Music Teachers

Ashley Bickford

Piano & Voice

Ashley Bickford received her Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in Popular Music Industry Voice at Palm Beach Atlantic University. She has been teaching and performing for eight years.

Ashely Bickford

Ashley Bickford received her Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in Popular Music Industry Voice at Palm Beach Atlantic University. She has been teaching and performing for eight years focusing primarily on voice, piano, and guitar. Ashley began teaching in her hometown in northern New Jersey when she was 15 at a local music store. She also began taking local restaurant gigs around the same time and knew that she had found what she wanted to do. Moving to West Palm Beach for school, she spent four years learning theory, performing, teaching private lessons, and writing original music. She enjoys teaching students to not only be excellent musicians, but also young artists. In the Spring of 2020, Ashley won first place in the NATS Southeastern Regional Auditions under the category of upper level theater voice. She was inducted a member of The Society of Pi Kappa Lambda in Spring of 2021. Ashley is excited to continue her teaching career in Charlotte!

Vanessa Corrigan

Piano & Voice

Originally from Long Island, NY, Ms.Vanessa Corrgian received a BA in Jazz and Commercial Music Composition from Five Towns College where she received training from Industry Leaders.

Vanessa Corrigan

Ms. Vanessa hails from Long Island, NY, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Jazz and Commercial Music Composition from Five Towns College. During her time there, she was able to participate in a highly-selective composition and performance workshop that gave her valuable feedback and musical encouragement from industry leaders, utilizing her vocal talent and piano skills to share original pieces. In 2007, Ms. Vanessa entered a worldwide online singing competition hosted by EA Games and was handpicked by recording artist Lily Allen to fly out to California and provide vocals for the popular video game series “The Sims 2” for their “Teen Style Stuff” expansion pack. This experience eventually fueled her move to CA- while there, she performed briefly with a classic rock band called The River City Band, taught Voice, Piano and Art lessons with all age groups with an independent music and art studio in Santa Rosa and even advised a group of young K-pop lovers into creating their own dance troupe at her most recent gig at Tomales High School. Ms. Vanessa brings her history of jazz, classical and musical theater knowledge with her into performances, encouraging her students to utilize the meaning behind the notes and lyrics to convey the drama within a piece, whether just learning the piano or belting a Broadway tune. She is grateful to be back on the east coast and is excited to share her musical and life experiences with a new group of students!

Inna Kolesnikov

Piano

Received her Bachelor’s degree in piano performance and music pedagogy from Volyn State Institute of Arts and Music in Ukraine. Inna received her Master’s degree in piano performance from Kansas State University.

Inna Kolesnikov

Inna Kolesnikov was born and raised in Ukraine. Growing up in a musical family, Ms. Kolesnikov’s childhood was surrounded by the beauty of classical music. While her father sang in a local church choir, her mother played piano and accordion. At a very young age, Ms. Kolesnikov attended music school to study piano, music theory and literature. She received her Bachelor’s degree in piano performance and music pedagogy from Volyn State Institute of Arts and Music in Ukraine. After moving to the United States she received her Master’s degree in piano performance from Kansas State University. For the past 20 years she actively collaborated with instrumentalists and vocalists in chamber music settings while teaching children and adults of various levels of training. Music has always been her passion and sharing it with others gives her great joy and satisfaction.

Martha Murray

Violin

The violin has been part of Martha since she was seven years old. She studied the Suzuki method under Nora Smilovici and then continued her studies with Dr. Ernest Pereira in her High School years. She has taught violin for seven years and she is currently seeking a B.A. in Music at UNCC.

Martha Murray

A letter from the teacher: “There is glory in not only the goal accomplished but also in the journey. This has always been my mantra as a teacher. Through learning an instrument, many important life skills can be established and honed. Specifically, students can learn how to lean into the challenges that face them and embrace the small victories along the way. Being able to do these two skills is what leads to larger goals becoming accomplished. When I teach, I help students embrace all parts of the journey while they learn the joys of violin playing and music making. And in so doing, they become stronger and happier versions of themselves.” The violin has been part of Martha since she was seven years old. She studied the Suzuki method under Nora Smilovici and then continued her studies with Dr. Ernest Pereira in her High School years. She has taught violin for seven years and she is currently seeking a B.A. in Music at UNCC where she studies under Dr. David Russell. She is currently playing for the UNCC orchestra as well as for their Chamber groups. In addition, she has played the violin (as well as piano) as part of the CSYO (Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra). She has played for events as well as accompanied church bands using an improvisational style on a weekly basis. When she is not preparing for an event, she enjoys jamming with friends and occasionally busking. Anything to share the joys of the violin with others. “Music has always been important to my heart. It moves me. I have always told people that it is one thing to hear some wonderful music live, whereas it is whole other world to be in the midst of it, making it yourself.” – Martha Murray

Ovidiu Sutic

Violin & Viola
Violinist Ovidiu Sutic leads a varied career as a performer and educator. He has performed as a soloist, orchestra and chamber musician throughout US, Europe and Asia.

Ovidiu Sutic

Violinist Ovidiu Sutic leads a varied career as a performer and educator. He has performed as a soloist, orchestra and chamber musician throughout US, Europe and Asia. As a soloist he performed with such conductors as Michael Palmer, Daisuke Soga, Paul Hilliam, Nicolae Iliescu, Whitney Reader. Awards include the Second Prize at the Citta Di Stresa International Violin Competition, First prize at Wolff- Bing Chamber Music Competition and Eugen Sarbu Award. Sutic performed as Concertmaster with Bucharest Philharmonia Chamber Orchestra, Sinfonia Orchestra, Wichita Grand Opera and Opera of the Ozarks and as Assistant Principal Second with Louisiana Philharmonic. He also performed with The Florida Orchestra, Memphis Symphony, Wichita Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Fargo-Moorhead Symphony and Arkansas Symphony. Summer activities included participation in festivals like the International Chamber Music Festival Orpheus Prijs in Antwerp, Belgium and Bellingham Festival of Music. Sutic was also a faculty member of Bucharest Music University where he taught violin for several years after obtaining his first master's degree in Violin Performance. He has experience teaching students of all ages.

Jason Cline

Piano & Guitar

Jason Cline is a Charlotte native and veteran musician with 13 years of performance experience under his belt. Guitar has been an integral part of his life since his early teens.

Jason Cline

Jason Cline is a Charlotte native and veteran musician with 13 years of performance experience under his belt. Guitar has been an integral part of his life since his early teens. Jason's passion for music and teaching creates enthusiastic students and an engaging learning environment. When he's not teaching, you can find him performing regionally in his bands Featherpocket and David Taylor and the Tallboys.

Johnny Harmon

Piano & Voice

Johnny Harmon has a Masters of Music from Appalachian State University.  Credits include: Opera Carolina, lead roles with Opera Xpress, Opera Carolina's youth program, Mosaic Arts, and The Little Opera Company of Charlotte.

Johnny Harmon

Johnny Harmon received his Bachelors and Masters of Music from Appalachian State University. He has sung main stage roles and in the chorus at Opera Carolina, lead roles with Opera Xpress, Opera Carolina's youth outreach touring program, Mosaic Arts, Opera Unlimied, and The Little Opera Company of Charlotte. In addition to operatic roles, Johnny has performed the oratorio works of Mozart, Handel, Dubois, Saint-Seans and Mendelssohn in concert halls and churches across the East and South East U.S. Johnny found his passion for teaching in college and has been teaching privately ever since. He continues to study the voice daily and strives to find the true and most healthy voice of children and adults of all ages.

John Paul Lepeley

Piano & Guitar

Bilingual in English and Spanish, John previously served as the musical director at The Valley Christian School, The Carden West Elementary School and the principal music teacher for the San Ramon Unified School District in California.

John Paul Lepeley

John Paul is bilingual in English and Spanish. He has over thirty years of experience teaching piano, electric/acoustic guitar, bass and drums, among other instruments (clarinet, saxophone, violin), to students of all ages. In the past he recorded in studio for other bands and performed professionally for about 10 years. During the same time he served as the musical director at The Valley Christian School and The Carden West Elementary School in California. Most recently, he was the principal music teacher for the San Ramon Unified School District. During his years in California he also served as a Hispanic Choir director at several churches in the Bay Area. Before moving to Charlotte, NC John created a music program for low income families in Livermore, for which he wrote and produced several Christmas programs along with various other musicals. John Paul is a confident and concise communicator, able to teach with clarity and humor!

Kristy Smith

Piano & Voice
Kristy Smith, an Arizona native, has 21-years of piano and voice experience. What began as a hobby blossomed into a life-long passion including choir director, church organist, and music educator.

Kristy Smith

Kristy Smith, an Arizona native, has 21-years of piano and voice experience. What began as a hobby blossomed into a life-long passion including choir director, church organist, and music educator. In addition to music education, Ms. Smith has extensive experience working with children of all ages including at risk youth. Her passion for both music and children underscores the importance of providing a positive lesson experience for each and every student.

Celeste Tavera

Piano & Voice

Celeste is a versatile performer from Classical, Jazz, Broadway, and Pop music. Her Broadway credits include West Side Story with the Michigan Opera Theater, and the world premiere of Musical Revue, Cole & Will (together again).

Celeste Tavera

"Music has always been a big part of my life, My father had a beautiful voice and loved to sing. He was my biggest inspiration and my best friend. I began to take piano lessons at a young age and really enjoyed lessons and playing duets with my brother on the piano. I loved exploring new songs with my teacher and developed a love for playing music by Mozart and Beethoven which I still love to play when I have some time. Practicing was not my most favorite thing to do but boy I am so grateful to my parents for giving me that opportunity to take lessons it gave me the chance to learn how to read, count, and it taught me how to be disciplined. As my love for music grew I started singing which I didn't know I would love so much. As I was going into high school my brother and I started a band called Nova, it was a big band with two pianos, drums and wind instruments, it was while performing I realized I needed voice lessons. My singing teacher made me sing so high I thought she was crazy, but she saw something in me that I couldn't see in myself... That's what I love about teaching, its so rewarding for me to take that journey with a student and find out what wonderful gifts and talents they have inside and help bring those gifts out. It gives me so much joy to see them develop into wonderful musicians where music becomes a part of who they are for life! My voice teacher had me singing in all kinds of things. She thought it was a good idea for me to audition for a role in an Opera that Long Beach State was putting on and I was still in High School, again, I thought she was crazy, but I did it anyway and got the part of Susanna in "The Marriage of Figaro", it was really exciting and I couldn't believe that I got the chance to sing a full opera with orchestra and with such wonderful singers."

Steve Thweatt

Piano

Studied music at the University of Memphis where he was awarded the Feature Pianist award. Since that time, he has served as a free lance artist playing for the likes of high-ranking officials and dignitaries.

Steve Thweatt

Steve Thweatt received his university training at the University of Memphis where he was awarded the Feature Pianist with their Orchestra award. Since that time, he has served as a free lance artist playing for the likes of high-ranking officials, dignitaries and numerous music icons and legends. His greatest passion is sharing his piano knowledge with his students, beginners through advanced. “I make learning piano fun and easy while imparting excellence.”

2 Locations Near You

Charlotte-Dance-Studio-NC

Charlotte Studio

Piedmont School of Music & Dance
3220 Prosperity Church Rd #103
Charlotte, NC 28269
Phone: (704) 971-2011

Concord Dance School NC

Concord/Kannapolis Studio

Piedmont School of Music & Dance
1605 Old Earnhardt Rd
Kannapolis, NC 28083
Phone: (704) 932-8888