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The Maclay Music Academy (MMA) under the direction of Aaron Seiler, Maclay String Orchestra program, offers students over 80 private half-hour sessions each week.  For beginning through advanced students, grades 1-12, the MMA provides professional instructors on the Maclay campus for violin, viola, cello, and piano.  Check back for additional classes/instruments that will soon be offered.  To register, click the button below, select the musical instrument/instructor, and then choose your desired lesson time.

Registration

Our Instructors

 

Noah Hayes

Cellist Noah Hays, a native of Jacksonville, Florida, began his musical studies at the age of 10 and gave his solo debut at the age of 15 performing Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations with the JSYO Philharmonic. He later appeared as a soloist with the Jacksonville Symphony performing Shostakovich Concerto No. 1. Noah has had the opportunity to work with some of the greatest artists and teachers of modern times in masterclasses - including Alisa Weilerstein, Colin Carr, Hans Jensen, Richard Aaron, Natasha Brofsky, Clive Greensmith, Matt Haimovitz, and Johannes Moser. Equally at home playing in ensembles, he is a section cellist with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra and the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra and has been principal cellist of many student and festival orchestras. Noah has played a wide variety of chamber music under the guidance of many world-renowned coaches, including members of the Jupiter and Ying String Quartets. He is an alumnus of the Bowdoin, Masterworks, and Green Mountain festivals, and was also one of two cellists selected nationally to perform in the precollege masterclass at the 2020 ASTA conference in Orlando. Currently a student of Professor Greg Sauer at Florida State University, he previously attended the Cleveland Institute of Music, earning full merit scholarships at both institutions. Noah is grateful for the mentorship of Dr. Nick Curry and Sabrina Krisberg, his teachers before college. He plays a fine contemporary cello and bow on generous loan from the Virtu Foundation.

Will Whitehead

 

Will Whitehead is violist, string pedagogue, and orchestral conductor. As an orchestral musician, Mr. Whitehead has served as principal viola of the Bradenton Symphony Orchestra and Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus & Orchestra, and played in the violin and viola sections of orchestras throughout Florida, including the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, Ocala Symphony Orchestra, and Venice Symphony Orchestra. He has previously held the Director of Orchestras position at Braden River High School and Montford Middle School, and now serves as Music Director of the FSU Sinfonia, Associate Conductor of the FSU Philharmonia, and Assistant Music Director of the Tallahassee Youth Orchestras. His former students are now pursuing music degrees in universities around the country and hold music teaching positions in both Florida and Georgia. He is a Ph.D. candidate in Music Education/Orchestral Conducting at FSU and an active orchestral adjudicator and clinician. 

Nina Yim

Nina Yim graduated cum laude with a BM Piano Performance degree from St Olaf College, MN and is a current Master of Music student in Piano Performance & Pedagogy at Florida State University. She grew up in Hong Kong and has performed in China, Italy, Croatia and the United States. As an award-winning pianist, Nina has recently toured with the St Olaf Orchestra in Summer 2022, placed first in both the 2021 Thursday Musical Young Artist competition and 2020 Schubert Club’s Bruce P. Carlson Student Scholarship competition. Aside from her passion for piano pedagogy and commitment to support people on their journey to find joy and accomplishments in music, she is also obsessed with her orange tabby cat, Tangii. Nina is passionate about music education as well as performance and outreach. She is currently an instructor of the collegiate group piano program at Florida State University, Music Director at the Lake Jackson United Methodist Church, and Piano Instructor at Mason’s School of Music, Dance and Arts. With a deep conviction that music learning should be a dynamic and encapsulating full-body experience, it is her mission to disperse joy along with knowledge and independence to students through her teaching. 

Jean-Luc Cataquet  Santaella

Jean-Luc Cataquet  Santaella a Puerto Rican violinist and teacher, began studying the violin at the tender age of four with Martin Goldman. He has also had the honor of studying with Elena Sherbanesco, Ramonita Leandry, Dianne Pinner, Dr. Brandon Ironside and Dr. Francisco Caban. He has also performed for renowned violin pedagogues and performers such as Paul Kantor, Lucie Robert, Dr. Nicholas Hatt, Gabriel Lefkowitz, and David Kim. Jean-Luc Cataquet Santaella was the first prize winner of the XXIV Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico Concerto Competition. In addition to his passions for solo and orchestral repertoire, Jean-Luc Cataquet Santaella is an avid chamber musician and has had the privilege of being coached by members of the Velox Quarett, the Ezra Duo and the Verona Quartet. He is currently pursuing his master’s degree in Violin Performance at Florida State University College of Music under the tutelage of Dr. Shannon Thomas and attending festivals to further develop his training.

 

Dr. Petra Bubanja

Dr. Petra Bubanja comes from Montenegro, a small country in the Balkans, situated on the Adriatic coast and surrounded with mountains. She finished her D.M. in violin performance at Florida State University, with Benjamin Sung as her primary teacher.  She was FSU Orchestra’s concertmaster for the Spring of 2018, where she performed the solos in Ein Heldenleben, by Richard Strauss. Petra was a winner of the competitions at the universities she attended (2009, 2011, and 2013), which provided opportunities to play as a soloist with orchestras. Bubanja attended Brevard Music Festival in 2017, where she was part of the concertmaster studio.   She spent the summer of 2018 in sunny Breckenridge, CO, playing in the prestigious National Repertory Orchestra, where she also performed as a soloist with the orchestra.  Petra is a section violinist in many orchestras near Tallahassee region and the Associate Concertmaster with Pensacola Symphony Orchestra.  In addition to this, Petra regularly subs with The Florida Symphony Orchestra. Petra had the pleasure of playing for famous violinists, such as: Gil Shaham, David Coucheron and David Kim.  In her spare time Petra is a cinephile.  In addition to her love of motion pictures, she enjoys reading books, painting, dancing, doing yoga, and taking walks in nature.   

Dr. Edward Charity

Dr. Edward Charity is a first-generation violinist and a doctoral graduate from Florida State University, where he was a member of the studio of Dr. Shannon Thomas. A native of Northwest Louisiana, he has performed across the South and Midwest with numerous professional symphony orchestras for the past two decades.  Dr. Charity served as Associate Concertmaster for the Texarkana Symphony Orchestra (2010-2012) and as both Concertmaster and Principal Second with the FSU University Symphony Orchestra (2017). During the summer of 2017, Dr. Charity attended the Aspen Music Festival and School, where he served as Principal Second in the Opera Orchestra and was a member of the Aspen Festival Orchestra.  He has also served as Asst. Violon Solo for L'Orchestre de la Francophonie in Montreal as well as concertmaster for the Vienna Summer Music Festival in 2019. More recently along the panhandle of Florida, Dr. Charity has been appearing regularly with the Florida Orchestra, as well as the Symphony Orchestras of Alabama, Pensacola, Mobile, Texarkana, and Valdosta. Dr. Charity was brought up in the Suzuki school, although he also credits a lot of his early enthusiasm for the violin to his Scottish father and the fiddle music he learned during summers spent in Scotland. 

Bianca Lupsha

Bianca Lupsha is a highly experienced musician. She has been collaborating for almost 2 decades with the FSU College of Music, FSU School of Theater, and more recently with the Tallahassee Young Actors Theater. Originally hailing from Romania, Bianca started her piano studies in her home country, received a scholarship and moved to the US in 2001 to pursue a Master's in Piano Performance at Bowling Green State University, in Ohio. Furthering her academic pursuits, Bianca moved to Tallahassee in 2006, where she earned a second master's degree in Opera Coaching at Florida State University. Since 1998, Bianca has been dedicated to private piano instruction, finding special fulfillment in teaching beginner students. Her pedagogical philosophy revolves around establishing a robust foundation through joy and enjoyment of the work, aiming to instill a lifelong passion for music. Bianca disguises the difficulties that come with learning a musical instrument through playful and rewarding lessons. She incorporates diverse elements into her teaching methodology, encompassing singing, rhythm exercises, and music theory alongside piano technique. This leads to happy students who are well set up for a life-long passion for music. 

Kali Henre

Kali Henre is a junior studying instrumental music education at Florida State University. She has been playing violin for 8 years and has given violin lessons to elementary and middle school students in the past. Kali has also been a judge for the North Florida String Festival and is currently the Vice President of the American String Teachers Association chapter at Florida State University. 

Jose Serrano

José A. Serrano is an upright bass player and pedagogue in the classical and jazz disciplines. He has a Master’s degree in Jazz Performance from Florida State University and has been a part of Tallahassee Youth Orchestra’s faculty for over 4 years. Drawing upon over two decades of mastering the upright bass, José is not just a seasoned player, but also dedicated to sharing his accrued knowledge through technique, theory, and improvisation. His commitment to fostering deep understanding, coupled with a passion for musical expression, shapes a comprehensive and engaging learning experience for students at all levels in a large variety of genres. 

Dr. Jennifer Teng

Dr. Jennifer Teng is a well-accomplished musician and educator, specializing in Flute Performance, Orchestra Conducting, and Piano Performance Collaborative. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree from the University of North Texas, Upon graduation, she accepted the role of Assistant Professor in Flute, Chamber Music, and Orchestra Conducting at the University Putra Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and served as the Music Director for the University Symphony Orchestra. During her tenure, she received invitations to perform with the National Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Wind Orchestra, performed in Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore, and U.S.A. As a Flute soloist, she performed at venues such as the Steinway Historical Roadshow, National Theater, Sunway University, Dallas Steinway Hall, Lewisville Lake Symphony International Chamber Music Series, American Wind Symphony Orchestra, Yale University International Festival of Arts & Ideas, and Manchester Music Festival in Vermont. Dr. Teng achieved distinction as the winner of the UNT Concerto Competition, and was a semifinalist of the Piccolo Artist Competition at the 36th Annual National Flute Association Convention in Kansas City, MO. In her capacity as UNT Flute and Chamber Music Teaching Fellow, Dr. Teng’s commitment to excellence in teaching and mentorship is evident in the success of her students, many of whom have secured music teaching positions nationwide.