MACSA has had thousands of competition winners in National, State, and Local competitions. MACSA Alumni have been accepted with scholarships to the top music schools in the world and several have moved on to perform throughout the world.
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Elisa grew up in central Mexico and started her musical journey at a young age, taking piano lessons and performing regularly with her church band and local youth orchestra. She moved to Omaha, Nebraska to attend college and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Grace University in 2016. Elisa has 10 years of experience teaching piano lessons. She also taught general music with Omaha Public Schools for four years. She is an avid music learner and is currently pursuing a degree in music production with Berklee College of Music. Besides teaching, Elisa enjoys performing, composing, and producing her own music. Other hobbies of hers are hiking, rock climbing and traveling.
Pablo Aguilar, M.M., NCTM, is a certified piano teacher located in San Antonio, Texas. Mr. Aguilar graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Montemorelos where he completed a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of California at San Diego and a Master of Music degree in Piano Pedagogy and Performance from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Mr. Aguilar has trained extensively in the Suzuki method with Dr. Doris Harrel and was awarded the Piano Pedagogy Award in 2011 by the Department of Music at UTSA.
For several years, Mr. Aguilar worked as a Software Developer for major corporations such as NCR, BEA Systems, and AOL while maintaining a private group of piano students but ultimately decided to commit full time to music teaching when he relocated to San Antonio in 2005. He has over ten years of experience in music instruction to private and group students and he is an active member of the San Antonio Music Teachers Association serving currently as Senior Vice President. He served as Future Stars Competition Committee Chairman for the San Antonio Symphony League, and currently is a board member of the San Antonio International Piano Competition.
From 2005 to 2007, Mr. Aguilar led the music and computer programs at Family Educators Alliance of South Texas (FEAST), a homeschool organization. Currently he teaches private piano at his home studio and at Musical Arts Center of San Antonio, and is an Adjunct Instructor at St. Philips College. He also founded and directs the Advent Strings ensemble. During the weekends he enjoys playing the piano for The Seventh-Day Adventist Church and Rolling Oaks Christian Church. He believes that all children are capable of learning music and that teaching includes a never-ending journey of discovery to find out what enables children to be successful learners.
Mr. Aguilar is happily married and has two children.
Born and raised in Texas, Derek Adam is a graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio. He holds a Masters Degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy and a Bachelors Degree in Piano Performance. He studied piano and piano pedagogy under the instruction of Dr. Courtney Crappell. Derek was granted a unique opportunity as a recipient of the Marjory Powel Zachary Keyboard Endowment to teach group piano and private piano in a collegiate setting. His thesis, A Model for Practicing Coordination between the Hands at the Piano, explores difficult piano passages and provides a model on choreographing coordination.
Derek studied with Jordan Pollard briefly and received a jazz scholarship during his undergraduate studies. He served as the primary pianist for the UTSA Jazz Ensemble (Big Band), and several UTSA Jazz Combos during his studies and is fluent in improvisation.
Emily Myers is a graduate student in the Piano Performance and Pedagogy program at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Emily completed her Bachelor’s in Piano Performance at Averett University in Virginia. As an undergraduate, she worked for Averett as a music tutor and campus worship leader, and as an accompanist for a local church. She also spent several summers with the piano students at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s Summer Music Camp.
As a student at UTSA, Emily studies piano with Dr. Kasandra Keeling and is an active part of UTSA’s Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) chapter. Away from her studies and teaching, Emily serves as a church choir director.
Jacob Cantu began his music teaching career in 1982. He is currently the Choir Director for the Vigil Choir at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church. Most recently Mr. Cantu was both the Music Instructor and Choir Director at St. Jose Sanchez Del Rio Catholic School. Before that he was Director of Opera Workshop at St. Mary’s University producing, directing and conducting operas and musicals as well as teaching Vocal Pedagogy, Diction, and Music Appreciation.
Cantu studied voice under Herald Stark, Spiro Malas, Sam Sakarian and Bert Neely and took master classes with Margret Harshaw, William Warfield, Gian Carlo Menotti and Mignon Dunn. In New York, his vocal coaches included Jane Steele, Dale Dietert and Met Opera coach Joan Donerman. Cantu concertized at several venues in New York City and Connecticut. He served as Organist and Choir Director at Trinity Episcopal Church at Inwood.
Locally, he has appeared with the Texas Bach Choir, San Antonio Opera, San Antonio’s Three Tenors, Viva Musica, Bejar Opera, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center and 24th Street Experiment Theater. Cantu was also with Opera in the Schools, a group that performed in elementary schools throughout South Texas.
Tomás Vela started playing guitar at 12 and first learned rock and heavy metal genres. In college, he studied classical guitar and earned a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music with a concentration in guitar performance. In 2009 and 2010 he received awards for “Outstanding Guitarist” in solo and ensemble categories as well as other awards from various competitions. In 2012 he won the annual UTSA Concerto Competition.
Since 2014, Tomás has taught guitar at the Musical Arts Center of San Antonio, and in 2015, he accepted the position of Guitar Director at Alamo Heights High School. In that same year, Tomás created the San Antonio Youth Guitar Orchestra (SAYGO). Additionally, his students have competed in state level competitions, enrolled in college for music, performed at the Tobin Center, and earned top awards for UIL and TAPPS.
Tomás loves the Spurs, training for triathlons, cycling, learning new languages, film, art, and wine.
Meghan is from Amarillo, Texas. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from The University of Texas at San Antonio with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. Meghan is a member of the Young Professionals Opera Guild. While in Amarillo she worked with Amarillo Opera and Amarillo Symphony. During her time with Amarillo Opera she performed in several operas and was an Artist in Training in their ARTS: An Alternative program. As part of the ARTS program she would go to different locations and teach children ages 5-12 a mini-musical over the course of a week. She performed leading and supporting roles with UTSA’s Lyric Theatre Productions including Jenny from Down in the Valley and Beth from The Tender Land. She worked with UTSA Opera on the Run performing as Little Red Riding Hood in Seymour Barab’s Little Red Riding Hood for the elementary schools.
A native North Carolinian, Rachel Hicks Holdman moved to Texas to pursue graduate education at the University of Texas at San Antonio where her research interests included everything about singing- especially how physical fitness impacts the voice. Currently, Rachel maintains an active studio of over 50 students ages five to sixty-five and recently debuted as music director for Oklahoma! With the New Braunfels Theatre Company. Rachel has performed in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, Seymour Barab’s The Pied Piper of Hamelin and Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio (themed as Star Trek) and Die Zauberflöte, Ned Rorem’s Fables, and the Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys playing with her dog, Tootsie, putting together jigsaw puzzles, and adventures with her husband including trying every pizza place in San Antonio!
Kazumi Badillo Yoshizawa was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. She began music lessons at the age of 6 with instruction from Keiko Nakamura in piano and added vocal studies at 14 with Yoko Shibata. Ms. Yoshizawa graduated from Showa Conservatory of Music in Tokyo, Japan (founded by Yoshie Fujiwara from Fujiwara Opera Co.) with a vocal performance degree and music education certificate. After moving to San Antonio Ms. Yoshizawa taught piano at Alamo Music Center, Brookhollow School of Music, later Brookhollow Academy of Music, and joined the Musical Arts Center of San Antonio, Inc. in 2006. Ms. Yoshizawa’s former students have gone on to pursue careers both in music and out, including creating Opera Hispanica in New York. When not teaching Ms. Yoshizawa is an advocate for animals, volunteering at the Humane Society and the San Antonio Feral Cat Coalition. Currently Ms. Yoshizawa is the Center Director of MACSA’s Stone Oak location, the chair for MACSA’s division of the National Guild of Piano Teachers, and a member of San Antonio Music Teachers Association and Texas Music Teachers Association.
Dorothy Yan is a graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio with a Masters Degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy and a Bachelors Degree in Piano Performance. She had the privilege of studying piano with Dr. Kasandra Keeling and worked closely with Dr. Courtney Crappell in piano pedagogy. In her undergraduate career, Dorothy was awarded the Marjorie Powell Zachary Scholarship and Friends of Music Scholarship. In March 2008, she won first place in the Etude Music Club Scholarship Competition. She was also named the Texas Music Teachers Association Collegiate Scholar of the Year in 2009 and granted a scholarship for this honor. Dorothy has also performed in various masterclasses with renown musicians such as Lilya Zilberstein and Jane McGrath.
In 2008, Dorothy started her teaching career and maintained a private piano studio at Hill Country Montessori School (HCMS) in Boerne, TX while also teaching local pre-collegiate students. As a graduate student at UTSA, Dorothy taught at the university level, including teaching three levels of group piano for music majors as well as secondary piano for non-piano music majors. After graduation from UTSA in 2012, Ms. Yan joined the Musical Arts Center of San Antonio, Inc. Dorothy works as an administrator for the Summer Music Institute for strings and piano at UTSA.
Dorothy is active in professional organizations on the local and national level. In 2008, she was a charter member and vice president of the Music Teachers National Association Collegiate Chapter at UTSA and served as President from 2010-2012. She also has served on the board for the San Antonio Music Teachers Association (SAMTA) as Program Director in 2012-2013. She currently serves on the SAMTA board as President.
Dorothy has presented her pedagogical research in various music conferences including the UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts Research Conference Competition, Texas Music Teachers Association State Convention, and the Texas Music Educators Association Conference. Her presentation entitled “Engage the Brain!: Cognitive Warm-up Activities for Effective Music Lessons.” was accepted for a session presentation at the Music Teachers National Association in Anaheim, California in March 2013. In August 2014, she was a featured guest speaker at the Oregon Music Teachers Association Conference where she presented two presentations of her work in pedagogy: “Engage the Brain!: Cognitive Warm-up Activities for Effective Music Lessons” and “Off the Piano Bench: A Pedagogical Approach to Incorporating Eurhythmics in the Piano Lesson”
As a performance oriented teacher, Dorothy works to develop each student to his or her highest musical potential. She incorporates theory, technique, critical listening, and detailed musicality to prepare students to play their best under pressure. Her students frequently participate in festivals, theory tests, competitions, recitals, and other performance opportunities. Dorothy believes that equal commitment between, student, parent and teacher is essential for students to flourish and excel in their musical education. Students in her studio can expect high expectations coupled with encouragement, challenging them to reach their musical goals and develop a long-term enjoyment and appreciation for music.
When not teaching, Dorothy enjoys interior decorating, reading, and relaxing with friends.
Peter discovered his passion for teaching during his freshman year at the University of Houston. He began teaching part time during that year, and soon found working with students to be just as rewarding as honing his own skills. Peter started his own musical journey with piano lessons at age 6, and then at age 13 he become a student of MACSA Executive Director Kenneth Thompson. Peter did undergraduate studies with Nancy Weems at the University of Houston, where he graduated summa cum laude with University Honors and Honors in Major. He continued his education at the University of Texas at Austin, receiving a master’s degree in piano performance while studying with Anton Nel. Upon finishing the degree in 2010, Peter transitioned into teaching full time at MACSA.
Peter lives in San Marcos with his wife Sara, their toddler son Samuel, and little one number two, Roque! Peter enjoys working as a co-minister of music at his local church, and he especially loves playtime with Samuel. If Samuel is asleep, Peter can be found reading a book, watching a TV show, or trying to remember what sleeping in was like.
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Vida graduated from Hong Kong Baptist College with a degree in music theory and composition. Under the tutelage of Dr. Timothy Woolsey at Southwest Texas State University, Vida obtained the “Outstanding Student” award in piano performance. Vida studied voice with Dr. Naymond Thomas, was an active accompanist, and taught class piano and music theory. Vida was in concert choir, under the direction of Dr. John Paul Johnson.
Upon receiving a Master’s degree in Music, Vida started a private music studio in San Antonio. In 2000 Vida co-founded Vivace Music Academy.
Vida has been actively involved with Texas Music Teachers Association and San Antonio Music Teachers Association. Vida served as the chair of the San Antonio center of the National Piano Guild Auditions and the Royal American Conservatory of Examinations, and was a trustee on the board of the San Antonio International Piano Competition.
Vida enjoys adjudicating piano and voice students near and far, including the Tuesday Musical Club junior competitions, music festivals in Cypress Creek, George West, Beeville, and Corpus Christi. Her National Piano Guild assignments have taken her to San Marcos, Lockhart, Corpus Christi, Houston, Laredo, Portland and Eugene.
Toni began teaching at MACSA in 2005 shortly after graduating from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She earned a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance in 2005 and a Master of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy in 2011. While attending UTSA as a graduate student, Toni taught Class Piano to undergraduate music majors in addition to maintaining a full studio at MACSA.
Toni began piano lessons at the age of thirteen in El Paso, Texas. She participated in many festivals and competitions, as well as the annual Texas Music Teachers Association’s (TMTA) statewide theory test. Upon graduating from high school, Toni continued her piano studies at UTSA with Dr. Kasandra Keeling.
As a former student affiliate member of TMTA, Toni continues the tradition by providing the same opportunities for her students. She requires all students to participate in taking the theory test, perform in two studio recitals, and perform in at least one festival or competition per school year. These requirements are set in place to track the progress of each student, similar to required sports practice in order to improve performance in games.
In addition to teaching, Toni has served on the board of both San Antonio Music Teachers Association (SAMTA) and Alliance Music Teachers Association. It is through these organizations that students are provided performance opportunities. In 2009, Toni became a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM) through the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA).
Edna Salinas has over 25 years of piano teaching experience in San Antonio and the surrounding area.
She began her piano studies early at the age of 5 in Eagle Pass,Texas. She attended Texas State University and received a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Pedagogy studying under the instruction of Dr. Timothy Woolsey. While working on her degree, she commuted to children day cares in the cities of Kyle and Buda and taught group piano lessons. She also taught privately in the Lockhart and Georgetown. Prior to MACSA, Edna taught piano for ten years at Brook Hollow Academy of Music.
She is an active member of the San Antonio Music Teachers Association (SAMTA), Texas Music Teachers Association (TMTA), and Music Teachers National Association (MTNA). She has also successfully prepared students for competitive participation in Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) events and University Interscholastic Convention (UIL). Through the years, many of her students have participated and been awarded for music theory, music history, composition, and in non-competitive and competitive performances.
Edna has continued to teach private piano at MACSA for 12 years. Her piano lessons focus on students of varying ages from beginner to intermediate levels.When not focusing her time to the art of piano teaching, Edna dedicates herself as a wife and mother. She enjoys home schooling her children and family time. Edna resides in North Central San Antonio with her husband Roger and their four children.
I am a retired public school teacher. I taught in the San Antonio School District 35 years.
During my tenure, I taught in the Special Education classroom for 10 years and participated in the Special Olympics Track and Field and bowling programs.
The next 25 years I introduced the Mariachi Program as an after school program to the students at Highlands High School. Due to the program’s growth and success, it was incorporated into the curriculum in the 1990’s. This group won many city, state and national competitions. They played for many public figures such as Governor Ann Richards, Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez, Presidents Clinton and Bush, the Prince of Monaco and a former Miss America. They were featured on The Today Show, the opening of the Alamodome, various sports events and Fiesta events.
From 1995-2008, I was also the Choir Director at Highlands. My students qualified for Region Choir and Area auditions. Many were 1st Division winners in UIL Solo-Ensemble on the Region and State level.
From 2000-2012 I developed and taught class piano at Highlands High School. Many of my students participated in UIL Solo-Ensemble on the Region and State Level and received 1st division ratings. Several of these students went on to major in piano at Our Lady of The Lake University, UTSA, Texas A&M Kingsville, UT Austin, North Texas State and Texas State.
Sharon Robinson began studying piano at the age of 5 with former MACSA teacher Lisa Kropp, but her love for music wasn’t solidified until the age of 13, when she was asked to start accompanying her school choirs. By age 17 she began teaching, and would later graduate from Baylor University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Pedagogy where she studied pedagogy under Dr. Ann Gipson, student of the renowned pedagogues Dr. Jane Magrath and Dr. E. L. Lancaster.
Sharon is currently an active member of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), the Texas Music Teachers Association (TMTA), and the San Antonio Music Teachers Association (SAMTA). She received her national certification in teaching music through MTNA in 2010. She currently serves on the board of SAMTA as Theory Test Chairperson and as a Finale writer on the state theory test committee. As an active member of these associations, Sharon encourages her students to participate in local and state events including the TMTA Theory Test and the SAMTA Achievement Auditions. Sharon maintains an active professional life through regular accompanying gigs, playing for church, and dabbling in composing music for piano students.
Ellen Pavliska began studying piano at the age of 11 and quickly made progress, making her orchestral debut with the San Antonio Symphony five years later at the age of 16. Ellen took lessons with MACSA founder Kenneth Thompson throughout high school and consistently placed in national and state piano competitions. Ellen has performed throughout the United States and Austria, and her performances and interviews have been featured on Texas Public Radio. She has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in several festivals, including the 5th Texas State International Piano Festival and the 2016 Cactus Pear Chamber Music Festival.
A full scholarship recipient, Ellen graduated from the University of North Texas with her Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance in 2015. In 2017, Ellen completed her Master’s Degree in Piano Performance from the University of Southern California. Major teachers include Pamela Mia Paul, Norman Krieger, and Bernadene Blaha.
While earning her Master’s Degree, Ellen maintained a full teaching studio at the Irvine School of Music and was also an active member of the California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAPMT). In 2016, Ellen presented at the MTNA National Conference with members of the University of Southern California’s MTNA collegiate chapter.
James Lucas was selected as Outstanding Keyboard Student while earning his Bachelor’s degree (1979) at the University of Southern California. He went on to receive his Master’s Degree in orchestral conducting at the Peabody Conservatory while serving as principle opera coach and chorus master. Jim then received a full scholarship to the Aspen Music Festival Advanced Conducting Program, after which he studied conducting on a Fulbright grant in Munich (1981-1983) and had the honor of competing in the Karajan International Conducting Competition. He also taught private piano lessons at a German boarding school (grades 5-12). Back in the United States, Jim taught college music classes at UC Davis, gave private piano lessons, and conducted community orchestras for eight years. Jim also studied theology for three years and practiced law for 16 years. Even then, Jim managed to play for a summer chamber music conference in Oregon (2000-2012), perform with the Columbia Gorge Chamber Players (2007 and 2009), and serve as President of the San Antonio International Piano Competition (2010-2016).
Dr. Ivan Hurd currently serves as Assistant Professor of Piano Pedagogy and Coordinator of Class Piano at the University of Texas at San Antonio where he teaches piano pedagogy, piano literature, class piano, applied piano lessons, and coordinates the class piano program. He holds piano performance degrees from Eastern Michigan University (M.M.) and the University of Iowa (B.M.), and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma. His major teachers include Dr. Jane Magrath, Dr. Barbara Fast, Dr. Joel Schoenhals, and Dr. Réne Lecuona.
In summer 2013, Ivan attended the Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria, where he performed in the famed Haydnsaal at the Esterházy Palace. Ivan has performed in master classes for pianists such as Alan Chow, Theresa Bogard, and Read Gainsford. Ivan was one of ten pianists in the state of Michigan selected to compete for the Rosamond P. Haeberle Memorial Piano Award. As a graduate student at the University of Oklahoma, Ivan received the Provost Certificate of Distinction for Outstanding Graduate Assistant Teaching for two consecutive years.
Ivan has presented at workshops at national conferences such as MTNA, GP3 and NCKP in Illinois, Florida, New Mexico, Nevada and Ohio. In 2019, Ivan presented at the CFMTA conference in Winnipeg, Canada. He has also served as co-chair for the planning committee of the Young Professionals Track for the 2016 MTNA National Conference, and currently serves on the Collegiate Pedagogy Committee for NCKP. When he is not teaching or performing, he enjoys traveling, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.
Glendora Garza has a BM in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Texas A & M University in Corpus Christi where she studied with Joan Allison. With more than 30 years of teaching experience, she considers her vocation as a means to enrich people’s lives with music.
Glendora is a Texas native from Corpus Christi. She began playing the piano at the age of 8 with Marsha Perkins and participated in numerous festivals, competitions and performances. When she entered college she won the Blaise Montandon Scholarship and performed with the symphony orchestra. After having won the Corpus Christi Young Artists Competition, she had the opportunity to perform for Mr. Steinway in a private recital.
While teaching private piano in her home and adult group lessons at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, she worked as a music host at KEDT-FM, a classical music radio station, for some years until she married a Swiss aerospace physicist and left for Russia. During her time in Russia, she trained at the Conservatory in Kaluga and worked on the Russian Technique. She then went to Switzerland where her two children were born and taught privately at home to American expats for 6 years. The family was transferred to Paris, France in 2000 where she began working as a Business English Coach in several companies such as Nike, Peugeot, EADS and Mercedes Benz while continuing to teach a handful of private piano students.
Glendora arrived in San Antonio during the summer of 2012 with her family. She teaches all ages from beginner to early advanced levels. She is enthusiastic about sharing her passion for teaching and playing an active role in the community.
I grew up in San Antonio, Texas. I began studying piano at 5 years old. As a student, I developed a love for piano and decided to pursue a career in music. Through my experiences as a student, I learned that I wanted to be the kind of instructor who provides a safe and supportive learning environment for my students, no matter their level of dedication.
I started teaching private piano lessons in 2007 and managed my own private studio for 5 years. During my time as an undergraduate student, I worked as a research assistant at the Research Imaging Institute at the UT Health Science Center, studying music cognition. In 2017 I was awarded Musical Arts Center of San Antonio Award for Excellence in Piano Pedagogy.
My research led me to develop methods for accommodating many different students, including students with ADD, ADHD, Down Syndrome, Autism, etc. For my master’s thesis examined how piano students learn to practice efficiently, and the process through which they develop practice strategies as they grow.
When I am not in the studio I enjoy cooking, fine dining, reading, fitness, and playing with my dogs Lucy and Ben.
At age 6 Pamela became a piano student and spent many years playing in recitals, events, and competitions in and around San Antonio. She continued her education at Texas State University with Dr. Timothy Woolsey and Dr. Jason Kwak. She started teaching piano lessons in Kyle, TX in 2010. In 2013 Pamela moved back to San Antonio to teach at MACSA and to continue her education at University of Texas San Antonio where she studied with Dr. Courtney Crappell and Dr. Kasandra Keeling. Growing and promoting music in the community of San Antonio is one of Pamela’s life goals. Besides teaching piano Pamela works as MACSA’s Placement Director, has an active role in the San Antonio Music Teacher Association, and accompanies students and school choirs. Pamela enjoys playing piano for her church and making music with friends. She likes to spend her free time exploring, trying new things, and hanging out with her loved ones and her dog, Sadie.
In 1999, CEO, Kenneth Thompson, personally invited Evelyn Escobedo to teach piano full time at the Musical Arts Center of San Antonio, Inc.
Prior to her acceptance, Evelyn had attended Trinity University where she received her Bachelor of Music (’93) and Master of Arts in Teaching (’94) degrees. For fives years after her graduation, she shared her talents as a classroom music teacher in the public and private school sectors while maintaining an ever-growing piano studio.
Her teaching level of preference is the young beginner. She enjoys teaching both private and group piano and has prepared several students to continue their studies with other excellent MACSA instructors.
In addition to teaching, Evelyn has played an active role in the development of MACSA policies and procedures. She currently serves as Chief Operating Officer.
Dr. Antonia Daskalova’s education includes DMA in Collaborative Piano and a MM in Piano Performance from University of Minnesota. Dr. Daskalova is an active adjudicator, chamber musician, accompanist and a voice coach. Her performing career includes appearances in Germany, England, Spain, Bulgaria, USA and Canada both solo and in collaboration. Amongst many different achievements Dr. Daskalova’s Piano students have been ranked with highest scores on a state level through RCM National Program. Many of her students have been accepted into master classes and musical programs in USA and Europe.
Dynamic and diverse, pianist Alyssa Darwin has been praised for “sheer musicality, intuitive and sympathetic collaboration, and the ability to fully inhabit a musical work.” Known within the United States a collaborative pianist and pedagogue, Alyssa recently relocated to San Antonio, TX where she will continue performing, teaching, and collaborating in many different genres. Alyssa had a Collaborative Piano assistantship at Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music, and has also performed at the Bayview Festival in Michigan, Interlochen Arts Camp, and internationally with Music Theater Bavaria. Pursuing a Master’s degree in Collaborative Piano from CCM after a previous B.M. in Keyboard Pedagogy has inspired Alyssa with a passion for collaboration, exposing music to new audiences, and stimulating youth towards enlightening musical experiences. Her work as an Artist-in-Residence at Twin Towers Life Enriching Communities has taught her to intimately reach out to an audience, giving her the opportunity to individually touch people with the gift of music on a daily basis.
Prior to teaching at MACSA, Mr. Granado taught at other San Antonio area music schools and public schools. He served as a consultant during the initial development of the John Jay High School Mariachi, teaching the rhythm section (guitar, guitarron, vihuela) both as a group and individually, in preparation for performances. He has performed extensively both on the concert stage, including Faure’s “Requiem” and the Spanish zarzuela, “La Verbena de la Paloma”, and as a Mariachi musician.
While at St. Mary’s and San Antonio College, Mr. Granado’s vocal trainers included Dr. Evelyn Troxler, Cruz Romo (Master Class), Gerald Souzay (Master Class), Gail Berman, and Irene Liden.
After completing my MM degree at CUA, I was invited to perform in an advanced chamber music course in Germany, and subsequently spent several years in Europe, playing with orchestras in Germany and Italy, and performing recitals and chamber music concerts. Additionally, I have been a member of the Savannah, Charleston, and Green Bay symphonies, the Minnesota North Star Opera, and several Texas orchestras. Currently, I am a regular sub with the San Antonio Symphony.
As a teacher, I am experienced with all levels of students, from young beginners to advanced high school and adults. I began teaching in D.C. with the D.C. Youth Orchestra Program, teaching intermediate and advanced technique classes and coaching chamber music ensembles. In Minnesota, I was an Artist Instructor at St. Francis Music Center, and a Visiting Artist-Teacher at Staples Middle and High School. Additionally, I was an Adjunct Instructor at Bemidji State University, teaching applied violin and string method courses. In Wisconsin, I was an Artist Instructor at the Wausau Conservatory of Music, and for six years taught at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan. Currently, I am also an Adjunct Violin Instructor at St. Philip”s College.
In June of 2000, Kenneth Thompson received the Texas Music Teachers Association’s ‘Pre-Collegiate Teacher of the Year Award’ for the state of Texas. In November 2009, Mr. Thompson received the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ from Musical Bridges Around the World for his work in raising the level of piano teaching in San Antonio.
He received a BM in Piano Performance from the Eastman School of Music in 1991 where his primary teachers were Nelita True and Anton Nel.
Upon his arrival in San Antonio in the early 1990’s, Mr. Thompson performed extensively as a chamber musician and soloist. He developed a ‘Music of the Americas’ program that he performed in Atlanta’s prestigious Spivey Hall and at concert series in Texas and Florida. He also performed frequently as orchestral pianist with the San Antonio Symphony.
In the mid 1990’s, Mr. Thompson turned his attention to the development of pre-college advanced pianists. Mr. Thompson’s piano students have performed more than 100 complete solo recital programs and performed more than 30 times as soloists with orchestras including many performances with the San Antonio Symphony. He has had several students perform in New York at Carnegie Hall and has had two students perform on National Public Radio’s hit show ‘From the Top’.
Mr. Thompson has had several students go into music programs at some of the world’s top music schools including the New England Conservatory, the Oberlin Conservatory, the Eastman School of Music, and the Julliard School of Music. His students have won top prizes in every pre-college piano competition in Texas. He and his students have been interviewed and performed several times on Texas Public Radio and on San Antonio TV shows such as ‘Great Day SA’. Notable students include Dr. Christopher Guzman, Thomas and Peter Steigerwald, Ellen Pavliska, Wayne Ching and Mary Box.
Mr. Thompson has given workshops to music teacher’s associations throughout Texas and he wrote and co-authored two articles for American Music Teacher Magazine.
In 1999, Mr. Thompson founded the Musical Arts Center of San Antonio, Inc. (MACSA). MACSA has over 43 teachers and staff and over 1100 students at its locations in Stone Oak and near IH 10 and DeZavala. Mr. Thompson’s teachers include: Nelita True, Anton Nel, Anna Haun, John Weems, Carolyn True, Christopher Wallace, and Jean Barr. He is on the Parish Council of Christ Lutheran Church in Alamo Heights, on the Board of the San Antonio International Piano Competition and is a Level 2 Krav Maga student. He is a member of peer to peer CEO advisory organization Vistage International and a member of MENSA.
Jimmy Cox was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas and since the age of 4 has loved and played music on various instruments. At the age of 12, when he began learning the guitar, he knew he had found his calling.
Playing the guitar for over 20 years and teaching at Musical Arts Center of San Antonio, Inc. since 2007, Mr. Cox has really refined his craft and knowledge of the guitar.
As a graduate from the University of Texas in San Antonio with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music with a marketing emphasis, Mr. Cox has a strong background for his understanding of the guitar and approach. His influences include Classical, Rock, Blues, Metal, Country, and Pop.
John Beard (viola; violin; piano; chamber music), began his advanced performance training at the New England Conservatory, received a BM in performance from Indiana University, a MM at the University of Maine, and did further doctoral work in viola, theory, and conducting at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. His major teachers include William Primrose, David Dawson for viola, Robert Gerle, Vidor Nagy, Joseph Fuchs for violin, Harold Faberman and Murray Sidlin for conducting.
Mr. Beard has also studied piano with Henry Fuchs at the University of Rhode Island and Joan Krzywicki, Suzuki Teacher Trainer, at the University of Florida in Coral Gables. John developed a Suzuki piano studio, and has enjoyed working with small children and using the Suzuki method to develop musical skills to the very young (starting at three years old). For the past twenty years John has had a piano studio teaching both traditional and Suzuki piano methods, besides his violin/viola students. He has prepared both string and piano students for solo and ensemble festivals, college entrance auditions and student recitals.
Prior to moving to the San Antonio area, Mr. Beard was an Adjunct Instructor of Upper Strings and Orchestra at the University of Wisconsin Marathon County and in Minnesota, he has been an Artist-in-Residence for the St. Francis Music Center. Currently, besides being on the faculty at the Musical Arts Center in San Antonio, Inc., Mr. Beard is an Adjunct Instructor for the Alamo colleges where he teaches Music Appreciation at the Northeast Lakeview College and Violin/Viola at the Northwest Vista College.
Brenda Boyd has taught preschool piano since 1991 and joined MACSA is 2006. Mrs. Boyd completed specialized training as a Preschool Music Teacher and is known to be nurturing, patient, and positive. Many children began their music studies with Mrs. Boyd and have successfully transitioned to higher levels at MACSA. Mrs. Boyd’s passion for teaching and love for children make her a highly sought after teacher for children ages 26 months – 7 years. Even the youngest students are given the opportunity to participate in recitals. By the time they complete Music for Little Mozarts, published by Alfred, Mrs. Boyd’s students have gained a love for music as well as an understanding of basic musical concepts that will enhance their learning and development. This, in turn, will enable them to continue lessons successfully as they grow.
Michael McCutchon began his classical guitar studies with Prof. Wynn Morrant from Seattle Pacific University. During this time he gave public performances, and attended master classes with such artists as David Russell and William Kanengiser. He was an active member of the Seattle Classical Guitar Society.
He graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in Music Education and a concentration in classical guitar. While at UNT he studied with Dr. Paul LeBlanc, gave public performances, and attended master classes with Eliot Fisk and Scott Tennant.
Michael has over ten years experience teaching children as young as five years old, as well as adults. He has successfully incorporated many of the teaching concepts he learned from his teachers and master classes into his lessons.
He enjoys spending time with his family, and helps his wife homeschool their son.
“I believe a successful music educator evidences personal qualities of leadership, intellectual curiosity, and social commitment. Music educators approach life, music, and the teaching profession in a positive, imaginative, and enthusiastic way.
To create a respect and desire for musical experiences, my primary goal is to motivate students to cultivate convincing musical expressions and to develop a life-long interest in music. Teaching piano is not only ‘teaching and learning’, but also an opportunity to guide students in planning their musical journey. It is a great joy to see students realizing the beauty of the polishing process. I always feel extremely rewarded when I hear progress and polished musical expression from my students’ playing, regardless of their level and background because I understand how much effort they put forth. I strive to have my students leave every lesson and class motivated and inspired to become a better pianist and musician.”
Catherine Nix continues to delight audiences across the country with her vocal versatility and creative recital programming. In addition to fulfilling her schedule of performance engagements, Dr. Nix serves on the voice faculty of the University of the Incarnate Word and The Musical Arts Center of San Antonio, Inc. She enjoys sharing her love of vocal literature, diction and pedagogy with her students and finds their creativity a catalyst for renewed energy in her own performing. Dr. Nix has also been active in liturgical music and is in demand as a workshop clinician. She has worked with church musicians across the country, and she specializes in the ministry of the Catholic cantor.
I am writing to commend your decision to provide online musical instruction and recommend that online lessons remain an option for the indefinite future. As COVID-19 has continued to be a problem, the reasonable business decisions of MACSA have been a comfort to see. My children are able, in the most stressful and unpredictable of times, to engage in the arts and continue to receive extracurricular enrichment when most other activities are restricted.
In addition, we have noted how the online lessons remove the stress of commuting to and from the center. From our home, it takes at least 30-45 minutes one way to reach MACSA. This means an hour to 1-1/2 hours of driving for a 30-minute lesson. This used to be frustrating for us as parents, as well as for the kids if they had a large amount of homework or tests. The teachers have been so wonderful that we wanted to keep with it, but to be honest, we probably would have discontinued lessons in the near future due to the inconvenience. Now that we have experienced quality instruction without the commute, I hope that even after COVID-19 has resolved, MACSA will continue to offer online lessons as a standard learning platform option for those families who may benefit from it. This would allow families that live farther from the center to take advantage of the instruction. Those who may have tight schedules with work or other activities no longer have to choose which kid has to miss their activity due to difficulty getting there in time. Please consider the utility of this possibility for your business.
Thank you for your time and attention to the needs of your clientele base.
The Ritter Family
I know we expressed gratitude for your service to our family over the Zoom lesson today, but I wanted to document our gratitude in writing too. 🙂 Nate and I try to choose the extracurricular activities that our kids are involved in very intentionally. As a family of seven, time is limited and we want to do our best to spend it wisely. Piano lessons have always made the cut! This is due in large part because I felt like the thirty minutes my girls spent with you each week were not wasted. I knew they were getting quality instruction that could bless their lives if they let it.
You were endlessly patient and never made them feel lowly if they had not practiced or completed their theory work. You somehow combine the seemingly opposite character traits of being both laid back and upholding high standards–a winning combination for little kids who are learning a new skill! Thank you for using your fantastic piano and teaching talents to open the world of music to Ada and Lydia. I look forward to watching them build on the foundation you have created for them.
Good luck with your future career and your family. We are grateful for the three years we had under your wing.
The Tidwell Family
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