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Meet Our Instructors

Meet Our Instructors

Our Instructors

Our experienced instructors can help you improve technique, build skill and perfect your sound! Their wide range of playing stules and music genres makes the learning process unique to each student.

PIANO INSTRUCTORS

Cynthia Stacy

Piano

Cynthia Stacy has recently moved back to the Midwest after having worked on her masters degree in orchestral performance (bassoon) at the New England Conservatory of Music, studying with Richard Svoboda of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

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A Chicago native, Cynthia earned her bachelors of music at DePaul University, where she studied under multiple faculty members including Bill Buchman, associate principal bassoonist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Cynthia is currently the head orchestral librarian at IU’s Jacobs School of Music. Cynthia has taught piano and woodwind students of multiple levels for over 5 years.

Christopher McConnell

Beginning Piano

Southern Indiana native Christopher McConnell earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Guitar and Choral Music Education from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

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Chris is in active guitarist in the Bloomington community and Midwest scene, playing in over 15 states as well as select international performances. His current gig is with country music singer/songwriter Jake Dodds serving as lead electric guitar and musical director. With a focus on choral music in his undergraduate studies, Chris has acquired a rich background in vocal instruction in both classical and popular styles. Chris welcomes students of all ages and musical backgrounds.

Carol Smock

Piano

Carol Smock has been taking piano lessons and performing for 15 years, and in May of 2019 she graduated with a bachelor’s of music education degree from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, KS, emphasis in piano.

 

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During her undergraduate studies, she taught an average of 20 students a semester, worked as a collaborative pianist in multiple settings, including several musical theater productions, and she also studied voice and organ. She student taught elementary general music and middle school choir and piano during her last semester. She recently moved to Bloomington, in May of this year, where she continues to teach both piano and voice.

GUITAR INSTRUCTORS

Will Devitt

Guitar, Bass, Bluegrass/Scruggs Style Banjo, Mandolin

Will teaches electric, acoustic and classical guitar, bass, banjo and mandolin. He has been a performer, composer, and guitar teacher for more than 20 years.

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He has taught in Japan and played with new music ensembles, poets, country dance bands and most recently with the progressive folk-pop duo, Davis + Devitt. Their 4th recording, “Midwestern Standard Time,” is a collection of original compositions and jazz/pop standards.

Christopher McConnell

Guitar, Ukulele

Southern Indiana native Christopher McConnell earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Guitar and Choral Music Education from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

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Chris is in active guitarist in the Bloomington community and Midwest scene, playing in over 15 states as well as select international performances. His current gig is with country music singer/songwriter Jake Dodds serving as lead electric guitar and musical director. With a focus on choral music in his undergraduate studies, Chris has acquired a rich background in vocal instruction in both classical and popular styles. Chris welcomes students of all ages and musical backgrounds.

Eli Schille-Hudons

Guitar

Eli Schille-Hudson is a classical, electric, and steel string guitarist who has called Bloomington home since 2013, when he came to pursue his studies at the Jacobs School of Music.

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 He has since completed his undergraduate degree in classical guitar, enrolled in the master’s degree program, taught as an associate instructor in guitar at IU, and performed regularly as a soloist, sideman, and session musician in Bloomington, around the midwest, and his native Pacific Northwest. Eli has been lucky to study with some of the world’s finest pedagogues, including his current teacher, Maestro Ernesto Bitetti, and such renowned artists as Tilman Hoppstock and Nigel North. Eli enthusiastically welcomes students of all levels and ages, no matter what style they hope to pursue. As a teacher, Eli provides a relaxed, supportive atmosphere in which any student can grow and develop, and his methods draw on his wide-ranging experiences as a cultivated classical player, and an avid player of a host of popular styles on a wide variety of instruments.

Peter Pendowski

Guitar, Bass, Ukulele

Peter Pendowski has been praised for his agile and expressive playing. The Chicago born guitarist has studied under celebrated Argentinian guitarist Ernesto Bitetti, and published guitar virtuoso Paul Henry.

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He holds a BM in Guitar Performance from Indiana University’s acclaimed Jacobs School of Music, where he received a full-tuition scholarship from the Jacobs family. He is continuing his graduate studies there, currently pursuing a Masters Degree and plans to receive his DM in Guitar. He has played electric guitar with various groups including the IU Singing Hoosiers and Bloomington BEAT Show Choir. He also teaches ukulele and bass guitar.

DRUM INSTRUCTORS

Dave Dwinell

Drums/Percussion

Dave is currently the drummer for Nashville recording and touring artist Jake Dodds. Dave Received his Bachelor’s in Percussion from The College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati and his Master’s from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music

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in Cincinnati and his Master’s from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where he also served as an Associate Instructor. In orchestral performance, Dave has appeared with multiple regional orchestras including the Cincinnati Symphony and youth orchestras, Columbus, Evansville, Owensboro, Camerata, and Bloomington Pops orchestras. As a teacher Dave has taught numerous high school drumlines as well as front ensembles for drum corps. He has been a visiting instructor of percussion for Morningside College, served as a consultant for Marcato Independent indoor drumline, and an assistant band director.

John Valdez

Drums

Often cited as one of the busiest drummers in Bloomington, John enjoys doing music as a full-time occupation. He has played for, perhaps most notably, Mary Wilson of the legendary Supremes as well as many other top-notch artists

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including Brent Wallarab, Jeremy Allen, Pat Harbison, Tom Walsh, Michael Lucas, Marlin McKay and Jason Wilbur. John studied Jazz Performance at IU’s Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of Steve Houghton and David Baker. He currently plays in over a dozen bands, plays an average of four gigs each week and is proud to have recorded for multiple artists including Mighty Brother, Ross Martinie Eiler, Dave Bruker and others. In addition to maintaining an active gigging schedule John teaches anywhere from 10 to 20 students a week, instilling in the next generation of young drummers in Bloomington the values of hard work and dedication as well the pure joy of playing drums and making music. If you’ve always dreamed of being in a band or making money playing music, John would love to give you tools to do just that!

John Donlon

Drums
Born in the legendary music city of Memphis, Tennessee, John grew up around many greats from Blues, Funk, Rock, and Country genres. This sparked him to pick up the drums over a decade ago.

 

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During her undergraduate studies, she taught an average of 20 students a semester, worked as a collaborative pianist in multiple settings, including several musical theater productions, and she also studied voice and organ. She student taught elementary general music and middle school choir and piano during her last semester. She recently moved to Bloomington, in May of this year, where she continues to teach both piano and voice.

STRINGS INSTRUCTORS

Laurel Gagnon

Laurel Gagnon is establishing herself as a gifted American violinist, recently winning the fourth prize at the Singapore International Violin Competition. The Straits Times wrote she “made the violin sing with a naturalness that was both disarming and distinctive.” 

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In 2013 she began her studies with Lithuanian violinist Ben Sayevich at Park University’s International Center for Music. She received her Master of Music degree in 2019, and is currently continuing her education with Mauricio Fuks at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. Laurel performs on the 1719 Carlo Tononi violin, provided on loan from the Rin Collection. 

WINDS INSTRUCTORS

Cynthia Stacy

Bassoon
Cynthia Stacy has recently moved back to the Midwest after having worked on her masters degree in orchestral performance (bassoon) at the New England Conservatory of Music, studying with Richard Svoboda of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

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A Chicago native, Cynthia earned her bachelors of music at DePaul University, where she studied under multiple faculty members including Bill Buchman, associate principal bassoonist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Cynthia is currently the head orchestral librarian at IU’s Jacobs School of Music. Cynthia has taught piano and woodwind students of multiple levels for over 5 years.

Alex Lowe

Trombone, Bass Trombone

Bass trombonist, Alex Lowe is an active freelance trombonist as well as an instructor of low brass. He has played with numerous orchestras including the Dayton Philharmonic  and the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra.

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In addition to his symphonic experience, Alex plays in numerous ensembles ranging from large jazz bands to small ensembles including brass quintet and trombone quartet. He is also an active teacher in the Bloomington area.

Alex Lowe is a native of West Chester, Ohio and is currently a doctoral candidate at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. Alex currently holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from Bowling Green State University (2014) and a Master’s in Music from Indiana University (2016). His past teachers include Garth Simmons, Dr. William Mathis, Dr. Chad Arnow, and Carl Lenthe. Currently he is a student of professor M. Dee Stewart.

VOICE INSTRUCTORS

Anna Donnelly

Voice

Anna Donnelly is an operatic soprano, born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is a senior at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance with a minor in Youth Development.

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Anna is passionate about teaching as well as performing. She has appeared in a number of IU Opera Theater productions including L’elisir d’amore, Three Hermits Opera, Parsifal, and Dialogues des Carmelites in which she sang the role of Sister Constance. In the Summer of 2018, Anna appeared as the Second Spirit in the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s production of The Magic Flute. In July 2018, she attended the Music in the Marche program in Mondavio, Italy. Anna is a student of Alice Hopper.

Christopher McConnell

Voice
Southern Indiana native Christopher McConnell earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Guitar and Choral Music Education from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
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Chris is in active guitarist in the Bloomington community and Midwest scene, playing in over 15 states as well as select international performances. His current gig is with country music singer/songwriter Jake Dodds serving as lead electric guitar and musical director. With a focus on choral music in his undergraduate studies, Chris has acquired a rich background in vocal instruction in both classical and popular styles. Chris welcomes students of all ages and musical backgrounds.

Carol Smock

Voice

Carol Smock has been taking piano lessons and performing for 15 years, and in May of 2019 she graduated with a bachelor’s of music education degree from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, KS, emphasis in piano.

 

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During her undergraduate studies, she taught an average of 20 students a semester, worked as a collaborative pianist in multiple settings, including several musical theater productions, and she also studied voice and organ. She student taught elementary general music and middle school choir and piano during her last semester. She recently moved to Bloomington, in May of this year, where she continues to teach both piano and voice.