Samantha Arizmendi is a pianist, violinist, vocalist, and guitarist, hailing from Waukegan. Born into a family of musicians, she started studying piano and violin at age five and grew up singing at family parties. She later received pre-collegiate classical training in piano and voice from the Zion Conservatory of Music, where she learned the value of hard work and regular practice. Sammie obtained her bachelor of science in nursing, with a minor in music, from Marquette University.
Sammie is the music director of St. Anastasia Parish in Waukegan, where she has continued the development of the choral program for the last five years and started the parish’s first Teen Choir. Sammie is also the accompanist for the Swedish Glee Club of Lake County and the Filipino Choir of Lake County.
Sammie’s favorite aspect of teaching is fostering her students’ curiosity, and watching their faces light up when new skills click.
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Jamie is a pianist, vocalist and educator hailing from central Ohio. She completed her bachelor’s degree at Miami University in 2021 and has been playing piano for 20 years. An avid lover of music and theater, Jamie has performed in several theatrical productions, with folk and jazz bands, and as a solo artist.
Jamie believes in the power of radical kindness in both her life and lessons. She creates a fun, playful environment for her students to achieve educational growth and to develop a deep love of music.
Jamie loves to include student perspectives and interests in her lessons, encouraging them to develop their own musical preferences and styles. She maintains a great balance between fun, technique, and music theory, resulting in well-rounded musicians with a passion for their craft.
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Alex started playing music at five years old, and he has never wanted to do anything else. As he progressed, he explored numerous instruments and genres. He naturally found himself participating in improvised and rehearsed groups, teaching lessons to peers, and honing his sight-reading skills as a church organist.
Alex continued his musical growth at the esteemed Berklee College of Music, where he earned a degree in jazz composition. Since graduating, Alex has played with touring groups across the world, as both a writer and instrumentalist.
With over a decade of teaching experience, Alex aims to cultivate creativity while building technique. By incorporating his students’ interests in a comfortable setting, he fosters structure, routine, and confidence.
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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.
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Erin is a Los Angeles native who began playing piano at the age of five and never stopped. She earned her bachelor’s degree at San Diego State University.
After college, her passion for film scores and soundtracks led to a career in radio production and music supervision. She has spoken at South By Southwest (Austin, TX), Reeperbahn (Hamburg), MaMA (Paris), and Music PEI (Canada). For a complete list of her film and television credits, Erin’s IMDb page is available here.
As a teacher, Erin believes in the power of play, establishing an environment of levity for her students. Patient and kind, she nurtures learning through creativity, joy and positive reinforcement.
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Andrew Doney is a pianist and vocalist from California with a deep passion for teaching. After completing his bachelor’s degree in jazz piano performance from Sonoma State University in 2009, he moved to Chicago and has been teaching full time ever since. To keep his love of music fresh, he performs with rock bands all around the midwest. Andrew’s easy-going attitude and sense of humor, combined with his love for all types of music, helps his students to laugh off their mistakes and focus on the satisfaction of reaching the next level.
Andrew has been teaching with Piano Power since 2014, developing strong, yearslong relationships with his students and families. He helps his students find joy in music by reading notes, playing by ear, and improvising. Andrew has coached his students through a host of major milestones – everything from first notes and first recitals, to college auditions, and even to big performances at Wrigley Field and Lollapalooza.
To see Andrew’s current availability, click here.
Rachel is a classically-trained singer and pianist from Naperville. Beginning both piano and voice at a young age, Rachel quickly realized that her life revolved around music, from choir to orchestra to numerous recitals. She received her bachelor’s at Indiana University, where she joined The Singing Hoosiers and Hooshir A Cappella.
Rachel feels lucky to have a professional career in music, and she’s passionate about teaching and performing. She continues to build her classical musicianship by cantoring at church and temple year-round. Rachel performs throughout the city and the suburbs, mixing fun and stripped-down tracks of current and old hits, as well as original material. Her piano is her muse, while she uses her strong vocals to collaborate often with guitarists in duo settings.
Rachel loves teaching all ages and skill levels. She vows to bring empathy and care to each student, with a passion for music staying at the forefront. She loves the process of seeing students gain access to the fundamentals of music, developing into fuller musicians and human beings as a result.
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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.
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Mallory received her bachelor’s in music education, as well as her K-12 teaching certification, from North Central College, and her master’s in voice at the University of Missouri-Columbia. An active performer, Mallory was recently heard singing as Countess in The Marriage of Figaro with New Moon Opera.
Mallory has been teaching piano, voice, and clarinet lessons for over a decade. She has worked with a wide range of students, from ages four to 92, from beginners to advanced musicians, and from home musicians to members of touring rock bands. Her engaging style and comfort with all musical genres help her make great connections with her students. She is excited to work with more Piano Power families.
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Marissa received her bachelor’s at Roosevelt University, where she performed with the Chicago Sinfonietta and Chicago Symphony Chorus. While obtaining her master’s at the University of Memphis, she made her professional debut with Opera Memphis. Over the years, she has collaborated with Cedar Summerstock Theater, the Miami Classical Music Festival, and the Memphis Youth Symphony. A Colorado native, Marissa attended the prestigious Denver School of the Arts, where she used her piano expertise to accompany her choir on trips across the United States.
Marissa’s teaching approach encourages passion and fun, allowing each student to develop their unique gifts. She enjoys teaching piano and voice across genres, from pop to Broadway to classical. Combining a focus on fundamentals with creative and engaging repertoire selections, Marissa launches her students into a lifelong and personalized relationship with music.
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Audie received his B.A. in music from Loyola University Chicago, where his emphasis was in vocal performance. He has sung as both a soloist and a chorister, in everything from classical to musical theatre. His piano expertise comes from years of technical instruction, along with personal exploration of chord-reading, improvisation, and arranging.
He loves singing while accompanying himself at the piano, and he loves teaching this skill as well. In his spare time, Audie writes songs and has jam sessions. He plays and sings for Bonanzarafa, a group of friends who love music and love to have fun.
As an instructor, Audie facilitates growth — musical, academic and personal — in his students. He is thrilled to be a part of the Piano Power team!
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Nicholas is a pianist, vocalist, and educator from Long Island, New York. He earned his undergraduate degree from the esteemed University of North Texas, where he was a member of the Grammy-nominated One O’clock Lab Band. He went on to earn a master’s degree from Western Michigan University, where he was a teaching assistant and assistant director of the Gold Company jazz ensemble.
In the meantime, Nicholas received some major honors, including Best Graduate Jazz Instrumental Soloist from Downbeat Magazine, the Bösendorfer Award from the American Jazz Pianist Competition, and first prize from the Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition.
Nicholas combines his amazing musicianship with an affable, fun-loving personality. He establishes a relaxed environment where his students can learn and grow. Whether students want to learn to read music, play and sing songs by ear, write their own music, or improvise, Nicholas is ready to help them achieve their goals.
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Gillian Rae Perry is a composer, songwriter, and performer. She has taught piano and voice since 2015 and enjoys getting to share her love of music with students of all ages. She is currently a Vanguard Emerging Opera Composer with Chicago Opera Theater.
Gillian’s work has been performed by the Mostly Modern Orchestra, Euclid Quartet, Aperture Duo, and members of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. She was a Composer Fellow with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra from 2018 through 2020.
Gillian graduated from Southern Methodist University with degrees in both music composition and film. Her work is greatly influenced by film, dance, and theater. Gillian holds an MFA in music composition from the California Institute of the Arts.
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Rioghnach is a pianist, vocalist, and songwriter from North Carolina. She began her piano studies at age three with the Suzuki method. Ten years later, she discovered her love of singing, which carried her into the worlds of musical theatre, a cappella choir, and pop composition. While continuing classical piano and voice training at Kenyon College, she sang with Kenyon’s chamber choir and served as music director for the college’s all-female a cappella group.
Over the years, Rioghnach has worn many musical hats. She has played keys for funk bands, self-produced an LP, accompanied at Underscore Theatre, and composed theme music for the podcast Still Lives. A working novelist since 2016, she is an enthusiastic believer in music as a similarly diverse and powerful form of storytelling.
Rioghnach trusts that a sense of fun, play, and innate motivation will create lifelong musicians at any age. She nurtures each student’s individual voice and interests, while providing the bedrock of technical training that enables a sense of possibility and exploration.
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Leah has been a proud Chicagoan for a decade. She has appeared throughout the city with companies like New Moon Opera and the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company. She also toured the midwest with Opera for the Young. In 2020, Leah’s movie star dreams came to life when she played The Witch and Mother in Opera for the Young’s film production of Hansel and Gretel.
When performances shut down during COVID, Leah co-founded a virtual quarantine concert series called Live From Winona, which live-streamed music ranging from opera to pop to Disney. Her series continued for almost a year, drawing notice from the Chicago Tribune along the way.
Leah has a master’s in music from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a BME in choral and general music education. She has been teaching private voice and piano lessons for over a decade. Leah teaches students of all ages and thrives on customizing lessons for each student.
Leah believes that lessons should be full of exploration and play, and that it is truly never too late to begin something new. Leah herself began studying the fiddle and the German language during the pandemic, and she understands the intimidation, challenges, and rewards of exploring new horizons.
Outside of music, Leah loves gardening, traveling, watching TV and movies, and hanging out with her pup.
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Anna has been playing piano for over 20 years. She holds a bachelor of music degree from Illinois Wesleyan University, with a major in piano and minor in voice. In addition to teaching, Anna performs with musicians around the Chicagoland area. Recent appearances at the piano or keyboard include Big Deal Productions’ Evita, Big Noise Theatre’s 9 to 5, Side by Side by Sondheim with Four Star Arts, and numerous cabarets and recitals.
Anna’s favorite way to teach is through collaboration with her students. She nurtures their enthusiasm for music by getting to know their personalities, preferences, strengths, and challenges. Anna’s fun and relevant music choices make lessons a blast.
To see Anna’s current availability, click here.