Meet our Lessons Team!

We have great instructors well knowledged in a variety of instruments, and ready to teach any skill level. Our lessons are one-on-one so you can take them at your own pace. Our team of talented teachers will craft a lesson plan that works for you, so you get the most from your experience.

 

Heather Rae Johnson

 

Heather Rae Johnson

Instrument: Violin

Heather started playing violin at 9 years old in Vancouver, WA, where she grew up. She took Suzuki lessons, played in the school orchestra, and even performed with the Portland Youth Philharmonic. She started her college career at Mt. Hood Community College and went on to earn her Music Education degree from the University of Arizona.

Aside from the uncontested “greats” of classical music, Heather has been influenced by all kinds of music- jazz, country, bluegrass, rock, and beyond. In fact, you may have seen Heather playing stages across Austin in one of her many bands. Her favorite thing about teaching is helping students develop the skills they need to play whatever kind of music inspires them!

Fun Fact: Heather loves cats, vintage clothing, and enjoys a good craft beer.

 


 

Alistair Forsyth

 

Alistair Forsyth

Instruments: Piano, Guitar

Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, Alistair received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Theory & Composition at Concordia University Texas (2018) and his Master’s in Music Composition from Texas State University (2022). He has been teaching for 10 years, specializing in early-intermediate piano, guitar, and musical composition. Alistair started playing music in middle school after hearing The Who and Eddie Van Halen. After receiving a hand-me-down bass guitar from a family friend, he was hooked. From point forward, he tried to play every instrument and style he could get his hands (and ears on).

Alistair’s favorite aspect of being a music teacher is encouraging musicians to be creative and strive to express themselves through an instrument, all while demystifying musical theory concepts. Alistair has been inspired by countless musicians including but not limited to Jeff Buckley, Joe Hisaishi, Aaron Copland, and Tim Minchin. More recently Alistair has been focusing intently on progressive heavy metal artists such as Periphery and I Am Abomination.

Fun Fact: Alistair enjoys both reading and drawing comic books, and solving Rubik’s cubes of various sizes.

 


 

Aaron Lepley

 

Aaron Lepley

Instruments: Piano, Guitar, Bass Guitar

Proving that even a small moment can provide big inspiration, Aaron decided to teach himself to play guitar and piano after seeing David Bowie in a Pepsi commercial when he was 13. Originally from Massachusetts, Aaron made his way to Texas after spending time in North Carolina, Florida, Oregon, and California. He has now been teaching piano, guitar, bass guitar, songwriting, composition, and audio production for 13 years.

Aaron's influences include musicians like Bowie, Miles Davis, Alice Coltrane, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Brian Eno, J.S. Bach, and many more. He also draws inspiration from poetry and literature, paint, collage, and film. His favorite thing about teaching is seeing students’ enthusiasm build as they become inspired to learn and grow both in and out of the classroom.

Fun Fact: Aaron enjoys a variety of visual arts, gardening, traveling, and shooting hoops with his wife.

 


 

Barbi Irrizary-Rivera

 

Barbi Irrizary-Rivera

Instrument: Voice

Barbi earned her degree in Commercial Music Business from Florida Atlantic University and has been teaching vocal performance professionally for 3 years. She first started singing when she joined the school chorus in 3rd grade. She wrote her first song when she was 12 years old, and it’s been her passion ever since!

Barbi’s favorite thing about being a teacher is sharing her love of music with others. She relishes the opportunity to explore new genres and styles with her students, and to see them grow in confidence and technical ability as they learn to express themselves through music. She enjoys a wide range of styles but some of her biggest influences include Cher, Rhianna, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato, and Harry Stiles. Whether it’s a hobby or a more serious pursuit, Barbi loves helping her students build strong technique and musical foundations through studying the music they love.

Fun Fact: Barbi is also an experienced makeup artist- she’s worked in fashion, doing special effects on film sets, and is even working on her own cosmetic line!

 


 

Kevin Humphrey

 

Kevin Humphrey

Instruments: Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Ukulele

Born and raised in Austin, TX, Kevin began playing music in 8th grade when he started learning bass guitar. By his junior year, he was playing both bass and guitar in a number of different bands. He went on to study at Texas State University, and has now been teaching guitar, bass, keyboards, and ukulele for 10 years.

Kevin is inspired by classic country music, soul and R&B, traditional gospel, blues, and rock & roll, and considers himself fortunate to have been mentored by a variety of musicians, from youth leaders to touring pros. He is an active performer around the Austin area in several bands, and in recent years has enjoyed leading an annual live tribute show commemorating The Band’s concert/film “The Last Waltz.”

Kevin loves to teach because he discovered that it is a way that he can both give and receive joy in equal measure. He feels that music lifts the soul!

Fun Fact: Kevin and his wife are avid disc golfers- they play with friends and family every Sunday and enjoy checking out new courses when they travel.

 


 

Scott MacDonald

 

Scott MacDonald

Instruments: Trumpet, Trombone

An Austin, TX native, Scott has been playing trumpet since he was a kid. His love of performance began while singing and acting in musical theater productions in elementary school. He first picked up the trumpet in 5th grade and performed in school bands all the way through his senior year. Scott went on to study at Texas State University where he earned his degree in Music Education. He has now been teaching trumpet and trombone lessons for 5 years.

His favorite thing about teaching is helping beginners build the problem-solving skills they need to think critically about their musical experience. He loves seeing the “light bulb moments” when students overcome their challenges and become stronger musicians.

He is inspired by a wide range of musical styles, from jazz to classical to funk and beyond. Particularly big influences include classical composers Phil Smith, Alison Balsom, and Timofei Dokschlitzer, jazz greats like Chet Baker and Ibrahim Maalouf, and bands like Stan Kenton Orchestra and Tower of Power.

Fun Fact: Scott enjoys spending time outdoors, woodworking, reading science fiction, and playing table-top games with friends.

 


 

Will Daniel

 

Will Daniel

Instruments: Saxophone

Originally from Liberty, TX, he began learning saxophone in 1999 and was quickly enamored with the way music can inspire self-expression. He played in marching band and participated in UIL competitions throughout high school, then went on to study saxophone at Sam Houston State University, clarinet at Angelo State University, and learned jazz piano and harmony at Texas Tech.

Will began playing professionally during college and became a full-time musician when he moved to Austin in 2012. He is currently the sax player and musical director for Austin R&B legend Soul Man Sam, leads his own band, Will & the Hip Pockets, performs and composes original music for a local cabaret company, and even has his own record label called Blue Vada Records.

His favorite thing about being a teacher is sharing his passion for music. He loves watching students get excited about their progress and helping them feel empowered in their journey. Will once asked an accomplished musician if they had advice for someone seeking success in the world of music. They replied, “Always have a teacher.”

Fun Fact: Will enjoys traveling, cooking, visiting family and hanging with his cat, Tupelo Honey.

 


 

Josh McClellan

 

Josh McClellan

Instruments: Drums & Percussion

Originally from Oklahoma, Josh McClellan is a percussionist and educator now based in Austin, TX. After earning his bachelor's degree from Nashville’s Belmont University, he went on to get his master’s in Music Performance from the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. He has appeared as a guest artist at venues such as Tanglewood Music Festival in Boston, the Lincoln Center in NYC, and the Aspen Music Festival. He is an active freelance player here in Austin, performing in a variety of indie & alternative bands, Latin percussion groups, and classical ensembles.

He loves to help students of all ages and skill levels find their niche and have positive encounters with all different kinds of music.

Fun Fact: Josh enjoys cooking, brewing specialty coffee, traveling, and exploring national parks. He is also an avid soccer fan and performs regularly with La Murga de Austin at Austin FC matches and related events.

 


 

Tristan Shinnick

 

Tristan Shinnick

Instruments: Guitar, Piano, Bass Guitar, Ukulele, Mandolin

Tristan Shinnick was born and raised in Austin, TX. After graduating from Westlake High School, he went on to study at the University of North Texas in Denton. He graduated with a degree in Jazz Guitar Performance and has now been a teacher for 15 years.

He enjoys teaching all ages and skill levels. As a performer, he plays acoustic and electric guitar and particularly enjoys fingerpicking on both.

Fun Fact: Tristan enjoys movies and comedy.

 

Ready to learn?

Contact our lesson team today! We look forward to helping you take the next steps along your musical journey!

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