Clarinet, Flute - Solano Music Conservatory

Mark Oi

Mark Oi is a guitarist, composer and music educator that has been performing, recording and teaching nationally and internationally for the last 25 years. He believes that learning should be fun, and his goal is to help motivate you to become the guitarist that you want to be. He is versed in teaching jazz, rock, pop, blues, funk, reggae, ska, rocksteady, bossa, and various african guitar styles, as well as reading, theory, composition, arranging and improvisation.


Mark has a BA in Fine Art from the University of California at Davis and a BM in
composition and performance from Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle, WA. Mark was a guitar instructor at Davis Music/E st. Music from 1991-2001, Plateau Music, Issaquah, WA from 2004-2006, adjunct instructor at Cornish College of the Arts from 2005-2009, and Instructor at Watermelon Music from 2013-present.


Mark currently resides in Alameda and plays in several different projects based in the Bay Area and Seattle: Clinton Fearon (co-founder of the Gladiators, roots reggae), Hoi Polloi (World Jazz), nOOi (modern improv duo), Rusty Zinn (Rocksteady) and Presidio Jazz (jazz duo).

Guitar – Solano Music Conservatory

Linda Pedersen

Linda Pedersen is an accomplished Suzuki Strings instructor in Solano County. She brings her students over twenty-five years of teaching, and performing, experience. 

Violin - Music Matters

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500 Davis St.

Vacaville, CA 95688

707-451-7200

info@youngartistsconservatory.org

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