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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.

Flute

Fall Availability

  • Wednesdays: 4PM-9PM
Una Lawrence

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.

Voice/Trombone

Fall Availability

  • Tuesdays: 9AM-3PM
  • Thursdays: 9AM-3PM
  • Saturdays: 9AM-3PM
Alex Rattana

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: benmusic@hotmail.com # 615-300-3482 (cell).

Drums/Percussion

Fall Availability

  • Tues/Thurs Evenings Only
Ben Weaver

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.

Brass

  • Weekdays
Isaac Armstead

Sarah is a senior, pursing a Bachelor of Music from Northern Illinois University. Her primary focus is vocal performance with secondary studies in piano and organ. Sarah has played piano for about 14 years, having participated in the National Piano Guild Auditions and the annual American Grands concert at Elgin Community College. In the past, she had accompanied for her high school choir and local middle school choir and had also been a rehearsal assistant for the Communities in Schools Drama and Drums Camp in Aurora, accompanying rehearsals and coaching vocals. Sarah actively accompanies for music students at NIU, playing for juries and recitals, and offers her accompanying skills to local organizations, recently including the Fox Valley Youth Choir. She also has accompanied at numerous churches in Aurora and DeKalb, was previously the music director at St. Mary of the Assumption in Maple Park, and currently holds the position as music director at Christ the Teacher Parish and Newman Center in DeKalb. In addition to piano, Sarah also sings with the NIU Concert Choir and Opera Theatre, and contributes her voice to church music ministries as well.

Vocals/Piano

  • Sundays
  • Mondays
  • Thursdays
  • Fridays
Sarah Wright

Chris Monzel is a student at Northern Illinois University majoring in music education and performance. He currently studies violin with former second violinist of the Vermeer Quartet, Mathias Tacke. He also studies secondary viola with the current violist of the Avalon String Quartet, Anthony Devroye. Chris is an active performer especially in orchestral and chamber ensembles. He currently is acting principle of the second violin section for the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra and frequently plays with the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Fox Valley Orchestra. Though performing is a significant aspect of Chris’s career, he finds teaching to be the most important. Chris has had private instructional students for five years and has taught in classroom environments through his clinical experiences for music education and a non-profit music program named El Sistema which focuses on exposing kids in “at risk” schools to music. Chris’s philosophy of education is to prepare students for their future goals, whether music related or not, by providing them a fun but disciplined music education in hopes to develop work ethic, discipline and self-confidence so when they leave his studio, they are confident that they can succeed as long as they are determined.

Violin/Viola Teacher

  • Mondays
  • Wednesdays
  • Thursdays
  • Fridays
  • Saturdays
Chris Monzel

Yajing Li is a piano teacher at The Music Connection. 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 lyj19910312@icloud.com

Piano

Fall Availability

  • Tues/Thurs: 4PM-6:30PM
Yajing Li

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.

Guitar

Fall Availability

  • Tuesdays: 3PM-8PM
Ted Stavrou

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.

Brass

Josh Mason

Adam Hawthorne is an active performer and educator currently based Dekalb, Illinois. With nearly a decade of teaching experience, Adam currently works as the 6-12 grade Band Director at Meridian Junior High and Stillman Valley High School in Stillman Valley, Illinois. In addition to his duties as Band Director, Adam teaches privately in Sycamore and the greater Chicagoland area. As a performer, Adam has performed with the University of Illinois Wind Symphony, Northern Illinois Wind Ensemble, and Jazz Orchestra, while also currently holding a position as a Saxophonist with the Wheaton Municipal Band. Adam holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and a master’s degree in Saxophone Performance from Northern Illinois University.

Woodwinds

  • Sundays
  • Mondays
Adam Hawthorne

I have a Bachelors degree from Seoul Theological University in South Korea, a Performance Certification from Judson University (accompanying for choir and juries as a scholarship student), and a Masters degree from NIU (specialization is performance in Piano, expected graduation May 2019). I study with Dr. Goldenburg as a graduate student and teach piano-group classes for undergraduate students at NIU. I also have numerous accompanying experiences for summer camps at Judson University and for the summer choir tour with the Judson University Choir.

Piano

  • Mondays
  • Tuesdays
  • Fridays
  • Saturdays
Ahhae Song

Madeleine Felder began her cello career when she was just 4 years old. Since that early start, she has gone on to numerous honors, including selection as an Illinois All-State Cellist three times, two tours in Europe as a Principal Cellist, Principal Cello of the Murray State University
Symphony, Section Cellist in the prestigious Elgin Youth Symphony, Assistant Principal of the Rockford Youth Symphony Orchestra and selection for the Tri-M Music Honor Society. She has performed from Paris to Ravinia to London to Disney World. Maddy is an active musician in the state-line area and enjoys not only performing, but sharing her love of music with students of all ages!

Cello

    Fall/Winter/Spring Availability

  • Tuesdays
  • Thursdays
  • Saturdays
  • Sundays
Maddy Felder


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