Violin, Viola, Piano, Baby Music and Me, Baby Bach, Little Mozart, Soloist Pero Piano, Chamber Orchestra Instructor
Sara Sasaki is a violinist based in Dallas, Texas, and has a 15 year teaching career with experience teaching all levels and ages. She recently became a graduate of The University of Texas Butler School of Music with an Artist Diploma degree, studying primarily with Sandy Yamamoto. Previously she has earned her Master of Music degree from The University of Texas Butler School of Music and Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
While studying at UT, she has held the positions of Concertmaster and Principal Second Violin with the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Gerhardt Zimmermann, Concertmaster with the University of Texas New Music Ensemble under the direction of Dan Welcher, and Concertmaster of the Bach Cantata Project under the direction of Dr. James Morrow. Ms. Sasaki is the Artistic Director of the contemporary chamber group prismatx ensemble, founded in May 2016 and based in Austin, Texas. She has been a performer and fellow at The Next Festival of Emerging Artists, soundSCAPE composition and performance exchange, Heifetz International Music Institute, Aspen Music Festival, and Eastern Music Festival.
In the Dallas area, she regularly performs with the Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra and Plano Symphony Orchestra, and additionally enjoys performing with bluegrass bands Ioni Creek and The Quibble Brothers. Sara resides in Dallas with her fiancé Charlie and cat Kikko, and loves working with her wonderful students on a weekly basis.
Master Teacher: Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Musical Theatre, and Creative Movement, Art Instructor
Ms. Shannon has been a ballet and dance teacher, performer, and choreographer for over 20 years. She is a certified ballet teacher in Cecchetti Syllabus Grades I, II, and III. She has her Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Art from the University of Missouri Columbia, and her degree in Education and Certification in Science and PRE K-12 from the State of Missouri. Ms. Shannon was the School Director for Dance Arts of St. Louis for 16 years, the Chair of the Dance Department for Parkway School District High Schools, Desmet Jesuit College Prep, and Crossroads College Prep. She was on ballet scholarship at Columbia Performing Arts and was also an intern for MADCO (Modern American Dance Company). Ms. Shannon has had the privilege of partaking in residencies with many dance companies including, Alvin Ailey and Paul Taylor. Ms. Shannon is passionate about ballet and enjoys teaching students of all ages the joys, creativity, technique, and performance skills creating great artists. She has performed Romeo and Juliet with American Ballet Theatre and Stuttgart Ballet through Dance St. Louis. Ms. Shannon has performed and staged classics such as Nutcracker, Swan Lake, La Bayadare, Les Sylphides, Pas de Quatre, Paquita, Grand Pas Classique, Sleeping Beauty, and Don Quixote. Ms. Shannon helped created new story book ballets such as Beauty and the Beast, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Tiana’s Mardi Gras Ball, Little Red Goes into the Woods, The Secret Garden, Tinkerbell and Her Fairy Friends, The Rainbow Fairy, and Fairy Tale Excerpts.
Ms. Shannon’s students have attended Master Classes and Residencies with Complexions, River North, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Ruth Paige’s Civic Ballet of Chicago, Joffrey Ballet, Sydney Ballet Australia, Miami City ballet, Kansas City Ballet. Ms. Shannon has taught and coached YGAP dancers and trained a ballerina to teach ballet for Joffrey Ballet School NY.
Ms. Shannon’s students have attended Joffrey, ABT, Nashville Ballet, Kanas City Ballet, Alvin Ailey, and summer intensives, as well as been awarded university scholarships. They have gone on to perform with Boston’s Urbanity, Dayton Ballet, Dance Captain for Disney Broadway Touring HS Musicals & 9-5.
Ms. Shannon is also an art enthusiast. She has started selling her artwork, entering art competitions, and showing her art in local art shows since the age of 9. Commissioned colored pencil works of realistic portraiture, still life, and from photographs. Through middle school and high school she was asked by her school to create and paint murals for the Drama Room and Gymnasium.
She also created yearbook and program book covers, clothing logos, and school logos, and stationary. Designed and drew the emblem for the Kirkwood Fire-department. She won awards and contests for The American Heart Association Poster and St Louis Post Dispatch Newspaper “100 Neediest Cases”. She was the president of the National Art Honors Society and helped give individual lessons to many aspiring artists.
As a professional artist she has designed and created many backdrops for theatrical productions, costumes, websites, logos, photography, videography, digital design, editing, and advertising.
She taught art and creativity and designed curriculum for community days at Spark Dallas for over 1,000s of families. Ms. Shannon also designed and created a mural, color me T-shirt’s for Spark Dallas. Ms. Shannon’s haute couture fashion was featured in Transcend Dallas 2017, her watercolor Dallas skylines were featured in the Dallas Observer November 2017, and her work has been shown at Neiman Marcus, 5×5, and Cedars Open Studios 2017-2018. Her artwork ranges from paintings, fabric, and sculpture – realistic and abstract.
PERRY BROOKS NICHOLS
Guitar, Ukulele, Piano Instructor
Perry Brooks Nichols is the fifth generation of a family of Dallas artists. At 10 years old, he was Inspired by the sounds of 90’s alternative grunge and classic rock to dust off his mother’s classical guitar. His educational journey began when his Middle School’s music teacher allowed him to accompany the recorder ensemble by strumming chords.
Alongside electric guitar studies with Brad McLemore as a young teenager, he developed a fascination with sight reading music for the Spanish Guitar. A year later he was accepted to Booker T. Washington High School of the Performing and Visual Arts to study jazz with Chuck Pangburn and supplemented these studies by attending classical guitar masterclasses taught by Robert Guthrie, Enric Madriguera, and others. He was granted a full scholarship to SMU’s classical guitar program where he completed a BFA in 2005. Over this course of study, he discovered his passion for guiding students from beginning to advanced levels into the knowledge of the guitar’s diverse musical languages with an emphasis on developing a natural relaxed technique, cultivating literary proficiency with many forms of notation, and finding one’s expressive voice.
As a musical artist, Perry has collaborated w/ various artists on recording sessions and released solo albums under the moniker Crowyote. He performs annually at local festivals such as the Clove Hill School Lantern Walk Festival. His students have placed in UIL competitions, and have been accepted to prestigious institutions such as the Berklee School of Music Master’s degree program in Valencia, Spain.
Perry’s teaching specialties include: Youth Education, Sight Reading, Music Theory, Solfeggio, Classical/Flamenco Right Hand Technique and Fingerpicking, the Carlevaro technique, DADGAD, Vestapol and alternate tunings, Chord Melody, Interpretation, Lead & Rhythm Electric Guitar, Composition, Ambient Guitar, Acoustic Synthesis, Recording, Editing, Mixing, Mastering, and Effects.
Piano, Guitar (Acoustic and Bass), Mandolin and Drum Instructor
Ben Martin, from the DFW area, is a piano instructor who has been studying and playing music for over 16 years. He received an Associate’s Degree in Music from the Dallas County Community College District system, studied jazz and classical music performance and history at the University of Texas in Arlington, and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Art and Performance from the University of Texas in Dallas. He started his musical career with the electric bass guitar and quickly expanded his repertoire to include guitar, piano, singing/vocalizing, upright bass, mandolin, percussion, and the drum kit. Along with being proficient in music theory, composition, and music history, Ben has extensive experience performing and even composes his own music. Ben has a strong desire to instigate a love of music in his students and hopes each of his students gains an appreciation for the art of music.
Voice and Piano Instructor
Kailey Berry began her music education at the age of 7 in her hometown of San Diego, California. She went on to earn her BM in Vocal Performance at Southern Methodist University.
She has performed with professional ensembles such as Point Loma Opera Theatre, Lyric Stage, and the Carpe Diem String Quartet. Berry has also performed internationally at the Alba Music Festival, Cremona Music Festival, and at Accademia Musicale Chigiana. She has collaborated with musicians such as Maria Luigia Borsi, Vlad Iftinca, and Shane Peterman. Proven to be a versatile singer, she is best known for her jazz, country, opera and musical theatre styles.
Berry has a passion for teaching the next generation of musicians and has experience teaching all ages from toddlers to adults. She has taught voice privately and at music schools such as Zhen Music & Arts Institute, and Lake Highlands School of Music. She has taught at Highland Park United Methodist Church and is currently the Soprano section leader at Northpark Presbyterian Church. She has also made appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Brandywine Film Festival.
While Berry has worked with experienced musicians, she excels with younger students. During her time at San Diego Junior Theatre, Berry led a large number of young students in a musical theatre camp. With her students Berry focuses on incorporating the body with the voice to promote healthy singing as well as projection and presence that can be heard from a stage. She is thrilled to meet each of her students and help guide them to their uniquely crafted musical futures. She has extensive experience in piano teaching and in working with special needs students.
Violin, Piano and Voice Instructor
Abi Hoyt began her music education at the age of 6 on piano and went on to start her undergraduate studies in Violin Performance at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Abi graduated with a BM and MM in Voice Performance from CCM. She continues to stay active as a performer and has performed with professional ensembles such as the Cincinnati Vocal Arts Ensemble, Cincinnati Opera, Collegium, and Coro Volante.
Abi has taught voice, violin, and piano privately and at academies of music such as the Somerset Academy of Music and the Cincinnati School of Music.
I’m looking forward to meeting each of my future students! I believe in the individuality of each student and that every student learns in their own unique way. I’m so excited to go on this musical journey with you!
Piano and Composition Instructor
Rowan Barcham is a jazz pianist, composer and educator from Dallas, Texas. He is a graduate of Booker T Washington HSPVA and the University of Miami, where he obtained his degree in jazz performance. He is currently pursuing his Master’s at the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts.
Rowan has had the opportunity to perform with Maria Schneider, Dave Holland, Darmon Meader, Ingrid Jensen, Lucy Woodward, Bobby Broom, Charnee Wade, among many others. Rowan splits his time performing along with teaching, determined to help his students find their individual voices and reach their highest potentials. Rowan also works as an accompanist, composer, and arranger.
KEVIN GRAY (KJ)
Piano, Voice, Ukulele, Guitar (Acoustic, Electric, Bass)
Kevin Gray Jr. was born and raised in Dallas, Texas where he received a homeschooled education. Kevin began playing bass at the age of 15. Kevin is one of the founding members of the band “Friday’s Foolery”. Kevin is currently employed with Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship (OCBF) as the bass player for the Youth Ministry. He continues to maintain a presence in the DFW music scene by playing for numerous artists locally and abroad.
Kevin enjoys teaching students the music that speaks to them, whether it be classical, jazz, or popular repertoire. His goal for every lesson is to explore new music and to help students achieve personal progress to master the music they want to play.
Voice, Piano, Guitar, Composition, Music Theory, French Instructor
Michelle Mackey’s mother liked to say she was a baby who sang before she could talk, but her serious study began in church choir and private piano lessons at age seven under DSO’s Mitta Angell. Through singing with the Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas, she began to study opera privately with Terrie Preskitt-Brown at age 11. Playing violin and cello in middle school orchestra, she met Duilio Dobrin, who would be her long-term professor and mentor, even through her time at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, where she continued her studies in opera, piano and choir, getting to All-State Choir in her freshman year. As a sophomore, she became interested in theory, composition and improvisation, and Michelle left her classical roots to elope with blues and jazz once she was a junior. She was decorated with multiple Downbeat awards for her tenure with the Latin American Ensemble under Dobrin’s direction at ARTS Magnet, and also performed in ensembles which played funk, blues, pop, and she ultimately followed jazz (and scholarship money) to Berklee School of Music in Boston, MA, where she studied under Alison Wedding and Carolyn Leonheart. While studying at Berklee she was featured in the Student Songwriter Showcase and the Tower of Power Ensemble. Michelle returned to Dallas in 2013 to pursue her undergraduate degree in Economics and French. She is currently involved with various local bands and is immensely excited for the widespread return of stage lights and un-sanitized microphones. To this day, she is an avid learner, lover of mirth, truth, and beauty–especially in sonic form.