Music Teachers in Sycamore
The Music Connection is a full-service music lesson studio. We have talented and professional music instructors who teach lessons for all school band/orchestra instruments, voice and guitar. We offer both group and one-on-one lessons. Whether you are just starting out as a musician or want to further your musical knowledge and talent, our teachers have years of experience instructing music. Sign up today to further your musical talent!
Una Lawrence teaches flute lessons at The Music Connection. She is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in music education and K-12 teacher licensure from Northern Illinois University, where she has studied with Peter Middleton and currently studies with Dr. Elizabeth Barber. Una has performed with numerous ensembles at NIU, including the university's Wind Symphony, Wind Ensemble, Philharmonic, Flute Ensemble, and more. She also serves as the principal flutist for the NIU Wind Symphony.
- WED: 4-9PM
Yajing Li is a piano teacher at The Music Connection, LLC. Having been teaching piano for many years, she has rich experience in piano instruction. Patient, enthusiastic, and approachable, Yajing is skilled in teaching students of all ages with different levels. Yajing studied piano with Dr. William Goldenberg at Northern Illinois University. She has two master's degrees in music (solo performance & accompaniment and chamber music) from Northern Illinois University. As a musician, she has been playing for churches and school choirs for years. She was once an accompanist working for DeKalb High School, Clinton Rosette Middle School, and Huntley Middle School. Contact Yajing at firstname.lastname@example.org
- TUES: 4-6:30PM
- THURS: 4-6:30PM
Danielle Pivonka is a recent graduate of Northern Illinois University in the 2017 class, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She began playing piano at 6 years old, and violin at 9 years old. Since then, she has completed hours of private lessons on each instrument. On piano, Danielle has won competitions, accompanied students for Solo and Ensemble performances and Senior Recitals, and has taught lessons for six years. She has also been playing piano as a worship leader for Sycamore United Methodist Church since 2011. On violin, Danielle has performed in countless orchestras and attended music camps across the country such as Illinois Summer Youth Music (ISYM) at University of Illinois, Birch Creek Symphony in Door County, Wisconsin, and Lyceum Music Festival in Midway, Utah. In middle school she played violin in the Community School of the Arts (CSA) Symphonette and transitioned to the CSA Sinfonia once she entered high school. Most recently, Danielle has been a member of the first violin section in the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra (KSO). Danielle has been teaching lessons on violin for five years and has thoroughly enjoyed it. She recently studied with violinist Renee-Paule Gauthier at North Park University and Mathias Tacke at Northern Illinois University. Danielle adjusts her teaching method to each child's needs and truly enjoys helping students who are excited to learn and grow as musicians!"
- MON: 3:30-9PM
Elizabeth Eastman Becker graduated from NIU with an undergraduate degree in music performance and political science. Her cello instructor at NIU was Avalon member Cheng-Hou Lee. She has played with the NIU Philharmonic as well as the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra . She was a member of Community School of the Arts Sinfonia for four years while she was in high school. She has taught private lessons for several years for students of all ages and abilities, Elizabeth has also been a sectional coach at Dekalb High School as well as the CSA summer string chamber program.
- MON: 4-8PM
Alex Rattana is currently an undergraduate vocal performance major at NIU. He is a Basso Cantante that has been singing for 5 years. For a young singer, he is heavily involved with professional choirs and church choirs in the Dekalb area. He has studied voice with Jeff Nesseth and is currently studying with Myron Meyers. Alex currently is a freelance vocalist and a Bell Choir Director at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. He is also a member of the NIU Concert Choir, DeKalb Festival Chorus, and Kishwaukee Barbershop Harmony Singers. He currently serves as the Alumni Relations Officer of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia chapter at NIU.
- MON: 3-5 pm
- TUE: 6:30-9:00 pm
- WED: 4-5 pm and 6:30-9:00 pm
- FRI: 3 -9pm
- SAT: 9am - 9pm
Amelia is a senior majoring in Vocal Performance at NIU, studying privately with Dr. Orna Arania. She is involved in the NIU Concert choir, Chamber choir and Opera Theater. Classically trained, Amelia incorporates a strong emphasis on breath support and vowel placement. She also has training in musical theater and jazz. She is active in the DeKalb community by sharing her voice as a primary cantor for the NIU Newman Catholic Student Center. Aside from school, Amelia is a freelance performing artist writing songs on the piano, playing various venues across the Chicagoland area. She is passionate about singing and performing and looks forward to helping those who want to improve their abilities as well as find their own unique sound.
- MON: 6-8:30PM
- TUES: 3-8:30PM
- WED: 3:30-8:30PM
- FRI: 3:30-8:30PM
- SAT: 11- 5:00PM
- SUN: 2-7:30PM
Mick Gehr is currently studying Vocal Music Education at Northern Illinois University. Since a young age, he has been fascinated by the human voice and all that it can accomplish! Mick has been accepted into ILMEA District Choirs for both traditional and vocaljazz. Entering college, he was eager to try something different! Mick joined The NIU Huskie Hunks, the premier all-male a cappella group at Northern! Of his four years in the group, The Huskie Hunks advanced to the semifinal round of the ICCA (International Championship of Colleigate A Cappella), making the group one of the top 10 in the Great Lakes region and top 50 in the US and Great Britain! Mick was fortunate enough to serve as Music Director of the group for two years. Also, he began working on his beatboxing, which led him to become the groups primary VP (Vocal percussionist). Mick is incredibly excited to start working with The Music Connection, LLC to start spreading his love for the voice to every student possible!
- MON: 4:30-8:30PM
- TUES: NA
- WED: 4:30-8:30PM
- THURS: 4:30-8:30PM
- FRI: 4:30-8:30PM
- SAT: 8:30-2:30PM
- SUN: 4:30-8:30PM
Ted earned his M.A. in Guitar Performance at Northern Illinois University where he was a student of virtuoso, Fareed Haque, and since has been teaching the Suzuki method of classical guitar in Rockford and Sycamore. His classical repertoire showcases Baroque, Classical, South American, Spanish, as well as 20th Century styles and has performed original compositions and transcriptions for recitals. While primarily classically trained, Ted shifts comfortably between a diverse spectrum of musical styles, including jazz, blues, rock, folk, and bluegrass. In addition to guitar, Ted teaches mandolin and ukulele.
- TUES: 3-8PM
Ben has over 20 years of professional percussion experience in both teaching and performance. But, his musical journey began long before that while growing up in Texas and Missouri. After playing clarinet in his middle school bands, he caught the percussion bug while being immersed in the rich musical environment found in and around St. Louis, and the rest is history. Some of his St. Louis percussion teachers include Thomas Stubbs (St. Louis Symphony Orchestra), Michael Farris, and Glen "Papa" Wright. Ben is also fortunate to have been able to train and perform with some of the most talented young musicians in the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra (Leonard Slatkin, consultant). Ben later chose to make percussion his career and, upon a recommendation from his high school band director, travelled to Northern Illinois University, a school known for it's world music, jazz, and percussion education. His primary instructors were Rich Holly and Robert Chappell. Ben earned a Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance in 1998 and is fortunate to have performed at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Atlanta, GA with the N.I.U. Steel Band, under the direction of Al O'Connor and Cliff Alexis, and also during their Taiwan tour, among other things.
After graduation, Ben travelled to Nashville, TN to pursue a career in the studio scene. He was fortunate to meet and work with some great people from various parts of the Nashville music industry for over 10 years. He also marched 3 years with the DCA drum corps Music City Legend and also helped start the corps from the ground up in 2003. Other unique experiences while living in Nashville included working for several years at Treeworks Chimes and Row-Loff Productions.
In 2011, Ben relocated to Northern Illinois to pursue his Professional Educators License in K-12 Music Education at Northern Illinois University again. Some of his teachers from his time at N.I.U. include Rich Holly, Robert Chappell, Dr. Greg Beyer, Liam Teague, Dr. Ronald Wooten, and Dr. Mary Lynn Doherty.
Ben currently teaches band in the Wheaton CUSD 200, maintains another private studio in Sycamore, and freelances in the Chicagoland area. He is also Percussion Coordinator and Percussion Arranger for the Racine Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps. In the fall of 2013, Ben started his own summer drum line activity for area percussionists called Cadence Percussion. More information can be found at www.cadencepercussion.org.
Ben is a member of the Percussive Arts Society and Illinois Music Educators Association. Ben desires that all percussionists, regardless of age or skill level, learn the techniques and skills needed to be a well-rounded percussionist (i.e. mallets/snare/timpani/drum set/electronics) while having some fun too! Please feel free to contact him with any questions: email@example.com # 615-300-3482 (cell).
- SUN: 1-5PM
- MON: 7-9PM
- TUES: 7-9PM
- THURS: 6-8 PM
Joshua Mason is currently a graduate assistant in jazz studies at Northern Illinois University. He is a member of the acclaimed NIU Jazztet and NIU Jazz Orchestra. While at his alma mater, Gustavus Adolphus College, he studied a variety of musical styles, instruments, and techniques. He was principal trombone in Gustavus’ premier touring ensembles including the Jazz Lab Band, Symphony Orchestra, and Wind Orchestra. Joshua is also active in chamber music and has performed with a variety of chamber ensembles including: Gustavus Jazztet, Christ Chapel Brass, and Gustavus Trombone Choir. Joshua’s compositions and arrangements have been performed by the NIU Jazztet, Gustavus Jazztet, and Gustavus Jazz Lab Band, and other small groups, including performances at the 2017 JENerations jazz festival in New Orleans, as well as the 50th Elmhurst jazz festival. In 2016, Joshua’s string quartet,Refugee Peace,was chosen as the winner of Gustavus’ inaugural peace composition contest. He continues to write and arrange for groups in both Minnesota and Illinois.
- Call 815-217-5648 for availability!
Isaac Armstead is the trumpet instructor for The Music Connection, LLC. A native out of the Chicago suburbs, Mr. Armstead has a diverse musical background that includes jazz, classical, and contemporary music. He is an undergraduate student at Northern Illinois University. He is currently the lead trumpet of the acclaimed NIU Jazz Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and has performed as principal trumpet in the NIU Philharmonic. Mr. Armstead has performed with several different musical groups, and had the pleasure to perform at the Elmhurst Jazz Fest, a featured artist at Jazz in the Meadows festival, and an ILMEA All-State musician. His primary teachers include Art Davis, Mark Ponzo, Tayna Darby, Wayne Bergeron, Brain Finn, Ron Carter, Reggie Thomas, Rodrigo Villanueva, Ronnie Wooten, Lucia Matos, and Thomas Bough. Mr. Armstead is a brother of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the men’s music fraternity of America. Outside of his studies, Mr. Armstead is active in several different musical groups. He plays in a chamber brass quintet, The Naperville Municipal band, and has been the brass instructor at Streator Township High School for two years. He has been awarded the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award as well as the John Phillip Sousa Award. Mr. Armstead is very passionate about music and performing. His goal is to continue his love and passion for music through all of his students, and looks forward to working with trumpet players of all ages and skill levels.
Abby "Rose" Mungai has been playing violin since 2004 and completed her undergraduate degree in Community Music Management from Northern Illinois University in 2017. She has performed with the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra, NIU Philharmonic and NIU World Music, in addition to fiddling with a local band since 2017.
- SUN: 10-5PM
- MON: 5:30-8:30PM
- WED: 5:30-8:30PM
Steffan Zarakas is a multi-talented musician, record producer, worship leader and instructor. Music has always played a very important role in his life and is a passion that continues to grow. Steffan has 10+ years experience in teaching guitar,bass, vocals, drums, & keyboards and is more recently involved as a record producer & worship leader.
Some of his most recent projects include being a lead singer/bassist/co-producer in the band LEADER http://www.weareleadermusic.com/music. LEADER’s first single “Warrior Inside” has had worldwide success and has reached a diverse audience with millions of plays. Steffan has also worked with local bands playing bass and doing sound for artists such as Red Woody and Back Country Roads.
When Steffan is not playing music, you will most likely find him fishing or cooking which are some of his other passions.
Lea Wells is a student at Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, working toward a Bachelor of Music with Elective Studies in Business. Since picking up the oboe at age ten, Lea has grown to appreciate the wide-reaching skills taught through the study of music. Inspired by her first teacher, Lois Del Vallee, Lea began teaching her first student during her junior year of high school. By her senior year, Lea was regularly involved in four orchestras and one band. Upon entering college, she served as principal oboist in Wheaton College's Symphonic Band for one year, followed by two years as principal oboist in Wheaton College's Symphony Orchestra. She is currently taking lessons with Deb Stevenson and is often hired to perform in concerts, student recitals, and church services around the area. As a teacher, Lea seeks to help students in reaching their goals and encourages an atmosphere of mutual trust and open communication.
- THURS: 7-9PM
- FRI: 6:30-8:30PM
- SAT: 10-5PM