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 teaches piano and woodwinds. She started playing piano at a young age which led to joining concert band and symphony orchestras as a woodwind player, and she continues to perform regularly in town. After studying bassoon and ethnomusicology at DePaul University and the New England Conservatory, she relocated to begin her career as an orchestral librarian at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. She also holds library positions at the Des Moines Metro Opera and the Carmel Symphony Orchestra.

Logan Vanderlaan

Piano

Logan Vanderlaan earned his bachelor's degree in Music Education from Grand Valley State University and has been teaching ever since. He is a well-rounded teacher with experience teaching piano, flute, bassoon, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, tuba, voice, violin, and ukulele. He was born in West Michigan and played jazz trombone professionally in the Grand Rapids area before moving to Bloomington. Currently, he is pursuing a master's degree in Jazz Studies from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He adopts a student centered approach to teaching that emphasizes clarity, empathy, and thoughtfulness. Logan is skilled in many different styles of music and welcomes students of all ages and skill levels.

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.

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.

Akira Kaku

Piano

Pianist Akira Kaku is a current doctorate student at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University. He has 8 years of experience teaching piano in the Ann Arbor (MI) and Houston (TX) local scenes prior to arriving in Bloomington. Over this time, Akira has taught students ranging from beginner to advanced levels.His prior degrees include a Master's Degree in Piano Pedagogy and Performance from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor's Degree in Piano Performance from Bowling Green State University (OH).

GUITAR INSTRUCTORS

Michael Birk

Guitar, Bass, Ukulele

At the age of 11, Michael picked up his first guitar - a 2004 Fender Stratocaster in Aztec Gold. Originally inspired by guitarists like Kurt Cobain (Nirvana), John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Jimi Hendrix, Michael began taking lessons learning these rockstars’ legendary riffs. Soon after, he started a band with his best friend, performed at the middle school talent show, and has been performing ever since.

Michael, now 28, plays with a bunch of different groups, and his playing has evolved to incorporate many different genres of music including pop, rock, funk, soul, R&B, blues, and gospel. While Michael is gigging on most weekends, he is available for lessons throughout the week both in person and virtually! His teaching style accommodates players from all skill levels and backgrounds, and is predicated on the most important thing when learning a new instrument - PRACTICE! 

Tom Petry

Guitar

Tom has been playing guitar for over 10 years and excels at many different styles and genres. Tom is also a licensed teacher and teaches 3rd grade at Spencer Elementary.

Logan Vanderlaan

Ukulele

Logan Vanderlaan earned his bachelor's degree in Music Education from Grand Valley State University and has been teaching ever since. He is a well-rounded teacher with experience teaching piano, flute, bassoon, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, tuba, voice, violin, and ukulele. He was born in West Michigan and played jazz trombone professionally in the Grand Rapids area before moving to Bloomington. Currently, he is pursuing a master's degree in Jazz Studies from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He adopts a student centered approach to teaching that emphasizes clarity, empathy, and thoughtfulness. Logan is skilled in many different styles of music and welcomes students of all ages and skill levels.

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 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 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.

Since moving to Bloomington, John has studied under Luke Narey (10 Years, Brave The Royals, Blue Rising) for multiple years, and taken instruction at IU for Jazz and Latin Percussion. 

This has led to performing or recording with roughly 10 different groups including Dacota Muckey, Jukebox Luke, Hank Ruff, and Lilly Meister to name a few. These connections have taken him to many different states playing at music festivals and other reputable venues, opening up for national and regionals acts. 

John has a fun, easy-going attitude with all the experience and skill to prepare you for success whether it be studio work, songwriting, or playing live in ANY genre.

STRINGS INSTRUCTORS

Laurel Gagnon

Violin

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.” 

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. 

Logan Vanderlaan

Violin

Logan Vanderlaan earned his bachelor's degree in Music Education from Grand Valley State University and has been teaching ever since. He is a well-rounded teacher with experience teaching piano, flute, bassoon, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, tuba, voice, violin, and ukulele. He was born in West Michigan and played jazz trombone professionally in the Grand Rapids area before moving to Bloomington. Currently, he is pursuing a master's degree in Jazz Studies from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He adopts a student centered approach to teaching that emphasizes clarity, empathy, and thoughtfulness. Logan is skilled in many different styles of music and welcomes students of all ages and skill levels.

WINDS INSTRUCTORS

Cynthia Stacy

Bassoon

Cynthia Stacy teaches piano and woodwinds. She started playing piano at a young age which led to joining concert band and symphony orchestras as a woodwind player, and she continues to perform regularly in town. After studying bassoon and ethnomusicology at DePaul University and the New England Conservatory, she relocated to begin her career as an orchestral librarian at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. She also holds library positions at the Des Moines Metro Opera and the Carmel Symphony Orchestra.

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.

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.

Logan Vanderlaan

Woodwind/Brass

Logan Vanderlaan earned his bachelor's degree in Music Education from Grand Valley State University and has been teaching ever since. He is a well-rounded teacher with experience teaching piano, flute, bassoon, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, tuba, voice, violin, and ukulele. He was born in West Michigan and played jazz trombone professionally in the Grand Rapids area before moving to Bloomington. Currently, he is pursuing a master's degree in Jazz Studies from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He adopts a student centered approach to teaching that emphasizes clarity, empathy, and thoughtfulness. Logan is skilled in many different styles of music and welcomes students of all ages and skill levels.

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.

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.

Logan Vanderlaan

Voice

Logan Vanderlaan earned his bachelor's degree in Music Education from Grand Valley State University and has been teaching ever since. He is a well-rounded teacher with experience teaching piano, flute, bassoon, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, tuba, voice, violin, and ukulele. He was born in West Michigan and played jazz trombone professionally in the Grand Rapids area before moving to Bloomington. Currently, he is pursuing a master's degree in Jazz Studies from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He adopts a student centered approach to teaching that emphasizes clarity, empathy, and thoughtfulness. Logan is skilled in many different styles of music and welcomes students of all ages and skill levels.

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.

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.