ECC Private Music Lessons

Discover Your Creative Expression!

Whether you are a beginner or experienced musician, ECC's private music lessons are a great way to have fun learning your instrument while developing your creative expression style.

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.

Welcoming World Class Instructors

GUITARS

  • Guitar, Bass Guitar, Mandolin, and Ukulele: Brad Conroy (BM in Classical Guitar Performance (cum laude) at Northeastern Illinois University & MM from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.) Brad is a versatile guitarist, pedagogue, and performer specializing in the classical guitar’s art and scholarship. Brad performs from a diverse repertoire that begins at the Renaissance and goes through to the 21st century, often including his compositions, improvisations, and new works that have been dedicated to him. Brad is an accomplished and in-demand performer, lecturer, adjudicator, and has given concerts and clinics across the United States and abroad at festivals like the Western Illinois University International Guitar Festival, International Guitar Festival in Brno, Czech Republic, and for the Chicago Historical Society, the Chicago Classical Guitar Society, and the Czech Guitar Society. Brad is currently on Faculty at Elgin Community College, the Music Institute of Chicago, and at Metropolis School of Performing Arts in Arlington Heights, IL.
  • Guitar, Bass Guitar, Banjo, and Mandolin with Rob Curtis (Master's Degree in Classical Guitar Performance – Roosevelt University Chicago) Classical master guitarist, Rob Curtis 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 staff guitarist at the Sahara Club in Lake Tahoe backing acts like the Pointer Sisters, Smokey Robinson, and Little Richard, as well as performing as side-man with the Pump Room Orchestra, Bradley Young Orchestra, and the Brian Pattie Orchestra. 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 of Music, Eastman School of Music, and Bachelor of Music, magna cum laude, from North Park University) Carol is in her twentieth year as adjunct violin faculty at the North Park University of Chicago in addition to 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. She 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 its numerous European and American tours and recordings with that group 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 at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University in the studio of S. Hersh & Bachelor's Degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.) Agnieszka 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 took part 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's in Violin Performance from the University of Illinois, where she also studied Voice and Viola & Master's in Violin Performance from Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University) She 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. Paula has performed all over the world, 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. She is a founding member of Greenleaf strings, a string quartet, trio, or sometimes even a duo.

OTHER STRINGS

  • Harp with Nanette Felix (Bachelor of Music-Indiana University) Nanette Felix is an accomplished harpist who has achieved recognition not only for her performances as principal harpist for the Dubuque and Rockford Symphony orchestras but also for her appearances with other prominent orchestras including the Peoria Symphony, Evansville Philharmonic, Indianapolis Civic Symphony, The Chattanooga Opera Association, and the Quad City Symphony. Ms. Felix grew up in River Forest, Illinois. She attended Indiana University, pursuing her studies with Chicago Lyric Opera's harpist Elizabeth Cifani, and eventually playing with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Her other intriguing performances have been with rock & roll legends, Rick Nielson of Cheap Trick, the Moody Blues, Ray Charles, and Doc Severinsen. Nanette's repertoire encompasses a variety of classical, pop, jazz, and rock literature.
  • Cello with Kerena Moeller (Graduate Performance Diploma from Peabody Conservatory of Music, Master's Degree in Music Performance & Literature from Eastman School of Music & Bachelor's Degree in Music, and The Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester England) British cellist, Kerena Moeller, has performed concertos by Tchaikovsky, Schumann, and Elgar with orchestras in England and the United States. 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 of Music – Indiana University School of Music) 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. He has toured throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan and has recorded various ensembles during his career.

PIANO

  • Larry Dieffenbach (Undergraduate studies at Olivet Nazarene University graduating with magna cum laude honors & The University of Colorado in Boulder). He performed at President Carter's inauguration festivities during his freshman year. Since living in the area, he has been the Musical Director of Lincoln Opera, accompanist for many soloists and ensembles including the St. Charles Singers, the Elgin Arts Chorale, and the St. Charles Art & Music Festival. He founded and directed the International Piano Competition for the festival. He has served as organist for Geneva United Methodist Church and Baker Memorial Church in St. Charles. Larry is currently Music Director at The Little Home Church By The Wayside. Larry teaches privately in his Geneva home, teaches Kindermusik in St. Charles, is a part-time instructor at Elgin Community College, and has served for nearly two decades as the Musical Director of the American Grands Concert, a piano showcase featuring more than 500 local pianists.
  • Constance Hughes (Master of Music in Piano – Chicago College of Performing Arts Roosevelt University) Ravinia Festival artist, performer, and educator, Constance Hughes, whose performance experience includes appearances with the Kansas City Philharmonic, Independence Symphony, the Rockford Symphony, and our own Elgin Symphony Orchestra, is passionate about educating piano students of all skill levels. 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 of Music – the University of Massachusetts at Amherst) Cool jazz piano sounds and fundamental piano instruction are offered with experienced master performer and instructor, Ray Koehler. 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 of Music from The Juilliard School and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The New School for Jazz & Contemporary Music in New York City). She 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 the age of 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

  • Bassoon with: Gwyn Downey (Bachelor of Music, Music Theory and Composition from Ball State University) 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. 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 of Music – Indiana University) Debra'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 benefits 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 of Music from The Juilliard School and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The New School for Jazz & Contemporary Music in New York City). She 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 the age of 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 of Music degree in Clarinet Performance and a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). Deborah 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 and a private studio in Naperville and two area high schools. She has extensive teaching experience and serves as Director of Children's Choirs at Saint John's Episcopal Church in Naperville.

Brass

  • Trombone & low brass with Mark Fry (Bachelor of Music Performance for Trombone at the University of Houston-University Park, Houston, TX) Mark is currently the bass trombonist of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Lake Forest Symphony, and Third Coast Brass. Mr. Fry performs regularly with the Chicago Philharmonic, Joffrey Ballet, and Chicago Opera Theater. He has performed with numerous orchestras in the United States, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Grant Park Orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Britt Festival Orchestra (Oregon), Sarasota Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera and Spoleto Festival – Italy. He has performed with the Chicago Symphony in Carnegie Hall during the fall of 2001 and the Houston Symphony during their 2010 tour of England and Scotland. Before moving to Chicago, he was the bass trombonist of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra in Honolulu and has performed with such groups as Fulcrum Point New Music Project and on the Chicago Symphony's Music Now series. Mr. Fry has recorded with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, Mannheim Steamroller, New Black Music Repertory Ensemble, the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, and radio and television commercials. He is currently the co-artistic director of Chamber Music on the Fox and the low brass instructor at Elgin Community College.
  • Trumpet with: Ryan Hobbs (BM- DePaul University & MM- University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee). Ryan 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. As a commercial player, Ryan has played extra with Dennis DeYoung and "Styx," Doc Severinson, and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. 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.
  • French Horn with Kelly Langenberg (MM - De Paul University, BM, BME - Baldwin Wallace College-Conservatory of Music). Kelly is a thriving performer and teacher with a growing list of accomplishments and performing opportunities. Recent appearances include the Chicago Brass Festival, the International Women's Brass Conference, and two national tours with the Alliance Brass Quintet, the Chicago Brass Festival and the Mid-North Horn Workshop with the Uber Horn Quartet, the 45th International Horn Society Symposium with the Chicago Horn Consort, the 2013 National Trumpet Competition, the Great American Brass Band Festival, and the International Trumpet Guild Conference with the Stiletto Brass Quintet. Kelly's musical performance experiences include the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra and Light Opera Works Orchestra as principal horn and the Chicago Philharmonic, Ars Viva! Symphony, Lake Forest Symphony, and the Cleveland Orchestra through the Kent Blossom Music Festival.

PERCUSSION

  • Steve Butters (Masters of Music-University of Illinois) Steve Butters has been performing professionally in Chicago since 1991 and has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia as a soloist and as a member of such diverse groups as Tone Road Ramblers Ensemble, NoAmnesia, and Maverick Ensemble. 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 the Chicago area. 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, Milliken University) Performer and former middle and high school choir director and music teacher, Kathi Bernhard, has 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. Lyndy Simons-Buglio (Masters of Music, Northwestern University) Coloratura Soprano, Lyndy Simons-Buglio, celebrated an illustrious career as the lead performer with numerous national and international companies (Spoleto Festival the USA, Piedmont Opera, Western Plains Opera, Skylight Opera Theater, Capital City Opera, The Florentine Opera, Opera Omaha, Eugene Opera, Virginia Opera, Knoxville Opera, DuPage Opera Theater, Chicago Opera, Washington Symphony Orchestra, the Dayton Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Opera, Bochumer Symphoniker, Le Theatre Royal de la Monnaie—Brussels, English National Opera) before pursuing the "normal" life of a private music instructor at ECC and two other junior colleges. Ms. Buglio has taught master classes at various schools and universities. Her talent is featured on the commercial CD, Circle All Around Me, singing a four-movement work commissioned for her and composer Ron Warren, entitled Quatros Sonetos de Amor. JoEllyn Caulfield (Master of Music degree from Michigan State University and a Bachelor of Music Degree from Northern Illinois University, both in Vocal Performance). Her 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, an 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, and Regina Coeli, Handel's Messiah, Buxtehude's Magnificat, and Haydn's Creation. She also performs with Cor Cantiamo, a professional touring choir based out of DeKalb, IL, and has recorded 3 CDs. 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 of Music degree and Performer's Certificate in Voice from Northern Illinois University and a Bachelor of Music Degree in Vocal Performance from Bowling Green State University) His voice has been described as "a warm lyric voice with a high extension," tenor Christopher Jackson, is a versatile singer with experience ranging from the early music of the Baroque period through to Gospel. While at home on the operatic stage, he also 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. As a choral musician, he has performed with Cor Catiamo, The Canterbury Concert Series, and the St. Charles Singers. 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).