Casey is a musician with a rich and varied background. He began playing piano at five years old and quickly found a passion for music (especially boogie-woogie!). He grew up studying classical music, playing piano and guitar in church, performing with his high-school jazz band, and taking on a brief stint as a lead guitarist in a metal band. He later earned his bachelor’s in music from the University of Central Oklahoma, and a master’s in piano performance from the University of Washington. But that was only the beginning of the fun.
While studying, Casey discovered a love for musical theatre and ballet. With a firm grasp of classical and contemporary technique, he spent several years as a vocal coach, in styles ranging from opera to modern Broadway. He has been a music director and conductor for multiple university and regional-theatre productions. Casey further developed his improvisatory skills as a ballet accompanist, a lead pianist and choir director in the Episcopal church, and a dueling pianist. Currently, he works as a class pianist with Ballet Chicago, and as a music director and audio engineer with Roosevelt University.
Casey is also an accomplished composer and arranger. He has written scores for two short films, is developing a feature-length score, and is a freelance arranger, composer, and producer for recording artists and singer-songwriters.
Moving among varied disciplines and instruments, Casey finds that passion for music isn’t genre-specific — it can come from anywhere. That level of engagement is what he seeks to foster in his students. The combination of open curiosity and inspired instruction can produce true magic.
An Indianapolis native, Egan has studied at both the University of Toronto and Columbia College Chicago. While hailing from a family of performers, Egan has focused in his own work on original composition. During his college years, Egan also coached youth soccer all over the greater Chicago area. He’s excited to combine his passion for music with the joy of working with kids.
Egan is well-versed in multiple genres, with experience composing and performing jazz, blues, pop/rock, and musical theatre, to complement his native classical background. Egan is active in the composing and freelancing scene in Chicago, currently concentrating on musical theatre.
Noah began his life-long love affair with music at an early age, singing every word to “Hey Jude” while still in diapers. From there, he spent most of his childhood playing various sports (in a mediocre fashion) until a guitar landed in his lap around age 10. Immediately, the world began to make sense in new and different ways, and he traded in the baseball diamond for the stage.
A background in classic rock and folk music merged with a developing love for musical theater, and, somehow, someway, over a decade later, he finds himself as a full-time teacher, composer/lyricist, and music director! Noah now has a couple handfuls of original theatrical musicals under his belt, and a career highlight of an original show playing in an NYC off-Broadway theater.
A gifted, personable, and committed teacher, Noah has an enduring love for helping his students find the stories and feelings in every note they play.
Andrew completed his master’s in music at Concordia College-Chicago, and he holds bachelor’s degrees from University of Wisconsin-Madison and Columbia College Chicago. His rich training in pedagogy allows him to work with all ages and levels, and to develop a unique lesson plan for each student. An active participant in the local music scene, Andrew has performed at such venues as Millennium Park and Soldier Field. He currently plays with a number of prominent cover bands throughout Chicago.
Andrew is a true musical polymath. From Bach to Bela Fleck, from Gershwin to Goo Goo Dolls, he loves crossing genres to help his students learn their favorite tunes.
A native of Florida, Nicole started singing at age eight and has pursued an ever-expanding range of musical interests ever since. Taking a strong interest in classical voice and opera, Nicole studied as an apprentice in the Palm Beach Opera for two years, honing her craft and performing alongside incredible voices.
Nicole’s music education encompasses piano, classical and electric guitar, original composition, and formal study of music theory. After moving to Chicago, she earned a degree in music composition at DePaul University. Nicole currently leads Violet Meridian, a jazz/math-rock hybrid, for which she writes, sings, and plays guitar.
Through her teaching Nicole aspires to bring the joy and pleasure of music to the forefront by nurturing organic curiosity, play, and experimentation. She encourages her students to try their own hand at creative self-expression, while drawing inspiration from music’s rich history. Nicole’s passion is helping her students utilize music to grow, engage, and connect with others.
A native of Ithaca, New York, Lena began her piano studies at age four, and over the next 15 years, she explored classical, jazz, and pop. Around the age of 10, Lena began to develop her voice, participating in numerous musicals, vocal ensembles, and competitions. She also began composing her own music and creating new versions of her favorite pre-existing songs.
Lena soon made her way to classical voice, starting her study of opera in her early teens. The love of opera stuck with Lena, as she went on to pursue a vocal-performance bachelor’s degree, from Indiana University’s prestigious Jacobs School of Music. While at Jacobs, she performed in numerous operas, most notably Georges Bizet’s Carmen and Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes, and a number of solo recitals.
Lena arrived in Chicago in the summer of 2019, having spent the previous year teaching private piano, voice, and guitar lessons in Boston to almost 50 students, spanning all ages and abilities.
Lena’s passion for teaching shows in her bright personality and in her excitement to share the world of music with others. Lena has a positive, respectful, and motivating style. She has a natural and easy rapport, which she combines with her formidable musicianship and keen intuition. Lena loves to engage her students in critical thinking, enhancing their independence and problem-solving abilities.
When she’s not teaching, Lena can be found walking her dog Harvey by the lake, or checking out the many wonderful restaurants Chicago has to offer.
Kyle moved to Chicago in 2018 after receiving a bachelor’s degree in percussion performance and jazz studies from Northern Illinois University. He performs regularly in Chicago’s jazz/improvised scene. An affinity for many styles, and a willingness to experiment, have made Kyle an in-demand sideman, composer, and arranger.
As a teacher, Kyle favors a warm, interactive approach. He begins by uncovering the source of his students’ internal motivation. The answer he finds holds the key to making music a meaningful part of their lives. Drawing on his diverse musical background, Kyle gives each student a set of customized tools, helping them nurture their own joy in music.
Joe is committed to instilling a lifelong creative spirit within his students, catering to their individual interests while also introducing new and exciting ways to approach music-making. In addition to fostering technical skills, he also emphasizes “thinking like a musician,” giving his students real-world applications for what they learn. He holds a bachelor’s degree in composition from the University of Illinois.
A pianist, guitarist, composer, and producer, Joe’s original music covers many genres. In 2015, he premiered his concerto for rock band at the prestigious Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, taking home a BMI Student Composer Award. He has also received awards from the Wisconsin School Music Association and the National Federation of Music Clubs, and he was a finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Awards.
He is an active performer, playing everything from folk, pop, and rock, to soul, R&B, and hip-hop. On weekends, he can be found playing in Chicago or traveling to play across the Midwest. His band Boycut was recently featured in the Chicago Tribune. Joe looks forward to sharing his love of music and creativity with more great students in the year ahead.
Gabe fell for music early. Growing up in Ithaca, New York, he studied piano from the age of seven, later exploring guitar, bass, drums, and mallet percussion in his teenage years. Gabe became interested in jazz in high school, and he began to draw more on improvisational styles in arranging and performing. He studied classical piano performance at Goshen College before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in sustainable food systems and journalism. Gabe is now a pianist, teacher, and arranger based in Chicago.
Gabe’s genuine care for others makes him a kind, supportive teacher for students of all ages. In his teaching and playing alike, he explores questions about right relationships between people and the earth. Gabe provides his students with the foundation for a lifelong love of music and learning.
Kieran is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and actor. Originally from Danbury, Connecticut, he began his career at age four (in a wordless — yet stirring! — performance in A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and has since appeared onstage and in the orchestra in dozens of productions. He is a graduate of Oberlin College, where he studied jazz voice under La Tanya Hall and served as principal arranger for ‘Round Midnight, a jazz/folk a capella group.
Kieran brings to Piano Power an eclectic mix of international experience in arts and youth education. He has lived, studied, and worked in England, Australia, India, and Egypt, as well as across the United States. He is the co-founder of a youth program on the Navajo Reservation that uses arts education to teach environmental history, ecology, and climate change.
Kieran’s teaching philosophy is highly collaborative, emphasizing technique and interpretation in equal parts. He believes that humor and creativity are the keys to any good lesson. Kieran looks forward to working with new students of all ages and genres.
A Chicago native, Cesar completed both his undergraduate and graduate music degrees at Northeastern Illinois University. While excelling in classical repertoire, Cesar also developed into a fine jazz musician, selected to tour throughout China with the NEIU jazz ensemble.
Since graduating, Cesar has maintained an active teaching practice while expanding into the entrepreneurial world. He now produces podcasts and markets original musical content through his company, Sounds of Chicago, and he is in the process of opening a jazz lounge in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood.
As an instructor, Cesar is warm and engaging, with an interactive approach that adeptly balances structure and fun. He looks forward to sharing the joy of music with more great students in the year ahead.
Born and raised in Chicago, Ben Sullivan is a pianist, guitarist, composer, arranger, and teacher. Ben received his bachelor’s in guitar performance from DePaul University, and his master’s from Northwestern University. Well-versed in classical duo and ensemble music, Ben performs with his wife as a guitar-and-violin duo. His versatility extends to rock, blues, funk, and jazz, and he plays regularly in rock bands as a pianist and lead guitarist.
Ben shows his students that music is a lifelong journey, strengthening character and preparing them for everyday life. Having taught students of all ages for a decade, Ben exemplifies the patience and openness that create a welcoming learning environment. Join Ben in the beautiful adventure into musicianship, where students develop life skills and learn awesome songs along the way!
The product of a musical Tennessee family, Deanna’s music career began at age three, playing one-string bass in her family’s Italian folk group. Violin, piano, saxophone and guitar soon followed.
Her love of music continued to grow, and she now has 15 musical instruments under her belt. Deanna has toured extensively, playing everything from classical to country to indie rock. Her resume includes stints with Will Oldham, Lambchop and Bobby Bare, Jr., as well as tours of her original compositions.
With more than 30 years of teaching experience, Deanna excels as an instructor. Her friendliness, passion, and patience are complemented by a strong sense of clarity and structure. She encourages her students to explore their instruments and put their personalities in their playing, teaching both solid technique and the art of individual expression. “Even while learning the basics,” she says, “you’ve got to have fun!”