Faculty


Joshua Billingsley: Beginner through Advanced Trumpet

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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

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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.

Piano Teacher
Elliot Dunlap: Beginner Through Advanced Piano
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Elliott Dunlap has a colorful musical background. Although he began studying the piano at an early age,he first gained attention as a cellist. As a teenager, he became a fellow of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., performed within the orchestra at selected concerts and went on to win the H. Stevens Brewster Memorial Award. He first arrived in San Francisco in 1991 and became a cello student of Bonnie Hampton at The San Francisco Conservatory of Music. After deciding to concentrate on the piano with William Corbett-Jones at San Francisco State University, Mr. Dunlap furthered his studies in London at The Royal Academy of Music and King's College.

Mr. Dunlap has performed in master classes for such world-renowned artists as Neville Marinner, Lynn Harrell, Janos Starker, Karl Ulrich Schnabel and Elizabeth Powell. Mr. Dunlap was selected to perform on April 27th, 2005 at San Francisco's Noontime Concerts on a special series sponsored by the Helen von Ammon Fund for Emerging Artists. Aesthetically, Mr. Dunlap identifies with pianists whose recordings date from the early twentieth century (Paderewski, de Pachmann, Cortot) and the degree of artistic freedom in their playing that is largely lost today

Ivan Garcia: Violin and Latin Music Ensembles

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Originally from Cienfuegos, Cuba, Ivan Garcia graduated from the National School of Art (ENA) in Havana, Cuba. Ivan is a Violinist, Musical Director, Record Producer and Professor of Music with over 20 years of experience in multiple countries.

As a teacher, Garcia has specialized in Classical, Cuban Popular Music, and a wide variety of Latin music. He brings a wealth of experience working with different ages in solo and ensemble settings.

Garcia, began his Violin at an early age at the Manuel Saumel Conservatory of Music. His studies integrated classical training with popular and folk Cuban music.

During over 20 years of experience as Music Director and Arranger, Garcia Developed a program of study of Latin music (Salsa) reflected in the Children's Orchestra "Los Aragoncitos de Cienfuegos". These groups shared stage with multiple renowned artists such as the "Buena Vista Social Club" Orchestra, the "Aragon", Orchestra "Los Van Van" among others, participated in the Festival "Cervantino", and offered concerts at the "Bataclan" Theater in Paris.

Recently as an instrumentalist, "The Austin Salsa Violin" was Presented in Texas as an independent musician collaborating in various groups and with his Band "Ivan Garcia & su Son Tejano" which Garcia directs.

Dr. Tarik Hassan: Beginner Through Advanced Double Bass

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Dr. Tarik Hassan is a bassist residing in Austin, Tx. Originally from Jacksonville, FL he spent the better part of a decade living and working in New Orleans, LA. It was in New Orleans that he honed in on his unique sound while studying the music of current jazz masters and those of previous generations. Tarik's original music is mix of his experiences and influences. The first generation American son of an Irish mother and Palestinian father, he is able to draw on the music of these cultures as well as the musical traditions of America to create music that has a truly unique sound.

Some of the great artists that Tarik has performed with include Jason Marsalis, Andre Hayward, Bruce Saunders, Irvin Mayfield, Ed Petersen, Steve Masakowski, Johnny Vidacovich, Marlon Jordan, Delfeayo Marsalis, Brian Seegar, Troy Davis, David Torkanowsky, Tony Degradi, and many other fine musicians. He has performed extensively in the States and in Europe at such fine venues as Snug Harbor, New Orleans; the Spotted Cat, New Orleans; The House of Blues, New Orleans; The Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend, Las Vegas; New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival; Les Cultures du Monde, France; Elephant Room, Austin, TX; Exit Cafe, Rotterdam, NL; and many others.

Dr. Hassan teaches double bass at Temple College in Temple, TX. He earned a doctorate in music performance with an emphasis in Jazz at the University of Texas in Austin. He also holds a Masters in Music from the University of New Orleans and a B.A. in music from Florida State University.

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

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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.

Jenny Knowles: Beginner Through Advanced Piano

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Jenny Knowles has extensive experience both as a performer and educator, including work with students of all ages and levels, and pedagogy studies with Sophia Gilmson at the University of Texas. As a teacher, her goal is to instill a lifelong curiosity and passion for the journey of music in her students.

Jenny's educational background includes a Master of Music in Piano Performance in progress at the University of Texas, and a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance (summa cum laude) from Texas State University, where she was the winner of the school’s concerto competition. Other notable achievements include the 3rd prize at the Petroff Collegiate Piano Competition and sharing the stage with Christopher O’Riley during a live taping of NPR’s From the Top.

When she is not studying or teaching, Jenny enjoys reading European history, religion, and philosophy. Prior to her music career, she served as a nurse in the U.S. Army for four years in active duty and deployed to Iraq for one year.

Matt McLaughlin: Beginner Through Advanced Piano and Music Theory

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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.
 

David Mesquitic: Jazz, Pop, and Classical Piano, Trombone and Brass

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Originally from Mcallen, Texas, David Mesquitic is a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Texas State where he pursues graduate work in Jazz Piano Performance. He brings a wealth of experience as a performer, composer in many genres, and has extensive teaching experience with all ages and levels both in private and public school settings.

Drawing from his childhood real-world" training as a church and gospel musician, David has a wide variety of musical interests and skill areas ranging from Classical through Jazz, Pop, Blues, Gospel and many more.  He is a performer, arranger and composer not only on the piano but also on many brass instruments including the trombone. Before his graduate studies at Texas State, David received his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education, emphasis on Trombone and Piano from the University of Texas Pan-American.

As a performer, David has been both a freelance musician and member of select groups across Texas. His appearances include recordings such as sideman for KVEO News Center 23 Christmas Holiday showing, pianist with the UTPA Jazz Band, and Texas State Jazz Band. He has opened for Grammy Award Winning groups such as the Rebirth Brass Band. As a trombonist, David has also been a member of the UTPA Wind Symphony and a subtitle trombonist for the South Texas Opera. As an arranger and composer, David has written for various ensembles throughout Texas such as University Pep Bands Jazz Combos, High School Marching bands, and wide spread of contemporary groups and genres always leaving satisfaction to his clients. As a educator and conductor, David Mesquitic led the Tony Award winning Broadway musical Cabaret as a conductor with collaboration with All-Star Theater in 2015. In addition, David has taught at Musicademy, Allegro Music Institute, and as an intern with public schools in Texas.

Vocal Lessons Austin

Brian Pettey: Beginner Through Advanced Voice, Piano

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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

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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. 

Dustin Sprague: Classical and Pop/Rock Guitar and Piano

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Dustin Sprague brings a diverse collection of musical experience to the Mclaughlin school. He studied percussion and Music Education at Alma College in Alma, Michigan. While there he played in the nationally recognized percussion ensemble as well as with the Alma College Pipe Band on snare. He has been teaching music in schools and privately since 2010. 

Dustin has played guitar for 15 years and has taught guitar classes in AISD for the past two years. He is familiar with classical and pop styles on guitar and enjoys delving into any genre that comes along. He also plays piano and enjoys accompanying vocal and instrumental performers.

Dustin enjoys composing and arranging custom pieces for his students and is eager to help make music a lasting and important part of all his students’ lives. In his spare time Dustin enjoys the outdoors, being active, reading old books, and playing music. 
 

Dr. Sung-eun Park: Beginner Through Advanced Piano

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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.

Kimberly Swanson: Classical and Pop Piano/Keyboard

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Kimberly Swanson began studying piano when she was 7 years old. While she has studied the piano classically since childhood, she is also proficient in pop music performance and teaching. She has actively performed with several bands, as a solo performer, and as an accompanist for choral programs.

Kimberly received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education at the University of Florida, where she graduated with highest honors. Upon graduation in 2014, she taught general music at Littlewood Elementary School in Gainesville, Florida, where she also served as the after school choir director and play director. She has also worked as a camp and after school counselor for elementary school students.

Kimberly is now attending graduate school at the University of Texas, where she is earning a degree in Music and Human Learning. When she is not studying, performing, or teaching, Kimberly enjoys hiking with her dog, drinking dark coffee, reading fiction novels, and trying new recipes.

Eric Young: Beginner Through Advanced Piano

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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.​

Li-Wen Weng: Beginner Through Advanced Piano, Jazz/Pop

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Li-Wen, Weng, born in Taipei Taiwan, started to learn piano since she was 4. She was selected to represent Taiwan to perform her own composition in different countries (Singapore, Japan and Australia) at the age of 9.

Her award winning experience includes the Fine Artist of Yamaha’s Piano Competition and the First Prize Winner of Yamaha’s Piano Concerto Competition. In addition, she participated several music festivals in Berlin and Salzburg and studied with Susanne Gruetzmann, Kevin McCutcheon and Andrzej Jasinski.

Besides performing as a solo pianist, Li-Wen is also an active collaborative pianist. Her experience includes accompanying vocalists, instrumentalists and chamber music in master classes, recitals and competitions. She also enjoys working with musical theater productions.

Li-Wen holds her Master’s degree from Jacobs School of Music (Indiana University) and her doctoral degree in Piano Performance and Literature from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she also minored in Jazz Piano.

In the past few years, she has been teaching students from different age groups. She was the teaching assistant in the Piano Laboratory Program of the University of Illinois. Teaching and performing are her passion, she is looking forward to working with each and everyone of you and sharing her passion in music!