ECC Private Music Lessons

Welcoming World Class Instructors

ECC's private music lessons are a great way to have fun and develop your creative expression style, whether you are a beginner or experienced musician.

Need One Credit?

  • In-district students age 16 and older can earn college credit for private lessons. Students of all ages are always welcome as non-credit students.
  • Build your creative expression to connect with others!
  • Lessons are available year-round. Each semester, students receive fourteen ½-hour lessons for about $28 per lesson for instruction from professional, masters' level musicians who will help you connect with others through music.

GUITARS

Guitar with Jim Kanas

Jim Kanas is a jazz guitarist, American roots musician, guitar stylist, and composer. He attended Boston University as an education major, which led to an interdisciplinary music degree from Northern Illinois University in guitar and American folk instruments. He was granted a scholarship to pursue graduate studies at NIU and earned a certificate in music education. Jim was featured on WTTW11, Chicago, PBS "Arts Across Illinois" and has performed at colleges, festivals, and broadcast media throughout Illinois. He won the "Outstanding Guitarist Award" at an early age for two years running at the Oak Lawn Jazz Fest and performed with Rich Matteson’s All-Star Jazz Band. Jim has collaborated with well-known musicians including Randy Sabien, Johnny Frigo, Howard Levy, Larry Gray, Frank Mantooth, Bill Evans (saxophone), Fareed Haque, Paul Wirtico, Don Stiernberg, Muriel Anderson, Corky Siegel, and others. While in college and soon after, Jim had had the privilege to sit in with Steve Goodman, Alison Krauss, Jethro Burns, Vassar Clements, and the Nashville Cats. Jim was with the Illinois Arts Council's Artist-in-Residence and ArtsTour programs for over 25 years and has conducted numerous school music residencies on the Development of American music through its ethnic roots.

Jim’s commitment to education runs deep. Early on, he frequented the Jamey Aebersold jazz clinics, where he was fortunate to find himself in the company of influential musicians who inspired and shared their music and thinking. Musicians like Pat Metheny, George Benson, Rufus Reid, Gary Burton, and lesser-known masters were Jim’s role models and later sources for his work with students. Jim studied classical guitar with Richard Pick and Leon Borkowski. As an educator in public schools, he has shared his personal experiences and approach as a performing artist while maintaining a student-centered, hands-on approach. Jim is a firm believer.

Guitar with Steve Serra

Steve Serra is a graduate of Elmhurst University and has performed in a number of classical guitar masterclasses with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, Scott Tenant, Shingo Fujii, The Australian Guitar Quartet, and Eduardo Fernandez. There, his primary focus was classical and jazz guitar. In addition to guitar and seven-string guitar, he plays various fretted instruments, including electric bass, ukulele, banjo, and mandolin. As an active working musician, he also performs for various local theater and musical productions such as Mary Poppins (Deerfield Theater), Spring Awakening (Elgin Community College Theater), and Considering Matthew Shepard (Grace Lutheran River Forest).
Additionally, Steve is the studio Small House Songs owner, where he has either worked as an audio engineer or composer/producer. Various commercial works can be heard on the Ellen Show, Teen Titans Go! and TMZ.

Guitar, Bass Guitar, Banjo, and Mandolin with Rob Curtis (Master's Degree in Classical Guitar Performance – Roosevelt University Chicago)

Curtis is a classical master guitarist who coaches students of all skill levels. Whether you are a new or seasoned guitarist, you will appreciate his experience as a twenty-five-year veteran of music performance who has toured extensively throughout the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. His professional resume includes performing as a staff guitarist at the Sahara Club in Lake Tahoe, backing acts like the Pointer Sisters, Smokey Robinson, and Little Richard, and performing as side-man with the Pump Room Orchestra, Bradley Young Orchestra, and the Brian Pattie Orchestra. In addition, Rob was a member of the Galena Chamber Ensemble and is currently performing with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra.

VIOLIN/VIOLAS

Violin with Carol Dylan (Master's Degree of Music - Eastman School of Music; Bachelor of Music, magna cum laude - North Park University)

Dylan is in her twentieth year as adjunct violin faculty at the North Park University of Chicago and her teaching at Elgin Community College. She frequently performs with jazz and society bands in Chicago. She enjoys playing in theatre and ballet orchestras, appearing with the Joffrey Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Bolshoi Ballet, and Broadway musicals. Carol also performs with several orchestras in the Chicago area, including the Ravinia Festival Orchestra, Woodstock Mozart Festival, and has accompanied such stars as Luciano Pavarotti, Il Divo, Andrea Bocelli, and Barbra Streisand. While completing her Master's degree, she was a scholarship pupil of Charles Castleman. Dylan attended the Aspen Music Festival as a recipient of a three-year fellowship to study with Dorothy DeLay and Masao Kawasaki. She is the Assistant Concertmaster of the Chicago Sinfonietta. She has participated in numerous European and American tours and recordings on the Fanfare and Cedille record labels. She is often heard on WFMT as part of that radio station's "Music from Studio One" and "Impromptu" programs. In monthly live broadcasts of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra is a member of the first violin section.

Violin with Agnieszka Likos (Master's Degree in violin performance - Roosevelt University Chicago; Master's Degree in the studio of S. Hersh; Bachelor's Degree - the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Likos is a co-founder and a violin teacher at the Likos String Academy in downtown Chicago. Agnieszka realizes her musical interests in the field of chamber music, performing at multiple chamber music festivals in Santu Lussurgiu, Sardinia (Italy), Bowdoin (ME), Madeline Island (WI), Hot Springs (AR), and Urbana-Champaign (IL). She participated in multiple masterclasses led by outstanding chamber musicians such as Itamar Golan, Gordan Nikolic, the Guarneri Quartet, Pacifica Quartet, Hugo Wolf Quartet, Arianna Quartet, Parker Quartet, and Shanghai Quartet. From 2004 to 2006, she was a member of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Music Program. In addition to teaching, Agnieszka is a member of the Heartland Symphony Orchestra and Northbrook Symphony Orchestra.

Violin & Viola with Paula Johannesen (Bachelor of Violin Performance - the University of Illinois, where she also studied Voice and Viola & Master's Degree in Violin Performance - Roosevelt University Chicago)

Johannsen frequently plays violin with the Chicago Composer's Orchestra, Chicago Symphonic Pops, New Philharmonic, Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest, Wheaton Summer Pops, where she is the principal second violin. Most recently, she finished her tenure with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. In addition, Paula has performed worldwide, from Carnegie Hall in New York, Matsumoto Castle in Japan to the American Embassy in Luxembourg. Paula started teaching right out of High School, studying Pedagogy in Undergrad, and taking Suzuki teacher training at the American Suzuki Institute and the Chicago Suzuki Institute. In 2014, Paula joined The Whiskey Brothers, an Irish band based around Chicago. She also has been a Fiddler in more than one production of Fiddler on the Roof and plays other styles, from Bluegrass to Heavy Metal. In addition, she is a founding member of Greenleaf strings, a string quartet, trio, or sometimes even a duo.

OTHER STRINGS

Cello with Kerena Moeller (Graduate Performance Diploma - Peabody Conservatory of Music; Master's Degree in Music Performance & Literature - Eastman School of Music; Bachelor's Degree in Music - The Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester England)

Moeller is a British cellist who has performed concertos by Tchaikovsky, Schumann, and Elgar with orchestras in England and the United States. In addition, she has performed and toured in Europe and Japan with many leading orchestras, including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra (principal cellist), Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, and the Handel Choir. She is currently the assistant principal cellist in the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra and a section cellist with the Rockford Symphony, Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Elgin Symphony Orchestra. In addition to teaching at ECC, Kerena has been on faculty at the Music Academy of Rockford College since 2009 and teaches at the NIU Community Music School.

Double Bass with Tim Shaffer (Bachelor's Degree of Music – Indiana University School of Music)

Shaffer's individualized instruction will help you reach your full potential like many of Tim Shaffer's Bass students who have gone on to study at the nation's leading music schools. Mr. Shaffer has been a professional double bassist since the age of twenty when he joined the New Orleans Symphony and has since been the Principal Bassist of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, section bassist with the Grant Park Orchestra of Chicago at Millennium Park during the summer performance season, as well as an active freelance musician and substitute musician with Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he has toured throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan and has recorded various ensembles during his career.

PIANO

Constance Hughes (Master's Degree of Music in Piano – Roosevelt University Chicago)

Hughes is a Ravinia Festival artist, performer, and educator whose experience includes appearances with the Kansas City Philharmonic, Independence Symphony, the Rockford Symphony, and our own Elgin Symphony Orchestra; he is passionate about educating piano students of all skill levels. In addition, Ms. Hughes has presented recitals throughout the United States and Europe and is a sought-after accompanist and chamber musician.

Jazz Piano/Piano with Ray Koehler (Master's Degree of Music – the University of Massachusetts at Amherst)

Koehler is a master performer and instructor who offers cool jazz piano sounds and fundamental piano instruction. He has studied and performed with outstanding musicians, including Gary Burton, Max Roach, Juseff Lattif, and Billy Taylor. He has performed at many notable Jazz clubs, including the Village Vanguard and Birdland in New York. Mr. Koehler has toured widely throughout Europe, Japan, and Mexico and is an active freelance performer and instructor in the Chicago area. Ray also teaches Jazz Theory and Music Appreciation at ECC.

Sharel Cassity (Master's Degree of Music - The Juilliard School; Bachelor of Fine Arts - The New School for Jazz & Contemporary Music in New York City)

Cassity is a saxophonist, woodwindist, pianist, and educator. She has over 25 years of professional experience as a performer, composer, bandleader, music educator, clinician, and recording artist. As a young girl, Sharel started her musical journey at the age of 6 on the piano. By age 8, she quickly won state-level competitions and won numerous awards on a national level, eventually placing in the Disney International Piano Concerto Competition at age 11. As a classical pianist, Sharel has performed J.S. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, and more. In addition to performing, Sharel has always been passionate about teaching and inspiring future generations of musicians. Having held a private studio for over 20 years, her students have won scholarships to the Hartt School of Music and placed in Jazz for Teens, Jazz House Kids, and the Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra. Sharel began her teaching career in the Yukon, OK Independence Middle School band program at 20, holding woodwind sectionals and teaching private piano and woodwind lessons. Upon entering New York City, Sharel taught in the inner-city school system and privately funded after-school music programs for 10 years. Currently, she resides in Carpentersville, IL, and is the Professor of Saxophone and Piano at Elgin Community College in Elgin, IL.

WOODWINDS

Flute with Scott Metlicka

Scott lives in Elgin, IL and is a member of the Elgin, Rockford and South Bend Symphonies as well as the Wisconsin Philharmonic. He is also a flutist for Milwaukee’s Skylight Theater and performs as an extra with Grant Park Symphony, Chicago Opera Theater, Madison Symphony and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. He teaches flute at Elgin Community College. He is also a flute instructor at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, and previously taught flute methods classes at DePaul University to music education majors. His degrees in flute performance are from Northern Illinois University (Bachelor’s) and Northwestern University (Master’s).
He studied with Walfrid Kujala, Mary Stolper, and Mary Louise Poor. Scott won first prize in the Chicago Flute Club Piccolo Competition. As a chamber musician, performances include collaborations with Sonic Inertia, Fifth House Ensemble, Quintet Attacca, and James Street Players plus his own group, the Apollo Trio. In addition to performing and teaching, Scott has served as president and membership chair of the Chicago Flute Club. In 2014, Scott performed bass flute at the National Flute Association Convention in Chicago. As a flute soloist, Scott played the Ibert Flute Concerto with the Rockford Symphony in 2016 and the Liebermann Piccolo Concerto with the South Bend Symphony in 2017.

Bassoon with Gwyn Downey (Bachelor of Music, Music Theory and Composition - Ball State University)

Downey has been a performer and private music instructor in the Fox Valley and Chicago area since 1985. Her instructors include Homer Pence, Anne Eagleton from the Lyric Opera, Willard Elliot, CSO, Robert Barris, and Bill Buchmann, CSO. She currently plays principal bassoon with the Park Ridge Orchestra and the Fox Valley Orchestra and performs chamber music with the Opus 3 Woodwind Trio. She recently performed the Mozart Bassoon Concerto with the Park Ridge and Fox Valley Orchestras. In addition, she has performed with the Rockford Symphony, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, The Mozart Festival Orchestra, Illinois Philharmonic, Northbrook Symphony, Evanston Symphony, and New Philharmonic Orchestra. She also serves as an adjunct bassoon professor at Judson University.

Oboe with Debra Freedland (Master's Degree of Music – Indiana University)

Freedland's extensive orchestral experience offers oboe students of all skill levels an opportunity to reach their full potential as they learn from Ms. Freedland. Her impressive orchestral experience includes principal positions with the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra, Tulsa Philharmonic, the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, the Seoul Philharmonic, and her current position as the Principal oboe with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Rockford Symphony Orchestra, and the Light Opera Works. Flute/Piccolo/Recorder with Scott Metlicka (Master's degree in Flute Performance - Northwestern University). From chamber music to Broadway, Scott Metlicka's impressive performance resume and passion for teaching benefit flute students of all ages and skill levels. A member of the Elgin, Rockford, Wisconsin Philharmonic, and South Bend Symphonies, Scott's other orchestral engagements include Chicago Opera Theater, Grant Park Symphony, Madison Symphony, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, as well as chamber music performances with several ensembles. He studied with Walfrid Kujala, Mary Stolper, and Mary Louise Poor. Scott won first prize in the Chicago Flute Club Piccolo Competition. As a soloist, Scott played the Ibert Flute Concerto with the Rockford Symphony in 2016 and the Liebermann Piccolo Concerto with the South Bend Symphony in 2017. Scott previously taught flute method classes for music education majors at DePaul University. He has also served as president and membership chair of the Chicago Flute Club.

Saxophone with Sharel Cassity (Master's Degree of Music - The Juilliard School; Bachelor of Fine Arts - The New School for Jazz & Contemporary Music in New York City)

Cassity is a saxophonist, woodwindist, pianist, and educator. She has over 25 years of professional experience as a performer, composer, bandleader, music educator, clinician, and recording artist. As a young girl, Sharel started her musical journey at the age of 6 on the piano. By age 8, she quickly won state-level competitions and won numerous awards on a national level, eventually placing in the Disney International Piano Concerto Competition at age 11. As a classical pianist, Sharel has performed works by J.S. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, and more. In addition to performing, Sharel has always been passionate about teaching and inspiring future generations of musicians. Having held a private studio for over 20 years, her students have won scholarships to the Hartt School of Music and have been placed in Jazz for Teens, Jazz House Kids, and the Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra. Sharel began her teaching career in the Yukon, OK Independence Middle School band program at 20, holding woodwind sectionals and teaching private piano and woodwind lessons. Upon entering New York City, Sharel taught in the inner-city school system and privately funded after-school music programs for 10 years. Currently, she resides in Carpentersville, IL, and is the Professor of Saxophone and Piano at Elgin Community College in Elgin, IL.

Clarinet and Saxophone with Deborah Zelman (Master's Degree of Music in Clarinet Performance; Bachelor of Science in Music Education - the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Zelman studied under the direction of Howard Klug. She has also studied with Charlene Zimmerman of the Grant Park Symphony and Lyric Opera Orchestra. Ms. Zelman performs locally as a principal clarinetist with the DuPage Symphony Orchestra and DuPage Symphony Woodwind Quintet. She is an active freelance and jazz musician and performs regularly as a clarinetist, saxophonist, and jazz vocalist with the DuPage Community Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Quintet. Deborah is an adjunct faculty member at Elgin Community College. She is the private music lesson manager and maintains the clarinet and saxophone studios, a private studio in Naperville, and two high schools. She has extensive teaching experience and serves as Director of Children's Choirs at Saint John's Episcopal Church in Naperville.

Brass

Trumpet with Ryan Hobbs (Bachelor's Degree of Music - DePaul University; Master's Degree of Music - University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

Hobbs is an active freelance musician and teacher in Chicago. He is a regular member of the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra and is the founder/trumpet of Northside Brass. Ryan maintains a varied schedule as a musician and as a classical player has played extra with the Oistrach Symphony (Chicago), International Chamber Artists (Chicago), Paderewski Symphony (Chicago), The Millar Brass Ensemble, Bach-Week Festival (Chicago), New Philharmonic Orchestra, Fox Valley Symphony (Appleton, WI), Present Music Milwaukee, Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, Fox Valley Orchestra (Aurora, IL), Peoria Symphony Orchestra, Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra (MI), Dubuque Symphony Orchestra (IA), Racine Symphony Orchestra, and the Kenosha Symphony Orchestra. In addition, Ryan has played extra with Dennis DeYoung and "Styx," Doc Severinson, and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra as a commercial player. He can also be found in Broadway show pit orchestras around Chicago, including recent runs of "Kiss me Kate," "Guys and Dolls," and "In the Heights." Finally, Ryan is passionate about music education and maintains an active private studio in the Chicago-land area with over 50 students.

Trombone, Euphonium and Tuba with Andrew Rozsa

Dr. Andrew Rozsa is Adjunct Instructor of Trombone at Illinois Wesleyan University, College of DuPage, and Elgin Community College.  He also currently serves as bass trombonist with the Illinois Philharmonic and the Quad City Symphony. Rozsa earned a Doctor of Music degree in 2015 from McGill University.  While at McGill, he was a two-time Schulich Award winner, and a featured soloist with the McGill Trombone Ensemble.  His doctoral research involved the study of metallurgical and design properties of trombones and their effects on the feel and sound of said instruments.

A frequent guest musician, he has performed as a substitute with the Montréal Symphony, Madison Symphony, Chicago Philharmonic, Des Moines Symphony, Thunder Bay (Ontario) Symphony, Orchestra Iowa, Elgin Symphony, Northwest Indiana Symphony, Illinois Symphony, New Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Rockford Symphony, among others. An active educator, Andrew has served on the faculty of McGill University, McGill Conservatory, and numerous high schools in the suburban Chicago area, before assuming his current positions at IWU and COD. As a composer, his works have been premiered by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony and the Albuquerque City Schools’ string program, among others.

Dr. Rozsa also holds a Performers’ Certificate from DePaul University and a Master’s degree in performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music; he completed his Bachelor’s degree in composition and theory at the Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory of Music.  His major trombone teachers were Doug Bennett, Allen Kofsky, Thomas Klaber, Charles Vernon, Mark Fisher, Floyd Cooley, James Box, and Pierre Beaudry.  He studied composition with Dan Adams, James Feldman, and Loris Chobanian.  He was also a participant at the 2011 Alessi Seminar.

French Horn with Jeremiah Frederick

Jeremiah Frederick is currently Associate Principal horn of the South Bend Symphony and a Chicago Philharmonic and the IRIS Orchestra member. In addition, Jeremiah has played with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Grant Park, Elgin, Rockford and Omaha Symphonies, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and the Joffrey Ballet. Solo engagements have included Schumann’s Concertpiece with the Fox Valley Symphony and South Bend Symphony, Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and Jacob's Concerto For Horn and Strings at Northwestern University. In 2018, Mr. Frederick was an artist-in-residence for the Racine Symphony, performing many community recitals and a performance of Mozart’s Concerto No. 3 with the orchestra.

An avid chamber musician, Mr. Frederick is a member of the Millar Brass and a founding member of Quintet Attacca, a wind quintet and winner of the 2002 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Following this honor, Quintet Attacca has toured in the Midwest and concerts in New York City and Italy. Quintet Attacca is currently in residence at The Music Institute of Chicago. Mr. Frederick is a frequent pit musician in Chicago. He has performed the pre-Broadway world premieres of Tootsie, The Addams Family, and Big Fish and performed many Broadway in Chicago and local productions, including The Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King, and Les Miserables. Jeremiah graduated from Northwestern University (MM) and Lawrence University (BM). His teachers have included Gail Williams, Bill Barnewitz, and James DeCorsey.

PERCUSSION

Steve Butters (Master's Degree in Music - University of Illinois)

Butters has performed professionally in Chicago since 1991 and has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia as a soloist and a member of such diverse Tone Road Ramblers Ensemble, NoAmnesia, and Maverick Ensemble. In addition, Steve has recorded for the Opus One, Einstein, and Drag City music labels. Though still widely regarded as an interpreter of contemporary percussion music, Steve began focusing on the steel drum soon after moving to Chicago. In addition to performing and teaching private music lessons for ECC, Steve directs the Elgin Community College Steel Band program. He is also on the faculty of Chicago State University, where he teaches Percussion and Percussion Methods. His Steel Band group, Pan Chicago, has been livening up the Chicago area with the Caribbean sounds since 2000.

VOICE

Kathi Bernhard (MA-Curriculum & Instruction - Concordia University; Bachelors of Music, Millikin University)

Bernhard is a performer and former middle and high school choir director and music teacher with an impressive career as a music educator. She was on staff at ECC as an instructor for Music for the Elementary Teacher for seven years and has been listed in Who's Who Among American Teachers numerous times. Ms. Bernhard has guest conducted several middle school and high school choral festivals in addition to the Elgin Children's Choir and Chamber choirs. She led Elgin High School IMEA Division I Chamber Choir in addition to the high school's madrigal group, vocal jazz ensemble, musical theater productions, and she directed five choirs daily during her tenure at EHS. Coming from an educator's background, Kathi uses a combination of imagery, Alexander's Technique, and visual resources to help her students acquire a solid understanding of vocal skills to tap into the beauty and musicality of their voice.

JoEllyn Caulfield (Master's Degree of Music - Michigan State University; Bachelor of Music Degree - Northern Illinois University, both in Vocal Performance)

Caulfield's students have gained admission and received scholarships to numerous colleges and universities for Undergraduate and Master's Degree Music Programs. Students have attended prominent summer programs, had successes in competitions, and frequently performed leading roles in high school, community, and college theatres. JoEllyn also directs two extra-curricular female ensembles at OEHS, a cappella group, and a jazz group. In addition to teaching, Ms. Caulfield has an active performing career, including Mozart's Credo Mass, Missa Brevis in C, Regina Coeli, Handel's Messiah, Buxtehude's Magnificat, and Haydn's Creation. She also performs with Cor Cantiamo, a professional touring choir based in DeKalb, IL, and has recorded 3 CDs. In addition, she has performed in concerts in Italy, England, Germany, and Poland. Ms. Caulfield is a member of the Chicago Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS).

Christopher Jackson (Master's Degree of Music degree and Performer's Certificate in Voice - Northern Illinois University;  Bachelor of Music Degree in Vocal Performance - Bowling Green State University)

Jackson's tenor voice has been described as "a warm lyric voice with a high extension." as a tenor Christopher Jackson, is a versatile singer with experience ranging from the early music of the Baroque period to Gospel music. While at home on the operatic stage, he has experience as a voice teacher and coach, professional chorister, and recitalist. Christopher has numerous opera credits, and his solo concert repertoire includes Bach's Mass in B minor, Magnificat, Handel's The Messiah, and many more. In addition, he has performed with Cor Catiamo, The Canterbury Concert Series, and the St. Charles Singers as a choral musician. His experiences in choral ensembles have taken him to perform at venues such as Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in NYC and national conferences like American Choral Directors Association (ACDA).