Faculty


Joshua Billingsley: Beginner through Advanced Trumpet

Josh Billingsley began performing in his hometown of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina at age 16 at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament. After winning lead trumpet in the SC All-State jazz band, he went on to earn a Bachelor of Music degree from Winthrop University, where he was the Bruce Thompson concerto competition winner his senior year. After finishing college in 2012, he went on to play lead trumpet for Royal Caribbean cruises touring the southeast Caribbean and the Mediterranean.

In 2014 Josh began a Master of Music in Jazz Performance at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign on a full scholarship. After finishing his master’s May 2016, he began touring with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus in August. He toured from coast to coast performing in the nation’s top venues for tens of thousands of people a day up until the final show on May 21st, 2017.

Since the circus has ended he has decided to pursue a doctorate of musical arts degree in jazz at UT Austin and plans to enter the program Fall 2018. In addition to his extensive performance background, Josh has successfully taught students of all ages for over a decade. He is an open-minded teacher who believes in adjusting his teaching style to the student’s needs.

Tom Clear: Piano, Guitar, Improv/Jazz, Music Theory

Tom Clear and his partner Carol have recently relocated to Austin from Chicago and live in Hyde Park.

Mr. Tom was music director of Whitfield School (St. Louis), the French American International School (Portland, OR), and Chicago Montessori. He  also served on the adjunct faculty of Lewis and Clark College (Portland), and Ball State University (Muncie, IN).   Professionally he has performed with the St. Louis and Oregon Symphonies, Second City (Chicago), and Kinky Boots (pre-Broadway).

This summer he is playing for the American Ballet Theater Intensive at UT, and Ballet Austin. He also has a law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School,  but nobody’s perfect. He specializes in beginning students of any age, music theory and improvisation.

John Henderson: Piano, Composition and Theory, Beginner Voice

John Henderson is a collaborative pianist, composer, teacher, and music director. He has taught piano, organ, choir, and musical theater to students at many levels; from those in elementary school to those pursuing graduate degrees. Institutions where he has taught include The Catholic University of America, Montgomery County Community College, Saint Bernadette Catholic Church, Adventure Theater Musical Theater Center, and Everyman Theater.

As a performer, John has worked extensively with soloists and ensembles in a variety of venues and styles, recently joining mezzo-soprano Claire Galloway Weber to compete in the Nadia and Lili Boulanger Voice and Piano competition in Paris. His compositions, ranging from sacred to musical theater, have been performed across the country and abroad for occasions including Pope Francis’s visit to the United States, the Kennedy Center’s Page to Stage Festival, the Washington International Piano Series, and the International Double Reed Society Convention.

John received his BM and MM in composition from The Catholic University of America and the Peabody Conservatory respectively. A recent transplant from Washington, D.C., John is thrilled to make Austin his new home!

Danny Kavka: Piano, Pop/Alt/Jazz Keyboard, Music Theory

Originally from Toledo, Ohio, ​Daniel Kavka is a keyboardist/singer with 15 years of experience playing in solo and bands playing. Danny earned his Master’s Degree in music from Bowling Green State University, and specializes in Pop and Rock music, but has also played and taught blues, modal jazz, country, folk, soul, R&B, jam, metal, and electronic styles.

Danny uses a mix of structured method books to develop reading and technique, while also helping students learn how to play their favorite songs by ear. He encourages students to develop a base level of musicianship that will allow them to learn new pieces on their own and also emphasizes ear training, good practice habits, music theory, free improvisation, and style specific patterns to help students engage with their music on multiple levels. For younger students, Danny also incorporates games, composing new pieces, and singing to develop musical connections.

Danny has previously played in multiple bands including Cincinnati’s The Madisons, Cleveland’s Liquid Sunset, and was most recently lead keyboardist in Toledo’s Game and Anime Music Ensemble (G.A.M.E.) Orchestra. He currently resides in Austin, Texas where he is active in the musical community.

Cello Lessons Austin

Liz Massad: Beginner Through Advanced Cello and Composition

Liz Massad is from Corpus Christi, Texas. At 6 years old, she began piano lessons and cello lessons at 8 years old. She studied composition with Dr. Michael Ippolito, Dr. Neil Flory, Richard Hall, Dr. Russell Riepe, and Dr. Thomas Clark. Elizabeth studied cello with Dr. Karla Hamelin, Claire Holland-Onuf, Susan Sturman, and Benjamin Westney. Her studies also include, piano and choir with Mildred Benight and Judy Mellenbruch.

Elizabeth holds a Master of Music Composition degree as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Texas State University. Her main interests are composing for film scores, commercials, video games and performing electronic, classical and new music. Elizabeth’s music has been performed by the Del Mar Chamber Orchestra in Corpus Christi, and students at Texas State University in San Marcos. She was named principal cellist for the Texas State University Symphony Orchestra, the Del Mar Chamber Orchestra, the and the Starlight Symphony Orchestra. In 2017, she had the honor of being a guest soloist for the Del Mar Chamber Orchestra.  She performed works written by colleagues that range from string quartets and cello solos, to amplified cello with visuals. 

In addition, Elizabeth performed as a pit musician for operas and musicals including The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee with Texas State University’s Musical Theater Department. Her compositions are featured in the film Yorktown (of which parts of the score can be found on iTunes) and El Cucuy, 2014 SXSW film participant and winner of the Pepe Serna award. As a studio musician, she recorded cello for multiple projects, including Ashleigh Stone’s album, Elements (2015) and Memories in Broken Glass’s album, Enigma Infinate (2017). 

Matt McLaughlin: Beginner Through Advanced Piano and Music Theory

Founder of the McLaughlin School of Music, Matt McLaughlin is also active as a founding member and President of the Austin Piano Festival, past Vice-President and Student Events Chair of the Austin District Music Teachers Association, and editor of the popular PianoBlog.com.

As a teacher, Matt is know for his extensive experience and expertise with students across the entire spectrum of levels and ages. His students have garnered top prizes in numerous competitions, have successfully auditioned at major conservatory programs, have appeared in multiple KMFA 89.5 radio broadcasts and interviews, and have performed as soloists with ensembles such as the Austin Symphony Orchestra and the Austin Civic Orchestra. 

Making his Concerto debut at the age of 15, Matt has over two decades of solo and collaborative performing experience. He holds a Bachelors degree in piano performance from James Madison University where he studied under Eric Ruple, and moved to Austin to study under the legendary pianist Anton Nel. As a member of Nel’s studio completed a Master Degree in Music Theory at the University of Texas at Austin. Matt is also an alumnus of the Aspen School and Music Festival.  Besides music, Matt maintains many interests including fitness, philosophy, and business. You can also view Matt’s private studio website at www.MattMcLaughlin.net, or read a more full bio here.
 
Vocal Lessons Austin

Brian Pettey: Beginner Through Advanced Voice, Piano

Baritone Brian Pettey is a singer whose “fascinating” and “charming” voice (Austin Chronicle, Baltimore Sun) has garnered glowing reviews from critics across the country. Along with performances at the Peabody Conservatory, where he received his bachelor’s degree in voice, he has sung roles with Baltimore’s Opera Vivente and Young Victorian Theater Company. In Austin, where he received his master’s in voice at the University of Texas, he has appeared with the Austin Lyric Opera, Butler Opera Center, the UT New Music Ensemble, and the Bach Cantata Project.

Presenting concerts which promote and celebrate the repertoire, he is a passionate advocate of chamber music and song―especially that of American poets and composers. A champion of contemporary music in particular, he has performed dozens of works by living composers, even incorporating dance, film, and radio.

Emil Pohlig: Beginner Through Advanced Piano, Flute, Classical and Alt/Pop

Emil Pohlig has always had a passion for music.  He started taking piano lessons in middle school, even though he was already taking percussion in band class.  In high school he decided to teach himself the flute when his older sister decided to stop playing.  And then the oboe. And then the trumpet. And then the violin.  He loved it all.  But when it came time for college, he didn’t think music could be a career and tried to do computer science.  His heart was not in it.  So he joined Brigham Young University philharmonic orchestra percussion section and they performed concerts, and operas, and went on tour and it was amazing.  It made him sad that he wasn’t doing that kind of stuff all the time.

In the end, Emil got a degree in music education from the University of Utah and moved to Austin, TX.  He has taught piano and flute for over 6 years now. He also performs locally with choirs and bands in Leander ISD, Round Rock ISD, and Austin ISD as well as playing for weddings and holiday parties.  Emil loves to make learning fun and exciting, whether you want to learn classical, jazz, or pop. 

Dr. Sung-eun Park: Beginner Through Advanced Piano

Originally from South Korea, pianist Sung-eun Park began her piano studies at the age of five. She made her orchestra debut in 2003 with Jeju Philharmonic Orchestra. Since then, she has performed as a solo pianist and chamber musician throughout Korea, Italy and the United States.
 
Dr. Park has won several competitions and awards including the 5TH Texas State International Piano Festival Concerto Competition, American Prize in Piano Concerto division, Sidney Wright Endowed Presidential Scholarship, Butler School of Music Concerto Competition, Texas State University Concerto Competition, and Seoul Asia International Music Competition. In addition, she participated in a number of music festivals and workshops including Hawaii International Conference on Arts & Humanities, PianoSummer at New Paltz, Texas State International Piano Festival, Brevard Music Festival, and InterHarmony International Music Festival.
 
Ms. Park has taught piano lessons over 10 years to both children and adult. Teaching is an integral part of her life as a musician. She enjoys sharing her passion for music to her students. Her goal as a piano teacher is to help students to find enjoyment of music making process.
 
Dr. Park holds her degrees from Texas State University (MM) and the University of Texas at Austin (DMA), which included extensive studies in piano performance and piano pedagogy. Her principle teachers include David Renner, Nancy Garrett, Jason Kwak, and Kyung-ae Lee.

Jackson Van Norman: Classical, Pop, and Jazz Piano/Keyboard

Jackson Van Norman is a jazz, classical, and pop pianist born and raised in Austin, TX. He began at age 5 with the Suzuki method and then progressed to jazz performance in adolescence. As a performer, his specialization is in jazz performance and rock/pop. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Texas.

Over the past decade, he has performed in numerous ensembles, including the Austin College Regional Jazz Ensemble, Modal, Metal & Wood, Sherry, Groove Think, Dreamboat, Smiile, and Batty Jr. In addition to live performance, he has assisted in numerous Austin recording projects as a session musician. Currently, you can catch him accompanying the fiddle prodigy Ruby Jane Smith, leading the band King Warbler, and playing solo jazz and singer-songwriter shows.

Jackson has been teaching kids and adults of all ages and levels for six years. His teaching style is a mix of from-the-book traditional curriculum and more loose-leaf education. Students have also been known to bring in original compositions for songwriting workshops.

Jackson also enjoys writing, woodworking, cooking, and making tea.

Piano and Composition Lessons

Trevor Villwock: Piano, Composition, Theory, and Electronic Music

Trevor Villwock is a composer and pianist currently based in Austin, TX. Previous teaching experience includes as teacher at The Lesson Studio in Boulder, CO as well as privately in Austin. His music pulls from a variety of influences, primarily jazz, 20th and 21st century classical,  punk, and psychedelic music, and he finds a deep joy in the act of musical exploration as a listener, a performer, a teacher, and a composer.

Trevor began his music study at the piano at age 6, and holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he also studied piano under Alejandro Cremaschi. During his time there, he received the 2016-2017 CU Undergraduate “Spark” Award for electronic music and the 2013-2014 CU Undergraduate Composition Award, was twice named a CU New Opera Workshop Composer Fellow, and received performances from the Boulder Chorale and the Colorado Honor Band Association. Prior to his undergraduate studies, his music was also performed by the Austin Symphony Orchestra and the McCallum Fine Arts Academy Orchestra.

As a performer, Trevor has appeared extensively with the Boulder Laptop Orchestra (BLOrk) as well as with the iPad Quintet Boulder Image and Sound Network (BISoN). His principal composition teachers have included Michael Theodore, Yevgeniy Sharlat, Daniel Kellogg, Carter Pann, Adam Gorb, and Laura Bowler.

Eric Young: Beginner Through Advanced Piano

A native of West Texas, Eric Young began his piano studies at the age of five. Initially a science major, Eric quickly switched to music because of his deep love for the piano. An accomplished musician and performer, he holds a degree from the University of Texas in Piano Performance, where he studied under the legendary pianist and teacher Gregory Allen.

Beside his studies with Professor Allen, Eric studied piano pedagogy with Professor Sophia Gilmson, who is one of the most respected experts in the field and lauded and encouraged his remarkable teaching abilities. Eric’s teaching teach style is warm, patient, and encouraging while maintaining a structured and logical approach. He consistently receives raving reviews from his students, and is highly adaptive to each student’s personal needs and goals.

When not teaching or performing, Eric enjoys reading, learning languages, and making piano covers of Billboard Top 100 songs.​

Anna Lisa Ohnsted: Cello, Viola, and Violin

Anna Lisa Ohnstad is a highly experienced performer and music educator who approaches teaching according to students’ musical interests and goals. Emphasizing transferable skills, she also enjoys encouraging creative expression and collaboration through duets and improvised harmony during lessons. Anna Lisa recently returned to Texas after serving as the orchestra director at Yongsan International School of Seoul in South Korea.
 
She completed graduate studies in Music Education (String Studio Pedagogy) at  University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point; holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts with Music Depth; is currently licensed to teach in Texas (Music EC-12); and has registered Suzuki cello teacher training. Her 18 years of private cello study began at age 4, with a decade in the Music Institute of Chicago’s comprehensive Suzuki and musicianship program.